Tag Archives: Martín Espada

Books Acquired Recently: Dove & Hudson Edition

Yesterday I made a trip to Dove & Hudson Old Books in Albany, one of my favorite bookstores and the best I’ve found in the state of New York other than the Strand. I only bought four books because I’ve been spending a lot on books lately, but there were a number of others that I also considered.

Espada, Martín. Alabanza: New and Selected Poems 1982-2002. 2003. New York: W.W. Norton, 2004.

I love Espada’s work and was happy to find this copy of his selected poems for only $5.00.

Hall, Donald. Seasons at Eagle Pond. New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1987.

I enjoy Hall’s poetry and the bits of his prose that I have read. I’ve been thinking a lot about memoir lately and am usually thinking about place, so this book about his family farm jumped out at me.

Lethem, Jonathan. You Don’t Love Me Yet. 2007. New York: Vintage, 2008.

I enjoy Lethem’s fiction, but haven’t read any of it for a while, and haven’t read any of his shorter books. The blurb on this one caught my attention.

Sackville-West, Vita. Family History. 1932. London: Virago Press, 1986.

I was looking for another book when I came across this one for only $3.50, and decided to buy it because I am a sucker for old paperbacks.

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Books Acquired Recently

Auden, W.H. Selected Poems. Ed. Edward Mendelson. 1979. New York: Vintage, 1989.

I have been meaning to read Auden’s poetry for years now, and have often thought about buying a book of his, but for various reasons it didn’t happen. I found a used copy of his Selected Poems at Aaron’s Books in Lititz, Pennsylvania, for only $5.75 when I was visiting family for Thanksgiving, and decided that it was finally time to buy it.

Cook, Roy J., ed. One Hundred and One Famous Poems with a Prose Supplement. Chicago: Cable, 1929.

I received this from a coworker of my mother’s who knows that I  enjoy poetry. It is a small paperback book, rather beaten up (the back cover is missing, though all of the pages seem to be there), that originally cost $0.25 according to an advertising flyer within. It has poems by some well-known authors (Longfellow, Tennyson, George Eliot, Whittier, and so on) and some that I have never heard of before who must have been influential in the early twentieth century (the canon giveth and the canon taketh away, I suppose). It also contains Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine’s “give me liberty or give me death” essay, and the Magna Carta. The editor writes in the Preface that “Science and steel demand the medium of prose. Speed requires only the look–the gesture. What need then, for poetry? Great need!” How much truer now is this sentiment nearly a century later!

Espada, Martín. The Republic of Poetry. 2006. New York: Norton, 2008.

I am a big fan of the little of Espada’s poetry that I have read, and came across this collection while browsing at The Green Toad Bookstore in Oneonta, New York, recently. I decided to buy it immediately. I’ve already read it and it is excellent.

Friesen, Patrick. Interim: Essays & Meditations. Regina: Hagios, 2006.

Patrick Friesen is one of the writers who put Mennonite literature on the broader literary map, and I have enjoyed reading his poetry and drama throughout the years. I recently heard about this collection and decided to buy it, but it was difficult to find a copy because it was only published in Canada. I was able to find one for a reasonable price on abebooks.com.

 

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Books Acquired Recently

Ai. No Surrender. New York: Norton, 2010.

Last Thursday I was grading some student essays about Martín Espada’s poetry reading on campus last month, and, as is often the case when reading student work, I was seized with an incredible desire to read literature (in this case poetry specifically) rather than reading writing about it. So after I was done at the office I walked up the hill to The King’s English Bookshop to look for some poetry because they have an excellent poetry section. I decided to buy Ai’s last collection even though I am not that familiar with her work–I’ve only read a few of her poems in anthologies. I read the book immediately and loved it! The collection consists primarily of long narrative poems, all very smooth, probably the best long poems I’ve read aside from Kenneth Koch’s. I highly recommend it.

Bergen, David. The Retreat. 2008. Toronto: Emblem, 2009.

As I’ve written here before, Bergen is one of my favorite novelists. However, I did not realize this book existed until I recently read his latest novel, The Age of Hope, which included The Retreat in the list of his previous books. Apparently it hasn’t been published in the U.S., which is why I didn’t receive the usual notification from amazon.com about “a new book from an author whose books you’ve purchased before.” However, I was able to find a copy of the Canadian edition from one of their used booksellers.

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Books Acquired Recently: Massachusetts Writers Edition

Espada, Martín. The Trouble Ball. 2011. New York: Norton, 2012.

Espada gave a reading at my college this past Thursday, and I also had the privilege of having him speak in one of my classes. He is everything a writer should be: passionate, activist, happy to talk about his work, non-elitist. His poems are fun to read because they are vivid and engaging. The reading was one of the best I’ve ever been to, so buying his latest collection was an obvious decision.

One thing that I did not know about Espada is that he is a huge baseball fan. The Trouble Ball‘s title poem is about his father’s first visit to Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, and he is also working on a collection of essays about baseball and Latinos for Bloomsbury Press. I asked him who he roots for, and he said that he grew up a Mets fan, but switched to the Red Sox in 1986 because he was living in Massachusetts. Bill Simmons explains here why sports bigamy is wrong; Espada was immediately punished for his when the Mets defeated the Red Sox that year in one of the greatest World Series ever. But he and I both hate the Yankees, so he’s alright in my book. He also mentioned enjoying minor league baseball, and was happy to hear that Salt Lake City has a AAA team. Espada said his favorite baseball moment was game seven of the 2004 American League Championship Series when the Red Sox defeated the Yankees (he also made mention of the ninth inning of game four when Boston’s comeback began), and his second favorite moment was when Puerto Rico beat the USA in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

Stoner, Kay. Strange Bedfellows: A Cautionary Tale for Times of Global Change. Bolton: Kay Stoner, 2010.

I first encountered Stoner’s work in Mennonot (she has a poem on page 16 of issue 2 and an article beginning on page 10 of issue 3, both of which may be accessed here), and found her to be an exciting pro-LGBT voice. I wanted to read more of her work, and uncovered the self-published novel Strange Bedfellows after doing some googling. It looks fascinating: Stoner claims that she dreamt it (shades of Coleridge!), and it includes images of some of her artwork to supplement the narrative.

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