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Viewing Blog: Little Willow - Bildungsroman, Most Recent at Top
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I'm an actress, singer, dancer, and writer. I'm also a freelance journalist, a publicist, a bookseller, and a webdesigner. This LiveJournal, for the most part, pertains to books - book reviews, exclusive interviews with authors, press releases, and booklists. My journal has an emphasis on teen fiction, though there are plenty of items for adult fiction and for juvenile fiction (or "kidlit") as well.
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1. Poetry Friday: August by Mary Oliver

When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend

all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.

- August by Mary Oliver

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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2. Poetry Friday: Breakage by Mary Oliver

I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred -
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone.
It's like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
      full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.

- Breakage by Mary Oliver

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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3. Poetry Friday: Where Does the Dance Begin, Where Does It End? by Mary Oliver

Don't call this world adorable, or useful, that's not it.
It's frisky, and a theater for more than fair winds.
The eyelash of lightning is neither good nor evil.
The struck tree burns like a pillar of gold.

- the beginning of Where Does the Dance Begin, Where Does It End? by Mary Oliver

Read the poem in its entirety.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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4. Poetry Friday: The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

- The Journey by Mary Oliver

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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5. Best Books of July 2016

July 2016: 10 books and scripts read

Non-Fiction Pick
Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

Fiction Picks
You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan
Tell Us Something True by Dana Reinhardt

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6. Poetry Friday: Red-headed Restaurant Cashier by Carl Sandburg

Shake back your hair; let go your laughter.

Carl Sandburg wrote this line about a red-headed restaurant cashier; I share it here for anyone that needs encouragement to be themselves and to be happy.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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7. Poetry Friday: Song of the Redwood-Tree by Walt Whitman

Murmuring out of its myriad leaves,
Down from its lofty top, rising two hundred feet high,
Out of its stalwart trunk and limbs - out of its foot-thick bark,
That chant of the seasons and time - chant, not of the past only, but the future.

- selected lines from Song of the Redwood-Tree by Walt Whitman

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

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8. Poetry Friday: A letter to Eliza from Alexander Hamilton

A letter from Alexander Hamilton to Elizabeth Schuyler, August 1780:

Impatiently My Dearest have I been expecting the return of your father to bring me a letter from my charmer with the answers you have been good enough to promise me to the little questions asked in mine by him. I long to see the workings of my Betsey's heart, and I promise my self I shall have ample gratification to my fondness in the sweet familiarity of her pen. She will there I hope paint me her feelings without reserve - even in those tender moments of pillowed retirement, when her soul abstracted from every other object, delivers itself up to Love and to me - yet with all that delicacy which suits the purity of her mind and which is so conspicuous in whatever she does.

Now that's poetry.

... and this next bit is hilarious:

It is now a week my Betsey since I have heard from you. In that time I have written you twice. I think it will be advisable in future to number our letters, for I have reason to suspect they do not all meet with fair play. This is number one.

Click here to read the full letter.

Here is Lin-Manuel Miranda reading the letter at Hamilton's #Ham4Ham show on July 6th:



If you cannot see the video player above, click here to watch it on YouTube. (Thank you, Howard Sherman.)

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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9. Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

The musical Hamilton has taken Broadway - and the world - by storm. Led by the impressive Lin-Manuel Miranda, this show has inspired art, song, and activism, encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to learn from America's past and stand together to make a better tomorrow.

Hamilton: An American Musical was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the show's book, music, and lyrics and also starred in the title role. The show, which is based on the real life of founding father Alexander Hamilton, blends hip-hop with traditional musical theatre storytelling. It was nominated for a record-setting 16 Tony Awards with 11 wins. It was inspired Ron Chernow's acclaimed biography of Alexander Hamilton.

Now there's another book to join the ranks: Hamilton: The Revolution. Lovingly referred to as the Hamiltome by fans and creators alike, the full title of this publication is as follows:


Hamilton
the Revolution
Being the complete libretto
of the
Broadway musical,
with a true account of
its creation,
and concise remarks on
hip-hop, the power of stories,
and the new America



Try saying that three times fast. (Daveed Diggs probably could.)

Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, the Hamiltome belongs in both the history section and the musical theatre section of the library. It contains a full libretto of the show, with lyrics for every single song in the production, accompanied by full-color photographs from the show. The musical is mostly sung-through, with very little dialogue that isn't accompanied by music, so this book truly contains the complete libretto.

But that isn't even half of it. The book is chock-full of interviews with the cast and creatives, describing the path the show took from inception to production, from Lin singing a draft of the first song at the White House Poetry Jam in 2009 to the workshop in 2013 to the move to Broadway in 2015 and everything in-between and beyond. Lin provides over 200 footnotes, noting the beats, lyrics, and lines that were inspired by other artists, rappers, composers, and characters in other musicals, films, and TV shows (what's up, Leslie Knope?)

You want behind-the-scenes pictures? Hamiltome has 'em. Dig the real stuff, quotes from historical documents and Hamilton's personal letters? That's there, too. One of my favorite things about this book is its thoughtful and candid insight into the creative process, with interviews and input from Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, music director Alex Lacamoire, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, producers, and more. I also love that it names and compliments every single member of the cast, shining the spotlight on individuals in pages surrounding their character's solos or standout moments, celebrating the talents and importance of the ensemble.

This show is impressive not only in what it accomplishes on stage, but also offstage: It has encouraged people to discuss America's past, present, and future. It also helped lots of high school students with their AP History tests. It has broken the traditional casting mold and given performers opportunities to play characters they might not otherwise. It has given new voice to an old story.

It's been said time and time again: Hamilton the musical is America then as told by America now.

As someone who has followed Lin's career for a decade and thus soaked up every bit of Hamilton since that fateful White House presentation, I am very happy that the show has had such an impact - and as a bookworm since birth, I am very happy that this show has such an awesome book to put in the hands of history buffs and musical theatre aficionados alike. Three cheers for the Hamiltome.

Read an excerpt.

Watch Lin-Manuel Miranda's performance at the White House Poetry Jam in 2009, accompanied by Alex Lacamoire.

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10. Poetry Friday: Ulysses by Josh Garrels

I'm holding onto hope that one day this could be made right
'Cause I've been shipwrecked
and left for dead
and I have seen the darkest sights

Everyone I've loved seems like a stranger in the night
But, oh, my heart still burns
Tells me to return
and search the fading light

I'm sailing home to you
I won't be long
By the light of moon
I will press on
Until I find my love

Trouble has beset my ways and wicked winds have blown
Sirens call my name
They say they'll ease my pain
Then break me on the stones

But true love is the burden that will carry me back home
Carry me with the memories of the beauty I have known

I'm sailing home to you
I won't be long
By the light of moon
I will press on
Until I find my love

So tie me to the mast of this old ship and point me home
Before I lose the one I love
Before my chance is gone
I want to hold her in my arms

- Ulysses by Josh Garrels



If you can't see the video player above, click here to listen to the song.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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11. Best Books of June 2016

Summer has been busy so far! In June, I read 9 books and scripts, none of which are published yet, so I can't expand on them any further at this time.

But while I have your attention, if you want to share the love of reading, if you have gently used books you'd like to donate to a good cause, if you want to get books in the hands of eager readers, please check out Just. One. Book. Thank you!

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12. Poetry Friday: Youth and Age by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Flowers are lovely;
Love is flower-like;
Friendship is a sheltering tree

- from Youth and Age by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Read the full poem here.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

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13. Poetry Friday: A Pinch of Salt by Robert Graves

When a dream is born in you
With a sudden clamorous pain,
When you know the dream is true
And lovely, with no flaw nor stain,
O then, be careful, or with sudden clutch
You'll hurt the delicate thing you prize so much.

