“American Wildflowers: A Literary Field Guide”
“Beauty is indispensable,” writes Susan Barba, “and books are reproductive proof of that.” Barba, a Cambridge-based poet and editor, has reproduced evidence of this in the new anthology “American Wildflowers: A Literary Field Guide” (Abrams), which brings together a diverse and teeming bouquet of writers on the wild beauty around us. Dickinson, Melville, Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau, Frost, Bishop and Clifton reunite with Yusef Komunyakaa, Lydia Davis, Natalie Diaz, Allen Ginsberg, Jericho Brown, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Rita Dove, Jorie Graham and many more. In poems, letters and short essays they address the familiars – dandelion, goldenrod, lilac, milkweed; and the lesser known – fireweed, bloodroot, and night-blooming cereus, of which Robert Hayden writes, “We dropped /trivial tasks /and marveled /seen at last the /flower fulfilled.” Its moonlight /the petals were /still unfolded, the pointed fringe of the /outer perianth curling up /under our gaze. Leanne Shapton’s paintings, watery and expressive, communicate the delicacy and resilience of these flowers, their individual form and character. The collection as a whole reminds us of how lucky we are to share the world with this variety of shapes and colors, and to open our eyes to what grows by the side of the highway, between cracks in the sidewalk, along from the shore. Enrique Salmón, in his exploration of the milkvetch, quotes a Navajo Nation song, part of an annual nine-day healing ceremony: “With beauty before me I walk, / With beauty behind me I walk , / With beauty below me, I walk / With beauty above me, I walk / With beauty all around me, I walk / It’s over in beauty, / It’s over in beauty, / It’s finished in beauty, / It’s finished in beauty.
Rozzie Bound Cooperative Bookstore
A new independent and cooperative-owned bookstore has opened in Roslindale. Rozzie Bound Co-op, founded by Roy Lincoln Karp, has a mission to “strengthen the community by promoting the pleasure of reading”. It is a multi-party co-op with five worker-owners that since April has been operating as a pop-up every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Roslindale substation. They recently signed a two-year lease on a physical space in the heart of Roslindale Square. Community members can buy $100 worth of consumer-owner shares to attend the annual meeting of shareholders, elect board members, get discounts and other benefits. They have sold 65 shares so far and aim to sign 100 by the end of the year. With readings, workshops, live music, film screenings, book clubs and poetry slams, they strive to both reflect and influence the community. And their local vision extends to more global notions of a cooperative world “where all people . . . working together to cultivate a joyful, just and loving community. As Karp says, “We believe that every neighborhood needs a great bookstore that’s not just a place to shop, but a welcoming space where neighbors can gather, share ideas, and build community. I’ve lived in Roslindale for over a decade and thought the Square would really benefit from this type of community-focused bookstore. For more information or to become a consumer-owner, visit rozziebound.com.
Mass Poetry’s Annual Fundraiser Returns In Person
Mass Poetry’s annual fundraiser, Evening of Inspired Leaders, returns as an in-person and livestreamed event this Monday, November 14. A number of local notables will share a poem that inspired or supported them. This year’s lineup includes author and conservationist Bill McKibben, poet Dan Chiasson, Mass Cultural Council Executive Director Michael Bobbitt, teacher artist and poet Michelle Garcia Fresco, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts CEO Jennifer Childs -Roshak and Josie, a member of Mass Poetry’s Teen Council. Colon. WBUR’s Rupa Shenoy will host the event, which will take place at the Boston Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit masspoetry.org/inspiredleaders.
“Musical Tables” by Billy Collins (Random House)
“Silent Spring Revolution: John F. Kennedy, Rachel Carson, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and the Great Environmental Awakening” by Douglas Brinkley (Harper)
“Shirley Hazzard: A Life of Writing” by Brigitta Olubas (FSG)
Choice of the week
Konner Wilson Recommends “Swimming Lessons” by Claire Fuller (Tin House): “As with all the Claire Fuller books I’ve read (and I highly recommend them all), its beautiful prose, intricate characters and intricate plots m drew me into the world and completely consumed me. It’s engaging and enchanting, and you’ll be thinking about it long after you’ve finished it.