#PoetryMonth: Get to know @CopperCanyonPrs

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Do you have a favorite publisher? Do you know who published your favorite books? The answer to these two questions, for me, is no and no. I know the big five publishers. I know the names of many small presses. But it’s not something I pay much attention to when it comes to what books I find, read, and enjoy.

This has changed recently, for me. With all the reading I’ve been doing for poetry month, I’ve been exposing myself to new poetry collections and in turn publishers of these collections. One day I noticed something interesting on the backs of a few collections I borrowed from the library. They were all published by Copper Canyon Press. I hadn’t heard of it before, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t exposed to them. More on that later.

Through this discovery and a few likes and retweets on Twitter, I found their account and followed that up by finding their website. I then found that they’ve published many poets I’m familiar with and realized that this is a press I probably want to pay attention to. If they publish poets I enjoy, they probably publish poets I want to read for the first time.

It’s because of all this that I’d like to bring Copper Canyon Press to your attention, too. And I’d like to highlight a few collections that I’ve read or are in the process of reading.

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Read and Currently Reading

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Want to Read

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Find more about Copper Canyon Press on…

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

#PoetryMonth – #Review: The Type, by @kaysarahsera

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The TypeTitle: The Type
Author: Sarah Kay

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Type is a lyrical unfolding toward empowerment. A moveing ode to women of all ages, this beautifully illustrated poem shows us the ways we create, build, and live.” (Goodreads)

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What can be said about Sarah Kay and her poetry that hasn’t been said before? Each piece she publishes is a must-have. The Type is no different.

Unlike B, I wasn’t aware of the viral sensation that The Type was before it was published in book form. With B I had watched and listened to Kay read it numerous times before taking in the poem in text form. I got a chance to try experiencing this poet the other way around for The Type and I’m glad I had that chance.

I enjoyed this poem and its message. Like most of Kay’s work, there’s a strong message. There’s honesty. There’s humanity in the message and strong emotion. I read through it, and followed it up with watching a video of Kay reading it. Then I read through it again. Each time I enjoyed it more. It might not be very long, but it’s worth taking the time to absorb slowly and often.

There are few poems that I feel could stand alone as their own “book” like this one. While the illustrations do also help with the experience, Kay’s words makes it all worth it most of all.

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You can grab a copy of this book from:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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About the Author:

Sarah Kay has been invited to share her poetry on such diverse stages as the 2011 TED Conference; the Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne, Australia; the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark; and Carnegie Hall in New York City, among hundreds of other venues around the world. She is the author of two additional poetry books: B and No Matter the Wreckage. Sarah is the founder and co-director of Project VOICE, an organization that brings spoken word poetry to schools and communities around the world.

Find more:

#PoetryMonth – @MariaHaskins on Translation

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Maria Haskins is on the blog today for her second Poetry Month contribution! She’s sharing another poem from her collection ‘Cuts’. This time it’s a little bit different. Maria is sharing both the Swedish (original language the poem was written in) and English versions of a poem. If you remember last week’s post with the audio for S.M. Boyce’s poem A Life for Sale, I talked about how interpreting a poem can differ between reading text and listening to it. Another way a poem can change is through translation. In may ways this can be more drastic.

Before I start rambling on about this, I’ll hand the blogging reigns over to Maria. She’s more qualified to talk about translation than I am anyway. But this post has challenged me to read more work in translation, along with the original languages…even if I can’t speak them. At least I can understand some of what Lorca writes (thank you high school and college Spanish!)

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‘Bird-Cloak’ is from a collection of poetry called ‘The Third’. It was originally written and published in Swedish in 1995. I was already living in Canada, but still writing in Swedish. When I self-published my new collection of poetry ‘Cuts’ in 2015, I translated my three previously published Swedish collections of poetry and included them with that release.

It was a bit of a nightmare to translate my own poems. I am a certified translator, and fluent in both English and Swedish, so I have the linguistic skills, but translating poetry is a bit like trying to embroider while wearing a blindfold and ski gloves. You just feel horribly clumsy and inadequate. Poetry relies so much on the precise meaning, the sound and rhythm of words. Poetry also plays with, and uses, the way words often mean (or imply) more than one thing: infusing a poem with resonance and depth beyond the surface of the words. All these shades and nuances can’t always be captured in another language. Whatever you do, and however good you are, you end up with an interpretation, something close to the original, but unable to fully replicate it. To quote Umberto Eco: “Translation is the art of failure.”

For this poem, I will mention three specific words that illustrate the translator’s conundrum.

