Category: Poetry

Author Interview | Conversing with Rojé Augustin about her poetic dramatic release: “Out of No Way: Madam CJ Walker & A’Lelia Walker”

Posted Wednesday, 28 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva. Updated version July 2020.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I love seeking out Biographical Historical Fiction stories in order to better understand the persons who’ve lived before me and to have an interpersonal glimpse into their lives – which is why I seek out an equal amount of Biopics in motion pictures to watch as well. This is how I came to watch the Netflix original mini-series “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker”. (see also Wikipedia) Coincidentally, this aired whilst I was preparing my interview questions for this blog tour and thankfully it gave me an inside glimpse into the back-history of what inspired this poetic drama by the author.

Those of us on the tour received a PDF copy of the story by Ms Augustin – as you know, due to my chronic migraines, I cannot read stories electronically but I do sometimes read chapter samplers of stories online to gather a bit about a writer’s style and to better understand what the story might yield in print when I go to read it in a format better suited for me. In this instance, as I was moving through the PDF to find a section to preview for my interview questions I noticed there are photographs included with this story. I wanted to post an advisory on my tour stop that if you are a sensitive reader one photograph did concern me as it actually shows a lynching which I was not personally expecting to be included myself.

Outside of that photograph, the few sections I previewed helped inspire this conversation and I was thankful to have this copy of the book to use in my research to present a better rounded picture of what inspired the poet to create this dramatic story about the Walkers and how the Walkers are continuing to inspire everyone who finds their story. This is a well-timed conversation as many are still watching “Self Made” and I know others are regularly chatting about Madam CJ Walker and the impact she had on both industry and women-led companies who re-wrote what a woman can accomplish in whichever endeavour of business she chooses to become involved and find success.

I found watching “Self Made” to be an incredible story of both internal strength and belief in one’s self to pursue your own dreams and goals in life whilst embracing the fortitude one needs as a woman to achieve the impossible in a male-dominated world. There is so much truth in this mini-series about what women have faced in different generations to overcome the oppression of yesterday – it is a rising light of how hard we have had to fight for what we have as women of industry as much as how hard it is to build a brand when the concept for the brand isn’t one that everyone wants to embrace.

I loved the fact Octavia Spencer had the lead role in bringing Madam CJ Walker to life as I loved her performance and her instincts for telling Walker’s story. I have long admired her acting and am wicked thankful she is now in high demand as she deserves to continue to get these kinds of roles where she can shine such a wonderful light on the characters I feel she was bourne to portray! She’s just a wicked good actress and its a delight to see her in roles which I feel are strengthened due to how she’s approached them as an actress.

I also feel we are undeserved as both readers and citizens not to embrace more of the diversity of our country and of the persons who have made historical impacts on our society. We have such a beautiful diverse citizenship and yet, a lot of the historical stories which need to be told are never brought to light. I am thankful Walker’s story is finally coming into the mainstream in order to reach a broader audience but I have always maintained we need more stories about living histories of all persons in our country’s past in order to have a better rounded view of our History. All voices and lives need representation and all lives are important to be heard and shared.

It is an absolute joy for me to highlight the life and history of Madam CJ Walker and to share this interview on the blog tour celebrating her life and story. I hope you will walk away with some inspiration for your own life as much as have a better understanding of what Madam CJ Walker had to endure in order to reach for her dreams and bring to reality the world she saw in her dreams.

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Author Interview | Conversing with Rojé Augustin about her poetic dramatic release: “Out of No Way: Madam CJ Walker & A’Lelia Walker”Out of No Way
Subtitle: Madam CJ Walker and A'Lelia Walker : A Poetic Drama
by Rojé Augustin
Source: Author via Poetic Book Tours

Author, producer, and emerging poet Rojé Augustin has written a groundbreaking debut collection of dramatic poems about hair care entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker and her daughter, A'Lelia. Rojé's singular and accomplished work is presented through the intimate lens of the mother-daughter relationship via different poetic forms — from lyric to haiku, blackout to narrative. (One poem takes its inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.) Written in tribute to Walker, Out of No Way deftly and beautifully explores themes of race, motherhood, sacrifice, beauty, and the meaning of success in Jim Crow America.

Born Sarah Breedlove to former Louisiana slaves in 1867, Madam C.J. Walker was orphaned at seven, married at 14, became a mother at 17, and was widowed at 20. After the death of her first husband, Sarah moved to St. Louis with her daughter where she earned $1.50 a day as a washerwoman. When her hair started falling out she developed a remedy and sold her formula across the country. In the process, she became the wealthiest Negro woman in America.

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Poetry & Drama, Women's Studies


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Published by Self Published

Format: epub | PDF editon

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Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

NOTE: I do want to advise readers about a content warning in regards to a photograph inclusive of this release which does show a lynching which took me by surprise as well.

