Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Quote of the Day

Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people.

The Morning Walk

- A.A. Milne

two hands clasped like lovers
When Anne and I go out a walk,
We hold each other's hand and talk
Of all the things we mean to do
When Anne and I are forty-two.

And when we've thought about a thing,
Like bowling hoops or bicycling,
Or falling down on Anne's balloon,
We do it in the afternoon.


The Wench is Dead - Colin Dexter    

This one was different, but I was intrigued and I enjoyed it. 

There was a bit of a scare, perhaps foreshadowing? But the Inspector comes through. 

How far would you go to solve the unsolvable?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Kilt Monday!

Because let's face it, Mondays are hard rough difficult.

Quote of the Day

We don’t want people to be frightened of poetry, we don’t want people to think it’s not for them, or that it’s for posh people or difficult — it isn’t!

Poems can be simple and they can be complex but as long as children are given it as an everyday part of their lives, like singing and dancing, rather than it being seen as something special, they will like it.

 - Roger McGough

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What Does a Poet Laureate Do? Joseph Brodsky.

Poet Laureate from 1991 to 1992 and winner of the 1987 Nobel Prize for Literature.

 Joseph Brodsky 

"What concerns me is that man, unable to articulate, to express himself adequately, reverts to action. Since the vocabulary of action is limited, as it were, to his body, he is bound to act violently, extending his vocabulary with a weapon where there should have been an adjective."

Astonished that poetry had so little place in our society, Brodsky initiated the idea of providing poetry free to members of the public, in public places - supermarkets, hotels, airports, hospitals, . . . "anyplace people congregate and can kill time as time kills them."

The result was The American Poetry & Literacy Project, a national, non-profit organization created by Brodsky and a young author named Andrew Carroll.

They hoped that the books might help people find some comfort and companionship and believe it or not, the idea was a bit controversial when Brodsky proposed it.

In addition, the Academy fosters the readership of poetry through outreach activities such as National Poetry Month.

Here are a few of the books published for The American Poetry & Literacy Project:

101 Great American Poems. 

How to Eat a Poem: A Smorgasbord of Tasty and Delicious Poems for Young Readers.

And now for some poetry:

A Song

I wish you were here written in beach sand
I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish you sat on the sofa
And I sat near.
The handkerchief could be yours,
the tear could be mine, chin-bound.
Though it could be, of course,
the other way around.

I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish we were in my car,
and you'd shift the gear.
We'd find ourselves elsewhere,
on an unknown shore.
Or else we'd repair
to where we've been before.

I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish I knew no astronomy
when stars appear,
when the moon skims the water
that sighs and shifts in its slumber.
I wish it were still a quarter
to dial your number.

I wish you were here, dear,
in this hemisphere,
as I sit on the porch
sipping a beer.
It's evening, the sun is setting;
boys shout and gulls are crying.
What's the point of forgetting
if it's followed by dying?


Joseph Brodsky:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Quote of the Day

Inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic energy striving, but it comes to us slowly and quietly and all the time.

beautiful pink blooming tree spread wide

Nobody Knows Who Made These Sculptures . . .

They were delivered secretly. Click through to see more . . .

paper sculpture of tea cup and cupcake on a book

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sound Familiar?

                                                        I think you know the tune:

 many stars spread on dark blue baxkground
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
I know exactly what you are

 Opaque ball of hot dense gas
Million times our planet's mass
Looking small because you're far
I know exactly what you are

Fusing atoms in your core
Hydrogen, helium, carbon and more
With such power you shine far
Twinkle twinkle little star

Bright when close and faint when far
I know exactly what you are
Smallest ones burn cool and slow
Still too hot to visit, though

Red stars dominate by far
Twinkle twinkle little star
Largest ones are hot and blue
Supernova when they're through

Then black hole or neutron star
I know exactly what you are
Forming from collapsing clouds
Cold and dusty gas enshrouds

Spinning, heating protostar
I know exactly what you are

Source ? : found at Reddit, where it was attributed to the Girl Scouts.

