Categories
Adult Fiction Books poems

Kent Evans – A Crash Course on the Anatomy of Robots

An Unconventional Librarian likes to have a little bit of every day and I’ve managed to bring you a good time yet again.  You’re welcome.  A few years ago I managed to talk author Kent Evans into taking the Ford 99 Test for his book,  “A Crash Course on the Anatomy of Robots.”  Kent is half British, so as you read his report, do it in your best British accent. Be advised: there is LANGUAGE in this post, so if you’re squeamish, do your thing.  Otherwise, ENJOY!

A Crash Course on the Anatomy of Robots Ford 99 Test Thoughts

Hmm… so being woefully unaware of Ford Maddox Ford and his contributions to English literature, I was curious to see how I’d fair on his test. Considering my new book Crash Course flows freely between forms as diverse as 3rd person narrative, blogs, journal entries, and diatribes speaking directly to the reader – I guess it was inevitable that page 99 would land on the hardest thing for me to summarize: poetry.

Page 99 sits towards the beginning of a chapter called Anatomy of a Poet (part 1); within the larger section Portrait of an Artist as a Not So Young Man (A Crash Course on Survival).  They are exactly what they sound like, and this section is 3 pages into a narrative performance poem given as an example of the genre the protagonist is known for. Curiously enough, it is one of the few spots in the novel where race is tackled head on, as well as the main characters feelings about using it as a subject for art. He has been lamenting how his appearance (Asian, young, male), most especially as a performance poet, leads to the assumptions that one can:

tell you my state

like my scars and my eyes

which tell you my past

and who am I to say

“motherfucker you don’t know me!

Take your shit somewhere else!”

cause I accepted my cage

when I acknowledged you and your ignorant hypocrisy

 

Damien, the protagonist has grown frustrated that, as a Chinese American writer, everyone expects him to constantly write about and answer to his heritage. The character, in his mid-Twenties and living in mid-90’s New York, has written a piece which, whilst railing against this perceived perception, is the very sort of work he has been complaining about. Realizing this midway through the poem he switches gears and asks:

So what if I threw off these chains

And told you I was

Black

and Jewish

 and a little Swiss Dutch girl?

what if I told you I was

an elephant

or a child

or a comet chewing quasars?

 

The question he asks himself and the fictional audience, as well as the reader, is:

 

Would you say I was buggin’?

or nuts?

or deranged?

Would you call me a poser?  

or wannabe?

 

The inquiry is both Damien’s internal monologue and a sincere questioning of how he views himself, and other slam poets of this era. It also exposes some of his insecurities, like his feeling of robot like isolation that contrasts his desperate desire to connect, which ride below the surface of the novel as a whole.

Note: Amusingly enough, this section is one of the 8 in the novel which I wrote and recorded musical accompaniment for. It comes free with some electronic versions; otherwise it’s available on iTunes, Amazon, and whatever you can think of.  Check 2:50-4:15 on track 5, and see how an audio test of good old Ford holds up.

 

I’d say a little deranged, Kent, but what’s wrong with that?

And you thought poetry was dry and boring.  Yay for broetry!

How’d you do with your British accent? Mine needs a little work; I sound like Eliza Doolittle, but whatevs, right?

Four paws for ethnic diversity!

Categories
Blogging from A to Z Challenge poems

Saying Goodbye to An Internet Friend, Tina of Life is Good; Stop All the Clocks

I’m not sure why, but I love Auden’s Stop All the Clocks poem when thinking about loved ones who die:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. 

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. 

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

 

I think this poem speaks to me because for a few moments you want time to stand still so you don’t have to think about the loss of your loved one.  Nothing, however, in this poem, is like our dear friend and sister Tina.  Tina blogged at Life is Good and was a fabulous organizer and co host at Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  Despite her many health challenges, Tina (my pet name for her was Cheese Girl), kept a stiff upper lip and her raging sense of humor. I don’t know how she did it. Life is crazy enough as it is but then to have the health problems she did and maintain a sense of humor shows her strength of character.

