Thursday, July 22, 2010

What I'm Reading or How To Be a Nerd

Figured out two ways to know you're a total nerd recently (and, yes, I do both):

1. When you're out at the bookstore and you see a book you want to read, you snap a picture of the cover with your phone.

What? You don't do that? Oh, um...neither do I. Ok, yeah, I do. I don't always have pen and paper handy when I'm chillin'at Barnes & Noble. And this way a list of books that I want to read or buy for my classroom is always on hand. Unfortunately, though, it has only helped me to increase my already ginormous WTR  list, because lately the books I want to read are never available at the library!

2. You know the Dewey Decimal number of the poetry section by heart.

Now this one seems way less nerdy, but equally helpful. No matter what library I'm in, I always know exactly where to head to look for some good, new poetry books. This week I picked up E.E. Cummings: Selected Poems, edited by Richard S. Kennedy.

I've always been fascinated by Cummings. His poems are like puzzles to me. I enjoy them for their uniqueness,without the need to "figure them out." I'm discovering a lot of new ones in this book and I'm loving it. I didn't know much more than "[anyone lived in a pretty how town]," which my wife perfectly described as "depressingly brilliant." As in, Cummings wows you with his genius, but leaves you feeling like you're just a few hairs away from being smart enough to understand him. I, personally, am okay with that. In fact, I'm reveling in it as I explore his poems.

One of the best parts about this book are the chapter introductions by Kennedy. He provides interesting and relevant biographical information about Cummings as well as insight into some of his poems. Not too much to be overwhelming. Just enough to enrich the reading. For example, did you know that E.E. stands for Edward Estlin? (He went by Estlin, though). There's much more info beyond that, such as the fact that E.E. was an artist and that the Cubist school appealed to him. This makes total sense when you think about it, with the way Cummings played with line and punctuation and seemed to break all the rules, yet did so in a beautiful way.

So if you're a Cummings fan, or even if you're not, I highly recommend this book. I'll try to share some of the poems I'm enjoying as I discover them, so stay tuned.

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