Archive for the 'Poetry' Category

Just One Book

If we could recommend just one book for all on your gift giving list this holiday season, it’d be, with a doubt The Lost Words written by British nature writer Robert Macfarlane and illuminated with gorgeous illustrations by acclaimed artist Jackie Morris. This oversized art book collects nature words, simple ones like “fern”, “ivy”, “magpie” and “starling” and spins poetry around them, splashes pages with greens and gold and rich earth tones in stunning displays. Collects these words and paints them on outsized pages, reweaving them into the language. Why? Because they were left out of the recent junior edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. In their place, words from the world of technology crept in. But careful readers noticed and objected and turned their concern into action, creating a charity dedicated to inspiring young people to become advocates for the natural world. A portion of book sales is donated to Action for Conservation. Just one book. But with so many important words to say. Copies available at Canio’s. How many should we reserve for you?

Walt is coming!

“Starting from Paumanok”, and continuing all day in Sag Harbor, community readers will gather at Canio’s on Saturday, May 21 from 10 a.m. until around 6 p.m. to read from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Don’t miss a chance to meet “Mr. Whitman Long Island,” aka Darrel Blaine Ford, who in his eighties and with a long white beard bears a striking resemblance to America’s most well known poet. When he was only a child, Mr. Ford took a very long bicycle ride from his home near the South Shore to the  Whitman birthplace in West Hills.  Whitman himself trekked up and down Long Island from Brooklyn out to Montauk with regular visits to his sister in Greenport.

On Friday, May 20 at 6 p.m. learn more about Whitman on Long Island with speaker William T. Walter, president of the Whitman Birthplace who will join us at Canio’s and set us on the right path for our all-day reading on Saturday.

Finally, pick up a copy of Leaves, a tin of Whitman’s green tea blend, or if you’re reading with us, you’ll receive a commemorative button. And don’t miss our after-party, Saturday evening….after all, we’re celebrating Whitman’s birthday!

Put the kettle on, and savor the good life!

We love good books; we love an excellent cup of tea. We thought we’d combine the pleasures of both and offer a selection of “Literary Teas” to accompany your next novel or poetry purchase. We’re featuring black and green tea blends  inspired by Jane Austen, Walt Whitman, James Joyce and Emily Dickinson. Each is a distinctive blend that captures elements of the writers’ works whether it’s the jasmine scent of Emily’s rose inflected blend, or the bold golden malty cup of the James Joyce variety, these high quality teas (certified Kosher) from Simpson & Vail known for their superior teas since 1929, make a lovely Mother’s Day or host gift. Or just treat yourself to an experience that reminds us, life is beautiful, one cup at a time.

Poet Grace Schulman Honored

We’re thrilled to join in celebrating poet Grace Schulman, winner of the 2016 Frost Medal, the highest award given by The Poetry Society of America. Grace has been a frequent reader at Canio’s Books, and we can’t think of a better person to receive this honor. Her poetry, essays and literary criticism have long been among our favorite works and are always highly recommended by our staff. Her poems about the East End landscape, about New York street corners, about jazz, aging and love are living examples of what poetry aspires to: transforming the lived experience into art.

Grace joins highly esteemed previous winners of the Forst Award: Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Lucille Clifton, Charles Simic, Marilyn Nelson, and Kamau Brathwaite, the 2015 recipient.

Grace Schulman is author of seven volumes of poetry including Days of Wonder: New and Selected Poems, The Paintings of Our Lives, and most recently Without a Claim.   She is editor of The Poems of Marianne Moore. Her essay collection is First Loves and Other Adventures. Grace has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Aiken Taylor Award for poetry, the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award for Poetry, and  a Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is Distinguished Professor of English at Baruch College, CUNY, the former director of the Poetry Center, 92nd Street Y, 1974-84, and former poetry editor of The Nation, 1971-2006. A lifetime of achievements, indeed! But what’s more, Grace is someone who lives out her name. Congratulations, Grace!

