National Poetry Month Tour – Reach for the Horizon

I have been traveling a lot lately, the past four weekends to be exact and I’ll be traveling again this weekend. (Hence the lateness of this post! When I signed up, I was expecting to be home on Sunday night, but we decided to come home a day later.) I have seen thousands of miles of road and I’m craving a quiet weekend at home. Only one more weekend! Fortunately, there’s a poem for everything, so I thought I’d share this lovely one by Charles Tomlinson that expresses my feelings exactly. I wonder if there is some ambiguity at the end, about longing for travel while at the same time savoring in being home? I feel that, too. Against Travel by Charles Tomlinson

These days are best when one goes nowhere,
The house a reservoir of quiet change,
The creak of furniture, the window panes
Brushed by the half-rhymes of activities
That do not quite declare what thing it was
Gave rise to them outside. The colours, even,
Accord with the tenor of the day—yes, ‘grey’
You will hear reported of the weather,
But what a grey, in which the tinges hover,
About to catch, although they still hold back
The blaze that’s in them should the sun appear,
And yet it does not. Then the window pane
With a tremor of glass acknowledges
The distant boom of a departing plane.
Click here to read more of the posts in this month’s National Poetry Month blog tour hosted by the lovely Serena at Savvy Verse & Wit. 

Poetry Out Loud

When she contacted me about this month of poetry posts, Serena made the suggestion that we record a vlog of us reading our favorite poems, and I wish I had time (or the guts) to do that and share it with you. I’ve been thinking about that suggestion all week, though, and about how important it is for poetry to be spoken.

I love reading poetry out loud, though usually when I’m by myself. I’m a little bit self conscious of my voice when I’m recorded or when people are listening, but because of that, it feels like a very private thing. When the house is quiet and there is no one else around, you can often find me reading a poem to no one but myself.

Some days it’s a poem that is just dying to read, that I want to hear and feel in a way that I can’t when I’m reading silently. Sometimes it’s a poem that I’ve written myself, and I’m reading it out loud to make sure that it sounds the way it reads. Often, though, it’s a poem that I don’t really understand or one that I don’t particularly like. Sometimes, things that are hidden when you read a poem are uncovered when you speak it. A poem that gives me trouble will unfold and become clear when I say it out loud. A poem that I didn’t find particularly clever is suddenly genius when I can hear exactly what the poet wanted me to hear. It doesn’t always happen, but poetry is, often, meant to be spoken out loud and I can miss things when I read them.
When I’m proofreading, I often read out loud. I hear mistakes better than I see them. (I’m sure this is terribly annoying for anyone who asks me to edit something, especially at work.) In that same way, I hear the beauty of a poem before I might see it. When I review books of poetry or post poems on my blog, I often get comments about how difficult poetry is, but I’m a big believer that a lot of poetry is for the masses. Some of it is difficult for sure, but it’s just like any other medium. If anything has been my mantra since I started blogging about poetry it’s this: there is a poem out there for you. If reading poetry hasn’t done it for you so far, can I just suggest that you read it out loud? You never know what you might hear.

This post is part of Serena’s National Poetry Month Blog Tour. You can check out the rest of the participants here!

Poetry Project December – Mid-Year Reflection

Happy December, poetry readers!

We started this project, in its most recent incarnation, six months ago and it’s time to take a moment to look back at what we’ve done and think about how we’d like the rest of the year to go. For this month’s Poetry Project, if you’re so inclined, answer the questions below.

As always, you can link up to any post from the month of December, as long as it is about poetry. Post about your favorite holiday poem or share with us any poem that strikes your fancy, holiday related or no.

1) What has been the most rewarding aspect of The Poetry Project so far?
2) What is your favorite post from a fellow Poetry Project participant this year?
3) What is your favorite poem that you have read because of The Poetry Project?
4) What are some poetry-related goals you’d like to set for the coming year?
5) Do you have any suggestions for The Poetry Project in 2013? What would you like to see happen?
6) Share with us one line of poetry that you think we need to read.
7) Is there a new poet that you have discovered through The Poetry Project?
8) Anything else you would like to share?

As always, thank you all for participating! This time of year is all about remembering what we’re thankful for and so incredibly thankful for everyone who has taken time out of their day to post about poetry and then share it with us.

Please link up to your December poetry posts in the linky below.

