Katie Umans is a poet. What is she doing here? Indulging her love and envy of fiction and maybe getting you to try a little poetry. (Please? You might like it.) These days, she lives in New Hampshire. She is one poet of Two Poet Truffles, a chocolate and poetry enterprise that publishesThe Concher. In addition to holding an office job, she teaches genius kids through Johns Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth. Katie steals her own time for writing now, but she has in the past been happily swaddled in the support of the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing (where she was a post-graduate fellow), the MFA program at the University of Michigan, and the New Hampshire State Council for the Arts. Her first book is forthcoming in 2012 from Dzanc/Black Lawrence Press; she received the 2010 St. Lawrence Book Award for her manuscript, “Flock Book.” Katie’s poems have been published in journals like Crazyhorse, Columbia, The Bellingham Review, Mid-American Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Forklift Ohio, and the Indiana Review. Three books that are hugely important and influential to her are Nabokov’s Lolita, Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, and Plath’s Ariel — a list which makes Katie sound like a really dark and disturbed person, but she absorbs these into a generally cheerful and stable personality.
Poetry—it isn’t just for poets! In her latest column, Katie Umans recommends straying from fiction with the following books: Kingdom Animalia, Something in the Potato Room, Le Spleen de Poughkeepsie, and Lucky Fish.
Why did I feel such hope when I first heard about David Orr’s new book, Beautiful and Pointless: A Guide to Modern Poetry? I’ve read my share of poetry guides, and most of them have taken up residence in a particularly dusty neighborhood on my poetry bookshelf. But Orr’s book had a title that pretty much summed up my own weary but hopeful sentiments about contemporary poetry.
Fiction writers are sometimes the first to prostrate themselves and say they don’t get poetry, but these five recommendations have been hand-picked for prosers: Post Moxie by Julia Story, Thin Kimono by Michael Earl Craig, Noose and Hook by Lynn Emanuel, The Madeleine Poems by Paul Legault, and American Fanatics by Dorothy Barresi.
Reviewlets give FWR contributors the chance to recommend books of all genres that other fiction writers might enjoy. Reviewlet Rewinds like this one highlight books published more than two years ago, and Reviewlet Classics refer to books published more than twenty years ago. At first I was not so sure about She Got Up Off the Couch: And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana (Free Press, 2005), the sequel/companion to Haven Kimmel‘s A Girl Named Zippy. She Got Up seemed like outtakes from its predecessor, and the aw shucks introduction justifying a sequel worried me. (“I didn’t expect much from […]
Reviewlets give FWR contributors the chance to recommend books of all genres that other fiction writers might enjoy. Reviewlet Rewinds (like this one) highlight books published more than two years ago, and Reviewlet Classics refer to books published more than twenty years ago. You know that moment in life when you realize that stories of the things that loomed large in childhood — your terror of the woman who lives next door or your absolute certainty that some of the playing cards in a deck are female and some, male — can be condensed, as if through a trash compactor, […]
The Song is You, by Arthur Phillips, is a book about music and love – the grand, sweeping stuff. So you might be surprised at how controlled the writing is. Not that I was expecting the book to play a cloying tune when I opened it, like one of those oversized Hallmark cards, but I did somehow expect it to be more… well, musical. The 2006 movie Once is an example – one I thought of often while reading this – of how music can surge viscerally through a love story and vice versa, though of course a film has certain advantages in evoking song that a book does not.