Friday, May 29, 2009

Pet Haiku

Some entries from the Bay Area Pets First Annual Pet Haiku Contest:

Early morning sun
Just the tip of the dog's tail
Above the seagrass.
-Marianna Monaco

Pop quiz for my cat
"Name in Chinese history?"
Cat blinks once, says "Mao!"

Neighbor dog bit ear
Human makes me wear conehead
Not sure whom to hate.

Please Forgive Me
Dad, I am sorry
I ate your pricey headphones
They looked like tacos.

I am not lazy
Napping conserves energy
Wait 'til 2 a.m.

Those museum cats from
the ancient Chinese paintings
have nothing on you.
-Kate Hilsenbeck

Nose smudge on the glass
I never will erase it
My collie's last mark.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Student Poetry

Student poetry today. Tracy Roberts of Purdue University offers a couple great student poems in her article, Teaching Appalachia.

Morning in Blacksburg
By Mary Catherine L., aged 10

To Gemma

Tucked in all warm and cozy
My eyes burst open to the sweet sound of her voice
I go downstairs at a closed-eye mozy
To the smell of rain, biscuits, and oranges
I guess it was the sun's lazy day
Just startin' to peek out from above the branches
When Gemma handed me a warm plate
"Fresh washed." She said
I piled on breakfast and looked around as I ate.


Appalachian Home
by Shelby N., age 14

My home is a land of green
We run barefoot when the air turns warm
An endless exploration, life waiting to be seen
A soft breeze, a waiting storm

My home is a land of brown
Where rising dust follows my footsteps
A quiet walk into town
A storefront bench where I sit and rest

My home is a land of pink
Sweet watermelon falls into my mouth
The sun sets, a slow sink
A single sound, a wandering cow

My home is the color of the mountains.


You can find more wonderful student poetry on the Maryland Humanities Council site, where they have posted children's poems inspired by art.

If you are interested in letting your students try some poetry theater (acting out poems for multiple voices), you can read Kathy Norris's advice. Here's a poem for nine voices entitled "How To Torture Your Students" (written from a teacher's perspective, but meant to be performed by kids).

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Candleworth Under The Skin

Britain has a new poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, who is the first woman and the first person from Scotland to hold that position. Her poem "Light Gatherer" is really lovely -- I hope you will follow the link and read the whole thing.

from The Light Gatherer
By Carol Ann Duffy

When you were small, your cupped palms
each held a candleworth under the skin,
enough light to begin,

and as you grew,
light gathered in you, two clear raindrops
in your eyes,

warm pearls, shy,
in the lobes of your ears, even always
the light of a smile after your tears.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Play On

If music be the food of love, play on...
~ William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Musical instruments this week.

Tartoelten (dragon shawms) from 16th century Italy or Southern Germany

Claustro de la Iglesia Sta. María la Real Sasamón in Spain

Angels playing musical instruments by Agostino di Duccio from the 15th century, Italy

A Double guitar by Alexandre Voboam from Paris, 1690

A favorite "odd instrument" site

Friday, May 8, 2009

Anne Porter

I recently discovered the work of Anne Porter. She was first published in 1994, when she was 83-years-old! It's never too late. I love all the sounds in her A List of Praises. And I also love the "starry silences"!

From A List of Praises
by Anne Porter

...Give praise with the sound of the milk-train far away
With its mutter of wheels and long-drawn-out sweet whistle
As it speeds through the fields of sleep at three in the morning,
Give praise with the immense and peaceful sigh
Of the wind in the pinewoods,
At night give praise with starry silences.

Give praise with the skirling of seagulls
And the rattle and flap of sails
And gongs of buoys rocked by the sea-swell
Out in the shipping-lanes beyond the harbor.
Give praise with the humpback whales, Huge in the ocean they sing to one another.

Give praise with the rasp and sizzle of crickets, katydids and cicadas,
Give praise with hum of bees,
Give praise with the little peepers who live near water.
When they fill the marsh with a shimmer of bell-like cries
We know that the winter is over.

You can read the rest of it here.

Also, here are links to Music and A Short Testament by Ms. Porter.

How beautiful A Short Testament is!

An excerpt:

...And then there are all the wounded
The poor the deaf the lonely and the old
Whom I have roughly dismissed
As if I were not one of them.
Where I have wronged them by it
And cannot make amends
I ask you
To comfort them to overflowing...

I beg you to remember them

When winter is over
And all your unimaginable promises
Burst into song on death's bare branches.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Riding the Wind

Have you heard of wind sculptures? They are kinetic art -- made up of parts designed to be set in motion by wind.
Dutch artist Theo Jansen's Strandbeest can walk in the wind.

Lyman Whitaker's wind sculptures look fabulous in the snow

Now, THAT'S a weathervane! By David Boyer

Also, Mr. Boyer's front yard:

Swiss designer Ralfonso's Ad Infinitum

Lisa and Phillip Trejo's "Art 4 Wind"


Do-it-yourself: How to Make a Wind Sculpture.

This is not a wind sculpture, but it is kinetic art. You can see it in motion on the site -- very cool!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Concrete Poetry/Text Art

Friday, May 1, 2009

I'm not sure what to call what we've got this week. Concrete Poetry? Text Art?

I find Dan Waber's "Strings" fascinating.
View his poidog
Also his You and me

To me, Vertical Music by Karl Kempton is really art rather than poetry, but it is from the Minimalist Concrete Poetry site.

Here's a fun way to make your own concrete poetry.

Even NASA has advice about making concrete poetry!

Robotype lets you make pictures with letters. I got a kick out of this one. I think a lot of us have been at the mercy of our pencil at one time or another.