Questions and answers

It’s never a good sign when you think to yourself – when was the last time I blogged? I was out of town last weekend and then caught a nasty cold this week, so I’ve been down for the count. I had a lot of plans (I always do!), but they were pretty much derailed by this cold. Fortunately, Claire was lovely enough to give me something to blog about on this fine Sunday.

1. What propelled your love affair with books—any particular title or a moment?

I have always been known as nose-stuck-in-a-book, book-worm. I think this is because, with separated parents living nearly 300 miles apart, I was always traveling, always in a car. This was before the days of laptops or portable DVD players or anything of the sort. My dad and I had music, the scenery, conversation, and books to keep us entertained. Well, I had books. He was driving. The scenery is not much on US-13 up and down the Eastern Shore of DelMarVa. The land is beautiful away from 13, but right on the road? It’s strip malls and swaths of coastal forests and fields upon fields of farmland. So I read, and I read to my dad, and, later, we listened to audiobooks. My grandmother was an avid reader too, and she would take me to the library whenever I visited.

But my modern incarnation as an all-out obsessive reader? I can pinpoint three reading experiences and I’ve talked about them all to some degree here. They are Ella EnchantedA Wrinkle in Time, and, of course, Harry Potter. There were other books, of course, but these are the ones that I read and reread and continue to reread to this day. Before those books, I remember a book about a cat with two different colored eyes. And children’s horror novels illustrated by Edward Gorey. I remember visiting the school library and being relegated to the “2nd grade and under” section with just the picture books. I would try to explain to the librarians that I was already reading chapter books, but they never listened. I had to wait until 3rd grade just like everyone else. It was the great tragedy of my young life.

2. Which fictional character would you like to be friends with and why?

I was going through my most recently read books, trying to find a character, and there’s barely a redeemable friend-quality character in there. I think I just like to read books about bad people.

I’d love to be friends with anyone from The Night Circus, because that would mean that the circus is real, but especially Bailey. I love that he was just an ordinary boy who loved the circus and eventually he became the glue that would hold it all together again.

3. Do you write your name on your books or use bookplates?

No, because my library isn’t properly established yet. I give away most of the books that I read without expecting them to return to me. Some, of course, I buy for keeps. Perhaps, eventually, I will put bookplates in those, but right now, my library is spread out and divided in boxes.

4. What was your favourite book read this year?

I think it’s going to have to be The Night Circus, so far. The book I look back on most fondly, that’s for sure. The most technically amazing book? Probably not. But the book I enjoyed reading the most? Absolutely.

5. If you could read in another language, which language would you choose?

I can, or I could, read in Spanish, but never very well. It was always a struggle for me in a way that speaking or understanding Spanish was not. I am not sure why. If I could read another language, though, I think I would choose Japanese. Whenever I read a book originally written in Japanese I just want to know what it would be like to read it in its original language.

6. Name a book that made you both laugh and cry.

Any of the later Harry Potter books. JK Rowling can be so funny. Looking for Alaska and  The Fault in Our Stars, of course. Oh, and Looking for Bapu by Anajali Banerjee, which is absolutely heartbreaking, but made me giggle on occasion. Most of the books I could think of that fell under this category were Young Adult or Middle Grade. How very interesting.

7. Share with us your favourite poem?

However could I pick a favorite poem, Claire? How? There are so many that mean something to me. How about the last poem that made me stop and read it all over again: “Big Game” by Brenda Shaughnessy:

—after Richard Brautigan’s “A Candlelion Poem”

What began as wildfire ends up

on a candle wick. In reverse,
it is contained,

a lion head in a hunter’s den.
Big Game.

Bigger than one I played
with matches and twigs and glass
in the shade.

When I was young, there was no sun
and I was afraid.

Now, in grownhood, I call the ghost
to my fragile table, my fleshy supper,
my tiny flame.

To read the rest of “Big Game” by Brenda Shaughnessy, please go here.

These questions came with an award, The Liebster Award. Perhaps I’m not the only one who will wake up one morning with nothing lingering in my draft folder and you could use seven questions to get the post going? Chris, Debi, Clare, Cass, Heather, and O? Anyone else who is reading this afternoon? These are your questions:

1. Is there anyone in your life who made you a reader? Who influenced your reading?
2. Name one experience you had reading that changed your perspective on something.
3. What was the most beautiful reading experience you had?
4. If you could have any all-consuming hobby other than reading and blogging, what would it be?
5. Tell me your favorite song right now. (Totally selfish – I would like new music to listen to.)
6. Which character have you most identified with? The one character who, when you read about them, seemed eerily similar to you?
7. Because I want everyone to answer Claire’s final question: What is your favorite poem right now?

Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!

Surprise snow storm!

Though some forecasts were predicting snow for the Northeastern US, no one was predicting quite this much snow. I left the office around 5:15 and there was a light slush on the ground. I got out of the subway around 6:30 to about 2 inches. It’s still snowing now a few hours later and it’s still accumulating. So much snow! Anyway, it’s late in the day, but I thought I’d throw up a quick Poetry Wednesday to celebrate (?)  this early snow storm. (I’m trying to channel my inner Lorelei Gilmore here, but I really dislike the snow.)

This is an excerpt from the poem “Falling Leaves and Early Snow” by Kenneth Rexroth. You can read the full poem at the Poetry Foundation.

In the afternoon thin blades of cloud
Move over the mountains;
The storm clouds follow them;
Fine rain falls without wind.
The forest is filled with wet resonant silence.
When the rain pauses the clouds
Cling to the cliffs and the waterfalls.
In the evening the wind changes;
Snow falls in the sunset.
We stand in the snowy twilight
And watch the moon rise in a breach of cloud.
Between the black pines lie narrow bands of moonlight,
Glimmering with floating snow.
An owl cries in the sifting darkness.
The moon has a sheen like a glacier.

Poetry Project October Roundup

I apologize for a month of slacking off and being a few days late to the party on this one. October is one of the more stressful months we have at work and most of the days this month I just came home and read silly YA. I posted a few poems, but not a lot.

I also am trying to ignore the fact that October is over. It moved so fast! Here is the round up of all the amazing Poetry Project participants for the month of October! I hope you had a spooktacular poetry reading month. (Everyone’s allowed to say spooktacular seriously once during the whole month of October.)

Amy @ New Century Reading posted a fabulous Ted Hughes poem called “Wind.” You know that Ted Hughes is one of my favorite poets, so get over to Amy’s blog and read read read!

Kristin @ Matched posted the Christina Rosetti poem “Goblin Market,” which works for this month’s theme and our Christina Rosetti month in January!

Nancy @ Simple Clockwork posted about a collection of Cebuano poems, specifically the poem “Images (of Life) by E. Gadiana Cabras. Cebuano, Nancy’s native language, is spoken in the Phillipines. Her post includes the poem in its original Cebuano and the English translation. She also posted another Cebuano poem called “The Monster of Old” by Canuto C. Lim. Finally, for All Souls’ and All Saints’ days she posted the poem “Cemetery by Marra PL. Lanot.

Madeleine @ Scribble and Edit wrote about the poem “The Hag” by Robert Herrick and Tim Burton’s “Nightmare before Halloween.” She also shared two original Halloween haikus!

Mona @ Infinity Books posted about an Edna St. Vincent Millay (one of my favorites!) poem called “Journey.”

Snowball @ Come Sit By the Hearth posted about how she believes that we’re all, in some way, “haunted.” It’s a lovely musing! She also posted the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem “Haunted Houses.”

Kaye @ the road goes ever on posted samples of the Edgar Allen Poe poems “The Sleeper,” “Annabel Lee” and “The Raven” and a list of her favorite Poe poems. She also posted an excerpt of the Poe story “The Pit and the Pendulum.”

Gavin @ Page 247 posted the poem “All Souls’ Night” by Hortense King Flexner.

This month’s theme is “War Remembrance” and Kelly is hosting the Mr. Linky. Remember, you don’t have to follow along with our monthly themes to participate. All you need to do is post about poetry during the month of November! If you posted during October and you don’t see your post here, please add it to the November Linky and we’ll include it in November’s round up!

God’s World by Edna St. Vincent Millay

God’s World

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
Thy mists that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!
Long have I known a glory in it all,
But never knew I this;
Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart. Lord, I do fear
Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year.
My soul is all but out of me, let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

Poetry Project October – Spooky poems!

October is here! There’s a chill in the air, though the days are still warm. I have two tiny pumpkins sitting on my table, reminding me that October is here. October happens to be my favorite month. When I was younger, school was still exciting and new, the weather is getting cooler and the leaves are changing. I always loved when the leaves would fall and my great-grandfather would rake them up into a pile and I would dive in with my dog again and again.

