Reading Room Blog

10/22/2009 - 3:43pm

Check out "Books With Bite," featuring vampires, werewolves and other fictional creatures that go bump in the night.

10/21/2009 - 7:50pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

It’s likely that if you found the original handwritten manuscript of T. S. Eliot’s groundbreaking poem, “The Waste Land,” you wouldn’t be able to trade it for a candy bar at the Quick Shop on your corner. Here’s a poem by David Lee Garrison of Ohio about how unsuccessfully classical music fits into a subway.

Bach in the DC Subway

10/21/2009 - 7:46pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Though some teacher may have made you think that all poetry is deadly serious, chock full of coded meanings and obscure symbols, poems, like other works of art, can be delightfully playful. Here Bruce Guernsey, who divides his time between Illinois and Maine, plays with a common yam.


Yam

The potato that ate all its carrots,
can see in the dark like a mole,

its eyes the scars
from centuries of shovels, tines.

May spelled backwards
because it hates the light,

10/21/2009 - 7:43pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

An aubade is a poem about separation at dawn, but as you’ll see, this one by Dore Kiesselbach, who lives in Minnesota, is about the complex relationship between a son and his mother.


Aubade

10/09/2009 - 12:13pm

America’s tendency to associate Dracula, the Wolf Man, "Frankenstein," and zombies of all stripes with Halloween is so embedded in our culture that we frequently forget that most of these creatures--or at least the versions of them we best remember--are relatively recent creations that are often less than two centuries old. This series explores the origins and evolution of Halloween’s and Hollywood's best-loved ghouls and beasts.

09/28/2009 - 9:49pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Cecilia Woloch teaches in California, and when she’s not with her students she’s off to the Carpathian Mountains of Poland, to help with the farm work. But somehow she resisted her wanderlust just long enough to make this telling snapshot of her father at work.


The Pick

09/28/2009 - 12:42pm

Mr. Safire had no college degree, yet he went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1978 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006. Already in his forties when he joined the NYT staff, Safire had previously worked as a U.S. Army correspondant, as a publicist, and as a radio & television producer. He also wrote speeches for Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew and was outraged to discover that Nixon's administration had been secretly taping his phone conversations.

09/21/2009 - 8:54pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

I tell my writing students that their most important task is to pay attention to what’s going on around them. God is in the details, as we say. Here David Bottoms, the Poet Laureate of Georgia, tells us a great deal about his father by showing us just one of his hands.

My Father’s Left Hand

Sometimes my old man’s hand flutters over his knee, flaps
in crazy circles, and falls back to his leg.

Sometimes it leans for an hour on that bony ledge.

09/21/2009 - 7:29am

 If you like Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas, you might also like these titles and authors.

09/19/2009 - 7:26am

Oprah has selected Say You're One of Them, "an awe-inspiring collection of stories that challenges you to look beyond the headlines and see an Africa full of both joy and despair.

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