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Tag Archives: NPR

Solstice is here

December 21st is the winter solstice in Maine. I find it heartening that the shortest, darkest day of the year has arrived and we turn the corner toward more light.

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I’m still disappointed about what happened to Garrison Keillor. I think NPR was too hasty in firing him, killing The Writer’s Almanac and erasing the online archives of the program going back years. This means that people who worked on the program lost their jobs. All the poets whose work was in the archives lose out, too. Of course I take this somewhat personally since I am proud to say that 25 poems by Moon Pie Press poets were featured on the program, including eight of my own. The Writer’s Almanac was a great boon to my little poetry press. But it also popularized poetry for many people who heard it on the radio, in podcasts or read it in their email or the anthologies that grew out of the show. I am sorry to see the show die.

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I can recommend other ways to have poetry delivered to your email box on a regular basis. Ted Kooser has a column called American Life in Poetry that you can have emailed to you. He tends to favor accessible narrative poems. There is also Poetry Daily. Poem-A-Day is from the Academy of American Poets. Poem of the Day is from the Poetry Foundation. And Rattle magazine will send you a poem each day. I recommend that you sign up for at least one of these so you can get a daily dose of poetry. In these troubling, chaotic times full of fake and disturbing news, poetry is a solace and a reminder to slow down.

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Lists of great and not-so-great books

books happiness

I’ve always been a list maker and bookworm, so book lists appeal to me. The New York Times has a useful “best books of the year” list, this year with an animated video of their top ten (www.nytimes.com/video/books/review). NPR rolled out a Book Concierge that lists 200 of the best 2013 books by category (www.npr.org/best-books-2013). MPBN has a “best and overlooked books of 2013” list chosen by some prominent Maine writers.
I recommend a site called Interesting Literature (www.interestingliterature.com) which has a wealth of intelligent lists and blogs about books and writers. Sometimes I find the highly personal book lists people make on Amazon useful, though they can be quirky and bizarre, too. For book reviews by regular folks, Amazon has the biggest collection, but Goodreads has a lot, too.
One can, of course, wander around on these sites and spend/waste hours, but they do lead me to discover books I want to read. For a while I had a gift subscription to the very worthy and erudite London Review of Books, but it came too frequently and was too jam-packed with information and opinions. If you have limited time, I think the book recommendations by The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Guardian are generally reliable. But you probably have your favorites, too.