Now that I’m older, October is the end of a busy summer. It’s the time when I can finally relax and enjoy the season. I can start to wear tights and bake things and really enjoy stew and all the foods I love best. Sure, I love watermelon and fresh corn on the cob, but give me a hearty stew or a roasted butternut squash soup any day. It’s also one of my favorite times of the year to read, with spooky stories. And let’s not forget the yearly viewing of Hocus Pocus. A completely necessary tradition.

But we’re not here to talk about all those things, we’re here to talk about the best thing about this October: spooky poetry for The Poetry Project. Whether you want to go with a classic Edgar Allen Poe poem or you want to branch out and see what contemporary spooky poetry is like, this is your chance!

There are several great resources for spooky poetry:

Poems tagged “Halloween” at the Poetry Foundation
Poems tagged “Halloween” by the Academy of American Poets
A digital collection of poetry by Edgar Allen Poe

But other than spooky poems, there are also a lot of poems written about October and fall. I hope you’ll read some of those as well. This is a good time to completely immerse yourself in the season. Enjoy the cooler air. Take a poem with you. Then, tell us about it and sign up with the Mr. Linky below. Here’s one to get started:

October by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

This week in…

not bloggiestia-ing.

I had every intention of participating in Bloggiesta this weekend, but there were just too many fun things going on this weekend. I was going to work on it this evening, but a friend of ours invited us to go see Looper tonight. Since I’ve been super excited about seeing this movie ever since I saw the trailer, I couldn’t turn him down.

There are a lot of things that need updating here, but I did a huge overhaul last Bloggiesta, so they’re basic housekeeping things that I really should be doing weekly anyway. One of them includes figuring out what to do with my “currently reading” sidebar! The truth is that it’s too difficult to maintain. I either switch books to quickly or end up not finishing the book and it just sits there and stares at me. I’ve decided to change it to some of my favorite reads of the year, something I’ve seen on other blogs.

Another thing I want to work on is making crafting a more prominent part of my blog. When I started Regular Rumination, my intention was to have this be a crafting and book blog, but crafting sort of took a back seat to school and reading and reviewing. I haven’t been doing much reviewing lately, I just don’t seem to have an interest in it, and I’m no longer in school, so I have a lot more time for crafty pursuits in the evenings. I have a few ideas that I hinted at last week, and I hope to roll them out in the next week or two.

new phone purchasing!

Tomorrow I’m getting a new phone! Which I guess means that it should really go in next week’s “This Week In” post, but I’m so very excited! I’ve had this slow, clunky phone that is a smart phone, but it’s a smart phone that only runs two apps at a time. I downloaded Hootsuite when I first got it and a Sudoku app. That in addition to the standard apps, like Maps (which works about half the time), is about all it can handle. I’m excited to have a phone that actually functions, including a camera with better pixels than my current digital camera.


I finished Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch, which was nice, if a bit disjointed. There were certainly parts that really resonated with me.

I also read 13, edited by James Howe. It was good, but like most story collections, had strong stories and weaker stories. Fortunately some of the stronger stories came toward the end.

I finished Ask the Passengers by AS King, which I adored, even though it felt a little heavy handed at times. I think AS King is definitely one of my favorite YA authors, though my favorite book of hers so far is Everybody Sees the Ants. if you haven’t read it, get thee to a bookstore or library and read it! I only have one book of AS King’s left to read, The Dust of 100 Dogs, and this makes me sad. I hope she puts out another book next year! I was trying to describe her books to a friend of mine and I said they are all a little bit sad, very funny, and a bit weird. It’s a perfect combination.

I started reading In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner. So far, it’s a terrifying and moving story, though I haven’t necessarily connected with the story yet. That being said, it is making me realize how much I miss reading books that are set in different countries during different time periods. My reading for the last year or so has been very US/UK-centric, with little translated fiction or fiction about other places. This novel is not translated, but I miss exploring with the books I read. Once I have read most of the books I have in my apartment and I start going to the library more, I’m definitely going to be more conscious about where authors are from and which languages books are originally published in.


I participated in the More Diverse Universe Blog Tour, which was amazing! I want to go around and comment on all the blogs that participated this week. I really loved the book I read for this tour and from the comments it seems like I convinced a few people to add it to their TBR.

I also talked about my plans for Books In and Books Out. I’m purchasing 3 books this month, but I have 5 on my desk to get rid of! Once I finish Under the Shadow of the Banyan, that one can leave too, so I’m doing very well. I’ve only been reading books I already own and, so far, I’m not bored. The books I’m purchasing are The Night Circus, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Getting Things Done. 


