Saturday, February 20, 2021

Weekly Mews: Poetry Corner Edition (#2)

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer and The Sunday Salon (TSS) hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz  where participants recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. I am also linking It's Monday! What Are you Reading? hosted by Kathryn of Book Date where readers talk about what they have been, are and will be reading.

Welcome to the Poetry Corner on this third weekend of February! I want to first acknowledge the hardships so many have been going through this last week because of the storms and freezing temperatures. Thoughts and prayers only go so far, but know that I am thinking of all of you and your loved ones who have been impacted. Reading the Facebook updates of friends living in Texas, I am glad to see most have had power and power restored. I hope things continue to improve steadily.

I had hoped to dive into another collection of poetry this month (Nikki Giovanni's A Good Cry, which I have right here on my desk), but my readings have been more of the random variety, fitting a poem in here and there when I am able. I re-read some old favorites as well as explored new poems. 

Maya Angelou has long been one of my favorite poets, inspiring not just for her words but by her life acts too. She overcame so much during her lifetime, advocated for others as a civil rights activist and a woman, and was a role model for so many. I have talked about her before on my blog as someone I admire and respect as a person and a writer. Some of my favorite verses from her poems:
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still ~  "Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody, 
But nobody  
Can make it out here alone. ~  "Alone" by Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise. ~ "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou

I am still relatively new to the works of Gwendolyn Brooks and look forward to exploring her writings further. She was the first Black author to receive the Pulitzer Prize and later to become a consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress, a role that would later become known as the Poet Laureate.  Here is a sampling of verses that resonated with me: 
I pass you my Poem! - to tell you
we are all vulnerable -
the midget, the Mighty,
the richest, the poor."Winnie" by Gwendolyn Brooks
Live not for battles won.
Live not for the end-of-the-song.
Live in the along."Speech to the Young" by Gwendolyn Brooks

I subscribe to Poem-a-Day service, which I admit I do not always keep up with on a daily basis. I often let the poems pile up and read them on the weekend or when I have some extra time. I have come across some great poems through the service.

One of the poems that particularly caught my attention this month was "On Time Tanka" by June Jordan. It holds a power all its own--it speaks to racism and violence. I was curious about the poet behind the poem and a quick internet search opened up a treasure trove of some of her other work. June Jordan was a bisexual Jamaican American poet, playwright, essayist, and teacher and was committed human rights and political activism. She wrote on issues of race, sexuality, and class among other things. Some of the standout verses I found that I thought I would share with you today: 
I refuse to choose
between lynch rope and gang
the blues is the blues!
my skin and my sex: Deep dues
I have no wish to escape"On Time Tanka" by June Jordan
Even tonight and I need to take a walk and clear
my head about this poem about why I can't
go out without changing my clothes my shoes
my body posture my gender identity my age
my status as a woman alone in the evening/
alone on the streets/alone in the evening/
the point being that I can't do what I want 
to do with my own body because I am the wrong
sex the wrong age the wrong skin [...] ~ "Poem about My Rights" by June Jordan
I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name
My name is my own my own my own"Poem about My Rights" by June Jordan
A few years ago I came across a poetry collection by Q. Gibson called Sugar Sunday which I love to re-visit from time to time. Q. Gibson's poetry is about womanhood and healing. It is truly inspiring. The poems in this collection speak to the human spirit and never fail to move me.
She planted her feet
and finally she stood there
blooming from all the places that once withered. from Sugar Sunday by Q. Gibson
Though I break
I bare my bones before
the world and do not weep
because the world
breaks too
I have watched it
ample times crumble
and still find its way
into tomorrow. from Sugar Sunday by Q. Gibson

If you haven't already, I highly recommend checking out these writers' works. 

Have you read any of these poets before? Have you read a poem recently that moved you? Please share!

What I Am Reading: Earlier this week I read my TBR Poll winner, The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins. I understand now why so many of you are singing the book's praises! Mouse and I also finished Sink or Swim (Whatever After #3) by Sarah Mlynowski, which we both enjoyed. 

I made progress on my lunch read (which I haven't been reading just at lunch this week), Michelle Obama's Becoming, and will likely finish this weekend. I wish now I had been better about marking passages that stood out for me. It's easier to do when I am reading on my e-reader because I can just highlight the text. But my copy of Becoming is a hardcover and I didn't think to have post-its, paper, or a pencil handy from the start. Oh well. I am really enjoying it. 