Converse via: #NonFiction, #Biography and #Poetry Drama
& #MadamCJWalker and #ALeliaWalker

About Rojé Augustin

Rojé Augustin

Rojé Augustin is a native New Yorker who grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Her first novel, The Unraveling of Bebe Jones, won the 2013 National Indie Excellence Award in African American fiction. She wrote the novel while living in London and Sydney as a stay-at-home-mom. Rojé continues to work as a producer while also writing in her spare time. She currently lives in Sydney with her husband and two daughters.

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Posted Wednesday, 28 October, 2020 by jorielov in A'Lelia Walker, African-American History, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Dramatic Poetry, Indie Author, Madam CJ Walker, Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-Fiction, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry, Vignettes of Real Life

Children’s #Classics Audiobook Review | “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” by Kate Douglas Wiggin, narrated by Ann Richardson a selection I added to my #theclassicsclub list under ‘Children’s Lit’

Posted Sunday, 26 August, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” via Audiobookworm Promotions who is working directly with the publisher Post Hypnotic Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I was keenly interested in listening to this Classics Children’s Story:

Of all the Shirley Temple films I haven’t yet seen, the one film which has stood the test of time of being of apt curiosity is ‘Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm’! I have adored Ms Temple for most of my life – as her films are wickedly delightful to see at any age – in my twenties whilst appreciating binge watching TCM, I had the joy of finding her as a sixteen year old in the film “Since You Went Away”. The film lead was played by Claudette Colbert who had impressed with right next to Ingrid Bergman for their dexterity and their depth of character performances. This was a rare treat to see Temple in a nearly-adult role.

I wasn’t sure where this particular adaptation of ‘Rebecca’ would befit within the Classic novel – as when it comes to adaptations, you have to keep an open mind as some are strictly by the ‘book’ of what was disclosed and others have a healthy heaping of ‘liberties’ taken with how their filmed. Either way, you look on it, I knew I wanted to see Shirley Temple in this role, even if I would prefer another version for keeping in better step with the original story.

Quite shockingly, at the time of listening to the audiobook, as would you believe I never had the proper chance to source a print copy of this novel?! It was one of those ‘book-to-film’ reads I had intended to get and simply never did. I ought to work a bit harder at rectifying this pursuit in the future. For now, audiobook versions are my jam. I am seriously over the moon in love in finding Classical works of Lit in audio formats – and this first and foremost is a strong affirmative of credit towards the work of Post Hypnotic Press, of whom, had my path not crossed with theirs during the Betty MacDonald memoirs, I might never had even realised how keen I am on listening to the Classics on audiobook!

Another shocker for this reader and book blogger was discovering of *all!* the fastidiously ridiculous series of adaptations for Classical Lit in motion pictures, somehow, this particular field overlooked ‘Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm’ as there appear to be only *three!*? Imagine!? I barely could myself!

One thing I was thankful for – my introduction into ‘whom’ would alight off the pages of the novel came into my headphones by way of Ms Richardson on behalf of Post Hypnotic Press! They truly go the extra mile in placing the right narrator(s) in the right roles which give you a wealth of joy to be #amlistening! It isn’t the first time I felt the narrator befit the character and had a wholly individual way of presenting the character of the hour – the last time I felt this for a fictional character was during my listenings of Ms Henderson voicing ‘Anne of Green Gables’.

Rather oddly, I had overlooked adding this particular title to my tCC List, of which I’ve amended during this blog tour. It ought to truly have been inclusive all along and the oversight was decidedly a reader’s over enthused approach at trying to compile a ‘list’ to present as a list of #nextreads when altogether mindful of the fact she might ‘forget!” a few in the process! I am thankful I can continue to share these readings and listenings with my fellow Classic Clubbers! (as I link my reviews, including the audiobooks to the main review archives)

Happily I spied a fellow book blogger, Classic Clubber and friend on this blog tour (Maggie) and I truly look forward to reading her ruminative thoughts and see how she took to ‘Rebecca’.

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Children’s #Classics Audiobook Review | “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” by Kate Douglas Wiggin, narrated by Ann Richardson a selection I added to my #theclassicsclub list under ‘Children’s Lit’Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Ann Richardson

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm has delighted readers for over 100 years. Published in 1903, when girls were inevitably depicted as pretty, gentle and proper, Rebecca Rowena Randall burst onto the scene of children's literature. Sent to live with her prim and proper Aunt Miranda, who is expecting her much more demure sister, Rebecca is a "bird of a very different feather". She has "a small, plain face illuminated by a pair of eyes carrying such messages, such suggestions, such hints of sleeping power and insight, that one never tired of looking into their shining depths...." To her Aunt Miranda's continual dismay, Rebecca is exuberant, irrepressible, and spirited - not at all "proper" or "demure". She wins over her aunt soon enough, and the whole town, and thousands of readers and listeners everywhere.

