Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal Herb Strewers

excerpted from Strewn About by Vicky Uhland,
The Herb Quarterly (Spring 2011)
Created in 1660, the job of the Royal Herb Strewer traditionally entailed "strewing" a variety of herbs and flowers on palace floors and in stables throughout the day. Walking on these botanicals would release the plants' aromatic and insect-repelling oils, keeping the monarch's household freshly-scented and pest-free. Since King George IV's coronation in 1820, the Royal Herb Strewer has performed a strictly ceremonial role.

In his poem "Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandrie," [from 1557] royal courtier Thomas Tusser listed 21 popular strewing herbs: basil, lemon balm, camphor, chamomile, costmary, cowslip, daisy, fennel, germander, hyssop, lavender, spike lavender, cotton lavender, marjoram, pennyroyal, rose, red mint, sage, tansy, violet, and winter savory. Quite a royal blend!
Lately I've been walking around on flower petals outside my home (we have a blossoming tree which has shed pink petals all over the sidewalk). Although the reasons why they had royal strewers back in the day sound very unappealing, having some of those herbs strewn about for walking on sounds pretty cool. As long as you didn't have to clean them up afterward...

Here's the complete Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandrie.

P.S. Recognize the herb in the image above? It's lemon balm.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Poetry Friday is Here!

So pleased to be hosting Poetry Friday this week! Thanks for coming.

I wanted to share two poems by James A. Emanuel, but I wasn't sure how to get permission. They aren't old enough to be in the public domain. Mr. Emanuel is 90 years old himself, and I'm not sure how to contact him. This is a common dilemma! I ended up deciding to link to one and post a portion of the other.

Jazz Singer by Creative Enterprise with Keith Mallett fabric

Excerpt from "I’m A Jazz Singer," She Replied
by James A. Emanuel

He dug what she said:
bright jellies, smooth marmalade
spread on warm brown bread.

“Jazz” from drowsy lips
orchids lift to honeybees
floating on long sips.


Here's Emanuel's Poet as Fisherman.


* Over at TeachingAuthors, April offers an original poem about what she's learned in writing a poem a day for more than a year. It's about being present and ready to catch the poem when it appears. (sometimes...!)

* Books4Learning shares A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms by Paul B. Janeczko.

* Kerry gives us an original poem/action rhyme called "Let's Dance!" in honor of both National Poetry Month and National Dance Week.

* Anne at Little Sprout Books is using poetry to get ready for teacher appreciation week (and enjoying some funny-poem giggles while we're at it!).

* Mary Lee graciously supplies some twitkus, inspired by Dave's bummers.

* Maria brings us an original poem about an original topic -- OAA state tests.

* Tara has a poem from the New York Times' series "Poetry Pairings."

Diane shares a smorgasbord of poetry:

* At Random Noodling, there's "poetry exercises."

* Kurious Kitty looks at Poetry Tag Time.

* Kurious K's Kwotes' P.F. quote is by Socrates.

* And, at The Write Sisters: "A Shower" by Amy Lowell.

* Heidi posted her new original "a way."

* Continuing her series of Maryland poets this month, Laura Shovan has Lalita Noronha's nature poem "At Sea" with a related writing prompt that's school-friendly.

Laura Purdie Salas also has multiple PF posts:

* She's got "Jellyfishing" from Leslie Bulion's At the Sea Floor Cafe.

* Plus 15 Words or Less poems (come play).

* And she invites anybody who enjoys writing poetry to join in the Wednesday club where she and Susan Taylor Brown are doing a kind of ongoing book club on Sage Cohen's Writing the Life Poetic.

* Amy at Hope Is The Word reviewed a picture book of Edward Lear's poetry.

* Amy LV has a classroom poetry peek into Dale Sondericker's room where we learn some new ways to help children connect with poems. Also, she has silly poems and the almost-end of her year roundup.

* Carol brings us A Cloth of Fine Gold by Dorothy Walters.

* Tanita is here with the final poem from the Oakwood School on Mare's War, titled "Everything She Wasn't."

* Jama is wrapping up her Poetry Potluck today with a soup poem by Kelli Russell Agodon.

* Ruth brings us original recess duty haiku.

* It's the fourth and nearly final round-up of Dave's thrice-daily twitter haiku today.

* Carlie shares an original poem about personal panic: "Chocolate, Balm For All Ills."

* Katie lets us know about a dog poetry collection by Patricia Maclachlan and Emily Maclachlan Charest.

* Student poetry today ("30 Days = 30 Students") from McMac

* Isn't it funny for poetry that is over two hundred years old to be timely? But it is. Robyn shares William Blake's Songs of Innocence.

* Happy Birthday to Liz Garton Scanlon's husband, who is the recipient of her 29th daily haiku.

* Charles Ghigna (Father Goose) posted a terrific list of Poetry Forms with descriptions and examples at the HOW TO WRITE A POEM Blog

* At Wild Rose Reader, Elaine has a review and excerpts from Janet Wong's poetry collection THE RAINBOW HAND: POEMS ABOUT MOTHERS AND CHILDREN, which would make a wonderful Mother's Day gift!

* More Janet Wong! Michelle has the second part of her fascinating interview with Joan Bransfield Graham, April Halprin Wayland and Janet Wong on the Writing Process.

* Blythe offers Ode to the Brain, a slice of sciency poetry spun from the words of scientists by melodysheep. We all have an enchanted loom...

* For all the little aspiring princesses, Brimful Curiosities has "Purple" by Nikki Grimes.

* Like me, Martha is into hats today.

* Judy brings us Bishop's One Art, as she thinks about loss.

* Rain is on Sarah's mind as she offers Emily Dickinson's take on the subject.

* Karen E shows us how much she will really miss Michael Scott.

* One post by Elaine is never enough. She's back with two original acrostic poems about the month of May.

* Ben at The Small Nouns shares his 29th new (to him) poem of the month: "For My Daughter" by David Ignatow.

* Get a breath of fresh air with Andi's haibun!

* Inspired by the blowing of giant bubbles in her yard (and maybe by Prince William's sartorial splendor), Hannah is offering up "A Fairy in Armor" this week.

* Greg has two poems up today as part of 30 Poets/30 Days: Linda Sue Park's sijo Explaining Baseball to an Alien and Kristine O'Connell George's Daze of the Week.

* Tricia is in today with a poem by Barbara Hamby and a round-up of last week's national poetry month posts.

* Janet Squires' selection is "A Crossing of Zebras: animal packs in poetry" written by Marjorie Maddox and illustrated by Philip Huber.


In honor of National Poetry Month (and my blog's upcoming first anniversary), for a limited time I'm giving away The Opposite of Indifference bookmarks featuring Sir Monkey of Sock. Just email me at tabatha(at)tabathayeatts(dot)com with "bookmark" in the subject line and your address in the body of the message. The bookmark art is by Rachel King Birch.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Installation Art

Sculpture and painting have the effect of teaching us manners and abolishing hurry.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The American Heritage definition of installation art is "art that is created for a specific site, often incorporating materials or physical features of the site."

Water Towers at Salisbury Cathedral
by Bruce Munro
Photo by Haydn

Winged Trees
by Shigeko Hirakawa

The Mending Project
by Beili Liu
The installation consists of hundreds of Chinese scissors suspended from the ceiling, pointing downwards. The hovering, massive cloud of scissors alludes to distant fear, looming violence and worrisome uncertainty. The performer, who sits beneath the countless sharp blades of the scissors, while she does the simple task of mending. As visitors enter the space, they are asked to cut off a piece of the white cloth hung near the entrance, and offer the cut section to the performer. She then continuously sews the cut pieces onto the previous ones.

by Beili Liu
10 glass globes filled with a mixture of salt, water, and carbon powder. Salt crystal grows along the globe surface while water evaporates. Salt is white, carbon is black, water is clear, water dissolves salt, carbon traces rupture and drift. The materials perform a subtle and gradual change through time.

SLEM'S Oerol (Wind Nomads)

And two that are paintings about installation art:
Moonlight installation (oil on canvas)
by Kristoffer Zetterstrand

Thawing (oil and vinyl on canvas)
by Kristoffer Zetterstrand

Close-up of Thawing

* More installation art: WaterFire, Silent Evolution, and works by Christopher Janney.

*An article about Bruce Munro's Water-Towers at Salisbury Cathedral

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poem Tweets

NPR's Tell Me More has been celebrating National Poetry Month with poems on Twitter. As you can imagine, they are short. Here are links to some of my favorites:

She is the small aches

He came down with joy

Love is a Workhorse

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hearing The Music In Your Mind

We're running with my train of thought for this Music Monday. Hope you don't mind!

It begins with Caroline Yale, who doesn't actually have anything to do with music... I have been contributing to Apprentice Shop Books' Notable American Women Series. The series spotlights 25 women from each state. I researched deaf education pioneer Caroline Yale (Vermont), and that sent me off on this little rabbit trail.

During my Yale research travels, I ran across the name of Nobel prizewinning deaf scientist Charles Jules Henri Nicolle, who discovered that body lice were carriers of typhus. I'd like to write about him, but I haven't had time to do the research yet.

While I was making note of Nicolle, I thought of a book I wanted to read to my second grade tutee. It's by Jonah Winter (writer) and Barry Blitt (illustrator) about the world's most famous deaf composer:

Which brought me to another composer who lost his hearing -- Bedřich Smetana. He composed the Vltava (video below) shortly after he became deaf. The piece is part of a set of six symphonic poems. He explains:

The composition describes the course of the Vltava [River], starting from the two small springs, the Cold and Warm Vltava, to the unification of both streams into a single current, the course of the Vltava through woods and meadows, through landscapes where a farmer's wedding is celebrated, the round dance of the mermaids in the night's moonshine: on the nearby rocks loom proud castles, palaces and ruins aloft. The Vltava swirls into the St John's Rapids; then it widens and flows toward Prague, past the Vyšehrad, and then majestically vanishes into the distance, ending at the Labe.

Over the years, I have been impressed with Czech musicianship. Play this loudly and you'll hear what I mean -- they are flawless:


* A Mental Floss post about five deaf composers (including Smetana).
* Jazz singer Mandy Harvey lost her hearing during her freshman year at university, but she's still singing.
* Deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie.
* Free musical scores for Vltava.
* I think I got the "rabbit trail" terminology from Lissa.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Book List

A while back I saw (via Amazon) that there are a number of books which cite works of mine. I kept a little list for my own reference and I'll share it here:

Ones that mention The Holocaust Survivors
Best Books for Young Teen Readers: Grades 7-10 (Best Books for Young Teen Readers) by John T. Gillespie

Reading Stories for Comprehension Success: Senior High Level, Reading Levels 10-12 by Katherine L. Hall

Global Discovery Activities: For the Elementary Grades by Elizabeth Crosby Stull
Ones that mention Forensics: Solving the Crime
Encyclopedia of the End: Mysterious Death in Fact, Fancy, Folklore, and More by Deborah Noyes

Boys and Literacy: Practical Strategies for Librarians, Teachers, and Parents by Elizabeth Knowles and Martha Smith

Lastly, my Einstein: The Miracle Mind was reviewed by a 9-year-old blogger. I got a kick out of that.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Holy Cats


Holy Cats
by Dian Duchin Reed

Say you’re lunching on a bench near the creek
when three strays waylay you. The dainty
calico and two brindled males take turns
fuzzing your ankles, elbowing your elbows.
It occurs to you that these are copies of the cats
the goddess of Liberty used to reach down
to pet, the ones the Romans always pictured
at her feet. These are the very cats’ eyes
Egyptians mimicked with makeup, the eyes
of their cat-headed goddess Bast, whose symbol
was the sun. As you toss them small pieces
of your sandwich, you wonder if it could be Bast
who’s sent you this sunny Sunday, so unlike old
man Saturn, who provided yesterday’s saturnine
Saturday fog. The more you think about it,
the more you wish the national weather service
would bypass Monday’s moody Moon entirely–
along with Tiu, Woden, and Thor–and appeal
directly to Friday’s Freya, Norse goddess of
accurate prophecy…all white furs, platinum hair,
and cobalt eyes, her chariot drawn by two large,
gray cats. And suddenly you remember an old
Chinese tale in which cats once ran the world,
until they decided it was too much bother.
That’s when you stepped in, another story.
Say you get up now and go back to work.

–from Rattle #26, Winter 2006

by Cheng Yan

Posted with permission of the poet.

Thank you to Jama for the lovely Poetry Month spotlight!

Kate at Book Aunt has today's Poetry Friday round-up.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Miki Sato

Art is an adventure that never seems to end.
~Jason, middle school student

Miki Sato is a Toronto-based illustrator who works with different surfaces and textiles to create layered, three-dimensional images.

"Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak
Terrible Yellow Eyes Project - organized by Corey Godbey

Wrapped Up In Too Much Thought
by Miki Sato

Pelican Bath
by Miki Sato

Winter's Spring
by Miki Sato

Unorthodox Teaching
by Miki Sato

by Miki Sato

You can visit her Etsy shop, where she has ACEOs ("Art Cards, Editions and Originals"). ACEOs are like ATCs, but artists sell them instead of trading them.

Here's her illustration collection on Flickr.

Artwork posted with permission of Ms. Sato.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cécile Chaminade


The web site for Into the Light radio offers interesting 2-4 minute audio biographies of women composers. For instance, there's one for French composer Cécile Chaminade. There were over a hundred "Chaminade Clubs" (similar to fan clubs) in the U.S. during her lifetime.