UPDATE 9/12/12: Our commenter Jason tells me that the author of this little gem is astronomer Julia Kregenow of Penn State University.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


- Tony Hoagland

Maxine, back from a weekend with her boyfriend,
smiles like a big cat and says
that she's a conjugated verb.
She's been doing the direct object
with a second person pronoun named Phil,
and when she walks into the room,
everybody turns:
some kind of light is coming from her head.
Even the geraniums look curious,
and the bees, if they were here, would buzz
suspiciously around her hair, looking
for the door in her corona.
We're all attracted to the perfume
of fermenting joy,
we've all tried to start a fire,
and one day maybe it will blaze up on its own.
In the meantime, she is the one today among us
most able to bear the idea of her own beauty,
and when we see it, what we do is natural:
we take our burned hands
out of our pockets,
and clap.

from: Donkey Gospel. 1998.



The Secret of Annexe 3 - Colin Dexter  

I'll be honest, this was not my favorite of the Inspector Morse books so far. But it was still pretty good. I'm quite fond of the cranky old guy.

Efforts by Colin Dexter that fall short, still end up well above many others in the genre.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Poison Tree

  - William Blake
I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears
Night and morning with my tears,
And I sunned it with smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright,
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,--

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning, glad, I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.
watercolor in shades of browns and muted orange by William Blake depicting dead foe beneath a tree

The Golden Age

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What Does a Poet Laureate Do? Robert Hass.

Two term Poet Laureate from 1995 to 1997, he also won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his book, Time and Materials.

 Robert Hass

"Take the time to write. You can do your life's work in half an hour a day."

I first knew of Mr. Hass as translator and editor, specifically for The Essential Haiku: Versions of Bashō, Buson, and Issa, which holds a prominent spot on in my bookcase.

He has been actively engaged in promoting ecoliteracy, and has turned to businesses for help supporting poetry contests for children.

Working with writer and environmentalist Pamela Michael during his tenure as Poet Laureate, he sponsored a major conference on nature writing called “Watershed," which explored connections between environmental awareness and the American literary imagination. 

The Watershed initiative continues today as the national poetry competition, River of Words, he co-founded in the mid-1990s for elementary and high school students.  

River of Words encourages "children to make art and poetry about their watersheds" and fosters interdisciplinary, interactive, environmental education."

On November 9, 2011, while participating in an Occupy movement demonstration at UC Berkeley called Occupy Cal, Hass was hit in the ribs by a police officer wielding a baton and his wife was shoved to the ground by a police officer. He wrote about their experience in a November 19, 2011, New York Times opinion piece entitled "Poet-Bashing Police."
Once the cordon formed, the deputy sheriffs pointed their truncheons toward the crowd. It looked like the oldest of military maneuvers, a phalanx out of the Trojan War, but with billy clubs instead of spears. The students were wearing scarves for the first time that year, their cheeks rosy with the first bite of real cold after the long Californian Indian summer.

The billy clubs were about the size of a boy’s Little League baseball bat. My wife was speaking to the young deputies about the importance of nonviolence and explaining why they should be at home reading to their children, when one of the deputies reached out, shoved my wife in the chest and knocked her down. . . . PLEASE READ
The photo accompanying the piece, this photo, is of Franco’s crackdown on Spain’s intelligentsia, where thousands were killed, but as you read Hass' description of the encounter, the image is eerily apt.

How about a bit of poetry:
After the Gentle Poet Kobayashi Issa

New Year’s morning—
everything is in blossom!   
   I feel about average.

   A huge frog and I   
staring at each other,   
   neither of us moves.

   This moth saw brightness   
in a woman’s chamber—
   burned to a crisp.

   Asked how old he was   
the boy in the new kimono   
   stretched out all five fingers.

   Blossoms at night,   
like people
   moved by music

   Napped half the day;   
no one
   punished me!

Fiftieth birthday:

   From now on,   
It’s all clear profit,   
   every sky.