I am in the mood for a fantasy novel and have settled on my next read being The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1) by Namina Forna. 

What I Am Watching: Last weekend we put Back to the Future on hoping to introduce my daughter to one of my husband's and my favorite oldie-but-goody movies. My husband and I enjoyed re-watching it. My daughter wasn't as into it. We will try again later. 

Those of you watching WandaVision . . . Have you seen the most recent episode?! I hate having to wait until next week for the next one. It's torture. 

We are very near the end of Season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and are reading to start Season 4 of Angel. Willow is out for vengeance and Cordelia chose a higher path while Angel . . . well, he's not in a good place.

Off the Blog: What has been happening this week? Goodness. For a minute I was drawing a blank. Monday was a holiday for Mouse and me. It was a fairly uneventful day. We made a Starbucks run and re-watched a couple of the Disney Fairy movies at her request. Tuesday I got my second dose of the COVID vaccine. I am glad I had the foresight to warn my boss and arrange for coverage in case I had to be out from work on Wednesday. It wasn't awful, but I was definitely feeling the side effects: low grade fever, achy all over, fatigue, sore arm, and terrible headache. I spent the day sleeping and reading and not much else. Mouse was nice enough to make me hot chocolate to help me feel better. I really appreciated her thoughtfulness! By the end of the night, I was feeling a bit better. The fever carried over into the next day as did the headache, but I was able to be present at work Thursday without too much trouble. From talking to coworkers who had the same type of vaccine I did, we all had similar experiences in terms of the side effects. Some worse than others, but mostly the same. 

Mouse had a shortened day of virtual school yesterday (although the independent work kept her busy like it was a regular day) because teachers needed the time to work on report cards. I hadn't realized it was that time already. On one hand it seems too soon to be the end of the trimester, but then when I think how it started back in November, it feels like forever ago. 

There's talk of opening the schools for in-person classes in our district--but getting anyone to pinpoint a date is next to impossible. I heard the end of March then April--which, given schools break for the summer in May, seems a bit shortsighted. But that's just my opinion. Maybe for some any time in a classroom is better than none. Mouse will continue to be virtual through the end of the year regardless. 

Other than that, it's been a fairly normal week for us. Dance, work and school.

Gracie making herself comfortable to watch me work

My supervisor for the day

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  1. So glad to hear you got your second shot! We haven't even had our first yet. Sigh. Elementary back in person/hybrid March 1 and secondary probably a few weeks later.

    1. Helen - It's a relief to have it done and over with. I fell under the Phase 1a group classification because of my work. Hopefully you will be able to get yours soon. I hope the school's re-opening for in-person goes well for everyone involved. I know there's a lot of anxiety about it. Those who want to go and those who don't. I'm just glad I am not one of the parents waiting on pins and needles to see which it will be. I don't need that stress right now. I hope you have a great week! Thank you for visiting. :-)

  2. No shots in sight yet here in SA. We are hoping to have the Johnson & Johnson rolled out this week for our health workers.

    Lovely poems you've shared! I only know Maya Angelou though.

    We've watched Back to the Future a couple of weeks back and we so enjoyed watching it again!

    Hope you will have a good week!

    Elza Reads

    1. Mareli (Elza) - I hope the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be effective against the African strain. I know Pfizer and Moderna are working on modifying theirs to try to help.

      Back to the Future is a fun movie. :-) I love Michael J. Fox.

      Thank you for visiting!

  3. I think it is sensible to stay in virtual class too and I am glad you will choose that option. I love those Maya Angelou's verses that you have shared! I am gonna hunt for more now!

    1. Gayathri - When we had to make the decision last summer which program to go with for school, the virtual seemed the safest and most consistent. Given the situation now, I am so glad we made the decision we did. Maya Angelou's writing is wonderful. Thank you for stopping by!

  4. Poetry has spoken to me during the pandemic. I keep a list of poems I love in a Google doc. Today I just added Alone. Thank you for sharing it, and all the other lovely poems.

