#Bookreview – Versions of the self by Christy Birmingham (Poetry)

This is a well crafted review by Robbie Cheadle with congratulations to Christy Birmingham!

Robbie's inspiration

What Amazon says

Imagine a shift to the way you see the world that arises through poetic narration.

Imagine the world, at its base level, is a collection of selves. These selves collide, disperse, intermingle, and share themselves in lines of free verse. Such is the premise of Versions of the Self, poetry that assumes multiple types of selves exist and relate in ways that alter them. Each of the eight chapters looks at a different type of self, including the singular “I” and romantic interactions. These unique 80 poems definitely color themselves outside of the lines.

My review

Versions of the self is quite an extraordinary book of poetry. The poet, Christy Birmingham, has a very unique style of writing which I found very intriguing. I also thought this style worked exceptionally well for the content of this book which is all about different versions of self. It imitates…

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9th and Harrison

Harry watches television in silence.

God plants clues in everything, and Harry thinks
with enough silence, God will say who he is.

But these distractions, these sins; they’re not Harry’s
sins, but they want to be.

These sins want to inflate Harry’s ego and obscure God clues.

Harry searches God’s hiding places: asylums, dumpsters,
crack dens, hustlers, and speed freaks.

God swims in oceans of puke and dares Harry to follow.

Harry sleeps for two or three days in the sanitized houses
of God where pious friars who don’t know God tell him to
pray and give him deodorant.

Harry wants to belong to these men.

He wants clean hair and an eternally pregnant mother
dressed in stars.

But God is on the street across from the church sleeping
in a stream of piss.

How did it begin?

When Harry was five, he lapsed into the unhurried sleep of the
child and had a dream

 

 

(c) Rob Goldstein 2018

Guest Blogger: Linda Bethea

My first guest blog was a 2015 post by Linda Bethea of Nutstrok.

Sally Cronin of Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life thought it
deserved a re-post, so here it is.

The original post begins below this drawing by Linda’s Mother, Kathleen Swain.

A hand colored drawing of a mother holding a little boy on her lap as he points to a bird in flight.
The Forever Mom by Kathleen Swain

My first test subject guest blogger is Linda Bethea from
Nutstok.

When I read her blog I feel like I’m visiting with a friend.

Linda’s style is graceful and she writes with empathy and love.

“Forever Mom” is a drawing by Linda’s Mother, Kathleen
Swain..

Linda wrote: I am so delighted my dear friend Robert Goldstein asked me to do a guest post for him. He was gracious enough to allow me to share a portion of Kathleen’s Memoirs of The Great Depression, my current work in progress.

Thanks so much Robert.


The Gentlest of Men

“Good to see you, Doc, but the baby didn’t wait for you. Lizzie was just cleaning up after breakfast when she told to send for you and Miz Smith. She barely had time to put a pot of beans on and shoo the kids out to work the tomatoes before Miz Smith made it here. I shore was proud to see Miz Smith by the time she got here.” Roscoe ushered him in to the front room where the only sign of a recent delivery was Lizzie nursing her newborn. Not wanting the doctor or the kids to find the place a mess, Mary Smith had hurriedly tidied up the mess from birthing and put it out to soak. Before heading back to her own family, she had bathed the baby, helped Lizzie into a clean gown and put the embroidered sheets back on the front room bed. Dr. Bohl knew those sheets were on display for his benefit and would be carefully folded away as soon as he left. The little girl howled at being examined, flushing and waving her fists, clearly preferring her mother to this indignity. Dr. Bohl allowed she’d be a fine baby, if she lived and did well. She had slipped up on them late in life, with Roscoe nearing fifty and Lizzie thirty-eight. Had anyone been dared ask the couple a year ago if they wanted another child, they’d have declared, “That’s the last thing we need in these hard times,” but she’d found a welcome home.