You might also like to see Francesco Alibetta play Chaminade.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A High Wire Of Our Own Making

Once when I was visiting Allen (Ginsberg) in his apartment he asked me if I would like some coffee. Having said "yes," he presented me with a metal bowl with coffee in it. The bowl seemed strange (like a dog dish) and I nursed the coffee to cool it down. Soon he started asking "are you finished with that, man?" I would say "no, not yet" and after awhile I started to feel uncomfortable because the bowl seemed important to him. When I finally said "yes," he grabbed the bowl away — threw the remaining coffee in the sink and sat down with the bowl for his breakfast cereal. I was using his only bowl.
~ Larry Keenan

Fourth Floor, Dawn, Up All Night Writing Letters
By Allen Ginsberg

Pigeons shake their wings on the copper church roof
out my window across the street, a bird perched on the cross
surveys the city's blue-grey clouds. Larry Rivers
'll come at 10 AM and take my picture. I'm taking
your picture, pigeons. I'm writing you down, Dawn.
I'm immortalizing your exhaust, Avenue A bus.
O Thought, now you'll have to think the same thing forever!


Allen Ginsberg


Looking over my shoulder
my behind was covered
with cherry blossoms.


My old desk:
the first thing I looked for
in my house.

My early journal:
the first thing I found
in my old desk.

My mother's ghost:
the first thing I found
in the living room.


Please visit the Poetry Foundation to read Constantly risking absurdity by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

it begins:

Constantly risking absurdity
and death
whenever he performs
above the heads
of his audience
the poet like an acrobat
climbs on rime
to a high wire of his own making

Diane has the Poetry Friday round-up at Random Noodling.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lavinia Fontana

Lavinia Fontana, who lived from 1552–1614, was the daughter of an artist (Prospero Fontana) and a mother of eleven!

Italian physician and doctor Girolamo Mercuriali
by Lavinia Fontana, at the Walters Art Museum

Portrait d’Antonietta Gonsalvus
by Lavinia Fontana, Musée de Blois (here's a painting of her father)

Holy Family with Saints
by Lavinia Fontana

Judith and Holofernes
by Lavinia Fontana (the other Judith and Holofernes painting by Fontana shows Judith holding a sword in one hand and Holofernes's head in the other)

Un homme endormi et un ange volant tenant un bélier
by Lavinia Fontana, at the Louvre

Portrait of a Noblewoman Said to Be Bianca Cappello, Grand Duchess of Tuscany
by Lavinia Fontana
One by her father:

Portrait of a Cardinal
by Prospero Fontana

* Curious about the Judith and Holofernes story? Here's some info, and here are some other paintings depicting the story.(The last one I include -- the Caravaggio -- is the grossest, imo.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I noticed in Time magazine that "A mural in Maine's Department of Labor building that depicted workers' history [was removed]; the governor said that he had received complaints about the painting's being too pro-labor." As I am not sure what the purpose of the Department of Labor is OTHER than to be "pro-labor" (to promote the welfare of working people), this leaves me baffled.*

The Maine Department of Labor
History of Maine Workers mural, panels 1-11
by Judy Taylor

The Apprentice: Here, a Cobbler trains his young Apprentice. In the background are scenes from that era.

Lost Childhood: Child labor was common in Maine. They frequently performed dangerous tasks for long hours.

The Textile Workers
: Young women were often sent to the mills by their families, who could not, or would not, support them.

The Secret Ballot: For the first time, workers were allowed to vote anonymously in 1891.

First Labor's Day
: In 1884, Maine celebrated its first "Labor's Day," a day for the workers to celebrate.

The Woods Workers: A member of the IWW or "Wobblies" tries to organize the Maine woodsmen.

The 1937 Strike: Scenes from an unsuccessful strike attempt to create better conditions for women workers.

Frances Perkins: FDR's Labor Secretary, and untiring labor activist: a Maine Labor icon.

Rosie the Riveter: Maine's version of WWII women workers participated as ship-builders.

The Strike of 1986: The International Paper strike in Jay, Maine. One that still divides the town.

The Future of Labor in Maine: A figure from the past offers a hammer to workers of the present, who are unsure of its value in a changing world.

* Here's the U.S. Department of Labor's mission statement: "The purpose of the Department of Labor (DOL) is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Côte d'Ivoire

Been thinking a lot about Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) lately. These two articles got me started:

* From the Guardian -- Ivory Coast on brink of civil war as seven women killed at protest march (March 3, 2011)
* From the AP-- 4 killed in Ivory Coast after women honor dead (March 8, 2011)

I was relieved to hear yesterday that Laurent Gbagbo was arrested. He was the former president, who was voted out last November but refused to step down. I think they will have a difficult time getting their house back in order, but this is a good first step.

