Monday, September 29, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

Swimming Up A Waterfall

Photo of EJ Koh by An Rong Xu

Today, EJ Koh shares two poems, plus thoughts about writing poetry. Thanks for giving me permission to post these, EJ!

Carp ascending a waterfall
by Keisai (aka Ikeda) EISEN (1790 - 1848)

Everyone Should Write Poetry
by EJ Koh

In my own Utopia, every man and woman would write a poem. They would write it with intent and care, re-write it several times, read it in a whisper, place it under the pillow before bed, and then tear it up.

For me, I became a grown-up with zero exposure to poetry. I felt love without having to write it down, or pain without trying to find a measure. Now, I write couplets to feel love, entire poems to remember pain. It’s all backwards ever since I have decided to let poetry into the center of my life.

The truth is I want to stop. Not only stop writing, but also, speaking. I want language to end for me because I’m sick of saying the same thing about my mother, about my grandmother, about my inconsiderate childhood—for years. When I’m sick of hearing myself, I turn to the craft of the poem, and even then, the rhythms sound like me. I become sick of me. No one is sick of me more than me.

Despite the lows between manuscripts, rejections, and joblessness, it’s an honor to be a poet. That’s my unpopular opinion—that a poet must remain humble, changing, and sincere. In exchange, I will opt for the shorter life, and potentially destructive, because few things in occupation depend on sincerity.

I recall this piece of information I had tucked away: There is an ancient Chinese belief that if a carp swims up a waterfall, the carp will turn into a dragon. To me, the waterfall is the life that I watched from a distance. When I read poetry, I am standing under that waterfall. I am experiencing the brunt of every droplet—of incident, memory, and dialogue.

Read the rest here.


EJ Koh is a poet and translator of Korean poetry. Her poems have appeared in Southeast Review, Columbia Review, and World Literature Today with recent work in Privacy Policy: The Anthology of Surveillance Poetics from Black Ocean Press (ed. Andrew Ridker, 2014). She earned her Masters of Fine Arts at Columbia University in New York. She was awarded a Kundiman Fellowship for Poetry and The MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She blogs at


Laura at Writing the World for Kids is the Poetry Friday round-up host today.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


We are surrounded by poetry on all sides, but putting it on paper is, alas, not as readily done as looking at it.
~Vincent Van Gogh

When I decided to have watermarks on paper be the theme for this Art Thursday, I wasn't sure it was a good idea. Watermarks, by their nature, are subtle: "A watermark is a change in the thickness of the paper that can be seen when you hold the paper up to the light" (Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking). But I wanted to, and nobody argued with me, so watermarks it is.

How are watermarks made? Gravell Watermark Archive says they are: "designs impressed into paper in the manufacturing process resulting from wires twisted into shapes and sewn onto the mold used to make the paper...they came to be used by paper manufacturers as a kind of trademark for them and their mills." The Williams Museum explains that watermarks can also be made by "relief sculptures on the mold."

In addition to stationery watermarks, there are banknote and stamp watermarks. Info about the making of stamp ones is located here and more links are included below the images.

P&O 1837 (Peninsular & Oriental)

Parchemín Calidad Extra

Watermark - Dard Hunter exhibit
Robert C. Williams Paper Museum

Self-portrait in a cap and scarf with watermark Basel crosier
by Rembrandt (1606–1669)

Hermann Eidenbenz for the German Bundesbank - banknote

Holy Apostolic Palaces
The Vatican

Un Caballero (El Greco)
Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre, Burgos, Spain (FNMT)



* A Teacher's Guide to the Science, History, Art, and Technology of Papermaking
* A history of watermarks
* A student project with watermarks
* An Instructable about how to make paper

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Laughter, Transcribed

Hat tip to Patrick, who knew I would get a kick out of this one:

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Sacred Journey

Having a Movie Monday instead of Music Monday this week. I received a press release about A Sacred Journey and found the trailer very touching:

A Sacred Journey was crowdfunded on Hatchfund.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tenants of Air

Follow the spiders...Why spiders? Why couldn’t it be "follow the butterflies"?!
~Ron Weasley

This video of a flutist who has a butterfly land on her face during a competition made me want to have a butterfly theme for Poetry Friday:

by William Roscoe

Come take up your Hats, and away let us haste
To the Butterfly's Ball, and the Grasshopper's Feast.
The Trumpeter, Gad-fly, has summon'd the Crew,
And the Revels are now only waiting for you.

So said little Robert, and pacing along,
His merry Companions came forth in a Throng.
And on the smooth Grass, by the side of a Wood,
Beneath a broad Oak that for Ages had stood,

Saw the Children of Earth, and the Tenants of Air,
For an Evening's Amusement together repair.
And there came the Beetle, so blind and so black,
Who carried the Emmet, his Friend, on his Back.

And there was the Gnat and the Dragon-fly too,
With all their Relations, Green, Orange, and Blue.
And there came the Moth, with his Plumage of Down,
And the Hornet in Jacket of Yellow and Brown;

Who with him the Wasp, his Companion, did bring,
But they promis'd, that Evening, to lay by their Sting.
And the sly little Dormouse crept out of his Hole,
And brought to the Feast his blind Brother, the Mole.

