Okay, so after looking at this collection of 15 writers’ bedrooms, I officially want to live in Emily Dickinson’s. I also wouldn’t mind spending a few nights (or more!) in Truman Capote’s simple red-and-white room or Virginia Woolf’s elegant apartment or even Henry David Thoreau’s rustic cabin on Walden Pond. But much as I love Flannery O’Connor, you couldn’t pay me money to sleep her god-awful green and gold boudoir.
Words can be an art form, of course, but what about last words? Touching and funny by turns, these famous (and not so famous) last words are well worth reading.
Once the news broke, the Twittersphere lit up with Adrienne Rich posts, much to the astonishment of one poetry professor. All those tweets inspired the Tweetspeak staff to make a video tribute to Adrienne Rich, which you definitely want to watch. Trust me.
Jane Friedman is one smart cookie. And generous, too. Friedman dishes on all things publishing. (And may I suggest following the rabbit trail of links inside that post, too?)
In 2009, poet Craig Arnold disappeared while blogging and hiking his way through Japan, leaving behind bewildered and devastated fans, friends, family, and his partner of six years, Rebecca Lindenberg. Elissa Schappell reviews Lindenberg’s tribute to Arnold: Love: An Index is “an A-to-Z collection of poems that are passionate, plainspoken, elegiac, and lyric as they capture the moments of a life shared.” The excerpt Schappell includes is beautiful.
Caitlin Mackenzie writes a thoughtful and glowing review of Becca J.R. Lachman’s first book of poetry: “This is what the reader discovers in The Apple Speaks: the sore muscles of one thoughtfully and intentionally tending new soil.”
If you want to be creative, apparently there are creativity rules. Just a few. And not all of them are intuitive.
A.G. Harmon waxes eloquent about the role of the artist in the creation of art:
At least from the religious artist’s perspective, is the agent/artist not himself an extension—albeit the most important and complex extension—of the process?
To mix in yet another metaphor: the violin may rest on the artist’s shoulder, but on whose shoulder does the artist rest? Who plays him?
John Estes makes a similar claim when he speaks of Annunciation and angels and icons:
One particular icon of St. John shows him …doing his writer/Theologian bit while a tiny angel perches on his shoulder….[perhaps] another instance of an angel asking the question: Will you receive this thing? An invitation, nothing more, to what might happen.
And speaking of invitations…
You all know it’s National Poetry Month, of course, but did you also know it’s National Poetry Writing Month? That’s right. NaPoWriMo is a real thing. And every day this month, they’ve got a poetry prompt. The day three prompt (that would have been Tuesday’s) was to write an epithalamium. (You remember word from my last post, right?)
If you’re feeling ambitious, you might try your hand at writing a one-act verse play.
Spring has sprung. And Robert Frost reminds us that it won’t last long. So stay present.
The writing of poetry is, among other things, an attempt to stay present, to pay attention to the moment at hand. Dave Malone’s “White” captures one such moment:
The night you wore your white blouse
into the barn where cloggers yanked up dust
to their knees, all the corn farmers pulled at pressed shirts
behind bib overalls to breathe, overcome by a similar
feeling they knew in their muscled backs
when pressed against church pews
their grandaddies made before the only real War.
John Wooden, UCLA’s famed basketball coach, was also a lover of poetry—as in, he read it, he quoted it to his players, and he wrote it, too. At the end of the month of Madness, Catherine Woodard wrote a beautiful tribute to John Wooden as both coach and poet. If you watch the videos, make sure you have Kleenex handy.
C.S. Lewis received thousands of letters from children around the English-speaking world, and he wrote every last one of those children a personal letter in response. (And I have trouble replying to Tweets and status updates?)
This poetry smackdown held me riveted. If you read it, I encourage you to take the time to study the poems and think about which one is better and why. I’d love to hear if you came out on the side of poetry or pop. For my part, I’m not telling which side I fell on.
And just for fun, try some onomatopoeia—in French! Or German! Or Arabic! It’ll educate your ears. And how a word sounds is as important as what it means. Well, if you’re a poet, it is.
10 Sound n Motion
I’ve never been to New York City. Don’t kill me, but I’ve never actually wanted to go there. In fact, I’ve pretty stridently not wanted to. But now there’s a cool new audio-poetry-history-walking tour of the East Village that sounds so completely and utterly, well, cool, that it’s making me rethink my I’d-rather-have-another-periodontal-surgery-than-go-to-New-York opinion. Now, perhaps, I’d just rather get a filling.
Honestly, the only way I’ll probably ever get to New York City is if I have to fly through it on my way to England. Last week, Matthew highlighted some of the world’s coolest bookstores. One of those, Barter Books in the north of England, lives in an old Victorian railway station. If that’s not swoony enough, it’s also home to an iconic (and long lost) World War II propaganda poster. Now, where’s my plane ticket?
Photos by Claire Burge. Used with permission. Post by Kimberlee Conway Ireton, author of The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year
Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $2.99— Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In March we’re exploring the theme Angels.