Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Forensic Pioneers

by Tabatha Yeatts

Modern forensic science has made the "perfect crime" difficult to commit. Just a trace of paint or hair can be conclusive evidence in a criminal case. Forensics profiles the pioneers who helped apply science to police work.

Forensics was named to the Center for Children's Books List of "BEST BOOKS OF 2001"!

The Center explains their "Best Books" list this way: "To make this list a title has to be practical, useful, and give the best-bang-for-their-buck." ~

"Yeatts—a member of Sisters in Crime—tells her stories well, bringing to life both perpetrators and pursuers of justice, while casting useful light on the science involved along the way. Both middle and upper school libraries would do well to make this book available for students who want to get behind the clich├ęs of all those TV cop shows and movies bombarding them."
- Kathleen Karr for Children's Literature

"There's plenty of juice and scandal as well as interesting technical details in the accounts, so this is no dry and mechanical collective biography."
- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"[A] readable and informative work...[Yeatts] does not shy away from trying to make complex areas...understandable to average readers."
- School Library Journal

Buy a copy directly from The Oliver Press
Order a copy from Barnes & Noble
Order a Copy from Amazon Books
Order a copy from Powell's Books

Friday, February 19, 2010

Khidr's Riddle by Mohja Kahf

This poem from E-mails from Scheherazad by Mohja Kahf has fantastic imagery. In fact, I love pretty much everything about it.

Khidr's Riddle
by Mohja Kahf

It is a tiny hearing aid.
You will be able
to detect the sound
of grass growing, the thunder
of a thousand blades raised
under your foot.

It is a vial of eyedrops.
You will discern the epic
unfolding in every mote
of matter, the poem being written
and unwritten in every face.
Civilizations rise and fall,
whole species speak sagas
in that stone you kicked this morning.

It is a medicine.
Take it to perceive
worlds under the world, realities
cupped inside the belly
of reality.

It is a warning.
Your nerves will tentacle
across the globe. Rivers
will delta into your bloodstream.
The burbling liquids of Mars
will boil your medulla oblongata
and the rocks of Saturn's rings
will ice the base of your spine.

Joys, innumerable joys,
like the coming back of children
grown and bearing children,
each bearing baskets of harvest
berries, will fall into your lap.

It is a bucket into the well
of the world's soul.
Be careful. You will also
drink the pain of those you hate
and hear the last pleas
of the mad and butchered of the earth.

The wall of your back will crumble
under the weight of our heritage
of cruelty to each other.
The dam of your mercy will burst.
Consider: Will the flood ensuing drown
or irrigate, at last, the small field,
you have been hoeing
in your heart?


Posted with permission of the poet.

Poetry Friday links are located at Irene Latham's site this week.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Supremely Malevich

Ukrainian artist Kazimir Malevich (1878-1935) started the Suprematist art movement. Its name echoes racist groups, but it actually has nothing to do with that. He thought that the value of art was not that it could represent the real world, but that it could make you feel. He explained, "Under Suprematism I understand the supremacy of pure feeling in creative art."

I am not posting his suprematist art, though, because the paintings below are the ones that evoked the most feeling in me:

The Reaper on Red

The Knife Sharpener

Three Women

The Woodcutter


Taking in the Rye

~ Malevich (spelled Kasimir here) on Artcyclopedia.
~ Work by Kazimir Malevich sold for record $60 million (2008)

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Ones They Loved the Most

Poet Janet Wong is the author of many books, including You Have To Write ("an encouraging book...for all young readers who worry when they're told to write something"), Twist: Yoga Poems, and Night Garden: Poems from the World of Dreams.

Today, we're reading The Ones They Loved The Most from Night Garden.

The Ones They Loved The Most
By Janet Wong

My mother says
the spirits of the dead
in dreams,
seeking out
the ones they loved
the most.
When you are chosen,
remember to pull
at the air around you
when you wake,
pull and gulp it down,
swallow hard,
and those sweet memories
will stick
like cotton candy.


Posted with permission of the poet.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mary Blair

Mary Blair, who lived from 1911-1978, was an artistic director for Disney. Her work had fabulous shapes and color. Check it out:

~ Designing the It's A Small World ride.
~ Peko-chan put together a great archive of Blair's work.
~ Mary Blair Tile Murals
~ Mary Blair's illustrations in The Golden Book of Little Verses.
~ The Art and Flair of Mary Blair by John Canemaker (book) at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Poetic Potpourri

Poetic potpourri today. Last week for Poetry Friday, Diane Mayr had Erasure Poetry, inspired by the Poetry Foundation podcast about it. Erasure poetry is when you take a work (of fiction or poetry or something else) and remove parts of it to create something new. I remember doing that with Beloved by Toni Morrison when I was in school. Consider giving it a try -- it's fun!

Here is a video that does something similar, taking bits and pieces of dialogue to make a song:


Next, Jan Haag -- wow. His goal was to write a poem in all the different forms used in English (and some used in other languages) and, as far as I can tell, he got at least as far as 326! Impressive. Here's his Sicilian Sestet I:


The roads run straight into the lake. Down deep,
five feet or more beneath the water, salt
shifts, filling its subtle grades, blue-green. Leap
away, avoid the coming tide, foam, malt,
the doom that inch by inch, silent, will seep
through any fissure, shatter each small fault.


Lastly, I like Robert Bly's poetry translations. I have his Winged Energy of Delight, which contains this:

You Are The Wind
by Olav Hauge
translated by Robert Bly

I am a boat
without wind.
You were the wind.
Was that the direction I wanted to go?
Who cares about directions
with a wind like that!


Another great poem translated by Robert Bly is Rumi's Eating Poetry (it's the third one down).

Update: I learned after I posted this about some controversies regarding Bly and his translations, so I thought I would post a few links. I didn't find a good explanation of the problem with Bly (I heard that Dana Gioia wrote about him, but I didn't find it.) The problems I heard about were that Bly didn't speak the languages he was translating and that he wasn't good at translating anyway. The examples that I saw did make a good case for other translators doing a more evocative and precise job, but I just saw a few samples and it doesn't seem fair to write off his entire body of work from those.

At any rate, here are a couple of links:
Robert Bly's 8 stages for translations.
Robert Bly translates Peer Gynt

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Drawings by DaVinci

You can have no dominion greater or less than that over yourself.
~ DaVinci

Today, we have drawings by DaVinci! But first, check here for info about a tape sculpture contest. (Yes, that's making sculptures out of Scotch tape! You can vote for the winner.) I'll bet DaVinci could have made some amazing tape sculptures...

Garment Study
By Leonardo DaVinci

This one has a great name.
The Lady of the Dishevelled Hair (or La Scapigliata)


Leonardo develops an interesting vehicle for an early James Bond -- the scythe chariot:

Maybe this is the guy who would go in the chariot:

Five characters

~ Universal Leonardo has information about DaVinci's inventions , his view of the world, Leonardo's take on painting aerial perspective, an in-depth biography, and more.
~ Project Gutenberg Presents The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci
~ An essay on Leonardo being a left-handed artist.
~ Looking Beyond the Visible: Maurizio Seracini of Florence "carried out a full diagnostic investigation of Leonardo's Adoration of the Magi. Multispectral images allowed an in-depth reading of the painting, from its surface all the way to the support. Moreover, the comparison between images in visible light and those in the infrared range enhanced the understanding of the genesis of Leonardo's masterpiece."