Dreams are like a bird that mocks,
Flirting the feathers of his tail.
When you seize at the salt-box
Over the hedge you'll see him sail.
Old birds are neither caught with salt nor chaff:
They watch you from the apple bough and laugh.

Poet, never chase the dream.
Laugh yourself and turn away.
Mask your hunger, let it seem
Small matter if he come or stay;
But when he nestles in your hand at last,
Close up your fingers tight and hold him fast.

- A Pinch of Salt by Robert Graves

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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14. Project (Un)Popular by Kristen Tracy

Yearbooks are designed to capture a year in a life of a school as a whole - not an individual student. So some students might assess their yearbook as a good summary of the past year, covering a lot of activities they attended and people they know, filled with fond memories and good times, while others might not see themselves reflected in those pages, and/or they might not be too keen to remember some of the events of the year.

In Kristen Tracy's new book Project (Un)Popular, Perry and her best friend, Venice, are super excited to be photographers for their middle school yearbook. They soon find themselves under the command of Anya, an eighth grader who tells them they're supposed to take pictures of the popular kids. She even gives them a list of specific students to photograph. Perry is upset - not only by Anya's directions, but also by the fact that her buddy Venice is buddying up to a boy in yearbook that Perry doesn't really like.

Can Perry stay on Anya's good side while defying her orders, regain Venice's attention, AND get the yearbook to accurately capture the experience of all different kinds of kids? Plus there's homework and history projects and quizzes and tests and lunchroom horrors and fashion fiascos on top of all that. That's a lot of stuff for her to handle. No one said middle school was easy, but no one told her it would be this hard. If only life was as happy and easy as it looked in those photographs...

I recommend Project (Un)Popular to tweens, especially to sixth and seventh graders who will really get all that Perry's going through as she tries to navigate the social hierarchy of middle school. As with Kristen Tracy's other novels, there's a levity to the narrative and the dialogue while still being very true to what goes on in school hallways and homes.

This book is the first in a series. The release date and title for the second book hasn't been announced yet. Stay tuned.

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15. Just. One. Book.

Margaret at the blog Throwing Chanclas recently shared the plight of a school in her neighborhood:

The local junior/senior high school has not been able to purchase new books since the 90s. Some of the "check outs" for old books are in the 1980s. There are no books by people of color in the library. Hardly any books by women are in the few book cases except your standard Austen and Lee. It's an uninviting place. There hasn't been a librarian for nearly a decade. And volunteers weren't allowed. The last eight years students couldn't even check out books.

But all that is changing now.


Margaret is now collecting books for the library. Let's help out! You can donate books via their Amazon wishlist or by sending books directly to the address below. For more informaion, please email Margaret and visit her blog.

Greenville High School/Indian Valley Academy
Library Project Attn: Margaret Garcia
117 Grand Street
Greenville, CA 95947

If sending during the month of July, when school is closed, please send to:

Library Project/Margaret Garcia
PO Box 585
Greenville, CA 95947

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16. Poetry Friday: I Dream'd in a Dream by Walt Whitman

I dream'd in a dream, I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth;
I dream’d that was the new City of Friends;
Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love - it led the rest;
It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that city,
And in all their looks and words.

- Walt Whitman

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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17. Poetry Friday: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

As I laid down my pen, a moment since, to think of it, the air from the sea came blowing in again, mixed with the perfume of the flowers; and I saw the old-fashioned furniture brightly rubbed and polished, my aunt's inviolable chair and table by the round green fan in the bow-window, the drugget-covered carpet, the cat, the kettle-holder, the two canaries, the old china, the punchbowl full of dried rose-leaves, the tall press guarding all sorts of bottles and pots, and, wonderfully out of keeping with the rest, my dusty self upon the sofa, taking note of everything.

- from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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18. Poetry Friday: The Mystic Trumpeter by Walt Whitman

Hark! some wild trumpeter - some strange musician,
Hovering unseen in air, vibrates capricious tunes to-night.

