A poet from down under…

Here we are in the first week of the new semester, which means I’m back on Sundays. Which also means it’s slow as heck today and I’ve already finished prepping for my two classes I have next week for instruction. The one I was just working on is a Business Comm class where I was pre-researching Disneyland (Tokyo and Paris), McDonald’s in China, and Starbucks use of social media. After all of that I have a sudden strong urge to eat awful cheeseburgers, drink a vast amount of liquid sugar in the form of a Frappuccino, and haul tail over to the Magic Kingdom for a spin on Pirates. Of course I won’t be doing any of those things, but I am certainly NOT impervious to advertising and have been known to do things rather impulsively and regret them later so I had to stop.

So now, with my last hour here on my first Sunday back, I will resume the Sunday roulette. Today I decided to get crazy (watch out) and use the reference stacks, which I have never done before. After getting my random numbers I actually found myself in a section that I think I can work with. Today I Pulled Modern Women Writers: Volume 2 Falcon to Lynch from the library of literacy criticism. It’s big and boring looking since it’s a reference book, but here’s the spine for proof of my pick.

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The volume is, essentially, a list of modern women writers which has a short page or so entry for each person. The entries start with a general introduction of the writer, followed by a short description and criticism of some of their popular works. Today I opened up to an Australian poet named Gwen Harwood. Here’s her intro:

Those who study Australian poetry don’t agree on much, but they would all agree that Gwen Harwood is exceptionally adept at masking. Even those who have only read one or two of her poems know, of course, that she has written acrostics adroit enough not be recognized as such by the fragile skills of editors. A little more acquaintance teaches us that she has written under pen names such as “Miriam Stone” and “Francis Geyer,” poems that have excited many a talent spotter with the convictions that they have just discovered a coruscating new Austpoet (Robinson, 1996, pg. 277).

A couple things here. First, I feel like I am not familiar with any kind of Australian poets so this is exciting to be introduced to. Second, I don’t know some of these words so… acrostics= a poem or word puzzle / adroit= clever or skillful/ coruscating= flashing, sparkling or brilliant. There, now I know about a new market of poets I’ve never read, as well as some new vocab words. I like the fact that she uses pen names, and changes it up. Let me see if I can find some of her work to share.

Three of the poems mentioned in her bio are “The New Music”, “To A.D. Hope”, and something called an Eisenbart and Krote group, which I’m not quite totally sure of. We don’t have any of her books here at the U, but she is mentioned as a chapter in a larger book Nine Lives- “ch. Six Gwen Harwood takes on the poetry pundit”. I couldn’t find the poems they mentioned in Modern Women Writers but there are a couple found here at a site called poemhunter. “In the park” is written about often as one of her more well known poems, demonstrating Harwood’s interpretation of the struggle imposed upon some women in motherhood.

Well that’s it for today, I went ahead an ordered a copy of her collected works to catch up on this week. If you are into poetry, check Gwen Harwood (or Miriam Stone, or Francis Geyer) out at your local book depository. I performed a meme check and just so you know, there are memes out there about Gwen Harwood, probably made by somebody who wasn’t so excited about reading her in class.

GH

Robinson, L. S. (1996). Modern Women Writers: Falcón to Lynch (Vol. 2). New York: Continuum.

Sheridan, S. (2011). Nine lives: postwar women writers making their mark. Retrieved from http://0-ebookcentral.proquest.com.leopac.ulv.edu

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Crush like it’s 1999

It’s Tuesday evening, and tonight in the tech center we are visited by the haunting drums of ancient Mexico. Yes, it’s the mall’s summer outdoor concert series featuring world music that takes place right outside the center’s thin windows. There’s chanting, a strong solid drum beat, and dancers with headdresses. The whole thing is quite hypnotizing and beautiful. I don’t know how the tech patrons really feel about it, but at least it’s drowning out the sound of RATT’s greatest hits, which the newest drifter addition to the tech center patronage is listening to loudly on cheap earphones in the front row. He does this really great thing where it takes him several minutes to settle into his computer, including banging the keyboard around, turning it upside down, lifting and lowering it on the base of the computer multiple times, shifting around his personal belongings in the small space, hanging his hat on different corners of the monitor. He’s actually listening to Iron Maiden right now while searching for telemarketing jobs on craigslist… Maybe he’s not as off as he seems….