When she went in to the hospital she would tell us she’s on a mini vacation.

But now she isn’t suffering anymore.

I ask two things of you today:

#1 Hug your loved ones. HARD.

#2 Have a moment of silence for someone you love who’s gone.

Thanks for the laughs Tina. You will be missed.

IMG_4441

Categories
Blogging from A to Z Challenge Books poems Young Adult

F #atozchallenge

Let’s get right to it today, shall we?

a-to-z-letters-f

Have I got a doozy for you! It’s called Fallout and it’s by Ellen Hopkins.  It’s number 2 in the really controversial Crank series.

Unconventional Librarian

Crank is a pseudonym for meth and the Crank series is about a mother and her children.  The mother is an addict and each story in the series relates to each of the dysfunctional children.  So Fallout is the tale of 19 yr old Hunter, the son of the addicted mother.  Did I mention that he has a rapist for a father? Autumn, his sister, lives with an aunt and an alcoholic grandfather.  The tale of addiction and dysfunctional family members continues in this tale that will keep you engaged and prolly thankful for the family you do have!

Also in F we have The Future of us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.

Unconventional Librarian

When I first heard about The Future of Us, I scratched my head and said “wait, what?” but that’s not really uncommon for me.  But anyway, I digress…The Future of Us is a story of a couple of teens who log onto Facebook.  Only Facebook hasn’t been invented yet.  And they see themselves in the future and what their activities are. So, sort of a looking glass into the future.  I like the premise because it makes you think about how your current actions affect your future.  Only now it’s on Facebook.

Two MUST READS!!

Have you read them?

 

Categories
Adult Fiction Books poems

Kent Evans – A Crash Course on the Anatomy of Robots

An Unconventional Librarian likes to have a little bit of fun now and again every day and I’ve managed to bring you a good time yet again.  You’re welcome.  I managed to trick talk author Kent Evans into taking the Ford 99 Test for his new book, A Crash Course on the Anatomy of Robots.  Kent is half British, so as you read his report, do it in your best British accent. Be advised: there is LANGUAGE in this post, so if you’re squeamish, do your thing.  Otherwise, ENJOY!

A Crash Course on the Anatomy of Robots Ford 99 Test Thoughts

Hmm… so being woefully unaware of Ford Maddox Ford and his contributions to English literature, I was curious to see how I’d fair on his test. Considering my new book Crash Course flows freely between forms as diverse as 3rd person narrative, blogs, journal entries, and diatribes speaking directly to the reader – I guess it was inevitable that page 99 would land on the hardest thing for me to summarize: poetry.

Page 99 sits towards the beginning of a chapter called Anatomy of a Poet (part 1); within the larger section Portrait of an Artist as a Not So Young Man (A Crash Course on Survival).  They are exactly what they sound like, and this section is 3 pages into a narrative performance poem given as an example of the genre the protagonist is known for. Curiously enough, it is one of the few spots in the novel where race is tackled head on, as well as the main characters feelings about using it as a subject for art. He has been lamenting how his appearance (Asian, young, male), most especially as a performance poet, leads to the assumptions that one can:

tell you my state

like my scars and my eyes

which tell you my past

and who am I to say

“motherfucker you don’t know me!

Take your shit somewhere else!”

cause I accepted my cage

when I acknowledged you and your ignorant hypocrisy

 

Damien, the protagonist has grown frustrated that, as a Chinese American writer, everyone expects him to constantly write about and answer to his heritage. The character, in his mid-Twenties and living in mid-90’s New York, has written a piece which, whilst railing against this perceived perception, is the very sort of work he has been complaining about. Realizing this midway through the poem he switches gears and asks:

So what if I threw off these chains

And told you I was

Black

and Jewish

 and a little Swiss Dutch girl?

what if I told you I was

an elephant

or a child

or a comet chewing quasars?

