Saturday, August 31, 2013

Want to see something cool?

How much do I love this group of people, bringing books from their old library to their new one by passing them hand to hand? Profoundly.

Crozet kids giving back to their community

Visit Lissa's blog to see the Crozet Library Book Brigade.

Friday, August 30, 2013


No man can read Hardy's poems collected but that his own life, and forgotten moments of it, will come back to him, in a flash here and an hour there. Have you a better test of true poetry? ~Ezra Pound

This list of poems inspired by poets and others could be much longer -- I just ran out of time. If you have some to add, please let me know:

"Poem for Mary Shelley" by Joel Allegretti
"Ode to Ogden Nash" by Charles Ghigna
"Thanks, Robert Frost" by David Ray
"Emily Dickinson's To-Do List" by Andrea Carlisle
"In Shakespeare" by James Richardson
"Defending Walt Whitman" by Sherman Alexie
"Browning Decides to Be a Poet" by Jorge Luis Borges
"Emily Dickinson Leaves a Message To the World Now that Her Homestead In Amherst Has An Answering Machine" by X. J. Kennedy
"Whitman" by Alfred Kreymborg and "To W.C.W. M.D." by Alfred Kreymborg (for William Carlos Williams)

Patti Smith Plans Tribute to Poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson
A list of poems to and about Emily Dickinson
A list of poems inspired by Robert Frost
The Miracle Already Happening, a book of poems inspired by Rumi, written by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

"I imagine myself as Anne Frank" from "Babi Yar" by Shostakovich
"Faith of a Mustard Seed" by Anita Hope Smith (about Anne Frank)
"Rachel Carson, Reborn at Sea" by Laura Purdie Salas
"Harriet Beecher Stowe" by Paul Laurence Dunbar

"Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell" by Marty McConnell
"Monet Refuses the Operation" By Lisel Mueller
"Spring Pointillists" by Joanne Lowery
"On Hearing a Symphony of Beethoven" by Edna St. Vincent Millay
"Mingus at the Showplace" by William Matthews

"Prelude: Rosa Parks at Her Booking" by Val Nieman
"Frederick Douglass" by Robert Hayden
"Helen Keller" by Edmund Clarence Stedman
"Margo and Sir Walter" by Elizabeth Smither (Sir Walter Raleigh)
"Cold War Champions: Bobby Fischer and Yuri Gagarin Descend to Earth" by Mary A. Turzillo


Dear Amy Nehzooukammyatootill, by Aimee Nezhukumatathil (Walt Whitman)
Shoplifting Poetry by Martin Steingesser
Allegro by Tomas Tranströmer (Haydn)
Mozart Sends Concertos to the Horn Player Joseph Leutgeb by Tabatha Yeatts

Tara has the Poetry Friday round-up at A Teaching Life.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Meeting with Triumph and Disaster

Today we are looking at visuals for Rudyard Kipling's poem "If." When my son, age 15, read this poem recently, he looked up afterwards with a "Yes!" expression on his face and said, "You wouldn't just be a man; you'd be a *boss*!"

First up, listening to "If." I'm not sure who this is. Ralph Fiennes?

If by Rudyard Kipling
Calligraphy by Susan Loy

A line from "If"
photo from Academy of American Poets

Pugyard Kipling
by Chet Phillips

If by Rudyard Kipling
Poster by Kunal Sawant

If by Rudyard Kipling
Poster by Sailor Danny

If by Rudyard Kipling
Poster by Stefano Agabio


* "If" illustrated by Effie Pappa
* "If" has its own Facebook page.
* You can get a t-shirt featuring Kipling's mustache.
* Kipling wrote a story that I found thrillingly terrifying as a child. Anyone else remember it?
* David Gilmour: "Kipling was so disgusted by the Nazis and the sight of their flag that he removed the swastika, a Hindu symbol of good luck, from his bookbindings. It had been his trademark for nearly forty years but it was now 'defiled beyond redemption'."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ain't got a worry in the world, but...

