How to Read Poetry

"For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry."
Mary Oliver

I think part of why people misunderstand poetry as a genre, is because they don't know how to read it. Something that should be understood is that it is not meant to be read all at once. It is too deep, so deep that if you try to read it in large amounts, you get overwhelmed easily which leads to boredom. Novels and literature contain stories, all of it enveloped into a larger work which means that it is saturated somewhat. You still feel the beauty and the honesty of it depending on the work, but not all at once. A good author won't make you feel too much too fast, it should be gradual and steady. (A sign of an amateur author is one who makes you feel so many emotions all at once without ever really reaching catharsis. It is a cheap shot at emotions called melodrama or bathos.)

With poetry, every word counts. Every period, every comma, every space counts. Because it shares a short emotion or story in a small space, it is very dense with meaning and richness. This richness in a sense, makes it easy to become overwhelmed when you try to read a lot of it all at once. You leave your reading session feeling confused rather than energized and inspired.

I have found, the best way for me to read poetry is in small doses because of this very reason. I keep my latest book of poems by my bedside and read two poems before bed, and two poems when I wake up. When I have time throughout the day I also pick up my copy, although usually it is just done morning and night. I find that by doing so, I am inspired as I fall asleep and as I wake up, setting the tone for my dreams or my day.

If you have ever felt overwhelmed with poetry, please give it another chance. It has touched me and moved me in a way that no other art form ever has.

My favorite poem collections for your reference:


four-wheeling at duck creek last weekend

With the wind whistling through our ears we rode on the trail,

I sat behind him, pulling tighter on faster turns,

And releasing my grip when the road had less rocks and more dirt.

I read my own body through my grip, much like our marriage so far,

Eleven months of hard, fierce grips and some months of letting go,

Letting the wind whistle through our ears without gripping or fear sometimes.

The landscape changes as we go steeper, the trees more dense,

Each pine distinct before but now lost in this forest of forests.

And when he begins to sing out loud,

The smell of exhaust and dirt and the beauty of nature fills my mouth.

Listening to his tones echo this mountain scape, the taste of it all overwhelms me.

The taste is so sweet.



Classic Fashion



The older I get, the more mature I am becoming about my clothing styles. I still like the occasional sequin cardigan and bold scarf, but more and more I am beginning to invest in classic pieces. Black skinny trousers, the perfect white blouse, and a nice pair of nude and black heels. Too often in the past I found myself buying trendy items, or cheaper items simply because I wanted more. These photos remind me that in fashion, sometimes more is just .... more.


Blueberry Muffs




When I saw these gorgeous blueberries at the store, I knew I had to buy them, I just didn't know what I was going to do with them yet. I opened Bake, a cookbook by Nick Malgieri, gifted from a dear friend for our wedding. The book is so beautiful but also simple and functional at the same time, something I think every great cookbook should be like.

The muffins turned out perfectly. Fluffy and light, while not overly sweet. If you have only made blueberry muffins from the box before, I highly recommend this recipe.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) melted butter, slightly cooled
1 large egg
1 cup milk

Fold in 1 1/2 cups rinsed, dried blueberries

Sprinkle the tops with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 Tablespoons sugar before baking

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until brown on top


Boat People






My family and I, we are boat people. My dad grew up on the lake with his dad, and my mom spent weeks every summer at Lake Powell. I learned how to water-ski when I was just little, and most of my best and favorite summer memories involve boating with my family. Kevin knew when he married me that we would have a boat someday.

It's in our blood. We are boat people.

It was so fun to take Kevin's family out with mine. In a way it felt like an initiation into the family or something. We had a great time, and can't wait to go back again with them.


End of Bed Bench





I love the look of a bench at the end of a bed, and always want somewhere to put my clothes when I am too lazy to hang them up, rather than leaving them on the floor. (Sad to say its half looks, half laziness). I found the most amazing bench on craigslist yesterday for a steal, and can't decide exactly what I want to do with it yet. Part of me wants something fun like zebra or a bold print and part of me wants to do black or white leather. This is what my bed currently looks like:


Any ideas?


Interview 101

I do a lot of interviewing and hiring for my company, since we aren't really big enough for an HR team. We see a lot of great and competent interviewers, and a lot of less than prepared interviewers. Although I don't consider myself an expert in this area at all, I have received a couple of emails asking for interview tips, and after this last exhausting round of interviews, here are some of my tips for landing a job.

