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October 2021

The Dream of a Common Language

The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-1977The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-1977 by Adrienne Rich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Whatever happens with us, your body
will haunt mine."

Yes, I am living through that experience right now and was so struck to see it in Rich's poems and so well-articulated in written word.

And that is the experience of reading Rich, encountering oneself and one's experiences richly articulated and wrapped in wisdom and insight.

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This Land Is Their Land

This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of ThanksgivingThis Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving by David J. Silverman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ahead of this year's 400th anniversary of "the First Thanksgiving" I wanted to read this Wampanoag based account that stands as a corrective to the myth. This is a very good and effective book. And even though I've read a number of historical accounts of Plymouth colony, there was much I learned or saw in new perspective while reading this book.

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In the Aftermath

In the AftermathIn the Aftermath by Jane Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I met Jane Ward at the Yale Writer's Conference six or seven years ago, so I was looking forward to the release of this novel she had been working on at the time.

In the Aftermath is a beautiful exploration of loss and grief and the ways that people are impacted by a tragedy, even people we might not immediately think of as directly related to the situation.

Written with sensitivity and grace, Ward explores the emotional and mental health impacts upon her characters. And while we don't always read novels to learn something, this novel I believe can be helpful for those dealing with their own losses and griefs. As I know it was for me, as I am currently in such a life season.

I found these final lines of the story to beautifully capture life, "Born, dead, reborn. Change, change, and change again. And so on. That had always been the story."

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BewildermentBewilderment by Richard Powers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Powers is an astonishingly and agonizingly good author. He continues the focus on climate change explored in the Overstory, but this time with an intimate novel as one grieving father tries to parent his special needs son who is overcome with concern for animals and the environment. Powers is able to beautifully describe birds and grass and far off stars and planets, while also capturing the rich textures of the emotions and the inner lives of humans. He writes about sadness with such beauty. This book will leave you thinking and feeling, haunted by what it portends and inspired by what it imagines possible.

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The Poems of Edward Taylor

The Poems of Edward TaylorThe Poems of Edward Taylor by Edward Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"File bright our rusty brains, and sharpen them."

More than a year ago, while reading Harold Bloom's anthology of American religious poetry, I greatly enjoyed the selections from Edward Taylor, a Puritan poet, for their surprising and fun metaphors and images. I searched and found this out-of-print volume. I don't know that I needed to read all of the poems of Edward Taylor, a great selection would have sufficed. But I did enjoy them and broke up the reading of this comprehensive volume by reading other poetry over the last year.

"Woes Pickled in Revenges Powdering Trough"

I delight in the idea of pickled woes!

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