Saturday, March 31, 2012

BOOK REVIEW CORNER – The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton

Guest blogger and Penumbra Publishing author Natasha Larry (DARWIN’S CHILDREN series) reviews the poetry of Anne Sexton in THE COMPLETE POEMS: ANNE SEXTON by Anne Sexton...

Anne Sexton
© 1981, Mariner Publishing 1999
Confessional Poetry
Reviewed by Natasha Larry, Penumbra Publishing author and blogger at
Available in paperback and hardcover on Amazon and other retailers

I don’t spend a lot of time reading poetry, but there are a few poets I wish I could have dinner with. Anne Sexton happens to be one of them. Sexton was a confessional poet, and was around in the wacky sixties. I consider her one of the greatest women poets of all time.

At age forty, she killed herself, but before she did, she let the world with a mind-blowing collection of poetic verse that will live on forever. This collection gathers all her poetic works into one volume.

Sexton wrote with a naked honestly that, while not always beautiful like Plath, whom some considered her rival, was raw and made her stand out among the other confessionals.

One of my favorite poems is The Truth the Dead Know, which I actually stole for a chapter title in Unnatural Law. It is worth posting at length here:

For my Mother, born March 1902, died March 1959
and my Father, born February 1900, died June 1959

Gone, I say and walk from church,
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse
It is June. I am tired of being brave.

We drive to the Cape. I cultivate
myself where the sun gutters from the sky,
where the sea swings in like an iron gate
and we touch. In another country people die.

My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely. No one's alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.

And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
in the stone boats.  They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone.

Another of her poems stood out for me as one of her best and arguably, most insightful. It is titled Just Once:

Just once I knew what life was for.
In Boston, quite suddenly, I understood;
walked there along the Charles River,
watched the lights copying themselves,
all neoned and strobe-hearted, opening
their mouths as wide as opera singers;
counted the stars, my little campaigners,
my scar daisies, and knew that I walked my love
on the night green side of it and cried
my heart to the eastbound cars and cried
my heart to the westbound cars and took
my truth across a small humped bridge
and hurried my truth, the charm of it, home
and hoarded these constants into morning
only to find them gone.

To me, this poem is less gory and suicidal than most of Sexton’s other works. I’m not going to sit here and pretend I have an English degree, or that I’m interested in analyzing poetry, because I am not. I do, however, know when a writer or poet speaks to me personally. I believe that Sexton is an icon. All lovers of poetry should read her, and all women should respect the fearlessness in her work.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

BOOK REVIEW CORNER – American Warrior

Guest blogger and Penumbra Publishing author Natasha Larry (DARWIN’S CHILDREN series) reviews Vietnam-era memoir/autobiography AMERICAN WARRIOR by John C. Bahnsen, Jr. with Wess Roberts...

John C. Bahnsen, Jr. with Wess Roberts, Citadel, 2007
Military Memoir
Reviewed by Natasha Larry, Penumbra Publishing author and blogger at
Available in paperback and ebook on Amazon and other retailers

AMERICAN WARRIOR has been called ‘one of the best books on the Vietnam War.’ After reading it, my inner history nerd has to agree. Now, I won’t lie, I’m totally biased when it comes to this title. Not only do I know, and have interviewed the author, ‘Doc’ Bahnsen, but my grandfather is in this book, which is why I used it for my graduate thesis.

Just in case you were unaware, my grandfather is retired CSM A. C. Cotton, the first African American to serve as CSM (command sergeant major) of the 1st Cavalry Division. Yes, he’s kind of bad@ss. One of my favorite quotes is about him. Doc refers to Cotton as ‘ of the line. A big, tall, imposing soldier the troops listened to and respected. He was a cavalryman and fighter first and foremost.’ So, yes, I loved the book.

My bias aside, it is a great book. The reason I think it stands out as a Vietnam combat memoir is because it follows the activity of the 11th ACR (armored cavalry regiment), better known as the ‘Blackhorse Regiment.’ For non-history geeks, this regiment was America’s best hope for winning the Vietnam War. The reason historians make this claim is because the soldiers of the 11th ARC were willing to do what most others weren’t by following one of the most important rules of warfare. They adopted the enemy’s fighting methods, especially search and destroy. In fact, their fight slogan was ‘find the bastards and pile on!’

AMERICAN WARRIOR is written with rare candor I’ve never seen in any account of the Vietnam War. The story is riveting, raw, and unforgettable. It’s so fast-paced, readers will forget they are reading a non-fiction account of a controversial war. In fact, I don’t think one has to be a military history nerd to enjoy this book. As far as bad@ss goes, these soldiers were it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Guest Blog: The Americanization of Space Begins at Home


by Walter Knight
Author of the
Science-Fiction Military Humor series


My America’s Galactic Foreign Legion series is about the Americanization of space. America uses it’s culture to defeat the evil aliens. Once you get an alien addicted to Starbucks, they’re yours. I draw parallels with contemporary world events for my science fiction books. Americanization is just another word for globalization.

For example, American consumerism has global reach. The Libyan people are clamoring for iPhones, Nikes, Ford Mustangs, and Eminem CDs. Cubans and Iranians are erecting illegal satellite dishes to catch a glimpse of U.S. Television. Thanks to Yao Ming, some of the NBA’s biggest fans are in China. Beijing honored the now-retired basketball star as its 2005 ‘vanguard worker,’ an award once reserved for Maoist revolutionaries. Seventy percent of Coke drinkers live outside North America. Half of all McDonald’s restaurants are somewhere other than the United States. Walmart has 2,700 stores outside the United States. Ninety percent of all PCs Run Microsoft software. The United States claims six of the world’s top ten universities. The United States accounts for more than one-third of all international patent filings.

On the political front, the US military provides a security umbrella to about half the world’s landmasses, polices the world’s toughest neighborhoods, and serves as the world’s first responder and last line of defense. Because of our restraint, foreign governments invite us onto their territory. Kosovo, Korea, and Kuwait want US troops to maintain regional stability. From Germany to Georgia, those who remember a Europe of concrete walls and iron curtains want US forces on their soil as a hedge against Russia. Those who fear China seek to strengthen ties with the US

America could have conquered the world with its military long ago, but we don’t want to. Many don’t care what happens overseas. It doesn’t matter. Our culture will dominate the world. Like the internet, freedom cannot be contained. Mickey Mouse rolled over Europe and Asia long ago. There are some who feel America is in decline, but they are wrong. America is just hitting its stride on the world stage. Resistance is futile.

Find Walter Knight’s books at and!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Walmart's GET IT ON THE SHELF contest

WalMart is hosting a 'get it on the shelf' contest for independent authors and publishers to get the books shelved in WalMart. Voting starts March 7. Walter Knight, author of the humorous military sci-fi series AMERICA'S GALACTIC FOREIGN LEGION has entered a video promoting his series.

PLEASE VOTE - go here -"America's-Galactic-Fore