 

1. The first problem was the title itself. “Fågelhamn” is a word that means a bird-costume or bird-disguise, but it is a specifically magical disguise, one that makes you look like a bird, and able to fly like a bird. The old Norse goddess Freyja had one of these. So in Swedish, it’s a word that carries a lot of meaning and weight: it hints at something magical, something ancient. There is the English word “hame” (as in Gandalf Greyhame), but I didn’t really like the sound of the word “Bird-hame”. I eventually settled on “Bird-cloak”, even though it doesn’t capture all the meanings of the Swedish word. I chose it partly because “cloak” carries its own depth and nuance of meaning. As a noun, it’s something you can wear, and as a verb, it’s something you can do. So basically, I traded one kind of wordplay for another.

2. Another word I had to ponder was “förbanna”. Usually, I would probably translate the word as “curse”, rather than “condemn”, but in English, “curse” is a very heavy and loaded word, and I felt it carried a darkness of meaning that I didn’t really mean to convey with the Swedish word. “Condemn” isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t change the feel of the sentence as much as “curse” did, so that’s what I ended up with.

3. A third word I had to labour over was “vägen”. In Swedish, this word can mean both “road” (as in: “driving on the road”) and “way” (as in “being on your way”). There’s a duality built into the Swedish word that isn’t quite conveyed when you have to pick one of the meanings in English. I did consider using the word “path”, since path also has a layers of meaning built into it – it can be both a physical path in the woods, and more of metaphorical path you might be choosing, as in “your path through life”. But for this poem, path didn’t feel right: I wanted the mental image of a road rather than that of a path, so again, I considered the options and chose the one I felt was closest to what I was trying to say in Swedish.

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FÅGELHAMNEN

Jag vaknade långt borta från elden,
klamrade mig fast vid markens välvda buk,
hon vände sig,
sovande.
Min andedräkt tinade fram gryning ur stjärnisen,
och då,
inte förrän då,
kom du.
Jag lyfte mina vingar
för att följa dig
men jag fann bara dessa armar,
ändå vet jag att jag är en fågel
som du.
Tag mig med dig
du
som ännu kan flyga,
dina vingar utbredda.
Förbanna mig inte
även om jag förtjänar det
även om jag inte längre kan flyga
lyft mig
du
med döden smalnande till en tunn svart springa
i dina ögon
(sluts aldrig, vägen alltid öppen)
livet i röda stänk runt näbben
du
lyft mig
tag mig med dig
tag mig ännu längre
bort från elden.

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BIRD-CLOAK

I awoke far away from the fire,
clinging to the round belly of the earth,
she rolled over,
sleeping.
My breath thawed the dawn from the frozen stars,
and then,
not until then,
did you come.
I raised my wings
to follow you
but all I could find were these arms,
even though I know that I am a bird
like you.
Take me with you
you
who are still able to fly,
your wings spread.
Don’t condemn me
even though I deserve it
even though I can’t fly anymore
lift me
you
with death narrowing to a thin black slit
in your eyes
(never closing, the road is always open)
red stains of life around your beak
you
lift me
take me with you
take me even farther
away from the fire.

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Would you like to read more poetry from Maria? You can find the collection that this poem came from, Cuts, on:

Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo | B&N | iBooks

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Cuts - Maria Haskins‘Cuts’ is Maria Haskins’ first collection of poetry written in English. Also included in this book are her three previously published and very well-received collections of poetry: ‘Blå’ (‘Blue’), ‘Honung’ (‘Honey’), and ‘Den tredje’ (‘The Third’). All have been translated from the original Swedish to English by the author, and are available in English for the very first time.

Maria Haskins made her literary debut in Sweden in 1989 with ‘Blå’ (‘Blue’), a well-received collection of poetry published by Swedish publishing house Norstedts. Her two other collections of poetry ‘Honung’ (‘Honung’) from 1992, and ‘Den tredje’ (‘The Third’) from 1995 received many favourable reviews in Sweden, and her poetry has been included in several anthologies.

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About the Author:

self3Maria Haskins is a Swedish-Canadian writer and translator. She was born and grew up in Sweden, but since the early 1990s she lives just outside Vancouver on Canada’s west coast with a husband, two kids, and a very large black dog.

Her English language debut ‘Odin’s Eye’ – a collection of science fiction short-stories – was published in March, 2015. Her book ‘Cuts & Collected Poems 1989 – 2015’ was released on November 9, 2015, and includes both new poems written in English, and her own translations of her previously published Swedish poetry. She is currently writing fantasy and science fiction short stories. Two new short stories that will appear in an anthology in the Mind’s Eye Series, set to be published in 2016.

Find out more:

#PoetryMonth – Story Time Friday with @MariaHaskins

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See those two images up there? It wasn’t a mistake. Even during Poetry Month there’s room for Story Time Friday!

Like STF in general, I include poetry as the “story” part of the series title. Today, I have a poem from poet Maria Haskins to share. To go with that, Maria has been nice enough to share a bit of the story behind the poem, as well. I’m happy when I get to share a little bit of what goes on behind the piece itself, and this is no different.

