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Poems read Oct-Dec 2020

Poems that stumbled across my path online. You might like them, too.

Lisa Ampleman, “Gilding the Lily”
Molly Brodak, “Ok
William Bronk, “Deus Vobiscum”, “Questions for Eros,” “The Remains of a Farm”
Jericho Brown, “Another Elegy,” in The New Testament
Lauren Clark, “Illinois in Spring”
Lucille Clifton, “birth-day”
Cid Corman, “The Unforgivable”
Gregory Corso, “Hello”
Kwame Dawes, “Loneliness
Ansel Elkins, “Autobiography of Eve
Rhina P. Espaillat, “November”
Jack Gilbert, “Exceeding the Spirit”
Aracelis Girmay, “[strange earth, strange]”
Peter Gizzi, “The Present is Constant Elegy
Louise Glück, “October,” “The Pond” in The House On Marshland
Linda Gregg, “God’s Places”
Paul Guest, “Post Factual Love Poem”
Alen Hamza, “Someday I Will Learn”
Joy Harjo, “She Had Some Horses”
Zbigniew Herbert, “Prayer”
Amorak Huey, “Lifespan of a Deer”
Laura Jensen, “Memory,” “Here in the Night”
Jean Joubert, “Brilliant Sky” (tr. Denise Levertov)
Dilawar Karadaghi, “[I’m not here]”
Joanna Klink, “On Mercy”
Ada Limón, “Instructions on Not Giving Up”
Moira Linehan, “My Great Blue”
Timothy Liu, “Survivors”
Audre Lorde, “Speechless
Sophia de Mello Breyner, “[You will never again feel]”
W. S. Merwin, “The Morning”, “How It Happens”
Malena Mörling, “Ashes
Sharon Olds, “I Cannot Say I Did Not”
Mary Oliver, “Fall Song,” in American Primitive
Charles Olson, “[I measure my song]”
George Oppen, “Psalm”, “World, World–“
Katherine Osborne, “[My son died.]”
Linda Pastan, “In This Season of Waiting,” “Go Gentle”
Carl Phillips, “And If I Fall
Rowan Ricardo Phillips, “Grief and the Imaginary Grave”
Roger Reeves, “After Death”
Rainer Maria Rilke, “[Only in our doing can we grasp you]” in The Book Of Hours
Theodore Roethke, “Memory”
Charif Shanahan, “Ligament
Natalie Shapero, “Not Horses,” in Hard Child
Izumi Shikibu, “[You ask my thoughts]” tr. Hirshfield & Aratani
Charles Simic, “Poem” [Every morning I forget how it is]
Maggie Smith, “Rain, New Year’s Eve”
Tracy K. Smith, “An Old Story”
Molly Spencer, “Most Accidents Occur At Home”
Matt Stefon, “A bent rainbow”
Nomi Stone, “On World-Making
Timmy Straw, “Willamette”
Anna Swir, “Her Death is In Me” (tr. Milosz and Leonard Nathan)
Fiona Sze-Lorrain, “[Nothing in my song]”
Shuntaro Tanikawa, “Twenty Billion Light Years of Loneliness” trans. Wright
Chase Twichell, “Fox Bones”
Jean Valentine, “The One You Wanted to Be Is The One You Are”
diane wakoski, “the moon has a complicated geography”
Katharine Whitcomb, “Through the Window,” in The Daughter’s Almanac
James Womack, “To Maximian”
Wendy Xu, “[Most things lose]”

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Digital art by Tucker Lieberman. Pastel colors in abstract shapes.
avoidance, nonfiction

On sun, shadow, and hidden images (three quotes)

Digital art by Tucker Lieberman. Pastel colors in abstract shapes.
Digital art by Tucker Lieberman.

“In Pharaonic Egypt at the time of Akhnaton, in a now-extinct monotheistic religion that worshiped the Sun, light was thought to be the gaze of God. Back then, vision was imagined as a kind of emanation that proceeded from the eye. Sight was something like radar. It reached out and touched the object being seen. The Sun—without which little more than the stars are visible—was stroking, illuminating, and warming the valley of the Nile. Given the physics of the time, and a generation that worshiped the Sun, it made some sense to describe light as the gaze of God.”
Carl Sagan. Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium. Ballantine, 1998. p. 31.

“Here is a graphic demonstration of what Jung usefully called the work of the archetypal shadow: we cannot encounter directly what we have repressed, what we cannot face, because it is by definition unconscious; and so we encounter it indirectly, as if it were outside us, cast like a shadow out of the unconscious on to the world.”
Patrick Harpur. The Philosopher’s Secret Fire: A History of the Imagination (2002). Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2003. p. 54.

