Kerouac’s Stamp Addiction and McCarthy in Drag: Literary Gossip at its Best

Did you know…

Jack Kerouac was addicted to licking stamps.

Cormac McCarthy dresses up as “sexy Betsy Ross” on Halloween every year.

The above  rumors were found on Vice.com‘s list of one hundred literary rumors. While reading them, I, of course, laughed, but I also wondered how these rumors began and whether or not there was any truth to them, because for the life of me, I can’t get the image of Kerouac, hair a mess and eyes blood shot, writing On The Road on a stamp-induced high out of my mind. Below are some more interesting, literary rumors from Vice’s list:

Gertrude Stein was on the payroll of the New York Mets.

Virginia Woolf passed the bar exam in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Maine.

J. K. Rowling lost all the money she earned from the first four books of Harry Potter due to slot-machine addiction.

Image from Collider.com
J.K. Rowling (image from Collider.com)

Kill Shakespeare

https://i1.wp.com/www.g33kpron.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Kill-Shakespeare-vol-1-cover-header1.jpg?resize=482%2C171

The other day, during that precious time between school and work, I decided to spend a few minutes in one of the local comic book stores on my way to work. I didn’t plan on buying anything, just browse through a couple of boxes of back issues and check out the new issues that had been released earlier that week. Nothing in particular sparked any interest, that is until I drifted into the abyss of the indie section and found a single issue of Kill Shakespeare.

I had no idea what this comic book was about, nor did I know what to expect from it. Shakespeare Comics. It only took that one quick thought for my instincts to urge me to purchase it immediately. Soon after I would come to find out what I was really in for, don’t worry only good things, trust.

Poetry on YouTube!

Aside from having a general appreciation for poetry and recognizing how much more intense it can be when engaging you beyond the page, there are a number of reasons or scenarios why you might watch or listen to poetry performances on YouTube:

1) You can’t make it to/can’t afford to attend an upcoming open mic or poetry event.

2) You need something to listen to while doing the dishes or working out at home, but you’re tired of everything in your iTunes library.

3) You’re curious.

4) You’re bored.

5) You want to be cheered, inspired, touched, infuriated, surprised, or all of the above.

Below is a short list of some of my personal favorite poetry performance clips on YouTube:

Sarah Kay, “Private Parts”: 

Drunk Poetry

The question of the day is: how does alcohol and poetry mix? Below are my humble opinions on the subject.

Tequila; lime optional.

Oh tequila, my old friend. I don’t think I could write a poem after drinking you. I just become so damn happy and talkative. I might think the words that are coming out of my mouth are the most poetic thing to ever touch the ears of the people around me, but alas, one drink of tequila is never enough. Whether it comes in shot form, margarita form, sunrise form, or other mixed drink forms, one sip is always followed by another and then another. I really like tequila. So, after a few drinks, my words are not poetic as much as they are incoherent. Don’t drink and drive, by the way. I just thought I should throw that out there since I’m talking about drinking and coherency levels. It’s bad kids. Real bad.

April Assignment Poetry Selection

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s the assignment for the April Monthly Poetry Assignment:

Base assignment: use color in your poem. This can be as simple as using one word in your poem (for example, blue) or making a whole poem with the theme of color. It’s up to you!

Intermediate assignment: in addition to the base assignment, use a contrasting image someplace in your poem. This is common in sonnets, such as Shakespeare’s Sonnet 20 with the match up of “master-mistress.” Other common contrasting images used in poetry include light and dark, heavy and light, fire and ice. Feel free to step outside of the immediate examples and create your own contrasting images.

Advanced assignment: in addition to the base and intermediate assignment, use this photo to inspire your poem in some sort of fashion (outside of the color alone):

white-whale-willow

Here are the top 3 poems of April and why I picked them.

I went to the LA Times Festival of Books, and it was awesome.

