Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sneak Preview: National Poetry Month

Celebrating Poetry
April is National Poetry Month and was first marked in 1996 by the Academy the American Poets. Since then, National Poetry Month has become a way to promote interest in poetry and to celebrate poetry’s place in our culture and everyday lives.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994), the son of a U.S. serviceman on duty in Germany, was born there in Andernach. His parents relocated to the United States and settled in South Los Angeles. He suffered severely abusive treatment from his father and from school yard bullies, and began use alcohol in his early teens. He graduated from L.A. High School and took courses in art, journalism, and literature at City College. His literary influences include Antonin Artaud, Louis‑Ferdinand CĂ©line, Anton Chekhov, E.E. Cummings, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, John Fante, Knut Hamsun, Ernest Hemingway, Robinson Jeffers, Franz Kafka, Henry Miller, and James Thurber. He authored 27 books of poetry, seven novels, and 13 collections of short stories. Taken as a whole, they fall into the literary movements known as Dirty Realism and Transgressive Fiction.

he hooked to the body hard
took it well
and loved to fight
had seven in a row and a small fleck
over one eye,
and then he met a kid from Camden
with arms thin as wires—
it was a good one,
the safe lions roared and threw money;
they were both up and down many times,
but he lost that one
and he lost the rematch
in which neither of them fought at all,
hanging on to each other like lovers through the boos,
and now he’s over at Mike’s
changing tires and oil and batteries,
the fleck over the eye
still young,
but you don’t ask him,
you don’t ask him anything
except maybe
you think it’s going to rain?
you think the sun’s gonna come out?
to which he’ll usually answer
hell no,
but you’ll have your important tank of gas
and drive off.

Further Reading and Viewing: Click here

Content developed by local resident and poet Leland Jamieson, author of:
21st Century Bread (2007)
In Vitro : New Short Rhyming Poems Post-9/11 (2009)

Mom & Pop Stores

Open for Business
According to estimates by The U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, small businesses (fewer than 500 employees) represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.

If you lead an owner-managed or family business, take some time to enjoy Robert Spector's The Mom & Pop Store : How the Unsung Heroes of the American Economy Are Surviving and Thriving. Spector grew up working his family's butcher shop and there gained his appreciation for hard work, dedication, long hours, persistence, and premium service. The book also offers compelling arguments for supporting small businesses; big box stores, heavy competition, and a poor economy not withstanding.

The library also holds a variety of general titles of help to folks considering a small business start-up as well as titles that speak to niche interests such as consulting, crafts, online selling, tutoring, etc.

Surf's Up

The U.S. Small Business Administration's portal offers advice as well as a variety of services and tool kits to small business owners. Also check out SCORE, a "nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small business start, grow and succeed nationwide". There are five SCORE offices located in Connecticut.

Post by Bev Simmons

Friday, March 26, 2010

Countdown to Spring Vacation

So Much to Do @ your library
April vacation week is fast approaching. If you are planning to hang out locally, stop by the library and enjoy many standard and several special events.

Wiggle & Giggle: Monday, April 12 & Friday April 16, 10 a.m. -- Do drop in with your little one (12-24 months) and enjoy Wiggle and Giggle, which includes short, structured activities; music and movement exercises, and free play time. The program also offers a great way to network with parents who share your interests.

Story Hours -- Plenty of variety here, along with flexible scheduling for busy parents of toddlers and preschoolers. No registration is required.
Tuesday, April 13, 6:30 p.m. : A craft and story program for ages 4-6.
Wednesday, April 14, 10 a.m. : Two programs, one for 2 year-olds and another for three year-olds.
Thursday, April 15, 10 a.m. : A story and craft program especially designed for 2 year-olds and their emerging motor skills.
Friday, April 16, 1 p.m. : A Friday afternoon gem for ages 3-5.

Special Programs, All of Them Free
Tuesday, April 13, 1 p.m. : Allen R. Petell, local resident and DEP Master Wildlife Conservationist, will help us learn about black bears. The program is geared to interested adults and families and provides info accessible to children as young as 4. Click here to learn more or to register.

Wednesday, April 14, 2 p.m. : Kids in grades 4-6 are invited to talk about the latest graphic novels, swap great titles with friends, and create the first page of their own graphic novel! Click here to register.

Friday, April 16, 2 p.m. : Ahoy Matey! Using mixed materials from Mystic Seaport collections, a museum educator will guide the unpacking of a sailor’s sea chest. Kids will use objects in the chest like clues and piece together a picture of what a sailor’s life would have been like more than 100 years ago. For children in grades 1-4. Click here to register.

Saturday Afternoon Concert
Our 2009-2010 concert series concludes on Saturday, April 17, with a performance by New York-based singer/songwriter and recording artist, Ellen Woloshin. Expect fresh, silky alto renditions of well-known contemporary songs, as well as originals. Click here to register for this free concert which begins at 2 p.m.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Put Some Spring in Your Steps

National Walk to Work Day: April 2, 2010
Though it's surely impractical to walk to work if your job is a highway or two away, spring is nonetheless a perfect time to appreciate the joys of walking. If you do work in town, consider using a little of your lunch time to put your sneaks to the concrete.

