Friday, March 26, 2010

So, What Is Beauty, Anyway?

My daughter (age 8) was inspired by the national PTA arts program Reflections to make a family poetry event with the theme "Beauty is..." (the 2009-2010 Reflections theme). We each wrote poems, and my daughter gave out certificates of participation and merit, etc., that she'd made herself. Here's the poem I wrote for the occasion:

The Slobbering Eek Meets the Globbering Zeek

It so happened that the Slobbering Eek
Was pursued by a Globbering Zeek.
He liked the size of her eyes,
Small, bloodshot, and wise,
The floppy swirl of her neck,
Her nose like a shipwreck,
Crashing into her slobbering lips.

With all of his globbering heart
And the rest of his pus-covered parts,
He devoted himself to woo
With complete and total ado-
No one could have tried harder to recruit her
Than this cross-eyed, bow-legged suitor.

The zeek brought her flowers
For hours and hours,
Until she finally said,
It's not that I don't like that you are cutie-ful,
But you only love me because I'm beautiful."


Her brother wrote this acrostic:

Beauty is madness, that's what I always say
E: Please, just add a 'm' before the 'e' and you'll get all beauty is
All the beauty in the world, scrunched up in one person
U agree that I'm being modest, right?
You very much.


The next Reflections theme is "Together we can." Maybe I should start writing a little something about that...

Today's Poetry Friday round-up is at Check It Out.

Dr. Alphabet, Dave Morice

This week our spotlight is on Dr. Alphabet himself, Dave Morice. Where do I start with this guy? He's done it all, and then some. I mean, he's written poetry marathons, played poetry poker, co-authored (with 500 contributors) a novel composed of 2,000 fortune cookie fortunes collaged together, and written a sci-fi fantasy novel which is a "word-order palindrome in which the words in the first half reverse their order to make the second half." And that's just for starters!

Mr. Morice is nothing if not generous, which you can see from these poetry tokens he created which are "Good for One Poem." (Recipients could either keep the tokens or turn them in for a poem, which he would make up on the spot.)

He's also drawn Poetry Comics, like these:

When we were discussing activities for National Poetry Month, he said, "Writing a poem a day is a very good idea. Another thing teachers could do with their classes is to write (on a calendar) a poem at the rate of one word per day. The students can suggest words, and then vote on which one should be used that day. Then they have a whole new day to wonder about what the next word will be. It calls attention to how words connect. If the first word is THE, then the second word could be many things, but it couldn't be IS, for instance." If you try this, let us know how it turns out!

He has a new release coming out -- a children's epic poem about a leprechaun named Scratch O'Flattery. The intro/invocation to the Muse goes like this:

I sing, O Muse, of a story I know
Of a Leprechaun boy just three inches low.
Grant me the words, O Gods of Green;
Sharpen my memory ever so keen.
Help me recall that tale of old,
Of Wars that were fought over Leprechaun gold,
Of a Leprechaun seeking to find a lost ring,
Who gained for himself the title of “King”
And found in the end a wife to match;
So to tell the whole story I’ll start from scratch!
Scratch O’Flattery lived in Dorn,
The Leprechaun town in which he was born.


Mr. Morice is a fixture in Iowa City, IA, which was named one of UNESCO's Cities of Literature, along with Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia. I haven't been to Melbourne yet, but Iowa City and Edinburgh seem like perfect choices for Cities of Literature to me. Edinburgh ran a Poetry Postcard/Carry a Poem program this year, which included postcards like this:

By the way, there are also UNESCO Cities of Music (Seville, Glasgow, Bologna, and Ghent), Crafts and Folk Art (Aswan, Kanazawa, and Santa Fe), and Gastronomy (Popayan and Chengdu), among other things.

Guido Vedovato

Guido Vedovato's paintings charm me. See what you think...

Scacco Matto (Checkmate)
by Guido Vedovato

by Guido Vedovato

Maschera con Mandolino
by Guido Vedovato

Gufo Sopra
by Guido Vedovato

Ultima Contrada
by Guido Vedovato

Cercando La Strada
by Guido Vedovato

Friday, March 19, 2010

The End of the Raven, as told by E.A.Poe's cat

Not sure who the human author of this is...

The End of the Raven
By Edgar Allan Poe's Cat

On a night quite unenchanting, when the rain was downward slanting,
I awakened to the ranting of the man I catch mice for.
Tipsy and a bit unshaven, in a tone I found quite craven,
Poe was talking to a Raven perched above the chamber door.
"Raven's very tasty," thought I, as I tiptoed o'er the floor,
      "There is nothing I like more."

Soft upon the rug I treaded, calm and careful as I headed
Towards his roost atop that dreaded bust of Pallas I deplore.
While the bard and birdie chattered, I made sure that nothing clattered,
For his house is crammed with trinkets, curios and weird decor--
      Bric-a-brac and junk galore.

Still the Raven never fluttered, standing stock-still as he uttered,
In a voice that shrieked and sputtered, his two-cents' worth--"Nevermore."
While this dirge the birdbrain kept up, oh, so silently I crept up,
Then I crouched and quickly leapt up, pouncing on the feathered bore.
Soon he was a heap of plumage, and a little blood and gore--
      Only this and not much more.