Most of you probably know all of these, but if anything it is a good refresher and you may learn a thing or two. It is a tough job market, and it would be sad not to get an interview or hired for a simple mistake!

(The first post I will do is for resumes. I will follow up with an interview post next week.)

Resume tips:

1. Your resume should NEVER, under any circumstance be longer than one page. Any longer than that and your interviewer will get bored of it, and annoyed at flipping through the pages. (Yes, pages, I received one resume this week that was 5 pages long.)

2. Make the most of your space. White space is important for aesthetic reasons, but get to the point with your objective and organize it so the fonts, bullet points, and punctuation are all consistent.

3. If you are applying for a professional job, make your objective professional. Do not mention long walks in the rain, dancing in the dark, or getting ready for your "Life to take flight" with this new career.

4. Remember your audience. If you are applying for a desk job, do not use your hair-stylist resume. I learned this the hard way, and currently have about five resumes (Marketing, fashion, writing/editing, academic, medical.)

5. Make your name, email address and phone number prominent. Also, do not put nicknames on your resume. For example, if your name is Andrea and you go by Annie just put Annie. Do not put Andrea (Annie) Jones.

6. Dates are necessary. Future employers want to see how long you have been in any position. Most of them also want some idea of how old you are, so putting your graduation dates on your resume is important.

7. Do not ever have spelling errors. This might sound obvious, but if you know your resume really well have someone proofread it for you. Often you have misspellings for the situation, and spell check will not pick those up.

8. If you want to include references, make sure you include what relationship they have to you. Never include family members, even if their last name is different. Also, make sure your references know they are a reference. There is nothing worse than calling a reference only to find that they do not remember the individual, or when they are a family member who was unprepared to give a professional reference.

I know some of these might sound simple, but hopefully they help someone who is looking for a job. Any others I missed that you think should be included?




I told myself there was no need to write about Harry Potter. It has been done and said before, everything that I want to say on blogs, in newspapers, in conversations. But the thing is, Harry Potter has had a profound influence on me. On my own experience growing up, and on my own childhood.

I first heard of Harry Potter from my doctor. I went in for a sore throat and he asked me, "Have you read Harry Potter?" I thought the name was ridiculous, but when I received my first paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for Christmas, I read all night under the covers and finished the next day. From then on, I went to every book release and every midnight movie (except the last one, curse of the full-time worker). I was the co-founder of a club in High School called The Order of the Phoenix, as dorky as that is. We waited in line all night for HP7, and met for lunch a few days later, talking for hours about the book and our predictions and our mutual experience of being blown away by this series.

After seeing the final movie last night, I feel pretty empty knowing that it really has come to an end. HP taught me that being smart is cool, that being brave is necessary, that morals still matter. As cliche as it is, I feel so indebted to J.K for a childhood of reading and adventure. She has inspired me so much as an aspiring author and future mother who will raise children in a world struggling with courage and morals.

Without a small tribute to her and the series, it wouldn't feel right.


Breakfast Date




Saturday morning I had a short business meeting which Kevin studied during, and afterwards we went to Magelby's Fresh for their French toast and orange juice. No pictures of Kevin were taken because he hates taking pictures, and the morning was too nice to argue with him about it.

We just sat outside on a table and ate our French toast and most of the time we were quiet, which would have worried me if I were dating him. I would have worried that being quiet was a sign that we were not compatible, or that we were bored easily together, but now I realize that being quiet is a positive thing. We can be together and enjoy each other without talking or noise. Being quiet is a good thing, and I am so happy I have someone I can be quiet with.


Wild and Precious

"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves."
- Mary Oliver

I try so much to be good. To be good at everything I do, to be a good employee and piano teacher and wife and friend and sister and daughter and everything else I am. Sometimes I feel spread so thin in this life, and I don't know how to change it.

But I think I do love this soft animal of my body enough to make changes where necessary. And that is now. My one, "Wild and precious life," as Mary Oliver also speaks about will be exactly what I call my life. Because how else could you diagnose this thing we live? I wouldn't want it any other way.


Turning off the dark

Yesterday with a student, he asked me,
"What if instead of turning on the light,
You could turn off the dark?"

I told him I had thought that before,
because it was true after all.
I have seen my share of darkness,

I have wanted to turn it off
because turning the light on
seemed to be too much. Too hard.

