ALL I WANT IN LIFE IS…

My Stacks Of Books 3All I Want In Life Is…

By Jorge Antonio Vallejos

1. Books

2. Books of poetry

3. Comfy chairs, stools, hammocks and couches to read Books

4. Books by Indigenous Writers and Writers of Colour

5. Money and gift cards for Books

6. Personal libraries full of Books

7. Bookmarks

8. Books by Queer and Trans writers

9. A woman who loves and reads books as much as I do

10. More Independent, Queer and Trans, and Women’s bookstores to open and thrive

11. More time and quiet to read Books

12. More storage space and shelves for my many Books

13. Books of erotic fiction and essays

14. An endless supply of ethical, organic, fair trade coffee to drink while I read books

15. Books written by me to be published, read, and taught

The above was inspired by a list on Face Book by author M. J Rose.

 

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QUEER, DISABLED TORONTO MAN SEEKS SHARED LIVING

Rob Walker head shotJune 4, 2014

Dear Friends:

My name is Rob Walker. I am looking for shared accommodations, hoping to move in late June or 1 July (at latest).

I’m a full-time PhD student in Queer Theology, and a talkative introvert. As a gay man living with Cerebral Palsy on Ontario Disability Support Payments, I am looking for:

* accessible accommodation on ground floor or in a building with an elevator (or very few stairs)

* $600 or less/m. rent, including utilities

* downtown, or close to major TTC routes, close to laundry facility. If close to Metropolitan Community Church Toronto or University of Toronto, that would be a bonus.

* preferably furnished, but at least with room for bookshelves!

* someone who can appreciate living with a full-time PhD student who works on the Internet from home

* willing to share/contribute to groceries

If you might be able to offer a place, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email to leave your contact information: rob.daywalker@gmail.com.

Thanks very much for your consideration!

Rob Walker

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WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE ON BLACKCOFFEEPOET.COM?

Wednesday May 14, 2014

Dear Readers,

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I have not updated my website in almost two months.  One of you, a good friend of mine and contributor to blackcoffeepoet.com, asked what the status of my site was and I did not have a real answer.

“If you’re gonna end it then end it.  Don’t just let it die!” said Cindy.

Cindy and I are close like that.

And she is right.

I don’t want to end blackcoffeepoet.com but I am in a place of contemplation and transition.

Blackcoffeepoet.com started out as a project after I was rejected from an MA in Creative Writing program.  I read and reviewed books and interviewed authors.  And I videotaped authors reading from their books.  And I had a stance which was to feature writers ignored by the mainstream: Indigenous writers, writers of  colour, queer writers… My politics were ingrained into every post: challenging colonialism and all it’s sub “isms”.

After two years of doing this many of you asked me about my writing.  “Where are you?” people wrote.  “We want to read your writing.” So I started writing reflections pieces and a series called Showing Up.  I also stared publishing poemsletters and opinion editorials.

I still want to keep my stance, politics, and original vision, but I want to hear from you, my readers.

What do you want to see on blackcoffeepoet.com?

What have you liked or disliked on blackcoffeepoet.com? I welcome constructive criticism.

Do you want to contribute to the site?

Do you want to work together on a project?

Email me your thoughts at blackcoffeepoet@gmail.com  and comment below this post. Write Idea for blackcoffeepoet.com in the subject line.

Please see and subscribe to my YOUTUBE Channel as it is integral to my site. Subscribe to, and consider writing for, blackcoffepoet.com.  See this call for submissions.

If you appreciate what I do please consider buying me a coffee via a gift card or donate to my site.  See how by clicking here.

Thank you for your ideas, support, and time.

Peace, Prayers, Poetry,

Jorge Antonio Vallejos

Black Coffee Poet

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HOW TO WRITE A BOOK REVIEW

Book Review photoHow To Write A Book Review

By Jorge Antonio Vallejos

A large part of blackcoffeepoet.com is dedicated to writing book reviews.  I also write book reviews for other publications.

I remember writing my first book review in grade five.  I had to write one book review a month and I always looked forward to it.

Most of the books I read and reviewed in grade five were bought via mail from the Scholastic company. Do you remember them? I’d order three or four books at a time and eagerly wait for them to arrive.  And I’d visit World’s Biggest Bookstore in downtown Toronto a couple of times a month with my mom on top of visiting my local library once or twice a week.

It’s fair to say that books have always been a part of my life.  And writing reviews throughout my academic career—grade school, high school, and university—prepared me for the reviews I write today. Here are some suggestions for writing book reviews I’ve come up with over the years:

Read the book.  This sounds simple but you’d be surprised at how many people do not read a book (entirely or at all) before writing a review.  I remember a university professor telling a seminar class I was part of that she had written reviews after reading the back of, and preface, of books.  Gross!

Be an active reader.  Take notes, highlight, write in the margins of the book; journal about the book; talk about the book with someone.

Re-read the book.  If you do not have time, go over your notes and read the parts you liked and disliked.

Plan out the review.  Look over your notes and see what you want readers to know.  Organize your points from most to least important.  Read other reviews and see what reviewers are not talking about.  Be different.

Think about your audience.  Who reads your work?  What do they like?  What politics do they believe and uphold?  Are they political or apolitical?  Do they like long or short reviews?  Do they like lots of quotations?  Do they prefer an overview or an in-depth review?

Include info about the author.  Are you familiar with the work of the author you are reviewing?  Is your audience familiar with the author?  Reference their previous work.  Opine whether this new book is as good, better, or worse than their previous books.  Give some background info on the author: how they started writing, where they are from, where they are now.