I hear thee, trumpeter-listening, alert, I catch thy notes,
Now pouring, whirling like a tempest round me,
Now low, subdued - now in the distance lost.

- the opening lines of The Mystic Trumpeter by Walt Whitman

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

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19. Poetry Friday: In the Beginning by Harriet Monroe

When sunshine met the wave,
Then love was born;
Then Venus rose to save
A world forlorn.

For light a thousand wings
Of joy unfurled,
And bound with golden rings
The icy world.

And color flamed the earth
With glad desire,
Till life sprang to the birth,
Fire answering fire,

And so the world awoke,
And all was done,
When first the ocean spoke
Unto the sun.

- In the Beginning by Harriet Monroe

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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20. Best Books of April 2016

April 2016: 7 books and scripts read

Genre Fiction Pick
The Demonists by Thomas E. Sniegoski

YA Fiction Pick
Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti

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21. Poetry Friday: Our Little House by Thomas Walsh

Our little house upon the hill
In winter time is strangely still;
The roof tree, bare of leaves, stands high,
A candelabrum for the sky,
And down below the lamplights glow,
And ours makes answer o'er the snow.

Our little house upon the hill
In summer time strange voices fill;
With ceaseless rustle of the leaves,
And birds that twitter in the eaves,
And all the vines entangled so
The village lights no longer show.

Our little house upon the hill
Is just the house of Jack and Jill,
And whether showing or unseen,
Hid behind its leafy screen;
There’s a star that points it out
When the lamp lights are in doubt.

- Our Little House by Thomas Walsh

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

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22. Poetry Friday: My true love hath my heart by Sir Philip Sidney

My true love hath my heart, and I have his,
By just exchange one for another given:
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss,
There never was a better bargain driven:
My true love hath my heart, and I have his.

His heart in me keeps him and me in one,
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides:
He loves my heart, for once it was his own,
I cherish his because in me it bides:
My true love hath my heart, and I have his.

- Sir Philip Sidney

Note from Bartleby.com:

This ditty first appeared in Puttenham's Art of English Poetry, 1589, to illustrate the Epimone, or the love burden. The following year it was inserted in the Arcadia, with the six additional lines quoted below:

His heart his wound received from my sight,
My heart was wounded with his wounded heart;
For as from me on him his hurt did light,
So still methought in me his hurt did smart:
Both equal hurt, in this change sought our bliss,
My true love hath my heart and I have his.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

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23. Poetry Friday: Study by D.H. Lawrence

Somewhere the long mellow note of the blackbird
Quickens the unclasping hands of hazel,
Somewhere the wind-flowers fling their heads back,
Stirred by an impetuous wind. Some ways'll
All be sweet with white and blue violet.
    (Hush now, hush. Where am I?-Biuret-)

...

Somewhere the lamp hanging low from the ceiling
Lights the soft hair of a girl as she reads,
And the red firelight steadily wheeling
Weaves the hard hands of my friend in sleep.

- selected lines from Study by D.H. Lawrence

Read the entire poem here.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

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24. Poetry Friday: Just lost when I was saved by Emily Dickinson

Just lost when I was saved!
Just felt the world go by!
Just girt me for the onset with eternity,
When breath blew back,
And on the other side
I heard recede the disappointed tide!

Therefore, as one returned, I feel,
Odd secrets of the line to tell!
Some sailor, skirting foreign shores,
Some pale reporter from the awful doors
Before the seal!

Next time, to stay!
Next time, the things to see
By ear unheard,
Unscrutinized by eye.

Next time, to tarry,
While the ages steal,-
Slow tramp the centuries,
And the cycles wheel.

- Emily Dickinson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

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25. Best Books of May 2016

April was busy; May was busier. I managed to read 8 books and scripts this month. I'd like to turn your attention to Savage by Thomas E. Sniegoski, a thriller which brings new meaning to the expression "it's raining cats and dogs" - Prepare yourself for the coming storm. It's awesome.

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