I don’t know about you but I always have such a hard time getting back into the swing of things after the holidays. It’s partly because I need a little while to recover from the craziness of the last few weeks of the year but it’s also because I always get a pile of new books for Christmas and I can’t resist the temptation to spend more time than I should reading them once the holidays are over.
This year Santa was kind enough to bring me two new poetry books by the spoken word poet, Sarah Kay. Each book is a standalone volume containing a single poem, B and The Type. Neither poem is particularly new. B, sometimes called “If I Should Have a Daughter” is one of Kay’s best-known poems and was performed at the Ted Talks Conference in 2011. (You can see the video of that performance here.) And both B and The Type were included in Kay’s beautiful anthology of poems, No Matter the Wreckage, which I own and highly recommend!! But when I discovered that these poems came in their own books, beautifully illustrated by artist Sophia Janowitz, I knew I wanted to add them to my poetry collection anyway.
The thing I love about both these poems – and one of the reasons I am so glad they exist as their own books instead of nestled in among other poems – is that they are so very warm, empowering, and totally accessible even for folks who don’t read a lot of poetry. B, a collection of wisdom and life lessons that Kay would like to pass down to her daughter, if she should ever one, would make a beautiful gift for mothers and daughters alike. Full of encouragement for times of disappointment and struggle, this wonderful poem is a love-song to the power of optimism and a tribute to the mothers (and mother figures) who will always have our back. Meanwhile, The Type is a poem about womanhood and how we define ourselves and build ourselves up. A perfect gift for a girlfriend going through a break-up or struggling with relationship issues, The Type is also a beautiful way to recenter and refocus yourself when your self-esteem starts to drift.
All in all, I am so happy to add The Type and B to my library and would love to give a copy of each (along with Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman) to every woman I know.
The holiday season is a crazy time with gifts to buy and wrap, holiday meals to prepare, and Christmas parties to attend so it can be a little hard to find a lot of time to read. When this happens, I like to pull out a book of poems. Poetry is perfect for hectic times because it can be consumed in small bites and because it reminds us to slow down and experience the moment rather than rushing through it. This year my poetry book was Billy Collin’s latest collection, The Rain in Portugal. I am never disappointed when I pick up a Billy Collin’s book but I particularly enjoyed this one because I had the opportunity to hear the poet read a few of the poems at a poetry reading a while back. (As a side note, I just want to mention that Billy Collins is a wonderful reader and speaker, as well as a wonderful poet, and if you have the opportunity to see him read in person, I highly recommend you go!)
Ask anyone who knows me and they will you tell that I have an obsession with T. S. Eliot’s The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock so it comes as no surprise that my favorite poem in the collection was “Note to J. Alfred Prufrock.” And “Note to Prufrock” wasn’t the only allusion to great poems and poets in this collection. One of my favorites things about Collins as a poet is that his poetry reads as a love letter to poetry, which makes it a poetry lover’s dream come true.
The Rain in Portugal also contains a playful look at rhymes, a wistful meeting between the poet and the sister he never had, and a interesting take on the cosmology of the universe involving Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones. All in all, The Rain in Portugal will make a wonderful addition to my poetry book collection and would make a lovely holiday gift for a poetry lover.
Looking for more holiday gifts for poetry lovers? Check out this lovely gift guide: 15 Gifts That Poetry Readers Will Be Overjoyed To Unwrap This Holiday by bustle.com or visit the C. S. Literary Jewelry Etsy shop for handmade jewelry inspired by your favorite poems and poetry.
Need more Christmas gift ideas for book lovers? These holiday gift guides have some great suggestions:
That’s it for me today but I would love to hear from you. What’s your favorite collection of poetry to read when life gets crazy? Let me know in the comments below. And until next time, take care and happy reading!!
