Inspiration, National Poetry Month

Get Inspired: 10 Engaging Ideas to Celebrate Poetry Month

The month of April brings showers, flowers, and poems!

This poster was designed by Marc Brown, creator of the famous Arthur book. The artwork incorporates an excerpted line from one of my favorite poets: “Carrying” by U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón

Ten Ways to celebrate Poetry Month:

  1. Sign-up for Poem-a-Day, curated this month by U. S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón, and read a poem each morning.
  2. Record yourself reading a poem and send it in a text to your child, grandchild, friend, partner, or all of the above.
  3. Post the same poem to your social media. Use @poetsorg on Twitter and Instagram.
  4. Read about your state poet laureate. Give them a shout-out on social media!
  5. Buy a book of poetry from your local bookstore, stroll to the coffee shop, and enjoy the read.
  6. Share a book of poetry by donating it to a little library in your area.
  7. Attend a poetry reading, open mic, or poetry slam via Zoom.
  8. Take a walk and write a poem outside. Try a Haiku.
  9. Share a poem for Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 27, 2023, on social media using the hashtag #PocketPoem.
  10. Encourage your writing, blog, or reading community to write short poems or haikus to be performed at your next meeting. You can even create a prize for the most creative entry.

April 4th was Maya Angelou Day. This quote is from the famous poem “Still, I Rise,” which she wrote in 1976.

“You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise.”

Maya Angelou

The poem speaks to the idea that even when we come from a place of oppression or pain, we have the power to rise above it and create a better future for ourselves and others.

Book Stuff:

In my latest newsletter, I wrote about Guns to Gardens. This was about an organization forging buyback guns into garden tools. What a brilliant idea. And keeping with the garden theme, I wrote about how plants grow good vibes. I can attest to that finding. I’m happier when I’m out in my garden or in nature.

For my newsletter subscribers, I had two ARCs (in print form) given via a raffle. They were the first to receive the code for the e-Arcs of THE GARDEN OF SECOND CHANCES.

This month, I’m sharing the codes with blog subscribers. 

If you’re a NetGalley member, my novel is now featured on their front page. I’d love for you to read it and leave a review.

Click on this link to Goodreads. Scroll to my book cover, and click “Vote for this book.” It takes you to June 2023 Books. This pushes my book up to higher levels and gains visibility.

While you’re there, you can add it to your Want to Read stack.

Lastly, I wrote a prequel for TGOSC. It’s a short ten pages.

If you subscribe to the newsletter, I’ll send it to you. Use the home page to subscribe.

Thank you for reading and helping out this debut author. Be well.

Authors, Book Review, Books, Boycotts, Cesar Chavez, Family, Latinos in film, Uncategorized

América and Anthony Quinn

America's Dream

Ever since I figured out how to use the Goodreads widget I’ve been posting reviews on books I’ve read.

Either the widget is dead, malfunctioning or my brain is on overdrive and I’ve forgotten how to use the darn thing, but the widget is not working. Hence, here are reviews on the two latest books I’ve enjoyed in the last month.

América by Esmeralda Santiago

América Gonzalez is a hotel maid at an island resort off the coast of Puerto Rico. She cleans up after wealthy foreigners who look past her as a non-entity. Her married boyfriend, Correa, beats her and their fourteen-year-old daughter thinks life would be better anywhere but with América. When a wealthy, too busy, family asks her to work for them in the United States, América plans her escape from Correa and her old life.

Domestic violence, family dynamics, fear, and choices are themes in this novel. The ongoing violence that América endures is sometimes difficult to read. One feels like yelling at her to drop the bastard and make better decisions, however the author illustrates that this is no easy task. 

Reading about a character who makes poor choices can often be a turn-off, however the author engages the reader by describing the protagonist and her backstory effectively.

Beautiful descriptive prose keeps you reading but the redundant descriptions on setting is sometimes too much and the eye wants to scan for the forward movement in the story.

I love the dialogue, the emotional reactions, and interplay between the maids. I loved how the author gave us the dialogue between the mother and protagonist. The villain in the story was well played.I learned some things about Puerto Rico, the culture and language which is a plus in my opinion.

I didn’t like the way the daughter’s character was written. She had the same extremes of reaction over the entire book.

These glitches may be because this is the author’s first novel (1996). I would definitely read Esmeralda Santiago’s other books.

one man tango

One Man Tango by Anthony Quinn and Daniel Paisner

Description from publisher:

“While bicycling near his villa in Ceccina, Italy, veteran actor Anthony Quinn begins a remarkable journey of self-discovery through a varied and colorful past–and delivers one of the most fascinating star biographies ever written. Resonating with Quinn’s own passionate voice, an infectious zest for living, and a wealth of juicy anecdotes, One Man Tango is by turns resilient and caustic, daring and profound. It is a memoir as bold as the man who wrote it. Includes a 16-page photo insert. HC: HarperCollins.”

Anthony Quinn was a hero of many Latino’s, being that he was a well known actor in the ’40-’70’s when few Latinos were on the big screen. Not only did he come from Mexico, but he grew up in East Los Angeles. He was associated with the Kennedy’s, Catholics, Cesar Chavez, laborers, and California politics which further endeared him to the Mexican American community.

I couldn’t help loving this book.When I read the memoir it was as if Anthony Quinn himself was in my family room recounting his memories. He lived as passionately as his many love affairs.

Remember Zorba the Greek? Well, Anthony Quinn had that enthusiasm for living. His early life was one of extreme poverty in Mexico, with his Mexican Irish father who fought in the Mexican Revolution, and his Mexican Indian mother. 

The memoir is as fast paced as his bicycle ride through the hills of Ceccina, giving the reader an insight into the hills and valleys of the actor’s life, which is fascinating. Besides being an actor he was a laborer, boxer, artist, vintner, writer and philanthropist.

His memory of the movie stars, producers, and directors that he worked with is fascinating, juicy and very entertaining. He worked with Marlon Brando, Laurence Olivier, Mickey Rooney, Carole Lombard, Maureen O’Hara, Rita Hayworth, and numerous other memorable actors. His memoir reads like a Who’s Who of Hollywood and the world, with all the side dishes that go along with these characters.

Particularly interesting was his experiences and conflicts with mobsters, politicians, and movie moguls, including his father-in-law, Cecil B. De Mille. Their family dynamics were extremely interesting.

Anthony Quinn often reminisces about his poor choices, the emotional turmoil he put his wife and family through, and looking back it seems he regrets some of his decisions. But what also comes through the memoir is that he loved his family like a ferocious lion.

This memoir is one of the most well-written, insightful, and candid story I’ve ever read. There are many beautifully written phrases and visuals that make you feel you are on that bicycle ride through the towns and cities of Mexico, East Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Italy.

as Eufemio Zapata with Marlon Brando's Emilian...
as Eufemio Zapata with Marlon Brando’s Emiliano Zapata in Viva Zapata! (1952) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)