   Don’t worry, spiders,   
I keep house   

   These sea slugs,   
they just don’t seem   


   Bright autumn moon;   
pond snails crying   
   in the saucepan.

from: Field Guide. Copyright 1973.


Robert Hass:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Kilt Monday!

Because let's face it, Mondays are hard rough difficult.

Quote of the Day

Every day I go downstairs and I open the curtains in my study, which leads onto a garden, and then I go to the kitchen and let the dogs out and make a cup of tea. And every morning feels like a gift.

– Carol Ann Duffy

Claude Monet,
The Artist's Garden at Giverny


The Riddle of the Third Mile - Colin Dexter    

Another puzzle confronts Inspector Morse. And this time out we learn more about the good Inspector's own history.

I thought, having watched and loved the PBS series, I might be put off by the original novels. The characterization is a bit different. 

But I'm not at all. If anything, I'm finding a deeper understanding and appreciation of both.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Fallen Elm

- John Clare

very large very old elm tree in close upOld elm that murmured in our chimney top
The sweetest anthem autumn ever made
And into mellow whispering calms would drop
When showers fell on thy many coloured shade
And when dark tempests mimic thunder made -
While darkness came as it would strangle light
With the black tempest of a winter night
That rocked thee like a cradle in thy root -
How did I love to hear the winds upbraid
Thy strength without - while all within was mute.
It seasoned comfort to our hearts' desire,
We felt that kind protection like a friend
And edged our chairs up closer to the fire,
Enjoying comfort that was never penned.
Old favourite tree, thou'st seen time's changes lower,
Though change till now did never injure thee;
For time beheld thee as her sacred dower
And nature claimed thee her domestic tree.
Storms came and shook thee many a weary hour,
Yet stedfast to thy home thy roots have been;
Summers of thirst parched round thy homely bower
Till earth grew iron - still thy leaves were green.
The children sought thee in thy summer shade
And made their playhouse rings of stick and stone;
The mavis sang and felt himself alone
While in thy leaves his early nest was made,
And I did feel his happiness mine own,
Nought heeding that our friendship was betrayed,
Friend not inanimate - though stocks and stones
There are, and many formed of flesh and bones.
Thou owned a language by which hearts are stirred
Deeper than by a feeling clothed in word,
And speakest now what's known of every tongue,
Language of pity and the force of wrong.
What cant assumes, what hypocrites will dare,
Speaks home to truth and shows it what they are.
I see a picture which thy fate displays
And learn a lesson from thy destiny;
Self-interest saw thee stand in freedom's ways -
So thy old shadow must a tyrant be.
Thou'st heard the knave, abusing those in power,
Bawl freedom loud and then oppress the free;
Thou'st sheltered hypocrites in many a shower,
That when in power would never shelter thee.
Thou'st heard the knave supply his canting powers
With wrong's illusions when he wanted friends;
That bawled for shelter when he lived in showers
And when clouds vanished made thy shade amends -
With axe at root he felled thee to the ground
And barked of freedom - O I hate the sound
Time hears its visions speak, - and age sublime
Hath made thee a disciple unto time.
- It grows the cant term of enslaving tools
To wrong another by the name of right;
Thus came enclosure - ruin was its guide,
But freedom's cottage soon was thrust aside
And workhouse prisons raised upon the site.
Een nature's dwellings far away from men,
The common heath, became the spoiler's prey;
The rabbit had not where to make his den
And labour's only cow was drove away.
No matter - wrong was right and right was wrong,
And freedom's bawl was sanction to the song.
- Such was thy ruin, music-making elm;
The right of freedom was to injure thine:
As thou wert served, so would they overwhelm
In freedom's name the little that is mine.
And there are knaves that brawl for better laws
And cant of tyranny in stronger power
Who glut their vile unsatiated maws
And freedom's birthright from the weak devour.


The Dead of Jericho - Colin Dexter   

Once again Inspector Morse comes through, along with the faithful and intrepid Sergent Lewis.

And I'm on to number six.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

What Are Your Reading Habits?