You can also read up on the collection Maria’s poem came from after you’re done. And if you enjoy it, there’ll be another poem from this poet next week. It isn’t an STF post. It’s something even better! Don’t forget to come back for that one.

Now, I’ll hand the blog over to Maria, the real reason you’re here…

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This poem is from my latest collection of poetry, Cuts. It’s one of those poems that came to me very quickly. One morning when I got on Facebook, I found out that a very good friend of mine in Sweden had died of cancer. She’d been in remission for several years, and hadn’t told a lot of her friends that the cancer was back. That morning her husband messaged me and that’s how I found out she had passed away. It hit me hard, the suddenness and finality of it, and I wrote this poem that day because I was in so much pain: about her death, about not staying in touch with her more, about her and my own mortality. Most poems come a lot slower and harder for me, they grow over time, but this one arrived almost fully formed.

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Pain in Progress

(For another Maria.)

The lamps are lit
in every window.
I feel the warmth beneath my own hands
feel the flicker
inside my own room.

What lights the lamps?
What makes a fire
where there was only
wick and oil and breath of wind?
I don’t know.
But the lamps are lit
the light is everywhere
spilling through the curtains
through your fingers
through the glass
through the whispers in the hallway
through your eyes, half opened.

I can feel the light
in you
in me
warm in my hands
every word
every breath
every cut and bruise and scar
another bit of light.

And then the lamp is put out,
extinguished.
I didn’t see
didn’t hear
didn’t feel
it happen.
Where did the light go?
What puts out the lamps?
What takes away the light?
What makes the darkness
fall
crawl
slither
over the horizon
over the threshold
over your lips?
What eats away the light
devouring
chewing
ripping it out of your grip?
(Or did you let it?
Did you let it
go?
Did you let it
go out?)
I don’t know.

I’m cold.
I look across the field:
brown reeds broken by the weight of snow
trees crouching low
cradling the dusk
in arthritic branches.

The sky is
cut bruised scarred
and there is just a breath of wind
stroking the grass.

I see your window
on the other side.
The lamp is not lit.

I can still feel the glow.

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Would you like to read more poetry from Maria? You can find the collection that this poem came from, Cuts, on:

Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo | B&N | iBooks

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Cuts - Maria Haskins‘Cuts’ is Maria Haskins’ first collection of poetry written in English. Also included in this book are her three previously published and very well-received collections of poetry: ‘Blå’ (‘Blue’), ‘Honung’ (‘Honey’), and ‘Den tredje’ (‘The Third’). All have been translated from the original Swedish to English by the author, and are available in English for the very first time.

Maria Haskins made her literary debut in Sweden in 1989 with ‘Blå’ (‘Blue’), a well-received collection of poetry published by Swedish publishing house Norstedts. Her two other collections of poetry ‘Honung’ (‘Honung’) from 1992, and ‘Den tredje’ (‘The Third’) from 1995 received many favourable reviews in Sweden, and her poetry has been included in several anthologies.

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About the Author:

self3Maria Haskins is a Swedish-Canadian writer and translator. She was born and grew up in Sweden, but since the early 1990s she lives just outside Vancouver on Canada’s west coast with a husband, two kids, and a very large black dog.

Her English language debut ‘Odin’s Eye’ – a collection of science fiction short-stories – was published in March, 2015. Her book ‘Cuts & Collected Poems 1989 – 2015’ was released on November 9, 2015, and includes both new poems written in English, and her own translations of her previously published Swedish poetry. She is currently writing fantasy and science fiction short stories. Two new short stories that will appear in an anthology in the Mind’s Eye Series, set to be published in 2016.

Find out more:

#PoetryMonth – A #Spotify Poetry Playlist

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I wanted to give you all a gift that’ll keep on giving, especially if you get involved! Yesterday’s Poetry Month post was S.M. Boyce reading her poem A Life For Sale. And you know I’m a fan of listening to poetry, if you read that post.

Because I enjoy listening to poetry, and because I enjoy using Spotify, I decided awhile back to combine the two. I created a playlist on Spotify to bring together all the great poetry I could find. And surprisingly I found SO MUCH poetry.

That’s what I want to share with you today. My poetry playlist. Currently there are 384 “songs”, or just under 21 hrs of poetry to listen to. It includes modern poets like Andrea Gibson, Buddy Wakefield, and Shane Koyczan. I also have poets from the early days of recording like Yeats, Frost, and many more than I thought had recordings. Not all poems are read by the poet (especially the Shakespeare I think I put on there, duh).

I’d like to have this playlist grow so we can all discover more poets. I’m sure there are others out there I haven’t gotten to yet. Please feel free to add them! I made the list where anyone can add to it. At least I think so. I had some trouble getting things to work over there and on this post. Let me know if that doesn’t work.