To help inspire your efforts, the library has many DVDs and books to help make your walking exercise plan fun and useful. Here's a quick sample...

Try Fast Walking by Ron Laird, four-time race walk Olympian, or exercise videos by Leslie Sansone or Debbie Rocker.

You can also make walking a family event:

Connecticut Walk Book from the CT Forest & Park Association
50 Hikes in Connecticut by David Gerry & Sue Hardy
Short Nature Walks in Connecticut by Eugene Keyarts
Country Walks in Connecticut by Susan D. Cooley

Also find @ your library added info about the Airline Trail, among other very local walking pleasures.

Post by Bev Simmons

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What's Cooking?

Tasty Titles
Recipe books are always fun to browse through, even is you never prepare all of the recipes. Here's a few delightful choices...

Cook This, Not That! Kitchen Survival Guide by David Zinczenko & Matt Goulding is the seventh title in this popular series. The authors mix good ingredients and good taste to encourage weight loss.

Everyday Food : Fresh Flavor Fast, from the Martha Stewart franchise, features mealtime staples. Also try the companion title, Everyday Food : Great Food Fast. If the recipes don't give you an appetite, the photographs that accompany the recipes probably will.

Celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito's Now Eat This : 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods, All Under 350 Calories provides easy to fix recipes that make lighter-side meal planning easy.

If you'd like to follow latest, best-selling, and locally popular titles, you can subscribe to our BookNews newsletter service. Pick and choose to subscribe to any of 20 newsletters, one of which relates to food and cooking.

Post by Bev Simmons

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Has Sprung?

Let's Hope So...
It's been a long, cold, snowy winter and a garden in all of its glory is something to look forward to. Here are but a few inspiring titles to help you revamp your garden or start a new one.

365 Days of Garden Color : Keeping Your Garden in Bloom by Philip Edinger [et al.] covers annuals and perennials, bulbs, roses, container gardening, and garden design in one useful volume.

Master gardener Barbara Pleasant offers up Starter Vegetable Gardens : 24 No-fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens, due for release this month. This how-to title offers great advice on stretching the seasons to harvest bumper crops.

The Vegetable Gardener's Book of Building Projects promises to be an ideal choice for woodworkers (beginners welcomed) and presents 39 ideas for simple projects : from cold frames to compost bins; from planters to picnic tables, and trellises to tool storage. The title is due for release on April 7.

The American Horticultural Society's New Encyclopedia of Gardening Techniques is big, beautiful, and filled with step-by-step instructions and information about latest gardening techniques. The book is comprehensive and well-organized.

Visit our gardening section for more suggestions on creating or transforming your own special garden, flower or food.
Post by Bev Simmons

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Early Literacy Fun for Little People

March's Fingerplay of the Month
This month's fingerplay features easy motions and dialogue to introduce the idea of people entering and exiting a scene. The play is a first step to getting creative and making up short theater productions, which you can do right here at the library!

Where Is Thumbkin? (Follow-along Video Plus Script)

Where is Thumbkin?
Where is Thumbkin?
Here I am!
Here I am!
How are you today sir?
Very well, I thank you!
Walk away.
Walk away.

Further Reading
For more fun, check out our books on plays and puppets:
Lizzy and Skunk by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
Aunt Nina's Visit by Franz Brandenberg
The Paper Party by Don Freeman
Let's Have a Play by Margaret Hillert

Post by Kathleen Sands

Hello, King Charles

Curly Hair, Flowers and Feathers, Jewelry Galore, Loose-fitting Clothes...
No, we're not talking Hippie era but the age of the Roundheads and Cavaliers, the time of Charles II.

Charles II (1630-1685), King of England and Scotland, left his mark on a very turbulent period in English history. Charles came to the throne after the death of Oliver Cromwell. The English Civil War over, Charles' reign became known as the Age of Restoration.

Readers interested in English history will find much to like about Jennifer Uglow's A Gambling Man : Charles II's Restoration Game. The book is gossipy and reads like a modern historical fiction thriller. Mix in strong personalities, political unrest, religious turmoil, and scholarship and the result is a premium read.

Further Reading
Antonia Fraser's Royal Charles : Charles II and The Restoration (1979) is still considered to be a great study of Charles and the Restoration. For readers who want to learn more about this 17th century superstar, Fraser's book is an added treat.

Post by Bev Simmons

Isn't It Romantic?

Funny, Too!
Romance novels are a staple in public libraries and book stores because they attract their fair share of attention. There are also a variety of forms: romantic suspense, historical romance, inspirational romance, paranormal romance, and time-travel romance, to name a few.

Among the funnier contributors to the genre is Jennifer Crusie, who has a knack for writing quirky, believable characters as well as laugh-out-loud, believable dialogue. The Cinderella Deal, one of the author's earlier novels, was recently reprinted and offers a great way to pass the time before Wild Ride (co-authored by Bob Mayer) hits our shelves on March 16th.

Further Fun Romance Reading
Click here for other titles by Jennifer Crusie.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Zzzzzzzzzz... Wake Up!