Spanish musician Juan Zelada

Not music-related, but want to see some film contest finalists? Very interesting work!

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Cleave Poem

Cleave: Split or sever (something), esp. along a natural line or grain.

What is a cleave poem? I hadn't heard of them before reading one at The Storyteller's Scroll. Gayle explains "It is three poems in one. Read the left column vertically as poem #1, the right column as poem #2 and the entire poem horizontally as poem #3." I thought that sounded irresistibly impossible, so I gave it a try. I wrote this for my mom's birthday:

Warmth, Delivered

She tends to her         blocks of comfort and color
duties as faithfully       quilted together
as the                          warm
sun delivers                 my
morning                       song


More cleave poems:

* Releasing and Relishing by Rama Devi Nina Marshall
* A collaborative cleave poem by Helen Williams and Kat Austen.
* And as if a cleave poem with two columns wasn't enough of a challenge, here's one with three columns: Marrow by Andrea Barton.

Betsy at I Think in Poems is our Poetry Friday host today.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Travelin' On

I wanted to be a bus driver when I was a kid. I look at bus driving through the eyes of a little boy. I see it as glamorous.
~Jim Lehrer

This Art Thursday, we're riding the bus:

London Booster by David Černý
photo by Stephen McKay

The Bus
by Frida Kahlo

The Omnibus, 1864
by Honore Daumier

Arts Matter School Bus, designed by Barbara Kruger for LAUSD and The Los Angeles Fund
photo by Waltarrrrr

Bryant St. Mural, San Francisco, close-up
photo by Amy Halverson

Study for The Top of the Bus
by Harold Harvey (1874–1941)

Ganesh Bus (from Burning Man)
photo by Hep

Bronze Bus Stop / Zastavka
by sculptor David Černý, 2005
photo by Vlasta Juricek

Vertical Bus, installation by Générik Vapeur for La Nuit Blanche Festival
photo by Josh Clark



A sampling of songs about buses or that mention buses: "Magic Bus" by The Who, "Under the Boardwalk" by The Drifters, "Bus Stop" by The Hollies, "New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel, "Roll Bus Roll" by Jeffrey Lewis, "Ramblin' Man" by The Allman Brothers, "Kiss Me On The Bus" by The Replacements, "Greyhound Bus Station" by R.L. Burnside, "Windows are Rolled Down" by Amos Lee, "Backseat of a Greyhound Bus" by Sara Evans, "Ride the Bus" by Buck-O-Nine, "Thank God and Greyhound" by Roy Clark, "Another One Rides the Bus" by "Weird Al" Yankovic, and "The Wheels on the Bus," an anonymous folk song.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Musical Fonts

Want some music-themed fonts? Dafont has a number of free ones, including these:

Music Man

Distracted Musician


Also, here's a Rimsky-Korsakov composition performed by Brass and bottles:

Friday, August 16, 2013

This world is all on wax, on wane

Apollo 15 Flight Journal Image

Today I'm en route to Nashville, where my oldest will begin attending Vanderbilt University. Seems like a good time to think about waxing and waning and life rolling on in fleetness.

Since the new school year is about to start, this also seems like a good time to thank teachers. Some of my favorites have included Janice Roback (elementary school), Gwendolyn Chenault (middle school, Latin), Ray Van Dyke (high school, English), Carol Manning (undergraduate advisor), and the late Samuel Becker (graduate, Communications). It doesn't get any better than these folks. Thank you.


By Christina Rossetti

The half moon shows a face of plaintive sweetness
   Ready and poised to wax or wane;
A fire of pale desire in incompleteness,
   Tending to pleasure or to pain:-
Lo, while we gaze she rolleth on in fleetness
   To perfect loss or perfect gain.
Half bitterness we know, we know half sweetness;
   This world is all on wax, on wane:
When shall completeness round time's incompleteness,
   Fulfilling joy, fulfilling pain?-
Lo, while we ask, life rolleth on in fleetness
   To finished loss or finished gain.


