AFPL Bookends: National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month! Here’s a small collection of poetry books you should check out!

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I'm Too Young to Be Seventy by Judith Viorst.jpgI’m Too Young to Be Seventy by Judith Viorst

The beloved bestselling author of Forever Fifty and Suddenly Sixty now tackles the ins and outs of becoming a septuagenarian with her usual wry good humor.

Fans of Judith Viorst’s funny, touching, and wise poems about turning thirty, forty, fifty, and sixty will love this new volume for the woman who deeply believes she is too young to be seventy, “too young in my heart and my soul, if not in my thighs.”

Viorst explores, among the many other issues of this stage of life, the state of our sex lives and teeth, how we can stay married though thermostatically incompatible, and the joys of grandparenthood and shopping. Readers will nod with rueful recognition when she asks, “Am I required to think of myself as a basically shallow woman because I feel better when my hair looks good?,” when she presses a few helpful suggestions on her kids because “they may be middle aged, but they’re still my children,” and when she graciously — but not too graciously — selects her husband’s next mate in a poem deliciously subtitled “If I Should Die Before I Wake, Here’s the Wife You Next Should Take.” Though Viorst acknowledges she is definitely not a good sport about the fact that she is mortal, her poems are full of the pleasures of life right now, helping us come to terms with the passage of time, encouraging us to keep trying to fix the world, and inviting us to consider “drinking wine, making love, laughing hard, caring hard, and learning a new trick or two as part of our job description at seventy.”

I’m Too Young to Be Seventy is a joy to read and makes a heartwarming gift for anyone who has reached or is soon to reach that — it’s not so bad after all — seventh decade.

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The New Young American Poets.jpgThe New Young American Poets

Poetry today holds mainstream attention as never before. From community workshops to reading groups, from coffee house poetry slams to small press lit mags, from universities to web ‘zines, the world of poetry has become part of our everyday lives. Demonstrating the range and vitality of the new generation of American writers, The New Young American Poets features the work of forty poets born since 1960.

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The Poems of Emily Dickinson.jpgThe Poems of Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson, poet of the interior life, imagined words/swords, hurling barbed syllables/piercing. Nothing about her adult appearance or habitation revealed such a militant soul. Only poems, written quietly in a room of her own, often hand-stitched in small volumes, then hidden in a drawer, revealed her true self. She did not live in time but in universals–an acute, sensitive nature reaching out boldly from self-referral to a wider, imagined world.

Dickinson died without fame; only a few poems were published in her lifetime. Her legacy was later rescued from her desk–an astonishing body of work, much of which has since appeared in piecemeal editions, sometimes with words altered by editors or publishers according to the fashion of the day.

Now Ralph Franklin, the foremost scholar of Dickinson’s manuscripts, has prepared an authoritative one-volume edition of all extant poems by Emily Dickinson–1,789 poems in all, the largest number ever assembled. This reading edition derives from his three-volume work, “The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Variorum Edition” (1998), which contains approximately 2,500 sources for the poems. In this one-volume edition, Franklin offers a single reading of each poem–usually the latest version of the entire poem–rendered with Dickinson’s spelling, punctuation, and capitalization intact. “The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition” is a milestone in American literary scholarship and an indispensable addition to the personal library of poetry lovers everywhere.

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Robert Frost - Selected PoemsRobert Frost – Selected Poems

John F. Kennedy said of Robert Frost: “He has bequeathed his nation a body of imperishable verse from which Americans will forever gain joy and understanding.” A four-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, Frost created a new poetic language that has a deep and timeless resonance.
In addition to Robert Frost’s first three books, this collection includes eighteen early poems that did not appear in his eleven books of poetry and have rarely been reprinted. Some of these express the idealism of youth inspired by heroic figures of the past. Others are love poems to Elinor White, whom he married in 1895.
This book features a deluxe cover, ribbon marker, top stain, and decorative endpapers with a nameplate.

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Selected Poems of Langston Hughes.jpgSelected Poems of Langston Hughes

With the publication of his first book of poems, The Weary Blues, in 1926, Langston Hughes electrified readers and launched a renaissance in black writing in America.  The poems Hughes wrote celebrated the experience of invisible men and women: of slaves who “rushed the boots of Washington”; of musicians on Lenox Avenue; of the poor and the lovesick; of losers in “the raffle of night.”  They conveyed that experience in a voice that blended the spoken with the sung, that turned poetic lines into the phrases of jazz and blues, and that ripped through the curtain separating high from popular culture.  They spanned the range from the lyric to the polemic, ringing out “wonder and pain and terror– and the marrow of the bone of life.”

The poems in this collection were chosen by Hughes himself shortly before his death in 1967 and represent work from his entire career, including “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” “The Weary Blues,” “Still Here,” “Song for a Dark Girl,” “Montage of a Dream Deferred,” and “Refugee in America.”  It gives us a poet of extraordinary range, directness, and stylistic virtuosity.

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Dog Songs by Mary Oliver.jpgDog Songs by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs is a celebration of the special bond between human and dog, as understood through the poet’s relationship to the canines that have accompanied her daily walks, warmed her home, and inspired her work. Oliver’s poems begin in the small everyday moments familiar to all dog lovers, but through her extraordinary vision these observations become higher meditations on the world and our place in it.

Dog Songs includes visits with old friends, like Oliver’s beloved Percy, and introduces still others in poems of love and laughter, heartbreak and grief. Throughout, the many dogs of Oliver’s life emerge as fellow travelers and guides, uniquely able to open our eyes to the lessons of the moment and the joys of nature and connection.

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About Avalon Free Public Library

Avalon is a bustling little shore town in southern NJ. Our small population of 1800 expands to about 30,000 at the height of summer. We like to think that we serve them all and then some! Our goal is to make our library available to our patrons wherever they may roam.

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