Thursday, December 09, 2010

Quote: Julia Alvarez + New Books + Playlist

"I think that one of the reasons I began as a poet, and poetry was my first love, in English, was because...I especially like cadenced, rhymed poetry, and poetry in English was a way of still speaking Spanish. Because it made language more musical, more cadenced...rhyme, of course, because every other word in Spanish rhymes with an "a" or an "o" ending, so there was a way in which, to me, English poetry was a way to speak Spanish in English."
--author Julia Alvarez (1950-), in conversation with J. Robert Lennon, Writers at Cornell podcasts


RobersonCongratulations to Patricia Spears Jones, a poet I've known and admired since my Boston days, whose new book of poems Painkiller (Tia Chucha Press, 2010) is now out!

RobersonCongratulations also to my colleague Ed Roberson, whose new book of poems To See the Earth Before the End of the World (Wesleyan Poetry Series, 2010) is now out!

RobersonAnd congratulations to Duriel E. Harris, my fellow Poets Theatrician, whose new book Amnesiac (Sheep's Meadow Press, 2010) is now out!

I'm hardly saying anything new when I note that these are three of the most original and interesting poets writing today, so if you can, please pick up their books and support them and poetry publishing in general!

And finally, congratulations to Bahian author Valdeck Almeida de Jesus, whose new book Yes, I am Gay. So, What?: Alice in Wonderland (iUniverse, 2010) is now out. I wrote a brief introduction to this novella, which Valdeck has written in both English (he's the author of 3 English-language books) and Portuguese (to be published soon, and he's already issued 15 books in his native language). It is, to put it simply, quite a tale!

You can purchase all of these books at your local bookstore (if they don't have them in stock, ask that they order 2 copies, so that one will be on the shelf for someone else), directly from the publisher, or via Barnes & Noble or Powell's.


It's been a while since I've posted a playlist of music I've been listening to of late, so here are a dozen or so pieces on my playlist:

"Whip My Hair" - Willow Smith (I haven't tired of this song yet!)
"Tenderoni" - Kele
"Monster" - Kanye West, featuring JAY-Z, Rick Ross, and Nicki Minaj)** I love this entire album--one of Yeezy's best!
"FANTASY" - Battles
"Summer Mood" - Best Coast
"Walk Tall" - Kele
"Dust" - Van Hunt
"Free" - Marcus Miller and Corinne Bailey Rae
"Samba em Preludio" - Esperanza Spalding
"Dead Strings" - Tyondai Braxton
"These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You) - Etta James
"King of the Beach" - Wavves
"Speakers Going Hammer"- Soulja Boy Tell Em
"Mojo So Dope" - Kid Cudi

& anything by Aretha Franklin, who has cancer. May she defeat it and keep making her incomparable music for years to come. As I tweeted earlier, "I say a little prayer for you..."

And a few videos of the above:

Kele, "Tenderoni"

Best Coast, "Walking Away"

Tyondai Braxton, "Dead Strings" (Part 1/2)

Kanye West (featuring Nikki Minaj and Bon Iver), "Monster" (live at the Bowery Ballroom) [I would have paid a prince's ransom to see this show live!]

Battles, "Fantasy" (not an official video)


  1. It's not actually possible to tire of Willow Smith's Whip My Hair, because it's not so much a song as it is three minutes of pure distilled happiness. The video is currently being used as a medical test; people who don't smile when it's played can legally be considered dead.

    And speaking of smiling, has Willow got her dad's smile or what? So adorable.

  2. Willow Smith does have her father's smile, and his and her mother's media savvy.

    I love the idea of the video being used as a medical test, too. I'm glad I no longer am feeling withdrawal pains when I stop listening to it, though. DTVW (delirium tremens video-willowiensis) is hard to shake!