 

Literature Amid the Cypress and Eucalyptus

Some twenty of us carpooled down to Point Reyes National Seashore early one chilly fog-thick afternoon. We walked down (and then slowly up) some 300 steps to the lighthouse following our intrepid guide, marine biologist Sarah Allen, author of Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast.She trained her scope on a flock of shore birds invisible to the naked eye. Soon , someone spotted a whale blow, the foamy exhalation of this giant majestic creature. We gasped and rushed to the best vantage point. Why does a group of otherwise fairly serious adults seem to melt at the sight of whales? Is some basic creaturely connection at work?

Are the boundaries between humans, “animals,” “nature” really boundaries at all? What are our  responsibilities to our fellow creatures, to our island home? These and other questions were discussed during a lively, colorful, musical, literary and delicious conference we attended: Geography of Hope 2015. Some of our all-time favorite writers on women and the environment gave presentations: Susan Griffin, author of the groundbreaking work: Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her which birthed the eco-feminist movement; Rebecca Solnit whose recent bestseller The Faraway Nearby gained much critical acclaim; Kathleen Dean Moore, co-chair of the conference, whose Moral Ground: Ethical Action for the Planet is a must read; and Gretel Ehrlich whose stunning Solace of Open Spaces is just one of some 14 powerful works. Award-winning poet/activists Brenda Hillman and Robert Hass read from their moving, engaged and lyrical works.

We were introduced to writers we want to read: Ann Pancake, whose novel Strange As This Weather Has Been describes a West Virginia family devastated by mountain-top removal. Her new collection of stories, Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley is on our spring must-read list. Also Camille Dungy, poet of Smith Blue; and Robin Wall Kimmerer, environmental biologist, author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. (Order any of these from Canio’s and get 10% off).

Session questions asked: “What is the work of a writer in a wounded world? What are women’s gifts and responsibilities in the work against carbon catastrophe? What are the metaphors we need for a new world?” We met enormously talented, committed, friendly, hospitable, concerned people. We ate well, sang (slightly off key), laughed, shed a tear or two, worried about the drought, recycled. We thought about what could be, and committed to do our part toward a more sustainable future.

Kudos to Kate Levinson and Steve Costa owners of Point Reyes Books, an exceptional independent bookshop in the heart of town. These two courageous souls are the energy and inspiration behind this extraordinary conference. Since 2008, Kate and Steve have presented outstanding literary festivals that celebrate what’s best about the creative human spirit. Live well & love Earth!

See more about the conference at this Orion magazine blog post: https://orionmagazine.org/2015/04/postcard-from-california-re-storying-the-world/?utm_source=Fresh+April+1%2C+2015&utm_campaign=FRESH+4%2F01%2F15&utm_medium=email

Beyond our Grandmother’s Gravy

Thanks to years  long hard work and dedication, an English- language edition of the formidable anthology Italoamericana: The Literature of the Great Migration, 1880-1943 has recently been published by Fordham University Press. Originally published in Italian and edited by Francesco Durante, this landmark collection of essays, poems, stories, memoir,  history and more illuminates American society through the eyes of Italian-speaking immigrants. Rich with biographical notes and a helpful introduction, the volume deserves a place on the shelf of any serious student of Italian American literature.

Last Saturday, editor of the American edition, Robert Viscusi offered a comprehensive introduction to the volume he lovingly shepherded into print. Translator Giulia Prestia read selections from a few of the anarchist writers included in the anthology. Reviewing the work in the New York Times, Sam Roberts writes, “‘Recounting first-generation immigrant life in ”the American colony,’ the selections don’t shy away from scabrous subjects, like prejudice, exploitation of women, criminal conduct or radicalism.'” At over 900 pages, we are clearly beyond the stories we heard from our grandmother as she stirred the pot of gravy in her cramped tenement kitchen. The collection has received hearty critical praise and a starred review in Publishers Weekly, which noted, “This volume is a major work and forms an invaluable testament to a forgotten era of Italian literary history in the new world.”

If you missed the event, stop in for a signed copy of the anthology, and stay tuned for the podcast soon to be available at WPKN’s East End Ink blogspot. ( eastendink.blogspot.com)

All 1789 of Miss Emily

One woman came by train from Minnesota, on a sort of pilgrimage, she said. There were the two lovely sisters on their annual reunion. An African American man with a rich sonorous baritone; an elementary school girl from Vermont who recently learned she was a distant relation of the Belle of Amherst.  College students; grandparents; a Chinese woman struggling with pronunciation, as we all sometimes did. An odd choir of devotees, we gathered once again in the parlor of the Dickinson Homestead to read all 1789 of Miss Emily’s poems.

