It's August, and that does mean that I have to at least start thinking about the new semester. Right now, that is all I have been doing is thinking about it. Oh, and I did pile all my new textbooks on my desk. That's about it.
As always, summer has gotten away from me. I didn't get all the writing projects done that I wanted to get done, but I wasn't a total slouch, either. The last few weeks or so, I have spent considerable time updating my Goodreads account. I found Goodreads a few years ago and then somehow I lost it (too caught up in all the social media, I suppose). Anyways, I have been copying and pasting all my reviews from my old blog on Goodreads in case I decide to take my old Wordpress blog down. This way, at least members can read my recommendations and reviews.
Speaking of reviews -- I have posted two new reviews under my Book Picks tab (these reviews have also been posted on GoodReads). The first review is a poetry book titled, Waiting at the Dead End Diner by Rebecca Schumejda. As I stated in my review, the world needs more waitress poems.
Here is my contribution: "She Likes to Work Graveyard" published in Fried Chicken and Coffee.
Finally, Followers and Friends of my blogs and website know that I have studied and presented numerous papers on Centralia, a town that slowly disappeared because of an underground coal fire. Centralia has taken on a mythical quality in pop culture and indeed makes an appearance in the work of poets Sherry Fairchok, Barbara Crooker and Karen Blomain. Two of my favorite novels, Coal Run by Tawni O'Dell and Those Who Favor Fire by Lauren Wolk, both feature Centralia-like settings.
But, there's a new book in town. Natalie S. Harnett has recently published a novel titled The Hollow Ground which is also inspired by Centralia. It's a fantastic read -- especially for anyone who likes coming-of-age stories or is interested in the Anthracite region of Pennsylvania.
Now, on to the remaining days of summer!
This past month or so, I have spent considerable time reading about the history of Pennsylvania. For the most part, I have researched local history -- the natural history of western Pennsylvania along with the "manmade" history of the area's lumber and oil industries. Finding specific information about local history can be a bit tricky -- I am not from a big city and when it comes to the working-class history of Pennsylvania, the coal history and steel industry often take center stage. Most of what I know about local history I know from when I used to work at a small newspaper and had access to the newspaper archives.
I have realized how much I didn't know about the world where I grew up. When I write, I am leaving big gaps in my essays. This is slowing down the writing process quite a bit, although I realize that I may be getting a bit too caught up with the research that I am getting distracted from my own writing.
Still, I was thrilled to find a few books about local history by Dennis McGeehan. These books are comprised of old photographs and stories. Together, they tell a scattered history of my part of the world. (I strongly believe that real history is scattered -- that history should not be presented as a straight linear line of events labeled with mere dates.)
I have also recently finished Here and There: Reading Pennsylvania's Working Landscapes by Bill Conlogue. (See my review here.) Conlogue's work reminds me of the importance of research, but it also reminds me that part of a writer's job is to give a voice to a time or place that may not necessarily have a presence (at least a written presence) in history.
I am a poet and professor from rural Pennsylvania. This page is dedicated to my publishing news and events; for book reviews published online go to the Reviews tab above. For my own personal reviews, explore the Book Picks tab.