Friday, April 5, 2019

Evicted by Matthew Desmond

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City


This book is really good and it explains so much about Evictions and why they are happening at an alarming rate to our cities poor population. My brother and his girlfriend are being evicted in one month (they are evicting the whole building full of low-income residents who suffer from addiction and mental and physical disabilities to do repairs) He has lived there for over 10 years and has built a family with the other long term residents and they help and care for each other. His girlfriend has attempted suicide twice since learning of their eviction and potential homelessness and feels she needs to put down her cats since they won't be able to live on the street with her. It's heartbreaking. It's very difficult to find affordable housing in the Twin Cities area. Being evicted creates a lot of stress. Even I'm feeling the effects of the upcoming eviction and I'm not being evicted. It's so hard. This is an issue we need to create solutions for. As a teacher, I see some of my students struggling with eviction and homelessness and this changes their perceptions of worth. Read this book and educate yourself about this issue. It's so important to lower the rate of evictions in our cities, that it needs to happen NOW.

“Every condition exists,” Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote, “simply because someone profits by its existence. This economic exploitation is crystallized in the slum.” Exploitation. Now, there’s a word that has been scrubbed out of the poverty debate.”

“it is hard to argue that housing is not a fundamental human need. Decent, affordable housing should be a basic right for everybody in this country. The reason is simple: without stable shelter, everything else falls apart.”







Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Guess what? I Published a Book!

              Guess what?  I Published a Book!

My book is a poetry anthology that I co-edited with my friend Annette Gagliardi. Its called Upon Waking. 58 Voices Speaking Out from the Shadow of Abuse.  I have five of my poems in the book and I tell my story of abuse and healing through my poetry. 

Our book launch is on Saturday, April 6th at 2pm at Moon Palace books in Minneapolis. It's all very exciting and full of awesome.  If you live in the Twin Cities area you should come.

So I have been missing from my blog for a while now and I've been meaning to start blogging again. In fact, I made an attempt in December 2018 but then I fell backward on the ice, while walking a dog, and broke both my wrists so that idea fell by the wayside. Yes, envision me with two casts on each wrist and then imagine trying to wash your hair. It was not very fun or pretty. I'm still healing but my casts are off and I can type and write again.

What have I been doing since I quit blogging in 2017?

I actually quit blogging due to grief.  My dog died unexpectedly in May of 2017 (he was my baby) and I just couldn't write.  Grief does that to me, it stops me from writing every time. When I finally started writing again I focused on my poetry and fiction writing and kind of kicked my blog to the curb. No, I actually did kick my blog to the curb for real.  It's hard to do it all and to do it well. Hard to be a parent, high school teacher, reader, writer, book blogger, healthy, mindful, and so something had to give. 

I started working on my book with Annette in October 2017 and 18 months later here we are at the promotion and event stage.  It has been an amazing experience and I have learned so much. Its also been an emotional experience and a healing one too. 

Our book is made up of poetry by survivors of abuse, sexual and physical, and it gives survivors a chance to tell their stories through poetry. It is a very powerful book.

Here is the link to add it to your Goodreads TBR list:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44402383-upon-waking?ac=1&from_search=true

You can buy a copy from the League of Minnesota Poets:
https://www.mnpoets.org/2019/03/17/upon-waking/

You can also find copies at Independent Bookstores in St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN

Moon Palace
https://www.moonpalacebooks.com/?searchtype=keyword&qs=Upon+Waking&qs_file=&q=h.tviewer&using_sb=status&qsb=keyword 

You can also call or visit these locations to get a copy.

Subtext Books
BoneShaker Books
Eat my Words! Bookstore




Saturday, December 29, 2018

Remarkable Creatures



Remarkable CreaturesRemarkable Creatures
by Tracy Chevalier




Tracy Chevalier is one of my favorite authors. Remarkable Creatures starts off slow and told in alternating narrators it quickly picks up as the characters search to find new fossil specimens. Based on the real lives of two female fossil hunters in the 1800's, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot and the men come around looking to profit off of their hard work. I had never heard of these two women until I read this book. These two women are as remarkable as the dinosaurs they find along the beach. Definitely worth the read.


View all my reviews



My dog, Titus died in May 2017 and I quit writing my blog, as grief consumed me.  I feel like I am healing and I have been watching other peoples dogs for my side hustle.  The dog viewed with Remarkable Creatures book is named Fitz.

So I'm thinking maybe I will revive Booksnob and let my blog evolve into more than a book blog.