This year’s annual poetry marathon dovetailed with the Amherst Poetry Festival. We heard James Tate,  Doug Anderson and Linelle Moise read from their extraordinary work. Small presses and literary magazines offered their wares at the local park. A tarot reader read from an Emily-themed deck. A flotilla of small rubber duckies bobbed in a nearby fountain, each with an Emily poem tied around its neck. Amherst knows how to celebrate the literary arts and have some fun, too. All this and 500 varieties of beer down at the Moan & Dove. Don’t miss next year’s marathon reading likely in late September when Emily’s newly restored bedroom will be revealed.

Meanwhile, share your favorite Dickinson poem here and keep the marathon going. Then join us in early December for our own Dickinson celebration around her birthday. Who’ll be first to comment?

Wrestling Demons

Three books just out challenge us, once again, to confront the evils of the Holocaust: Philip Schultz’ The Wherewithall, a long poem about the Shoah set in 1968 San Francisco and 1941 Poland; Peter Matthiessen’s In Paradise a novel about a group of Buddhists who sit meditation at a selection platform; and Martin Goldsmith’s Alex’s Wake: a Voyage of  Betrayal and a Journey of Remembrance about his family’s odyssey on the SS St. Louis.  All three courageous authors wrestle the demons that continue to disturb us, whether second-generations directly and indirectly effected by The Shoah, or those of us simply citizens of the global village struggling to understand.

These books  deserve our attention. Reading at least would be a fine way to observe Holocaust Remembrance Day ( it begins at sunset April 27 and  concludes at sunset April 28). Which one will you read first?

Remembering Harvey Shapiro

Harvey Shapiro

Word reached us that poet Harvey Shapiro died on January 7, 2013.  Harvey, a longtime and loyal customer of the bookshop, read at Canio’s several times from his various collections including How Charlie Shavers Died and Other Poems; The Sights Along the Harbor, and the volume he edited:  Poets of World War II published by The Library of America.  Here’s one from The Sights Along the Harbor.

To Nature

Sun gilding each lance-like pine needle.

One needs to have a proper attitude of respect

as a Jew only recently out of his village in Russia

would have had when he first ventured

from the Lower East Side on to broad Fifth Avenue.

My eyes are wide. I lift my cap.

We lift our cap to Harvey, who always had a ready smile and affable way about him, who supported other poets, and who seemed to remain just a regular guy even though his many prestigious accomplishments lift him above the crowd.

Mark Doty on Best American Poetry

No one could possibly read all the poetry published in America in one year. You couldn’t find it all!  Mark Doty said recently at Canio’s.  But through a very efficient and fair process established by series editor David Lehman, Doty, this year’s guest editor of Best American Poetry 2012  read thousands of poems and selected 75, every one of which, he claimed, he loved.

He strove to create an anthology that includes poems from different regions around the country, from both large and smaller literary publications, diverse in  gender, ethnicity, and poetic styles.An exciting, engaging and sometimes challenging collection has emerged from this patient, attentive editorial effort.   Mark  presented a few of his faves to an appreciative audience. We heard wonderful poems by Alicia Ostriker,  Honor Moore, Kerrin McCadden, Richard Howard, Carol Muske- Dukes and Lucia Perillo among others.

Poetry is a report on the senses, what we see and hear, what we think, and it arrives at some emotion, Doty explained. He hopes to be swept up, compelled by a poem.  And while reading vast numbers of poems, he endeavored to keep an open mind, to ask of the poem, “where does this take me?”

The best poetry takes us to unexpected places, places at once strange, yet somehow recognizable.


Canio’s Books is located at 290 Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963, 63.725.4926. Call or email us, caniosbooks@verizon.net. While we love you to SEE you, you can also order new titles at our online storefront or some of our second hand inventory HERE. Thanks for visiting!

Vanishing Landscapes