Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Ghosts of Rose Hill, 5/10/22

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero!
Expected Release: May 10, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • What immediately grabbed me about this title (besides the cover) is that it’s written in verse & prose. I’m curious to see how the poetic elements will be included, and if it will blend seamlessly or have sharp divides or maybe somewhere between. I love books that have a bit of both, though, like If I Tell You The Truth and Other Words For Home.
  • I don’t read many books with Jewish protagonists, and I’d like to change that. This story happens to focus specifically on the character’s Jewish heritage, as Ilana travels to Prague and meets a young ghost boy in an old cemetery. So far, this is giving me major The Graveyard Book vibes.
  • Definitely some kind of mysticism in this one! Obviously there are ghosts, but the apparent villain of the story has some kind of magic, and I’m getting the feeling that it’s not the most benevolent kind.

Summary

Sent to stay with her aunt in Prague and witness the humble life of an artist, Ilana Lopez—a biracial Jewish girl—finds herself torn between her dream of becoming a violinist and her immigrant parents’ desire for her to pursue a more stable career.

When she discovers a forgotten Jewish cemetery behind her aunt’s cottage, she meets the ghost of a kindhearted boy named Benjamin, who died over a century ago. As Ilana restores Benjamin’s grave, he introduces her to the enchanted side of Prague, where ghosts walk the streets and their kisses have warmth.

But Benjamin isn’t the only one interested in Ilana. Rudolph Wassermann, a man with no shadow, has become fascinated with her and the music she plays. He offers to share his magic, so Ilana can be with Benjamin and pursue her passion for violin. But after Ilana discovers the truth about Wassermann and how Benjamin became bound to the city, she resolves to save the boy she loves, even if it means losing him—forever.

Posted in Chatty

Spine Poetry: Books I Gave Up On

Hey y’all! It’s been a while since I did some poetry inspired by book titles, but I was feeling the need for something other and creative today. This allowed me to let me thoughts flow and wander, and it felt really nice. Below is what I came up with, based on all the books I’ve DNF’d over the years. I took disappointment and made it pride.

Six, mother knows best
Happy dreams
For peculiar children
No need to make friends with the dark

the wolf undercover
bleaker
darker

You never told me
Life is about the ridiculous
The job
The paid sounds
What you told me was mostly true

like me, looking for zen
like me, in love
like me, after the break up
like me, the collective madness
like me, gone

the risk of the end
becomes the wolf at the end
a memorial, an inheritance
i, lucifer allegiant
friend of crows and the dead

My take

I ended up going fairly dark with this one, which I feel like has happened before too. I guess that’s why artists are so often making dark, grim material even when they’re cheerful, happy people. There’s something a bit compelling about it, no?

Continue reading “Spine Poetry: Books I Gave Up On”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

A poem of recent reads

Hey y’all! As I conveniently discovered, April is poetry month! ☺ I was already starting a bit of a poetry kick so it was perfectly times. Next I’m dipping back into book-spine inspired poetry, where the idea is to take book titles and order them so they make a poem that you can read by stacking them and reading the titles on the spines.

I’m doing it a little differently this time, in part because I read digitally so often that my spine poems would be limited. 😅 I pulled titles from a couple of recent reads and used the words from them to make a poem, rather than the whole titles in order. It’s a bit of an homage in mood to Citizen Illegal by Jose Olivarez (included in the books I used!).

The books

The poem (it’s very short)

the lantern people
meet on boats
illegal songs
illegal ghosts

the lantern people
meet on boats
illegal songs
illegal ghosts

Poetry month!

Hey y’all! Apparently April is poetry month in the United States. Coincidentally, I’ve been on a bit of a pretty kick the past couple of weeks. I found a collection I really enjoyed called Songs of Nature by Sarojina Naidu, and there are a few more by the author that I’ll be continuing with. I also started a collection called Citizen Illegal by José Olivarez focusing heavily on his experience as a Mexican American and I love it. He has a very cut and dry style that pulls no punches.

I didn’t plan this to align, but it works out pretty well.

Posted in Reviews

2 Second Review: Songs of Nature by Sarojini Naidu

Songs of Nature by Sarojini Naidu

2 Sentence Summary

Sarojini Naidu’s collection of poems about nature from the early 1900s focus on her life and experiences in India, embracing a lush and wild feeling. Her work as a poet includes both children’s poems and others with more mature themes including patriotism, romance, and tragedy, earning her the sobriquet “Nightingale of India”.

Thoughts

I was hoping to find some poetry I could sink into recently, and I failed — until I found this. It’s a very classical style, with common rhyming patterns stuck to faithfully, and language like “Lo!” and “but soft, the willow wind sings” and the like. Probably unsurprising, the focus was entirely on nature, and predominantly that of India at the urging of the writer of the forward. There are some that touch on the gods, some focus on foods, and some mirror the animals and forests and streams.

