Gord Downie: A poet America needs to get to know

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Canadian Press

Last week, an iconic performer and poet passed away.

And about a year ago, one of BestSelling Reads’ founders, the multi-talented Kathleen Valentine passed away suddenly.

Kathleen was in charge of the Monday Musings for a long time, and she was known to publish the words of significant poets on this blog — like Bob Dylan, for example.

Gord Downie, the front man and the principal lyricist for the Canadian band, The Tragically Hip, passed away after a long battle with brain cancer. It was something every Canadian knew was coming, and yet something, in the words of our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, that we all wished would not happen and that still hurt deeply when it did.

One of the unfortunate aspects of the career of Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip was that they never really broke through in the U.S. market, unlike many Canadian musicians like Céline Dion, Bryan Adams, Jonie Mitchell or Shania Twain. And yet, perhaps it’s Downie’s poetry that citizens of the U.S. need to hear.

In the spirit of Kathleen Valentine, then I’d like to present some words of Gord Downie that perhaps American (that is, citizens and denizens of the U.S.A. — after all, I’m and American, too, as are Mexican President Peña Nieto and Brazilian poet Braulio Tavares).

At The Hundredth Meridian

Me debunk an american myth?
And take my life in my hands?
Where the great plains begin
At the hundredth meridian
At the hundredth meridian
Where the great plains beginDriving down a corduroy road
Weeds standing shoulder high
Ferris wheel is rusting
Off in the distance

At the hundredth meridian
At the hundredth meridian
At the hundredth meridian
Where the great plains begin

Left alone to get gigantic
Hard, huge and haunted
A generation so much dumber than it’s parents
Came crashing through the window

A raven strains along the line of the road
carrying muddy old skull
The wires whistle their approval
Off down the distance

At the hundredth meridian (hundredth meridian)
At the hundredth meridian (you’re going to miss me)
At the hundredth meridian (trust me)
Where the great plains begin (at the hundredth meridian)
At the hundredth meridian (at the hundredth meridian)
At the hundredth meridian (you’re going to miss me)
At the hundredth meridian (trust me)
Where the great plains begin

I remember, I remember Buffalo
And I remember Hengelo
It would seem to me
I remember every single fucking thing I know

If I die of vanity, promise me, promise me
If they bury me some place I don’t want to be
You’ll dig me up and transport me, unceremoniously
Away from the swollen city breeze, garbage bag trees
Whispers of disease and the acts of enormity
And lower me slowly and sadly and properly
Get Ry Cooder to sing my eulogy

At the hundredth meridian (hundredth meridian)
At the hundredth meridian (you’re going to miss me)
At the hundredth meridian (trust me)
Where the great plains begin (at the hundredth meridian)
At the hundredth meridian (at the hundredth meridian)
At the hundredth meridian (baby, you’re going to miss me)
At the hundredth meridian (trust me)
Where the great plains begin.

Do you know some poets that Americans need to learn about? Leave a comment.
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Announcing: Dawn Torrens returns to BestSelling Reads

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Dawn Torrens, one of the original members of BestSelling Reads, has rejoined the author’s group.

Starting with an autobiography she wrote to explain her life to her daughter, Amelia’s Story: A Childhood Lost, Dawn has written 14 books over the past six years, including a sequel to Amelia’s Story, Amelia’s Destiny, the Poppy Fields trilogy, contemporary romance and poetry.

Born in England where she now lives with her husband and daughter, Dawn is also a Headline Reviewer for BBC Radio WM.

Get more information about Dawn Torrens on her:

And follow her on Twitter @torrenstp

 

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Monday Musings: Tribute to Bob Dylan

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by Kathleen Valentine

friedman-dylan-nobelThis week we learned that Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his song lyrics. There is nothing I could write that would be a tenth as meaningful as his words so here are the lyrics to one of the songs that won him the Nobel.

Desolation Row
Bob Dylan

They’re selling postcards of the hanging, they’re painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors, the circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner, they’ve got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker, the other is in his pants
And the riot squad they’re restless, they need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight, from Desolation Row
Cinderella, she seems so easy, “It takes one to know one, ” she smiles
And puts her hands in her back pockets Bette Davis style
And in comes Romeo, he’s moaning. “You Belong to Me I Believe”
And someone says, “You’re in the wrong place, my friend, you’d better leave”
And the only sound that’s left after the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up on Desolation Row
Now the moon is almost hidden, the stars are beginning to hide
The fortune telling lady has even taken all her things inside
All except for Cain and Abel and the hunchback of Notre Dame
Everybody is making love or else expecting rain
And the Good Samaritan, he’s dressing, he’s getting ready for the show
He’s going to the carnival tonight on Desolation Row
Ophelia, she’s ‘neath the window for her I feel so afraid
On her twenty-second birthday she already is an old maid
To her, death is quite romantic she wears an iron vest
Her profession’s her religion, her sin is her lifelessness
And though her eyes are fixed upon Noah’s great rainbow
She spends her time peeking into Desolation Row
Einstein, disguised as Robin Hood with his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago with his friend, a jealous monk
Now he looked so immaculately frightful as he bummed a cigarette
And he when off sniffing drainpipes and reciting the alphabet
You would not think to look at him, but he was famous long ago
For playing the electric violin on Desolation Row
Dr. Filth, he keeps his world inside of a leather cup
But all his sexless patients, they’re trying to blow it up
Now his nurse, some local loser, she’s in charge of the cyanide hole
And she also keeps the cards that read, “Have Mercy on His Soul”
They all play on the penny whistles, you can hear them blow
If you lean your head out far enough from Desolation Row
Across the street they’ve nailed the curtains, they’re getting ready for the feast
The Phantom of the Opera in a perfect image of a priest
They are spoon feeding Casanova to get him to feel more assured
Then they’ll kill him with self-confidence after poisoning him with words
And the Phantom’s shouting to skinny girls, “Get outta here if you don’t know”
Casanova is just being punished for going to Desolation Row”
At midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew
Come out and round up everyone that knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the factory where the heart-attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders and then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles by insurance men who go
Check to see that nobody is escaping to Desolation Row
Praise be to Nero’s Neptune, the Titanic sails at dawn
Everybody’s shouting, “Which side are you on?!”
And Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them and fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much about Desolation Row
Yes, I received your letter yesterday, about the time the doorknob broke
When you asked me how I was doing, was that some kind of joke
All these people that you mention, yes, I know them, they’re quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces and give them all another name
Right now, I can’t read too good, don’t send me no more letters no
Not unless you mail them from Desolation Row