Anyhow, I’ve been spinning my wheels so much on this job hunting spiel that I forgot to keep doing what I love to be doing, which is of course finding strange library books and talking about them. I was early to the public today so I went undercover as a patron with headphones on and cruised the stacks. Why have I never done this before in my four years here? I went up and down the adult fiction and non-fiction aisles just browsing like I had nowhere that I needed to be. Here at the public we have end caps where we turn some books cover facing out to “merchandise” or advertise them so that patrons may be more apt to check them out. We are told to put books with catchy covers, or relevant topics. So I was surprised to see this one from “The Need to Know Library” entitled: Everything You Need to Know about Dating and Relationships. It has a wonderful romantic stock photo from what looks like the early 90’s on the cover, and so many fun headings and pictures throughout, I had to pick it up and read it for myself.

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I’m no Casanova myself, so why not take in the ancient wisdom of this dating book while dating was still a real world thing and didn’t exist solely in some swiping app, or perverse supermarket of catchy profile names, bad pick-up lines, over flattering angles and cropped profile pics.

The first picture in the book says “Dating can be confusing and unsettling” (Hovanec, 2000).

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Well you got that right sister. Also, please note the amazing corded 90’s phone/answering machine. The one thing I have noted in non-fiction books is that the stock photos used are usually about a decade behind the release date, although there are many 90’s features, the book was actually released in 2000. Come to find though, 17 years later this caption is more relevant than ever.

The chapters include: To date or not to date? Crushes, flirts, and other scary things. Getting Started: making a date. What is a relationship, anyway? Dating smarts and safety. Getting serious: beyond dating. And finally, When it’s over: breaking up. So this book runs the gamut from dating start to finish.

Reading through it is the normal kinds of stuff, no means no, don’t get drunk or high on dates, communicate, and feel free to kiss on the first date if you feel comfortable with it. There are no rules! One of my favorite parts is when the author describes that moment, you know that moment when you undeniable have…. A CRUSH.

It always happens when you least expect it. There you are minding your own business, and you look up and see Him. Or maybe you’re hanging out with your friends and suddenly She walks by. Time stops, and the world around you fades away. That’s it—you have a crush. (Hovanec, 2000)

This book was for sure meant for a teenager about 20 years ago, the dramatic nature of the description of a crush says it all. Time stops, literally stops, the 14 year old girl in me is definitely enjoying this. I love finds like this, it allows you to take a peek into how much our culture and customs have changed in such a short period of time. If the people in this book only knew about bumble or tinder…..

Hovanec, E. (2000). Everything you need to know about: dating and relationships. New York: Rosen Publishing.

Ponzee and Pop-paap

Today my co-worker brought in a super cool XP-pen digital drawing tablet that he let me play with. I think he got it for like 20 bucks on amazon, or something to that effect. It takes a bit of getting used to, but after I got the hang of it, it became pretty darn fun. I’m not much of an artist really, but just playing around with it gave me something to do on this super slow Sunday.

Here’s our first creation. Ponzee and Pop-paap. As you can see Ponzee is a Panda, and Pop-paap is a kind and pretty Popsicle. It’s a collaboration piece, I did the panda, he did the pop.

Ponzee

Playing with this thing has re-inspired me to write a children’s book. So I did. A super rough 6 pager called The Black Hole in the Library. Here it is, my first crack at it.

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Well that’s pretty much it. I did ask him to bring it in next week, so maybe I can do another installment. A series perhaps of library mishaps. I suppose it could always end in them closing the library for safety reasons, I don’t know why I find that so entertaining.

