Byte-Size Blair | March 21

We’re back with Byte-Size Blair, our weekly wrap-up of all things social media. If you’re not already following us on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram, give us a look.

If you’re in NC like we are, in the past week you made it through primary voting, St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and the first (chilly) day of spring. Congratulations, now unwind with some social media highlights from the week.

  1. Puppy video? Yes please! Slow motion puppy video? Even better!
  2. Whether voting day made you excited or exhausted, this look at the rise of North Carolina Republicans is sure to be of interest to voters statewide.
  3. Not quite ready for St. Patrick’s Day to be over? We can recommend some green books for you.
  4. Asheville loves this banjo-playing author of Bearwallow.
  5. Spring has sprung! If you’re gearing up for a scenic road trip perhaps this vintage poster for the Blue Ridge Parkway will help you pick a destination.

Today is World Poetry Day so curl up with some nice verse tonight.

cute-kitty-reading-a-book

Byte-size Blair | April 6

We’re back with Byte-Size Blair, our weekly wrap-up of all things social media. If you’re not already following us on Facebook, TwitterTumblr, or Pinterest, give us a look.

We hope that everyone has recovered from their candy-induced stomach aches!

  1. Distributed line Lookout Books published an awesome interview with Parnassus Books. Read it here!
  2. It’s National Poetry Month – check out the titles by our fantastic poets. This is a perfect opportunity to order 27 Views of Greensboro!
  3. Our own Tiya Miles read at Country Bookshelf in Montana last week. There are some great pictures and a video, too.
  4. A review of The Ghost Will See You Now was published by the Tennessee Library Association.
  5. Today is the LAST day to enter our Goodreads Giveaway!

That’s all for this week, but keep in mind that tomorrow is National Coffee Cake Day, and that coffee cake pairs very well with a good book.

Joseph Bathanti, Blair-distributed author, named N.C. Poet Laureate

Congrats, Joseph Bathanti! The award-winning poet, professor, and advocate for literacy has been named North Carolina’s Poet Laureate by Governor Bev Perdue.

“Joseph Bathanti is an award-winning poet and novelist with a robust commitment to social causes. He first came to North Carolina to work in the VISTA program and has taught writing workshops in prisons for 35 years,” Perdue said. “As North Carolina’s new Poet Laureate he plans to work with veterans to share their stories through poetry — a valuable and generous project.”

North Carolina’s seventh poet laureate, Bathanti will be installed during a public celebration scheduled Thursday, Sept. 20 at 4:30 p.m. at the State Capitol. The event is free.

Bathanti’s books of poetry include This Metal (St. Andrews College Press, 1996 and Press 53, 2012), Restoring Sacred Art (Star Cloud Press, 2010), Land of Amnesia (Press 53, 2009), Anson County (Williams & Simpson, 1989 and Parkway Publishers, 2005, distributed by John F. Blair), The Feast of All Saints (Nightshade press, 1994) and Communion Partners (Briarpatch Press, 1986). He has published two novels, Coventry (Novello Festival Press, 2006, distributed by John F. Blair) and East Liberty (Banks Channel Books, 2001, distributed by John F. Blair) along with a book of short stories, The High Heart (Eastern Washington University Press, 2007).

A native of Pittsburgh, Penn., Bathanti arrived in North Carolina in 1976 as a member of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), a national service program designed to fight poverty, and he never left the state. Assigned to work in Huntersville Prison in Mecklenburg County, he met fellow volunteer and future wife, Joan Carey on his first day of training. They have been married for 35 years.

Book trailer: When All the World Is Old, poems by John Rybicki

“Ordinary words are rooted to the great fires in the human heart. The same words we use every day, at the playground, at the bus stop, at the grocery store – when the poet takes hold of those tarnished, dirty words, they dunk them in the deep fires of the human heart and splash them on this canvas to bust open the chest of someone who’s listening.”

If you don’t read John Rybicki–you should! Last month, Lookout Books published his latest collection of poems, a tribute to his late wife entitled When All the World Is Old. Lookout also released this trailer for the book–and if Rybicki’s word’s don’t inspire you, I don’t know what will.

At the age of 29, just five years after they met, Rybicki’s wife, the poet Julie Moulds, was diagnosed with cancer. Here, in poems raw and graceful, authentic and wise, Rybicki pays homage to the brave love they shared during her 16-year battle and praises the caregivers—nurses and doctors and friends—who helped them throughout. He invites readers to bear witness to not only the chemotherapy, the many remissions, and the bone marrow transplants, but also the adoption of the couple’s son, the lifted prayers, the borrowed time, and the lovers’ last touches. A husband smashes an ice-cream cone against his forehead to make his wife laugh. He awakens in the middle of the night to find their dog drowsing atop a pile of her remnant clothes.

The lamentations and celebrations of When All the World Is Old create a living testament to an endless love. Braided with intimate entries from Moulds’s journal, these poems become the unflinching and lyric autobiography of a man hurtling himself headlong into the fire and emerging, somehow, to offer a portrait of light and grace.