Honestly, it was just so comforting and gentle and carried me along. They made me not worry about anything. I relaxed into the lilt of the language as the rhythms and patterns carried me along, like I was drifting along one of the warm rivers lit gold that she speaks of. My favorite was “To My Fairy Fancies” as a whole, but there were countless lines and images from others that had me dreaming.

It’s gorgeous, y’all.

PS – there are a lot of references to champak blossoms in there, so here’s a pic of them to get you in the mood of the poems ^.^

Posted in Reviews

Review: If I Tell You the Truth by Jasmin Kaur

If I Tell You the Truth by Jasmin Kaur

Recommended: yup
For an intersectional story, for a well done blend of poetry and prose, for a fictional-but-way-too-real look at how sexual assault affects not only the person attacked but so many others around them

Summary

Kiran is a young Punjabi Sikh woman who becomes pregnant after being sexually assaulted by her fiancé’s brother. When her fiancé and family don’t believe her, she flees her home in India to Canada, where she plans to raise the child as a single mother. For Kiran, living undocumented means constant anxiety over finances, work, safety, and whether she’ll be deported back to the dangers that await her in Punjab. Eighteen years later, Kiran’s daughter, Sahaara, is desperate to help her mother, who has been arrested and is facing deportation. In the aftermath, Kiran reveals the truth about Sahaara’s conception. Horrified, Sahaara encourages Kiran to speak out against the man who raped her—who’s now a popular political figure in Punjab. Sahaara must find the best way to support her mother while also dealing with the revelation about her parents.

Thoughts:
I didn’t expect this to begin with Kiran as a kiddo, but that’s just what happened. What we get is a quite robust look at a life, from young Kiran to young adult Kiran to older Kiran as a mother. It switches to her daughter, Sahaara, as she grows up as well. I particularly loved the way Sahaara’s sections grew in stylistic complexity as she grew in age. In her early poetry entries, it’s simple rhyming couplets. It grows more complex, utilized different techniques and the abstract, and eventually turns to lengthier prose entries as well.

Continue reading “Review: If I Tell You the Truth by Jasmin Kaur”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: If I Tell You the Truth, 1/19/21

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look ahead to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is If I Tell You The Truth by Jasmin Kaur, which has both a gorgeous premise and a gorgeous cover.

Why wait on this one?

  • Ahhhh, a good multi-generational women’s story. With the added element of immigration, this is basically everything I love in a story. We’ll hear from Kiran and her daughter Sahaara as they tackle together longstanding secrets and painful pasts.
  • ….those secrets being not so secret to the reader, as we know that Sahaara was conceived when Kiran was raped. So that’s a pretty intense conversation for a mother and daughter to have, and the way they’ll each try to cope as well as finding their way together with this shared truth between them promises to be painful and (I hope) really really powerful with tentative hope in the face of despair.
  • Multigenre stories feel so rare. I absolutely adore books told in varying formats, or in nontraditional medium. This one is a blend of poetry, prose, and illustrations, and I can only imagine how well that will complement the story. Powerful and complex feelings sometimes need creative and non-linear forms of expression.

Summary

Told in prose, poetry, and illustration, this heartrending story weaves Kiran’s and Sahaara’s timelines together, showing a teenage Kiran and, later, her high school–aged daughter, Sahaara.

Kiran is a young Punjabi Sikh woman who becomes pregnant after being sexually assaulted by her fiancé’s brother. When her fiancé and family don’t believe her, she flees her home in India to Canada, where she plans to raise the child as a single mother. For Kiran, living undocumented means constant anxiety over finances, work, safety, and whether she’ll be deported back to the dangers that await her in Punjab.

Eighteen years later, Kiran’s daughter, Sahaara, is desperate to help her mother, who has been arrested and is facing deportation. In the aftermath, Kiran reveals the truth about Sahaara’s conception. Horrified, Sahaara encourages Kiran to speak out against the man who raped her—who’s now a popular political figure in Punjab. Sahaara must find the best way to support her mother while also dealing with the revelation about her parents.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

Spine poetry: days after a breakup (but not my own!!)

This session of spine poetry stems from my last 5 completed books, but as of a few days ago because I wrote these and then finished some books before finishing this post. 😅 At the time of writing my five most recently finished books were:

Continue reading “Spine poetry: days after a breakup (but not my own!!)”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

Poems from space: odes to TO SLEEP IN A SEA OF STARS

if you’re wondering
where Eragon’s author went:
floating in the stars

yes, I mean, it’s true
everyone has a story
but Kira’s is best

aboard the Wallfish
you learn to love a stranger
become family

complex math, research
thorough realism of space
dude did some good work

so good it made me
cry, dream, hope, savor, tense up —
wouldn’t change a thing.

Continue reading “Poems from space: odes to TO SLEEP IN A SEA OF STARS”