National Poetry Month: Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

“Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep” is a poem that provides comfort in times of real sorrow. There are not many poems that make me cry, but this one always gets me. I am forever reminded of my beautiful grandmother, when reading this poem.  -Kainat

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National Poetry Month: Breakage

Poem selected by Mary Pigliacelli.

Breakage

I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred—
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls on to the gray rocks and all the
moisture gone.
It’s like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.

~Mary Oliver

National Poetry Month: Howl

My favorite poem is”Howl” by Allen Ginsberg. Last year I became obsessed with the beat writers! I love Ginsberg and his whole literary circle/ contemporaries. One of my favorite English professors, Dennis Pahl, told me stories about meeting him decades ago in Colorado! It’s long, and it’s graphic/explicit though, but well known. – Yasmine Ali

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National Poetry Month: I loved you first: but afterwards your love

This poem is one of my favorites, and I love it because it expresses beautifully how two people are united together through the love they have for each other. They start off as two separate individuals, but over time, the bond between them grows strongly, and these two individuals share the same experience of loving and caring for each other. I love how this poem describes how love unites two individuals and how they are able to share a unique and distinct connection with each other, and I also love how it discusses how love does not focus on a person’s flaws or what a person does not have. This poem includes the message that loving somebody means that you love him/her for who he/she truly is, and this feeling of loving somebody for who he/she genuinely is should be the basis for true love. Rossetti writes about loving somebody not for the material possessions he has or the societal status he has, but for who that person truly is on the inside. She describes how powerful this intimate relationship can be between two individuals, and I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I do. – Kaitlyn Boland

I loved you first: but afterwards your love

 

         Poca favilla gran fiamma seconda. – Dante
        Ogni altra cosa, ogni pensier va fore,
        E sol ivi con voi rimansi amore. – Petrarca
I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? my love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.
~Christina Rossetti

National Poetry Month: Hug O’ War

This is one of the first poems I memorized as a kid. It epitomizes childhood and those first feelings of loving and feeling connected to something written. – Denise Goldman

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National Poetry Month: Wild Geese

Poem selected by Mary Pigliacelli.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

~ Mary Oliver

 

National Poetry Month: Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came

One of my favorite poems is “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” by Robert Browning. Continue reading

Books to Add to Your “To be Read” List

Looking for a new book to read? In honor of Women’s history month, here is a list of books by famous female authors to peak your interest.

Who is your favorite female writer? Which of her books is your favorite?

  1. Donna Tart: The Goldfinch
  2. Madeleine L’Engle: A Wrinkle in Time
  3. Katheryn Stockett: The Help
  4. Paula Hawkins: The Girl on the Train
  5. Harper Lee: To Kill a Mocking Bird
  6. Emily Bronte: Wuthering Heights
  7. Rupi Kaur: Milk and Honey
  8. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Herland and Seleted Stories
  9. Emily Giffin: Something Borrowed
  10. Alice Walker: The Color Purple

If you would like to buy any of these books, click on the title to be redirected to Barnes and Noble’s website!

Happy reading!

Favorite Classical Novel vs. Favorite Post-1950s Novel

Although published a little more than 100 years apart from each other, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and The Magician of Lublin by Isaac Bashevis Singer have a lot in common. Continue reading

Favorite Spooky Story

Anyone who knows me knows that I love scary stories. I love talking about them, I love reading them, I love listening to them, and I love searching for them online. I love real stories that other people have shared, and I love fictional ones created by authors to scare and entertain their readers. Ever since I was a child, I have always been fascinated by the idea of the supernatural. When my brother and I were little, we had Alvin Schwartz’s well-known trilogy of “kid-appropriate” spooky short stories, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. I’m not sure if I owe my obsession with scary stories to these books, or if they just added to it, enhancing my love for all things spooky. My brother and I brought them everywhere with us, from school, to our grandma’s house, and even all the way to Canada. We would take turns reading them out loud, trying to scare each other every chance we got. One of our favorite spots to read these stories was around the campfire with our parents, roasting marshmallows for s’mores and frequently looking over our shoulders towards to woods surrounding the cabin.

Part of what made Schwartz’s collection of scary stories so terrifying would be the illustrations by Stephen Gammell that come along with them. In recent years, the collection has actually been re-released with new illustrations, trying to make it less scary for today’s generation of kids. Each story that appears in the collection is nothing more than a few pages. Sometimes, the shorter the story, the scarier it was. Schwartz gathered inspiration for these stories from folklore and urban legends around the world. He includes information in the back of the books that explains the origins of each story. While I don’t remember all the stories, I do still remember a few of the details from the stories that I enjoyed the most.

“The Hook” and “High Beams” are two widespread urban legends, and variations of them have even been used in scary movies (Urban Legends) and television shows (Supernatural). Both of these stories appear in the first book in Schwartz’s collection. My first exposure to these widely known urban legends comes from reading this book with my brother. If you’re not familiar with these stories, you must be pretty sheltered—or maybe just not be as obsessed with scary stories as I am. For those who never heard of them before, Schwartz’s simple version of “The Hook” is about a teenage boy and girl who are on a date when they hear about a murderer with a hook for a hand, who escaped from an asylum. The girl wants to go home, but the boy wants to stay in his parked car and make out. Finally, the boy agrees to drive the girl home. When he gets out of his car and walks to her side to open the door for her, he stops and stares. Confused as to why, the girl rolls down the window to ask him what he’s doing. That’s when she looks down and sees a bloody hook on the door handle. To this day, this is still one of my favorite urban legends.

“High Beams” is about a girl who’s driving home when a truck driver behind her begins flashing his bights at her and following her. The girl is terrified and races home, the truck driver keeping up behind her and following her the entire way there. He gets out of his car and points a gun towards her, only to explain that there was someone in her backseat with a knife, and he flashed his brights every time that person raised the knife as a way to warn the female driver. I still check my backseat every time I’m getting into my car at night because of this story. Although I no longer know what happened to my brother’s and my collection of these books, fortunately they are all available to read online here.

Written by Sam Miller