Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Librarian Love

I'm of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved.
~ Barbara Kingsolver

I'm joining in Liz's week of Librarian Love.

The Librarian
by Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527–1593)

Library Card Journal
by Crab Apple Designs

by UniquelyDifferentToo

I'm With the Banned

Cutting Libraries in a Recession is like...

Take Me To Your Library!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Love Letter

Sometimes when I run across a bit of prose that seems particularly poetic, I like to experiment with seeing what it would be like as a poem. This one is from a love letter.

My Love For You Tonight
by Katherine Mansfield

My love for you tonight
is so deep and tender
that it seems to be

outside myself

as well.

I am fast
shut up
a little lake
in the embrace
of some big mountains.

If you were to
climb up the mountains,
you would see me
down below,
deep and shining —
and quite fathomless,
my dear.

You might
drop your heart into me
and you'd
hear it
touch bottom.


Read more about Katherine Mansfield

Friday, January 28, 2011

Rattling Around

Visiting Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century magazine today. I'm sharing part of a poem from Rattle, plus links to more at the bottom. I know they are already very busy (they receive 14,600 submissions a year), but it would be cool if Rattle started a section, either in their print or e-issues, of poetry for kids/youth.


The Fruit Detective
by Lola Haskins

On the table, there are traces of orange blood. There is also a
straight mark, probably made by some kind of knife. The
detective suspects that by now the orange has been sectioned,
but there is always hope until you’re sure. He takes samples.
Valencia. This year’s crop. Dum-de-dum-dum.

The detective puts out an APB. Someone with a grudge
against fruit. Suspect is armed and should be considered
dangerous. He cruises the orchards. Nothing turns up except a
few bruised individuals, probably died of falls.
A week passes. There are front page pictures of the orange.

No one has seen it. They try putting up posters around town.
Still nothing. The detective’s phone rings. Yes, he says. And Yes,
thanks. I’ll be right over. Another orange. This time they find
the peel. It was brutally torn and tossed in a wastebasket.
Probably never knew what hit it, says the detective, looking
sadly at the remains.

read the rest

More from Rattle:

* Dedication by Michael Meyerhofer
* Rules for Poetry by Rick Lupert
* Best of Rattle issue
* How to submit to Rattle
* Download e-issues

Elaine is our Poetry Friday round-up host today at Wild Rose Reader.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mind Your Head

My crown is called content, a crown that seldom kings enjoy.
~ Wm. Shakespeare

Suleiman the Magnificent
by Agostino Veneziano

Porcupine fish helmet, Kiribati
From the Pitt Rivers Museum

A Phoenix Crown
The Official Imperial Portrait of Song Dynasty's Empress

Crown of the Sultan of Siak
The National Museum of Indonesia
Hawaiian feather helmet (mahiole)
The British Museum

Samurai Helmet and Mask
The Spurlock Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Helmet Mask (Mukyeem)
Kuba people, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Dallas Museum of Art
Photo by Mary Harrsch

Crowns: A Brief History of Church Hats
Headgear in previous posts: African crowns, jesters, a Roman cavalry helmet, fencing, and masks.
Native American Headdresses: Facts for Kids
Crown of Daisies by Liz Kalloch
Ice Cream Headband

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sonnet-Inspired Valentines

EAB Designs is offering a free pdf of Elizabeth Barrett Browning-inspired How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count the Ways valentines. You can print and personalize them.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Music Monday

Music is the poetry of the air.
~ J. P. Richter

For a while I've been bouncing around the idea of having Music Monday as well as Art Thursday and Poetry Friday. I don't know if it will be every Monday or not. We'll see how it unfolds.

If you haven't seen an iPad used as an instrument before, here's a video to make you go "What??"

Another similar, longer Lang Lang video.

* Music Monday at Rockhound Place
* Technorati's Music Monday
* Canada's Coalition for Music Education has a cool Music Monday
*My past music posts

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gratitude Out Loud

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
~Gladys Bronwyn Stern

I started keeping Poetry Friday in 2007 for personal reasons: I wanted to spend a little time each week with "the best words in the best order." In case they might be of interest to other people, I shared them on my work site. After I'd been doing that for a year, I started Art Thursday, for similar reasons.

Celebrating Art Thursday and Poetry Friday has been nourishing for me. Hearing from visitors who find something useful or inspiring here makes my day. Thank you for your comments and email messages!

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.
~ Albert Schweitzer

I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the artists and poets who make this blog possible. I post many pieces from older days, works that are in the public domain. But I've also shared quite a few from modern artists who granted me permission to post their work.

At first I was afraid to try to thank everyone, but here goes...

My deepest thanks to the following artisans who have generously permitted me to post their work:

Hal Taylor, Kevin Pease, Khawar Bilal, Hanna Mancini, Jenni C., Kate Alizadeh, Riki Blanco, Kim Graham, Silvi Alcivar, Andy Westhoff, Will Sillin, Holly Kitaura, P.J. Lynch, Dr. Alphabet (Dave Morice), Guido Vedovato, Jason deCaires Taylor, Gigi Liverant, Irene Carranza, Shannon Slattery, Bascove, Harry Yeatts, Jr., Catherine Wingfield-Yeatts, Marcy Lansman, Brandi McKenna, Susan Else, Anna Chromy, Robert Krampf, Lisa Denning, Brandon Kihl, Alexander Antonyuk, Rachel , Joynt, Emmanuel Spaeth for MAAW, Michael Goddard, Fontaine Anderson, Eric Curtis, Kathleen Lolley, Alberto Cerriteño, Ann Wood, Madeline von Foerster, Patrick Gannon, Dave Baldwin, Elsa Mora, Gregory K., Laura Salas, Laura Shovan, Michelle Stitzlein, Ignacio Rabago, Gabriel Picart, Elisabeth Lecourt, Matthew Cusick, Elizabeth Daggar, Raymond Kaskey, Marianne Hunter, Dai Vaughan, Mona A. El-Bayoumi, Steen Hougs, Inge Mardal, Quint Buchholz, Chad Gowey, David Nittmann, Jeff Fox, Denise Drummond, Leonidas Kassapides, Fang Tong, Carlos Zapata, The Furry Puppet Studio, Princess Rashid, Hal Eastman, Sven Geier, Nicole Dextras, Kevin Van Aelst, Martin Hsu, Manuela Vladic-Mastruko, Barbara Klunder, Judith Schaechter, MJ Bogenrief, Robert Oddy, Dana Lynn Driscoll, Liz Ness, Ian Bertram, Rachael Direnna, Michele Jones, Sandi Carpenter, Kathie Briggs, Robin Paris, Lawrence Yang, Lenore Edman, Mariko Ushido, Camila León, Lani Mathis, Bunny Bowen, Barry Woods Johnston, Ralfonso, Theo Jansen, David Boyer, Elizabeth Jones, F. Labokoff, Carlos Andrés Varela, Brian Marshall, Tom Banwell, Gordon McGlothlin, Marina Yanen, Glenna Slenning, Colette Fu, Joe Leonard, Laura Peery, Nikolas Schiller, Sonia Romero, Holly Hughes, Philip Fung, Daniel Dancer, Cari Buziak, Robert J. Lang, Paul Grech, Jon Soucy, Heather Jansch, Ingrid Siliakus, Tracy Lee Stum, Ambera Wellmann, Joe Decker, Christian Scheurer, Serge Sunne, Norman Tellis, Roger Xavier, Sergey Tyukanov, Meg Harper, Scott Wade, Larry Blamire, Nicole Fekaris, Nathalie Parenteau, Nina Katchadourian, Dana Gioia, Marge Piercy, Doug Savage, Diane Mayr, Mario Milosevic, Mohja Kahf, Janet Wong, Sue Hubbard, Anna Grossnickle Hines, Andrei Codrescu, Dove Rengger-Thorpe, Lee Robinson, Elaine Magliaro, Terri Windling, Mark Wagner, Darcy Cummings, Lisa Konkol, Michael McClintock, Karen McClintock, Douglas Florian, Cody Mace, Monkey, Julie Jackson, Emily Birnbaum, Taylor Mali, Diane Ambur, Lyudmila Zinkova, Jane Sassaman, and Kenn Nesbitt.

Thank you!

If there's someone I missed, please don't be shy about telling me.

Addendum: Other contemporary works that I've shared have Creative Commons licenses or the creators offer their use for not-for-profit sites generally. Although I only thanked people by name who granted me permission to post their works on my site specifically, I am also grateful to people who make their work available to everyone!

Dancing Poetry Contest

Dance and poetry are combined in this interesting contest:


Deadline May 15, 2011

40 lines maximum each poem. No limit on number of entries.

Dance is NOT the theme. Rather, the contest organizers will create a dance for each of the three grand prize-winning poems.

You can read more about it on their site.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Small Flames of Words

Poetry is a sword of lightning, ever unsheathed, which consumes the scabbard that would contain it.
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

excerpts from Practicing Loving Kindness
by Lisa Suhair Majaj

Bless the maniac
barreling down the one-way street
the wrong way,
who shakes his fist when I honk.
May he live long enough
to take driving lessons...

Bless the politicians
who both give and receive
bribes and favors.
Bless the constituents
seeking personal gain,
the thieves, the liars, the sharks.
And bless the fools
who make corruption easy.
May they be spared
both wealth and penury.

Bless the soldiers guarding checkpoints
where women labor and give birth
in the dirt. Bless the settlers
swinging clubs into teenager's faces,
the boys shooting boys with bullets
aimed to kill, the men driving bulldozers
that flatten lives to rubble.
May they wake from the dream of power,
drenched in the cold sweat
of understanding. May they learn
the body's frailty, the immensity of the soul...

Bless poetry books that cross oceans
in battered envelopes,
bearing small flames of words.

read the complete poem here


What She Said
by Lisa Suhair Majaj

"They don't have snow days in Palestine,
they have military invasion days."
--International Solidarity Movement activists,
describing the children's lives under Occupation.

She said, go play outside,
but don't throw balls near the soldiers.
When a jeep goes past
keep your eyes on the ground.
And don't pick up stones,
not even for hopscotch. She said,
don't bother the neighbors;
their son was arrested last night.
Hang the laundry, make the beds,
scrub that graffiti off the walls
before the soldiers see it. She said,
there's no money; if your shoes
are too tight, cut the toes off...

read the rest here

Tara has the Poetry Friday round-up today.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Beauty of Letters

Each letter of the alphabet is a steadfast loyal soldier in a great army of words, sentences, paragraphs, and stories.
— Vera Nazarian

On tap: Calligraphy, ambigrams, fonts.

Are you familiar with ambigrams? They are words/designs that can be read from more than one direction. Such as the cover of Wordplay by John Langdon:

You can read the word "Wordplay" and the author's name rightside up or upside down.

An ambigram for The Princess Bride:

Here's one by Kevin Pease:

I'm sharing a number of works today by calligrapher, illustrator, and font designer Hal Taylor. Here is an ambigramesque font that Taylor created for the DaVinci Code movie.

WiseGeek, who has info about calligraphy and its history, offers this definition of calligraphy: The art of writing script in such a way as to express the beauty of what is being written in the formation of the letters themselves.

These are by Hal Taylor:

Another font by Taylor:

Abstract Calligraphy
by Khawar Bilal

* How to Draw Ambigrams
* Online calligraphy lessons
* Gorgeous calligraphy at BibliOdyssey
* Lost Generation by Jonathan Reed, called an ambigram poem (a.k.a. reverso)
* Favorite ambigrams, Ambigram Magazine
* Scott Kim's Inversion resources for teachers
* Sites for downloading free fonts: dafont, Abstract Fonts, and Fontspace

A decorative reflective letter "Y" -- not sure where I got it, but probably through How About Orange:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Visitor for Poe's Birthday?

You might have heard that the Poe Toaster, the mysterious visitor who brought roses and cognac to E.A. Poe's grave on Poe's birthday for over sixty years, has failed to appear two years in a row.

An idea for next year...this bird could fly into the cemetery and drop a rose on Poe's grave.

* What Has Befallen the Poe Toaster is from here
* Check out this photo of John Cusack as Poe.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Heart Art

Are you thinking about Valentines Day yet? I am, mostly because my youngest child likes to make 3D valentines for her classmates and those take a while to make. In past years, she's made these:

This photo doesn't do justice to the adorable paper mache "love bugs" she made.