But it was there in the dark that I realized
that darkness, too, can be a friend.
The dark teaches love to ones self.

It is in my own times of darkness when I learned
how much better it is to live in the light,
and how good the light feels to a soul in the dark.


Happy Sumo II






If you are trying to find me on any given Friday or Saturday night, chances are you can probably find us at Happy Sumo. Even with their 50% off VIP night, we are probably keeping them in business. We took Bobby along this time, and absolutely love having him here in Utah. He is such a mini Kev.

This time we ventured out and got the sorbet line-up and the tempura banana split. Both worth the trip there, and at half off, you really can't go wrong.

I feel so lucky to have married into a family that I love to spend time with. I worried so much before I got married that I would fight with my sister-in-laws or get annoyed with my brother-in-laws but it doesn't happen. I really love them, and that is so good.




Sister Jessica opened her mission call on Saturday night to the Baltic mission - serving in Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia and speaking Lithuanian.

She was so shocked when she opened it that she laughed and cried all at the same time. All of us there kept screaming, "Lithuania?" "The Baltic?" and immediately opened our iPhones for a map of this place we had never heard of.

To say I am proud of her would be an understatement. I am so full of joy, in an indescribable way. If you want to see my cry in the near future, just ask me about Jessica leaving on her mission. It is foolproof and works anytime, anywhere. As of late: fast food drive through's, grocery store parking lots and the office. I love that girl so much.


Project Runway Season 8

Not too long ago I blogged about watching Season 7 of Project Runway. Right after I finished it they posted Season 8, and needless to say, I finished it last weekend.

I liked Season 8 even better, because a lot of the designers created clothes I would actually wear. It was really inspiring to hear their different backgrounds and stories and especially to see what they created. What they could do in such a short time span is really incredible, at least worth watching one episode.

Being inspired, I decided to start sewing again. I took a clothing class in High School but I haven't really done much yet. I ordered fabric this morning, and am so excited to start some simple projects to start out. Do any of you know of some great sewing blogs with tutorials? I am going to need all the help I can get.



The month of June, my entire family was together. I used to take those times for granted so much, but when my sister Lacey moved away to college I felt the first sting of separation. If I ignore it, I can pretend that we are all okay without each other. But when I stop and think about it, even for a minute I break down a little. (SometimesinthegrocerystoreparkinglotsorryKev).

The truth is, that we are all okay without each other. We can survive. But there is something about togetherness, when all of us are there, all at once, all in the same space. That's the right thing, I think.

We are not all together any more, and some of us are leaving for a year and a half. So maybe that is why I keep looking at these pictures of the lake, just to remember what it is like to be all together. Even for a little while.









I was asked by the YRead blog (the BYU Bookstore's new blog) to do a guest post on my thoughts on the need for American literature in lieu of the holiday weekend. Although the blog itself is new, it is already an ideal place to visit for people who are booky or people who need to be encouraged to become booky.

American literature is my very favorite genre. Although I enjoyed my British, French and Russian lit classes, there is nothing as fresh or beautiful as American.

I ended up writing something very personal and honest about American literature drawn from my own past and love of books. Feel free to read my post here.

And I hope your fourth of July was as sparkly as mine was.


on learning the pledge

My first day in American school started out with The Pledge of Allegiance. As though I wasn’t already frightened enough, what with a huge round of immunizations the day before, boys in my classroom (I previously attended an all-girls private school) and being introduced by my teacher as the new girl from Japan (not Japanese, not even a little bit) - I had never heard of The Pledge of Allegiance. Everyone stood up and faced the flag with their hands on their hearts and I lost it. Every overwhelming aspect of that day so far was felt, and the fact that I didn’t know what we were doing with our hands over our hearts seemed to be the hardest of all. I felt my eyes well with tears, and ran to the bathroom to sob.

When I got home that night, I was determined to memorize that thing. My mom printed it out for me from the internet, and I studied it all night. I had always been good at memorizing poems, and when I recited it to my dad over the phone (he was finishing up business in Japan), I had never been so proud. I showed up nervous for class the next morning, and stood up proudly when the class did, placed the right hand over my heart, and almost yelled The Pledge with my class. I felt like everyone was watching me, ready to see me mess up and start crying again, which made me want to say it even louder.

Looking back on that experience, I feel so grateful for a country that believes that we are “One nation, under God.” Until you live without that, I don’t think you can fully appreciate it.

I hope your Fourth of July is wonderful.