This Meme is from: Becca A. at I Read That Once,
 Via: Jillian at A Room of One's Own. Or is that the other way round?
I thought the poem by Phillip Larkin was appropriate also. 
Well . . . sort of . . . Alright, maybe not. . . . But so . . .

Bolac and white photo of Sherlock HolmesDo you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack: Sometimes I do. It depends on whether there is anything handy. Unfortunately, if nibbles are handy I will eat them, sometimes without noticing. You know, like eating a whole bag of miniature peanut butter cups like popcorn.

What is your favourite drink while reading? I have two. Tea through most of the day, and Coke Zero in the evening or if it is very hot outside. Water, you say? What's that?

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you? I make marks, write notes, questions. A book is something to interact with, build a relationship with. Many of my books are old friends, and they look like it.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open? Usually I use a bookmark, but in an emergency I've been known to lay it open, face down on the table. It might be interesting to note that although I have a collection of beautiful and interesting bookmarks, I use a post-it note folded with the sticky side in to keep my place.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both? I read what catches my fancy. My favorite vice aside from poetry is murder mysteries but I read non-fiction when the subject matter interests me.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere? Well . . . I often say, "Just a minute, I have to finish this chapter." But when the end of the chapter arrives it's like I've built up momentum and can't stop. So in reality 'end of chapter' is just a ploy for more reading time.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you? No. I don't throw things. I might break something I can't afford to replace. But I have been known to complain about characters or plot twists out loud. My husband thinks we have some very strange folks living in our neighborhood.(Shows how well he listens, doesn't it?)

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away? I almost always look it up. This is what I teach my students to do. How could I not!

What are you currently reading? Copycat Killing by Sofie Kelly and A Formal Feeling Comes (poems in form by contemporary women) edited by Annie Finch.

What is the last book you bought? Pirate King by Laurie R. King.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read? Curled up with a pillow to balance my book on and a cup of tea. In truth, I read everywhere, all the time. I always have a book or my Nook Color with me (or both) and I hate waiting with nothing to do. So whenever I have down time, even a few minutes, I'm reading.

Do you prefer series books or stand alones? Series. I become invested in the characters but I finish books quickly, so a series minimizes the decompression and extends the relationship. It's like having a good friend who lives far away from you. The two of you might not get together often, but when you do it's great.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over? Jonathon Kellerman is one of my favorite mystery authors. But a lot depends on what I am reading at the moment. I love a lot of poets. But honestly, some of the most fun books I've read have been by Oliver Sacks.

How do you organize your books? (by genre, title, author’s last name, etc.) Books in a series are grouped together. Everything is ordered mostly by how much I like it or how much it means to me. I have full book cases in every room and what is in each is reflective of how I use the room And when. It's very subjective and I probably couldn't explain to you why a certain book is in a certain place.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

the words a study of reading habits by Philip Larkin, superimposed on a picture of a book
A Study Of Reading Habits 
- Philip Larkin

When getting my nose in a book
Cured most things short of school,
It was worth ruining my eyes
To know I could still keep cool,
And deal out the old right hook
To dirty dogs twice my size.

Later, with inch-thick specs,
Evil was just my lark:
Me and my coat and fangs
Had ripping times in the dark.
The women I clubbed with sex!
I broke them up like meringues.

Don't read much now: the dude
Who lets the girl down before
The hero arrives, the chap
Who's yellow and keeps the store
Seem far too familiar. Get stewed:
Books are a load of crap.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Quote of the Day II

- Fred Clark

Quote of the Day

It’s all right to be a little lost when reading poems … It’s not necessary to understand everything. 

It’s important not to lose a sense of the unknown. Poems don’t always give themselves all at once.

– Tess Gallagher

The White Rose

white rose bud with pale pink edges
- John Boyle O'Reilly

The red rose whispers of passion, 
And the white rose breathes of love; 
O, the red rose is a falcon, 
And the white rose is a dove. 
But I send you a cream-white rosebud 
With a flush on its petal tips; 
For the love that is purest and sweetest 
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Everything Old is New Again

I ran across some fun poetry that puts a modern twist on an old poetry form, the Cento.

