Reading Room Blog

12/28/2009 - 1:44pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Many if not all of us have had the pleasure of watching choruses of young people sing. It’s an experience rich with affirmation, it seems to me. Here is a lovely poem by Tim Nolan, an attorney in Minneapolis.

 

At the Choral Concert

12/15/2009 - 2:15pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Family photographs, how much they do capture in all their elbow-to-elbow awkwardness. In this poem, Ben Vogt of Nebraska describes a color snapshot of a Christmas dinner, the family, impatient to tuck in, arrayed along the laden table. I especially like the description of the turkey.

Grandpa Vogt’s—1959

12/11/2009 - 11:32am

What is is about Jane Austen?  If you have read her books over and over and over, maybe you are ready to try something a little different.  Her stories have been re-told and re-imagined in prequels and sequels and in various time periods and settings.  Her characters even make literary appearances as zombies and vampires.  Browse our new booklist, Jane Austen Over and Over and Over.

12/07/2009 - 11:59am

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Childhood is too precious a part of life to lose before we have to, but our popular culture all too often yanks our little people out of their innocence. Here is a poem by Trish Crapo, of Leyden, Massachusetts, that captures a moment of that innocence.


Back Then

12/07/2009 - 11:55am

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

I love the way the following poem by Susie Patlove opens, with the little rooster trying to “be what he feels he must be.” This poet lives in Massachusetts, in a community called Windy Hill, which must be a very good place for chickens, too.

Poor Patriarch

12/04/2009 - 2:24pm

Detective fiction remains a major field in popular literature both for authors and readers.Many new trends and subgenres have emerged in literary detective fiction during the last twenty years, both redefining and broadening the genre.Some of the currently popular subgenres are historical fiction, fiction featuring minority characters, and detective fiction set outside of traditional locations.In fact, detective fiction has become such a diverse genre of literature that it appears to be splitting into several distinct genres, each with its own style and method of gripping readers’ attention.

11/24/2009 - 10:50am

One of the sub-genres that defined classic American crime and detective movies was film noir, a style that was pervasive in detective films of the 1940s and 1950s. Film noir arose during the post-World War II period in the United States as a generation that fought in one of the most brutal conflicts the world had ever seen returned home to a changed America where jobs were scarce and the national mood seemed darker and more cynical than during the war itself.

07/02/2010 - 10:38am

One of the sub-genres that defined classic American crime and detective movies was film noir, a style that was pervasive in detective films of the 1940s and 1950s. Film noir arose during the post-World War II period in the United States as a generation that fought in one of the most brutal conflicts the world had ever seen returned home to a changed America where jobs were scarce and the national mood seemed darker and more cynical than during the war itself. 

11/23/2009 - 2:17pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Love predated the invention of language, but love poetry got its start as soon as we had words through which to express our feelings. Here’s a lovely example of a contemporary poem of love and longing by George Bilgere, who lives in Ohio.

Night Flight

11/23/2009 - 1:39pm

Though as a librarian I'm constantly reading new books and other materials, I, like most people, have those books to which I turn time and again.  I know exactly how they're going to end, I know most of the plot details, and I feel I have a close, personal connection with the protagonists.  Some of these I have read to the point that the cover has torn away, but I keep them anyway. Why?  Because I love them dearly.  

Most of my favorite novels are science fiction or cyberpunk.  Probably my favorite of all these books is Accelerando by Charles Stross, in which the transition of mankind from biological lifeform to almost purely informational and back again is deeply influenced by three generations of the same family across several centuries.  Its follow-up, Glasshouse, is set in the same universe, but rather than focusing on the future of humanity, this book sets its main characters in a far-future simulation of what twentieth century life was like; its extrapolation of modern life as viewed by our long-removed descendents is endlessly fascinating. 

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