Popmatic Podcast for April 29th, 2015: Poems and Guns

By , April 29, 2015

Cinema of the Present by Lisa RobertsonWho knew that the poetry episode would be one of the most contentious ever. There was so much bickering over the aesthetics of verse there wasn’t any time for the Tickle My Fancy segment. Remember kids – be nice to one another.


The Poetry and Short Stories of Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker featuring the poem “Frustration”

Another Reason I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House” by Billy Collins

The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams by William Carlos Williams featuring the poem “The Red Wheelbarrow”

A Monster’s Notes by Laurie Sheck

Love, Of a Kind by Felix Dennis

The Eye-Beaters, Blood, Victory, Madness, Buckhead, and Mercy by James Dickey

The James Dickey Reader by James Dickey

Summer of Deliverance: A Memoir of Father and Son by Christopher Dickey

The Second Sex by Michael Robbins

Motherland, Fatherland, and Homelandsexuals by Patricia Lockwood

Illuminations by Arthur Rimbaud translated by John Ashberry

Cinema of the Present by Lisa Robertson


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Book review: Secrets from the Eating Lab

By , April 28, 2015

Secrets from the Eating Lab: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet Again
By Traci Mann

Butts are big in my family. This is not a slam on us. It’s just the truth. We come from hearty German peasant stock and we’re ok with it. The rest of the world may have some issues with our bootyliciousness, but that’s their deal, not ours. The multi-billion dollar diet industry would try to sell us hundreds of different products to help us “Loose Weight Fast and Keep it Off” or “Lose 9 million pounds in 15 minutes!” But like the rest of life, if it sounds too good to be true it usually is. This fact has made me very leery of diet books. I’ve never been a dieter and I don’t intend to start now. I just want to work on eating healthy and taking care of myself and my family.

I think that’s what initially drew me to this book. Check out the subtitle “…and Why You Should Never Diet Again.” Um…you had me at never diet! Woohoo!

Dr. Traci Mann is a professor of social and health psychology at the University of Minnesota. She runs what she calls an Eating Lab, where she and her students study eating patterns. Her research is completely captivating and eye-opening. I feel like the things in her book are things we should know, but things that the diet industry and health professionals have beaten out of us. Her science is strong to back up her claims. For instance – what would you guess is the weight difference between people who spend their whole lives yo-yo dieting and folks who choose to eat more normally? 10 pounds? 100 pounds?

Nope. 1 pound. That’s it.

So go ahead and torture yourself with only celery and lemonade. I’m going to enjoy my pasta and salad with delicious blue cheese dressing. (Of course, if you choose to eat 4 large pizzas for every meal, you’ll probably weigh a little more than the rest of us and have some other health problems, but Dr. Mann talks about that too.)

I loved this book. This book is rational and realistic with solid science to back up the author’s claims. There is no hype about a bold new dieting solution guaranteed to help you loose tons of weight. All of us are not meant to be skinny and that’s ok. Instead, we should strive to eat healthy, exercise a little, and simply enjoy life, letting the numbers take care of themselves.

If you’re like the rest of us who have weight issues, please read this book. You might actually be in better shape than you think.

Happy reading…

:) Amanda


A Rose is a Rose is a Rose…

By , April 27, 2015
A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

“Do not go gentle into that good night.” ~Dylan Thomas

Somewhere between being National Humor Month and National Pecan Month, April is also National Poetry Month. Haiku’s, sonnets, epitaphs, free verse, limericks, and so many more make up the various styles that poetry can be written. The most commonly recognized style of poetry is verse with rhythm and rhyme, such as the ever-popular words:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Sugar is sweet,
And so are you”

…Or the other humorous variations that people have created. And people can definitely be creative with the verse.

But essentially, I am going to discuss just a few of the poetry collections that are included in the Wilson Collection. Both the Arion Press and Limited Editions Collection are fond of poetry. Between the two clubs in the Wilson Collection, there are at least 60 books of poetry included. I am only going to discuss a handful of books from the collection that I believe are the most unique and beautiful:

A Child’s Garden of Verses
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Illustrated by: Roger Duvoisin
Published by LEC: 1944

A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. Illustrations by Roger Duvoisin.

