Monthly Archives: November 2011

Poems by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou is another Oprah favorite.  As a teenager, I used to hate how people flocked to eat up anything that Oprah endorsed.  Now, though, I can appreciate what Oprah did with her book club.  She exposed people to amazing literature and got her viewers to check out some classics.

I never explored Maya Angelou’s work outside of the poems that showed up in our school textbooks, but just the two poems below are enough to make me want to read more.


Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.


When I was young, I used to
Watch behind the curtains
As men walked up and down the street. Wino men, old men.
Young men sharp as mustard.
See them. Men are always
Going somewhere.
They knew I was there. Fifteen
Years old and starving for them.
Under my window, they would pauses,
Their shoulders high like the
Breasts of a young girl,
Jacket tails slapping over
Those behinds,

One day they hold you in the
Palms of their hands, gentle, as if you
Were the last raw egg in the world. Then
They tighten up. Just a little. The
First squeeze is nice. A quick hug.
Soft into your defenselessness. A little
More. The hurt begins. Wrench out a
Smile that slides around the fear. When the
Air disappears,
Your mind pops, exploding fiercely, briefly,
Like the head of a kitchen match. Shattered.
It is your juice
That runs down their legs. Staining their shoes.
When the earth rights itself again,
And taste tries to return to the tongue,
Your body has slammed shut. Forever.
No keys exist.

Then the window draws full upon
Your mind. There, just beyond
The sway of curtains, men walk.
Knowing something.
Going someplace.
But this time, I will simply
Stand and watch.

Check out Maya Angelou’s Amazon Page.

Visit the official website.

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Fun with words Friday! Gestalt

gestalt – noun

  1. a configuration, pattern, or organized field having specific properties that cannot be derived from the summation of its component parts; a unified whole.
  2. an instance or example of such a unified whole.

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Happy Thanksgiving! Books that I am thankful for…

For all of us in America, today is Thanksgiving.  For me, Thanksgiving is a good push to remind me to reflect upon all of the things in this world that I am thankful for.  And, every year, I tell myself that it is vital to keep all of these things fresh in my mind on a daily basis.  The older that I get, the easier it becomes to do this.  So, today, I decided would be the perfect opportunity to make a list of all of the books and/or authors that I am most thankful for.

Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.

Lord knows how many entries in this blog are now completely dedicated to either one of them and/or their children, but, as we know, Sylvia Plath is my all-time favorite.  Her signature is tattooed on my back.  All of her writing – whether it be poetry, prose, or her journal – inspires me.  She was the first writer that really got my jazzed about writing poetry and, if I’m ever in need of inspiration to write, I just pick up some of her work.

Ted Hughes writes differently than Plath, but thanks to my love of her, I was exposed to his work.  And I love it.  I won’t lie, I tend to prefer Birthday Letters to most of his other work, but all of his work is beautiful.  And this blog is named after a line from one of his poems, after all.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

This was a ‘required reading’ novel my sophomore year in high school.  The length looked daunting, but I started devouring it after getting into the first chapter.  The setting is bleak and the characters are awful to each other, which could potentially make for an entirely dreary read.  But, buried in all of this, there is a love and passion that just won’t cease to exist – no matter what.

As a teenage girl, yet to have a real boyfriend, I thought that the idea of having a Heathcliff in my life was absolutely DREAMY.  However, now, as a 27 year-old woman, I can honestly say that he would be exhausting to deal with.  Not to mention that in present-day, any sane woman would probably slap a restraining order on him as soon as possible, no matter how beautiful and dark he was.

In short, this is my kind of romance.  I revisit this book as frequently as possible.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

This book will (hopefully) disturb you, but it’s just so beautifully written, you can’t put it down.  Even translated, the prose writing by Nabokov is far more beautiful than the majority of poetry out there.  I am thankful every day that I made the choice to pick up this book and give it a whirl.  I would recommend this to everyone who loves and appreciates good literature.

