Monday, August 29, 2011

Book Review: The Financial Lives of the Poets

I could have gone on at greater length about this wonderful book, but the online entry form through the Sno-Isle Library Foundation had space limitations.  Highly recommended!

Review:  The Financial Lives of the Poets
by Jess Walter
Rating:  4 stars

Book Description:  A poetically-inclined journalist quits his job in order to start a website that renders financial advice in free verse.  When this groundbreaking startup fails, he tries to return to his newspaper job, only to find that the paper is laying off his friends and cutting corners to survive the economic downturn.  Meanwhile, his marriage is staggering under credit card debt, a negative-equity house, and suspected infidelity.  When our hero decides to deal marijuana to raise enough money to avoid foreclosure, the reader knows disaster lurks just around the bend.

Book Review:  I found it amazing that I could laugh so much while my heart was breaking for these well-drawn characters.  The people in this novel seem like people I know or have met:  complicated, funny, sad and with real problems weighing them down.  The novel worked for me because I cared what happened to the people.  Sprinkled throughout with phrases from well-known poems, Walter also begins each chapter with a poem created by the protagonist.  I enjoyed the variety of forms he uses to introduce chapters:  haiku, villanelle, free verse.  The homage to poetry, the true-to-life problems, the beautifully-rendered characters, the humor, the commentary on the economic mess with which we are all struggling:  this book has it all.

Recommend Book to:  Poets and poetry lovers; readers who follow economics, politics, social change, social justice issues, and issues in journalism; AND anyone who enjoys great writing!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Radio Show Re-broadcasts

MANY THANKS to Don Haynes for Monday's interview on 96.9, Whidbey Public Radio.  The questions were insightful and based on obviously-close reading.  For those of you who missed it, the interview will air again on Friday (8/26) at 10 AM, Saturday at noon, and Sunday at 10 AM.

KWPA does not enjoy the world's strongest transmission signal.  If you do not live within ~5 miles of Coupeville, Washington, try streaming 96.9 through your laptop.  OR, go to iTunes, click 'Radio' and then 'news/talk'; KWPA's programs will be listed alpha and you can look for "Writers and their Stories."  Thanks to all you listeners who have sent comments my way!

STAY TUNED for details of Write Wing Publishing's call for submissions for a new book of poems, to be titled "Surrounded:  Living With Islands."  There will be a $50 prize for best submission, plus publication of course.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Scatchetpoet on the Radio

TUNE IN Monday August 22, 2011 at 10 AM to Whidbey Public Radio, KWPA 96.9 -- Sheryl Clough, the Scatchetpoet, will be the reader and interview guest on Don Haynes' radio show featuring Whidbey Island writers.  Sheryl will read from "Icebergs in My Dreams," an nonfiction sea kayaking adventure essay from the collection Solo:  On Her Own Adventure, edited by Susan Fox Rogers.  Sheryl will also read some of her recent poems.