Other books I've read and loved by Tracy Chevalier-




I hope 2019 is better than 2018.
Happy New Year!
-Laura

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

The View From the Cheap Seats. Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is the sweetheart of librarians, book bloggers and book lovers everywhere.  In The View from the Cheap Seats, he takes his readers on a journey through his love letters to literature.  Readers will indulge on short non-fiction pieces about books and reading and libraries as well as Gaiman's thoughts about his favorite authors, book genres, movies, comics and so much more.  Get your notepad ready to write down book titles and look up authors because Gaiman will be adding to your "To Be Read" pile.  

My favorite piece called "Make Good Art" is located within the pages of this book, and I'm so thrilled to have the written text.  Squee! I show this commencement speech every year to my senior elective students around graduation day.  I will attach the youtube version for you.  It's just so good, it has its own section in the book.

Finally, The View From the Cheap Seats is a luscious 500 pages of pure enjoyment. It's like dark chocolate or fine wine or a really, really awesome book. Wait.  It is a really, really awesome book. I read it slowly to savor each piece and I read it with a highlighter because I'm a book nerd.

Now go and Make Good Art and Read Good Books.  Love ya.





Sunday, April 30, 2017

Poem in my Post: Last Snow by Heid E. Erdrich

        Poem in my Post:  Last Snow by Heid E. Erdrich

This is the last day of April, the last day of National Poetry Month and hopefully the last of the snow here in Minnesota. I participated in Independent Bookseller Day on Saturday and drove to 12 bookstores in the Twin Cities.  We went to Birchbark Books which is owned by one of my favorite authors, Louise Erdrich, whose poetry I love.  Heid E. Erdrich is the sister of Louise and an amazing writer and poet in her own right and I think more people should know about her and read her poetry.  Plus she makes collaborative poem films! How cool is that!

Last Snow
BY HEID E. ERDRICH

Dumped wet and momentary on a dull ground
that’s been clear but clearly sleeping, for days.
Last snow melts as it falls, piles up slush, runs in first light
making a music in the streets we wish we could keep.
Last snow. That’s what we’ll think for weeks to come.
Close sun sets up a glare that smarts like a good cry.
We could head north and north and never let this season go.
Stubborn beast, the body reads the past in the change of light,
knows the blow of grief in the time of trees’ tight-fisted leaves.
Stubborn calendar of bone. Last snow. Now it must always be so.

Heid E. Erdrich, “Last Snow” from The Mother’s Tongue. Copyright © 2005 by Heid E. Erdich. Reprinted by permission of Salt Publishing.

Visit Heid at her website:  http://heiderdrich.com/
You need to check out her poem films.

Have a great month in May!



Sunday, April 23, 2017

Poem in my Post: Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye

Poem in my Post: Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye

Today was a beautiful Sunday and I spent the morning with my friend, Linda, sharing our poetry.  Then I went for a long walk along Harriet Island and went to a planning meeting for my Grenada trip in July.  It was such a great day and I tried to soak up as much sun as possible since we won't see the sun in St. Paul for another 10 days (says the long term forecast).

Today I am sharing one of my favorite poems by one of the poets I admire most in the world.  I just love this poem and keep coming to it for words of wisdom and for the reminder of how important kindness truly is.  Kindness was written after Naomi and her husband were robbed on their honeymoon.  Watch the video at the end where Naomi talks in depth about what inspired the poem.  Enjoy!!




Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

From Words Under the Words: Selected Poems. Copyright © 1995 by Naomi Shihab Nye








Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Love Song, A Death Rattle, A Battle Cry Giveaway

A Love Song, A Death Rattle, A Battle Cry by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre Giveaway

Kyle "Guante" Tran Myhre is the Minnesota Author in the Spotlight for the month of April and he is giving away one book to a Booksnob follower that lives in the United States.  This collection of spoken word poetry, essays, and song lyrics is sure to blow your socks off.  I'm so excited for you to read this amazing book.  Enter below and share and tell your friends all about it.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre is an MC, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist, and educator based in Minneapolis, MN. His work has appeared everywhere from the United Nations to Welcome to Night Vale, to Upworthy and beyond, and he currently makes a living traveling to colleges, conferences, and high schools, using spoken word as a jumping-off point for dialogue around identity, power, agency, and activism.  One part mixtape, one part disorientation guide, and one part career retrospective, this collection brings together spoken word poems, song lyrics, and essays from the past decade of Guante’s work.

Giveaway Rules:
Please fill out the form
Must be a resident of the U.S.
Contest ends May 18th at midnight
Good Luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Monday, April 17, 2017

Poem in my Post: Never offer your heart to someone who eats hearts by Alice Walker

Poem in my Post:  Never offer your heart to someone who eats hearts by Alice Walker

Hope everyone one had a great Easter.  My daughter went to the prom on Saturday and we had our Easter celebration on Sunday and so I feel like I didn't get any rest all weekend.

