Friday, March 30, 2012

Fictional Favorites, part two

This series of posts considers What would fictional characters' favorite poets/poems be?

Today we are welcoming author Irene Latham, who brings us poems in honor of characters from The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.

For Katniss Everdeen's favorite, Irene chose Hidden by Naomi Shihab Nye:

by Naomi Shihab Nye

If you place a fern
under a stone
the next day it will be
nearly invisible
as if the stone has
swallowed it.

If you tuck the name of a loved one
under your tongue too long
without speaking it
it becomes blood
the little sucked-in breath of air
hiding everywhere
beneath your words.

No one sees
the fuel that feeds you.


For Rue, Irene picked:

When I Am Among the Trees
by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."


And for Peeta:


by Anne Sexton

It is in the small things we see it.
The child’s first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off our heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you’ll sharpen,
those you love will live in a fever of love,
and you’ll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you’ll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.


Wow, Irene! Thank you.

Extra bits:

* The lyrics for Rue's Lullaby, which Katniss sings to Prim and Rue, can be found here.
* I think When You Are Old by W.B. Yeats is one that Peeta might recite to Katniss.
* And wouldn't Cinna want to be a part of the 100,000 Poets for Change movement?
* A side-note: Hunger Games movie cast asks fans to help end world hunger.

Visit My Juicy Little Universe for the Poetry Friday round-up.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Berlin Phil

For Art Thursday this week, we're starting out with beautiful shots of the inside of a guitar, cello, pipe organ, violin, and flute. These are posters for the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, one of my older daughter's favorite orchestras. (Surprisingly enough, some teenagers do have favorite orchestras!)

Concept: Mona Sibai/Björn Ewers
Photographer: Mierswa Kluska
Art director: Björn Ewers

More Berlin Phil posters (or maybe they were postcards?), plus a CD cover:

There are fun videos of the Berlin Phil and their educational projects here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Mountain Music Project

The Mountain Music Project (trailer) from Mountain Music Project on Vimeo.

From The Mountain Music Project:
The Mountain Music Project: A Musical Odyssey from Appalachia to Himalaya follows the journey of two traditional musicians from their roots in the hills of Virginia to the mountains of rural Nepal, where they explore the extraordinary connections between Appalachian and Himalayan folk music and culture, particularly with the traditional musicians of the Gandharba caste.

The Gandharbas were once the wandering minstrels of the southern Himalayas, bringing news, storytelling, and traditional singing to the villages of rural Nepal. Their songs once helped to unite disparate kingdoms into a unified Nepal, and even in recent years Gandharba singers played a great role in Nepal’s democracy movement. Although in Hindu mythology, Gandharbas were thought to be divine angel musicians, their caste is low among the Hindu hierarchy and they have long been considered to be ‘untouchable,’ unfit to share water with people of higher castes. Adding to their troubles, their rich musical traditions are at risk of extinction as radio, television, and recorded music encroach upon rural Nepali life.

Musicians/Hosts Tara Linhardt and Danny Knicely join Nepali musician Buddhiman Gandharba on a musical expedition through rural Nepal, where they discover surprising similarities between these seemingly distant cultures.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Becoming a Sponsor

Students enjoy instruments courtesy of sponsors from DonorsChoose

This week for Music Monday, my focus is supporting musical projects. There are a number of sites where you can fund projects you'd like to encourage, including DonorsChoose, RocketHub, and Kickstarter.

At, teachers with classrooms in need make requests, and donors choose which project they would like to help. It's fun. There are MANY music-related requests to choose from, such as these, which are all from high-poverty areas:
Building a Musicians' Library: donate money for music books in Washington, DC and Durham, NC

Buying instruments: glockenspiels in Texas, rhythm instruments in California, and xylophones in Chicago.

Helping with supplies: music stands in California, trumpet and cornet cases in Oklahoma, and flash cards/other supplies for Colorado.
On RocketHub, there are a number of musicians seeking album support. You can see if there's anyone whose music appeals to you, and you can also find non-album projects such as Bryan O'Regan's Musical Walking Tours. Mr. O'Regan started with Paris and he wants to make walking tours that focus on music for every city in the world. An interesting and ambitious project!

Kickstarter has an attractive and easy-to-navigate site. Their music projects are divided into Classical Music, Country & Folk, Electronic Music, Hip-Hop, Indie Rock, Jazz, Pop, Rock, and World Music. Great projects abound! Check them out.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fictional Favorites, part one

This series of posts considers What would fictional characters' favorite poets/poems be?

