Monday, July 30, 2012

Poetry Drive

WriteGirl is holding a Poetry Drive through August 1st! Help them reach their goal of raising $30,000 to support teen girls' writing through mentors and creative writing workshops.

Songs Inspired by Literature

I've posted songs inspired by Wuthering Heights, and I've also talked about fictional musicians.

Today, fiction and music meet again. Artists for Literacy put together three albums of Songs Inspired by Literature.

Here's what's on the first album:

* A Jill Tracy song inspired by Luc Sante's Low Life
* Deb Talan, inspired by Jonathan Lethem's novel Motherless Brooklyn
* Aimee Mann, inspired by Dan Clowes' graphic novel Ghost World
* Bob Hillman, inspired by Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace
* Lynn Harrison, inspired by Michael Paterniti's memoir Driving Mr. Albert
* Grace Slick, inspired by James Joyces' novel Ulysses
* Justin Wells, inspired by Homer's epic poem "The Odyssey"
* Essence, inspired by Mark Levine's poem "Work Song"
* Suzanne Vega, inspired by Homer's epic poem "The Odyssey"
* Deborah Pardes, inspired by Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes
* Scarth Locke, inspired by Shel Silverstein's poem "Bucking Bronco"
* Ray Manzarek, inspired by Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot
* Anny Celsi, inspired by Theodore Dreiser's novel Sister Carrie
* David LaMotte, inspired by Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"
* Diane Zeigler, inspired by Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "Legend of Enoch Arden"
* Bruce Springsteen, inspired by John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath

I thought it was an interesting mix -- songs inspired by poems, plays, graphic novels, memoirs, and so on. The second and third cds are equally intriguing.

Here's a long list matching songs with literature. Pairing lit and music could be a good classroom project. You start thinking about the book that you're studying in a different way, making new connections.

Lastly, here are some poetry/song match-ups that I made a while back.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Feeling Ekphrastic

Mixing Art Thursday and Poetry Friday to make some ekphrasis today.

Here's an artwork and a poem that was inspired by it:

A Carnival Evening, 1886
by Henri Rousseau

After the Feats of Wonder
by Tabatha Yeatts

From hidden places, the owls sing out
to gift us with this night,
the owls and the generous moonlight
that pours across the ground to guide us home.

Concealed under the night's song
is the soft sound of our feet walking
contented step by contented step.

I am full and quiet, glowing and whole.
My hand slides through the crook of your arm
as the breeze slips through the tall, thin branches.



* More ekphrastic poems

* Artists for Literacy has a sample curriculum for their Ekphrasis Project

* Another curriculum (this one is by Lynn Marsico)

* Notes on Ekphrasis by Alfred Corn

Bibliophile has this week's Poetry Friday round-up at Life is Better with Books.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Drawing the Universe

I'm taking a blog vacation, but before I go, here are some song lyrics for Music Monday:

Ati Bolong
composer: Ki Slamet Gundono
from Asmarandana by Rob Levit and Emiko Susilo
Only when our heart is empty can we receive the teaching of another.

Atine bolong
Atine kosong
Atine mlompong

Nang duwar ana lintang
Lintang lintang luku
Ana bocah, ana bocah
Bocah cilik, bocah cilik ngambar jagat

There is a hole in his heart
there is emptiness in his heart
there is nothing in his heart

There are stars above
the constellation of the plough
there is a child, there is a child
a little child, a little child
drawing the universe

He hooks (his dreams) on the stars
hangs them on the moon
forged by the sun
there is a child, there is a child
a little child, a little child
drawing the universe


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Poetry Ideas for Classrooms

Some ideas for teachers who are thinking about ways to bring poetry into their classrooms in the upcoming year:

* Fictional Favorites (picking favorite poems for fictional characters)
* Poetry Hunts
* March Madness Poetry Tournaments
* Creating poems from books such as The Great Gatsby or from speeches (I used one by Winston Churchill)
* Poetry games
* Poems for Two Voices
* Poetry Storybirds and Tagxedo
* Poesiealbums
* Poems and art about poetry
* Poem videos
* Artist Trading Cards, which can have poems on them
* We've been doing a poetry swap, which could be a fun classroom idea.

Not poetry, but:
* 55 Word Stories

Friday, July 13, 2012


Crashing Wave by Scott Robinson

When I was looking up Marie-Elizabeth Mali's info so I could ask her permission to post this poem, I discovered that she is married to another poet I like: Taylor Mali. What a nice coincidence!

Oceanside, CA
by Marie-Elizabeth Mali

Balancing on crutches in the shallows
near her mother, a girl missing her right lower leg
swings her body and falls, laughing.
Behind them, her father and brother play catch.
Up the beach, the incoming tide nibbles
a sleeping woman, another beer is opened.
A young veteran walks by with a high and tight
buzz cut and Semper Fi shoulder tattoo, his right leg
a prosthesis to mid-thigh. He approaches
the family, removes the prosthesis, and joins
the girl in the water. They lift shorn legs high
and smack them down. No one talks about the war.


Posted with permission of the poet.

Here's a poem I shared by Mr. Mali.

Jone at Check It Out has our Poetry Friday round-up.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ivan Bilibin

Today's Art Thursday focus is Russian artist Ivan Bilibin (1876-1942).

Portrait of Ivan Bilibin
by Boris Kustodiev

Ivan Bilibin illustrated a number of Russian fairy tales. He was also a set and costume designer. Bilibin spent sixteen years living in Egypt and France, returning to Russia in 1936. He died in the Siege of Leningrad during World War II.

Tsar Dadon meets the Shemakha queen
illustration for The Tale of the Golden Cockerel, 1906
by Ivan Bilibin

"And behold! To his amaze/a great city met his gaze"
illustration for Pushkin's The Tale of Tsar Saltan
by Ivan Bilibin

Rusland and the head
illustration for Pushkin's poem Ruslan and Ludmila
by Ivan Bilibin

A cell in the Chudov monastery
Stage-set design for the opera Boris Godunov by Mussorgsky

by Ivan Bilibin

Prince Igor
by Ivan Bilibin

Sketch for Honor and Revenge by Fiodor Sollogub
by Ivan Bilibin

Two more:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Movie Music

Spotlighting movie musicians today! I couldn't find videos of actual movie orchestras, so I am improvising. I shared the scene from West Side Story with Mambo here, but this one is entertaining as well:

The last song was by Leonard Bernstein; this one is by Elmer Bernstein and features the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra:


* Orchestras that have been on movie soundtracks
* Hollywood Symphony Orchestra
* Hollywood Winds
* How to become a film musician
* Philharmonia Orchestra
* Julius Schulman, Violinist
* Olav Lervik, Film Musician
* 100 Greatest Film Score Composers
* 100 Best Movie Soundtracks, according to Entertainment Weekly and the U.K.'s The Telegraph
* SkyFM's Movie Soundtrack radio
* Film Riot: How to Manipulate People with Music
* Getting the Score: A filmmaker's guide to film scoring

One more song:

Friday, July 6, 2012


Thank you for coming to the Poetry Friday round-up! Today Summer Poetry Swap folks are graciously allowing me to share a few of their poems. I think one of the greatest things about this swap is the fact that we all know each other. You're not swapping with a stranger; you're sending a gift to a poetry friend.

by Violet Nesdoly

“I have jars and jars and jars of rocks
and shells in my studio.” ~Katya Czaja

Soapstone and sandstone
porphyry, slag…
I fill all my pockets
and carry a bag.

Scoria, gabbro
schist, mica and flint
in rust, white or yellow
smooth, banded or glint.

Argillite, anthracite
quartz and feldspar—
hurry them home
to my rock collect jar.

Tiger’s eyes, unakites
agates and shales
dream of their middle-earth
riverbed tales.

Travertine, basalt
obsidian, chalk.
Listen. Be still.
You might hear the rocks talk.

Serpentine, marble
jade, pumice and tuff…
I can’t stop collecting
I’ve never enough!


for Andi Sibley, early July, 2012

An Alphabet for Bilbo Baggins
by Linda Baie

Audacious Bilbo—Clue-finder,
Dragon-slayer, Eagle-friend. Frightened Gollum-
Hobbit Instinct-Jesting, Kindly,
Loving Mystery, Naïve, Outlandish.
Quiet Rivendell Shaped Tolkien
Until Valiant Words Xtreme,
Yielded Zealots.


Here's one that Diane Mayr sent to Joy Acey:

Dear Friend:

If you're like other children,
you are prone to telling untruths.
Please, consider carefully
the repercussions of a
hastily devised falsehood.
Black or white, big or little,
a lie can cause your nose
to grow--oh Lord, yes it can!
A little sprout becomes
a leafy limb. A leafy limb
becomes a tree with you
at the end of it. It's true!
I swear! Hay fever season is
the worst--that won't be snot
dripping down, it'll be sap.
When you sneeze, oh, oh, oh,
how the splinters will fly!
And I swear--this really,
truly happens--borers
and woodpeckers will come
check you out! Would I lie?

Fondly, Pinocchio


Here's one from Joy to me. It was inspired by a photo of Shaolin monks standing on their heads:

by Joy Acey

Flip me over.
Stand me on my head
so I may see the world
all upside-down.

From this true view
let me notice
all the lowly and the small
and the not so very BIG at all.

I offer praise
for the brown ant,
the pillbug, the centipede,
working for the food they need.

I sing
for the anole, the vole,
the long earth worm
each doing a good turn.

Blood rushes to my head.
I will not fall, so I may
give thanks to be alive
to see it all.


I am heading to Baltimore for another post-op with my son, but I will round up the comments before and after. (By the way, when I was typing the previous sentence, at first I wrote "poet-op" instead of "post-op." Now what would a "poet-op" be? Hmmm...)


