Really Happy! by Jim Reese

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Genre: Poetry

Page Count: 73

Publication Date: 2014

Summary: Jim Reese is a South Dakota college professor who also teaches at the local prison.  His witty insights about these particular events come across in this volume of poetry.

Recommended: Yes.  I love poetry and I found myself rereading particular lines because they captured a particular feeling or moment so perfectly. I especially  enjoyed the poems about Yankton.

Watch Out For:  The speaker in some of the poems is stereotypically male so some of the poems come across as a bit sexist.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “At the head of the line, buying a twelve of Pabst,/ a hairy, overweight man with a plumber-crack/ and a t-shirt two sizes too small/ drops a quarter on the ground.”    “And on the eyelids of one man there are two tattoos that read – GAME OVER”

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Red Hot Salsa edited by Lori Marie Carlson

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Title: Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States

Genre: Poetry

Page Count: 140

Publication Date: 2005

Summary: Some of the poems are completely written in English and are accompanied by full Spanish translations.  Some of the poems are a mix of English and Spanish.  There is a Spanish glossary in the back for the poems written in both languages so you don’t need to have any knowledge of Spanish in order to enjoy this book. The book is sectioned into Language/Identity, Neighborhoods, Amor (Love), Family Moments/Memories, and Victory.

Recommended: Yes.  The poems are written by a variety of contemporary Hispanic poets and as a Spanish teacher, I really enjoyed this volume – it could easily be incorporated into a Spanish class of any level. There is a short biography of each of the authors in the back of the book.

If You’re Offended: No problems here

Noteworthy Excerpts: “Taco Bell is NOT Mexican Food!”    “Spanish is a matter of rolling rrrrs clicking the tongue, And placing your hands on your hips when your little brother pours cereal into your fishbowl.”