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. Illustrations by Roger Duvoisin.

This book by Robert Louis Stevenson happens to be my favorite work of poetry in the entire Wilson Collection. It could be that I am a child at heart, but it’s also because Stevenson’s way with words is exceptional. We all most famously recognize Stevenson’s name from his other works of literature - The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Treasure Island. But his inspiration to write a children’s book came when he went to the south of France in 1884 and came across a book of reminiscent childhood verses by Kate Greenaway.

The world that Stevenson creates in his “book of verses about his childhood” is purposefully nostalgic and warming; welcoming to both adults and children. Adults love the imaginative world that is reminiscent of their childhood and children love the rhythmic pattern that’s created, no matter the words used. And when these children grow older into adults themselves, this book becomes another addition to their memory, and they will see the words in a new light.

For the illustrations created for the book, the LEC did not come by this artist on purpose. Roger Duvoisin came to the LEC office, wanting to show his illustrations for a new edition of Mother Goose. The LEC was not interested because they said that they were not publishers of children’s books. However, his illustrations proved to be too beautiful with its brilliant color that was unprecedented. The LEC referred his beautiful drawings to its apprentice club – The Heritage Press.

It was at this time that the LEC requested that Duvoisin illustrate their future copy of Stevenson’s book. A picture will be coming soon of Duvoisin’s drawings, in the meantime, here is a little sample of A Child’s Garden of Verses:

At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.
Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back…

Sonnets From the PortugueseSonnets from the Portuguese
Author: Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Illustrated by: Valenti Angelo
Published by LEC: 1948

My “little Portuguese” is what Robert Browning called his wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Why? Because when they were honeymooning in Italy, she showed him her series of Sonnets that eventually grew to world fame. His favorite poem of hers “Caterina to Camoens,”  was what spurred the enduring nickname. In the LEC’s newsletter discussing Browning’s work, they say that leaving Shakespeare’s Sonnets aside, her sequence of sonnets are the loveliest in any language. They also say “…these Sonnets gave voice to the world’s love”:

“How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways….”
“...the face of all the world is changed by thee,
Since first I heard the footsteps of thy soul.” 

Pretty powerful, right? And also so easy to understand and empathize with. But the LEC not only wanted to provide this beautiful poetry to its members, it also wanted to provide a physical book and illustrations that matched the poetry’s elegance.

Valenti Angelo is a gifted artist that was born in Italy and came to the United States when he was young. When his family came to the United States, Angelo had no formal education and immediately went to work in a photo-engraving establishment. Needless to say, this path led him to the eventual road of being an artist. And his particular talent – his remarkable use of gold!

Though Angelo lived most of his life in California, he eventually relocated to New York. He illustrated The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night for the LEC, and eventually illustrated another copy of The Rubaiyat (despite the Club’s initial refusal since they already published a copy). As mentioned, his talent was the use of gold. For Sonnets from the Portuguese, Angelo decorated the beginning of each sonnet with an enormous initial letter.

Go Your Stations, Girl 

Go Your Stations, Girl by Carl Martin

Go Your Stations, Girl by Carl Martin

Author: Carl R. Martin
Introduced by Andrew Hoyem
Published by Arion Press – 1991

This book of poetry is unique to the collection because of the author. Typically, the books published by the Arion Press are classic literature or notable poetic works, and are illustrated by prominent, modern artists. In this special case, Carl Martin was an unknown author when he submitted a manuscript of his poem “You’re a Miracle” to Arion Press hoping to have it printed.

The Press was intrigued by the first poem he sent, and asked for the rest of his manuscript. Three years later, the manuscript arrived and proved to be worth the wait. Before the Press printed the manuscript, they requested biographical information about the unknown author.

Carl Martin was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1954. April 1st to be exact, he described himself as “a true April fool.” He graduated from Oak Ridge Military Academy in 1972, having been the first African American student to graduate from the school. To provide some context, Oak Ridge also happens to be a school that stopped its studies during the Civil War, to fight for the Confederacy.

