Review of James Arthur’s Charms Against Lightning

Charms Against LightningCharms Against Lightning by James Arthur

My rating: 5 of 5 stars from GoodReads

I read the new first book shown here, from James Arthur as soon as I received it this week. There are amazing phrases and images in every poem. James startles you at every turn. Just as you think you know where the poem has landed you, you’re off in another direction. I will be reading it again next week, trying to decide which poem is my favourite. For now, though, I’ll just note the first one in the book, which is the title poem, Charms Against Lightning, the last one, Summer Song, and the one that appears on the back cover, Reed Ships.

You can also check out James Arthur’s webpage here: 

The book can be ordered at or at

  • Paperback: 96 pages Publisher: Copper Canyon Press (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English ISBN-10: 1556593872 ISBN-13: 978-1556593871

Samples of James’ poems are to be found here, where he’s featured this week as The Sunday Poet.…

View all my reviews

No-Comfort Zone Week Ending April 23, 2012

Well, this was a busy but successful week. I attended two meetings on Monday, a lunch appointment on Tuesday and a much-anticipated and dreaded doctor’s appointment on Wednesday. But it appears I must have been doing something right on the health score, as my tests showed improved numbers. This is kidney-related, so has been an ongoing concern for several years now, and a complex one to deal with as far a diet goes.

What else? Well, on Friday I sent off my very first non-contest related submission to a national literary magazine. With some help from my friend Claudia. I promised her that it would be for this first one only, just to get me past the initial block. So that’s done. This week I am prepping for the Massachusetts workshop. Good news there too, as my brother will be back in town to cat-sit and house-sit etc. Have to admit though that the maps look rather confusing. Thank goodness for GPS.

I managed yesterday to catch up on both poetry challenges. But today I must clean up my desk so I can start the next batch of paper piles. My goal for the week to come is to work on Massachusetts-related “homework” and to pull together all the info I want to have on hand about the trip, the inn, and the workshop. And my travel lists. Only three weeks away now!

We’ll be staying here: which is where most of the workshop will be held, but we will also take in some local sites. See below. The Mount was Edith Wharton’s residence, Steepletop was Edna St. Vincent Millay‘s. And I must mention our leader/instructor, James Arthur. James is a American-Canadian poet, writer, teacher, who grew up in Toronto but who now lives in the U.S. He was the instructor for the Stanford online 10-week poetry course that I took back in the fall of 2010. Two of the other students from that class will also be attending, so we will finally all get a chance to meet in person!

Pics of two places we’ll be visiting while in Lenox: Edith Wharton‘s Estate The Mount, Lenox  (our last day workshop will be held here)

The Mount, 2006

The Mount, 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alternative view of the front side of The Moun...

Alternative view of the front of The Mount, former home of Edith Wharton, in Lenox, Massachusetts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Main house at Steepletop Farm, home of Edna St...

Main house at Steepletop Farm, home of Edna St. Vincent Millay (Photo credit: Wikipedia)