Friday, February 28, 2014

The Space Through Which We Move

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
~William Penn

Fire Victim
By Ned Balbo

Once, boarding the train to New York City,
The aisle crowded and all seats filled, I glimpsed
An open space—more pushing, stuck in place—
And then saw why: a man, face peeled away,

Read the rest here


Anastasia at Poet, Poet has the Poetry Friday round-up.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

wood and sweat, hammer and saw, and solitary dreaming

Whether made into a wooden pillow or table, wood with excellent grain is a guarantee of splendid poems, and the composition of perfect documents.
~Liu Sheng

Saint Joseph in his Studio
by The Master of Flémalle, Robert Campin (c. 1375–1444)

Bronze Statue of Violin-Maker Mathias Klotz, 1888

Wood carvings in a Buddhist temple, Thailand
photo by Uwe Schwarzbach

Craftsman When Turning
by Gustave Jeanneret (1847–1927)

Maori Wood Art in Tree
photo by Gerald O'Sullivan

Saint Joseph, Patron Saint of Carpenters, with the child Jesus, 1640s
by Georges de la Tour

View of a Frame-Maker's Workshop
by Anonymous

Early Spring, 1917
by Albin Egger-Lienz

The Hannah Cabinet
by Geoff Hannah
This was made over six years using 34 different timbers, 4 species of shell, and 17 varieties of precious stone. It has 18 doors and 140 drawers.
photo by spelio

Country Craftsmen, scene from Virgil
by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607–1677)

The title of this post comes from Yusef Komunyakaa's section of Honor Thy Hands: Carpentry and Poetry.

Monday, February 24, 2014

L'apprenti Sorcier

May you have two legs,
And a head on top;
Take the bucket, quick!
Hurry, do not stop!
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you enjoy Paul Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Scherzo after a Ballad by Goethe, check out this excellent Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France performance:

Hollywood Studios Magic Brooms photo by Jeff Krause

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Whitman Poetry Contest for Students

Walt Whitman Birthplace is holding their 28th annual poetry contest. Students in grades 3-12 are invited to submit poems up to two pages long postmarked by March 14th. The Walt Whitman Birthplace site says:
Contest: Write a poem about singing


O to make the most jubilant song!
Full of music—full of manhood, womanhood, infancy!
Full of common employments—full of grain and trees.
O for the voices of animals—O for the swiftness and balance of fishes!
O for the dropping of raindrops in a song!
O for the sunshine and motion of waves in a song!
O the joy of my spirit—it is uncaged—it darts like lightning!
It is not enough to have this globe or a certain time,
I will have thousands of globes and all time.
-- Walt Whitman

In order to write this poem, you will need to think of the things of this world that make you joyful. Look and listen to those around you. Like Whitman, consider the many people, places, activities, etc. in your everyday life.

Use Whitman’s technique of detailed descriptions and use of the senses to compose your poem. Include some or all of your senses: see, smell, taste, touch, hear. Remember to use images, similes and metaphors to show us your ideas. Your poem should employ a longer line, like those of Whitman. Search for unusual words and craft them into poetics of sounds, repeating letters for alliteration and vowels for assonance. Try to avoid end rhymes, although slant or internal rhymes may be used.

With this swirl of involvement and observation, your writing will capture a world in itself.

Good luck!
Poetry Contest
Carolyn Diglio, Education Coordinator
Walt Whitman Birthplace Association
246 Old Walt Whitman Road
Huntington Station, NY 11746-4148

Visit the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association website for additional information and instructions.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Heroic Hearts

I am a part of all that I have met.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Did you know that Geoffrey Chaucer was a "versificator regis" (an early version of the Poet Laureate)? I saw some other familiar names on the list of British poet laureates, such as Edmund Spenser, Ben Jonson, John Dryden, and William Wordsworth. Today's poem is by Tennyson, who was the poet laureate of Great Britain for 42 years (from 1850 until his death in 1892):

an excerpt from Ulysses
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

If I had a flower for every time I thought of you...I could walk through my garden forever.
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Karen Edmisten has this week's Poetry Friday round-up.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Every day is a new adventure to me, a new opportunity to do something meaningful.
~Elsa Mora

Thank you to Los Angeles-based, Cuban-born Elsa Mora for giving me permission to share these today. Not only is she talented in many media, she has a beautiful, big-hearted spirit.