Cento hails from the Latin word for 'patchwork,' and has been around since at least the 4th century. It is basically a poem made up of lines from poems by other poets. Each line must be taken from a different poem. and when the lines are put together, they must make sense. The poem doesn’t have to rhyme, but rhyming adds a nice touch. And always give credit to the poets you use.

One of my professors insisted we write these as a way of proving that we were familiar with a broad array of poetry. At first I hated it but it became a fun challenge and as an added benefit I found myself immersed in poetry I might have otherwise overlooked. (I'm sure that was entirely unintentional)

Here is a great example by Simone Muench called:

 Wolf Cento  
Very quick. Very intense, like a wolf
at a live heart, the sun breaks down. 

What is important is to avoid

the time allotted for disavowels

as the livid wound 

leaves a trace      leaves an abscess 

takes its contraction for those clouds

that dip thunder & vanish

like rose leaves in closed jars.

Age approaches, slowly. But it cannot 

crystal bone into thin air.

The small hours open their wounds for me. 

This is a woman’s confession: 

I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me.
Sources: [Anne SextonDylan ThomasLarry Levis, Ingeborg Bachmann,
 Octavio Paz,  Henri Michaux, Agnes Nemes Nagy, Joyce Mansour,
 William Burroughs, Meret Oppenheim, Mary Low, Adrienne Rich, Carl Sandburg]

The twist   is "Book spine poetry."

It has been around for a few years and if you google it you can find tons of examples by a wide range of people: students, teachers, children, adults. It's as easy as you want to make it.

This one is by Travis at 100 Scope Notes.

Look Who's There!
The Watcher
What Do You See?

Lorne Daniel at Writing:Place created his book spine poetry from poetry books.

What Goes On
Here and Now
A Long Continual Argument
The Poet in the World
Writing Down the Bones
Refusing Heaven

 Many others have tried their hand at book spine poetry here, here, here, here

I made my own book spine poem, but technical difficulties have kept me from uploading the picture. (lost cabely thing)

It was fun playing with the books in my own library to create a poem. I think kids would really enjoy this and I can see it as a way to jump start creativity in a dry spell.

I'll admit though, it would have been more fun if I had someone to clean up the mess I made.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
Reading Lolita in Tehran

A Passionate Apprentice
Insecure At Last

East Wind Melts the Ice

How to:


Create a Cento

1). Take the time to look through a few poetry books. Enjoy the poems.
2). Find a line you especially like, and make that the first line of your patchwork poem. Write the poet’s last name in parentheses at the end of the line.
3). Repeat #2. Choose your lines carefully—your poem must make sense.
Some things to consider: 
Try to make your poem rhyme. 
Make sure the beats sound right. 
Tenses should agree.  
Person should agree. In other words, pick lines that have all been written in either first or third person. 
4). And remember, at the end, list each poet’s full name. Include the name of the poem in quotes.

      Create a Book Spine Cento
      1). Find a place with plenty of books: a library, home collection, or even a book store (if they'll let you).
      2). Find titles that strike you and write them down – you can refer back to them later.
      3). Arrange and rearrange them (in your head or on paper).
      4). The Library card catalog can help you find titles with specific words or phrases that fit.

        BOOK REVIEWS. Sort Of.

        Service of All the Dead - Colin Dexter   

        This one was on par with the first three and I enjoyed reading it. I admit that as an American, I occasionally find myself looking up English idioms. But anyone communicating in a second language is faced with that.

        Did I say second language? 

        Isn't there a saying to the effect that America and England are two countries separated by a common language?!

        Wednesday, July 18, 2012

        Quote of the Day

        mixture of summer flowers in a rock garden in blues, reds, yellows, purples and oranges

        I don’t create poetry; I create myself, for my poems are a way to me.

        – Edith Södergran

        Connections . . .

