2016 Poetry Campaign: Siphon, Harbor by Brooklyn Copeland

I have 8 creative goals this year, and behind door 7 is reading a book of poetry every month. Want to join me? You can see what book I’ll be reading each month here. March’s book was Siphon, Harbor by Brooklyn Copeland. Join me in April reading Aimless Love by Billy Collins.

siphon harbor

How amazing is this cover?!!

So. Siphon, Harbor. It was a little too post-modern for me to really connect with, though there were some sweet moments.

The title of the novel comes from a line from a very sexy poem called “Seall,” which I think is the last name of her boyfriend.

There was an interesting poem about subjective/objective-ness, which this grammar nerd found intriguing:

In any pair
one does as if doing’s gracious– 

                the other
as if sacrifice– 

Another line I really liked was this:

To this day, to me all
silver smells red.

Will you like Siphon, Harbor? Maybe! Give it a try. It’s such a fast read– no joke, it will take you fewer than thirty minutes. Let me know what you think!

And join me next month in reading Billy Collins!

2016 Poetry Campaign: It Becomes You by Dobby Gibson

it becomes youThis was a re-read for me. I first read Dobby Gibson’s It Becomes You about two years ago, and I loved it so much that I immediately bought his other collections (both of which I also enjoyed very much!). He is a brilliant writer, and to top it off, he’s local! It was fun to read poetry about Minneapolis.

How to describe his work? While I read, I had comparisons bouncing around in my brain. Dobby Gibson writes with the tremendous peeling-open-of-ideas and thoughtful phrases of Billy Collins, with the great breadth of vocabulary of Annie Dillard but much more accessible. There are phrases that will make you pause in awe, and every poem will leave you feeling thoughtful, somehow weightless and heavy at once.


Highly recommend: also, his other books Skirmish and Polar are fantastic reads too!

Join me next month for my 2016 Poetry Campaign. We’ll be reading Brooklyn Copeland’s Siphon, Harbor. Click here to see the schedule for the rest of the year!


The Doors

No, not these guys.

the doors

These guys:

collage photos of doors on the old districts of Europe

I thought I’d update you on my creative goals for this year, the doors I want to walk through.

Behind Door 1: a final manuscript of Yes Novel Salt Novel (edited 1.10.16)

This goal changed only ten days into the new year, as my editor and I decided to set aside the manuscript I was working on and pick up a different one. I’m thrilled about that and loving the chance to dive back into the world of Salt Novel, which is set on an island. So fun! I got a little sick, and that set me back in my revision timeline, but then again, we just decided to push the publication back to summer 2018, so it’s probably okay. feel good about the direction of this book; I’ll update you after I submit a draft to my editor next month! But rest assured, you’re gonna love these characters. They are fun and jaded and had so many sharp edges. I adore them.

Behind Door 2: a first draft of my next novel.

This is not gonna happen, not with the revised timeline. That’s okay.

Behind Door 3: three new story ideas, just the bare bones.

I’ve been thinking on these– I have characters taking shape in my brain, characters who beckon me to know them better.

Behind Door 4: a writing retreat.

I’m planning it for this summer. Gosh, I feel like I could do so much damage if I could just get a week in Duluth.

Behind Door 5: a day of creative exploration.

I haven’t really thought about this much. I was waiting for it to be nicer outside first. And then– “like the first signs of spring, like good news” (Narnia)– it was 60 degrees here yesterday! (And then today it snowed a little. Oh Minnesota.)

Behind Door 6: a pruned TBR shelf, via reading and weeding.

hpbI’m getting back in the rhythm of reading! Feels so good. I just DNFed a book halfway through last night, which sucks (and no, I won’t tell you which book! I really want my blog to be a place where I rave about the books I love, not complain about the books I don’t– which is why you will almost never see a negative review here). That prompted me to go through my TBR (to be read) bookshelf and be brutally honest with myself about what books I’m unlikely to read. I pulled almost twenty books off the shelf!

Behind Door 7: a book of poetry every month.

Staying on track! Tomorrow my review of It Becomes You by Dobby Gibson will go live. Join me next month in reading Siphon, Harbor by Brooklyn Copeland. A list for the whole year is available here.

Behind Door 8: a healthier writing lifestyle.

Figuring it out! I’m taking one day a week away from writing, which feels really good and alleviates the pressure. I’ve also created a detailed word count document that keeps me from feeling like I have to do EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW. Next step: training myself to go to bed on time!!

So, there you have it. Trucking along. Mostly. 🙂

2016 Poetry Campaign: A Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine Von Radics

I have 8 creative goals this year, and behind door 7 is reading a book of poetry every month. Want to join me? You can see what book I’ll be reading each month here. January’s book was A Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine Von Radics. Join me in February reading It Becomes You by Dobby Gibson, which will be a re-read for me, one I’m excited about.

mouthful of foreversA Mouthful of Forevers was young, fresh, edgy, sexy. I read it in one sitting, to be honest, and thoroughly enjoyed it. If I had to summarize it, I might say something like “Looking for love in a time of modern scars.”

Here were some of my favorite parts:

What no one ever talks about
is how dangerous hope can be.
Call it forgiveness
with teeth.

I also loved the imagery here:

Your voice is right here
coloring my voice. Nothing is helping me
forget your hands, how they shook
like apologizing mountains
hollowed in suffering.

She had a really interesting poem about, of all things, Salome and Kim Kardashian, which– I’m not kidding– gave me a fresh look at KK. I loved these lines so much:

moves like a dream
Salome dances
like a siren song.
All the men ache to see
the hot sugar
of her hip bones

Verdict? I really enjoyed the collection and am hoping it helps me push the envelope. Join me next month with It Becomes You by Dobby Gibson. You won’t regret it!

2016 Poetry Campaign

white blank picture in the roomWell, my 2015 poetry campaign hit an unexpected snag when I moved in April and didn’t get to unpack my books for months.

Trying it again next year, and you’re welcome to join me. Here’s what I’ll be reading:

January: Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine Von Radics
February: It Becomes You by Dobby Gibson
March: Siphon, Harbor by Brooklyn Copeland
April: Aimless Love by Billy Collins
May: Incarnadine by Mary Szybist
June: My Bright Abyss by Christian Wiman, pages 1-60*
July:  My Bright Abyss by Christian Wiman, pages 61-120
August: My Bright Abyss by Christian Wiman, pages 121-end
September: Halflife by Meghan O’Rourke
October: Best Thought, Worst Thought by Don Paterson
November: The Poem She Didn’t Write and Other Poems by Olena Kalytiak Davis
December: The Madness Vase by Andrea Gibson

Maybe you want to read more poetry but you’re not sure where to start. Why not start with me?

* Everyone I’ve talked to who has read this says to give myself plenty of time to chew on this book.