    I'm happy you have received your second vaccine. Don't you just want to send balloons or confetti or fireworks up into the sky. I've heard lots of folks who had side effects with their second shot, though my 94-year-old dad had none!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about The Wife Upstairs. Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. Deb - I have been reading more poetry during this pandemic as well. That's a good idea to keep a Google doc of your favorites! I will have to do that.

      I am glad your dad didn't have any side effects from the vaccine. Most everyone I know had side effects after the Moderna but not the Pfizer.

      Thank you for visiting, Deb.

  5. When we were in college, we had the pleasure of meeting Gwendolyn Brooks, in a poetry class we were taking. We also went and saw Allen Ginsburg at a nearby college. He was as irascible as "they" say he was, but she was really lovely. I think I tried A Poem A Day, but it seems like it was always depressing - at least to me. I think I need something lighter, or at least a break from time to time.
    I'm watching WandaVision, while my wife has no interest. I like the concept, but I don't know if I like the follow through and probably am going to give up on it. But we are enjoying The Muppet Show and The Simpsons. And Modern Family, now that it is on Hulu in its entirety. We only saw the first few seasons.
    My wife had side effects with the second dose too, but I don't think hers were as severe. I'm just working on getting my first and do have an appointment set up for March 13.

    1. Bryan - What an opportunity that was to meet Gwendolyn Brooks! That is neat that you were able to. The poems from A Poem a Day do tend toward the depressing, but there are some lighter ones now and then.

      My husband is a big Muppet Show fan and I imagine will talk my daughter into watching it with him. I never got into the muppets myself.

      I am glad your wife's side effects weren't too bad after her second shot! I hope your appointment for your first dose goes well next month.

      Thank you for visiting!

  6. I love your BHM poetry corner. "The Gilded Ones" looks like a good read.

    Back to the Future is always fun to watch. I always stop and watch it whenever it comes on TV.

    Have a great week!

    1. M. - Thank you! I enjoyed my month of poetry reading and learning more about a few different poets. The Gilded Ones is very good. I'm loving it so far.

      I can't resist watching Back to the Future when it comes on TV too. :-)

      I hope you have a great week as well! Thank you for stopping by!

  7. I'm glad you had your second shot. The wife upstairs is so, so tempting but I'm on a book buying ban ! Or I could cheat and buy it for my Brontë project ?... Cats should be spies, they don't make noise, they watch everything you do and nothing escapes them (there one behind my screen just now !). Have a great week :)

    1. Iza - You could buy it for the Brontë project if you really wanted to read it, but I understand you not wanting to break your ban. I'm sure you have plenty else to read. :-)

      Cats would make great spies, only they'd probably get bored and wander away from their posts after awhile. Haha

      Thank you for visiting!

  8. I so love the writing of Maya Angelou!
    I just finished The Wife Upstairs for my bookclub meeting on Monday. It is rare that I like a remake, but I thought it was pretty good.

    1. Steph - Me too! She wrote such inspiring poetry. I am glad you enjoyed The Wife Upstairs too. Thank you for stopping by!

  9. I'm glad to read you've got your second shot. I haven't heard anything about mine yet, eventhough I am a nurse. Not that I would be taking it now I'm pregnant.. but even my coworkers haven't heard anything yet.. and they are dealing with Covid daily.
    I can't wait to read The Wife Upstairs myself! It sounds like a great read.
    Have a great week and happy reading.

    1. Maureen - I hope the healthcare workers will receive their vaccines soon in your part of the world.

      I hope you do get a chance to read The Wife Upstairs!

      Take care, Maureen! Congratulations on the birth of your baby!

  10. i had some of the same issues with my first does of the vaccine. felt like i had a fever, but didn't register as one. had some of the aches and sore arm off and on for a several days. i have the second does coming this week and i have my fingers crossed all goes well. cats...i feel like they are spying on me and stalking me. lol
    sherry @ fundinmental

    1. Sherry - I hope your second dose goes well! One of my coworkers had a similar reaction after her first dose as you did.

      I feel that way about my cats too--sometimes they just sit and stare at me and I have no idea why. They have food and water. They don't seem to want petting. And I'm not usually doing anything that interesting. LOL They are funny creatures.

      Thank you for visiting!

  11. I don't comment very often, but I love to read your blog. I am reading the print The Natural Superiority of Mules. I finished the audio from my libraries' Bridges account of Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions which was #3 in Amy Stewart's series. I listened to the first two last year on Wisc.Public radio Chapter a Day. I just started listening to The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, the Flavia deLuce mystery series. I'm not sure what my next print book will be. It is snowing here in Iowa right now, good thoughts to everyone with weather woes.