Hook the reader in.  Start your review with a line that is eye catching and mentally stimulating.  I often use a quote from the book, or I describe the cover, or I give my opinion.

State your opinion.  Is the book amazing, mediocre, or crap?  Say it.  Be honest.  Be bold.  And back up your opinion with quotes and observations.  A reader will appreciate your opinion from the strong argument your provide them.  You are critiquing the book, not summarizing it!

Do not include new material in the conclusion.  Your last paragraph should be a wrap up of the review.  Don’t start a new argument or make new points.  A conclusion is an ending not a beginning.

Do not bash!  You can be critical without bashing a writer.  It’s a review not a boxing match.

Do not make the review personal.  You are reviewing the book not the author’s character.  And if there is a conflict of interest between you and the author then do not review their book.  I know authors I do not like personally and I do not review their book(s); it would not be fair.  Of course, there are some exceptions.  One of my favourite short story writer’s is someone I cannot stand!  But they write good fiction and I have written favourable reviews of their work; it goes back to integrity and honesty.  Generally, I stay away from reviewing books by authors I do not like personally.

Remember: “The same people you see on your way up are the same people you see on your way down.” It’s a small world.  Someone might be reviewing your book one day.  The same energy you give out comes back at you.

I hope this helps!  Get reading and get writing.

If you appreciate the work I do consider treating me to a coffee or making a donation to blackcoffeepoet.com.  Click on the CONTACT page above to find out how.

 

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VIDEO: LINES I LOVED FROM SHERMAN ALEXIE’S “WHAT I’VE STOLEN, WHAT I’VE EARNED”

BCP reading Sherman Alexie What I've Stolen What I've EarnedI recently read What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned by Sherman Alexie.  It was amazing!

Alexie is one of my favorite poets.  I own and have read, and re-read, his sex previous collections of poems.

While reading the book I wrote a found-sonnet made up of lines I loved in the book: Found Sonnet, Lines I Loved From Sherman Alexie’s What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned.  It’s an experiment that people have liked.  I hope you enjoy it.

Watch, SHARE, Tweet, and comment on this video.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Black Coffee Poet YOUTUBE channel!

If you appreciate the work I do consider treating me to a coffee (via a STARBUCKS gift card) or making a donation to blackcoffeepoet.com.  Click on the CONTACT page above to find out how.

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FOUND SONNET, LINES I LOVED FROM SHERMAN ALEXIE’S “WHAT I’VE STOLEN, WHAT I’VE EARNED”

Found Sonnet, Lines I Loved From Sherman Alexie’s What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned

By Jorge Antonio Vallejos

1. My Indian name is Wants  To Tell You His Indian Name Because It Makes Him Feel More Indian.

2. …my big brother, who was eating and stealing food from the fruit department.

3. If my sons, Indian as they are, contract some preventable disease from those organic, free range white children and die, will it be legal for me to scalp and slaughter their white parents?

4. In Seattle, when white folks first gentrified this neighborhood, they built houses on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, but they turned the front doors of their homes so their street addresses would not be on MLK , Jr. Blvd.

5. Republican, n. One who has, in the past, lied to Indians. Also, one who is currently lying to Indians. Also, one who will, in the future, lie to Indians. See: Democrat.

6. Do you miss the strange women who loved to touch your hair? Do you miss being eroticized because of your braids?

7. White Jesus comes from white people; brown Jesus comes from brown people.

8.  Are you Chicano?

9. I want my coffee to taste like sex and rage.

10. Ariana X. Rodriguez wrote: “There is a word in Nahuatl that means: “All of the memory in the world.” Nobody remembers how to say the word.

11. And who do we become when we are confronted with the truth–with a direct refutation of our closely held beliefs–but still refuse to admit our sins?

12. Do we become liars when we don’t kiss those people who make us tremble and tremble for us?

13. …I drank coffee as strong and bitter as colonialism.

14. I can make up any shit about Indians and you will believe me because you don’t know shit about Indians or rather, all you know is bullshit about Indians, so I can just make up my own bullshit and you won’t know the difference.

Thanks to May Lui for introducing me to found poems.  BIG thanks to Maureen Hynes, one of my poetry Elders, for suggesting writing a found sonnet!

If you appreciate the work I do consider treating me to a coffee or making a donation to blackcoffeepoet.com.  Click on the CONTACT page above to find out how.

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BLACK COFFEE POET READS @ SPINLAW 2014

Reading at SPINLAW 2014Last Saturday I had the honour of reading at the York University Osgoode Hall Law School conference SPINLAW (Student Public Interest Network Legal Action Workshop) for the second year in a row!

For SPINLAW 2013 I read a poem commissioned by SPINLAW: Spreading The Roots Of The Living Tree. I take great pride in my first commissioned poem being read, and well received, at a social justice conference.

This year I read an essay about the second time I was incarcerated, The Bull Pen, and a letter from me to my deceased friend, former Osgoode Hall student, Wendy Babcock.  The audience enjoyed both!

BIG thanks to the SPINLAW 2014 team:

Darcel Bullen, Jennifer Brown, Richard E Lanns, Emily Meuser, Juan de Villa, and Alison Mintoff.

And thanks Lorne Sossin, Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Black Coffee Poet YOUTUBE channel!

If you appreciate the work I do consider treating me to a coffee or making a donation to blackcoffeepoet.com.  Click on the CONTACT page above to find out how.

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