Picture from

Joyce Carol Oates

If I could meet any one person on the planet, I would easily – without hesitation – choose Joyce Carol Oates.  From the first pages of Beasts (the first book that I ever read by her), I have been madly in love with her work.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, I deeply admire her raw, honest writing and her ability to write her work so completely in the voice of her characters.  In addition to being a prolific writer, intelligent, and cutting edge, Oates is hilarious and charming, while not taking any gruff (or crummy interview questions) from anyone.

No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July

I already wrote about Miranda July earlier this week, but let us recap, shall we?  Miranda July, and all of work – specifically these stories – are refreshing.  She’s inspiration.  Her words bring me back to life, renew my hope, and get me really riled up to be alive.  Thank you for that, Ms. July.

Virginia Woolf

I am thankful for Virginia Woolf because, well, her writing is there to give me a good kick in the rear whenever I might be feeling a little too full of myself.  All I need to do is read the first page of The Waves and it’s like she’s speaking to me – Megan, now, you’re really not as smart as you sometimes think you are!  Silly Girl!  It’s true.  I own a fair number of her books, but have only successfully read two from beginning to end – To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway.  Some day, though, I hope to read them all.

Paradise by Toni Morrison

Read any book by Toni Morrison and you will be floored.  Her work is honest, raw, and powerful.  Paradise was the first book by her that I picked up to read that wasn’t a required reading book for school.  My praise for this novel is similar to my praise for Lolita – it’s poetic and beautiful.  Every page left me stunned by her power over the english language and left me wanting more.  Her work is a palpable reminder that there are still incredibly talented authors writing in the present-day.

The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Prior to reading these books, if you ever asked, I would have told you that I had absolutely zero interest in ever reading a series.  Back to back books written by the same author, featuring the same characters, and, most likely, written in a similar style, didn’t sound like a good time to me.  I’m all about variety.  Right?  Well, at the recommendation of a close friend, I gave these books a try.  I immediately fell in love with Lisbeth Salander and the intricate tales that Larsson was the master at weaving.  I am left wanting many, many more of these books.

I’m sure that after I post this, I am going to immediately think of a slew of other books and/or authors that I should have included.  The above list covers the best of the best, however, in my heart.  I am thankful to be literate and to have access to so many wonderful books – between Amazon, local bookstores, libraries, and my time studying literature in college, I am incredibly wealthy in this regard.

What books are you thankful for?


Filed under Books, Classics, Collections, Emily Bronte, Favorites, Joyce Carol Oates, Nabokov, Series, Stieg Larsson, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Toni Morrison, Women Writers, Wuthering Heights

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Title:  The Bell Jar
Author:  Sylvia Plath
Length:  288 pages

It’s hard to believe that I have yet to dedicate a post to The Bell Jar, but I just looked back and confirmed it.  What’s wrong with me?  This is my all-time favorite novel.  The only novel that I make it a point to revisit at least once a year.  Every time that I read it, I keep a pencil or highlighter in hand, because I always find some new passage that I absolutely need to make a note of.  Though, there are plenty of passages that are so powerful, that they stuck out from the beginning.  Such as from this past Quotable Monday post:

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.

From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked.  One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Antila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above thee figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.

I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose.  I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.

The Bell Jar sucks the reader into Esther’s downward spiral.  Plath makes mental illness completely accessible in the pages of this novel – you don’t, for a second, doubt what the character is going through.  At times, perhaps even a lot of the time, you see some of your own fears, paranoia, or thoughts reflected in what Esther is experiencing.

Additionally, the pages are full of memorable scenes, absurd characters, passages that will make you laugh, and some that will make you shiver.  For all of these reasons, and more, The Bell Jar is considered an American Classic.  And, for me, it will always be a personal favorite.

There is even talk that there will be a re-make of the film.  The talk has been going on for years now, but according to IMDB’s page, it’s slated for a 2012 release and starring Julia Stiles and, possibly, Rose McGowan.  All I can say is that it can’t POSSIBLY be any worse than the version that came out in the 1970s.  “YIKES!” is the only word to describe that theatrical failure.

Purchase The Bell Jar on Amazon.