Mary Lee and I will kick this off today with some poetic possibilities and then over the weeks, we'll hear from a plethora of perceptive poetic bloggers. If you'd like to join in, feel free to leave your ideas in the comments or email them to me.

We'll start BIG with Hagrid from the Harry Potter series... As a man with a deep connection to animals, he might be drawn to Mario Milosevic's When I Was:

Excerpt from When I Was

When I was a bear
I filled the world.
My paws were wide,
and I walked large.
I ate all summer
and slept all winter,
dreaming of the time
when I was a dragonfly
and I wove the world...

read the rest here


What would Hobbes from the cartoon Calvin and Hobbes read? He's a bit of a romantic, so maybe he would like You Are The Wind by Olav Hauge.

You Are The Wind

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!


Calvin seems like more of a This Is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams kind of a guy. Or Invitation by Shel Silverstein.


If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer . . .
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire,
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!


Mary Lee Hahn talked about this question with her fourth graders, and they came up with poems for the main characters from Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.

Mary Lee says:

Here's what my students picked for Meg because she's struggling so hard with her feelings right now (she is angry with her father for tessering away from Camazotz without taking Charles Wallace):

From Sara Holbrook's collection WEIRD? (ME, TOO!) LET'S BE FRIENDS


You are not the boss of me
and what I feel inside.
Please don't say,
"Let's see a smile,"
or tell me not to cry.

I am not too sensitive.
You think my inside's steel?
You can't tell me how to be.
Feelings make me real.


For Calvin (because he's not so good at math):


by Beverly McLoughland

Sammy's head is pounding--
Sammy's in pain--
A long division's got
Stuck in his brain--
Call for the locksmith
Call the engineer
Call for the plumber
To suck out his ear
Call the brain surgeon
To pry out the mess,
Call out the Coast Guard
Sammy's head is pounding--
Sammy's in pain--
A long division's got
Stuck in his brain.


And for Charles Wallace, because this is how he initially kept IT from taking control of his brain, these Mother Goose rhymes, taken from memory (Mary) and from TOMIE dePAOLA'S MOTHER GOOSE:

Mary had a little lamb
It's fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go.


Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater,
Had a wife and couldn't keep her;
He put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well.


We'll continue with Fictional Favorites next Friday!

Mary Lee has our Poetry Friday round-up today.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Nicholas Roerich

Roerich Pact Banner, also known as the Banner of Peace or Pax Cultura

The treaty has for its object the protection of historic monuments, museums, scientific, artistic, educational, and cultural institutions both in time of peace and in time of war, and provides for the use of a distinctive flag to identify the monuments and institutions coming within the protection of the treaty.
~ From a statement on The Roerich Treaty, as ratified in 1935 by the U.S., Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela

Russian artist Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947) was a prolific painter, writer, and philosopher. He originated the modern movement for the defense of cultural objects and earned several nominations for the Nobel Prize. Roerich was given awards in France, Sweden, Russia, and Yugoslavia. He loved to travel and became a member of many organizations in other countries. For instance, Roerich joined the Mark Twain Society in the U.S.!

The Banner of Peace continues to be used and has even flown over the North and South Poles and been sent into orbit.

She Who Leads
by Nicholas Roerich

Visitors from over the sea
by Nicholas Roerich

Patrol of the Himalayas
by Nicholas Roerich

by Nicholas Roerich

Yard of Castle
by Nicholas Roerich

Language of Bird
by Nicholas Roerich

by Nicholas Roerich


* A biography of Nicholas Roerich
* A bit more about the Banner for Peace
* A planet is named for Roerich
* Roerich's paintings (some of them, anyway)
* Roerich was a set/costume designer as well and he created set designs for Borodin's Prince Igor

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Night Circus

The ship is made of books, its sails thousands of overlapping pages, and the sea it floats upon is dark black ink.
~ Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

The Night Circus is Erin Morgenstern's first novel, and boy, has it gotten a lot of buzz! In a way, I would rather not hear advance reviews before I read a book -- sometimes the build-up can be too much.

I am not going to discuss reading The Night Circus here. I'm going to talk about it as a treat for visual artists and people who love to cook. It invites re-creation. The color scheme is dramatic black and white with touches of red, as you can see from the covers I'm sharing here.

