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My Poetry Month Pick: Bec & Call by Jenna Lyn Albert

7 Apr
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April is one of my favorite months. Not only has spring finally overcome winter’s chill, but it is also the month when we celebrate poetry. You may already know Hoopla is a great source for movies, TV, graphic novels, and digital audiobooks, but one of the very cool things it has amongst its ebooks is a large variety of poetry collections just waiting to be enjoyed. You can find classics like Sylvia Plath’s Ariel as well as fresh contemporary poets like Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s Oceanic (her collection of nonfiction essays World of Wonders was just a New York Times Bestseller). For poetry month I thought I would share a recent book of poems I enjoyed, Jenna Lyn Albert’s Bec & Call.

Jenna Lyn Albert is a Canadian poet of Acadian decent who studied Creative Writing at the University of New Brunswick. This was my first encounter with Albert’s poetry, but since I enjoyed it a lot I’m sure it will not be my last.

I was intrigued by the word play in the title, Bec & Call (bec is French for kiss), which is shared with one of the clever poems in the collection which chronicles the ridiculous things men have said to the poem’s speaker upon hearing of her French background. The brilliant wordplay and vibrant imagery in this poem are found throughout the collection, much of which deals with relationships and women seeking to share their voice in a culture that does not always want it to be heard. There is a physicality to her work which can be starkly ugly one moment and beautiful the next; this is a poet not afraid to stray into R rated territory.

If you enjoy writing that examines the idea of feminism in our contemporary world than you will find much to explore in her work such as the poem “TEN WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SEXUAL ASSUALT”, but there are also interesting musings on growing up and life that should be relatable to many. “Tongue-In-Cheek” about being given cod tongue reminded me of my experiences myself as a child where I was given food that only later turned out to be other than I was told. And yet the poem also brings something new to a common experience with its dark humor and vivid imagery.

Although I prefer poems in verse, those who are more hesitant towards more rigidly confined poetry might find comfort in some of the prose poems throughout such as “Noire,” a prose poem musing on all things black from shiny black shoes from childhood to a hearse at a cemetery.

Even in the last poem “Incensed” which categorizes ways of getting rid of household pests, and a messy partner who may also need removing, the language has a loveliness to it.

Enjoy poetry readings all month long on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7 PM with our Positively Poetry Series!

What are some of your favorite poets? Share them with our readers in the comments!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services

Our 400th Blog Post: Looking Back at 8 Years of Great Recommendations from Our HPL Staff!

31 Mar

We first started the Hoboken Public Library Staff Picks Blog in March of 2013 with a review by Reference Librarian, Matt Latham of Garth Ennis’s Graphic Novel, The Boys.  Since then there have been some changes over the years.  The Boys is now more popular than ever since it has been adapted to a streaming series and Matt is no longer at HPL (though we are still lucky to have him in the BCCLS family as a director at another North Jersey library).  Recently with the Pandemic we’ve begun focusing on items that can be checked out as ebooks or streamed for those who are unable to physically come in to the library.  Our blog has been viewed over 70,000 times by over 50,000 people! We wanted to take a look back at some of our favorite and most popular posts.   

Our most viewed post of all times is from Matt Latham on Soul, Funk and Blues Revival: Some Contemporary Bands Sporting an Energetic Retro Sound.  Another popular post was Sherissa Salas’s post on Susan Glaspell’s play, Trifles. Several of my popular posts, are also favorites of mine written about Adult Fairytale Series, Vampire Detective TV Shows, and Mystery TV Shows based on books.  Our most popular post of last year was Steph Diorio’s post about A Midwife’s Tale and her request for Hoboken residents to share their experiences during the Pandemic so they could be included in our historical archives for future generations (she is still accepting people’s stories and photographs so email reference @ if you’d like to share). Other popular posts from 2020 included YA Library Assistant, Elbie Love’s post about Brown Girl Dreaming and Children’s Library Assistant, Melissa Medina’s post about Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre. Our most popular post so far this year was Information and Digital Services Librarian, Ethan Galvin’s post about One Night Two Souls Went Walking.

A new post goes live typically every Wednesday at 11 AM.  Thank you to everyone who is following us whether you just joined us recently or if you have been here from the beginning.  We love providing you with new picks from our staff, but we also hope that you enjoy reading through the 400 and counting posts we have in our archives.  They are a great way to find a new author or books in your favorite genre. 

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services

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