Structure and Style: Beneath all the hoof prints: →
structureandstyle: I’ve known little of science but understood the heart beats like a caged god. I’ve been too something my whole damn life. I’ve buried chandeliers, turned domestic work into love. I’ve traced an elegy to its teeth. It looked like pushing in reverse. I’ve been having a hard time separating the…
My Writing Process: Let Go and Study
At this point, it’s clear that I let myself get bogged down by teaching. My goal with this blog was to talk about books, music, and movies (and sometimes other things), but I can’t remember the last time I blogged about something I read, and that’s sad because I’ve read some fantastic literature lately. Teaching hasn’t just affected my blogging; it’s really had...
I have officially been studied, y'all!
I spent part of my day talking to an Appalachian Literature class about poetry—my poetry. It was an awesome experience, for so many different reasons.
Oh, Boston, I am sending love and light to you on this sad, dark day.
Structure and Style: After All These Years You... →
structureandstyle: It’s Palm Springs and you’ve slipped away from a day of swimming and drinking to lie for a minute with your eyes closed in the other room while the air-conditioner moan-groans outside the window—your body chilled from sunburn and untouched for months. Startled from near sleep you hear a…
Structure and Style: Aunt Eloe Schools the... →
structureandstyle: As the crow flies, you say? Come now you god of the crossroads, I’m talking ravens here. Corvids are corvids, yes, but like a dog compared to a wolf you can’t call a crow a raven and have the word “nevermore” mean the same thing. Now, two facts: ravens mate for life, but this raven, let’s call…
Structure and Style: The Beauty of Busted Fruit →
structureandstyle: When we were children, we traced our knees, shins, and elbows for the slightest hint of wound, searched them for any sad red-blue scab marking us both victim and survivor. All this before we knew that some wounds can’t heal, before we knew the jagged scars of Great-Grandmother’s amputated legs,…
Structure and Style: What We Take With Us →
structureandstyle: I make them memorize soliloquies, some lines to keep, should they be taken prisoner, like John McCain, in some foreign jail, no words to read, no paper to write, just the wild ranting of Hamlet, Macbeth, to take them through the darkest nights. I urge them to know Emily, Wordsworth, Whitman, some…
Structure and Style: Fear of Happiness →
structureandstyle: Looking back, it’s something I’ve always had: As a kid, it was a glass-floored elevator I crouched at the bottom of, my eyes squinched tight, Or staircase whose gaps I was afraid I’d slip through, Though someone always said I’d be all right— Just don’t look down or See, it’s not so bad (The…
theparisreview: “A sign on the door, which visitors in the past have found distasteful, made emphatically clear the owner’s unwillingness to deal with people of decidedly unliterary tastes: ‘No law books, no text books, no science books. ONLY POETRY!’ ” Read more from Rhoda Feng on the legendary Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I must go here:
One Today by Richard Blanco
structureandstyle: For today’s poem, I want to direct you to The New York Times for the full-text of “One Today” by the 2013 inaugural poet Richard Blanco. Both of us at Structure and Style are proud of our President and thrilled that he was re-elected, but regardless of your political leanings, this poem is beautiful, so read it and give “thanks for a love/ that loves you back”. -S
Structure and Style: If →
structureandstyle: If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give…
Structure and Style: That Now Are Wild And Do Not... →
structureandstyle: Where did you go to, when you went away? It is as if you step by step were going Someplace elsewhere into some other range Of speaking, that I had no gift for speaking, Knowing nothing of the language of that place To which you went with naked foot at night Into the wilderness there elsewhere in…
Structure and Style: Where Go the Boats →
structureandstyle: Dark brown is the river, Golden is the sand. It flows along for ever, With trees on either hand. Green leaves a-floating, Castles of the foam, Boats of mine a-boating— Where will all come home? On goes the river, And out past the mill, Away down the valley, Away down the hill. Away down…
Structure and Style: Dawn Revisited →
structureandstyle: Imagine you wake up with a second chance: The blue jay hawks his pretty wares and the oak still stands, spreading glorious shade. If you don’t look back, the future never happens. How good to rise in sunlight, in the prodigal smell of biscuits—- eggs and sausage on the grill. The whole sky is…
Structure and Style: Ode to Being a Wreck →
structureandstyle: You remind me that I live in this world, which is a junkyard, and that naturally you live in me or at least you keep a time share in me where you vacation when others evict you because they have it all sorted out. You save me from believing too much in myself. You remind me that I’m a moon, not a…
Teaching freshmen composition, presented to you in... →
This is so funny and so, so true.
People cannot help it!
shitmystudentswrite: I would also like to add that the term illiterate is mean and hateful. People cannot help that they don’t have a father!