Read the rest of The Butterfly's Ball


A Blue Butterfly
by JR Solonche

I was outside reading.

A blue butterfly settled on the table.

The opening and closing of its blue wings

looked like a small blue book opening and closing to one blue page.

Then it looked like a blue eye opening and closing.

Then it looked like the blue book.

Then it looked like the blue eye.

Then the blue book.


Truth Serum
By Naomi Shihab Nye

We made it from the ground-up corn in the old back pasture.
Pinched a scent of night jasmine billowing off the fence,
popped it right in.
That frog song wanting nothing but echo?
We used that.
Stirred it widely. Noticed the clouds while stirring.
Called upon our ancient great aunts and their long slow eyes
of summer. Dropped in their names.
Added a mint leaf now and then
to hearten the broth. Added a note of cheer and worry.
Orange butterfly between the claps of thunder?

Read the rest here.


Ten Taps
by Megan Arkenberg

the ten taps of your fingertips
to a sonnet’s beat

Read the rest here (Sorry, it's short. I would have gotten permission, if I hadn't done this at the last minute...)


More flute:

A final word from Emily Dickinson:

In the name of the Bee -
And of the Butterfly –
And of the Breeze – Amen!


Amy at The Poem Farm is the Poetry Friday round-up host this week.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Eugene Ivanov

Eugene Ivanov was born in Siberia in 1966 and has been living in the Czech Republic since 1998. I love his work.

Noční hotel (Night hotel)
by Eugene Ivanov

Po železnici (By rail)
by Eugene Ivanov

Nad střechami jaro (Above the roofs of spring)
by Eugene Ivanov

Houslista (Violinist)
by Eugene Ivanov

Divadlo doby Sovětského svazu (Theatre time of the Soviet Union)
by Eugene Ivanov

Předměstí (Suburb)
by Eugene Ivanov

Pozorovatel (Observer)
by Eugene Ivanov

Dáma na balkoně (The lady on the balcony)
by Eugene Ivanov

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Two Markets

Sharing two calls for submission that I received...

Travel by the Books is open for submissions of poetry, essays, flash fiction, and reviews through October 18th for our end-of-the-year issue. We are a semiannual online journal dedicated to making literature irresistible . . . through travel. Take us to the settings of books, authors' hometowns, or hotels and bars known for literary history. Follow in a character's footsteps. Create your own literary tour or review one that exists. For more information and writers' guidelines, please see Travel by the Books.

Submissions link: submissionsATtravelbythebooksDOTcom. Send an email proposing your idea and a brief bio.

Deadline: October 18th, 2014


Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine is looking for essays, stories, art, and poems that capture the essence and immediacy of the beast. Animal is a subject-specific lit mag, however loosely we define “animal.” In some form, we want a literal beast as a central character or motif. Render on the page what is both alien and familiar about an animal, animals, or being “animal.”

Poetry: needs avant-garde, free verse, traditional. Send up to five poems. Total not to exceed five pages.

Art: needs the essence of the beast as you see it–we prefer images that feature other species, filtered through human perception. Photos or other work that can be digitally represented online and in print; any kind of visual art that translates to e-space well, including photographs of installations and sculptures. Please send works that are at least 300 dpi, preferably in .jpg form.

To Submit: Please send submissions pasted into the body of an e-mail, as well as attached to the e-mail as a MS Word-compatible document, to animalliterarymagazine @ Put the title and genre of work in your subject line. Please send questions for the literary magazine at the same address to Sarah Cedeno, fiction editor; Danita Berg, non-fiction editor; Stephen Mills, poetry editor, and Marley Andretti, Art Editor.

Animal will consider simultaneous submissions, but asks that you notify us immediately if you are accepted elsewhere. We do not reprint work published elsewhere, in any form. Please send submissions pasted into the body of an e-mail, as well as attached to the e-mail as a MS Word-compatible document, to animalliterarymagazineATgmailDOTcom. Put the title and genre of work in your subject line. In the cover-letter portion of your email, include the title and word count. Submissions that do not follow these guidelines may be deleted unread.


Some poems from Animal:

Year of the Rabbit by Glen Armstrong
Japanese-American Beetle by Aaron DeLee
Why I Tried to Save the Bird, Which I Think Now Was a Grackle by Tracy Youngblom

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Little Ditty

For Music Monday, a video I saw on Memphis-based DittyTV (Americana Music Television). Guitars and voices, that's it:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Acrostic Limericks

A lady whose name was McCord
Once over this limerick pored
To find the evil design
Hidden in the last line
But alas, she could not see the
~author unknown (a limerick, but not an acrostic)

This week, O.V. Michaelsen got me thinking about limericks that are also acrostics when he sent me this:

by O.V. Michaelsen

Avoiding the void is a must,
But stillness attracts too much dust.
Your home isn’t ANYwhere.
Some will find MANY there,
Strayed, though a few will adjust.