"Oooo!" my pickled poet cried out, "Pussycat, it's time I dried out!
Never sat I in my hideout talking to a bird before;
How I've wallowed in self-pity, while my gallant, valiant kitty
Put an end to that damned ditty"--then I heard him start to snore.
Back atop the door I clambered, eyed that statue I abhor,
      Jumped--and smashed it on the floor.


A link to the text of Edgar Allan Poe's original Raven

Also, have you heard of the Pi (3.14 etc etc) Raven by Mike Keith?

Thursday, March 18, 2010


This week, we've got owls. What is it that makes owls so wonderful? Is it their big eyes, their beautiful feathers, their mysterious nocturnal ways?

By Kathleen Lolley

by Madeline von Foerster

by Ann Wood

Owl Fan
at the Peabody Essex Museum

The Greek goddess Athena had the wise owl as one of her symbols. This ancient Greek coin shows Athena's owl:

Automaton Owl Machine

The Enamored Owl
by Alberto Cerriteno

This next project is one that was made by multiple artists over time. I'm not showing you the whole owl tree, but if you follow the links you can see it. There were owl trees in other locations as well.
Owl Tree Wall in Capitol Hill, Seattle
Collaborative Public Art project

Threadless Owl tees collected by SpiffyOwl.
Teacher Tony Dusko made an adorable video about owls for his students.
Needle felted owlet by Victor Dubrovsky
A heaping helping of owls, from alyssam88

Friday, March 12, 2010

Laura Purdie Salas: Without

by Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

Without plunging, a waterfall is only a river
  Praise the falling, the walling, the surprise of water standing on end

Without sinking, a sunset is only blinding light
  Praise the creeping of night and its battle for sky control

Without night falling, the moon just hangs, a pale, cold rock
  Praise the backdrop of black, the reflected white glow of sun

Without wintering, summer overstays like holiday houseguests
  Praise the sharp freshness of ice, the clean slate before spring

Without dying, life is a treadmill
  Praise deadlines and pressure, and the shortness to make time matter

Without ending, the story is unfinished
  Praise the anticipation, the fear, the delight of The End


I love the poetry pockets that Laura Shovan talks about on her blog -- the bulletin board they made is awesome! She says: "Write the poems on a square of white paper. Then give each child a blue "pocket" to decorate. Post the pockets with the poems loose inside. Kids and parents love lifting the poems out to read."

Poetry Friday is at Becky's Book Reviews today.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Henry Fuseli

Today, we have Henry Fuseli, also known as Johann Heinrich F├╝ssli.

Lady Macbeth with the Daggers
by Henry Fuseli

Macbeth consulting the Vision of the Armed Head
by Henry Fuseli

by Henry Fuseli

Constance (detail from Lady Constance, Arthur and Salisbury).
This scene is from King John. Constance has learned that her allies have deserted her (to side with John). She says:

Let kings assemble; for my grief's so great
That no supporter but the huge firm earth
Can hold it up: here I and sorrows sit;
Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.

by Henry Fuseli

Romeo and Juliet
by Henry Fuseli

by Henry Fuseli

Friday, March 5, 2010

Carl Sandburg's At A Window, plus Art Sparks

At a Window
by Carl Sandburg

Give me hunger,
O you gods that sit and give
The world its orders.
Give me hunger, pain and want,
Shut me out with shame and failure
From your doors of gold and fame,
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger!
But leave me a little love,
A voice to speak to me in the day end,
A hand to touch me in the dark room
Breaking the long loneliness.
In the dusk of day-shapes
Blurring the sunset,
One little wandering, western star
Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow.
Let me go to the window,
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
And wait and know the coming
Of a little love.


Amy Souza founded Art Sparks -- an artist provides a work which is the "spark" for a writer's new creation and vice versa.

Gabriel Shanks privided the photo Canal and Mott* to G.L. Morrison, who wrote:

...Possibilities chase us up the street like rain
forcing us to take shelter in storefront windows
and kiosks full of everything we never knew
to need. Buy nothing and still it will all come
home with you...

* you'll need to scroll down to see it

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Taking Wing

Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?
~Frida Kahlo

The Flight of Icarus
by Gabriel Picart

Flying at the Ann Arbor Art Fair
by Artist Unknown
photo by Z Squared

Clavichordium Blatta
by Michelle Stitzlein

Also, check out her Orange Beauty.

Flying Book Arch/Going Through All These Books
by Jan Reymond
photo by Thomas Guignard

Seyed Alavai explains his Flying Carpet (below) this way: "This project consists of an aerial view of the Sacramento River that is woven into a carpet for the floor of a pedestrian bridge...A bridge is a connection between two destinations; it is not a destination in and of itself; it is neither here, nor there. In this way it is similar to an airplane, or a river connecting one place to another; here to there; a moment of flight frozen in mid air; a flowing river that takes us along with its current to another destination."
Flying Carpet
by Seyed Alavi

This last one is made of stainless steel spoons and flatware.
The Sunrise of Icarus
by Boban


~ Flying Art: An International Exchange of Art Among Youth. Three schools or youth groups from around the world are involved in each flight in which they create artwork to share & discuss with their peers in different places. A human connection is made, leaving lasting impressions.
~ How to make a pair of awesome angel wings.
~ How to draw a realistic wing.
~ Ignacio Rabago's Babel Library airborne books installation.
~ A flying fish by Hieronymus Bosch