Dear Santa
by Elsa Mora

Amelia the Paper Cutter and her Assistant Osvaldo
by Elsa Mora

A close-up of the miniature paper cutting
by Elsa Mora

from The Art is a Way Project
by Elsa Mora

Watercolor Illustration 7
by Elsa Mora

by Elsa Mora

Miniature Paper Ring Sculpture
by Elsa Mora

Rush Hour
by Elsa Mora

Embroidered Headband
by Elsa Mora

Elsa's Etsy shop
All About Papercutting

Monday, February 17, 2014

Snarky Puppy

Snarky Puppy and guests today. I'm including an extra video of Jayna because she and her mom are so cute:

Recently, Snarky Puppy won the Grammy for Best R&B performance for "Something" featuring Lalah Hathaway. You can see it here. Around minute 6, she sings two notes simultaneously. The expression on the drummer's face is priceless.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dreaming of a Shadowy Man

Hear undernead dis laitl stean       Here underneath this little stone
Lais Robert Earl of Huntingun       Lies Robert Earl of Huntington
Near arcir der as hie sa geud       Never archer there as he so good
An pipl kauld im Robin Heud        And people called him Robin Hood
Sic utlaws as hi an is men           Such outlaws as him and his men
Vil England nivr si agen.               Will England never see again
~ Obiit 24 Kal Dekembris 1247

Shadow in the Grass by T.J. Gehling

We have a visit to Sherwood Forest today, with Alfred Noyes of The Highwayman fame:

A Song of Sherwood
by Alfred Noyes

Sherwood in the twilight, is Robin Hood awake?
Grey and ghostly shadows are gliding through the brake,
Shadows of the dappled deer, dreaming of the morn,
Dreaming of a shadowy man that winds a shadowy horn.

Robin Hood is here again: all his merry thieves
Hear a ghostly bugle-note shivering through the leaves,
Calling as he used to call, faint and far away,
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

Merry, merry England has kissed the lips of June:
All the wings of fairyland were here beneath the moon,
Like a flight of rose-leaves fluttering in a mist
Of opal and ruby and pearl and amethyst.

Merry, merry England is waking as of old,
With eyes of blither hazel and hair of brighter gold:
For Robin Hood is here again beneath the bursting spray
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

Love is in the greenwood building him a house
Of wild rose and hawthorn and honeysuckle boughs:
Love is in the greenwood, dawn is in the skies,
And Marian is waiting with a glory in her eyes.

read the rest here


Don't forget to join the Directory of Imaginary Poems! Send me your Hogsmeade haiku, your Isla de la Muerta madrigal, your Lilliput limerick, your Treasure Island triolet, your Pixie Hollow pantoum, your Lower Slobbovia list poem, your Bikini Bottom ballad, your Emerald City epigram, your Avonlea acrostic. Poems from students are welcome!

Linda at TeacherDance is the Poetry Friday round-up host today.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Olympic Art

The road to the Olympics, leads to no city, no country. It goes far beyond New York or Moscow, ancient Greece or Nazi Germany. The road to the Olympics leads — in the end — to the best within us.
~Jesse Owens

Statue of doves bringing an olive wreath to Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games, Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta, photo by Robert Neff

Did you know that some people won Olympic medals for the arts? A few years ago, I featured paintings by Olympic medal winner Jack Butler Yeats (poet William Butler Yeats' brother). Here's some more info about the Olympic arts competitions:
Art competitions were part of the Olympic program from 1912 to 1948. Medals were awarded in five categories (architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture), for works inspired by sport-related themes.

At a meeting of the International Olympic Committee in 1949, it was decided to hold art exhibitions instead, as it was judged illogical to permit professionals to compete in the art competitions but only amateurs were permitted to compete in sporting events. Since 1952, a non-competitive art and cultural festival has been associated with each Games. (Wikipedia)
I don't have the paintings that won the medals, but here are other paintings by those artists, plus a close-up look at a medal, and an Olympic park sculpture:

At the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, Laura Knight won the Silver Medal in Painting with the painting Boxer (1917).

