Friday, November 30, 2012

Poetic Epitaphs

Reading the epitaphs, our only salvation lies in resurrecting the dead and burying the living.
~Paul Eldridge

When Benjamin Franklin was 22 years old, he wrote the epitaph that he imagined might be carved on his tombstone. By the time he actually died at age 84, he had changed his mind.

The Epitaph of Young Benjamin Franklin

The body of
B. Franklin, Printer
(Like the Cover of an Old Book
Its Contents torn Out
And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding)
Lies Here, Food for Worms.
But the Work shall not be Lost;
For it will (as he Believ'd) Appear once More
In a New and More Elegant Edition
Revised and Corrected
By the Author.

Benjamin Franklin's Final Epitaph

Benjamin and Deborah Franklin: 1790


John Donne (1572-1631)

Reader, I am to let thee know,
Donne's body only lies below;
For could the grave his soul comprise,
Earth would be richer than the skies.


Mrs. Aphra Behn (1640-89)

Here lies a Proof that Wit can never be
Defence enough against Mortality.


David Hume

Within this circular idea
Called vulgarly a tomb,
The ideas and impressions lie
That constituted Hume


Peter Robinson (19th century)

Here lies the preacher, judge, and poet, Peter
Who broke the laws of God, and man, and metre.


Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

And alien tears will fill for him
Pity's long broken urn,
For his mourners will be outcast men,
And outcasts always mourn.


Olivia Susan Clemens (1866-1890)
[Daughter of Mark Twain]

Warm summer sun, shine kindly here;
Warm southern wind, blow softly here;
Green sod above, lie light, lie light --
Good-night, dear heart, good-night, good-night.


William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Cast a cold eye
On life, on death
Horseman, pass by.

Amy LV at The Poem Farm is our Poetry Friday host today.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Giovanni Boldini

Artist Giovanni Boldini was born in 1842, the eighth of his parents' thirteen children. Boldini was born in Italy, but he lived in Paris for nearly sixty years. I can see why he was a sought-after portrait painter:

Portrait of Henri Rochefort
by Giovanni Boldini

Lady Colin Campbell
by Giovanni Boldini

Portrait of Vincenzo Cabianca
by Giovanni Boldini

Marchesa Luisa Casati with a Greyhound
by Giovanni Boldini

Portrait of Robert de Montesquiou, 1897
by Giovanni Boldini

Portrait of Giuseppe Verdi
by Giovanni Boldini

Portrait of John Singer Sargent (ca. 1890)
by Giovanni Boldini

A Portrait of John Singer Sargent
by Giovanni Boldini

The Dispatch-Bearer
by Giovanni Boldini

Monday, November 26, 2012

Music and Vets

The focus for this Music Monday is music and veterans.

Places to shop:
Military Music store
Veterans' Honor Songs by the Black Lodge Singers
Medical Musical Group (dedicated to America's veterans) concert dvds

Places to donate:
Operation Music Aid, CT gives instruments to wounded vets who are in rehabilitation
LifeQuest music camp for vets (here's an article about it)
Strumming for Vets offers guitar-based music therapy for vets (they also have a cd for sale)

Things to read (or hear):
Music lessons may help brain-injured veterans
Musicians put veterans' experiences into song, LA Times
Turning Veterans' Dreams Into Music
A music therapy talk show with some episodes about vets

Older posts of mine:
Meditation for Vets
Music Therapy
The Opposite of Indifference Military/War Collection

Friday, November 23, 2012

Random Acts of Poetry

“Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.”
~Charles Bukowski

Lobby Poetry
At the company Boxbe, a Ghanaian security guard composed a new message each day.
photo by Steve Jurvetson

Sir John Betjeman's Poem Inscribed at St Pancras Station
photo by gadget dude

Poem Delivery
Chiado, Lisbon, Portugal
An Italian couple, accompanied by a puppet that represents Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, distributes poetry.
photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simões

Knoxville, Tennessee
by Nikki Giovanni
photo taken in Takoma Park, MD by Takoma Bibelot

