Author uses poetry to better understand our values

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Author Jonathan Farmer works to understand the ways in which our social values apply to poetry in his new release, “That Peculiar Affirmative: On the Social Life of Poems” (Stephen F. Austin University Press).

Farmer says the book of essays “is my attempt to understand how some of the things we cherish in our social lives do and don’t manifest in poetry. Among the subjects under consideration are joy, humor, kindness, politics and confidence.”

“That Peculiar Affirmative” is Farmer’s first book. “I spent about three years writing the bulk of it, mostly on weekends and over winter, spring and summer breaks,” he says. “So much of it was sitting on a couch taking notes on poems that interest me or sitting in a coffee shop happily typing away.”

Farmer, who lives in Durham, is editor in chief and poetry editor of At Length, and teaches middle and high school English. He will be holding a launch event with author Alan Shapiro at 7 p.m. on April 2 at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill.

New title

Caroline Taylor’s latest crime thriller, “Death in Delmarva” (Black Rose Writing), follows stockroom clerk Daphne Dunn who gets caught up in separate searches for two people, including one who seems to be her mirror image. Taylor, a veteran author, lives in Pittsboro.

For children

Avery Bowen, 15, was so perturbed by a neighborhood ice cream truck that he wrote a poem about it. That poem turned into a story and eventually a book. “The Good Food Truck” (CreateSpace) is a read-aloud book written in rhyme for young readers about eating healthy, taking care of your teeth and working together for the greater good. Avery’s mother, Liessa Bowen, is the illustrator. Avery, who lives in Chapel Hill, is homeschooled.


Durham author James Breeden has won the 2018 Gas Station Pulp Award for literary crime noir sponsored by the North American Review. His first novel, “Painting Angela” (North American Review Press), will be published this summer. The North American Review is the oldest literary magazine in the United States.

Author events

Paul J. Giannone will be signing and discussing his memoir, “A Life in Dark Places” (Torchflame Books) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on onday, April 22, at the Hot Tin Roof in Hillsborough.

Belle Boggs talks about “The Art of Waiting” (Graywolf Press) at 11 a.m. Sunday, March 24, and 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch. The book grew out of a magazine essay in which Boggs explored her feelings about her seeming inability to have a much-desired child. “The Art of Waiting” deals with themes of hope, loss and identity as well as the many aspects of infertility. Boggs teaches writing at N.C. State University.

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