 

The question he asks himself and the fictional audience, as well as the reader, is:

 

Would you say I was buggin’?

or nuts?

or deranged?

Would you call me a poser?  

or wannabe?

 

The inquiry is both Damien’s internal monologue and a sincere questioning of how he views himself, and other slam poets of this era. It also exposes some of his insecurities, like his feeling of robot like isolation that contrasts his desperate desire to connect, which ride below the surface of the novel as a whole.

Note: Amusingly enough, this section is one of the 8 in the novel which I wrote and recorded musical accompaniment for. It comes free with some electronic versions; otherwise it’s available on iTunes, Amazon, and whatever you can think of.  Check 2:50-4:15 on track 5, and see how an audio test of good old Ford holds up.

 

I’d say a little deranged, Kent, but what’s wrong with that?

And you thought poetry was dry and boring.  Yay for broetry!

How’d you do with your British accent? Mine needs a little work; I sound like Eliza Doolittle, but whatevs, right?

Four paws for ethnic diversity!

Categories
poems

The More it Snows (Tiddely-pom)

The more it snows (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
On snowing. And nobody knows (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
Are growing.
Winnie the Pooh
The House at Pooh Corner

Categories
NaBloPoMo poems

Wordless Wednesday – Hey Diddle Diddle

Categories
poems

Kids and Poetry

t's Raining Pigs & Noodles by Jack PrelutskyHere are a couple of cute and funny poems by Jack Prelutsky (who specializes in that sort of thing).

My Father’s Name is Sasquatch

My Father’s Name is Sasquatch

my mother’s name is Yeti

They often feast on frozen fish

but I prefer spagetti

I Went to a Yard  Sale

I went to a yard sale

and found it a treat.

Theyd run out of yards,

so i purchased three feet.

These poems are taken from It’s Raining Pigs & Noodles, by Jack Prelutsky

which, by the way, iI got at a thrift store!

Categories
Books poems

Rachel Fister’s Blister

Rachel Flister's Blister by Amy MacDonald “Rachel Fister found a blister on her little left-hand toe.”

You might think that a story about a blister on someone’s toe would be gross. And it kind of is. But this is exactly the kind of grossness children love.  The rhymes are short, appealing, and easy to predict, which small children should love.  The tale is about a young girl and the story contains characters of various ethnicities including a Jewish rabbi and an African American pastor.  While most of the other multicultural characters are in the background, they are at least depicted.  This is a fun tale and a quick read.

As an added bonus, I picked this book up second hand at a yard sale or thrift store and the book is signed by both the author and the illustrator (Amy MacDonald and Marjorie A. Priceman)!

I give this book 3 paws!

Categories
Books Diversity poems

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom (Caldecott Honor Book)

Moses by Carole Boston WeatherfordIf you are looking to add a beautifully illustrated picture book to your collection, put this book at the top of your list. Kadir Nelson’s dark and gothic-like illustrations are the perfect complement to Carole Boston Weatherford’s poetic narrative.  As much as I loved the illustrations, however, the verse kind of put me off.  The story involves a conversation between Harriet Tubman and God as she travels The Underground Railroad.  This fictionalized account is a clever take on Harriet’s journey; however, if you are not a particularly spiritual person, you might not enjoy the text as much as others may.

Given the spiritual overtones, I am curious if this book is chosen to be used in schools.  The text is almost like one continuous prayer.  I would think churches may be more interested in it. While it is no wonder this title is a Caldecott Honor Book, I was especially interested in illustrations; they are like artwork.

The multicultural perspective of this book is obvious.  Readers of other cultures can learn about slavery and The Underground Railroad.  Especially appealing is that the main character is not only African American, but a woman.

I give this book four paws for the illustrations!

Categories
poems

a poem

If I were a bear
And a big bear too,
I shouldn’t much care
If it froze or snew;
I shouldn’t much mind
If it snowed or friz –
I’d be all fur-lined
With a coat like his.
Winnie the Pooh Furry Bear, Winnie the Pooh