April is National Poetry Month. Whether your taste runs from the classics to the up and coming, the Peter White Public Library is always collecting new poetry books.
The poems in local Poet Russell Thorburn's latest collection, Misfit Hearts, go on location with Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable during the filming of John Huston's classic film. Thorburn's work also explores territory closer to home, such as Marquette's old orphanage and experiencing winter in the north.
Stag's Leap, Sharon Olds' latest collection, tells the story of divorce, embracing strands of love, sex, sorrow, memory and new freedom. Olds' unsparing approach to both pain and love makes this one of her finest books of poetry.
Domestic Work, Natasha Trethewey 's debut collection, recently has been reprinted since her winning of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2007 and being appointed as Poet Leureate of the United States last June. Trethewey draws moving domestic portraits of families, past and present, caught in the act of earning a living and managing their households. Small moments taken from a labor-filled day reveal the equally hard emotional work of memory and forgetting, the extraordinary difficulty of trying to live with or without someone.
In Useless Landscape or A Guide for Boys, D. A. Powell uses witty banter, emotional resolve, and powerful lyricism, to demonstrates his exhilarating range. This collection won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry.
New anthologies include The 20th Century in Poetry, edited by Michael Hulse and Simon Rae. These poems, placed in chronological order span the last century from the industrial to the technological revolution. Each poem is placed in both historical context and shows the century's overall poetic development.
Angles of ascent: a Norton anthology of contemporary African American poetry 1st edition focuses on post-1960s poetry and includes such poets as Rita Dove, Ai, Nathaniel Mackey, Natasha Trethewey, Kevin Young, Terrence Hayes, Elizabeth Alexander, Major Jackson, Carl Phillips, Harryette Mullen and Yusef Komunyakaa - artists who, using a wide range of styles and forms, are cultivating a poetry of personal voice and interiority that speaks against the backdrop of community and ancestry.
The Youth Services Department has several new titles for sharing poetry with children. One very appealing collection is National Geographic book of animal poetry, 200 poems with photographs that squeak, soar, and roar, edited by J. Patrick Lewis. Divided into chapters that group the poems by theme for extra resonance, the collection is a mix of old and new, classics, and never-before-published. A foreword from Lewis sets the scene for helping children appreciate this gift of language and this visual feast for the eyes.
In Edgar Allan Poe's Pie : math puzzlers in classic poems, the poet J. Patrick Lewis has reimagined classic poems-such as Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" and Langston Hughes's "April Rain Song" and added a dash of math. Between the silly parodies and the wonderfully wacky art, kids will have so much fun figuring out the puzzles, they won't guess they're learning.
In Emma Dilemma: big sister poems by Kristine O'Connell George, Emma is Jess's little sister and her dilemma. The highlights and low points of this sibling relationship are evoked in short and simple poems. George will be visiting Marquette and working with area students next month as part of the annual Young Authors project.
- Ellen Moore