The Nuremberg Trial, 1946
by Laura Knight

A barrage balloon being hoisted into position, outside Coventry, 1943.
by Laura Knight

Isaac Israëls won a Gold Medal at the 1928 Olympic Games for his painting Red Rider.

Painting of Mata Hari, 1916
by Isaac Israëls

Transport of colonial soldiers
by Isaac Israëls

Jean Jacoby won Olympic gold medals in the Olympic art competitions of 1924 AND 1928.

by Jean Jacoby (1891-1936)

John Woodruff's gold Medal from the XI Olympic Games, Berlin, Germany, 1936.
photo by Darryl Bishop

The Seoul Olympic Park, 1986
U.S. Army photo by Edward N. Johnson

* Sochi Cultural Olympiad (and an article about it)
* London 2012 Cultural Olympiad (and an article about it)
* The Commission for Culture and Olympic Education
* All Time Medal Count for Art Contests

One more quote from Olympian Jesse Owens: “The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself – the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us – that’s where it’s at.”

Monday, February 10, 2014

As We Ran

Between now and Feb 28th, all earnings from downloads of the song As We Ran will benefit the National Parks Conservation Association. It's only 99 cents!

Another song by the band The National Parks:

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Book Giving Day is Feb 14th

Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it's much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!
~Neil Gaiman

International Book Giving Day is coming up!

You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words.
~Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ink-Stained Hands

Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass?
~Michael Torke

Excerpts from poems about composers today. Have I ever posted about Bach? Oh yes, that's right, I have. Mozart, too.

an excerpt from The Stillness of the World Before Bach
by Lars Gustafsson

There must have been a world before
the Trio Sonata in D, a world before the A minor partita,
but what kind of a world?
A Europe of vast empty spaces, unresounding,
everywhere unawakened instruments
where the Musical Offering, the Well-Tempered Clavier
never passed across the keys.
Isolated churches
where the soprano line of the Passion
never in helpless love twined round
the gentler movements of the flute...

read the rest here


an excerpt from To J. S. Bach
by Michael Thwaites

Most holy art
Expressing heavenly love to human heart -
The agony and sweat, the cry, the peace
That passed all understanding, Bach, but yours.

Your joy was new forever.



an excerpt from Mozart's Requiem
by Anne Marie Macari

... the music that has everything
even terror, how believing

when I hear it, almost too beautiful to be
human voices, knowing it

so well I can almost sing
all parts, and want to sing,

a kind of purification, a prayer, like the story of him

still composing when he died — as if without
agony — music all over

the bed, last contractions, timpani, cellos,

his ink-stained hands.

read the rest here


* More music links, including posts on other composers (Beethoven, Brahms, Lang, Whitacre, etc.)

No Water River has the Poetry Friday round-up this week.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix.
~Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock

Today's post was inspired by an interesting MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) at Future Learn called Good Brain, Bad Brain.

Visualization of a DTI measurement of a human brain
Rendering by Thomas Schultz; the dataset is courtesy of Gordon Kindlmann at the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute, University of Utah, and Andrew Alexander, W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behaviour, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Danzamente – the dance of connections
by Sara Ambrosino, Emmanuela Ambrosino NICHE Neuroimaging Lab, Psychiatry Department, UMC Utrecht, The Netherlands

MEG source connectivity analysis using 3D graph visualization
by Sebastien Dery, Montreal Neurological Institute

Man Takes Brain for a Walk
by Crash the Rocks

Harmony between polarities
by Sara La Gioia

Neural I
by Sal Hunter, University of Cambridge UK

Lace Brain
by Michel Thiebaut de Schotten, Benedicte Batrancourt

Baby Brain
by bixentro

Monday, February 3, 2014


A flower blossoms for its own joy.
~Oscar Wilde

If you've been following along, you know what the V is for. Today, we've got music-making alone and in a group:

* Kimbra
* Shakey Graves
* Wild Child
* Marmalakes
* The original Dead End Street (by The Kinks)