Contemporary American Poetry, College Athletes, and Other March Books

Tayler Lord and Anna Weir are publicists at UNP who share a cubicle and cannot stop talking about books (or how cold it is in the said communal-cubicle). Today they also share their thoughts about a few upcoming titles they’re particularly excited about as readers. The books in this discussion will be published in March.

9781496205865-Perfect.inddTayler Lord: It’s snowing outside but we’re officially starting our spring season! It should come as no surprise that my first pick for this season is poetry. Regular Haunts: New and Previous Poems by Gerald Costanzo is the newest book in the Ted Kooser Contemporary Poetry Series. These new and selected poems focus specifically on American themes that are presented through satire though they maintain a dark and serious tone.

In his foreword, Ted Kooser writes, “I’ve been following Jerry Costanzo’s writing for forty years and have never felt satisfied reading his poems just once. There’s that delightful surface, sparkling with wit, with satire, with wordplay, and then there’s always that something else, that mystery maybe a fathom beneath the sun on the waves.” That’s such a lovely way to explain the joy of reading poetry! I’ve often joked that I studied poetry because I’m lazy; studying and practicing long-form writing requires too many pages whereas a poem can be over in just a few lines. But, as Kooser says, some of the best poetry requires rereading and revisiting. I’m excited to read and reread (and reread again) this collection.

9780803296848Anna Weir: I’m stoked for the fresh, honest, and eye-opening memoir that is The Rebounders: A Division I Basketball Journey, wherein Amanda Ottaway recounts the journeys of her dynamic Wildcat teammates at Davidson College in North Carolina. Being a college student brings its own trials and tribulations. Add being an athlete to the mix, and the most common problems students face—balancing schoolwork and family relationships, body image and eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse—become amplified. The Rebounders gives voice to the hundreds of college athletes, namely female ones, who play as hard as any big name athlete you might watch on TV, with all the grit but maybe not so much of the glory.

What’s next for you, Tayler?

9781612349435.jpgTL: Next on my list is The Woman Who Fought an Empire: Sarah Aaronsohn and Her Nili Spy Ring by Gregory J. Wallance. Sarah Aaronsohn was the leader of a Middle East spy ring who aided the British in their war against the Ottomans during World War I. The Woman Who Fought an Empire helps to refute the Hollywood stereotype of women spies as femme fatales; Sarah’s story shows how much women spies can achieve.

Stories like this are more important now than ever. Women throughout history and today are powerful and complex and Sarah Aaronsohn is a wonderful example of that.

Of the book and Sarah’s story, one NetGalley aptly reviewer said, “A remarkable woman. A remarkable book.” I couldn’t agree more!

9780803290709AW: My second pick goes to Great Plains Literature by Linda Ray Pratt for a few reasons. First and foremost is that I was an English major at UNL, and I get excited for any book that a) discusses Willa Cather as the landmark Western writer she was and b) acknowledges that there are wonderful and deserving Western writers other than Willa Cather. A review from Publishers Weekly deemed it “a worthwhile introduction to a body of literature perhaps not as well-known as it should be,” and I whole-heartedly agree—the West has produced some incredible stories, and I’m anxious to read what Pratt has to say about them.

While I’m pleased to be working on Great Plains Literature alone, it’s also the fourth book in the Discover the Great Plains series, and as the series grows, so does my enthusiasm. I am a life-long book hoarder and I get an absurd satisfaction from seeing Great Plains Indians by David J. Wishart, Great Plains Geology by R. F. Diffendal, and Great Plains Bison by Dan O’Brien all sitting neat and orderly on my shelf together. These little books are a sheer joy.


Tune in next month for more picks from your friendly neighborhood publicists!

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