Two blackout poems by my 17-year-old daughter Ariana:

Wonka does Shakespeare

Mary Lee is our Poetry Friday host at A Year of Reading.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.
~Winston Churchill

I imagine that Sir Churchill was speaking as an artist in the above quote. I have to say, I don't feel sorry for the browns. They have taken over Art Thursday today with their rich, earthy, delicate ways:

Brown Clustered Ear Cup
by Jason Hollinger

Cosmic Sailor
by Scott Nelles

Robin Hood's Bay
by Thomas Tolkien

Brown Pelicans with Black Necks
by Sequoia Hughes

Somayeh / Mr. Taleghani's House
by Hamed Saber

Lonesome Marsh
by Ramona Gregory

Duenos de la Olla
by Nora Pineda

by Skip Nall

by Christine Brallier

More colors:
Ode to Orange

Monday, November 19, 2012

Music DIY

Bird Music Ornament by A Forest Frolic

Having a hands-on Music Monday this week. Want to make stuff with sheet music? First, here's some printable sheet music:
Vintage sheet music
Christmas sheet music
Stars and Stripes Forever
A Gregorian chant
The Alphabet Song
Etude 6
And here are some ideas:
Sheet music art/craft list: everything from making a decoupaged guitar to music fingernails
Music sheet envelopes
Hymn Page Feathers
This book tree could also be made out of sheet music.
25 Map-inspired crafts to make (could use sheet music!)
Whitacre by Crazyflyinmidget

Friday, November 16, 2012

Poetry Covers

I like looking at cover art. For instance, I've posted covers from Shirley Jackson's works, Les Misérables, Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Mozart's The Magic Flute, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade.

This week, I took a look at poetry book covers. I found that children's poetry book covers are often more fun, more exciting, more intriguing than the ones for adults. Maybe publishers think children need the bells and whistles and adults don't. Still, it would be nice for more covers for adults' poetry books to reflect that something special is happening inside. Why not have a remarkable container for a remarkable work?

Many of us who celebrate Poetry Friday are probably familiar with wonderful children's poetry covers, so I am mostly including great adult covers below. But I'll start with a few kids' covers...yes, I know we're all already familiar with Shel Silverstein's books, but I think it's worth taking a moment to admire the art. He did it right.

I think a good cover makes you linger over it for a moment.

New and Collected Poems for Children
by Carol Ann Duffy

Poke in the I
by Paul Janeczko, illustrated by Chris Raschka

Adult works:

Every Dress a Decision
by Elizabeth Austen

The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain, translated by Red Pine
Designed by Valerie Brewster

Poem, Revised: 54 Poems, Revisions, Discussions
Edited by Robert Hartwell Fiske and Laura Cherry
Book cover art by Judy Benson

Beauty is a verb

A magazine:

32 Poems

And two album covers:

Break Beat Poems

Poems about the Ocean

Yesterday's post featured gifts for art-lovers.

Anastasia at Booktalking is our Poetry Friday host.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Presents for art-lovers

Last time, I shared poetic gifts. This time, the theme is art. I tried my best to pick things that were affordable:

Calendars/advent calendars/cards:
365 Days at the Met wall calendar ($13)
Handmade Planner/Agenda Book featuring twelve artists ($28)
Artist Trading Card 2013 Mini-Calendar ($15)
My Art Museum sticker advent calendar ($20)
Warhol: Christmas Tree advent calendar ($18)
Amy Weber's holiday cards (4/$12)
She Knitted Mufflers Endlessly by Edward Gorey holiday cards ($19)
Nuit de Noel by Henri Matisse holiday cards ($10)

Frida Kahlo, self-portrait with monkeys t-shirt, Philadelphia Museum of Art ($22)
Doodle art rain boots ($23)
Autism Awareness artisan glass pendant ($20)
Watercolor scarf ($18)
15 strand gold thread necklace, National Gallery of Art shop ($40) and a matching bracelet ($20)

Out-of-the-Ordinary prints:
Dr Who Tardis/Alice in Wonderland print ($17)
The Art of Remembering papercut print ($20)
Icarus papercut print (they also have beauty and the beast) ($19)
Heavy Things papercut print ($14)
Red-riding hood/blizzard photograph ($17)
The Proposition, surreal art for writers ($18) and Love Song print, for people who sew ($15)
Paintings on playing cards (this is an octopus) ($12)
Red Phoenix ($28)

One Sketch a Day: A Visual Journal ($16)
Let's Make Some Great Art by Marion Deuchars ($20)
Beautiful OOPS! by Barney Salzberg ($13)
Zentangle Basics: A Creative Artform Where All You Need Is Paper, Pencil, & Pen by Suzanne McNeill ($9)
1,000 Artist Trading Cards: Innovative and Inspired Mixed Media ATCs by Patricia Bolton ($19)
Can You Find It?: Search and Discover More Than 150 Details in 19 Works of Art by Judith Cressy ($12)
I Spy: An Alphabet in Art by Lucy Micklethwait ($9)

Guggenheim teapot, from the National Building Museum shop ($45)
Square glass dreidel ($25)
A beautiful tote bag from the National Gallery of Art shop ($11)
iPad Shakespeare wallpapers (5/$3)
Professor Noggin's History of Art card game ($9)
A previous post about making your own gifts

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wendell Berry

Sharing this again in honor of hearing Wendell Berry on the Diane Rehm show today. *love*

excerpt of VII
by Wendell Berry

I would not have been a poet
except that I have been in love
alive in this mortal world,
or an essayist except that I
have been bewildered and afraid,
or a storyteller had I not heard
stories passing to me through the air,
or a writer at all except
I have been wakeful at night
and words have come to me
out of their deep caves
needing to be remembered.

Adding him to my list of great voices. I am a fool for a charming Southern accent.

*audio files on his site
* Wendell Berry, American Hero by Mark Bittman

Saturday, November 10, 2012

For Our Veterans

Recently, I received a press release about the David Lynch Foundation, who sponsors Operation Warrior Wellness. Here's a bit of info from the release:
United States war veterans are facing a PTSD and suicide epidemic. Every day 18 U.S. veterans commit suicide, which is more than the daily death toll of our soldiers in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Department of Veterans Affairs along with some of the nation’s leading military academies and hospitals are investigating how simple, evidence based meditation techniques can combat our veteran’s suicide and PTSD epidemic. Meditation has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD and improve resilience in our nation’s soldiers.

You can see the Foundation's videos about the military here.

The David Lynch Foundation, a 501c3 charity, sponsors Operation Warrior Wellness, an initiative to fund large-scale research on meditation for veterans and their families. The David Lynch Foundation’s Operation Warrior Wellness facilitates research and education programs on the benefits of meditation for our nation’s veterans and their families, who face tremendous struggles when returning home while coping with the trauma of war. For more information, visit (They accept donations!)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Piloting Yourself from Stone to Stone

Geometry by Nature by GollyGforce

Thank you to poet Fredrick Zydek for allowing me to share his poetry today!

The Missing Moment
by Fredrick Zydek

It's that split second when you could have said
"no" but went along with the crowd; the chance
you had to step from the chaos into a sweeter
season but allowed fear to nudge you back into

the status quo. Dream tending is a difficult art.
They must take their terrible shape in the theatre
of the imagination, wait for the perfect moment,
then roar from the silence wearing a plethora

of logical explanations and all the primary colors.
These are moments that have a lot in common
with opportunity. Often they knock only once,
cast but a brief smile in our direction, then move

on. They are moments that make or break us.
They decide the shape our karma will take, fix
our moral compass, and determine who we will be
when the sun comes up the following morning.


thorn in side (inside) by mRio

Walking on Stones and Thorns
by by Fredrick Zydek

Wanting to reform the world without discovering
one’s true self is like trying to cover the world
with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones
and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes.

— Ramana Maharashi

Some rocks are flat and smooth and as easy
to walk as well-placed stepping stones across
a country creek. Others, sharp as knives,
jagged and uneven, are as hard to navigate as
the relationship between the self and its strange
alliance with time. If only we could know things
without having to consider all the alternatives.

Sometimes I forget to think about who I am
because I get so lost in the music of everyday
speech, I don’t really hear what people are saying.
Besides, I have questions of my own: What does
believing in God mean? If Zen is mindfulness—
extracting the most from a given moment not
just in meditation but at all times—what are dreams

of the future and why do I entertain them even
while awake, trying to pilot myself from stone
to stone? If nothing on this planet is here for just
the food—what else are they doing here? I know
I’d be better off wearing shoes for the journey
but there is something to be said about going naked
through the world right down to one’s unclad toes.


The Missing Moment was published in Cicada and Walking on Stones and Thorns was featured in The New Hampshire Review

Books by Fredrick Zydek

Learning to Pray without Words by F.Z.

Thoroughly Married by F.Z.

Ed is our Poetry Friday host today.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


One kind of man I impatiently scorn is the kind that looks bored if I mention Ibsen or ceramics or Aztec civilization but is interested instantly, alertly, if I mention my garters.
~ Mary MacLane (1881-1929)

I seem to have unintentionally made the theme not just ceramics, but blue and white ceramics.

Blue Queen
by Peggy Bjerkan

18th century tiled stove
Kavaler dining room of the Catherine Palace, Russia

Ceramic Tile Car
photo by waltarrrrr

Ceramic Seahorse Vase
by Shayne Greco

Reptile skin / Piel de reptil
on the Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona, Spain
photo by Santi MB

Tripod Large Dish with Heron Design, 1690-1710s, Japan
The Kyushu Ceramic Museum

Isfahan/ Imam(Shah) Mosque, Iran
photo by A RB

Seed #16
by Rachel Montroy


AccessCeramics, a ceramics image collection
Ceramics lesson plans
Ceramics Today (feature articles)
Ceramics Monthly Magazine
Shayne Greco's Octopus Bowl

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Shakespeare Sonnet Song Cycle

I heard about the Shakespeare Sonnet Song Cycle (in Chinese) and was intrigued! Here's some info and a couple of videos:

The Shakespeare Sonnet Song Cycle
music composed by Burnett Thompson

A mosaic of musical styles, My Love is as a Fever is at once jazz, salsa, Chinese traditional music, rock and roll, and Viennese song form. The Song Cycle includes 10 of the Bard's Sonnets set to music by Burnett Thompson. The work was premiered in Shanghai on April 29, 2011 in Mandarin Chinese.

Le Zhang, Vocalist. Le Zhang is called "a rising young star with a remarkable gift" by Oscar winner Tan Dun (Crouching Tiger) for their collaboration on the Zen Shaolin Project. She is a leader in the wave of Chinese artists who bring the power of traditional Chinese musical arts to the home of American jazz.

Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012
3:00 p.m.
Castleton Theatre House
Castleton, VA

Here's a site to hear the sonnets in Chinese

Monday, November 5, 2012

International Concert Halls

Other people can tell you which concert halls are the oldest, the most beautiful, or most acoustically wonderful...I am just going to show you some concert halls that caught my eye. Fair enough? There are many fantastic concert halls, but some you might have seen already (the Sydney Opera House, for instance). So I wanted to share a range of different types, ones you might not have seen before.

Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona, Spain
UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Mexico.

Decorative figure based on Maya design at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City

Théatre des Champs Elysées, Paris, France

Theater an der Wien, Vienna, Austria
Papageno Gate, the former main entrance (1801); Emanuel Schikaneder as Papageno.

Vienna State Opera, marble staircase from the main entrance to the first floor.

The Opera House in Oslo, Norway

Tonhalle Düsseldorf, Germany

Azerbaijan State Opera and Balet Theatre


10 Fabulous U.S. Music Venues
A list of best concert halls