Speaking of The Night Circus and Something Wicked This Way Comes… won’t you join me in reading these two books this October? I know that fall is a busy time for blogging and readalongs, but I’ve wanted to reread Something Wicked and The Night Circus for some time now and this seems like the perfect time to do it.

I’m calling this event The Wicked Circus Read and I have a whole post about it here.

This month for The Poetry Project, we’re also celebrating Halloween and the spookiest season by reading Halloween poems. This would be the perfect time to catch up on all your Edgar Allen Poe poetry or check out this resource of Halloween poetry and scary poetry from the Poetry Foundation.

Have a lovely week!

Poetry Project – Read a Classic in September

Ah, September.

The leaves will soon start turning color, the sun is setting sooner, the nights are cooler. The days may still be in the 80s, but school has started and it’s really starting to feel like fall is around the corner. What better way to celebrate getting back to the books than with a classic poem? I hope you’ll join us in reading any classic poem or just in posting about any kind of poetry

“Classic” is such a subjective term and I hope you’ll play around with the meaning, but for the purposes of this recommendations post, I’m going to take “classic” to mean anything published more than 50 years ago. Feel free to twist and turn what classic means to you, just like Snowball did for the Pulitzer Prize theme last month. One good thing about adhering to the “more than 50 years ago” rule is that a lot of the poetry can be found in the public domain.

I got a little excited when I was writing up this post and I found it almost impossible to narrow down. It was hard not to jump up and down and squee about ALL THE POETS. There are hundreds of years of poetry for you to explore, so use this list as a jumping off point, or ignore it entirely. Unfortunately, my list ended up being very focused on the Western canon. If you have other suggestions, please list them in the comments or write your own post!

Let’s Go Waaaaaay Back

Sappho (~615BCE-~550BCE) – We don’t really know much about Sappho, other than the fact that she was born on the island Lesbos in Ancient Greece and much of her poetry has been lost; she was a teacher and poet and was famous, as her bust can be found on statues and her likeness on coins from Ancient Greece. You can read Sappho’s poetry here. (Source:

Homer (8th century BCE) – If you want to get really ambitious, why not read the Illiad or The Odyssey? You would be a hero among Poetry Project participants. Bonus! They’re available online: here (Illiad) and here (The Odyssey).

Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne!

Geoffrey Chaucer (1343 – 25 October 1400)- Just because a class on Chaucer is what caused me to give up MY English major, please don’t be scared! I’m just kidding – I just happened to be enrolled in a very difficult Chaucer class when I became a Spanish major instead, but I’m disappointed I missed out on reading his work in depth. Also, I just found the coolest website ever. You can read The Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English, Modern English or side-by-side. So cool!

William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) – We’re celebrating Shakespeare over an entire month in July 2013, but that’s forever away. Get a head start by reading some of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Read them here.

John Donne (1572 – 31 March 1631) – Reading John Donne in high school is one of my favorite reading experiences. I connected with Donne’s poetry in a way that I didn’t really think was possible of a poet so old. His poetry is accessible, but so nuanced. You could spend a lifetime reading Donne, or enjoy his poems on one read. Check out John Donne’s Poetry Foundation page to read a collection of his poems.

Skipping A Whole Bunch of Years to the 19th and 20th Century!

WB Yeats (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939) -I’ve always been interested in the poetry of Yeats, but I’ve never spent quality time with him. When I was putting together my list of poetry to read for Jillian’s Classics Club, I knew that he would be high on the list. The Poetry Foundation has a collection of 58 poems by Yeats.

Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) – Reading Walt Whitman is like reading nothing else. If you haven’t read him yet, I highly recommend it. Walt Whitman’s Poetry Foundation page.

Emily Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) – With the possible discovery of a new photograph of Emily Dickinson, this poet has been in the news a lot the past few days. Emily Dickinson is, in my opinion, a must-read. Here are her Complete Poems.

I lost a little bit of steam there at the end, because it was really hard to think of who to include. There are hundreds more that could have gone on this list, but these are the poets I am most familiar with and the ones that I think you might get the most out of reading. Of course, this list is entirely subjective. I encourage you to create your own list. Take this month to read one “classic” poet or read a smattering of poems from various poets. I look forward to reading your posts!

Unless otherwise noted, my source for dates is Wikipedia.