Friday, October 31, 2008

Mwa Ha Ha!

Halloween! We have two haunted house poems today...actually, one is a poem and one is a song. They couldn't be more different, which is the great thing about poetry -- its phenomenal diversity.

Haunted Houses
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses.Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.

There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.

The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.

We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.

The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air...

By Elsa Mora

And here's the closing verse of The Twelve Houses of Halloween, Author Unknown:

At the twelfth house on Halloween my neighbor gave to me...
twelve cherry bonbons,
eleven creamy nougats,
ten shiny pennies,
nine orange gumdrops,
eight chewy caramels,
seven candied apples,
six peanut clusters,
four peppermints,
three sticks of gum,
two lollipops &
a large piece of chocolate taffy.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Phil Fung

The colors! The shapes! Phil Fung!

Imagine John Peace Koi
by Phil Fung

Kenya Face
by Phil Fung

Sea Turtle Summer
by Phil Fung

Friday, October 24, 2008

Charles R. Smith, Revisited

This week, I'm revisiting Charles R. Smith, Jr., who was the first poet featured on this Poetry Friday journal. Mr. Smith has a book called The Mighty 12: Superheroes of Greek Myth that caught my eye. He recites four poems from the book on his web site (about Ares, Athena, Medusa, and Zeus).

Interested in sports/history? He has also written about legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and offers recitations of four of those as well.

Looking to illustrate your poetry? Don't miss his suggestions for photography exercises for budding photographers (He took up photography at age 16 when he joined his school yearbook staff).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's Alive!

We have more impermanent art today. Daniel Dancer creates art that HAS to last only a short time -- it's fashioned out of people! Mr. Dancer has worked with schools, groups, and companies to create living art that seems to have as big an impact on the people who are in it as the people who see it.

The Sky Grizzly
Badger Two Medicine area, Blackfeet Reservation, Montana, 2004. 400 Blackfeet members participated.

Moon Goose
750 students and staff of Jewell Elementary School.

In addition to the 750 people, 12 yards of shredded bark for the "moon" and a truck load of black and white clothes form the Canada Goose flying across the moon.


"Living art" photographs have been created since the invention of photography. For instance, here's a shot by Arthur Mole and John Thomas from 1918, using 18,000 soldiers:

The Human Statue of Liberty
Mole and Thomas

This site of older photos is worth a look.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Baby, Baby!

I said, Baby! Baby!
Please don’t snore so loud.
Baby! Please!
Please don’t snore so loud.
You jest a little bit o’ woman but you
Sound like a great big crowd.

~ Langston Hughes, from Morning After

I decided to do things backwards this week and start right in with a poem. I saw this stanza in the Smithsonian in Your Classrom "The Music in Poetry" lesson plans. We are lucky to have these wonderful free resources.

Here, you can listen to music snippets that go along with "The Music in Poetry." Paul Robeson singing "Amazing Grace" gave me goosebumps!

A tip of the hat to young Kenzi B.! Kenzi used Art Thursday works as the inspiration for four poems, then she put together a book of her poetry with those and other works. Nicely done, Kenzi!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Celtic Art

Intricate Celtic art this week. These first two images are from the Celtic Art and Culture web site hosted by the University of North Carolina.

Ancient Celtic Helmet
from 400-200 BCE

Jewelry from 1871


Here is some contemporary Celtic art by Cari Buziak.

Past Reflections
by Cari Buziak

Sea Dragons
by Cari Buziak

Wreath on Agate
by Cari Buziak

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I know artists aren't magicians, but sometimes it really does seem as though there's magic at work. For instance, origami. How can a single piece of uncut piece of paper be turned into so many amazingly complicated things? I don't know. But check it out:

Rattlesnake, opus 539
By Robert J. Lang

Organist, opus 363
by Robert J. Lang

Black Forest Cuckoo Clock, opus 182
by Robert J. Lang


For more origami magic, Brian Chan has a fun video of him folding Wall*E. I loved Brian's Kraken.

If you'd like to try to fold your own origami, visit for models and for info on how to make folds, visit Fishgoth's Origami basics.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wood Engravings vs. Woodcuts

Wood art this week! I have been trying to learn the difference between wood engravings and woodcuts. Wood engravers gouge a design into hard wood, while the other method involves cutting away pieces of soft wood so only the design is left. (Does that sound right, artists?) The funny thing is that The Flammarion Woodcut is actually a misnamed wood engraving.

The Flammarion Woodcut
By unknown

This work is called the Flammarion Woodcut because its first documented appearance was in Camille Flammarion's 1888 book L'atmosphère: météorologie populaire ("The Atmosphere: Popular Meteorology").

Here's the colored version, done by Heikenwaelder Hugo, 1998


A Japanese woodcut:
Monkey Reaching for the Moon
Shosan, c. 1910

A Brief History of the Woodcut
Andy English, who does lovely work, describes the process of wood engraving.