Here is one book club's Night Circus meeting.

You can see photos from a bookstore's Night Circus event here.

A Night Circus tea set

A couple of recipes: chocolate popcorn and chocolate mice

Two reveurs waiting for the Night Circus

Here's Erin Morgenstern's Night Circus song playlist.

I would particularly like to see someone paint or sculpt the clocks!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Play Me, I'm Yours

I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play.
~ Artur Schnabel, Austrian Pianist, when asked the secret of piano playing

Photo by Caio Buni - Sao Paolo

I'm a fan of public art projects like this:
Touring internationally since 2008, “Play Me, I’m Yours” is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram. Over 500 pianos have now been installed in cities across the globe, from New York to Sydney, bearing the simple instruction ‘Play Me, I’m Yours.’

Play Me, I'm Yours will be in Los Angeles (Apr 2012), San Juan (May 2012), Salt Lake City (Jun 2012), London (Jun 2012), and Salem, Oregon (Jul 2012). Want it to come to your city?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Still Whole

Raining Stars by Evonne

Nobel prize-winning Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer today.

by Tomas Tranströmer

After a black day, I play Haydn,
and feel a little warmth in my hands.

The keys are ready. Kind hammers fall.
The sound is spirited, green, and full of silence.

The sound says that freedom exists
and someone pays no taxes to Caesar.

I shove my hands in my haydnpockets
and act like a man who is calm about it all.

I raise my haydnflag. The signal is:
"We do not surrender. But want peace."

The music is a house of glass standing on a slope;
rocks are flying, rocks are rolling.

The rocks roll straight through the house
but every pane of glass is still whole.


Two haiku by Tomas Tranströmer

Standing on the balcony
in a cage of sunbeams –
like a rainbow


Death bends over me –
I’m a chess problem, and he
has the solution


Greg has our Poetry Friday round-up this week.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


You buttered your bread. Now sleep in it!
~ Jiminy Cricket

The Adventures of Pinocchio was written by Carlo Collodi in 1883. The character of Pinocchio, a puppet whose nose grows whenever he tells a lie, has inspired many artists.

Pinocchio at Night in Rome
photo by the wolf

Pinocchio in Trouble, Tuscany, Italy
photo by Loungerie

Buratino (Pinocchio)
by Chrisy Jewell

Pinocchio and Gepetto

The Strange and Terrible True Tale of Pinocchio (the Wooden Boy) As Told By Frankenstein’s Monster (the Wretched Creature)
opening @ Neo-Futurarium

Film homage, 1940's, Walt Disney, "Pinocchio"
by David Lee Guss

Pinocchio holds the key
Pushcha-Voditsa, Kiev City, Ukraine
photo by Matt Shalvatis


* Pinocchio history from The University of Chicago Magazine
* The text of Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi on Project Gutenberg
* The Pinocchio paradox

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I’ve uploaded this hug, I hope she gets it.
~ Marshall Jones

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stars, Pencils, and Violins

If you look deep enough, you will see music; the heart of nature being everywhere music.
~ Thomas Carlyle

Three videos for this Music Monday, with no particular connection other than I fancy them. The first is not really a music video -- it's an interactive imagining of the flow of Van Gogh's Starry Night. But the music in it is important, I think. What's your take on it?

Starry Night (interactive animation) from Petros Vrellis on Vimeo.

Hudson - Against The Grain from Dropbear on Vimeo.

The Violin Maker from Dustin Cohen on Vimeo.

One more quote:

Who hears music feels his solitude peopled at once.
~ Robert Browning

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Poem Videos

Recently, I was discussing making poetry videos with my young filmmakers, ages 10 and 13, and I wanted to show them different ways that poems can be presented.

You can do a straight-up recitation, act out the poem, create a text-based video presentation, make an animation...the list goes on. Here are examples from The Opposite of Indifference:

Todd Alcott: Television
Clips of poems in movies
Billy Collins: Forgetfulness
Edward Shanks: The Night Watch
Huang Xiang
Jill Scott performing on Def Poetry
John Siddique: Yew Moon
Links to a few poetry videos
Louis MacNeice: Prayer Before Birth
Matthew Arnold: Morality
Matthew Macfadyen videos and Favorite
Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
Prentice Powell: Good Father
Robert Browning: Meeting At Night
Sarah Kay performing Hands
The Arithmetic of Nurses
To Flute, From Violin (not a video, but visual)
William Blake: The Tyger

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Solid Seed of Ourselves

"Poetry is like a free bird that knows no boundary, like seeds that are carried along by the wind, that grow, bloom and bear fruit where they find good soil without asking anyone's permission."
~ Ion Codrescu

Adding John Siddique to my list of great voices...