The 18th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books was held on April 20th and 21st at its usual spot, The University of Southern California, and it was my first time attending it. According to the Festival of Books website, the purpose of the event is “to bring together the people who create books with the people who love to read them.” All over the campus, local booksellers, publishing companies, writer’s groups, writers, and more set up tents and booths where visitors can freely browse.

Oh, yeah, that’s right, the event was free (except for parking).

The best part of the festival, in my opinion, are the author “conversations” held at different times in different locations. There are numerous themed stages set up, from the Young Adult Lit stage to the Poetry stage. The best way to navigate the event is to look at the schedule online (or through the Festival app on your phone), find the performances or conversations you’re most interested in seeing, and plan your day accordingly.

Lucky for me, two of my favorite authors of all time, Margaret Atwood and Rachel Cohn, happened to be speaking on Saturday. Atwood is a Canadian writer who’s penned such classics as The Handmaid’s Tale and one of my favorite novels The Blind Assassin, which I first read about two years ago. My friends and I arrived a few minutes late, so we were only able to catch the audience Q&A part of the conversation. I watched her adoringly from the balcony of the Bovard Auditorium. My view wasn’t spectacular, but I heard her elegant, firm voice clearly, and was thrilled to simply be in her presence.

Better Book Titles

Have you ever picked up a book and wished you knew what the book was really about just by looking at the cover? Or after reading a book have you ever thought that it could have had a better title? Comedian, writer, and performer Dan Wilbur shares his ideas for better book titles on his tumblr site betterbooktitles.com He features book covers of bestsellers and classics, and gives them a title that’s more revealing and simply humorous.

“This blog is for people who do not have thousands of hours to read book reviews or blurbs or first sentences,” Wilbur writes on the site. “I will cut through all the cryptic crap, and give you the meat of the story in one condensed image. Now you can read the greatest literary works of all time in mere seconds!”

Wilbur’s blog is definitely worth checking out. Here’s a few of my favorites from the site:

plus Battle RoyaleSuzanne Collins: The Hunger GamesReader Submission: Title by comedian Tyler Snodgrass The Hunger Games

May Poetry Workshop

Time for month two, all of you writing fans out there. To make this easy, I’m going to quote myself from my last monthly post (it’s not plagiarism to quote yourself and announce it beforehand):

I’m going to break down how these monthly assignments work. I give you an assignment; you do the assignment. It’s pretty simple.

Joking aside, there will be multiple levels to each assignment. Most assignments will have a base, intermediate and advanced level posted. To participate, you merely have to work on the base level. If you are looking to challenge yourself, I post the intermediate and advanced levels for you to work with.

At the end of the month, I will pick 3-5 of the best poems submitted and post them with the rationale behind why I picked those particular poems. The level of assignment does not come into play in the picking; meaning an advanced poem will not be picked over a base poem if I feel the base poem was executed better.

Once your poem is completed, click Submit Piece Here on the blog’s menu bar to be taken to a submission form. Please include a little something about yourself in the additional information section of the form.

For The Girl Who Loves Books, Nerd Culture, and Thongs

My friend Kaylee, an English Lit major at UCLA, has an Esty.com shop in which she sells t-shirts, notebooks, and, of course, thongs that are, as I like to call it, nerd culture and book themed because, why not? Her stuff is cute and she gets a ton of sales around Christmas. We’ve talked about good gifts for writers before, and I think these are fun gifts to get a significant other who loves books or hell, even for someone to get themselves if they are a big enough fan. Below are some items from her shop I adore.

Snape Panties for the girls that love Snape(aka every girl who reads Harry Potter)

Free Comic Book Day

Yeah that’s right. The most anticipated holiday of the year is fast approaching, save Saturday May 4th for a day of comic book store-hopping.  But wait, what is Free Comic Book Day you ask? You’ve never heard of it you say!

Well, Free Comic Book Day is a single day, the first Saturday in May each year, when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely FREE to anyone who comes into their stores.