National Sleep Week : March 7-13
Sleep is a very important part of our day (we spend 1/3 of our life asleep). Did you know that while you sleep tissues in your body can be repaired? There are many other amazing things that the body accomplishes while sleeping.

To learn more about sleep or to read some fun stories about snoozing, check out some of the following books on the topic:

Serious Sleep Books
The Harvard Medical School's Guide to a Good Night's Sleep by Lawrence Epstein
Sleep: A Groundbreaking Guide to the Mysteries, the Problems and the Solutions by Carlos Schenck
Sleep to be Sexy, Smart and Slim by Ellen Michaud
Sleep to Save Your Life by Gerard T. Lombardo

A variety or books with explanations of normal sleep patterns and common problems among infants and children are also available.

Silly Sleep Stories
When Sheep Sleep by Laura Numeroff
Can't You Sleep Dotty by Tim Warnes
Sleep Black Bear Sleep by Jane Yolen

Surf's Up

To find out how well you are sleeping, take a quiz courtesy of Discovery Health. Also checkout the National Sleep Foundation, sponsor of National Sleep Week, for more information on sleep.

Post by Kathleen Sands

Crossroads : Finding Employment in Tough Times

Community-Based Support Systems
The week of March 14-20 offers two great opportunities to learn about what it takes to land a job in tough times. The first workshop focuses most specifically on quality resume and cover letter writing. The second is broader and focuses on HR issues, from an insider's perspective, that any job seeker needs to understand. Both workshops are free and open to the public.

On Tuesday, March 16, from 6:15 - 8:15 p.m., the library will host a workshop for job seekers. Business professional Jeff Thierfeld will instruct on how to develop a polished resume and cover letter with focus on directly targeting employers who are looking for your skills and abilities. Click here for more information or to register for this free seminar.

On Saturday, March 20, from 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m., local resident Dale Ursin, who for many years served as a professional Human Resources Administrator, Trainer and Consultant, will lead an interactive discussion on the overall topic “What you can do to help prepare yourself for the changing world of employment to enhance your chances for success. The program is first in a series of Guest Speaker community service programs offered by the Haddam Neck Covenant Church.

Individual topics on tap for discussion by and with Mr. Ursin include:

  • The evolving world of work (what’s really happening)
  • Importance of maintaining a healthy body and spirit
  • How to make use of effective networking
  • How employment decisions are really made
  • Myths and realities of job interviews and how to handle the interview
  • How to maximize personal strengths and talents.

If you plan to attend, and to help facilitate seating arrangements, contact the church office at (860) 267-2336 or email

Monday, March 01, 2010

Books 'On the Cheap' In Good and Hard Times

Friends of the East Hampon Library
Bargain hunters, book lovers, and a collector or two, regularly enjoy browsing the hundreds of used adult and children's fiction and nonfiction books in hardcover and paperback available at the Friends Book Store. Most books cost $2 or less; mass market paperbacks sell for a quarter. It's a great place to shop, save, and support the library all at the same time!

If you have ever donated to or purchased a book from the Friends Book Store, you've met any one of 25 volunteers who manage and maintain the enterprise. Book store volunteers include active older adults; moms and dads who work with their children as a way to teach volunteerism, and other folks who just like adding value to library services.

The book store's major movers and shakers are (l to r) Claire Spiess, Kendra Hough, Lucy Blair, and Harriet Nightingale (not pictured). Marlene Karavolis also volunteers her time managing the empty-full-empty-full popular paperback sale rack located in the library's lobby.

Thank a Friend Be a Friend!

Next Up

Summer Reading : a Friendly Kind of Thing

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Breakfast Special : Green Eggs and Ham
A few days before official March 2 date, the library hosted its annual birthday celebration of the most splendiferous children's author of all time: Dr. Suess, aka Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991). Last Saturday's crowd was terrific and as it turns out, many were fans of the eggs at hand and did not mind green eggs and ham!

Special thanks to one of our favorite local theater groups, The Podium Players, for volunteering their time to perform songs from their Winter 2009 production of Suessical the Musical. Great fun @ your library, complete with unfiltered pre-school moments...

Poet of the Month

March's Featured Poet
Mark Strand (1934-). Canadian-born, Strand spent his early teens in South and Central America. He earned a B.A. from Antioch, a B.F.A. in painting at Yale, and studied 19th Century Italian poetry on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1960-61. He has taught at numerous colleges and universities. He became Poet Laureate Consultant to the Library of Congress in 1990. His work — which includes six volumes of poetry translations, twelve titles in prose, and 17 collections of his own poetry — has won eight national awards. He is a somber-hued surrealist who is sometimes clownish:

Eating Poetry

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.

The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.

The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.

Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.

She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
she screams.

I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.

Further Reading:
Blizzard of One : Poems (1999 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Poetry)
The Making of a Poem : a Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms
Library Note : The second title, edited by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland, offers a wonderful introduction to poetic forms used by poets featured on this blog over the years. Poetry readers and writers, consistent or emerging, will find in this volume concise explanations and examples of villanelles, sestinas, sonnets, elegies, pastorals, odes, pantoums and other poetic structures.

Coming in April: National Poetry Month

Content developed by local resident and poet Leland Jamieson, author of: