Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Poets for Living Waters

People use poetry to try to sort out events, major and minor, in their lives, so it is no wonder that the BP oil disaster generated a lot of poetry. Poets for Living Waters has been collecting works online and they are also planning a print anthology and a reading in D.C. If you'd like to join in, visit PFLW for info.

I discovered that I couldn't link to any of the specific poems on their site, but if I could, I would send you to "Two Poems by Don Antenen" and "Two poems by Naomi Lowinsky."

Our Visible Dependence
By Chas Holden

Sunday, August 29, 2010

72 Hours

Photo by Elena Y.

I had been nervously avoiding reading The Hunger Games, but my oldest talked me into it. She was the first one to finish the series, and then she handed off Mockingjay to her younger brother, who was patient enough to wait the day it took for her to read it. My husband has been losing sleep reading the series at night. I read all three books in 72 hours -- they were riveting! And a lot to digest.

So I think you could safely say that our family recommends them, although not for younger children.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Play for Books (or Food or the Rainforest...)

Have you donated money by clicking on The Hunger Site or its sister sites (The Rainforest Site, The Animal Rescue Site, The Breast Cancer Site, The Literacy Site, and The Child Health Site)?

Games That Give is another way to donate money through those sites. Play games and advertisers will make donations. The games include: Bubble Burst, Solitaire, Freecell, Memory, Black Jack, Sudoku, Word Search, Minigolf, Montris, and more.

And I can't mention these games without also mentioning Free Rice. I like that you can learn about geography, paintings, chemistry, math, or languages while you play.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Words Running Down My Spine

Ever heard of book spine poems? I learned about them on Mary Lee's site or maybe 100 Scope Notes. Inventive artist Nina Katchadourian came up with these:

Akron Stacks

Shark Journal

I made one. Wow, it's tough! This photo is not that readable, but I've included the words below the photo:

The Brain That Changes Itself

The Celtic Twilight
Gathering Blue.
From Head To Toe -

of Forgotten Ancestors,
Inside the Vicious Heart.

A River Runs Through It -
Girl, Overboard!

The Forgotten Door!
Stealing Freedom,
In The Service of Life.

How To Grow Fresh Air?
Under Open Sky -

Today's Poetry Friday round-up is at Book Aunt.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Most Reproduced Artist Ever

In 1925 it was estimated that one out of every five American homes had a Parrish print on its wall. He was, and still remains the most reproduced artist in the history of art.
~Alma Gilbert in Maxfield Parrish, 1870-1966

Maybe you've seen Daybreak and Mountain Ecstasy a lot, but what about these? (And don't forget to check out the links at the bottom!)

The Lantern Bearers
by Maxfield Parrish

The History of Codadad and His Brothers
by Maxfield Parrish

Sinbad Plots Against The Giant
by Maxfield Parrish

The End
by Maxfield Parrish

Cobble Hill
by Maxfield Parrish

by Maxfield Parrish

by Maxfield Parrish

~The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Arabian Nights,by Unknown, illustrated by Maxfield Parrish
~A biography of Maxfield Parrish
~Dream Garden, a Parrish/Tiffany collaborative mosaic
~The Parrish House
~Maxfield Parrish font
~Did you know that cobalt blue is often called Parrish Blue is his honor?
~American Art Archives has some Parrish pictures you might not have seen before.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back To School Haiku

While adding up my
stuff, cashier says, "Dude, don't look
until it's over."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fun with Katie

Want to see some inspiring ideas? Check out Color Me Katie's wall decorating ideas and street art.

Here is a little example, but do click on the links above. I especially like her birds. And balloons. And rain.

collage from katie sokoler on Vimeo.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Trespassers Welcome

Today we've got street, slam, and protest poetry. A little bit of everything-- some of it old, but maybe new to you.

Poet Christopher Fox Graham explains here how a Haiku Death Match works. It's a poetry duel, like a slam. Only with haiku.

I liked his Chuck Norris haiku:

Chuck Norris' Bathroom Haiku
For toilet paper
Chuck Norris uses stacks
of rusty cheese graters

Chuck Norris Mathematics Haiku
irrational numbers
become rational
when they see Chuck Norris

I also got a kick out of his Loch Ness monster vs. Trolls haiku match.


I don't know where he is living now, but street poet Allan Andre sounds like an entertaining guy. My hat is off to anyone who can write poems off the top of their head on any topic! Zach Houston also does that.


The movie Committing Poetry in Times of War:
"The central story follows Youth Poetry Slam Team Coach, Bill Nevins' firing as a teacher, and the silencing of his outspoken High School Poetry Team. The film depicts in vivid footage how days later, hundreds of peaceful protestors demonstrating nearby were brutally assaulted by police... Yet out of this fire, across the country, arose a courageous community of creative musicians and poets. Dubbed Poetic Justice, it modeled free speech and proved to be a testament to our creative spirit, representing a path toward transformation and hope."


"I will commit poetry by staying informed, supporting our freedom of speech, speaking my mind, & creatively living my life."


The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted by Teach Poetry K-12 today.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Public Play

Dallas-Fort Worth Airport sculpture, Circling

Jazz musician and architect Christopher Janney combines sound and sculpture to make public artworks that anyone can interact with to create music. He calls them Urban Musical Instruments, and they call on the passerby to play. In various ways, depending on the sculpture, they can trigger musical notes or recordings of sounds from nature. Or other sounds -- Parking in Color in Fort Worth even has the sound of Willie Nelson singing.

The building below, which is in Charlotte, NC, will chime when you touch its pink panels. There's a riddle posted, too. If you solve it by touching the panels in the right order, you will be rewarded with a sound and light show.

Harmonic Runway By Christopher Janney (Miami International Airport, 1995)

A video about Janney's "Sonic Forest"

An interview with Christopher Janney
by Scott Simon

Janney reminds me of the quote I posted yesterday -- his blossoms of the extraordinary certainly burst through the ordinary (such as a parking garages and airports).


Christopher Janney on Twitter
Hear Color, See Sound, an article about Janney in Metropolis Magazine
Subway Art Guide

Other Public Music Art:
The Wave Organ
The Fun Theory's Piano Stairs
Lelavision's Rumitone

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blossoms of the Extraordinary

"I believe that this is what poetry demands of us: a willingness to savor mystery instead of stampeding toward certainty. When we pay careful attention to the potential of the extraordinary, its blossoms will burst through our ordinary, everyday lives."

from Writing the Life Poetic by Sage Cohen

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rings of Annual Laughter and Sorrow

Tried to get the third book in the 100 Cupboards series today from my beloved public library, but they haven't gotten it yet. Here's a quote from the second one that knocked my socks off:

From Dandelion Fire
by N.D. Wilson

"He wanted to try and speak this language. He wanted words in his mouth to
be alive, to take on flesh, wood, bark, sap, leaves, rings of annual
laughter and sorrow. He wanted to speak life."

As a little experiment, here's part of it laid out as a poem:

He wanted
words in his mouth
to be alive,
to take on flesh,
rings of annual laughter
and sorrow.

Wouldn't that make a great springboard for a piece of text art (with Mr. Wilson's permission, of course)?

Happy Science

The Happy Scientist, Robert Krampf, has a lot of neat and useful stuff on his site, but one of my favorites is his science photo of the day. Here's an example--

[Robert's wife] Nancy found this marvelous object on the beach. What is it?

This is the lower jaws of a Black Drum fish (Pogonias cromis). These incredible fish have powerful jaws with lots of tough, rounded teeth. This lets them eat oysters, mussels, and other shellfish, crushing the shells in their mouth. The teeth and jaws are commonly found as fossils, but their strange shape makes it hard to identify them unless you are familiar with this fish.

Friday, August 13, 2010

No Place For Us

Felix Nussbaum's The Refugee (1939)

Excerpts from Refugee Blues
by W.H.Auden

Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there's no place for us, my dear, yet there's no place for us...

Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said:
"If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread";
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.

Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;
It was Hitler over Europe, saying: "They must die";
We were in his mind, my dear, we were in his mind...

Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;
They had no politicians and sang at their ease:
They weren't the human race, my dear, they weren't the human race.

Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors;
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.

Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:
Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.

British poet W.H.Auden wrote this poem in 1939, the same year that Felix Nussbaum painted The Refugee (top). Nussbaum died in Auschwitz in 1944.

A high school lesson plan using this poem
Bio of Auden
Art by Felix Nussbaum

This week, Stenhouse is hosting the Poetry Friday round-up.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Everybody Be Yo'Self

This week for Art Thursday, we're checking out art and quotes from Embracing Our Differences, an annual outdoor exhibit in Sarasota, Florida. You can find a variety of resources for teachers about the exhibit and about valuing diversity here.

All are Beautiful
by Lindsey Butler
Vancouver, Washington

Why do people stop and
a blooming and colorful garden
when they don’t stop
to admire the differences in a person
standing next to them?
Elizabeth M.
North Port, Florida
Age 11

Embrace Peace
by Mrs. Gross’ Pre-K–6th Grade Art Students
Bradenton, Florida
Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School
Teacher: Ruth Gross

If you approach
each new person you meet
in a spirit of
you will find yourself
endlessly fascinated by the new channels of
thought and experience and personality
that you encounter.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Pick Your Price
by Korri Lacalamita
North Port, Florida
10th Grade
North Port High School
Teacher: Marilyn Caruso

Never look down on anybody
unless you’re
him up.
Jesse Jackson

Be You
by Lauren Valentine
Sarasota, Florida
12th Grade
Pine View School
Teacher: Retsy Lauer

Think for yourselves
and let others
the privilege
to do so too.

Black and White Tourists Visit Egypt
by Margot Cormier Splane
Ontario, Canada
The artist says: "One of the magical things I find when visiting a well-known historical destination is that occasionally you run into complete strangers, from all over the world, and strike up a conversation as if you have known them forever."

To broaden our horizons,
we must narrow our prejudices.
Randy Thurman
Spring City , TN

by Marcia Ente
Sarasota, Florida

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Intelligence of Teens (and M.T. Anderson)

Poet/professor Julie Larios's blog pointed me to M.T. Anderson's site, which had, among other worthy things, this gem:

On the Intelligence of Teens

[Speech to accept a 2009 Printz Honor for The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves.]

...It sometimes strikes me that there is only one taboo left in young adult literature. By and large, no one complains any more when we write about drugs or sex...No, the one thing which still causes people pause – the final hurdle – the last frontier – the one element which still gets a few adult readers up in arms about whether a book is appropriate for kids – is intelligence. Some adults still balk at the assumption that our readers, the teenagers of this country, are smart, and curious, and get a kick out of knowing things...

We need to stop talking about how teens aren’t equal to challenges. Evidence suggests that kids respond strongly to our expectations, positive or negative. If enough of us have high expectations of their achievements, I believe that kids will rise to meet those expectations.


He has more good stuff to say (and fun book trailers to see), so I encourage you to visit his site.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Maker Faire is an offshoot of Make Magazine, which encourages people to work on imaginative DIY projects. The Faire has categories such as Arts, Crafts, Engineering, Food/Sustainability, Green, Music, Science, Young Makers, and Jewelry.

The Maker Faire site offers resources for Educational Outreach, including projects teachers can do with their students, special info for teachers attending the faire, and social networking for teachers.

There's also MAKE TV, which has episodes showing you how to make everything from cigar box guitars to kinetic wave sculptures to blasters that can propel a burrito fifty yards. They offer a free downloadable Project Pack with simple projects to get people started making.

You can see videos about the 2010 Bay Area Maker Faire here.

The big upcoming Faire is in NY, but there are also mini Faires in Kansas City, Rhode Island, and East Bay.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Marketplace Minute

Have I mentioned that poetry is everywhere? A case in point...

I am a regular listener of WAMU, my local NPR station. One of the shows I sometimes hear is Marketplace, a business news show. It has an almost-weekly feature called the Marketplace Minute, which is a light-hearted poem by Bill Radke that crams the week's news into one minute.

Marketplace Minute With Bill Radke 5/21 from Marketplace on Vimeo.

Bill Radke had an interview with poet Billy Collins in July. Here's a short poem by Billy Collins about his "workplace feedback."

by Billy Collins

The women
who wrote from Phoenix
after my reading there
to tell me they were
all still talking about it,
just wrote again
to tell me
that they had stopped.


Bonus music trivia from the Marketplace FAQ:

Q: When you "Do the Numbers" each day, what are the songs you play?

A: "Stormy Weather" when the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down; "We're in the Money" when it's up. When the market is mixed, the song is "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got that Swing.)"


Laura Shovan is hosting Poetry Friday this week. Her state poet laureate tour has been engagingly educational.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Between the Beads

The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida has an excellent exhibit called Between the Beads: Reading African Beadwork. Their explanation of the history and meaning of African beadwork is here. (As always, click on the photos if you want to see a larger version.)

Male Royal Ancestor Mask (Mbwoom)

Diviner’s Headdress

Elephant Mask

Hat (mpaan)

Beaded Crown (adenla)

Woman's Belt

Zulu beadwork traditions are fascinating because the colors, shapes, and patterns convey messages about courtship and marriage. You can read about the language of Zulu beadwork here.

The work below by a woman named Bongiswa is part of a great rural training and employment project called Ubuhle.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


In The Year of Goodbyes, author Debbie Levy chronicles the true story of her mother's life at age 12 in Nazi Germany. That year --1938-- Debbie's mother, Jutta, and her friends try to live as normally as possible despite trouble looming on the horizon and her parents urgently arranging to move to the United States.

Jutta keeps a poesiealbum, where her friends and extended family write messages, sharing their thoughts and wishes. They write poems, offer proverbs, draw pictures. It reminds me of a more artistic version of yearbook messages.

Debbie has started a Readers' Poesiealbum. If you'd like to contribute to it, Debbie says: "Feel free to write in your own handwriting, and to scan the page and send it to me as an attachment to an email. Regular emails are fine, too. Write poetry, write prose. I welcome your drawings. Sign your first name only. (I don't want to post your last name on the Internet, unless you specifically tell me to do so.) Please include where you're from. Send your page to debbie@debbielevybooks.com. Or mail it to: The Year of Goodbyes Poesiealbum Project, c/o Disney-Hyperion Books for Children, 114 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Poetry Africa

Posting more than usual this week...I wanted to share these with you -- I do like a good poster. Today's are from an annual international poetry festival that takes place at University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. This year's Poetry Africa festival will take place October 4-9.