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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

Thriving Despite Adversity: Brown Girl Dreaming

3 Jun

brown girl dreaming
One would think that authors have to speak as many words as possible to get their point through, but often with poetry it is finding just the right words. In the case of these authors, one can see that there are many different ways to express one’s thoughts. Here is a memoir in verse by Jacqueline Woodson, you should take note of. The book, Brown Girl Dreaming, will appeal to patrons that are from elementary school age to adulthood. Each poem is written in verse and, therefore, a great way to teach people to take in their environments in ways that Woodson has learned exquisitely.

Jacqueline Woodson is an author of 40+ books and the recipient of the National Young People’s Literature Award. One would have thought that she was an avid reader and writer as a child, but that wasn’t the case for Woodson. Her sister ended up being the reader in the family. Jacqueline Woodson had trouble reading due to her dyslexia. One thing that stood with her that helped her become an accomplished author is her ability to take in her surroundings. Through this memoir in verse, she spoke about her life growing up in the South and moving to Brooklyn, New York. She gives vivid insight and imagery through her words. The reader cannot help but be charmed by Woodson’s description of her early life and how she became the author that she is today despite the adversity that was in her way.

You can borrow Brown Girl Dreaming from eBCCLS and eLibraryNJ!  If you love this book, Brown Girl Dreaming was previously featured on our ultimate book lovers list for kids and parents and great books in verse list, check out these previous blogs for more great ideas to read!

Written by:
Elbie Love
YA Library Associate

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