Links and Comments:
* The Elephant Valentine instructions and pattern
* I couldn't find the directions for the Love Bug or the Valentine Knave, but maybe the pictures give you an idea of how to do it? Email me if you have questions and I'll try to remember.
* These Valentine Vermin are cute.
* Make a valentine for yourself out of a sweater.
* A Valentine's Day Art Thursday post from 2008

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Free Days at the National Parks

This weekend is one of the fee-free weekends that the U.S. National Parks will be offering in 2011. There are over a hundred national parks that usually charge entrance fees that will be free from Jan 15-17.

Why not take advantage of these free days to visit something new?
Free Entrance Weekends in 2011:

* January 15-17
(Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday weekend)
* April 16-24
(National Park Week)
* June 21
(First day of summer)
* September 24
(Public Lands Day)
* November 11-13
(Veterans Day weekend)
Side-note: Many national parks don't charge fees. For instance, there are 24 national parks in Maryland, and 18 of them are free all the time!

Go here to learn about parks that are participating in the Free Entrance Days and here to plan your visit.

DSO Update

I don't live near Detroit, but, as a music lover, I've been following the Detroit Symphony Orchestra strike with interest.

Here's part of an open letter from the Board of Directors and members of Save Our Symphony:

To Whom It May Concern:

As you are no doubt aware, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra is at a crisis point as the impasse between the musicians and the management enters its fourth month. In her recent letter to the DSO Board of Directors, Anne Parsons, President and CEO of the DSO, wrote that it may be time to:

“suspend the remainder of the 2010-11 season, as well as indefinitely defer the announcement of the 2011-12 season”

Save Our Symphony, Inc., an organization made up of DSO patrons, donors, subscribers, business owners and community members, fears that the former, and certainly the latter, will cause the end of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. This fabulous organization which has been nurtured by generations of citizens of our city and state, as well as the international community of arts lovers, could come to an end because of the decisions being made by a small handful of people.

This does not need to be the case.

After the musicians agreed to the 25% salary reduction suggested by former Governor Granholm and Senator Levin, the annual working capital deficit of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has been reduced to a manageable level. Furthermore, this deficit can be eliminated entirely in the future by Michigan’s improving economy which should increase not only concert ticket revenues but also donations (both large and small) to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra...

...Save Our Symphony feels that what is most desperately required at this point is for local civic, government and business leaders, as well as local media personalities who care about the future of metropolitan Detroit, to prevail upon the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Board and management to quickly get back to the bargaining table and agree upon a contract that will preserve a world class orchestra...


If you'd like to sign the SOS (Save Our Symphony) petition, go here.

Updated on Jan. 22nd to add: The management began talks with the musicians again on Jan. 19th. Here's hoping something good comes out of it!

Jan 24th update: Nothing good came of it. Rats. Visit Save our Symphony to keep up with their current events and news.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hell and Healing

Poetry in Hell shares a collection of Yiddish poetry from the Warsaw Ghetto which was secretly collected, preserved, and buried for safe-keeping. The leader of this project to save the poems was Emanuel Ringelblum, and the collection is named in his honor.

The poems, which were found hidden in milk cans, are divided into five themed sections: nature, home/love/life, ghetto/hunger/struggle, death/anger/mourning, and tradition/faith/protest. Here's a beautiful one from the nature section:

by Ber Horvitz

Today quite early in the morning I bound up
the younger lilac tree near my house -
I took thin branches broken away
and patched each wound with clay.

My mother at the open window was watering
her flower bed
The morning sun so motherly
kissed us both upon our heads.

What a joy my child to heal,
finished doctoring? Come in,
the eggs have long been ready
the milk will boil in the pot.

The Poetry in Hell site includes images of the original poems. This is a bit of "Doctors."


From the home/love/life section:

Bedlam (Balagan)
by Moishe Broderson

What did they make of this world
all is ridiculed, turned upside down.
there is no forward, left or right -
good and bad are turned around.
It’s a balagan, balagan, balagan.

