Content Tagged ‘Ada Limon’

Seven Questions for Erik Reece

In Seven Questions, we interview writers, editors, designers, and others in publishing. Today, we feature Erik Reece, whose story, “A Week on the Kentucky River: Reading Henry David Thoreau’s A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, Which Nobody Reads Anymore (But Should)“ appears in Ecotone’s tenth anniversary issue. Reece’s work also appears in Harper’s magazine, the Nation, and Orion. He is the author of two books of nonfiction and one collection of poetry. His book Utopia Drive, about the promise, failure, and enduring visions of utopian communities throughout U.S. history, is forthcoming form Farrar, Straus and Giroux in August.

Erik Reece - photo - taken by Lee Thomas

(photo by Lee Thomas)

What books are open on your desk right now?

Thomas More’s Utopia, because this year is its five-hundredth anniversary and I’m supposed to write something about that. Joseph Stroud’s excellent collected poems, Of This World. Robert Bullard’s Dumping In Dixie. A few old notebooks.

Apart from the week you spent on the Kentucky River and the boat you built, are there other ways you have attempted to bring aspects of Thoreau’s life into your own?

I raise a large garden and I know how to make raisin bread.

Where did the idea for your essay in Ecotone come from?

Honestly, I just wanted to find a way to get more people to read that book. And I think I was looking for a way to write about the poetry of wooden boats, and wooden boat-making. I was rereading A Week when I was building my boat, and I’m sure the idea for the essay took root then. Plus, I just love to read in my boat (I’m not much of a fisherman; I don’t like the hours).

But to float and loaf, Whitman-style, that’s my jam. So I wanted to communicate that satisfaction of reading an “unroofed book” in an unroofed place where the kingfishers of the text found their counterparts in the kingfishers alighting around me on the river. Each amplified the other to make both the experience of reading and the experience of floating much more intense.

If you could spend a year writing anywhere in the world, where would it be?

A small Greek island in the Aegean Sea. All Syrian refugees would be welcomed, and given ample water and provisions. Who knows, perhaps we would try to enact the blueprint of Plato’s Republic. But with poets. Our constitution and national anthem would be Auden’s “In Praise of Limestone.”

Name a book you bought for its cover.

Probably Edward Weston’s Book of Nudes. And not just for the cover.

alimon_brightdeadthingsWhat emerging author or first book are you most excited about?

Ada Limón’s book of poems, Bright Dead Things. It is an incredibly big-hearted collection that will—should—establish her as a major American poet. And it also have a very cool cover.

Lightning round:

Typing or longhand? Longhand in the morning, typing in the afternoon—and at night if necessary.

Whitewater or flat water? Since I almost drowned on whitewater last year, flat water for a while.

Morning or night? See above.

E-reader or print? As John McEnroe would say, you can’t be serious.

Vowel or consonant? Ohio is the most beautiful word in the American language. Draw your own conclusions.

Canoe or kayak? Whichever has the most beer in it. So, canoe.

Bookmark or dog-ear? Bookmark, usually a parking ticket from the intolerant campus police where I teach.

Cake or pie? Ice cream.

Mountains or sea? If I decide, mountains; if my wife decides, sea. 

Making a List: Books for Everyone in Your Life (and a Giveaway!)

Struggling with ideas for what to get your friends and family for the holidays this year? Want to share your love of books with loved ones who don’t crave the strictly literary as much as you do? Look no further than this list of stellar books, examples of great literature, yes, but also fit for readers of all kinds. From poetry to prose, indie to mainstream, there’s something for everyone on your list.

cheryl-strayed-Brave-Enough-ftrFor your bestie who always knows the perfect thing to say:

Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed

In her three previous books and her “Dear Sugar” column, Cheryl Stayed dished honesty, spirit, and ample tough love, encouraging her readers to “Be brave enough to break your own heart,” “Keep walking,” and “Ask yourself: What is the best I can do? And then do that.” This book gathers more than 100 of Strayed’s most inspiring quotes and thoughts.

-1For the mad-scientist foodie:

The Food Lab by J. Kenji López-Alt

If you know someone who’s always looking to get better in the kitchen, and who loves to understand the science behind their successes and failures with food, here’s the cookbook they’ve been waiting for. Full of fun experiments, gorgeous photos, and perfected recipes on American standards, this book will provide hours of delicious fun long after the holidays are over.

19351043For your budding-feminist, comic-loving teenage niece:

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

From a niche web-comic to a 2015 National Book Award finalist, Nimona is as big in heart and scope as this book’s success. The story of a superhero sidekick in training, it’s both funny and dark—medieval meets sci-fi adventures of a shape-shifting girl with a kick-butt haircut!


alimon_brightdeadthingsFor your mom, who reads a poem every night before bed:

Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón: 

There is ferocity in Ada Limón’s poems, a revelatory jazz. As she grapples with the most profound of losses—the death of a loved one—she also uncovers intimacies: a desire for for beauty and change, and for something “disorderly, and marvelous, and ours.”


91vNobn7V7LFor your sibling who always wanted to be an astronaut:

Leaving Orbit by Margaret Lazarus Dean

Part history, part elegy, Dean chronicles the end of manned space exploration with details that will make you think, make you angry, and make you feel like you were there. The next-best thing to being in zero gravity is having a writer this good take your breath away.

51Y+oqFz24L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_For anyone who loves a good, literary page-turner:

The Last September by Nina de Gramont

Set against a desolate Cape Cod landscape, The Last September tells the story of Brett, a wife, trying to reconcile her feelings for her husband after his untimely death. Delving through Brett’s psyche into a complex emotional mystery, this book promises to keep you in chilling suspense until the last page.

UprightBeasts_FRONTCOVER-356x535For your coworker, who loves a quirky, well-told tale:

Upright Beasts by Lincoln Michel

From the respected indie press that loves this book enough to produce this trailer, Upright Beasts is a wild ride. With advice on how to work through your relationship during a zombie invasion, and a baby growing up in the stomach of a fox, these twenty-one stories offer snippets of poignant absurdity, perfect for reading over lunch and thinking about all day.

511hTh9riDL._SX405_BO1,204,203,200_For the new parents and their little one:

The Menino by Isol

When “the Menino arrives naked and yelling, as if to make sure everyone notices,” everyone does notice. Menino is Portuguese for “child” and this book by an internationally award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books—and new mom—is all about the arrival of baby, the family’s response and adjustment, and the shocking perfection of our bodies. A humorous, wry exploration of the new baby’s reality.

Didn’t find your someone special or favorite title on our list? Well, tell us about it! Go to Lookout’s Facebook page and post the name of a book you’re giving your tall-tale-telling grandfather or your party-like-a-rock-star boss this holiday. We’ll randomly select three people to win two books of your choice from the Lookout catalog—one for you and one for a friend! Enter by December 15 to be in the running.