Celebrate Halloween in poetic style with a Halloween costume inspired by the classic Edgar Allan Poe poem, The Raven. One thing I love about this Raven costume is that it is all about the accessories. You can go as crazy as you like with the outfit itself or you could opt to go with a basic little black dress and it would work just as well. You can also play around with the overall tone of your raven costume. I opted for a Goth style costume with a black lace top, a fringed skirt (to suggest the Raven’s feathers) and these stunning black lace boots. I added a black lace choker, raven feather earrings, one of Novel Creations’ gorgeous Edgar Allan Poe Book purses (a stylish way to carry all your candy from trick or treating), and a Raven Ring from the C. S. Literary Jewelry Etsy shop for lots of Gothic flair and drama. But substitute a pair of ripped black jeans, a black t-shirt, (may I suggest this one), add a black leather jacket, and swap out the lace boots for combat boots and you have a pretty awesome Punk Poe costume. A black corset and a black feathered boa makes a sexier, burlesque-style raven, while a Raven top-hat and this awesome Raven walking-stick gives your Raven costume a cool Steampunk vibe. So many options!!! Add a Raven mask like the one shown above or skip the mask and go wild with hair and makeup. It’s up to you.
For more Edgar Allan Poe – inspired Halloween fun, check out this Pinterest board of ideas for a Raven – themed Halloween Party!
Stay tuned for more book – themed Halloween costumes and ideas and inspiration for literary Halloween celebrations. Until then, happy reading!
Celebrate the gorgeous colors of fall with beautiful book jewelry in golden autumn tones. Visit the C. S. Literary Jewelry Etsy shop to see lovely handmade jewelry inspired by your favorite books and poems, including my:
And if you are in the Long Island area, be sure to stop by and see my work in person at the Long Island Women’s EXPO. You can get a head start on your holiday shopping, pick up a little treat for yourself, and support wonderful women entrepreneurs!! Hope to see you there!!
Labor Day has come and gone and while there are still a couple of weeks before the official start of Autumn, I am already looking ahead to the Fall season. Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the cool, crisp weather, (especially after the heat we had this summer!), the beautiful colors of the leaves, picking apples, and carving pumpkins. And so, in honor of my favorite season, I decided to put together a fall outfit inspired by the famous poem, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. Featuring warm, autumnal earth tones and a Robert Frost Poetry Pin from the C. S. Literary Jewelry, this cozy outfit is perfect for all sorts of fall activities from exploring the road less traveled by, reading a book of poetry, or wandering around local fairs and festivals.
Speaking of local festivals…. If you live on or near Long Island, NY, you won’t want to miss the Sachem Library Fall Festival on Sept. 17th. The library is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and has pulled out all the stops to put together a festival to remember! I’ve been hard at work, putting together my booth for the festival and I’m very pleased to announce that in addition to my handmade literary jewelry, I will also have a selection of beautiful book purses from Novel Creations. Hope to see you there!!!
What’s your favorite thing about Fall, book lovers? Let me know in the comments!
You can also:
Until next time, take care and happy reading!
Today is Take Your Poet to Work Day and I am super excited! For those of you who are new to Take Your Poet to Work Day, you can read all about it (and get your own poets to bring to work with you), here. Usually it’s just my poets and I working from home, but this year I get to take my little paper poet puppets with me to my summer gig in the library of my local high school! I’ve been helping out at an extended school year program for students with special needs and I can’t think of a better place for some poetic hi-jinks than a school library!
If the wi-fi gods are kind and I can get internet access during the day, I hope to be able to post pictures to my new Instagram account of my poets and tweet throughout the day about my poets’ adventures at work with me! I am bringing T. S. Eliot, Emily Barrett Browning, Maya Angelou, and Walt Whitman with me to work today so I am in for an interesting day and I hope you will check out all the poetic fun I will be having and maybe share some of your own stories about taking a poet (or two) to work with you.
And if puppets of famous poets aren’t your thing, you can always bring a piece of your favorite poems and poetry to work with a piece of my handmade poetry jewelry. Visit the C. S. Literary Jewelry Etsy shop for handmade literary jewelry inspired by Emily Dickinson, T. S. Eliot, William Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Edgar Allan Poe, and more.
Looking for something fun to add to your summer bucket list? How about having a picnic with Walt Whitman? Whitman’s poetry is all about the need to get outside, to breath and taking the time to truly notice and experience things – from a blade of summer grass to all the people who surround you. Sounds perfect for a summer afternoon of reading a book of poems, (may I suggest Whitman’s Leaves of Grass), appreciating nature, and possibly a little people-watching. Of course, there’s no dress code for a summer day spent leaning and loafing among the leaves of grass, but what could be more perfect for a picnic with Walt Whitman than this literary outfit, featuring a pretty sundress, a matching hat, and this handmade Walt Whitman pendant with a quote from his poem, A Song of Myself?
Like what you see?