Tag Archives: book suggestions

New Poetry

Hi Hart Beat. How are you? I’m sitting in my perfect little studio that Matt and I called “our little Scandinavian getaway” all winter long. It felt just like that, with the snow coming down softly on the roof, my fairy lights twinkling outside on the balcony. Now that spring is here and summer is coming fast, we rearranged the furniture to make room for a little sitting table and couch. I think we’re going to need another nickname soon.

Anyway, this month is National Poetry. I’ve written about poetry I love so much here on Hart Beat over the years. One of my favorite emails I get every morning is a poem of the day from the National Poetry Foundation. It took me a while to figure out I actually liked poetry though, Hart Beat. It wasn’t until I figured out that for me at least, liking a poem doesn’t mean understanding it or even loving it, it means I get a feeling from it. It doesn’t matter what the feeling is and half the time I couldn’t even name the feeling if I tried. It’s a low bar and for that, the world of poetry is now huge and I am grateful to know it.

This month the Pulitzer Prizes in Literature were announced. The winner for poetry is Forrest Gander’s, Be With. A few days after the announcement I saw a list float around on Twitter with all the other books that were under final consideration for the category.

I’m sorry to say that the only book I was already familiar with was Mary Karr’s. So, I did what any other aspiring writer who likes poetry would do, I requested the rest of them on inter-library loan. Most of them have come in since then. I loved The Carrying, Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl, and Blue Rose. I’m still waiting for a few more, including the winner.

The full list is below if you’re interested in reading any of them. And if you’re not and just curious, here’s one of my favorites so far. Of course it’s one of Karr’s and even though I know it’s about God and religion, it makes me feel something and for that, I like it.

VI. Wisdom: The Voice of God
by Mary Karr

Ninety percent of what’s wrong with you
could be cured with a hot bath,
says God through the manhole covers,
but you want magic, to win
the lottery you never bought a ticket for.
(Tenderly, the monks chant,
embrace the suffering.) The voice never
panders, offers no five-year plan,
no long-term solution, no edicts from a cloudy
white beard hooked over ears.
It is small and fond and local. Don’t look for
your initials in the geese honking
overhead or to see through the glass even
darkly. It says the most obvious shit,
i.e. Put down that gun, you need a sandwich.


Full List of the runners up for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry 2019:

Ada Limón, The Carrying
Forrest Gander, Be With
Kevin Prufer, How He Loved Them
Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin
Max Ritvo, The Final Voicemails
Kyle Dargan, Anagnorisis
Diane Seuss, Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl
jos charles, feeld
Chelsey Minnis, Baby I Don’t Care
Diana Khoi Nguyen, Ghost Of
J. Michael Martinez, Museum of the Americas
A. E. Stallings, Like
Carol Muske-Dukes, Blue Rose
Mary Karr, Tropic of Squalor
Sherwin Bitsu, Dissolve

David Sedaris - Hannah Hart Beat

Theft by Finding, what I’m reading right now

David Sedaris - Hannah Hart Beat

Hi, Hart Beat. How are you this Monday? I’ve been seeing on Instagram today that it is hot hot hot in the rest of the country but, here on this idyllic island in Maine, it’s chilly and the fog has decided to hang over the island all day. It’s okay though, I’ve gotten lots of writing done this morning and this afternoon I’m going to hold up and read the pile of books that I have next to me.

Speaking of reading, I wanted to write to you about a book that has just come out that I am loving. Do you know David Sedaris? I wrote about him briefly once back in 2013 and I’m surprised he hasn’t come up since then. Sedaris is hands down one of my lifelong favorite authors. My parents introduced my brother and me to the author when we were young. My mom has always loved him and bought all of his books on audio to listen to them in the car. To this day, I still listen to Sedaris reading his own books almost every day. As you might know, Hart Beat, I have a hard time falling asleep so often I will listen to books on tape to help fall asleep. For the past three years or so I’ve been rotating through all of Sedaris’s books. Right now I’m on Naked and laugh still to this day on most of his writing, even though I’ve heard it a million times.

There’s something comforting about Sedaris and the stories he tells about his family, his boyfriend, and his life now. Last month, Sedaris’s newest book was published and I’m currently halfway through listening to the stories. The book is a little different from his usual memoir style short stories. Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977 – 2002) is what it’s title suggests, David Sedaris’s daily diary entries from the years 1977 to 2002. Sedaris is famous not only for his hilarious and gut-wrenching prose but also for his commitment to daily diary writing. We are lucky as humans that the author has decided to let us into his private writings and inner world. Often times interestingly mundane, the collection of diary entries allows us as readers to sit beside Sedaris during his early days as a struggling author and his early days of success.

If you’re a Sedaris fan there are two other pieces I’d recommend to you. The first is his newest short story, “Why Aren’t You Laughing?” published in The New Yorker this past June. The second is his most recent interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air from this past May. I loved listening to it.

Anyway, that’s all the news from the Island today. Hope you’re doing well, Hart Beat.

Photo of Sedaris via the author.

Hannah Hart Beat

My Kindle & Me: A love affair by any other name

Hannah Hart Beat

Hi, Hart Beat! This is a post I never thought I would be writing but, alas, here we are and the year truly is 2017. As my friends know, I’ve always been an avid reader. I’ve worked in libraries over the years and one of my favorite things to check out when visiting anywhere is the local bookstore. All things being said, for YEARS I hated on any kind of e-reader. Kindles, Nooks, iPads, you name it, it was on my hate (exit boat) list. That is until I turned 27 and my eyes started blurring and my back started aching. While I will not admit I’m getting older my body begs to differ.

So, before I went on a trip with my mom last month, I broke down and bought myself a birthday present in the form of a Kindle. I didn’t do much research because, you know, #denial but the little reading I did do directed me to the Kindle Paperwhite E-reader for its size, price, and highly ranked reviews. I bought it quickly and ever since it arrived on my desk at work, I have a new love affair.

Anyone I come in contact with I can’t help but spew my love for my Kindle. I’m a changed woman! It’s light! It doesn’t have any glare! It fits in my pocket! I can carry inch thick hardcover tombs with me at all times! I can carry five books at once! I can carry five hundred books at once! Honestly, I could go on and on. My love intensified when I found out that I can borrow books from my local library through my Kindle. In turn, I can support my public library and not spend any money. Amazon, I forgive you. Kindle, I love you.

I’m not 100% sure exactly which combinations of effects are working for me in the reading department but since purchasing my Kindle I’ve read almost than double the number of books I read in a year in a month. Truth be told, some of them have been YA books now that I don’t have the (stupid) shame of people’s judgmental eyes on the train but YA is good, man! #hungergamesmadeitso

  • The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
  • Bad Feminist: Essays, by Roxanne Gaye
  • All five the Sisterhood of the Traveling pants books, by Ann Brashers (crying through all of them of course)
  • The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown (because I missed the crazy years ago and needed a thriller through Italy)
  • The Circle, by Dave Eggers (which I am now more than halfway through and TERRIFIED for my digital footprint…)

And now the best part. What are you reading, Hart Beat? I’m quickly running through the list of books I’ve had and would love any suggestions from you. Love in the time of Kindle, Hannah