          - Sharon Olds  
        (for Lucille)
        Our voices race to the towers, and up beyond
        the atmosphere, to the satellite,
        slowly turning, then back down
        to another tower, and cell. Quincy, 
        Toi, Honoree, Sarah, Dorianne, 
        Galway. When Athena Elizalex calls, 
        I tell her I'm missing Lucille's dresses,
        and her shoes, and Elizabeth says "And she would say,
        "Damn! I do look good!'"  After we
        hang up, her phone calls me again
        from inside her jacket, in the grocery store
        with her elder son, eleven, I cannot                        
        hear the words, just part of the matter
        of the dialogue, it's about sugar, I am
        in her pocket like a spirit. Then I dream it — 
        looking at an illuminated city 
        from a hill, at night, and suddenly
        the lights go out — like all the stars
        gone out.  "Well, if there is great sex
        in heaven," we used to say, "or even just
        sex, or one kiss, what's wrong
        with that?!"  Then I'm dreaming a map of the globe, with
        bright pinpoints all over it —
        in the States, the Caribbean, Latin America,
        in Europe, and in Africa —
        everywhere a poem of hers is being
        read.  Small comfort.  Not small
        to the girl who curled against the wall around the core
        of her soul, keeping it alive, with long
        labor, then unfolded into the hard truths, the
        lucid beauty, of her song.            
                                                               15 Feb '10

        Copyright 2010.

        Tuesday, July 17, 2012

        What Does a Poet Laureate Do? Rita Dove.

        Two time Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995, and the youngest person to be awarded the honor, she also served as the Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2004 to 2006.

        Rita Dove 

        "The first thing that could be done is to bring poetry into our children's lives at an early age --- without pressure."

        Everyone who worries about understanding poetry would benefit from this
        I had a ninth grade English teacher, Mr. Hicks, who put us in groups and gave us impossible poems to interpret. When I say "impossible," I mean poems which had Greek in them -- a little bit of Greek and -- languages we couldn't even -- we couldn't even read the alphabet. "Just tell me what it means. Tell me what you think it means."

        And after a couple of class periods when we decided this is so impossible we might as well just make a wild guess, it turned out our guesses weren't so wild after all. So he taught us to trust what your gut reaction was to something. Even if you didn't understand every word, to work out the context. 

        Ms Dove has concentrated on spreading the word about poetry and increasing public awareness of the benefits of literature. She brought together writers to explore the African diaspora through the eyes of its artists, and also championed children’s poetry and jazz with poetry events.
        She took Washington kids into the Library of Congress to read their poems and to be recorded for the Archives.

        She brought Crow Indian children to Washington where they forced their Congressmen to listen to them tell what poetry meant to them.

        She had an evening of poetry and jazz to join those two audiences.

        She also, like others who have sought to open up the Literary Canon, stirred up controversy when she edited The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry. She was accused of valuing inclusion over quality.
        Dove defended her choices and omissions vigorously and eloquently in The New York Review of Books.

        Her most famous work to date is Thomas and Beulah, a collection of poems loosely based on the lives of her maternal grandparents, for which she received the Pulitzer Prize in 1987.

        Ms Dove and her husband Fred Viebahn, are avid ballroom dancers, and have participated in a number of showcase performances. She has even published a book of poetry about dancing entitled American Smooth.

        Take a moment and enjoy a bit of dancing and poetry.

        Hades' Pitch
        If I could just touch your ankle, he whispers, there
        on the inside, above the bone—leans closer,
        breath of lime and pepper—I know I could
        make love to you.  She considers
        this, secretly thrilled, though she wasn’t quite
        sure what he meant.  He was good
        with words, words that went straight to the liver.
        Was she falling for him out of sheer boredom—
        cooped up in this anything-but-humble dive, stone
        gargoyles leering and brocade drapes licked with fire?
        Her ankle burns where he described it.  She sighs
        just as her mother aboveground stumbles, is caught
        by the fetlock—bereft in an instant—
        while the Great Man drives home his desire.  
        from Mother Love. Copyright 1995.


        Rita Dove:

        BOOK REVIEWS. Sort Of.