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Filed under Books, Classics, Favorites, Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Women Writers

Learning to Love You More by Harrell Fletcher & Miranda July

Title:  Learning to Love You More
By:  Harrell Fletcher & Miranda July
Length:  158 pages

Miranda July.  I love her.  She’s unique, refreshing, and doesn’t leave her self out of any of her art projects.  Whether the medium is film, installation art, or prose, she never ceases to fully “bring it”.  Her work, as I see it, focuses primarily on human connection, love, and happiness.  She doesn’t shy away from showing the sad, stressful, or depressing aspects of daily life, because those are moments that we all experience, but it always seems to come back to love, in some sense of the word.

The concept behind Learning to Love You More ( is that Fletcher and July gave out “assignments” via their website, asking the visitors to carry them out, capture them in a photo, and submit them online.  After all of the assignments were complete and shut down, the artists’ favorites were compiled in this beautiful collection pictured above.  Some of the assignments were along the lines of – take a flash photo under your bed, take a picture of your parents kissing, take a picture of strangers holding hands, make an encouraging banner….

July’s work always rejuvenates me.  If I’m ever struggling during the week or feeling a little down, I can just pop in one of her films or pick up one of her books (especially this one) and it helps get me back on track.  All of the assignments in this book, together, cover the breadth of everything that is most important in life.  The photographs serve as a good reminder of all of the things that are so easy to forget while chugging along through the day.

Miranda July’s Official Site:
Miranda July’s Amazon Page

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Monday Quote: Gratitude

Keeping with the Thanksgiving theme from yesterday, today’s quote is from Melody Beattie (self-help author) and explores the full necessity of gratitude in daily life.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Check out Melody Beattie’s official website.
Check out her page on Amazon.

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Poems of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is coming up on Thursday and while I don’t celebrate in a “traditional” sense (I’m vegetarian), but it’s always a nice in-your-face reminder to reflect on all of the things that you’re thankful for in this world.  The common thread for today’s poems are that they all focus on giving thanks.

Around Us
Marvin Bell

We need some pines to assuage the darkness
when it blankets the mind,
we need a silvery stream that banks as smoothly
as a plane’s wing, and a worn bed of
needles to pad the rumble that fills the mind,
and a blur or two of a wild thing
that sees and is not seen. We need these things
between appointments, after work,
and, if we keep them, then someone someday,
lying down after a walk
and supper, with the fire hole wet down,
the whole night sky set at a particular
time, without numbers or hours, will cause
a little sound of thanks–a zipper or a snap–
to close round the moment and the thought
of whatever good we did.

Marilyn Nelson

Thank you for these tiny
particles of ocean salt,
pearl-necklace viruses,
winged protozoans:
for the infinite,
intricate shapes
of submicroscopic
living things.

For algae spores
and fungus spores,
bonded by vital
mutual genetic cooperation,
spreading their
inseparable lives
from equator to pole.

My hand, my arm,
make sweeping circles.
Dust climbs the ladder of light.
For this infernal, endless chore,
for these eternal seeds of rain:
Thank you. For dust.

What Was Told,  That

What was said to the rose that made it open was said
to me here in my chest.

What was told the cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was

whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
sugarcane sweet, whatever

was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in
Turkestan that makes them

so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
like a human face, that is

being said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence in
language, that’s happening here.

The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
chewing a piece of sugarcane,

in love with the one to whom every that belongs!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving week!  Hopefully these poems have you thinking about all of the countless beautiful things in our world that we should be thankful for each and every day.

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Poetry by Emily Bronte

Emily Bronte is best known for her novel, Wuthering Heights (one of my all-time favorites).  In addition to this amazing, epic novel, however, Bronte wrote poems.  A slew of poems that I have yet to read!  So, today, the poems that I share here are poems that I am reading for the first time, as well.


The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing dear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.


Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee,
Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time’s all-severing wave?

Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover
Over the mountains, on that northern shore,
Resting their wings where heath and fern leaves cover
Thy noble heart forever, ever more?