Martin was the editor of the school newspaper and the center forward of the soccer team during school. After living a year in Richmond, Virginia and studying for a semester at Virginia Commonwealth University, and then living in Philadelphia for a year, Martin received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa. He explained that he wrote most of his book Go Your Stations, Girl during a 2-week period in the early 1980′s.

Here’s a small excerpt from his first poem submitted, “You’re a Miracle”…

She dropped a bale on the animism of the moment.
Why not? Why not reap the crest on the wings of
that organ that stood out in your house of cards?…


Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare’s Sonnets, edited and introduced by Helen Vendler

Shakespeare’s Sonnets
Edited and Introduced by Helen Vendler
Published by Arion Press – 1997

Many people recognize Shakespeare for his ever-famous plays such as A Midsummer’s Night Dream and Romeo & Juliet. But Shakespeare is also known for writing some of the most beautiful sonnets in the English language. It is arguable that his poetry is his most popular work, above his plays. I’ll leave that up to debate. I would just agree that his writing style was unprecedented at the time and still remains to be.

Shakespeare’s Sonnets have been published in many ways since they were written, so I’m sure it confused the subscribers of the Press when they found out that they would be receiving a copy of Shakespeare’s popular work. But what made this particular edition unique was the addition of the introduction by Helen Vendler, a foremost leader in poetry and has written several other intro’s for Arion Press books.

Vendler is also a professor in the Department of English and American Literature and Language at Harvard. She spent 9 years studying Shakespeare’s sonnets, while she was teaching, on vacation, on leaves, and even on sabbatical.

From her intro, Vendler says:

“what is it about the sonnets that makes them still available,
four hundred years after they were written?
It is, above all, the elementary nature of their vocabulary…
Never was feeling more simply expressed:
anyone who can read can read the Sonnets…”

Here is a small sample of Shakespeare’s sonnets:

 “Love alters not with this brief hours and weeks,
but bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”

Shakespeare's Sonnets - Arion Press. Sonnet #1.

Shakespeare’s Sonnets – Sonnet #1.

Would you like to see these books? They are all housed in the Wilson Room (East Reading Room), on the 3rd floor of the Main Downtown Library (next to the Fine Arts area). Currently and through May, several of the collection’s poetic works are on display in the Wilson Room.

The Wilson Room is open to all visitors during regular Library hours. If you are interested in viewing more books from the Wilson Collection personally, you can make an appointment by calling either (615) 880-2356 or (615) 880-2363, or simply respond to this blog post.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for next month’s post about travel!

Book Review: Dead Space: Martyr

By , April 26, 2015

Dead Space: Martyr
By Brian Evenson

The Earth is dying, the human race is circling down the drain, and something has been found in the Chicxulub crater, under the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. This incredible discovery has the ability to change the course of human existence, but are people really prepared for the consequences it could bring?

Dead Space: Martyr is a prequel to the popular horror video game, Dead Space. “Martyr” delves into the founding of a new religion called Unitology, and the Marker–a mysterious object that the practitioners worship. The novel mainly follows Michael Altman as he investigates the alien artifact found in the Chicxulub crater, the impact Altman has on the world after making his discovery, and how he feels about his role towards both.

The book is well written, and the author does a superb job pulling together numerous elements from the Dead Space video game to create a fluid story. There are several nods to the game that might go over some readers heads, though they never take away from intensity of the novel. I really appreciated the sense of dread and  paranoia that many of the characters experience. The feelings that I got from the book were not exactly the same as what I got from the video game, but it was close enough to send a chill down my spine.



Legends of Film: William Lustig

By , April 25, 2015

Ipcress_File_British_quad_posterDuring this episode we talk to filmmaker, William Lustig. Lustig’s directing credits include the cult favorites Maniac, Maniac Cop, and Vigilante. While Mr. Lustig has served in just about every film-making capacity – from actor, to producer, to writer – Lustig also has a passion for film restoration. The Ipcress File is one of the many movies he has restored.

Join us for a free afternoon screening of The Ipcress File on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. in the Main Library auditorium.

