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A poet’s heart sings in spring

In the words of Robert Frost, “Poetry begins with delight and ends with wisdom.” April is National Poetry Month. In celebration of this literary occasion, here is a selection of poetry by our gifted writers.

“Danger on Peaks” by Gary Snyder. Snyder’s latest volume of poetry was nominated for the 2005 Northern California Book Award in Poetry. The poems span a period of time, beginning with his first ascent of Mount St. Helens and ending with the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas and the World Trade Center. Infused with Snyder’s intuitive wisdom and subtle craftsmanship, the poems in this collection are multitextured and layered with meaning.



“Oak Wisdom: Meditations for Daily Living” by Judith Hurley Prosser. Following her enlightening volume “Redwood Wisdom,” local poet Judith Hurley Prosser now offers verses that draw power from the majestic oak. Her gentle, elegant poetry leads readers into a calm state of higher awareness and is both unassuming, life-affirming and profound.

“The Poetry of Pablo Neruda.” Chilean-born Pablo Neruda is considered one of the most gifted poets of the 20th century. This comprehensive collection contains almost 600 poems, with many published in their original Spanish with corresponding English translations. Neruda’s skillfully crafted poetry is passionate, exuberant and will surely inspire lovers of language.




“Roxy” by Todd Cirillo, Bill Gainer and Will Staple. Looking for love in all the wrong places? Sample the lusty verses and longing odes in this bold and distinctly masculine collection from Nevada County’s “bad boys of poetry.” Beneath the ribald exterior of these poems lurks the sensitive and expressive voices of three genuine poets.

“180 more Extraordinary Poems for Every Day,” selected and edited by Billy Collins.

A former poet laureate of the United States, Collins is on a mission to expose readers of all ages to great poetry. In this collection, Collins has hand-picked outstanding poems; his selection presents readers with a variety of styles and voices in contemporary poetry.

“Poetry Matters” by Ralph Fletcher. Subtitled “Writing a Poem From the Inside Out,” this how-to book was written for children; however, the advice presented in this book is extremely valuable to anyone who wants to write poetry or creative prose. It is also a fantastic resource for anyone who works with children. It gives practical and encouraging ideas for expressing thoughts with words.

“Loitering at Heaven’s Gate” by Ron Tranquilla. Award-winning story writer and local poet Ron Tranquilla composed this enlightening, intriguing collection of poems as a visiting professor in Taiwan. His poetry touches upon his experiences and invokes the culture and traditions of the country. Chinese translations by Christine Lin also included.

“Star Kissed Shadows” by Sher Lianne Christian. Full of sensuousness, lush, textural words and wisdom, this Nevada County poet’s compositions are a delight for the senses. Christian has a wonderful way of twisting words around an impression, producing a glowing ember of an image.

“Cafe Haiku” by Zenbu Nometa. An endearing little collection of specialty haiku, all written about the various components and accessories associated with the coffee obsession. Each haiku is accompanied by a black-and-white photograph. A cute little gift idea and a literary caffeine fix for coffee lovers!

“It’s Raining Pigs & Noodles” by Jack Pelutsky. Great fun for kids – a book that demonstrates that poetry doesn’t have to be complicated and serious. With titles like “Chocolate Salami,” “Worm Puree” and “Deep in our Refrigerator,” children will want to read or hear every poem in the best-selling book; they may even be inspired to write their own verses.

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Compiled by Crystal Miller at Odyssey Books, 989 Sutton Way, Grass Valley. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. The phone number is 477-2856.


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