Thursday, August 28, 2008

Greek Muse Murals

The Muses are the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (Memory). There are nine muses, each of whom presides over an art or science. The muses are: Calliope, Muse of Epic Poetry; Clio, Muse of History; Euterpe, Muse of Lyric Poetry; Melpomene, Muse of Tragedy; Terpsichore, Muse of Choral Dance and Song; Erato, Muse of Love Poetry; Polyhymnia, Muse of Sacred Poetry; Urania, Muse of Astronomy; and Thalia Muse of Comedy (Bulfinch's Mythology). Modern words that derive from "muse" include "museum" and "music."

You can find this painting of Melpomene in a mural at the U.S. Library of Congress.

By Edward Emerson Simmons (1852–1931)
Photographed by Carol Highsmith

A fresco at the Vatican, Rome:
Apollo and the Muses at Parnassus
By Raphael

This detail is from Sacred Dance and the Muses, by Benjamin F. Long, IV, painted on the ceiling in the atrium of the City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium, N.C.

How to Make a Fresco.
Quiz: Which Greek Muse are you?
Quiz: Can you match the muse with their specialty?
A free Greek Muses printable coloring book
A logic puzzle about the Muses.

Friday, August 22, 2008

How My Heart Works, Plus Postcards and Prehistoric Thesauri

Writers in the Schools is a non-profit organization that engages children in the pleasure and power of reading and writing. Their blog features writing by kids, including this wonderful bilingual poem by Susan.

Mi corazón como es (How My Heart Works)
By Susan, 3rd grade

Mi corazón es como un borrador.
Puede borrar las cosas malas
y mejorarlas y perdonar con cariño.
Mi corazón puede que sea una bolsa con amor,
y las personas que me quieren y juegan conmigo
las metería adentro.
Adentro de mi corazón,
yo tengo mi familia. Son muy buenos conmigo.
Mi corazón es como un huevo pequeño,
y cuando abre, estoy contenta.
Mi corazón es como una máquina trabajadora.
Hace que me mueva. Si puedo moverme,
puedo jugar y conocer la amistad.

My heart is like an eraser.
It can erase all the bad things,
make them better,
and forgive others with kindness.
It could be that my heart is like a pouch full of love.
In this pouch, I could put
the people who love me and play with me.
In my heart, I keep my family.
They are good to me.
My heart is like a small egg,
and when it opens, I am happy.
My heart is like a hard-working machine.
It makes me move. And if I can move,
I can play and get to know what friendship is.


I heard about a terrific poetry project called the Poetry Postcard Fest, which was initiated in 2007 by poets Paul Nelson and Lana Ayers. This fun idea seems reproducible in various settings (at school and in writing groups, for instance).

To do this project, each participant needs a postcard for every day of your event. The Poetry Postcard Fest takes place during August so it is 31 days (and they use 31 postcards). You can make your event last just a week, though. It's up to you.

Each participant collects their postcards from wherever -- book stores, thrift shops, online, drug stores, antique shops, museums, gift shops -- (or you hand them out) and then during the event, each person writes a poem and sends it to the person whose name is below theirs on the event list.

The next day, each participant sends one to the next person on the list (if your name is on the bottom, you start at the top and work your way down). If you want, you can send postcards to more than one person the same day.

You can pick a theme for your event or a theme for each day or you can leave it up to the participants. Instead of a theme, you could also pick a form (such as haiku or limerick) for each day. Some artist-poets might even like to illustrate their poems on their postcards. You can really do what you want with this idea!


One last bit for this week! Billy Collins creates some great images, such as this first stanza of Thesaurus:

By Billy Collins

It could be the name of a prehistoric beast
that roamed the Paleozoic earth, rising up
on its hind legs to show off its large vocabulary,
or some lover in a myth who is metamorphosed into a book.

You can read the rest here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Afghan Art

I was excited to find out about these contemporary young Afghani artists.

By Nabila Horekhsh

by Manezha

by Fareha Ghezal Yousufzai


A New York Times article about Women and Modern Art in Afghanistan
A History of Modern Art in Afghanistan
An article: Afghan women turn to art
Saving Afghanistan's Art, a Time article from 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Two I'd Put in My Art Collection

I went to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and saw a lot of wonderful pieces. You can make your own "art collection" on their site by browsing their artworks and then clicking on your favorites.

Gold is Where You Find It
By Tyrone Comfort

The Spinet
Thomas Wilmer Dewing

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Winslow Homer!

Girl Carrying A Basket
By Winslow Homer

The New Novel
By Winslow Homer