Brian Spears

Poet, Editor, Teacher, Blogger.

Reading Update

It’s been a while since I did one of these posts, and my reading pace has slowed some since I’m back in the classroom again–I’m midway through my lone summer class. I gushed about Sandra Beasley’s I Was the Jukebox a while back, and I just got a review of it this evening. I’ll be taking a look at it soon.

Just finished Julie Sheehan’s Bar Book Poems and Otherwise about a week ago, and I haven’t decided if I’m going to review that one personally or not. I certainly need to revisit it, because I wasn’t sold on it at first, but by the end I couldn’t put it down. It’s an intriguing piece of work, interesting enough that I might assign it as part of my fall poetry workshop reading.

I’ve just started Dwayne Betts’s Shahid Reads His Own Palm. I like what little of his work I’ve read. Betts spent some time in prison, and that experience is part of his work, but he doesn’t let that carry the work, at least not so far. That’s a good thing, by the way.

I’ve also been leafing through some Pasolini, and still slowly working my way through Ulysses. Last summer I made it my goal to finish The Changing Light at Sandover. Maybe I’ll have to do that with Joyce.

But what has me mesmerized right now, thanks to Ta-Nehisi Coates, is the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. Surprisingly good writing–Grant had a knack for slipping the needle in right between the ribs of the people he didn’t respect without being mean about it. He’s pretty honest about his own shortcomings as well–he calls it a “lack of moral courage.”

I’m also putting together my book order for the Interpretation of Drama class I’m teaching in the fall. Some plays are always on my syllabus–“Lysistrata,” “Tartuffe,” “Six Characters in Search of an Author”–and my Shakespeare selection this time I think will be “Much Ado About Nothing,” but I’m horribly unread when it comes to contemporary plays. Any suggestions on things I should consider? I prefer comedies with a touch of social commentary. I’ve taught “Topdog/Underdog” by Suzan-Lori Parks in the past and would do so again in a heartbeat, as well as Luis Valdez’s “Zoot Suit,” but I’d like to widen my knowledge base a bit.

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June 7, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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