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in defense of poetry, with apologies to Percy Shelley

I spent about six weeks this semester teaching and talking about poetry with my students.  Almost to a person, they started the term with “eh…I don’t much like poetry,” and “I don’t get poetry,” and “what the hell is poetry even about, anyway?” All reasonable questions, I guess, for students who have grown up in a world where they almost never encounter poetry, other than in song lyrics or spoken-word …

Dave Eggers Has a New Book…and Big Brother look like a nice guy by comparison

I wrote a review of Dave Eggers’ new book, The Circle, for the newspaper here, and in their quest for space, the editors cut the first line of the review.  (I know–my deathless prose, snipped! Unbelievable.) Here’s the line: “I didn’t like Dave Eggers new book, but I can’t stop thinking about it.” And that’s the paradox: because as a novel, as a gripping story populated with characters we understand, …

The Gift of the Snail

We’ve spent the last six weeks or so in the U.S. visiting friends and family, including a trip to Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts.  My kids go to a British school, so this trip was my attempt to offer them a dollop of U.S. history, which for some reason their school doesn’t offer.  Sore losers, if you ask me. We stayed at a great cheap hotel right on the water and …

You Have Lipstick On Your Teeth!

If you’re a woman-type person, then I would imagine at some point in your life, you’ve been to the ladies room, aka the female toilet, aka the powder room. (Does anyone still use powder anymore?)  And I would imagine that in that powder room, you’ve probably had at least one or two really great conversations, maybe a bitchfest or two, and probably at least a few honest conversations: your hair …

Saturday’s Snapshot (surat al-sabat): لقطة السبت

Sidelines at Caleb’s soccer football match last week: I think we classify this image under “the new normal.” (Plus that little kid in the jacket looks like he’s developing some mad skillz) When I wasn’t standing on the sidelines watching Caleb play, I wrote a post for the World Moms Blog about female heroines in YA literature.  Which is to say, the surprising lack of female heroines in YA literature, …