Friday, October 29, 2010

Elizabeth Bishop and Lota de Macedo Soares

I've been reading the wonderful novel of their life together and looking on the internet for photos of them. Luckily for me I found a blog with photos of their house in Brazil. I do not read Portuguese, so I can't decipher the captions, but the photos tell the whole story of that amazing house. No wonder Bishop couldn't leave.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Portraits of Poets

This is a great exhibit of photos, and other artwork, of poets and friends. I especially like the ones of Anne Sexton with W.S. Merwin and of Marie Ponsot with her children. They are here. The 'double image' of Marianne Moore and Maya Angelou is also startling and beautiful. It would not reproduce here (I'm not skilled enough at HTML to arrange them side by side) so check them out at the original site.

Marie Ponsot with five of her seven children. This 1957 photograph appeared in the Queens edition of The Daily News.

Anne Sexton and W.S. Merwin backstage at the 92nd Street Poetry Center on November 11, 1968. Photographed by Jill Krementz.

Sexton struggled with "madness" most of her adult life, a battle beginning with To Bedlam and Part Way Back (1960) and ending with the posthumous The Awful Rowing Toward God (1975). Merwin, a prolific poet and translator, now lives in Hawaii, where he has created a remarkable nature preserve and forest.

Jill Krementz Photo Journal - Portraits of Poets | New York Social Diary

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Green Papers for Art

Excellent new website I found: Americans For the Arts ( and they have two blogs I like.
Green Paper: Arts in Healthcare

Green Paper: Artists’ Residency Programs

Read all about a nationwide effort to make sure arts education gets the attention, respect, and resources it deserves. Here's what their Facebook page says:

Arts Education is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL for the development of our children, from as early as kindergarten all the way up into higher level education.

An education in Fine Arts encourages:

  • more developed habits of critical and creative thinking
  • more perseverance and dedication to a given task
  • better psychological and physical health
  • self-discipline, intrapersonal and interpersonal skills

A child who participates in Fine Arts is:

  • more likely to succeed academically
  • more likely to succeed socially
  • more able to express his or herself
  • inclined to be more literate than his or her peers

If America's children are to be sucessful in all aspects of their life, then an education that emphasizes Fine Arts is crucial.

Support the Arts!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cynicism or Joy: Sallinger, Hoagland and Karr

I've been reading more lately, books of course, but also magazine articles, journals, the news on the internet, in the bathroom. I must have more time on my hands, but perhaps just less anxiety in my mind. Anyway, here's an interesting reveiw in the New York Times about Tony Hoagland's poems, his new book, and his approach to cynicism and romance. This is my favorite quote:

'At his best, Hoagland rejects both the cynic’s lie that everything superficially beautiful must be rotten underneath, and the romantic’s lie that everything apparently ugly must possess some essential nobility.'

I was also reading an obit for J.D. Salinger in Rolling Stone this week, where these same themes of romanticism, cynicism, mockery, etc. were in focus. Here's what I took away:

'One reason Holden finds phonies everywhere, Salinger ever-so-quietly insinuates, is that he's unable to find pleasure anywhere.'

Wow - that stopped me cold. That a cynic might be a person who has given up on pleasure?

And what about this, which I found in the bowels of Mary Karr's Lit, when she's discussing the differences between happiness and joy:

'Never have I felt such blazing focus for another living creature. I can't stop looking at him. Joy, it is, which I've never known before, only pleasure or excitement. Joy is a different thing, because its focus exists outside the self--delight in something external, not satisfaction of some inner craving.'

Karr is talking about the moments after giving birth to her son. I remember that feeling. I also know something about self loathing, self importance, self pity, giving up on romanticism, fear of cynics, and a lot of other stuff. Today, Bob bought me flowers, beautiful pink blooming cyclamen from the Farmers' Market. There was a day when I would have felt gyped because they weren't cut flowers, what a real romantic husband would give his wife, but today I felt joy joy joy -- unexpected and welcome. And now I have to wash his underwear while he pays the bills. Joy joy joy.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Funny Poets Dot Com

A website with list upon list of funny poems. Even some rude limericks, for those of us who love them and can never remember them. Anyone can submit a poem to the site.

Here's a wonderful one. I may have to take these words to my poet kids during class.

Eschewing Obfuscation

The raison d'etre of this dissertation is an etude in eschewing obfuscation.

Each day, with cyclicality quotidian,
Ante- if you wish, or post-meridian,
Make a time for self-examination
For floccinaucinihilipilification.

And if encountered in this introspection,
Expunge it! Hurl it forth in firm rejection.
For surely there's a modicum of worth
In everything God put upon the earth.

Ex nihilo, for certain, nihil fit
So take a chance, and see what comes of it.

(The raison d'etre of this dissertation
Is an etude in eschewing obfuscation,
For hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian
Words to me, are obviously alien.

Copyright; Tad Lawson

Friday, January 29, 2010

Leaf Poems

Oh my gosh these are so poems! My favorites are the Wireless Ginkgo tree and the Swiss-Army Knife tree. Thanks for Accidental Mysteries, again, for found poetry.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

WITS, CPITS, and Ode to the Color Black

I was searching the web for poems to use as examples tomorrow while teaching my Regnart GATE students about odes. I found this great site, called WITS: Writers in the Schools. I love the site, so clean and easy to see all the poems, and great art and photos as well. I'm so happy I found this. There are also some great ode poems about things like turtles and the color black. I'm grateful to these teachers and to their students. I can't tell if they are a national organization, or Texas?? I also really like how the post photos from flickr and document that on the site. Wow, I just am in love with them today.

Here is my favorite poem from their site:

Ode to the Color Black

In darkness,
beauty ebony
envelops all. Cold,
warm nothing.
Infinite pools
infinite thoughts, deep
and hidden. Blackness
is the only one
with the power to
hold memories, to
induce forgetfulness.

Every person
two caches of
blackness. They are
your eyes. You see
with black
holes, pools, wells
of meaning,
Black means
print on paper,
nothing. But black
has turned bitter. The world
believes black
is a
horrible color.
Black hearts
are full of cruelty.
Black cats
bring bad luck.
But black
is beautiful. Black
is eternal.

by Maya, 7th grade

[painting by Mark Rothko]

(c) Writers in the Schools 2007-2010.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Welsh poet at Stanford: Small languages make a big difference

Welsh poet at Stanford: Small languages make a big difference

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And, here's one of her poems. I love this, love this. The recorded interview on YouTube has her reading her poems in Welsh, and the printed interview provides another poem in English. I'm in love. Makes me want to go home and write.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

I'm going to open up this blog to the public in this new year. Then I'm going swimming.