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NIGHT RINGING: A Memoir in Poetry ~ Laura Foley

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

I like to start my day with a poem.  I have an email subscription to a ‘poem a day’ site, which reliably sends something delightful to my inbox and I am introduced to many new writer’s words.  I have no expertise with poetry and did not study it much in school as I fell in love with the longer forms of storytelling.  This book arrived from TLC Book Tours in time to give me a full month of reading and re-reading and full on pleasure in the words.

This is the second book by Laura Foley; JOY STREET was the first.   I can only tell you whether I liked it or not – I really liked this book from cover to cover.

The Fast Course of a Relationship

Only last week, I brought her
a white magnolia snapped
from my front yard,
smelling like honey.

A country guest,
she accepted the blossom
with a kiss.  I find it today,
without a trace of fragrance.

“Laura Foley is an internationally published, award-winning poet, author of five collections. She won First Place in the Common Goods Poetry Contest, judged by Garrison Keillor, who read her poem on “A Prairie Home Companion”; and First Place in the National Outermost Poetry Prize, judged by Marge Piercy. Her poetry collections include: Night Ringing, The Glass Tree and Joy Street. The Glass Tree won a Foreword Book of the Year Award; Joy Street won the Bisexual-Writer’s Award. Her poems have appeared in The Writer’s Almanac, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Pulse Magazine, Lavender Review, The Mom Egg Review, in the British Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology, and many other journals.” (TLC )

There is an elegant simplicity to the words and phrases that centers the attention and sends a clear message.  The words get through and express what is needed and there are ups and downs with recovery and renewal.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and again and again.  I believe you will also.

Related:
Joy Street
Lust
Doll Gods

REBEL SISTERS: Irish History shared through story ~Marita Conlon-McKenna

Monday, June 20th, 2016

I do think learning history through story is such a good idea. This book is about three specific sisters, who truly existed, and were part of the 1916 Freedom Rebellion in Dublin, Ireland.  Two of the sisters were married to leaders of the uprising; one sister was a volunteer with the organization.  There are songs written about this insurgence and about the young women and their husbands, who became martyrs to the cause for generations to come.

The beautiful sisters are just 3 of the six girls in a family of 12 children. They are protestant and are reared in the wealthy, privileged part of Dublin.  Their mother is strong willed and attempts to thwart their efforts to become part of the Citizen Army, and it is reassuring to know that  she does grow to love her kind and loving son-in-law.  Mother Gifford does see to it that each of her daughters receives a university education and has a plan for her life.  A daughter who is a journalist has left the home fires for America and hopes for a bigger career in writing.   It is also the start of WWI, so the Freedom Fighters are feeling that London will be too busy with the Germans and the war to be able to stop the fight for freedom.  REBEL SISTERS is caught up in the energy of the times and yet has found three individual stories to tell with lots of courageous detail making it also a wonderful love story.

TLC Book Tours sent an early e-copy of the book for  review.  Irish love story and rebellion – it is bound to be a hit and a success for the 100 year celebration of this historic event.

“Marita Conlon-McKenna is one of Ireland’s favourite authors.  Her books include the award-winning UNDER THE HAWTHORNE TREE, set during Ireland’s Great Famine, which has been widely translated and published and is now considered an Irish classic.  Her other books include the bestseller THE MAGDALEN.  She is a winner of the International Reading Association Award in the USA.  She is a former chairperson of Irish PEN.  She lives in Dublin with her husband and family of four children.” (From book cover)

Marita Conlon-McKenna Website

Although REBEL SISTERS is about war on many fronts, it is just beautifully written and it is held in high esteem.  The research is extensive and the personal is well included.  The style has been compared to Maeve Binchy’s form and detailed representation.  The sisters had full lives after the rebellion and made a big difference in the lives of their community from setting up a museum history lesson, to art, poetry, and preserving their husband’s legacy and work.  They are included in the history books as brave spirits to the causes of justice, relieving poverty and hunger, and working towards a more Irish educational system.  Their colleagues are a virtual who’s who of Ireland’s history and leaders.

You may just want to make a fresh pot of tea and enjoy warm Irish Soda Bread while you settle in for a fine read.

Irish Soda Bread link

Related:
Playing St. Barbara
In The Garden of Stone
Letters From Skye

THE ART OF CALM: Photographs and Wisdom to Balance Your Life ~ Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Just in time for Mother’s Day TLC Book Tours  and National Geographic Society Books sent me THE ART OF CALM for review.  It is absolutely beautiful and would make a lovely gift for the women in your life, and how about just for you?

Rebecca Ascher-Walsh has chosen stunning photographs to accompany each page of her writing wisdoms.  There are lovely quotes from famous women about finding the calm in one’s life, and there are even recipes for special treats and delightful bath soakers.    My absolute favorite parts of the book are the wee exercises that change the mind in a matter of moments and truly bring on the calm and the centering that pulls one back from an unpleasant trajectory.

I learned later in life to start each day with a poem, which allowed me to set my pace in a more thoughtful, positive direction.  This little gem would do that too.  Small enough to keep in the car, a little read before car pool, a deep breath and a picture study when the kids are fighting, or just the right touch before falling asleep THE ART OF CALM is a delight and 5 minutes of peace.

I highly recommend THE ART OF CALM as a lovely gift, for busy women even for one’s self.  A fabulous thank – you gift for someone who did something special.

“Rebecca Ascher-Walsh is a New York-based journalist who has written for outlets including Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Huffington Post.  The author of Devoted and founder of the Deja Foundation, she lives with her husband, twin daughters, and beloved rescue dog, Buddy.” (Cover)

Rebecca Ascher-Walsh Facebook

Related:
Glimpsing Heaven
Life From Scratch
Wild

The Antigone Poems ~Marie Slaight (Illustrated by Terrence Tasker)

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

“I deem this a holy book – written in ecstasy and the madness of genius.” – Grace Cavalieri

I am in the grip of a striking pain in my spine and I think I can’t make one more minute of breath. Then I remember the story of Antigone, a Greek tragedy, and I am reminded I need to read a new book of poems.

THE ANTIGONE POEMS is a stunning book of art and words based on the Antigone tragedies. We are right there with the King, losing his entire family, and yet gaining wisdom. My pain breaths in and out with the concise brutality of the drama written in the words. Slaight has a mastery in writing of rebellion and anger and confusion, a revolution into incredible words. Each section is illustrated by Terrence Tasker’s drawings, masks really. So a Greek tragedy comes to life in new form. My pain is divided with each stanza into small molecules. Now appealing, I open and close the book to drop into the reading and the release of my physical pain.

This book is a keeper. I don’t imagine it as a gift and yet, for anyone working through pain or hard decisions, it certainly is a guide. I thank TLC book tours for having the authors send this beautiful tome in a timely manner. As I heal, I am keeping it by my side as reference – the breath heals, the words ameliorate the incision.

MARIE SLAIGHT (1954 – ) has worked in Montreal, New Orleans, and Buenos Aires as a writer, producer and performer for film, theatre and music. Her poetry has appeared in American Writing, Pittsburgh Quarterly, Poetry Salzburg, The Abiko Quarterly, New Orleans Review and elsewhere. Slaight is currently the director of Altaire Productions & Publications, a Sydney-based arts production company.

Terrence Tasker (1947 – 1992) was raised in rural western Canada and went on to become a self-taught artist and filmmaker. He co-founded and built the original Studio Altaire, a 90-seat theater and visual art gallery in 1980’s Montreal. He made a series of short films, worked as a set builder in theater and film and held various jobs in construction, mining, finance and industrial installations.

Related Reading:
The Robot Scientists Daughter
I Regret Everything
Doll God