In 1904, author Jack London wrote Kate Douglas Wiggin: "May I thank you for Rebecca?.... I would have quested the wide world over to make her mine, only I was born too long ago and she was born but yesterday.... Why could she not have been my daughter? Why couldn't it have been I who bought the three hundred cakes of soap? Why, O, why?" And Mark Twain called Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm "beautiful and warm and satisfying".

This recording, narrated by Ann Richardson, whose sweet voice has a facility for accents and character voices, is a satisfying listening experience you'll want to revisit. Upcoming from Post Hypnotic Press is a new annotated print/eBook edition of this book, with illustrations from the original publication and a new introduction, as well as a work-book for children

Genres: Children's Literature, Classical Literature


Places to find the book:

ASIN: B07819NB8D

Published by Post Hypnotic Press

on 8th December, 2017

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 8 hours and 11 minutes (unabridged)

Post Hypnotic Press (@Post_Hypnotic)

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Previously I’ve listened to the following titles:

[ of Classical Children’s Lit by this publisher ]

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (see also Review)

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery (see also Review)

Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery (see also Review)

[ these were all narrated by the lovely Colleen Winton! ]

*I truly hope they will be creating more installments for ‘Anne!’

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Whilst I’ll be featuring two more reviews for this publisher:

The Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchet, narrated by Heather Henderson

Greenwillow by B.J. Chute, narrated by Ann Richardson

Whilst previously I listened to Heather Henderson narrating the Betty MacDonald memoirs!

And, Paula Becker leant her insight into Betty MacDonald as well!

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Kindly read the convo I had with Post Hypnotic Press!

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Sunday, 26 August, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Brothers and Sisters, Bullies and the Bullied, Childhood Friendship, Children's Classics, Children's Literature, Classical Literature, Coming-Of Age, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Juvenile Fiction, Life Shift, Macaroons & Paperbacks, Maine, Poetry, School Life & Situations, Siblings, Small Towne USA, Teacher & Student Relationships, the Nineteen Hundreds, Transfer Student at School, Village Life, Young Adult Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Finding Hope in the Darkness of Grief: Spiritual Insights Expressed Through Art, Poetry and Prose” by Diamante Lavendar #poetry collection

Posted Monday, 20 August, 2018 by jorielov , , 3 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By:

I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.

I received a complimentary copy of “Finding Hope in the Darkness of Grief” direct from the author Diamante Lavendar in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Blog Book Tour | “Finding Hope in the Darkness of Grief: Spiritual Insights Expressed Through Art, Poetry and Prose” by Diamante Lavendar #poetry collectionFinding Hope in the Darkness of Grief
Subtitle: Spiritual Insights Expressed Through Art, Poetry and Prose
by Diamante Lavendar
Source: Publisher via Poetic Book Tours

This earthly plane offers much for us to learn: happiness, wisdom, loss, heartbreak, and enlightenment. It is a Pandora’s box of emotions, situations, opportunities, and failures, all wrapped into a package we call life. Nobody is immune, but everyone has the opportunity to grow tall or wither like a flower in harsh light. It’s completely up to us how we choose to respond.

Finding Hope in the Darkness of Grief is a gleaning of insights from artist Diamante Lavender. For her, life has been a long, difficult road, but it has taught many poignant lessons. Her poetry collection is an exploration of the human soul, a traversing of situations that life throws at us. Diamante has always been intrigued by the ability to overcome and move on to bigger and better things.

She writes to encourage hope and possibility in those who read her stories. If she can help others heal, as she has, then Diamante’s work as an author and artist will have been well spent. She believes that everyone should try to leave a positive mark on the world, to make it a better place for all. Writing is the way that she is attempting to leave her mark—one story at a time.

Genres: Poetry & Drama


Places to find the book:

ISBN: 9781982205683

Also by this author: Finding Hope in the Darkness of Grief

Published by Balboa Press

on 16th June, 2018

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 74

Published By: Balboa Press (@BalboaPress)

an imprint of Hay House (@hayhouse)

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #Poetry

About Diamante Lavendar

Finding Hope in the Darkness of Grief by Diamante Lavendar (full cover)

Diamante Lavendar began writing in college and published poetry in anthologies. Most of her writing is personal and stems from her experiences and those of her family and friends. She also creates visual art with colored pencils, acrylic paints, and various mixed media. Diamante is also the author of Breaking the Silence and Poetry and Ponderings: A Journey of Abuse and Healing through Poetry.

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Posted Monday, 20 August, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Indie Author, Modern Day, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry