The best in poetry (and poetic things), this week with Matthew Kreider.
What do you see when you look inside your refrigerator? Do you have a jungle of Tupperware containers on the top shelf, a lush green field of mold down in the produce drawer, and a mountain range of sticky plastic bottles inside the door? Is it time for a cleaning project? These pictures of repurposed and recycled refrigerators might inspire you — but, yes, please throw out your wilted greens and sour milk first!
Ever dream of throwing on a smart dress, placing your hands at your hips, and the sound of poetry suddenly emanates, effortlessly, from your elegantly stitched frocks? Well, for our dress-wearing readers, your dream has finally come true. Get yourself fitted for one of these poetry-reading dresses, complete with custom-made lace and embroidered poems.
Did you hear about Digg and “the biggest bust in the social media era” last week? Over the last four years, the company kinda-sorta lost 99% of its value for its investors. Oops. The pioneering company introduced us to the idea of allowing readers to double as editors and then dig or bury content at their discretion. Maybe we ought to cut the company some slack for its vision — instead of ridiculing Digg for its losses.
Studies are so helpful, aren’t they? One says do this, while another one says don’t. For instance, a recent study warned us that living in cities will make us about as dumb as a slab of concrete. But now a new study suggests that Urban Parks Enhance Your Brain. The balance does make sense. After all,
“when we’re in a setting with a great deal of stimulation, like a city, we expend a great deal of direct attention on tasks like avoiding traffic and fellow pedestrians. When we’re interacting with nature, however, we use an indirect form of attention that essentially gives our brain a chance to refresh, much like sleep.”
Give a poet a dictionary and she will write poems. Teach a poet how to use HTML5 and she will feed poetry to the world. In a digital age, a poet’s ability to share, interact and publish poetry has become a form of art in its own right. Gone are the days when text sits idly on the paper. That’s lazy. This new multimedia platform celebrates the last 60 years of poetry. Don’t expect it to sit on the coffee table. This collection wants to go places and do new things.
As the publishing world throbs at 300 bpm, many poets complain that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the new Speedcore, which demands they learn new moves if they want to last on the dance floor. Cue Steve Roggenbuck. This guy knows how to move. Known as a “traveling internet poet”, Roggenbuck has lots to say about the poetry club scene.
Oh, what the color red will make us do. Sure, it prompts us to stop at dangerous intersections, but what happens when we see the color on EBay? You better stop right here and pay attention to these findings on how red influences your behavior.
Regardless of your opinion on IKEA, you’ve got to admit the company has some creative folks on its team. They’re geniuses. If you asked them to imagine a way to fit an oil tanker inside a 4’x3″ box, they’d find a way to do it. And what happens when IKEA imagines a world without textiles? You need to watch their video teaser and see how they manage to sneak in some poetry, too.
Focus on my goals? Whatever. If you want me to floss, Mr. Dentist, then don’t bother telling me (again!) how it reduces the occurrence of tooth decay. Instead, encourage me to write a poem, to describe the sound of the diminutive waxed string as it rises from a shadowy valley and scales the walls like the morning light of cinnamon. See? Isn’t dental hygiene beautiful? Go grab your floss and learn why focusing on goals might backfire.
Has a recent string of bad movies left you feeling jaded when it comes to cinematic art? Try watching Video Essay: 135 Shots That Will Restore Your Faith in Cinema. Not only will you get your movie mojo back, I think some of these shots could inspire you to capture the magic on paper. There’s got to be at least 135 poems in there. At least.
Now that we’ve finished our summer series on The Artist’s Way, you might need a little accountability. For those of you dependent on computers for all your vital functions, consider a visit to 750words.com. You’ll find a clean, no-nonsense interface that’s private and user-friendly. In addition, the site awards points based on your frequency and word count. Though you can’t redeem the points for air miles, this opportunity might get you where you need to go, one day at a time.
Even if you don’t travel anywhere this summer, poetry can still give you a nice vacation. Here’s a great writing prompt challenge which lets you pick a state and forces your reader to guess where you’re sending your poetic post card from.
What happens when 30+ Tweetspeak guests show up for an NPR Twitter party? I won’t give it all away, but I can tell you they spin lots of sugar. Here’s one tasty treat just for you.
While some scientists might shrink at the thought of writing poetry, one physicist from Wales shocked his colleagues in 1984 when he published his paper as a 38-stanza poem. According to Julia Deneva, “It was as much an act of creativity as it was one of vengeance.” Oh, those scientists.
A columnist for The Wall Street Journal recently made “A Plea for More Poetry on Golf Balls”. Yes, John Paul Newport called out to former poet laureate Billy Collins to save us from the harrowing darkness which has descended upon our treasured greens as industry milquetoasts have stamped our balls with uninspiring combinations of words and “letters from the tail end of the alphabet”. Aagh! Save us, Billy!
Most kids don’t get an uplifting surge of optimism when they read Grimms’ Fairy Tales. But the stories do show us justice and “simply validate what is.” Though you probably wouldn’t mention these brothers on your list of childhood’s most inspiring people, you’ll still want to read The New Yorker’s excellent piece on Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
Something has got to give. The liberal arts kids are playing a philosophical tug-o-war with the vocational kids, and no one is sure which side will win the debate over what path is best, er, most practical for the future of education. But what if we asked the white-knuckled students to stop playing the game altogether? Give students a two-year entrepreneurial program which plants them in the soil of real-world problems. Enough of the institutional rope burn. Let’s plant seeds.
Given all the online education tools available to people, Kirsten Winkler began to question how it would affect her work as an independent language tutor. Would people still want to pay for her services when they could rely on their mobile devices to get by? But then Winkler discovered the bigger problem: most people aren’t interested in learning languages anymore.
10 Sound n Motion
I hate feeling uninspired. It forces me to wait (yuck!) until I hear a voice from outside my head. “Talking With the Taxman About Poetry” is an upcoming film about an uninspired writer who comes to life once he begins listening to a trumpet player.
Finally, it’s hard to keep up with the big changes taking place in the world of design. Paola Antonelli “offers a sweeping look at the evolution of design over the past few decades, and the past few years in particular”. In the video, Antonelli, senior curator for MoMA’s Architecture and Design, provides an illuminating snapshot of the big shift by using just two columns of words. Ingenious.
Photos by Claire Burge. Used with permission. Post by Matthew Kreider
Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $2.99— Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In July we’re exploring the theme The Cento.