Cold in the earth—and fifteen wild Decembers,
From those brown hills, have melted into spring;
Faithful, indeed, is the spirit that remembers
After such years of change and suffering!

Sweet Love of youth, forgive, if I forget thee,
While the world’s tide is bearing me along;
Other desires and other hopes beset me,
Hopes which obscure, but cannot do thee wrong!

No later light has lightened up my heaven,
No second morn has ever shone for me;
All my life’s bliss from thy dear life was given,
All my life’s bliss is in the grave with thee.

But, when the days of golden dreams had perished,
And even Despair was powerless to destroy,
Then did I learn how existence could be cherished,
Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy.

Then did I check the tears of useless passion—
Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine;
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten
Down to that tomb already more than mine.

And, even yet, I dare not let it languish,
Dare not indulge in memory’s rapturous pain;
Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish,
How could I seek the empty world again?

See more of Emily Bronte’s releases on her Amazon page.

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Fun with words Friday! Bibliphage

Yesterday’s Word of the Day was too good to not snag it for today’s post….

bibliophage – noun

  1. an ardent reader; a bookworm

Buy your own bookworm on Amazon.


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Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds in Boston

As an eleven year-old girl, I first fell in love with Oasis.  Well, at first, I decided that I hated them solely based off the fact that some girl that I didn’t like enjoyed their music.  A few weeks later, however, I heard one of their songs on the radio and was immediately hooked.  Throughout my teenage years, I obsessed over them – accumulating every release, memorizing the lyrics to all of their songs, going to all of their concerts when they came to Boston, and spending way too much money on British music magazines so that I could stay in the loop even long after the radios stopped playing anything other than Wonderwall or, occasionally, Champagne Supernova.

As you can imagine, I was rather upset when they called it quits.  I resigned myself to the fact that I would never hear Oasis perform live again.  I hoped that maybe the break was temporary or that someone would release some solo music soon.  The latter turned out to be the reality.  And, I will say, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds CD is beyond worth the wait.  On top of the awesomeness of the CD (released in America on November 8th, a short tour was planned.  Great news for me — Boston was a stop on the tour!

Needless to say, I purchased our tickets the morning that they went on sale and wound up landing some incredible seats.  The set was flawless, mixing in some Oasis classics with his newer music.  I was blown away by the strength and clarity of his vocals and, yes, I sang along to every single song.  I nearly lost it when, like in the olden days, Noel performed a mini acoustic set (well, acoustic accompanied by a keyboard and a tambourine).  The show was absolutely everything that I love in a concert and I cannot wait for the next time he comes around!

The Setlist:

  1. (It’s Good ) To Be Free  *Oasis
  2. Mucky Fingers  *Oasis
  3. Everybody’s On the Run
  4. Dream On
  5. If I Had a Gun…
  6. Wonderwall  *Oasis & Acoustic
  7. Supersonic  *Oasis & Acoustic
  8. (I Wanna Live in a Dream) In My Record Machine
  9. AKA… What a Life!
  10. Solder Boys and Jesus Freaks
  11. Talk Tonight   *Oasis
  12. AKA… Broken Arrow
  13. Half the World Away   *Oasis
  14. (Stranded On) The Wrong Beach


  1. Little by Little  *Oasis
  2. The Importance of Being Idle  *Oasis
  3. Don’t Look Back in Anger   *Oasis

One of my favorite take-aways from a live show, besides the overall experience, energy, and memories, are the opening bands.  The opening band for this show was spectacular!  The Hours blew me away – they sounded very tight, extremely polished, and incredibly unique.  Thanks to Facebook, I have their set list to share with you, as well…  all of these songs are amazing!

  1. I Want More
  2. Narcissus Road
  3. I Wanna Be Happy
  4. Soul Music for Troubled Souls
  5. Ali in the Jungle
  6. People Say
  7. Murder or Suicide

Check out their official website for more information on their music, releases, and upcoming shows!

To share the magic of the night, please enjoy the below video of his acoustic performance of Supersonic, one of my all-time Oasis favorites:

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Filed under Favorites, Music, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Non Sequitur Thursday