Rupi Kaur’s Milk & Honey, Empowerment, & a Giveaway

In some ways, 2017 has come at me hard. I’ve had less motivation and time to write than I’ve had in years. Online dating is like a battlefield. I’m still figuring out my sleep patterns.

But then again, I’ve been made stronger: I am figuring out how I work best, experimenting with different schedules, reading a book every week, learning so much about writing and otherwise. I am taking control of online dating, and I am treating myself well. I am learning how to honor myself, if that makes any sense. It probably doesn’t.

Let’s just say that this week was intense. So many tears, so much persuasion from men. I have cried with shame because of how weak men have made me feel, but I have also cried with celebration because– in spite of their best efforts– I have made my own decisions. I have respected myself even when I’ve not been respected by men– and then I have actually turned around and demanded respect.

I’m becoming empowered.

rupi kaurLast week, I read Rupi Kaur’s incredible collection of poetry, Milk and Honey. I read it in one sitting– just breezed through so many pages letting them administer to my heart– and when the book was over, I felt so much stronger because of it that I bought a second copy.

For you.

Ladies, if you need some strength, please comment below. You don’t have to tell me details, but please tell me how I can encourage you, pray for you, support you, etc. One of you will win my second copy of Milk and Honey.

Please remember:

dragon rupi kaur

Review [via Insta]: Best Thought, Worst Thought by Don Paterson

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This has been on my radar a while. Starting tonight.

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#BestThoughtWorstThought by Don Paterson

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All that to say, read it! Paterson’s aphorisms are a cross between poetry and personal essay, and I gobbled it up.

A Weekend of Poetry

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of lounging in my bed and reading three (!!!) collections of poetry. They were all wonderful, and all very different from one another.

Ultra-Cabin by Kimberly Lambright is described as post-ironic, a clever collection that showcases her total command of vocabulary. Fascinating and provocative.

Yes Thorn by Amy Munson is full of beautiful, thoughtful poetry that reminds me why the mysterious calls to me. Really unique rhythms to these poems, incredible depth of subject matter.

The Rain in Portugal by Billy Collins features the poet’s trademark humor, which is always used in thought-provoking ways.

Bottom line: I need poetry. I’d forgotten how much.


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!


Poetry 2015 Review: Black Aperture by Matt Rasmussen

black apertureMy gosh. This collection bowled me over.

In the first of three sections, Matt Rasmussen starts with treasures such as “No island is an island, / he said. There is no new land, / just the same body broken open.”

And “The lamp asks, / is it the shadow writing this, / the pen, or their converging? / The paper asks nothing.”

And “Then, as had always happened, / the clay pigeon flew away / and shattered in mid-air, / and I wrote this, / and this.”

Then the second section happened, and I was too engrossed and enamored to take notes anymore. I devoured the rest of the book.

This book is the winner of the Walt Whitman Award and very deserving. There is a central theme to the poems as Rasmussen explores his brother’s suicide, and so the collection is dark, significant, but somehow not heavy.

I loved it. What did you think? madness vase

Are you reading along with my 2015 Poetry Campaign? Next up is The Madness Vase by Andrea Gibson, a poet I’m mostly unfamiliar with. I hope you’ll track down her book and read it in May too!

Poetry 2015 Review: Stupid Hope by Jason Shinder

stupid hopeThough Jason Shinder is highly esteemed, this was the first of his work I’d ever read.

It was interesting. Very spare language. Very vulnerable.

There were four parts. In the first two parts, Shinder talks a lot about his mother’s illness. But in part three, readers learn that he also has an illness– and is dying from it. This is where the book took a turn for me. The first half I could do without, but the second half– when Shinder was facing his own mortality– had an urgency and honesty that made it special.

It was, in fact, so imbued with urgency, that I wondered if Shinder would die before part four. Then I realized that there wouldn’t be a part four without him.

It was tragic, and readers learn in the postscript that his dear friends put together the book after he died and at his request.

You should read this one, or at least the second half.

If you’re reading along with my Poetry 2015 Campaign, then make sure to track down a copy of Pablo Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair for March!



I. The cornfield in early June, while we pressed seeds into earth with our heels to inspect the foundation of a home where the family was murdered. We fall silent in the fading light.

II. Under city lights, you teach me to drive a manual in the mall parking lot. We are young, best friends in love, and we can only laugh when I kill the engine again. And again.

III. On the Mississippi River bluffs, the smell of weed drifting from the giggling teens nearby to where we watch the sunset burn copper in the windows of Minneapolis. I should have said it. No, it’s best I didn’t.

IV. Outside this transatlantic village, marching in like voyagers, like mavericks, like people coming home for the very first time.


Image credit: Erica Murriel Davis