Donna at Mainely Write shares an original poem: "Two Rainbows and the Moon".

At The Poem Farm, Amy LV has a poem about people-as-seashells and also the new slideshow to go with "More Than a Number."

Linda at TeacherDance is excited to share something of an old family diary and a poem clipping inside.

Congratulations to Karin on her new blog, Still in Awe :-) For her first Poetry Friday, she's posted an original poem in honor of next Tuesday's All-Star Game and its anniversary of a great baseball moment.

Joy gives us a poem using onomatopoeia today with another picture of her visit to the Peruvian Rainforest.

At A Year of Reading, Mary Lee is thinking about last week's storm and how life turns on a dime.

At Author Amok, Laura shares an interview with author Joseph Smith, whose home town did not have its own public library. So he started one himself. She's also including "Library Poem" by Julia Donaldson, a children's poet laureate in the U.K. (where she's heading on Tuesday! Lucky!)

Laurie Purdie Salas is in with a poem from Doug Cushman's new collection, Pigmares and this week's train-inspired 15 Words or Less poems. (Plenty of time to still join in!)

Renee at No Water River is also sharing the video for Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and Barry Lane's song "More Than a Number."

Liz at Growing Wild brings us an original poem about the sun.

Robyn at Read, Write, Howl offers a summer afternoon poem by Eavan Boland.

Debbie Diller has An "If" for Girls by Elizabeth Lincoln Otis.

Heidi is in today with a poem by Anne Sexton that took her by painful surprise. (She sent me a great poem this morning that I will share with my next Poetry Swap post!)

At Random Noodling, Diane has Ekphrasis Part II, with an original poem.

Kurious Kitty shares "The Unwritten" by W.S. Merwin, and, Kurious K's Kwotes' quote is by Merwin, too!

Over at The Write Sisters, Diane has several small poems from The Sea and the Honeycomb: A Book of Tiny Poems, a book from several decades ago.

Ruth offers The Mower to the Glow-Worms by Andrew Marvell.

At A Teaching Life, Tara has a poem of advice and beginnings.

My sympathies to Carol, who unexpectedly lost her dog, Jack, this week. She shares a poem on the subject.

Linda Kulp visits an old friend, Randall Jarrell's The Bat Poet.

Elaine at Wild Rose Reader brings us an original memoir poem titled "A Home for the Seasons."

Janet Squires's poetry book selection is "What's for dinner?: quirky, squirmy poems from the animal world" written by Katherine B. Hauth and illustrated by David Clark.

Violet's offering today is a cinquain called "Beach Days."

At GottaBook, Greg has a bunch of stuff, including news, a fib, and a link to the very cool 12th issue of the fib review. Good luck with your packing, Greg!

Books4Learning shares poems from Dinothesaurus by Douglas Florian.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

In Black and White

There's something strange and powerful about black-and-white imagery.
~ Stefan Kanfer

Ritratto di Carla Fracci
by Augusto De Luca

Children's Carnival
by Paul Landacre

Black and White Magic
by Shivakumar Lakshminarayan
by Dom Crossley

by Carlox Malora

Pierced Eye
by Chris Kapono

Black & White Belton Buck
by Richard Thomas

Raccoon Weight-training
by Brooke Duckart

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dance Marathon

I read about Dance Marathon in the U Iowa newsletter. The Hawkeye Dance Marathon provides emotional and financial support for patients and their families treated at University of Iowa Children's Hospital. Since 1995, when the Iowa program began, they have raised $11 million.

Dance Marathon from Kyle Loughrin on Vimeo.

Children's Miracle Network has info about Dance Marathons across the country.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Musicians and Injuries

From Tone Deaf. Listen to the drum part they are referring to here.

This topic is lamentably close to my heart. Injuries can be devastating for musicians and they can come from a variety of sources: overuse, accidents, illnesses, even physical attacks and natural disasters. The bottom line is ... they really stink.

Here's a video from the University of Colorado's Musicians' Wellness Initiative:

Some links, including ones on injury prevention:

* Musicians' Injuries: Types and How to Avoid Them By Espie Estrella

* Face and neck stretches for musicians

* Musician and injury: Janet Horvath has articles such as "Onstage Tricks to Stay Well" and "Protect your ears."

* Help for Lip Injury for Musicians

* Psychology of the Injured Musician from The Life of a Musician: Robin Hill.

* The Injured Musician -- A Taboo Subject?

* A Painful Melody: Repetitive Strain Injury Among Musicians by Tamara Mitchell, edited by Sally Longyear.

* Musicians with injuries, a group for string players

* A list of injury-related links from Musical

* Lots more links from Musicians Way, including a bunch of stuff about protecting hearing

* Medical Problems of Performing Artists Symposium July 20-23, 2013 in Colorado

* I poked around to see if there was a list of famous musicians who overcame injuries (or maybe who couldn't overcome them). I didn't see one, but here's 10 famous musicians with disabilities. Also, TopTenz' Top Ten Disabled Musicians.