I hadn't heard of acrostic limericks before, but I couldn't help wanting to give them a try. To get started, you just need to think of five-letter words. Hmm, what should mine be?

Perhaps you need a friendly welcome,
Unbridled joy, a tail never glum?
Please consider this --
Pooches love to kiss!
You'll never lack a belly to rub.

One more, but this time not based on something close to home. I wish I had time to make an illustration of Malcolm the Moody Monster:

Malcolm the monster is irked
Over people who claim he's a jerk --
Oh, there are cars he crushes
Down to silvery mushes...
You could say that it's just a quirk.


Madeleine Begun Kane has written quite a few acrostic limericks. For instance, this musical one:

Oh the sound of this instrument’s glorious,
But playing it’s rather laborious.
Out a thin double reed...

Read the rest here (and more acrostic limericks here).


No Water River has the Poetry Friday round-up today.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Opening the Box

As a child when I read the Greek myth about Pandora, I didn't have a lot of patience with her. My attitude was pretty much like the guy in Walter Crane's illustration:

Pandora Opens The Box
by Walter Crane

But now that I have kids and pets, I have more sympathy with youthful blunders. Our puppy Lucy, for example, has a real weakness for my plants. As in, they smell delicious and are just right for chewing. I have asked her to leave them alone, but clearly, just telling her to avoid temptation is not going to do the trick.

Obviously a lot more is at stake in Pandora's case, but she doesn't know that, does she? I think maybe that's why Frederick S. Church's version is a particular favorite of mine. The poor thing has realized what she's done and is trying to close the box back up.

Opened up a Pandora's box
Frederick Stuart Church

More Pandora, starting with Waterhouse's version, which seems like it would be captioned "I'll just take a little peek":

by John William Waterhouse

by Odilon Redon

by Alexandre Cabanel

Pandora porcelain plate
After Charles Lenoir. Signed: O. Dietrich.

by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

by Helen Stratton - A book of myths (1915)

Detail of terracotta vessel with Pandora myth
photo by Pilar Torres

Pandora's Box
by Andrew Junge

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

Free eBook about Reading

Teachers and tutors might be interested in Scholastic's Open a World of Possible, a free eBook that collects readers' stories about their reading lives. I heard about this from Franki at A Year of Reading who says, "Open a World of Possible has come at the perfect time--the beginning of a new school year. Building a community of readers is such an important part of our work. And I find that for that to happen, students need to begin to build their own identity as readers. I want them to know themselves as readers and to live their lives as a reader, both in and out of school. For them to become lifelong readers, they need to see themselves as unique readers."

Students need to feel free to have preferences and opinions, to experiment with trying out new books, to share their favorites with each other. Students need the opportunity to read joyfully.

As Scholastic says, "When that happens, the world opens. Everything becomes possible."

A Little Respect

it's gettin' kinda cold in these painted on cut off jeans
I hate the way this bikini top chafes
Do I really have to wear it all day? (Yeah baby)
~Maddie and Tae, Girl in a Country Song

I've sung along with songs about painted-on blue jeans (my daughters and I pretty much never miss a "mooood ring"), but I think this video expresses something that we've all been wishing someone would say:

That said, I don't mean to imply that other genres of music are necessarily better! But that's an issue for another day...

Friday, September 5, 2014

I Will Pledge With Mine

Roses by Simona

Song: to Celia [“Drink to me only with thine eyes”]
by Ben Jonson

Drink to me only with thine eyes,
     And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
     And I’ll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
     Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove’s nectar sup,
     I would not change for thine.

I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
     Not so much honouring thee
As giving it a hope, that there
     It could not withered be.
But thou thereon didst only breathe,
     And sent’st it back to me;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
     Not of itself, but thee.

Want one more? The Opera Babes also sing it.

The Poetry Friday round-up host is Laura at Author Amok.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Bridges are perhaps the most invisible form of public architecture.
~Bruce Jackson

Taking a closer look at overlooked architecture today:

Severn Bridge
engraving by George J. Stodart

On the Pont de l’Europe
by Gustave Caillebotte

Blechen-Umkreis Landschaft mit Brücke

Brücke über den Barranco de las Angustias, La Palma Islas Canarias
by Neithard Horn

Part of the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, no. 076, part 3: Autumn
by Hiroshige

Ansicht von Brügge mit Rathaus
by August Fischer

At the Waterfall
by Anton Romako

Bridge over the Black Brook Road
by Carl Grossberg

View of the Place de l' Hotel de Ville and Notre Dame Bridge
by Charles Hoffbauer

Château d'Henri IV à Pau - Fonds Ancely
Pierre Gorse

* Bridge silhouette art lesson
* Monet-inspired bridge and water lily paintings
* Cherry blossom bridge painting video

Monday, September 1, 2014

Above Water

This Melissa Polinar/Jeremy Passion song gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it. (I shared a Bluey Robinson/Jeremy Passion video a while back.)