Sunday, April 25, 2010

Does anyone read reviews anymore?

Here's a great article about the state of reviewing I ran across in Publishers Weekly.  I've been reading a lot of reviews online lately, and this bit really resonated with me.

"When I read a scathing, thinly veiled ad hominem attack, or a prolonged act of self-aggrandizing cleverness at another's expense, or a condemnation of a single book for the bigger tendency--or tradition--that it would seem to represent, I tend to think negative reviews are ultimately embarrassing and ruinous for everyone, no matter how exciting they may be to read or gossip about.  But when a reviewer manages to point out a book's shortcomings even-handedly, with care and dignity, and with an eye to raising the bar a little higher for readers and for writers, too--that's another story.  I'd love to see more reviews like that."

Timothy Donnelly quoted in
Craig Teicher's "What Poetry Reviews Are For (and Up Against)"
in Publisher's Weekly March 29, 2010

Rain Taxi got mentioned, too, which was kind of thrilling.

The article as a whole is about whether book reviewing--specificially poetry book reviewing--matters in today's culture.  Be sure to check out the full article for several different perspectives on the issue. 

What do you think?  Do you read reviews?  What do you look for in them?  Do you write them?  What would make you want to read professional reviews?  Are there any reviewers or sites you really trust for consistently high quality reviews?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Calling all Terry Tempest Williams fans

Wow.  Finding Beauty in a Broken World is exciting to read.  I'm captivated by the unusual formatting, the careful structure/form, and the fascinating content.  I admit a bias toward mosaic, mixed-genre, creatively-formatted forms, but I think this book would draw most any serious reader into its meticulously and seemingly-effortlessly crafted world of beauty and disaster.

I've read a couple of Williams' essays, too, and I'm wondering if you have a favorite you could recommend.  Which of her books do you love most?  Which articles?  Which essays?  If you have any suggestions to share in this week before she comes to visit Hamline (someone pinch me), please do. 

And don't forget all of her events on campus; this is a rare chance.  :)

No WHH this Tuesday (20th)

There will be no WHH on Tuesday, April 20, so I can enjoy Terry Tempest Williams' Mahle Lecture at 7:30 in the Hamline United Methodist Church (HUMC).  If you've never been to HUMC, it's really lovely with lots of intricate stained glass that has its own particular character as the light changes and fades to night.  It will be a great place for Williams to talk about mosaics and her newest book Finding Beauty in a Broken World.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Alumni Poetry Book Club: April 27

The Hamline GLS Alumni are hosting a Poetry Book Club on the last Tuesday of each month from 7:30-9pm at Jean Larson's house. On April 27, we will discuss The Voice of Robert Desnos: Selected Poems.

This is an incentive for graduates interested in poetry to read a whole book of poems, to come up with questions/insights/what works what doesn't/ favorite moments, and discuss them with alumni. You can sit back, engage, read part, read all. Come monthly, come sometimes. Flexible and low key--unless someone decides to raise a ruckus!--you know how poetry can affect some of us.

Please email Jean at for more information.

MALS Forum: April 24

MALS Forum
Saturday, April 24
1:00 PM 
Sorin Hall Rooms A & B

In a new tradition GLS is starting this year, selected students graduating from the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) program will be presenting their final capstone/synthesis project at the MALS Forum on Saturday afternoon, April 24.   The event starts at 1:00 pm and will be held in Sorin Hall rooms A & B.

Similar to the Grad Readings for our MFA students, the MALS Forum gives us an opportunity to hear some of the projects that our MALS students have researched and written for their capstone work.  Please RSVP to Kelly Krebs if you think you'll be joining us.