Hope you enjoy. And keep reading, listening, and discovering!

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About the Author:

I’m the author. If you got this far through the post and didn’t know that, now you do. If you need to know more…you can find it all on the blog already.

Find out more:

  • Website – You’re already here…duh!
  • All of this is already on the blog too.
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Goodreads
    • Amazon author page
    • Smashwords author page

Calling All Poets for #NationalPoetryMonth

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That’s right! April is POETRY MONTH on A Life Among the Pages. And even better, April is NATIONAL POETRY MONTH all over the United States (and other countries, since social media helps these things spread worldwide).

If you don’t know what my Poetry Month or NPM is, you might not have been around the blog for long. If that’s the case, I’ll keep it simple: We celebrate poetry is a variety of ways for an entire month.

That’s what I’d like to do for the month of April, again, this year. I’d like to get as many poets and poetry lovers together to celebrate. With the help of everyone wanting to be involved, we’ll be able to have new poetry shared, thoughts on poetry, and anything else we can think of. If this sounds like something you or someone you know would like to help take part in, please contact me. But first, here’s some more details.

I’m looking for posts to…

  • Share a poem or two.
  • Talk about a favorite poet or collection (or both).
  • Talk about a favorite poetic era or writing style.
  • Promote one of your own collections.
  • Share thoughts on anything else dealing with poetry.
    • Could be
      • why you love poetry.
      • how it’s effected your life.
      • your attempts at writing (even if you didn’t continue).
      • Or anything, almost absolutely anything, else you can think of.

Want to be part now? Just use the contact form HERE, or email me if we’ve already communicated enough in the past for you to have that address. Tell me what you’d like to share, and in the coming weeks I’ll put together everything as it comes in.

As always, this is a huge event that’s meant to be fun for everyone. You don’t have to be a poet to take part. And be sure to spread the word. That’s something ALATP really needs from everyone. If we want a large turnout, we need everyone to know about this!

#NationalPoetryMonth Challange!

That’s right: I’m CHALLENGING YOU! As we all know, April is National Poetry Month (international if you want to say. It’s spread pretty far by now.) I like to celebrate it on A Life Among the Pages, and this year is no different. Bringing awareness to poetry and new poetry to readers is always a great goal, even if just one more person gets into poetry. It’ll still be a win. So let’s kick this month off by bringing back a graphic you may remember from last year…

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Poetry Month FB Banner

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Remember that? Either way, you’ll be seeing a lot more of it this month.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s what I’m challenging everyone reading this to do: Read a book of poetry. Simple enough right?

I challenge each and every one of you to go out and find a book of poetry that you think you’ll enjoy. Then read it. It could be a single poet collection. It could be a multi-poetry anthology. And if that’s a little too much for you, maybe try easing yourself in with some single poems you find online. As long as there’s an attempt to try to read more poetry, that’s all that really matters.

I know many of my readers read poetry even if it’s occasional. But maybe some of you would like a few suggestions. I’m not sure if I’m good at suggestions, but I’ll try by listing some of my favorite collections that I’ve read and some poets, as well.

A few verse novel suggestions might help those not ready to dive right in.

And here is a list of Indie poets you might have seen on the blog in the past. They’re definitely worth checking out. I’ll link a collection into each name.

I don’t really know where to steer anyone looking for an anthology. I own so many and many have overlapping selections. You can’t really go wrong with one. Read a few poems from them and if it seems like it’ll click with you, that’d probably be a great choice.

ALSO, as a little self-promotion and a help for you (maybe), you may notice the prices on my ebooks have dropped. For the month of April, on Amazon (since 99.9999999999% of my five sales each year come from there)…

From Where I Stand is only $1.23

and

Winter’s Homecoming and other Poems is only $0.99

AND, because I want to be generous, if anyone would like to read one of these collections/chapbooks but can’t afford to buy one…let me know. If you’re serious about reading it (and hopefully leaving an honest review when you’re done), send me a message and I’ll hook you up. I can give out Smashwords coupons for you to grab it for free. You can get it in any format through them. I’m here to spread poetry and that’s what I’ll do my best to do!

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Have I tired your eyes out yet with all this reading? One most big of housekeeping to do and then you can run off.

STORY TIME FRIDAY and PROSE VERSE BABEL…let’s get them going this month! A lot of poetry has been featured on STF so far, but we’ll keep that going if we can this month. PVB hasn’t been alive in a LONG time. Let’s fix that.

So I’m asking for you all to help by contributing. Find out more on how to submit work to each here:

Story Time Friday

Prose Verse Babel

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Ok folks. That’s all for now. Help spread the poetic word and come back often to the blog for most poetry fun all month!