Roscoe called the kids in to the surprise of a new sister before making a pan of cornbread to go with Lizzie’s beans. Mystified that a headache could turn into a baby, Annie sliced fresh tomatoes and heated leftover stewed squash between peeks at the baby she’d been allowed the honor of naming, Kathleen Gordon Ree Holdaway. Kathleen, for a distant cousin the infant Kathleen wouldn’t meet for more than fifty years. Gordon was a traditional family name and Ree was for one of Roscoe’s domino playing buddies, a name Kathleen learned to heartily despise. Every time she looked at the man, she was disgusted Daddy had picked him to name her for. John set the table and brought in water and wood for the cook stove without being told. Roscoe took Lizzie a full plate and a mason jar of fresh milk before the rest of them got started. After their early supper, Roscoe and Dr. Bohl drank coffee in the front room and talked with Lizzie while the kids cleaned up and whispered in the kitchen. Doc’s cynical opinion altered when he found them both well-read, Lizzie having qualified as a teacher before her marriage. Roscoe kept him laughing with tales of his wild misdeeds as a young man. On a corner table, several books were stacked near the coal oil lamp, where a tattered copy of Robinson Crusoe lay bookmarked with a scrap of paper. Before they finished their coffee, the bawling of the hungry calf and cow’s lowing called Roscoe to evening chores.

Digging deep in his overalls pocket, Roscoe dug out a lone dollar he had managed to save since the disturbing day Lizzie had told him she’d need a doctor that spring. Dr. Bohl considered, needing cash as much as the next man, but in a rare moment of warmth, decided against taking it, knowing it was the only cash they had. “I missed most of the work. If it’s all the same to you, I’d sooner have my pay in garden stuff. I’d sure appreciate if you could throw in a ham.” Relieved, Roscoe filled a tow sack with potatoes, tomatoes, a smoked ham, two quarts of canned peaches, a couple of dozen eggs, and a pound of butter……..far more than a dollars’ worth. Miss Loney had been hounding him about his bill at the store.   Both men were pleased with their transaction and before Dr. Bohl left, they shared a nip from the bottle Roscoe kept tucked high on a kitchen shelf.

Hours later with the kids in bed and Lizzie at rest after her exhausting day, Roscoe smoked and read a western in the dim light of the coal oil lamp. Kathleen stirred and mewed quietly in her mother’s arms. Her gaunt father lifted her, and returned to his chair for a cuddle, “Well, Kitten. It’s just me and you. The rest of ‘em gave it up. You want to talk to your old daddy just a little. Well…..” The gentlest of men, Roscoe’s heart melted anew, for this unexpected child of his age. He loved his other children, but was never able to hide his special feelings for her. To him, she was never Kathleen. From that day on, it warmed her heart to hear him call her “Kitten,” signaling a fine mood. Kat was for ordinary days.

To see more of Linda’s fine work please visit Nutstrok

(c) Linda Bethea and Kathleen Swain all rights reserved.

First posted April 16, 2015

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10 Everyday Items invented in the 1920’s

Frozen Food

Clarence Birdseye worked as a fur trader in Canada. He saw that fish caught during the winter froze almost immediately after being pulled from the water. Birdseye soon realized that he could leave the fish frozen for up to a month while retaining the flavor. Read more

The Television

The television was invented in 1925 by John Logie Baird. The first experimental Television broadcast in the US. was in 1928. Read more

Black-and-white photographs Date: 1934 Topic: Television
Zworykin Kinescope, 1929

Traffic lights

The traffic light was invented by William Potts in 1920 as a way to direct traffic at 4 way stops. Read more

The Pop-up Toaster

Charles Perkins Strite invented the pop-up bread toaster in 1919, and received a patent for it on October 18, 1920.  Read more

Kool Aid

Edwin Perkins in Nebraska invented Kool Aid in 1927.
Read more

Cotton Swabs

The cotton swab was invented by Leo Gerstenzang in 1923. He sold
his invention under the name of “Baby Gays.” Read more

Bubble Gum

Walter E. Dieme invented bubble gum in 1928.  Read more

Penicillin

Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered penicillin in 1928.
Read more

Vitamin E

Herbert McLean Evans and Katherine Scott Bishop discovered Vitamin E
in 1922.  Read more

Sunglasses

Sam Foster invents sunglasses in 1920.  Read more

Now get your glad rags on and head over to Teagan’s Books for episode 4 Hullaba Lulu!

VR photograph of avatars waiting in a virtual train station to illustrate the story Hullaba Lulu by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
Lulu, Gramps, Rose, and Valentino wait for the train

Is someone gonna be Left holding the bag?

Check it out.

I gotta go see a man about a dog


Graphics (c) Rob Goldstein 2018