Posts Tagged: poetry

Tidbits for Your Weekend

Photo of Pear blossom taken by Ms. Jen with her Lumia 950

I have been collecting links for about a month now, some of these you may have already seen but enjoy the ones you have not yet read:

From the Stories, Myth, and Fiction Beat:’s short fiction and poetry series: Nevertheless, She Persisted containing the marvelous The Jump Rope Rhyme by Jo Walton, plus many others

A morning coffee break in the woods, with good companions

Four Kinds of Dystopia

The Fairy Tales of Giambattista Basile’s Il Pentameron

From The Science Beat:

Comet 41P/T-G-K Tangles with the Great Bear : Get out your binoculars and look for the comet in the next two weeks.

New Way to Fight Superbugs Found in Noxious Weed : When folk medicine helps fight MRSA

A Medical Marvel : Wherein reviewing old manuscripts yields a 1000 year old eye cure from Bald’s Leechbook, an Anglo-Saxon medical recipe book.

The Very Drugged Nazis : What is says on the tin

Gotta See It! Four Planets Directly Imaged In Motion Around The Star HR 8799

Researchers create ‘time crystals’ envisioned by Princeton scientists : How about adding a little time to your crystal molecules?

The Education Beat:

And for centuries, segregated by age but never by background, all students congregate in the large meeting room for their 40 minutes of quiet reflection every week. While the meetings always begin in silence, they can eventually be punctuated by the thoughts of anyone in the room who has something to share.

School officials concede that the meeting is sometimes viewed as an imposition by younger students, but say this tends not to be a lasting attitude.

“Invariably, when alums come back here, the thing they say they miss the most is our weekly meeting,” said Travis Larrabee, the high school director. “In what other part of society do you sit in silence with 500 other people?” – Before Matt Ryan’s Ascent, a Quiet Grounding in the Quaker Way

Wanted: Factory Workers, Degree Required

In Hillsdale College, a ‘Shining City on a Hill’ for Conservatives

The question remains is it possible to have a liberal great books education that builds on the western canon and adds in a diverse array of women, POC, the 20th Cent, and post-modernism? I know so. I learned it at Scripps College from 1986-1988.

In the Red of the Fields

Seal Beach sky just before sunset

Fri 11.11.11 – Remembrance or Veteran’s Day depending on where you live. A day set up to remember the WWI veterans, who are all gone, and the WWII vets are passing now.
Two of my great-grandfathers who served in the Great War, both returned to father daughters in February of 1920, one to still have relative good acclaim in the family and one who returned quite twisted and the echos still reverberate.
In Flanders Fields (1915)
In Fanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1872-1918), Canadian Army Medical Corps

Ash Wednesday, or Two Bird Houses for Your Soul

The Two Bird House Tree on 12th Street
Photo taken this morning by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N8.
Wed 03.09.11 – I was raised vaguely Presbyterian and spent most of my twenties and early thirties attending a Vineyard church, so I am more than a bit oblivious about the Lenten traditions be they Fat Tuesday (Marti Gras), Ash Wednesday, and the 40 days that follow up to Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday was what was celebrated when I was growing up, and then Easter week as an adult but not the full 40 days up to.
While I have not celebrated Lent before, I do appreciate the idea of giving up something in your life for 40 days as a spiritual discipline. This year, I have decided that I will celebrate my first Lenten season by giving up thinking about & reading about Nokia+Microsoft alliance, as it has not been good for my soul to keep gnawing at it. To that end, I promised my Twitter followers yesterday that I would not tweet about Microsoft for the next 40 days. I can tweet about Nokia, but not the behemoth from Redmond.
Lent” by Christina Rossetti (c. 1886)
It is good to be last not first,
Pending the present distress;
It is good to hunger and thirst,
So it be for righteousness.
It is good to spend and be spent,
It is good to watch and to pray:
Life and Death make a goodly Lent
So it leads us to Easter Day.

I have Dreed my Dree, I have Wooed my Wyrd

On May 28th of this year, after the Google I/O conference, I got to SFO a wee bit early and picked up a book at the bookstore in the airport that I had put on my wishlist at Amazon a few months earlier. The book was “Incredible Good Fortune, New Poems” by Ursula K. Le Guin.
I love Ursula Le Guin, she is a writer who is up there in the Holy Septinity of Writers in my book of reading love along with Madeline L’Engle, JRR Tolkein, Charles de Lint, Anne Dillard, C.S. Lewis, and Dave Hickey. I even more love it when authors cross genre and write in a form that is not their usual fare.
I particularly love it when a fiction writer or a very thoughtful nature writer takes time to write poems. Almost all of my Holy Septinity of Writers has published a book or two or three of poetry or has embedded poetry & verse in their fiction, with the possible exception of Dave Hickey. Then again, Hickey is not a fiction writer but one of the preminent cultural critics in the the US in the last 30 years and writes hysterically funny and pointed pieces on art & rock’n’roll. As for Hickey, I just wish he would publish more often.
All this being said, I took Le Guin’s “Incredible Good Fortune, New Poems” with me today down to the Grandparent’s place so that I could read some poems while we waited. About 5 or so pm, everyone left except me, Grandma, and Bill. The Aunts Dana & Anne went back to Anne’s house, Mom & Allison went to go get Mom’s bag and sleeping bag as Mom has overnight duty tonight. I stayed to hang out with Bill and Grandma, even though Bill wasn’t so chatty to say the least.
I know I briefly explained the situation here, but Bill, age 93, went to the hospital last Monday for dehydration and a blood sugar level of 850. While he was there, it was determined that he was at the end of the road and soon to be off to the Great Fishing Lake. Bill did not want to die at the hospital, but in his own tempur-pedic bed at home under Hospice Care. After much to do, he was transported back from the hospital to home yesterday morning.
Ever since, the various family members have been waiting in vigil, both to honor Bill and support Grandma. Bill last spoke on Wednesday, and as of early yesterday afternoon, while appearing to be asleep he could hear folks talking to him, but as of yesterday later afternoon he has been a coma.
Most of what we have been doing is sitting in his room and talking to him. Letting him know that it is ok to go. This is important, as in a family full of folk born between April 20 and May 12th (Taurus people, a pack of stubborn bulls), Bill has been one of our best and most stubborn, faithful, and loyal constituents.
After all the folk left late this afternoon, I went into Bill’s room with the book of Le Guin’s poetry and started to read poems to him. Bill West grew up in Washington State, and taught Forestry and was the Forestry Department Chair at University of Oregon in Corvalis for his career. Bill has had a deep and abiding love of the forest, lakes, and nature of the Pacific Northwest. Le Guin has lived in Portland for many years and more than a few of the poems in the book are about the Northwest as well as about aging and dying.
So far, my favorite line from the whole book is from the first poem called “The Old Lady”, which starts with “I have dreed my dree, I have wooed my wyrd.” Or in rough translation of the Scots and older forms of English, ” I have endured my hardship, I have wooed my Fate (or The Fates).” I read the poem to my brother yesterday, and he who does not like poetry was intrigued.
I figured that reading Le Guin to Bill would be appropriate, not just for the thematic poems that would be relevant to his life, but also for this one:

Nine Lines, August 9
The gold of evening is closing,
drawing in, tightening.
The light is losing. It is
a little frightening
how fast August goes.
Others have noticed this.
The cat on his concealed switchblade toes
comes by, and what he says
is silent, but enlightening.

The gold of the evening is closing and while Bill may spend his last hours silent in words, he has dreed his dree, and wooed his wyrd.

Poetry Ear Worms : We Were All Beautiful Once

For as much as I can get ear worms of songs stuck in my head for weeks at a time, I also find that a line or two of poetry can worm into my head, reverberate, expand, and live a full multi-week life, and not exit.

Lately, I have had two lines of poetry on rotation in my head along with’s* “Chunky” from Madagascar 2, one line from “The Act” by William Carlos Williams and one line from Ursula Le Guin’s “The Old Lady”.

Tonight I will point you to William’s “The Act” as I blogged about it when Vanessa, Edel, and I were turning it into an interactive flash piece in February of 2006:

The Act
There were the roses, in the rain.
Don’t cut them, I pleaded.
They won’t last, she said.
But they’re so beautiful
where they are.
Agh, we were all beautiful once, she said,
and cut them and gave them to me
in my hand.

Tomorrow or the next day I will blog about Le Guin’s wonderful new poetry book, Incredible Good Fortune. For now I am off to bed.

* p.s. Am I the only one who thinks that and animation team at Dreamworks are having good fun at poking at “My Humps?”

The First Anniversary of the Seal Beach Salon This Saturday!

Seal Beach Salon First Anniversary Party

I may have invited y’all before, but the Seal Beach art | music | writing salon meets once every two months for a night of art, music, and poetry/reading – and drinking & snacking & talking. It really is a mishmash of folk from all over SoCal and from a variety of creative disciplines. This Saturday is the 1 year anniversary and they are moving the location to Dan Callis’ new studio on Marina Dr. Come join us, it will be fun.
What: The Seal Beach Salon’s First Anniversary
When: Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008
Time: Starts at 6pm, ends at 10pm.
Where: 700 1/2 Marina Drive* at Dan Callis’ new studio (just back from the corner of Marina & PCH, in the yard behind the flower shop & plumber that are on PCH in the same building) – Google Map
Who: Filmmakers Hobo Soul will be showing their film in an RV, Dan Callis will be having an Open Studio, poet Aaron Belz will be giving a reading, and Avi Buffalo and Band will be performing.
Bring: Yourself, friends, and beverage of choice.
Come and join us in Seal Beach on Saturday evening.

Salon #5

Salon #5 - Liz Carney Speaking about her Paintings

Sat 07.12.08 – Painter Ryan Callis and Poet Chris Davidson decided nearly a year ago to start an art / writing / music salon every two months in Seal Beach as a way to lure the Silverlake hipsters out of their lairs and out into the big wide world of SoCal.
The Salon has been quite successful with 30-50 attendees (mostly artists and writers) the second Saturday of the odd numbered month. I went last time (May) and had a good time listening to folks present their work and talking with other attendees of the artistic and writerly persuasions.
Ryan approached me about presenting some of my work at this month’s Salon two weeks ago with the statement that the web has been under represented so far. I decided that I would promote all things web / mobile and photography by showing some of my India photos from the Urbanista Diaries adventure.
The other presenters were: Los Angeles painters Liz Carney and Feo Voronov, who displayed and spoke about their paintings (Photo of Liz Carney above with one of Feo’s paintings on the wall next to her). Poet Patty Seyburn read from four of her poems. And Summer Darling played an acoustic set.
The constraint for the evening was that I had to show my work, describe my process and be done in 10-15 minutes.
Thus, I decided that I would actually present on a dual set of subjects: One being the adventure and process of geo-mobile-photo-blogging with the Nokia N82 on the Urbanista project and the other being the phenomenon of photowalking and making friends through Flickr groups. How would I cover so much ground and images in 15 mintues?
I distilled my presentation down to the bare minimum facts on mobile photo blogging and then specifically talked about the 4th Chennai Photowalk. I took all the photos that I took from the Chennai Photowalk and put them in a slideshow that played while I spoke on the Nokia Urbanista event and on the Chennai Photowalk folks. It was great fun and the audience liked not just the Chennai photos but also the whole idea of photowalking.
All in all, Salon #5 was delightful.