Cats and Buttered Toast

One of my best friends is having a baby shower early June, and in a clever twist, her sister in law has asked guests to bring a book for the baby instead of a card. OH, how perfect is this request. Build the little one a library with personalized messages from the ones who will love him and watch him grow. BOOKS, just books, I love it all.

Whenever I go to a kid’s party I’m that lady that brings books. I don’t buy toys, or clothes, or anything like that I bring books. If it’s a baby shower, sometimes I bring my go to Read Along Handbook by Jim Trelease –  as a part of the gift in an attempt to guilt the mother into reading to her child. Really, it’s just generally handy for book suggestions.  For kid’s birthdays its books, books and more books. The public has an awesome friends of the library where you can find, odd, offbeat, marvelous children’s books for .50 cents to a dollar. There’s really nothing like watching your friends and/or acquaintances open your gift to find such original treasures. I’m sure most kids would rather have a princess dress, or skateboard or something much cooler. If this is the case, then don’t invite me to your kids parties because they are only getting 5$ of strange literature out of me. So there. Am I being rebellious? Maybe a little, but I think the consumerism, especially for kids, is way out of control these days.

So what did I find today in the Friends?

A picture book called Mac Side Up by Bob Elsdale. I got it mainly because it has a cat wearing a backwards hat on a piece of toast on the cover, but as I read it gets better.

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The whole book is a play on the buttered toast always lands butter side down and cat always lands on its feet thing that was so popular like 15 years ago, you know, that thing.

Anyways. This cool cat decides that he is going to see what happens if he straps a piece of buttered toast with the butter side up to his back. With the help of his radical ferret friend (who wears sunglasses) he embarks on a stunt to try to get to the bottom of this hypothesis. Which is stronger, the fact that the cat always lands on his feet, or the thought that buttered toast always lands side down??? Well if you want to know, you will have to find a copy of this god knows where. I will give you a spoiler though, in the end, I think that felines may prevail.

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**Also at the end of this book there is a two page explanation of how there were no animals harmed in the making of this book, and how they position the model animals and surrounding images so that they are in no way distressed in the process (YES!)**

Book hoarding

Librarians are the worst kind of library patrons hands down. We hoard things, check them out and override max number of check outs, or just keep the items forever since we get no fees. Sorry it’s so true. Part of the time you feel like a kid in a candy store. There so much out there to get your hands on. And with both public and academic libraries at my disposal it becomes even worse. I pick up so many books and hold on to them for months and never get around to reading them. It’s a balance, you have to force yourself to do social things occasionally or be a shut in with your books. Half the time when you are out you just wish you were at home reading with a bottle of wine. But then I guess a lifetime of that and you die alone with the cats. OR find somebody that just wants to stay at home and read with you. I may be wishful thinking.

One more month and its back to school here, which sounds good to me. It’s like a ghost town around here, and although I don’t need the constant flow of people that happens at the public, I do enjoy the bustle of a new semester, and new students that breathe some life into this old re-purposed Alpha Beta. But there’s still 3 more weeks in August to get through before that happens. Fall weather is something to look forward to as well but that doesn’t happen here in So Cal until November. (grumble) Tomorrow I’m going to meet with the archivist and talk about possibly putting together a digital collection for our 125th anniversary as a college. I’m excited because it’s something I worked on pretty hard last year for the history wall that never really got anywhere, so it won’t be much work to put together at all it’s mostly done. Plus it’s a digital collection, my child, something I created for once, I guess it’s not the next great American novel, but it’s a start. Still trying my hand at being more creative lately, but I’m lacking a muse, or creative partner. How do you find one of these? Craigslist? Instagram? What about that saying.. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear… I’m pretty sure I’m ready, and figuring out that creativity doesn’t live in a drunken vacuum, as I previously believed.