Steps and Staircases is our Poetry Friday round-up host.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


The Spoonsize Boys steal the dollhouse toys while the cat by the fire is curled. Then away they floats in their eggshell boats, down the drains to their underground world.
~Tim Powers

Darth Vader's dollhouse? Check. Dollhouse's dollhouse? Check. Miniature-food genius? Check. You may proceed.

Dollhouse for a dollhouse
photo by Bellafaye

Dollhouse inside House on the Rock
photo by John Kroll

Stettheimer Dollhouse
photo by Kristine Paulus

Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle
photo by Kathy

Dollhouse Candy Cabinet
by Stéphanie Kilgast

Dollhouse bedroom
photo by Béatrice

Dollhouse library
photo by dmmalva

Bedtime Story
by Chris Nitz

Gingerbread House in Progress
by Stéphanie Kilgast

Dollhouse full of bees
photo by shelmac
At night they all retired to the honeycombs in the kitchen, Lo-Fi Arts Festival, 2012


* Let's Build a Dollhouse, how-to site
* Make an easy bookcase dollhouse
* Dollhouse wall boxes (dioramas)
* Miniatures tutorials

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Creepiness Factor

I don't trust or love anyone. Because people are so creepy. Creepy creepy creeps. Creeping around. Creeping here and creeping there. Creeping everywhere.
~Vincent Gallo *

Have you ever been listening to a song -- maybe one you've heard lots of times -- and suddenly noticed how creepy the lyrics are? It took me a long time to notice that "Rolling in the Deep" sounds a bit scary ("Don't underestimate the things that I will do"; "You're going to wish you never had met me").

"Every Breath You Take" by the Police is famous for being creepy, and probably everyone who heard "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" by the Beatles caught the lyrics the first time. What about "Wake Up Call" by Maroon 5 or "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People? Does the cheerfulness of the melody make the words seem less creepy?

Those lyrics are pretty directly threatening, but there are others that are a bit more ambiguous. Some people say that "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls is ominous. Think so? I like the song "You Are Mine" by Mutemath and some people even use it as a wedding reception song, but I can see how the lyrics can sound stalker-y:

In Miranda Lambert's popular Mama's Broken Heart, the narrator doesn't want to hide her crazy:

Better Dig Two reminds me of an Edgar Allan Poe story -- it seems intentionally spooky. What do you think about creepy lyrics? Do they ever scare you off a song?

* Is it ironic that Vincent Gallo's quote is creepy?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Out There

NASA E/PO, Sonoma State University, Aurore Simonnet

As we know, poetry is for everybody: people in the military, police officers, people who like math, doctors, artists, presidents, suffragists, people who die, people who speak ASL, people who like Doctor Who, and, of course, people at the Division of Poetic Licensing. So it's no surprise that science-minded/astronomy types would write poems:

From The Periodic Table of Haiku:

1: Hydrogen
by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

two-thirds of water
a big part of all of us
and the bones of stars


HD179949 (for Mother’s Day)
by Greg Beatty

Shane Erno/UBC - NRC Canada

The return address I know
my whole life: my home.
Opening the envelope,
a clipping slips out.
HD 179949, I read.

read the rest here.


