I've wanted to do another readalong for awhile, and now that I'm done with school and it turns out that I still know how to read, I'm extra-excited about it.
This summer we'll be doing poetry. I love poetry, but don't feel like I read enough of it, and that makes me guess that you feel the same way. I also think poetry is perfect for a summer reading project because we can read the poems in small chunks of time, and if you don't make it all the way through one of the books you'll still have read enough to discuss.
In short: Low time investment, high return (emotionally and intellectually). Perfect.
So here are the selections:
May: Waiting To Unfold by Rachel Barenblat. This book is two cycles, one of pregnancy, and one of the first year after her child's birth. The poems have that same "Oh! I'd forgotten about how beautiful/hard/sad/quiet/fierce that was" quality that all true stories about the first year of parenthood do, and made me laugh and tear up a little and feel nostalgic and sad for new mothers everywhere. Rachel blogs at Velveteen Rabbi. Discussion post will go up May 29.
June: Tulips, Water, Ash by Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet. Lisa has such a unique voice–both restless and satisfied, elegant and straining, modern, precise, but not sparse. Poems about daily life and how it sits in our bones even when it surprises us. Discussion post will go up June 26.
July: American Sublime by Elizabeth Alexander. This book feels so overwhelmingly patriotic and essentially American to me that it had to be July's book. Alexander's poems are big and small at the same time, and some are very challenging. But you'll have time to work through the ones that challenge you. Discussion post will go up July 24.
August: Far From Luck by Charles O'Hay. These are poems for people who find poetry too sweet and not connected enough. I picked this book for August because these poems are unflinching and almost too real, like the smell of the sidewalk when it's been too hot for too long and people are ready for their children to go back to school and to sit quietly with a cup of coffee and think in peace. Discussion post will go up August 21.
My suggestion is just to buy all of them now so you have them and can start reading, a poem at a time, when you have a few minutes free to read and think.