Structure and Style: Weebles wobble but they don't... →
structureandstyle: I know a woman about to lose her house. It’s not missing, she’s certain where the water shut-off valve is and which stair squeaks when she goes up at ten to rise at four. I promised myself I wasn’t going to do this, no one listens to this kind of poem anyway, it might as well be a sermon or the…
Structure and Style: Graveyard Blues →
structureandstyle: It rained the whole time we were laying her down; Rained from church to grave when we put her down. The suck of mud at our feet was a hollow sound. When the preacher called out I held up my hand; When he called for a witness I raised my hand— Death stops the body’s work, the soul’s a…
Structure and Style: Groceries →
structureandstyle: I had a boyfriend once, after my mother and brothers and sisters and I fled my father’s house, who worked at the Piggly Wiggly where he stocked shelves on Fridays until midnight then drove to my house to sneak me out, take me down to the tracks by the cotton mill where he lifted me and the quilt…
Structure and Style: It is not a word spoken,Few... →
structureandstyle: It is not a word spoken, Few words are said; Nor even a look of the eyes Nor a bend of the head, But only a hush of the heart That has too much to keep, Only memories waking That sleep so light a sleep. —Sara Teasdale Special Guest Star Janet Dale* writes: Even though her collection Love…
Structure and Style: Death and the Arkansas River →
structureandstyle: Walking from the killing place, Walking in the mud, The bootsoles leave little hexes in the kitchen. One summer there was a place Where everyone chewed dirt in their supper. It was a place like an attic With a chest of orchids pressed in books. Men cleaned their fingernails In the moonlight. …
Don’t underestimate how much antagonism there is toward women and how many...– Nora Ephron’s commencement speech at Wellesley College in 1996 (via rachelfershleiser:thewordunheard)
shitmystudentswrite: I’m quoting from the ancient Greek philosopher Aeropostale. These people are the ones I pray for.
30 Day Book Challenge Day #21- free-kay
The most disturbing book you’ve ever read: Confession: I typically don’t read genre fiction or fantasy, so my definition of disturbing might be a bit different. The most disturbing book I’ve ever read is We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. The book is from the perspective of a mother whose teenage son massacres his school. I bought the book when I was in England...
30 Day Book Challenge Day #20- where I do it best
The environment you most enjoy reading in: Honestly, I will read any where and at any time. When I was in high school, I read in class. When I was in college, I loved going to the campus library to read. I would hide on one of the less-frequently visited floors, usually with my best friend in tow, and just camp out. Nowadays, my favorite place to read is in my armchair with a cup of tea close...
30 Day Book Challenge Day #19- the underdog
A book that you think is woefully underrated: Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay I think there are a lot of opportunities to learn while reading this novel—to learn more about WWII, the Holocaust, about connecting with other people, and how intricate and entwined our lives can be.
30 Day Book Challenge Day #18-highly overrated
A book that you think is highly overrated: I’ll probably be tongue-lashed for this, but I do not understand what the big deal is about Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. The guy was a genius and very clever, and I’m in the process of reading some of his essays, which, so far, I think are more deserving of attention. There will always be a part of me that believes the most...
30 Day Book Challenge Day #17- just not into it
A book you want to like, but can’t get into for whatever reason. Why can’t you get into it? Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. I’ve tried to read this book multiple times and just can’t get very far into it. I want to read it, but I just keep getting stuck. I’ll give it another go eventually.
30 Day Book Challenge Day #16- never
A book you haven’t read and have no intention of ever reading: Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I tried to start this book once because I was supposed to read it for a class in college, but I didn’t want to read it and never could get past the first 10 pages. The weird thing is, I like Melville’s short stories.
30 Day Book Challenge Day #15- plans
A book you haven’t read but is on your “will read” list: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.
30 Day Book Challenge Day #14- regrets
A book you regret not having read sooner: -To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I was in college before I read this book and actually didn’t love it until I read it again. It’s become a book I teach in my developmental courses. -Jane Austen’s novels (other than Pride and Prejudice): I didn’t read all of Jane Austen until AFTER college and I absolutely love Emma,...
30 Day Book Challenge Day #13- childhood faves
Your favorite book from childhood: It’s always hard to choose just one book. I’ve loved to read for as long as I could remember and devoured books like The Little House on the Prairie. I also loved the American Girl books, Dr. Seuss, Where the Wild Things Are, Goosebumps, The Berenstain Bears, The Giver, and The Boxcar Children. I read anything I could get my hands on, including...
30 Day Book Challenge Day #12- favorite authors
Your favorite authors: Charles Dickens Jane Austen Leo Tolstoy Thomas Hardy Mary Oliver Rita Dove William Shakespeare Ernest Hemingway William Faulkner Flannery O’Connor Eudora Welty Jim Wayne Miller TS Eliot Daphne du Maurier Louisa May Alcott Joan Didion Truman Capote Samuel Beckett JD Salinger Pablo Neruda Adrienne Rich Maxine Kumin Maurice Manning Silas House Sharon Olds Thomas Merton...
30 Day Book Challenge Day #11- awful films
Name 3 absolutely awful film adaptations of books: 1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (and HP and the Half Blood Prince) based on the novels by JK Rowling 2. Sherlock Holmes films 3. not sure. I’m going to look through my films and come back to this one
30 Day Book Challenge Day #10- film adaptions
Name 5 absolutely great film adaptations of books: (I’m not good at this, but okay) 1. Doubt based on Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley (it’s a film based on a play) 2. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer 3. The Muppet Christmas Carol based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens 4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone based on the novel by JK...
30 Day Book Challenge Day #9- quotes about books
Your favorite quotes about books: From A Moveable Feast: “All you have to do is write on true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know” (Hemingway). From The Situation and the Story: “….the task is to become acquainted with the stranger who lives inside your own skin, the one who answers when your name is called” (Gornick 108). From Ex Libris: ...
30 Day Book Challenge Day #8- favorite quotes from...
Your favorite quotes from books: (These don’t even begin to cover it, but these are some right at my desk at the moment) From The Catcher in the Rye: “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it” (Salinger 18). ...
30 Day Book Challenge Day #7-the worst →
Here’s a link to my post on the worst book I’ve read in the last year.
look what you do, oh ruby blue you better stop ...