Gary Hotham (Pinyon)
We keep getting told that no one cares about poetry any more. Meanwhile, more books of poetry are being published than ever before, and MFA poetry programs are flourishing. Feel a little cognitive dissonance? Here’s another twister: Contemporary poetry is mostly unreadable, we’re assured. Really? Gary Hotham, one of my favorite haiku poets, writes, “near the firefly / part of the night / missing.” And this: “yard sale— / a bookmark / falls out.” And “Dad’s funeral— / the same knot / in my tie.” As poet Les Murray says, “Here is another feast of glimpses from an acknowledged master of noticing.”
Forrest Zander with Dwight Clough (self-published)
Almost every day at the office, the mail includes several self-published books. I look at every single one (often, I’ll admit, very briefly). And a few catch my attention, demanding to be read all the way through. A case in point is Forrest Zander’s memoir. He and his first wife, Margaret (who died in 2013), served Wycliffe Bible Translators for many years in South America (I expect we have some friends and acquaintances in common). This episodic account of missionary life is charmingly unpretentious and unembarrassed in testifying to God’s work.
Anne Trubek (Bloomsbury)
When I was a kid, I mostly enjoyed school, and report cards didn’t produce anxiety—except in one category: “penmanship.” Somewhere around third grade, I started to get bad marks, often supplemented by notes from the teacher, telling my mother that Something Must Be Done. This continued, and worsened, until partway through high school. I found it immensely frustrating. You might be surprised, then, to hear that I picked up Anne Trubek’s book and found it irresistible. (And how delightful to learn, at the end, that Trubek herself, like many in her family, has “always had poor handwriting.”)
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