More articles about Côte d'Ivoire:

* From The Economist -- Turmoil in Côte d'Ivoire: Will the bad loser be squeezed out? (March 10, 2011)
* The Guardian-- After Gbagbo, what next for Ivory Coast?
* BBC-- Ivory Coast: As it happened Monday (April 11, 2011)
* Mr. Rojas must be a cool teacher. Here's his student Kiera's poem about the Ivory Coast.

HT to Charlotte's Library, who originally pointed out the first articles.

Monday, April 11, 2011


This video blew me away. Notice how perfectly the music and their moves fit together. (Choreography-related links below)

~ Suggestions about how to choreograph a dance
~ Strategies for remembering choreography
~ Tips for beginning choreographers


Also for Music Monday, an update on the Detroit Symphony Orchestra: They are back in business! Here's a New York Times article about their return.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tricking Yourself Back Into the World

Wildflowers on Bull Creek by Patrick Larson

A New Poet
by Linda Pastan

Finding a new poet
is like finding a new wildflower
out in the woods. You don't see

its name in the flower books, and
nobody you tell believes
in its odd color or the way

its leaves grow in splayed rows
down the whole length of the page. In fact
the very page smells of spilled

red wine and the mustiness of the sea
on a foggy day - the odor of truth
and of lying.

And the words are so familiar,
so strangely new, words
you almost wrote yourself, if only

in your dreams there had been a pencil
or a pen or even a paintbrush,
if only there had been a flower.

Croissant by Craig Stephens
Petit Dejeuner
by Linda Pastan

I sing a song
of the croissant
and of the wily French
who trick themselves daily
back to the world
for its sweet ceremony.
Ah to be reeled
up into morning
on that crisp,

Posted with permission of Ms. Pastan, Mr. Larson, and Mr. Stephens.


* The Answering Machine
* The Months
* The Deathwatch Beetle
* Transcription of a PBS NewsHour interview with Linda Pastan

This week's Poetry Friday round-up is at Madigan Reads.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Natalia Goncharova

Natalia Goncharova, who was born in Russia in 1881 and died in Paris in 1962, painted in varying styles, as you can see below. In addition to painting, she also illustrated books and designed theatre costumes and sets. Goncharova and her companion (later husband) Mikhail Larionov created a style of abstract art called Rayonism. Although they died in poverty, her paintings have sold for more than any other female artist.

Peasants Dancing

Goncharova & Larinov

The Cyclist

From Gardeners over the vines:
text by Sergei Bobrov, illustrations by Natalia Goncharova, 1913


Maquillage (Make-up)

Costume design for La Nuit sur le Mont Chauve
by Natalia Goncharova

* A bio of Goncharova
* A NY Sun article: Who Was Natalia Goncharova?
* Goncharova's great-aunt, Natalia Pushkina (who was married to the poet Alexander Pushkin).
* Another Pushkina bio

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Listening For Yours

A message from LitWorld, A Global Literacy Organization, celebrating the power and spirit of words by helping to compose a Global Poem for Change:

The wonderful poet Naomi Shihab Nye kicked off the poem with a first line:

Now it's your turn:

What words do you send out into the air?

What words do you listen for?

Submit a line of your own at and read the whole thing at their poem blog.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Poetry for the Masses

My "How To Feel A Poem" is in the April 2011 edition of Poetry for the Masses. A little info about Poetry for the Masses:

Poetry for the Masses is a public art project designed to bring poetry out of academia and back to the mainstream. Each quarterly issue features five to six poems from new and established poets in a broadside format. These broadsides are placed in public areas where poetry is not usually found in an effort to reach out to those who would normally not read, or even think deeply about, poetry. Email subscriptions are also available.

Tips From the Editor:
We look for poetry that is not only high quality, but also accessible to the public at large. We publish a wide variety of poetry styles, but we tend not to publish end-rhymed poetry, inspirational verse or long poems. Submissions are read year round. Please send submissions of three to five poems (we prefer poetry under 40 lines) of your best work. We don't mind reading new writers but no longer have time to send comments. If you are unsure if your work will fit in our format, please email us for a past copy. Contact Chandra Dickson at poetry4themasses (at) gmail (dot) com.

Radio Bookmarks

Although generally I'm not very interested in gadgets, the radio bookmark got my attention. When you're listening to a public radio station and a story or song comes on that you'd like to hear again later, you press a button on the radio bookmark and it remembers for you.

Fritz Kreisler's Liebesleid (Love's Sorrow) is a song that I bookmarked.

The version that I heard on the radio was on this album. (I didn't see a video for this particular one.)