Poetry on the Bus!

To celebrate National Poetry Month, AADL has joined with the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority for poetry on the bus!

In the spirit of the 2006 Poetry Bus and following in the footsteps of Vancouver's Poetry Moves and the Poetry Society of America's Poetry in Motion campaigns, AADL and AAATA have introduced two placards in each AATA bus with excerpts from great poems by John Keats, Li Po, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Claude McKay and others.

See if you can read them all! There are 8 placards and they will be up all month

Then head over to the library to check out more poetry!

2016 Michigan Notable Books Announced!

The 2016 Michigan Notable Book Award winners have been announced! These are books recognized by the Library of Michigan for "celebrating Michigan people, places, and events."

There are 20 books on the list, covering a wide variety of topics and aimed an an array of different audiences, including children's books, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. This list covers the Michigan Notable titles available for borrowing through AADL, but wait, there's more! Back in October, AADL hosted David Maraniss for a discussion of his book, Once in a Great City: a Detroit story, which can be downloaded or viewed directly library's site.

This list will lead you to explorations of niche Michigan industries, celebrations of famous Michiganders, National Book Award-finalist storytelling, and mouth-watering recipes. So, congratulations to our new Notable authors, and next time you seek a pleasant, Michigan-inspired read, look about you.

New poetry for the year's end

Even though it’s not as cold as it usually is this time of year in Michigan, the dreary winter months are a wonderful time to curl up with a good book of poetry. Poetry can so quickly transport you to a different time, place, or season and can invoke intense emotions with just a few carefully chosen words. The AADL has recently purchased quite a few new poetry collections. Bring one of these home to curl up in an armchair with!

And His Orchestra is Benjamin Paloff’s second poetry collection, and contains poems that focus on the running conversations we are having with ourselves, and with others in our minds as we go about our days. “In poems that orchestrate imaginal dialogues with absent friends,” reads the book’s description, “And His Orchestra traces the inner experience of attachment, intimacy and separation.”

Insomnia: poems, is a graceful poetry collection by Linda Pastan that focuses on sleep or rather, the lack thereof. Sleepless nights, the moments before falling asleep, the strange tempo of the passage of time in the night…. all these backdrop Pastan’s poetry, creating a luminous end product.

The Ruined Elegance is a multicultural poetic exploration by author Fiona Sze-Lorrain, who offers a complicated vision of humanity. Honest and almost funny at times, her poems are sensitive to the human experience and often deal in memories rather than of-the-moment experiences.

In Elaine Equi’s thirteenth collection of poetry, Sentences and Rain, she focuses on stark, often overlooked beauty and uses plain language to express new ideas and strange, winding images. It is perhaps one of Equi’s own lines that best describes her poems: “Soothing because they put you/someplace impossible to locate.”

Other new poetry collections include Joy Harjo’s Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, Lia Purpura’s It Shouldn’t Have Been Beautiful, Troy Jollimore’s Syllabus of Errors and Maggie Smith’s The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison.

NPR's Best Books of 2015

NPR recently released its Best Books of 2015 list, an in depth yearly endeavor where critics and NPR staff choose their favorite books of the year and compile them into a genre-spanning list of several hundred titles. I love that, along with the expected books on the list that are getting accolades from numerous publications and organizations, NPR’s list always contains more obscure titles that many readers likely missed over the course of the year.

You can view all of the titles from the list that we have available in our catalog here.

So what’s on this list of nearly 300 books? Here’s a preview:

In Speak, by Louisa Hall, a young Puritan woman travels to America with her unwanted husband, while in other time and place Alan Turing writes letters to his best friend’s mother and a Jewish refugee tries to reconnect with his distant wife. Elsewhere in time and space, a lonely young girl speaks with an intelligent software program and a formerly celebrated Silicon Valley entrepreneur is imprisoned for making illegal lifelike dolls. How does Hall tie all these characters together? As they all try somehow to communicate across gaps, Hall connects their stories, creating an amazing book that is a blend of historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy.

V is for Vegetables offers more than 140 simple recipes for cooking vegetables in unique and unexpected ways at home. Author and chef Michael Anthony has cleverly divided the chapters of the book by vegetable, so if you ever find yourself staring at kohlrabi or tomatillos in the grocery store, curious about how one cooks such things, this is the book for you! And even expert cooks will be refreshed by Anthony’s new ideas for ways to use common vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, carrots and squash.

The Battle of Versailles tells of a little-known event that took place at the Palace of Versailles: as a fundraiser for the restoration of the palace, the world’s elite gathered in the grand theater there for a “fashion competition” of sorts: five American designers (including Oscar de la Renta and Anne Klein) faced off against five French designers considered to be the best designers in the world—Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy and others. The American clothes were expected to be a laughingstock but instead, the garments and the energy of the models who wore them wowed the crowd. By the end of the evening, American fashion in the world had transformed from a footnote to an enormous influence, not only on style itself but also on the way race, gender, sexuality and economics were treated in fashion in the years to come.

New Poetic Picture Books!

Look at these new books
All with poetry inside
Check them out for fun!

AADL recently added several fantastic poetry books to its youth collection! Check out these delightful titles:

Sweep Up the Sun by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder presents poetic text accompanied by exquisite photographs of North American birds. Count the feathers of a cardinal in flight and trace the white specks of a European starling. The back of the book shares even more information about each bird, including what they eat and where they live. Try pairing this one with AADL's Audubon BirdCam or Birdsong Scanning Wand!

Orangutanka, written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Renée Kurilla, follows the Japanese tanka poetry style. A family of orangutans happily interacts with its jungle surroundings and humans. Vibrant colors and flowing illustrations give the story movement and energy. The back of the book also offers facts about orangutans and resources for further exploration.

When the Wind Blows written by Stacy Clark and illustrated by Brad Sneed integrates science, nature, and art! Every page introduces high vocabulary that is also incorporated into the textured illustrations. This book is great for readers who frequently entertain the question of "Why?" and is sure to generate curiosity about magnetism, physics, and power sources!

Looking for even more poetry for young readers? Check out this list of Poetic Picture Books!

"Speak Like a Girl" Poetry with Nationally Known Poets Megan Falley and Olivia Gatwood

Wednesday October 7, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for adults and teens in grade 9 and up.

Get geared up with nationally recognized poets Megan Falley and Olivia Gatwood as they perform their punchy poetry, focusing on educational and feminist issues such as street harassment, media representation, and body image.

A Pond Full of Ink

" 'Would you like to come out walking?' said the table to the chair,
'I've been standing here forever, and I'd like to take the air.'
'Now you mention it, I'd love to come, ' the chair at once replied.
'Why, we both have legs beneath us that we've never even tried.' "

Looking for something a little silly? A little goofy? A little bizarre or 'out-there'? Turn to A Pond Full of Ink for a quirky display of poetry with unbelievable illustrations. This poetry collection by Dutch author Annie M. G. Schmidt contains 12 funny and nonsensical poems, which are paired with fantastical images. These sketch-like illustrations are the true star here, and remind me quite a bit of Quentin Blake's great illustrations for Roald Dahl's books.

While reading A Pond Full of Ink, I was immediately reminded of the late great Shel Silverstein. If you have yet to check out this brilliant author, take a gander at some of his best works, including Where the Sidewalk Ends and Falling Up.

Neutral Zone Poetry Workshop

Sunday June 28, 2015: 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 6 and up

Fiona and Alex of The Neutral Zone will present a workshop on writing free verse poetry!

Josephine Baker Biography

If Jacqueline Woodson’s award-winning memoir Brown Girl Dreaming has you craving more stories-in-verse that share the African-American experience, check out this fantastic title:

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker written by Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrated by Christian Robinson is picture-book biography of dancer Josephine Baker. Beginning with her childhood in the segregated South, the book traces her life as a teenager in a traveling dance troupe, her star-making Paris debut, her work as a spy during World War II, and her adoption of twelve children of different nationalities, always highlighting her desire for racial acceptance. With its bright, bold illustrations and free-verse text that mixes quotations from Baker with energetic narration, this 100-page picture book is a perfect showcase for the dancer’s story.

Michigan Author Jerry Dennis: A Daybreak Handbook

Monday January 26, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event will be recorded

Author Jerry Dennis, best known as an award-winning nature writer, has branched out in two new directions: poetry and publishing. Jerry's first book of poems, A Daybreak Handbook, was published in 2014. Also in 2014, Jerry, his wife Gail, and illustrator Glenn Wolff established Big Maple Press, a small press dedicated to producing special editions exclusively available for sale through independent booksellers.

Dennis will discuss these new avenues in his career as well as his ongoing work with the Great Lakes. Dennis' book The Living Great Lakes was the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads selection in 2010. A selection of Dennis' books will be available for sale and signing at the event.

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