    1. Carla - Thank you so much! I loved the first two Amy Stewart books. I need to pick that series back up. I haven't tried Bradley's series, although I think I may have the first book in the series on my TBR shelf. I hope you enjoy your next read! Stay warm and thank you for stopping by!

  12. I'm glad you read so much poetry. You may want to give Billy Collins a try. I love his poetry a bunch.

    1. Trin - I will definitely give Billy Collins a try. Thank you for the recommendation!

  13. I'm glad you got your vaccine. I think it will be summer before we get ours as we are in the last group. It was same old, same old here also. At least we have our books to keep things interesting. Happy reading Wendy!

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

    1. Anne - My husband is in the same boat. He'll probably be one of the last ones to get his vaccine as well. Thank you for visiting!

  14. Gracie is so cute.

    I haven't read many of those poems.

  15. So glad to hear you've gotten both shots of your COVID vaccine. I think I'm still several months out from getting it. I hope you enjoy The Gilded Ones. I've had my eye on it because of the synopsis and that gorgeous cover but haven't seen any reviews yet.

    1. Suzanne - It's a relief to have the vaccines out of the way. My husband will have to wait for his. Hopefully it won't be too long. Thank you for visiting!

  16. Thank you for sharing those poems, they are lovely. I've been hearing really good things about The Gilded Ones, I hope you enjoy it😁

    1. Tammy - The Gilded Ones is really good so far! Thank you for visiting!

  17. I love Back to the Future! I do that too- try to get my kids to watch old favorites. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't lol.

    I hear you on schools. My daughter was fine with virtual but she had to go back or they wouldn't let her do winter guard- which she loves and has been doing all through high school. She would have been happy staying with virtual, and if we hadn't already had Covid it would have been even a tougher decision. I'm glad you have the virtual option though if it works for you- I liked it also.

    1. Greg - I am glad we aren't the only ones who try to interest her in our old favorites. :-) I've had better luck with books, I think, than the TV shows, but even those are hit and miss.

      The school decision is such a tough one. Outdoor sports were just approved to start up again in our area. I'm not sure how that will look for the middle schools and high schools. I hope everything works out well for your daughter.

      Thank you for stopping by!

  18. I love your poetry corner post! Some great highlights in there. I'm not much of a poetry reader but I've been trying to introduce some to my son. Maya Angelou is one whom I've read a bit here and there and I just got an ebook of Gwedolyn Brooks.

    Looking forward to the Wife upstairs. I may have to listen to that one soon. And my copy of The Gilded Ones should be coming today or tomorrow. I've been hearing all the things and am very excited to read it as well!

    Back to the Future is just classic! I bet your daughter will enjoy it more as she gets older. My son has enjoyed it but just not as much as my husband and me.

    Buffy! I should rewatch; it's been too long.

    WandaVision is great! I need to binge them! lol.

    Glad Mouse is doing well with online learning. It's been tough but my son has been doing well with it even though we will all be looking forward to in-person school next fall!

    Your kitties are adorable. Glad they are holding down the fort! Stay safe and enjoy your week.

    1. Heather - Thank you! It was fun to put together. My daughter has been learning to write poetry in school this year, but I can't seem to interest her in reading it. I've gotten creative though and we read song lyrics--they are just a different type of poem, right? Just set to music. :-)

      I hope you enjoy The Wife Upstairs! I'm really liking The Gilded Ones.

      Virtual learning has been challenging for us too, but after all this time we have a rhythm going of sorts. There's not much else we can do to change the situation anyway at this point.

      We love our cats. :-) They add joy to our lives.

      Thank you for visiting!

  19. Rita - Thank you! It's very true, poets do not seem to get the recognition that fiction writers do. Maya Angelou is definitely one of my favorites. I have only read one of Mary Oliver's collections, but I loved it. And Rupi Kaur is very good as well. Oh, yes! Amanda Gorman is one to watch for sure. Her poem at the inauguration was wonderful.

    I like the feel and rhythm of the older poets, but, like you, find myself turning more toward modern poetry these days for the very reason you mention.

    Thank you for stopping by!


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