“It could be that I had the kind of childhood full of absences, and yours happened to be the only one that hurt so good. It could be simply that suicide does tricky things to people. It is a bizarre kind of loss, full of answers and empty of ways to access them, much like the series of Magic Eye posters taped to the walls of our junior high school. Despite extended periods of squinting and eye-crossing, I repeatedly failed to detect the hidden images, available only to those with the ability to skew their vision. I grew to detest those posters with their cloaked dinosaurs and sailboats, constant reminders of the limits of my perception.”
Candace Jane Opper. Certain and Impossible Events. Tucson, Arizona: Kore Press, 2021. p. 13.

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Detail of book cover: TRANS-GALACTIC BIKE RIDE
fiction

Trans-Galactic Bike Ride

We have waited so long for the Trans-Galactic Bike Ride anthology, and it is finally, finally, finally here. This cover art is by Cecilia Granata. Look. Look. Look at it.

Subtitle: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories of Transgender and Nonbinary Adventurers

Ebooks and print books are available internationally from Microcosm. In the US only, you can order print copies from Bookshop. If you’re not ready to place an order, just mark it as “Want to Read” on Goodreads so that you will find it again someday when you circle back around the galaxy.

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Abstract digital art. An oblong shape on a dark blue background.
fiction, nonfiction, poetry

On the infinite expansion of reading lists

Over the past two decades, I’ve read fifteen hundred books. I’m not including newspapers, magazines, online articles, or sources briefly consulted. I mean books with ISBNs that I’ve read cover-to-cover. Over the same period of time, I’ve listed an additional two thousand books that I’d like to read but have not, to this day, yet read.

The “to read” list usually presents itself as a “to-do” question: When and how will I acquire copies of each book and sit with it? Won’t it take more than two decades to read them all? The “to read” list seems to prompt goal-setting. It’s an achievement that lies in my future. It’s an ambition. We are so often taught to think that way: Something we want to do is necessarily something that we are supposed to do, or else others will interpret us as disappointed, ineffectual, unhappy, and therefore pitiable.

There is a better way of understanding this phenomenon: I add books to my “to read” list at more than twice the speed that I read them. If this week is typical, I’m likely to add five books to my list, yet I can only read two. This is a permanent condition. I can’t catch up with my own list. This is not a problem. The only problem is in imagining that I can read five books a week. I can’t.

One solution is to want less. Just delete books from the list. Don’t tell people that they exist. Downsize my imagination to fit my capacity. This would make other people more comfortable around me because they would remain blissfully unaware that there are things I want to do that I will never do. I wouldn’t be giving them the terms by which to interpret me according to my unrealized potential.

But what’s wrong with having unrealized potential? The list does not have to be a source of frustration. Instead, it can represent abundance. It is the abundance of my own imagination regarding what I would like to do with my time. I may never cross everything off the list. That just means I will never run out of things I’d like to do.

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Two women browsing books on "Australian History" and "Ships" in the library stacks in the 1940s.
Uncategorized

How to “loan” a Kindle book

Some titles for Amazon Kindle have “Lending” enabled. The product page for each title indicates whether this option is offered. When the owner of a Kindle book offers a book as a loan, the recipient will have 7 days to “accept” the loan. Upon accepting it, they’ll have 14 days to read the loaned book. At the end of those 14 days, the rights to the Kindle book automatically revert back to the original owner, and the owner can’t loan out that particular title again.

Shortcut

Create a URL that looks like this:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/lend-creation/B07T3WCYQC/

Replace “B07T3WCYQC” with the ASIN of the book you’d like to lend. The ASIN can be found on the book’s Amazon product page and usually also in the URL of the Amazon product page.

If you don’t own the book corresponding to that ASIN or if the title can’t be loaned, the URL will redirect to the book’s product page. If it’s available for you to loan, however, the URL will bring you to a page that allows you to enter an email address for your recipient.

Navigation

If you’d rather navigate the Amazon site to find the lending page “organically,” here’s instructions and screenshots.

Once you’ve bought a Kindle book, go to “Account & Lists” -> “Your Content and Devices.” You’ll see a list of all your purchased books. Find the title you want to loan. Click the square button next to it. Click the link “Loan this title.” (The link isn’t offered when the title can’t be loaned.) You’ll be taken to a page where you need to input your recipient’s email address. You can add a personal note.

For each book title, under “Product details,” there’s a field called “Lending.” It will say either “Enabled” or “Not Enabled.”
When you are logged in, use Amazon’s main menu to click “Account & Lists” and then “Your Content and Devices.”
Next to each of your purchased book titles, there’s a square button with a three-dot icon. Click that. It will pop up a box with more information and options. If “lending” is enabled for the title, there will be an option to select “Loan this title.”
You will need to provide your recipient’s email address.
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