Archive for the ‘Recommended Books’ Category

Jeanetta Calhoun Mish’s Work Is Love Made Visible: Poetry and Family Photographs is a collection that I will return to again and again.  The poem that opens the book, “Rosasharn Reports from California in the 21st Century,” is full of humor and insights as to how things really haven’t changed since Steinbeck’s time.  The poems about the poet’s family are the jewels of the collection.  She takes you deep into her family, their poverty, anger and love.  She touches on many personalities in the family tree and is able to identify her own strengths and weakness by exploring her personal history.  I felt the pain, happiness and moments of pride while reading Mish’s work and the family photos included in the collection only heightened the experience.  “Road Burns,” “Work Is Love made Visible,” “For My Brother,” “Lessons from Luke,” “Body Snatcher,” and “mapping desire” are among my favorites but “My Great-Great-Grandmother Writes the Perfect Poem” with a  photo of the poet’s great-great-grandmother in front of the Busy Bee Cafe really stands out.


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The Fighter Still Remains

Poetry and boxing came together again on the Fourth of July. John was asked by the good people at Our Story Inc. to be a part of the Johnson-Jeffries Centennial Celebration in Reno, Nevada. The Lane brothers and Our Story Inc. organized events for Independence Day weekend and throughout the month of July. John delivered a talk called “Jack Johnson’s Fourth of July” at the Bethel African American Cultural Center on July 3, after which he signed copies of Fighters & Writers. George Kimball, author of Four Kings, also spoke. Kimball, along with John Schulian, edited a wonderful collection of poetry and song lyrics The Fighter Still Remains: A Celebration of Boxing in Poetry and Song from Ali to Zevon. All profits from the anthology are to go to the Berto Dynasty Foundation benefiting Project Medishare for Haitian Earthquake Relief. After I purchased a copy of the book I discovered that the editors included Muhammad Ali’s “The World’s Shortest Poem” that we had included on our post about our documentary No Neutral Corner being an official selection in the 2010 All Sports Los Angeles Film Festival that is taking play the weekend of July 10th. – NJR

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In Why Poetry Matters, poet and scholar Jay Parini writes about the Walt Whitman poem on which the film A Noiseless Patient Spider is based. He says “the modern free verse poem has its origins in … such nuggets as ‘A Noiseless Patient Spider.’” He calls the work “masterly, and deeply considered, writing.” Parini goes on to state: “In no rational use of the term could this be called ‘free’ verse, for Whitman has brought to perfection dearly, having brought a wide range of skills and imaginative force to bear in a short space.” Clearly, this makes a fine foundation for a short film…

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