Everything once thought good -
like love and courage, brotherhood -
everything got turned, distorted -
from all directions good is thwarted -

It’s a balagan, balagan, balagan.

All’s chaos at a fevered pitch -
Life is an ugly joke -
Paradise is only found -
In bedlam, balagan.

It’s a balagan, balagan, balagan.

That’s how it is, you look and see -
only a fool would disagree -
Like the demons, the devils dance -
against them we stand no chance -

balagan balagan balagan.

Updated to add: I also wanted to point out The River by Nokhem Yud and For Poor Brides by Kadie Molodovsky. There's much to be found in this collection.

For the Poetry Friday round-up, visit Writing the World for Kids.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Nature's Special Effects

We all have a dinosaur deep within us just trying to get out.
~ Colin Mochrie

Hello Little Rooftops
by Hanna Mancini

by Patricia Renick

Styraco Races
by James Gurney

Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins' Studio at the Central Park Arsenal (Have you heard of Waterhouse Hawkins? Our family has this picture book about him.)

Living Dinosaur
by Jenni C, Lofiphotography

Tea Rex
by Holly Conrad

The Snake-necked Elasmosaurus
Restoration by Osborn and Knight, from a painting in American Museum of Natural History

Not a dinosaur, but I couldn't resist including it:
Woolly Mammoth
By Kate Alizadeh

*ASCII Art: Dinosaurs
*Early black and white prints of dinosaurs and other mesozoic creatures
* I also love Two Can Dine by Boopsiedaisy
* The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, which has a prehistoric arts contest for Canadians K-12

The title of this post came from a quote by Robert Bakker: "It's very simple why kids are crazy about dinosaurs -- dinosaurs are nature's special effects. They are the only real dragons. Kids love dragons. It's not just being weirdly-shaped and being able to eat Buicks. It's that they are real."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


If you're interested in sharing things you make with other people, you might want to check out Swap-Bot. So many choices! There are 65 swaps set up for Artist Trading Cards alone. (Here's a link to my previous post about ATCs.)

There are swaps for quilting, bookmarks, knitting, penpals, and many others.

My mom and I have been talking about doing our own ATC swap. We like that idea because we can choose our own theme and our own deadline. My grandmother has been having health problems, so I'm not sure my mom can manage doing anything right now, but I am putting a surprise ATC in the mail to her today. Sssh, don't tell!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Two Shooting Stars

A double-shot of adorableness with two precociously precious kids:

you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Joy Be With You All

The Wailin' Jennys singing a traditional Irish tune:

Oh, all the money e'er I spent,
I spent it in good company.
And all the harm that e'er I done,
Alas, it was to none but me.
And all I've done for want of wit
To mem'ry now, I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass,
Good night and joy be with you all.

Oh, all the comrades that e'er I've had,
They're sorry for my going away,
And all the sweethearts that e'er I've had,
They'd wish me one more day to stay,
But since it falls unto my lot,
That I should rise and you should not,
I'll gently rise and I'll softly call,
Good night and joy be with you all.


* You can buy it here
* Info about the song's history

Friday, January 7, 2011

Short and Sweet (or Sour)

Epigrams for this Poetry Friday. What's an epigram? A short, clever poem or saying. Here are some of the poetic variety:

by Edwin Markham

For all your days prepare,
And meet them ever alike:
When you are the anvil, bear—
When you are the hammer, strike.


Written with a Diamond on her Window at Woodstock
by Queen Elizabeth I

Much suspected by me,
Nothing proved can be,
Quoth Elizabeth prisoner.


The title of this epigram from Three Poets by Robert West is perfect.


Her father's dead at last, the lout—
but now he's all she writes about.


This one doesn't seem like what we usually think of as an epigram, but I like the image of Zeus shaking the darkened clouds.

from the Four Epigrams of Asclepiades - (1995)
for high voice and piano
by Gary Bachlund
for pianist and coach, Theodore Crain

i. Zeu

Throw down snow,
make night,
Shake the darkened clouds across the earth.

Photo by Tim Hamilton


Also, check out On Going Deaf by Anne Stevenson.

The Poetry Friday round-up is at Irene's today.