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Focus Friday: The Broken Collection

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By Rachel ThompsonBroken Collection cover

This week’s focus is on Rachel Thompson’s new boxed set, which includes both her award-winning Broken Pieces and the follow-up collection of poems and essays, Broken Places.

Within one week of its release through Booktrope, Broken Places  reached the Top Five in Women’s Poetry and #1 on Amazon’s Hot Releases List. In it, Rachel courageously confronts the topics of sexual abuse and suicide, love and healing, in her second nonfiction book of prose and poetry (her fourth book overall). Rachel bares her soul in essays, poems and prose, addressing life’s most difficult topics with honesty. As you follow one woman’s journey through the dark and into the light, you will find yourself forever changed. 

Buy it on Amazon.

About Rachel Thompson

rachelRachel Thompson is the author of newly released Broken Places and the award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. For affordable group sessions check out Author Social Media Boot Camp, monthly sessions to help all authors! Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and the live Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Visit her:

Sign up for her Author Newsletter and her BadRedhead Media Newsletter. 

And follow her on Twitter @RachelintheOC and  @BadRedheadMedia.

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Win-a-Book Wednesday: Broken Places

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By Rachel Thompson

FINAL FINAL BROKEN Places COVER  (1)

 

This week, award-winning and bestselling Rachel Thompson will give away an e-copy of Broken Places to readers who sample the book on Amazon and answer:

“What poem or essay from the Broken Places sample is your favorite?”

About Broken Places

Award-winning author Rachel Thompson courageously confronts the topics of sexual abuse and suicide, love and healing, in her second nonfiction book of prose: Broken Places. The sequel to Rachel’s first nonfiction book, Broken Pieces, Rachel bares her soul in essays, poems and prose, addressing life’s most difficult topics with honesty. As you follow one woman’s journey through the dark and into the light, you will find yourself forever changed. Rachel’s first book in this series, Broken Pieces, has been a #1 best seller on Amazon (eBooks) on Women’s Poetry and Abuse. Please note: this book discusses serious topics, and is intended for mature audiences only.

About Rachel Thompson

Rachel Thompson copyRachel Thompson aka RachelintheOC is a published author and social media consultant. Her books A Walk In The Snark, The Mancode: Exposed and Broken Pieces are all #1 Kindle bestsellers! When not writing, she helps authors and other professionals with branding and social media for her company, BadRedhead Media. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut.

Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released Broken Places and the award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. For affordable group sessions check out Author Social Media Boot Camp, monthly sessions to help all authors! Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington PostThe San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse suvivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenom #MondayBlogs and the live Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, cohosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Visit her:

Connect with Rachel Thompson on:

Read her:

And follow Rachel on Twitter Twitter @RachelintheOC
and her consulting business  @BadRedheadMedia.

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Focus Friday: a preview of Broken Places

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By Rachel Thompson

BrokenPlaces

Image courtesy of nipitphand / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

BestSelling Reads is excited and proud to present a preview of Broken Places, the second in her Broken series (read her award-winning Broken Pieces first).

 “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” A Farewll to Arms,  Ernest Hemingway.

 

 

 

 

NIGHT

It’s what we notice after the fact that carries meaning, in the calm of the glowing moon.

My senses engaged, only you in my sight.

Your scent on my tongue.

Your words embedded in my heart.

Later, I’ll remember your head on my breast, a tender moment of peace inside the blur. Your seed inside me, staking your claim. Days later, months and years, I still carry you, cells merging souls.

Time replacing hope.

It’s only in the quiet spaces between our stars that I feel you now.

One night burning inside us, a memory we return to, an infinite weaving of thought and fiery touch.

What is this inexplicable distance we cross in our dreams?

It is those moments of dark silence that give us our truth – there’s no denying a love that has nothing to prove. It exists on its own.

Or passes us by.

 

DREAMING

Again, I fall.

But I can’t anymore. The pain intruding, surrounding me in that fleeting moment where the swift air stops so abruptly I cannot breathe…

Leaning into the words you weave softly, so softly.

Frightened I’ll miss the chance that never was.

Afraid I already have.

Sacrificing hope, I wear your love inside, pushed down deeply into that quiet space no man can see…

Because he doesn’t look.

You push me. You pull back. You want me, you walk away.

If you crave my heart, then own it!

Are you {not} man enough to try?

Well, then…it’s time for you to fall.

Copyright 2013, Rachel Thompson. All rights reserved.

Broken Places will be published in 2014.

About the author

Rachel Thompson copyRachel Thompson is the author of the award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com and Self-Publishers Monthly. Rachel is the creator and founder of#MondayBlogs and #SexAbuseChat. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Visit her:

And follow her on Twitter @RachelintheOC

 

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