Reading Room Blog

11/17/2009 - 3:35pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Lots of contemporary poems are anecdotal, a brief narration of some event, and what can make them rise above anecdote is when they manage to convey significance, often as the poem closes. Here is an example of one like that, by Marie Sheppard Williams, who lives in Minneapolis.


Everybody

11/12/2009 - 2:09pm

Detective fiction is such an integral part of the current literary landscape that many people have difficulty remembering all its subgenres, popular works, and notable authors. This series explores the history of detective fiction, the authors who were a major influence on its development, and books and films in its major subgenres.
Join CRRL volunteeer John Gaines for a study in sleuthing.

11/12/2009 - 3:27pm

Seems as though every time there is an incident like the recent tragedy at Fort Hood, Clint Van Zandt turns up on TV, offering insight into what has happened and how to understand it. Van Zandt is well known for having been, for many years an FBI major crimes analyst, “profiler” and hostage negotiator. You may not know that he is today the president of a local business, Van Zandt Associates – an international risk and threat management consulting firm.

11/06/2009 - 4:55pm

Even if you've never heard the song, "I Am Woman (Hear Me Roar)," which topped the charts in 1972 and became an anthem of sorts for the women's lib movement (oh, and won a Grammy), you will enjoy these stories featuring heroines who grapple with the big challenges and mysteries of life. Ranging from hilarious to heart-breaking, there's something for everyone.

11/03/2009 - 1:52pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

We haven’t shown you many poems in which the poet enters another person and speaks through him or her, but it is, of course, an effective and respected way of writing. Here Philip Memmer of Deansboro, N.Y., enters the persona of a young woman having an unpleasant experience with a blind date.

The Paleontologist’s Blind Date

11/03/2009 - 1:47pm

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

I love poems in which the central metaphors are fresh and original, and here’s a marvelous, coiny description of autumn by Elizabeth Klise von Zerneck, who lives in Illinois.

Like Coins, November

We drove past late fall fields as flat and cold
as sheets of tin and, in the distance, trees

were tossed like coins against the sky. Stunned gold
and bronze, oaks, maples stood in twos and threes:

10/26/2009 - 11:57am

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

We haven’t shown you many poems in which the poet enters another person and speaks through him or her, but it is, of course, an effective and respected way of writing. Here Philip Memmer of Deansboro, N.Y., enters the persona of a young woman having an unpleasant experience with a blind date.

The Paleontologist’s Blind Date

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,

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