Rybicki’s hymns rest in the knowledge that even though all love stories one day come to an end, we must honor the loving anyway. The poet has dipped his pen in despair, but as he cleaves his heart and our own, transmitting the exquisite loss into a beauty so fierce and scalding and ultimately healing that readers come out whole on the other side.

Because it’s still National Poetry Month…

…and on stormy Thursdays like today, you need a little poetry and a cup of hot tea in your life. So check out these recent titles:

When All the World Is Old

John Rybicki
Lookout Books
978-0-9845922-6-5
$16.95 paperback

At the age of 29, just five years after they met, John Rybicki’s wife, the poet Julie Moulds, was diagnosed with cancer. Here, in poems raw and graceful, authentic and wise, Rybicki pays homage to the brave love they shared during her 16-year battle and praises the caregivers—nurses and doctors and friends—who helped them throughout. He invites readers to bear witness to not only the chemotherapy, the many remissions, and the bone marrow transplants, but also the adoption of the couple’s son, the lifted prayers, the borrowed time, and the lovers’ last touches. A husband smashes an ice-cream cone against his forehead to make his wife laugh. He awakens in the middle of the night to find their dog drowsing atop a pile of her remnant clothes.

The lamentations and celebrations of When All the World Is Old create a living testament to an endless love. Braided with intimate entries from Moulds’s journal, these poems become the unflinching and lyric autobiography of a man hurtling himself headlong into the fire and emerging, somehow, to offer a portrait of light and grace.

Rybicki’s hymns rest in the knowledge that even though all love stories one day come to an end, we must honor the loving anyway

Home is Where: An Anthology of African American Poetry from the Carolinas

Edited by Kwame Dawes
Hub City Press
978-1-891885-80-8
$17.95 paperback

Kwame Dawes compiles the work of more than two dozen African American poets from the Carolinas, showcasing a vast array of original voices writing on subjects ranging from Jim Crow to jazz, haunted landscapes to romantic love—all in an attempt to define the South as home. The poets range in notoriety from National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes, PEN American Open Book Award winner Nikky Finney, and Ansfield-Wolf Book Award winner A. Van Jordan to poets less recognizable by name whose work readers will immediately recognize as powerful, musical, and accomplished.

What is in these pages is nothing less than a significant part of the contemporary poetry scene in America, as well as a piece of American history that in the past has not received its due credit. With Home is Where, that credit is finally bestowed.

Waking

Ron Rash
Hub City Press
978-1-891885-82-2
$14.95 paperback

Rooted in places like Watauga County, Goshen Creek, and Dismal Mountain, the poems in Ron Rash’s fourth collection, Waking, electrify dry counties and tobacco fields until they sparkle with the rituals and traditions of Southerners in the stir of their lives.

In his first book of poetry in nearly a decade, Rash leads his readers on a Southern odyssey, full of a terse wit and a sense of the narrative so authentic it will dazzle you. As we wake inside these poems, we see rivers wild with trout, lightning storms, and homemade churches, nailed and leaning against the side of a Tennessee mountain.

A two-time PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, Rash has been compared to writers like John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy. With his eye for the perfect detail and an ear for regional idiom, Rash furthers his claim as the new torchbearer for literature in the American South.

Here is a book full of sorrow and redemption, sparseness and the beauty of a single, stark detail—the muskellunge at first light, a barn choked with curing tobacco, a porch full of men and the rockers that move them over the same spot until they carve their names into the ground, deeper, even, into the roots where myths start, into the very marrow of the world.

Celebrate Poem In Your Pocket Day

As part of national poetry month, today is national Poem In Your Pocket Day!

The idea is simple: select a poem you love and carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends. You can even attend a Poem In Your Pocket Day reading–look here for events near you. And if you’re looking for a new poem to share, we can help!

This fall, Hub City Press will publish Waking, by Ron Rash, and Home Is Where: An Anthology of African American Poetry from the Carolinas, edited by Kwame Dawes. Both sets of poems will be published in October, but they’re available for preorder now. Enjoy!

 

Waking by Ron Rash | poetry

Check out Checking Out and Tim Peeler

We already mentioned that April is national garden month, but did you know it’s national poetry month too? Blair doesn’t publish poetry, but Hub City does, and to celebrate, we thought we’d share a poem with you from one of their publications. It’s Tim Peeler’s Checking Out, a new collection of poems that follows the fortunes of a young motel desk clerk and his fellow employees. Idealistic and less than a year out of college, the young clerk encounters the best and worst of humanity as characters check in and out of the motel.

Pretty neat concept, right? And now on to the good stuff! Here’s my favorite poem in the collection:

What did he see when he
came out here past the town
after the dust settled on the war?
Did he tour the landfill ground,
thinking of a restaurant, a motor court
like the ones he’d seen in Asheville?

He’d made his money in monuments
like Wolfe’s Gant, powerful hands,
a careful chisel; in walking somewhere,
his nephew had described how he
would go faster and faster till he arrived
at a run, even in his seventies.

When the highway widened
and the town marched slowly
toward his motel, restaurant,
his drive-in theater, it was whispered
that he might be a genius, and soon
folks began to name their sons after him.

Tim Peeler is sharing more of his poetry on his blog, so head on over there if you want to read more.