A SciFaiku:

on blackhole's edge
drifts me in

~Todd Hoff


* Astropoetry by children
* National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Poetry Corner
* Comet Hyakutake by Arthur Sze
* The End of Science Fiction by Lisel Mueller


The Poetry Friday round-up is at No Water River today.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Music for the Eyes

Just as writing can become calligraphy when it’s creatively, skillfully, and consciously performed, so can all other activities become art.
~H.E. Davey

I have featured the beautiful art of calligraphy before. Today, we have calligraphy on various surfaces and from all angles:

Water Calligraphy, Jingshan Park, China
photo by Brian Beggerly

Calligraphy: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quotes
by kateinoregon

At the Afsarwala Mosque within the Humayun's Tomb Complex
photo by Sourav Das

Calligraphy Brushes
photo by Kari

Calligraphy legos, 博 bó
photo by Empress of Blandings

Treasure of the Aga Khan
photo by Maxpax

photo by 5u5

photo by Jessica Lucia

Turkish Islamic Calligraphy Art
photo from Ottoman Calligraphy

Calligraphy is the art to put the brush on paper properly and then accurately remove it.
~saying from the International Exhibition of Calligraphy site

Monday, August 5, 2013

Coursera Music Classes

From what I hear Coursera is excellent, so for Music Monday I thought I'd share their fall music course listings (plus one from January). The classes are held online and are free.

* Survey of Music Technology starts Aug. 26th, 2013 and is 6 weeks long (Georgia Institute of Technology)

* History of Rock, Part One starts Sept. 2nd, 2013 and is 7 weeks long (University of Rochester)

* Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas starts Sept. 3rd 2013 and is 5 weeks long (Curtis Institute of Music)

* The Language of Hollywood: Storytelling, Sound, and Color starts Sept. 16th, 2013 and is 5 weeks long (Wesleyan University)

* Fundamentals of Rehearsing Music Ensembles starts Sept. 23rd, 2013 and is 8 weeks long (The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

* Introduction to Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists starts October 2013 and is 8 weeks long (California Institute of the Arts)

* From the Repertoire: Western Music History through Performance starts Oct. 1st, 2013 and is 7 weeks long (Curtis Institute of Music)

* Write Like Mozart: An Introduction to Classical Music Composition starts January 2014 and is 6 weeks long (National University of Singapore)

There's also a poetry class coming up:

* Modern & Contemporary American Poetry starts Sept. 7th, 2013 and is 10 weeks long (University of Pennsylvania)


I wanted to include a song for you, so here's a little something for Dr. Horrible fans. My son says these guys are "fresh."

Here's another song for folks who don't know Dr. Horrible: I've Got This Friend by The Civil Wars. I love the back-and-forth of the lyrics.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Sail to Me

“The night seemed suddenly defiled by the absence of music, as if the silence itself was injecting a sickness that only another song could cure.”
~Jake Vander Ark, The Accidental Siren

In Greek mythology, sirens are irresistible, treacherous creatures who lure sailors to their doom with their songs. The concept of a "siren song" has been fodder for poets and songwriters alike.

siren on a fountain in Madrid, photo by Marki

A siren song sung by Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, and Alison Krauss:


Siren Song
By Margaret Atwood

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:

the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see the beached skulls...

read the rest here


Song to the Siren, a song written by Tim Buckley and covered by David Gray:


excerpt from The Sirens
by James Russell Lowell

Look how the gray old Ocean
From the depth of his heart rejoices,
Heaving with a gentle motion,
When he hears our restful voices;

read the rest here


Another quote: "Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence. And though admittedly such a thing never happened, it is still conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence certainly never."
~Franz Kafka

Margaret is our Poetry Friday host today at Reflections on the Teche.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Jackie Morris

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
~ from The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear

Art by writer/illustrator Jackie Morris today. Jackie's work caught my eye in The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems. It's a gorgeous book. Thank you, Jackie, for giving me permission to share these!

Owl and the Pussycat

Jack Be Nimble

Little Beau Peep and the Big Black Sheep

Snow Leopard

She Fed Him Rosehips

Cover for Fool's Fate by Robin Hobb

Song for an Angel Cat

Half a pound of tuppenny rice

Seated Angel Hound with gold leaf wing and embellished cushion.

The Music Makers

Moonlit Apples

Reading by Bearlight (from East of the Sun)

Jackie has prints for sale. If I could afford one, I would get Sleeping Child.