        The Big Cat Nap - Rita Mae Brown     

        Old friends sometimes know us better than we'd like. 

        And sometimes that is a good thing!

        I am always glad to see Harry and the gang and I enjoyed this short read.

        Monday, July 16, 2012

        Kilt Monday!

        Because let's face it, Mondays are hard rough difficult. 

        I Just Love Museums

        The mission of the Barnes Foundation, which dates back to its founding in 1922, is “the promotion of the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts.”

        Quote of the Day

        At best, the title is a source of light, illuminating the poem’s successive lines. At best, the sound of the title echoes throughout the whole poem.

        – Paulann Petersen

        Sunday, July 15, 2012

        Epitaph on a Tyrant

        - W. H. Auden

        Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
        And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
        He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
        And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
        When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
        And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

        from: Another Time. Copyright 1940. 

        There is a BIG Difference Between Government and Business

        BOOK REVIEWS. Sort Of.

        Victims - Jonathan Kellerman   

        I look forward to each new Alex Delaware novel. Of all the murder mysteries I read, they are my favorites. And this one did not disappoint.

        Quite frankly, I sometimes think Mr. Kellerman should pick up the pace so I don't have to wait so long.

        That's not so unreasonable, is it?

        Saturday, July 14, 2012

        What Does a Poet Laureate Do? Robert Pinsky.

        The first and only poet laureate to serve three terms, beginning in 1997 and continuing through the spring of 2000.

         Robert Pinsky

         The test of whether it's poetry is: does it sound beautiful when you say the words over, in your mind or your voice, with no skilled performer, no music, just the sounds and meanings in the words themselves.

        He created the Favorite Poem Project 1997 and it is dedicated to celebrating, documenting and encouraging poetry’s role in Americans’ lives.

        During the one-year open call for submissions, 18,000 Americans wrote to the project volunteering to share their favorite poems — Americans from ages 5 to 97, from every state, of diverse occupations, kinds of education and backgrounds. From those thousands of letters and emails, we've culled several enduring collections:

        This popular, award-winning website, features an interactive gallery for viewing the Favorite Poem videos and is a growing resource for teachers and communities.

        Here is an example of his poetry:

        Samurai Song
        When I had no roof I made
        Audacity my roof. When I had
        No supper my eyes dined.
        When I had no eyes I listened.
        When I had no ears I thought.
        When I had no thought I waited.
        When I had no father I made
        Care my father. When I had
        No mother I embraced order.
        When I had no friend I made
        Quiet my friend. When I had no
        Enemy I opposed my body.
        When I had no temple I made
        My voice my temple. I have
        No priest, my tongue is my choir.
        When I have no means fortune
        Is my means. When I have
        Nothing, death will be my fortune.
        Need is my tactic, detachment
        Is my strategy. When I had
        No lover I courted my sleep.


        Robert Pinskey:
        Illustration: rodolfocarvalh, DeviantArt.

        BOOK REVIEWS. Sort Of.

        Book of Mercy - Leonard Cohen     

        I first encountered Leonard Cohen in a YouTube video singing Hallelujah. (yes, please listen) 

        I was drawn not only by his voice but by his incredible lyrics. At the time I didn't realize that he was also a respected poet.

        This is a book of prose poems to savor, not rush through. I anticipate wearing out this slim volume.

        Friday, July 13, 2012

        Unto Thine Own Self . . .

        The poet who goes by what she thinks she should write, paying more attention to fashion than to her own poetic identity, will never write anything that goes beyond that fashion.

        After the Air Tattoo

        All in the stilly night the muntjac
        roars from its hedge: a barking roar
        of July, heat, its own broken-open
                              under black
        viscose, a sky
        static with plane-roar.

        The intermission after the greatest air show in the world;
        fields and lane recovering;
        tarmac tonguing sky again,
        in the summer half-dark, towards Fairford

        where ancient glass trembles,   
        facets of dark open to tumble out
        king, revenge-tragedy, triumphal colors of God.