Popmatic Podcast for April 22nd, 2015: Hip Hop Falcon Crest aka the Musical Episode

By , April 22, 2015

Rocky Horror Picture Show Original SoundtrackEmpire is a media phenomenon that topped both tv ratings and Billboard charts. Mike begged not to do a hip hop show. Bill begged to do a hip hop show. A compromise was reached and we decided on a musicals episode. Discussion of Empire (and QVC) comes at the very end.



Empire Original Soundtrack from Season 1

Kinky Boots original Broadway cast recording CD | Freegal

Kinky Boots film

Little Shop of Horrors Frank Oz version

Little Shop of Horrors Roger Corman version

Cabaret DVD | Hoopla | Overdrive

Cabaret original Broadway cast recording

Joel Grey the original MC

Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood


Moulin Rouge

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Rocky Horror Picture Show original soundtrack


Broke with Expensive Taste by Azealia Banks

Dirty Gold by Angel Haze

Lip Sync Battle

North 40 by Aaron Williams & Fiona Staples

The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Book List: Baseball Stories

By , April 21, 2015


by Michael Chabon

Mythology and baseball merge in this fantastical tale by Pulitzer Prize winner Chabon. In order to save his father, Ethan Feld, plays baseball with his friends, travelling on a strange road trip through Summerland.




The Heart of a Champion
by Carl Deuker

One boy has all the potential, while the other has all the need. Jimmy has been playing his whole life. One day he is out playing with his dad when Seth comes by. The two boys could almost be brothers, except that Seth is bearing a heavy sorrow. A story of the way a game can bring out the best parts of ourselves.



Calico Joe
by John Grisham

In the summer of 1973, “Calico Joe” Castle is dynamite at the plate, hitting home runs at his first three times at bat for the Chicago Cubs. Until he is hit by a pitcher and injured so badly that it ended his career. Thirty years later, a ten-year-old baseball fan, Paul Tracey, tries to discover the truth of this errant pitch, and how it has affected his own life.



The Art of Fielding 
by Chad Harbach

At 17, Henry Shrimsander plays shortstop for an amateur team in South Dakota. His near-mystical talent for fielding attracts the attention of a player from Westish College, Mike Schwartz. Under Mike’s protective wing, Henry thrives, attracting attention from Major League scouts. Until one day, one bad throw, and Henry completely loses his stride.



The Contract
by Derek Jeter

We meet eight-year-old Derek Jeter when he is selected to play with Kalamazoo’s Little League Tigers, but not in his preferred position of shortstop. With the help of his parents, who have Derek sign a contract promising that he will maintain a positive attitude, Derek finds a way to transform his disappointment into success.




Heavy Hitters  
by Mike Lupica

Longtime sports writer Mike Lupica is the author of many gripping sports novels, such as those in the Game Changers series. Each novel in the series focuses on a different sport: Heavy Hitters, seen here, focuses on baseball. Eleven year-old Ben is off to a rough start when he’s hit by a pitch in the first game of the season. But more challenging problems lie ahead when the best hitter on the team begins behaving erratically. Other baseball novels by Lupica include Heat  and Travel Team


The Natural
by Bernard Malamud

There was no stopping the meteoric rise to baseball fame of nineteen year-old Roy Hobbs. The kid could pitch and hit as if he were born to do nothing else. But his career is stopped abruptly after an encounter with the wrong kind of woman. Expect some strange and dark humor in Malamud’s first book, originally published in 1952.





Book review: The Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio

By , April 19, 2015

The Art of the Simon and Kirby StudioThe Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio
by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby; selected and edited by Mark Evanier ; afterword by Jim Simon

The impact and influence of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby on comics cannot be overstated. If they’d stopped working in the ‘40s after creating Captain America that would have been enough, but these two men pivoted as their industry changed post-World War II. Kirby produced art at furious clip, filling pages and pages and even more pages while other artists were still sharpening their pencils.

Kirby, of course, became the King, the co-creator of the Fantastic Four, X-Men, Hulk, and countless other characters. That work tends to obscure his early collaborations with Simon, but this book goes a long way toward changing that. It contains stories published in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s by the Simon and Kirby studio

Simon, no slouch at the art desk himself, had a head for business, and helped the studio become one of the premiere producers of content for America’s comic book industry. In addition to their own work, the Simon and Kirby studio produced work by some of comics’ most famous names: Mort Meskin, Steve Ditko, Al Williamson, and Jack Davis.

Instead of reading finished comic pages, this book is filled with beautiful scans of original art. The pages are gray and yellow and speckled with age, but the art remains as sharp as ever. There are half-finished covers, scribbled text acting as placeholders for copy, and rivers of correction fluid winding through the panels.

Reading this book is like entering the offices of Simon and Kirby and rifling through their files, scouring the slush pile, even breathing in the smoke from one of Kirby’s cigars. It’s a museum in miniature, and like so much else these two artists touched, it’s a wonder to behold.


Popmatic Podcast for April 15th, 2015: Buy Me Some Peanuts

By , April 15, 2015

The Art of Fielding by Chad HarbachThe Nashville Sounds’ first home game in the brand spanking new First Tennessee Stadium is this week. Special guest Sarah joins the Popmatic crew to pass the time with books and movies about America’s favorite pastime. Keep an ear out too for the best local film, comedy, and music festivals happening soon. Tickling Bryan’s Cagian fancy this week is the sound of ice in someone’s water bottle which is featured heavily in the second half of the show.


Nashville Sounds

adieu Greer Stadium

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach


Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine starring Avery Brooks as the baseball loving Captain Benjamin Sisko


Nashville Film Festival

Make It or Break

The Hundred-Foot Journey

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Rites of Spring

Forecastle Festival

Moon Taxi

The Doug Benson Movie Interruption: Footloose

David & Jerry Zucker present AIRPLANE!


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Audio book review: The Bedwetter

By , April 14, 2015

The Bedwetter: Stories of courage, redemption and pee
By Sarah Silverman, read by the author*

If someone would have ever told me that Sarah Silverman would teach me a usable tenet in my life, I would have laughed at them and then walked away because they were obviously crazy, right? Don’t get me wrong, I love Sarah Silverman. She was hilarious as the overbearing wife in School of Rock and I loved her hooker with a heart of gold in A Million Ways to Die in the West. Even though she loves poo (a lot), I still think she’s smart and funny. But I never expected her to teach me a solid life lesson.

This book came out in 2010 and it haunted me from the new Nonfiction shelves in Popular Materials until it went to its permanent home on the third floor. Why didn’t I read it right away? I think because of the title. I was never a Bedwetter and I always thought that whole concept was yucky, so I just assumed this was Sarah being her potty-humored self. Something made me download it from Overdrive, though, and listen to it on my smart phone (now that I’ve finally joined the 21st century and have one).

*Dear Famous People who Write Books About Your Lives,
If an audio book is ever recorded, you need to read it. That makes the book so much better. Seriously. The ones I’ve listened to that the author reads are ALWAYS better than ones who pawn it off on someone else. Sarah reading her book makes her voice and sarcasm so clear that it doubles the humor.

Anyway, it turns out that Sarah actually had a problem with wetting the bed until she was in high school. She’s brutally honest about it, but there is still some humor. Glad it wasn’t me, but also glad that the title had more meaning that just a crude potty joke. I did like, though, that she and her editor had a long back and forth about the use of Pee vs Pee Pee in the subtitle. For my two cents, I think Sarah’s simple Pee is funnier.

So what was this great life lesson that Sarah taught me? Make it a treat. You know, things you shouldn’t necessarily do every day, but when you do them you should enjoy them. She applied it to partaking in a certain semi-legal substance, but I think you can apply it to just about anything. Pie. Donuts. Reality TV. Once in a while makes it something special, but getting bogged down in it all the time takes all the fun away.

I really enjoyed this book – especially the fact that the audio version was read by Sarah. We also have print versions or the actual book on CD if you don’t do downloads. If you’re looking for something a little lighter as we head into spring, definitely check this one out.

Happy reading/ listening/ making it a treat!

:) Amanda

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