"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Review and quotes: Lighthead

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from the book.
e Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56.

Review, of sorts, to follow.

This is the book I'm highlighting right now---

Title: Lighthead by Terrance Hayes

Book Beginning: from the poem, "Lighthead's Guide to the Galaxy"
Ladies and Gentlemen, ghosts and children of the state, I am here because I could never get a hang of Time.
Friday 56: from the poem, "Satchmo Returns to New Orleans"
You are the greasy Daddy of Jazz. Peasy Daddy.
You are the brassy Mother of Jazz, the bellowing bastard of jazz,
Sweet-trumpting strupet of jazz. Easy Daddy;
A hankie full of toots and zooting, Mister Sadmo. 
Summary and review: Lighthead won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2010. I am reading it as part of a personal reading challenge to read at least two per year of the National Book Award winners for the last ten years. There are four, now five categories of awards: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young people's literature, and now a work in translation. I wanted to read a volume of award winning poetry and this thin volume seemed to fit the bill.

The first poem, "Lighthead's Guide to the Galaxy", was an homage to a favorite book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, though I didn't figure it out myself from the verses. I did like a few other lines from this poem. This one speaks to my need to read poetry--- "Maybe Art's only purpose is to preserve the Self."  And this quote seems like good advice---"Brothers and sisters, when you spend your nights out on a limb, there's a chance you'll fall in your sleep."

The second poem I highlighted from 56% on my Kindle, "Satchmo Returns to New Orleans" was very fun. Satchmo is a nickname for Louis Armstrong and the poem is full of titles of many of his famous songs. The mention of all the songs chased me to YouTube to listen to some of them, played by the master himself.
Here is one of my favorites:

Though I liked a few poems in the collection, most of them confused me, some even left me feeling flat. I didn't figure out why until I read the Author's Notes at the end. Apparently Mr. Hayes was playing around with poetic and other written forms and styles. One is called pecha kucha, a Japanese business presentation format where the presenter narrates or riffs on twenty images connected to a single theme for twenty seconds of time.  No wonder I didn't get it.

I leave you with this snippet. Though it references an elephant I related to the sentiment:
"...everything is punctured by the tusks of Nostalgia." 
from "The Elegant Tongue"

National Book Award Personal Challenge selection.


  1. I think I'm going to look more closely at that, thanks. My post is here: https://francebooktours.com/2019/02/05/first-chapter-first-paragraph-the-first-noel-at-the-villa-des-violettes/

  2. I haven't read a lot of poetry. Glad you are enjoying it.
    sherry @ fundinmental Friday Memes

  3. I don't read a lot of poetry. This one sounds like the reason I don't. This week I am spotlighting Connections in Death by J. D. Robb. Happy reading!

  4. This sounds good even though I don’t read poetry....love the cover.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. I hope you love it! Happy weekend!

  6. Spring always puts me in the mood for poetry.
    I even did a haiku for my last book review (The Last Templar):
    Four horsemen ride
    Steal ancient device from the Met
    Pages gallop by

    Lighthead does sound challenging. I'm more of a Mary Oliver fan.

    1. I like to have a poetry book going at all times, though I've run out of purchased volumes so I am trying these National Book Award winners to see if I can get some inspiration from them.

  7. I don't read poetry often. Maybe one of these days I'll give it another try.

  8. I don't read much poetry, but this sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing. Hope you have a great weekend! :)

  9. I especially like the last snippet you shared. I am always on the look out for poetry collections to try. Have a wonderful weekend, Anne.

    1. Not sure I am a fan of this collection. The next collection I've picked up seems to be more to my taste, INCARDADINE.

  10. I thought it is poetry, when reading 56)) Unfortunately, I am not on friendly terms with poetry, but I hope you will enjoy it.

  11. Sounds like something a bit different. Good luck with the rest of your challenge.

  12. I like poetry, but I need to half way understand it or love the beauty of the language.

  13. I'm already pulled in with this excerpt. Wow. Hope you enjoy your weekend!

  14. I enjoy some poetry now and then. I liked you choices for the excerpts.

    My Friday 56 from Silver River Secrets

  15. You are taking on your personal challenge so quickly! I am not a poetry person so totally understand feeling confused. Too bad it wasn't as good as you hoped.

    1. Yes I am going pretty fast on my personal challenge. I started another poetry collection today and a fiction finalist last night.

  16. I can't say I've heard of this one, but I hope you enjoy the poetry. :)

    Lauren @ Always Me

  17. I like poetry, but I don't read a whole lot of contemporary poetry. There are 2 books of contemporary poetry that I added to my TBR list and want to check out from the library: Citizen by Claudia Rankine & Olio by Teyhimba Jess. But I am not sure when I'll get around to them. I had not heard of this one.


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