Yew Moon from John Siddique on Vimeo.

Myra at Gathering Books is our Poetry Friday round-up host this week.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


True strength is delicate.
~ Louise Berliawsky Nevelson

Making cairns (balanced rock stacks) has many purposes -- it's used as a way to mark territory, a form of meditation, and an art.

Two cairns by Patrick aka the Buddha Collector, Rotterdam, New York

Aviemore Cairn

Cairns Series LX
by Hammer and Coil

Cairn in Ireland
photo by Chad K

from Andy Goldsworthy's Three Cairns
Photo by Phil Walsh

Fungal Rock Balance
by Mark Kelly

Moncrieffe Island, Perth, Scotland
by Murray Barnes


Helpful notes on building a cairn
The Art of Rock Balancing
Professional rock stackers

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wordy Jewelry

The Little Chickadee has sweet pendants, such as this Jabberwocky necklace that reads, "Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe."

If you'd like to make your own text-based jewelry, Adrianne Surian shares helpful info on her blog about how she made this Hunger Games Bracelet:

A bracelet like this would also lend itself very well to poetry, maybe something romantic and recognizable ("How do I love thee? Let me count the ways" or "I carry your heart"). Or you could use literary characters (the Wicked Witch and a bunch of flying monkeys, for instance).

Monday, March 5, 2012

George Enescu

George Enescu, 1881-1955

I heard George Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody #1 performed by Angèle Dubeau and was wowed, so I looked him up.

Enescu was a child prodigy who went to conservatory when he was only eight years old. He wrote the Romanian Rhapsody #1 at age 20. A multi-talented man, Enescu was a violinist, composer, conductor, teacher, and pianist.

In the 1920s and 30s, he made a number of trips to the U.S., where he was a guest conductor for various orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He died in Paris, where he had resided since World War II.

Enescu is celebrated in his home country (Romania), with towns, airports, and orchestras named in his honor.

Here, the Maestro Stokowski discusses Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody #1:

You can learn more about him at the Enescu Society USA site and on The Remington Site.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pale Stars

I've been reading Come Together: Imagine Peace, an anthology edited by Philip Metres, Ann Smith, and Larry Smith. As with Against Forgetting, I've filled my copy with place-markers. Here's one I marked:

All the Way Up
by Lisa Rosen

flowers float like pale stars
in the grass, and at the top
of the hill there’s a plank
of wood hanging from an oak.

I lift myself into its level lap,
a pendulous Sabbath where
branches curve and meet,
framing landscapes.

Blow sweet shadows,
there’s no holding back
the light, it curls
through the leaves
and snapping grasses. It pads

along Queen Anne’s lace.
Someone with faith in roots
and a weathered limb,
cut, carried, measured and

slipped sleeves of rubber
over rope, knotted it so I’m swinging
between hayfield and cloud.
Someone I will never know
is blessing me.


Dori Reads has our Poetry Friday round-up this week.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Here Comes The Sun

The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
~ Galileo Galilei

A lot of people long for summer, but it's too hot for me. I enjoy a breezy sunny day, a nice thunderstorm, a bit of snow. I have no heat limitations on representations of the sun, though.

Art is in the air... inspire

Guadalajara, Mexico

The Sun also Rises
by Martin Dargevics

Apollo's Chariot, Versailles
Sculpted by Tuby, after a drawing by Le Brun
Info about Apollo/Helios, who drove a sun-chariot across the sky

Stained glass window, center of the rose.
Saint-Nicholas basilica, Saint-Nicolas-de-Port, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Lorraine, France.

Ella le Canta al Sol pa Despedirse de El (She Sings The Sun Goodbye)
by Alonso Vargas

Louis XIV dans Le Ballet de la nuit (1653)

The sun photographed by an ultraviolet camera onboard NASA's STEREO spacecraft

* Sun-related lesson plans, K-12
* A bunch more sun/solar science lesson plans
* Even more lesson plans
* Still more lesson plans