I have been busy writing #30poemsin30days and it is hard.  Writing is hard and doubt sets in which causes you to think you're not good enough so I'm trying to quell the negative demons on my shoulder.

The poem in my post today is by Alice Walker.  I love her and this poem is awesome.  I can really relate because I've had my heart eaten before. I love how visual this poem is and I wish I could write a poem as amazing as this.  If you've never read it before, enjoy!


Never offer your heart to someone who eats hearts by Alice Walker

Never offer your heart
to someone who eats hearts
who finds heartmeat
delicious
but not rare
who sucks the juices
drop by drop
and bloody-chinned
grins
like a God.

Never offer your heart
to a heart gravy lover.
Your stewed, overseasoned
heart consumed
he will sop up your grief
with bread
and send it shuttling
from side to side
in his mouth
like bubblegum.

If you find yourself
in love
with a person
who eats hearts
these things
you must do:

Freeze your heart
immediately.
Let him—next time
he examines your chest—
find your heart cold
flinty and unappetizing.

Refrain from kissing
lest he in revenge
dampen the spark
in your soul.

Now,
sail away to Africa
where holy women
await you
on the shore—
long having practiced the art
of replacing hearts
with God
and Song.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Announcing the April Author in the Spotlight!

Announcing the April Author in the Spotlight.

Happy National Poetry Month!  I think this is my favorite month of the whole year.  This year I am featuring a poem and a poet every Sunday.  I am also writing a poem every day of this month, so the hope is that I will write 30 poems in 30 days.

I'm also excited to announce that the author I am featuring on BookSnob this month is an awesome poet and he's well known in Minneapolis spoken word circles.  His name is Guante. I have heard his poetry for a long time and have admired him from afar and now he has compiled his poetry and essays in his first book called,  A Love Song, A Death Rattle, A Battle Cry by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre.  So I am thrilled to be featuring him on Booksnob this month.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre is an MC, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist and educator based in Minneapolis, MN. His work has appeared everywhere from the United Nations, to Welcome to Night Vale, to Upworthy and beyond, and he currently makes a living traveling to colleges, conferences, and high schools, using spoken word as a jumping-off point for dialogue around identity, power, agency, and activism.  One part mixtape, one part disorientation guide, and one part career retrospective, this collection brings together spoken word poems, song lyrics, and essays from the past decade of Guante’s work.

This month and into May, you can expect a book review, a giveaway of Guante's book, and an author interview.

Check out Guante's website to learn more about him and his book at  www.guante.info
You can also find him on Twitter: @elguante.

Here is one of my favorite poems, written and performed by Guante.
"Ten Responses to the Phrase 'Man Up'"
Watch.







Monday, April 10, 2017

Poem in my Post - Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy by Thomas Lux

Poem in my Post - Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy by Thomas Lux.

Every Sunday (oops, today is Monday) in April for National Poetry Month, I am sharing a poem in my post with readers.  I have been busy grading papers as the 3rd quarter ended and have also been busy writing a poem every day of the month and so now I have 10 new poems to work with.  I have been trying to study new poets and continue to immerse myself in poetry and poetry prompts.

I chose Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy because when I was in Peru in the Amazon rainforest, two years ago, I saw several pink-toed tarantulas and I loved them. Plus, Lux is a new poet for me and this poem is awesome and it makes me happy.  I hope it makes you happy as well.


Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy by Thomas Lux

For some semitropical reason
when the rains fall
relentlessly they fall

into swimming pools, these otherwise
bright and scary
arachnids. They can swim
a little, but not for long

and they can’t climb the ladder out.
They usually drown—but
if you want their favor,
if you believe there is justice,
a reward for not loving

the death of ugly
and even dangerous (the eel, hog snake,
rats) creatures, if

you believe these things, then
you would leave a lifebuoy
or two in your swimming pool at night.

And in the morning
you would haul ashore
the huddled, hairy survivors

and escort them
back to the bush, and know,
be assured that at least these saved,
as individuals, would not turn up

again someday
in your hat, drawer,
or the tangled underworld

of your socks, and that even—
when your belief in justice
merges with your belief in dreams—
they may tell the others

in a sign language
four times as subtle
and complicated as man’s

that you are good,
that you love them,
that you would save them again.


Thomas Lux, “Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy” from New and Selected Poems: 1975-1995. Copyright © 1997 by Thomas Lux. U

Visit this link for a biography of Lux and at the very bottom are several links to 5 of his poems.
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/thomas-lux

To ensure happiness, read a poem every day!