Ted Kooser: An American life in poetry, Feb. 23, 2014

One of the founders of modernist poetry, Ezra Pound, advised poets and artists to "make it new." I've never before seen a poem about helping a tree shake the snow from itself, and I like this one by Thomas Reiter, who lives in New Jersey.

Releasing a Tree

Softly pummeled overnight, the lower

limbs of our Norway spruce

flexed and the deepening snow held them.

Author's mysteries aren't just for adults

Looking for stories worthy of review for middle grades reminds me of hunting mushrooms. I go to a likely place (a forest or a library), walk slowly and keep my eyes open. Often, just when I am ready to give up, there the little beauties are nestled on the forest floor — or the library shelf.

Library events, Feb.16-23, 2014

Each week, The News-Gazette offers a selection of events provided by area libraries:

Champaign Public Library

Main library, 200 W. Green St.

Douglass Branch, 504 E. Grove St.

Stories perfect for sisters

I'm the oldest of six siblings, and while as an adult I am quite close to all of my siblings, growing up I had a particularly close bond with my sister.

We were the only two girls — and the two oldest — and even now I think in some ways no one knows me quite as well as my sister does, which is probably why I'm often drawn to novels that highlight the unique bonds between sisters.

Prison tale great for book club debates

From the moment readers open "Inside These Walls" by Rebecca Coleman, they are transported to the world of a women's prison and introduced to Clara Mattingly, who is serving a life sentence for murder. Coleman's writing is superb, and Clara is instantly a likeable and sympathetic character, whom readers will cheer for in spite the fact that she's also a cold-blooded killer.

Girl escapes her troubles in the water

In "The Weight of Water" (Bloomsbury 2012), Sarah Crossan tells us only what we need to know in her spare verse. We can fill in the rest ourselves. She must think her readers are intelligent, which makes us feel good.

Ted Kooser: An American life in poetry, Feb. 16, 2014

We human beings think we're pretty special when compared to the "lower" forms of life, but now and then, nature puts us in our place. Here's an untitled short poem by Jonathan Greene, who lives in the outer bluegrass region of Kentucky.


Honored when

the butterfly lights

on my shoulder.

Next stop:

a rotting log.

C-U Haiku, Feb. 16, 2014

Withered branches

The squirrel scolds

A trespasser

— Matthew Yang,


New leader talks about Urbana library

URBANA — The Urbana Free Library will have a new director come April 1 after a months-long search ended Friday.

Ann Arbor librarian chosen to lead Urbana Free Library

URBANA — Celeste Choate, associate director of the Ann Arbor District Library in Michigan, has been selected as the new executive director of the Urbana Free Library.

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