067) One Minute till Bedtime selected by Kenn Nesbitt, finished May 30
I really should have read this as instructed---to my kids right before bed. But most of these collections are . . . awful, frankly. So I decided to check it out myself first. And then I read the entire thing. Because it's a terrific collection.one evening
The poems' copyright dates are mostly 2016 or shortly before, so I suspect Nesbitt, more than "selecting" the poems commissioned them. Anyway, however whatever, they're great poems of all types. Rhyming, not rhyming. Serious, silly. Some of the finest concrete poems I've read. It's a terrific collection.
Another thing that makes it great is the illustrations by Christoph Niemann. So many poetry collections for kids have illustrations that battle for the eye's attention. A certain simplicity is required. A certain sense of play with the text. Think of Silverstein's work.
Niemann accomplishes this difficult trick. His mostly monochromatic drawings are simple, but when examined closely, they are infused with an excellent wit. They disappear when needed and reward when attended to.
It's the best book of its sort I've seen.
Or so I say prior to trying it out on my kids.
066) The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder, finished May 25
here's their review of the show) and thought to myself---don't I have a copy of that?over two months
I did. It's a production copy for an actor who played Gladys (when and where I do not know). And since I had also just read an article about Wilder's novels (and because, although I barely remember it now, I loved Our Town when I read it in high school) (and because I had just finished Enemy of the People so might as well have started a new play), I decided to give it a shot.
I was mesmerized by it at first, but ended up taking weeklong breaks in the middle of my reading and it's not the sort of thing that makes pure sense even without such unnatural breaks.
The characters have been alive for thousands of years and their world is a weird mix of an anthropology textbook and Genesis. There's a dinosaur. There's a New Jersey boardwalk. It's a mad mix of this and that, with copious breaking of the fourth wall and understudies pulled from the audience. Philosophers play hours of the clock.
But the whole thing is charming and goodnatured, even as it skewers today's political climate with as sure an eye as it did that of its original production.
Expect blood. The theater is not a safe space.
065) Wonder Woman: A Celebration of 75 years by (various), finished May 24
It took me a while to get through the early stories. Golden Age and Silver Age comics just haven't aged well. It wasn't until the late '80s until it stopped being merely an academic exercise and became actually enjoyable. (Although that does coincide with the art getting . . . anatomically unlikely. Can't win them all, I guess.)a few weeks
As with any of these kinds of collections, it can be hard to believe that after all the decades THESE are the ABSOLUTE BEST,
but that may be a matter of my personal biases. I will say that one advantage this book has over those two is waiting 25 more years because comics started getting better just around the time those were published.
Anyway! I'm worthy to watch the movie now!
064) Leiathan with a Hook by Kimberly Johnson, finished May 12
Unlike many of the collections I've read this year wherein I start excited by the new voice then grow weary of it by the end, I didn't take to this book at all. It was many pages before I even found lines I liked. As the pages turned, I grew impressed by her innovations but confused by the coherence of imagery---or rather, this coherent imagery's lack of apparent connection to the collection's title. And then the third-to-last poem brought that all together. And the final two poems brought us in for a soft landing.three days
Previously in 2017