Mandy Kahn creates community poetry installations. For art galleries. At least, that’s the dream. It’s sort of like improv comedy using lines of poetry, only a lot more lyrical.
Al Black used to travel the roads of Florida selling paintings by area African American artists until he became a painter himself. Oxford American and NPR team up to tell his story:
Times, they are a’changing. Even I-want-to-be-a-part-of-it-New-York-New-York gets no passes. The Bowery Poetry Club joins a long list of East Village literary haunts that have closed their doors in recent years. Not to worry, though. Other East Village poetry venues are alive and well, and even Bowery PC may be back, in partnership with… a burlesque club. Necessity is the mother of strange bedfellows. Or something like that.
This next link is a stretch. It’s not really about poetry at all, but about movies, specifically violence in movies, and the shootings in Aurora. But David Denby raises interesting questions not just about movies but about all art: how much responsibility does an artist bear for the effects of her work? A question all of us who create might do well to ponder.
As ebooks continue to change the publishing game, a major publisher has jumped in with both feet, hoping to capitalize on the success of self-pubbed authors.
But is it even worth it to write a book? Tech blogger Jeff Atwood says no way. The way he sees it, online content is far superior: it’s searchable, the writer owns it, and it’s available anytime, anywhere (so long as you have an internet connection, of course). He’s talking specifically about tech writing (and good thing, or Jane Friedman might take him on), but I wonder if the same—or at least something similar—holds true for poetry. Write it, post it online, and then later, if you want, turn it into a print book. Any thoughts?
Emily Dickinson is back. Again. This time she’s the subject of a new book, Emily Dickinson in Love, a sort of literary mystery/love story. Only it’s not a novel. At least, it’s not supposed to be. But reviewer Hillary Kelly all but calls the book fiction. This is one fun read. (Though I’m really, really glad I’m not the author of ED in Love!)
Okay, so this next one isn’t technically a review. It’s a Top Ten list, which is close enough. Austin Allen decided someone needed to make a list of the best poems of the last quarter century. So he did. And he’s taking suggestions for what poems should fill out the rest of the list. Even if you don’t weigh in over on Big Think, I’d love to hear your picks. I’m always looking for good words to read.
According to Rosamund Harding, creativity occurs most often in the liminal spaces between disciplines. In other words, if you’re a poet, you can boost your creativity by exploring a completely different discipline like, say, astrophysics. The folks at NASA have made a video called “Van Gogh’s Sun” to get you started.
If astrophysics isn’t your thing, perhaps visual art might spark your creativity? Here’s a TED talk in which Tracy Chevalier, author of The Girl With a Pearl Earring, finds the story in three paintings. Be sure to watch the whole thing: she shares a marvelous story at the end.
Every Monday over at Seedlings in Stone, Tweetspeak managing editor L.L. Barkat invites readers to write “in place.” That is, whatever you’re writing about, evoke a sense of where you are. The place becomes, almost, a character in your writing. This week the folks over at Poets&Writers have a similar prompt: write a poem evoking the feel, mood, and landscape of a place you love (or hate, I suppose). I personally like the added challenge bit: don’t name the place. Let your writing show it so clearly you don’t have to.
Or if you want something a little more, well, concrete, you could join Seth Haines and try your hand at a poem shaped like the thing it’s about. In Love That Dog, Sharon Creech managed to write a poem shaped like a dog. What can you do?
Collecting Angel Wings
Each night they come,
their doily wings catching in the weave of curtains,
fluttering behind the folds like a spring breeze.
Or, they move like the moon through the windowpane,
across chairs, the carpet,
settle like a second blanket on my stomach.
I have two friends whose tween daughters are crazy mad about horses. I never went through a horse phase myself; I was too busy solving mysteries with Nancy Drew. When I read “Becoming a Horse” by Ross Gay, I immediately thought of these two girls, both of them at horse camp this week, and I imagined them leaning into their horses, the longing to run and become one. And I thought: what if they did? Now that’d be a good mystery to solve! Hold on, let me get my pumps.
Fiona Shaw loves words, the harder the better: “I’m not at all frightened of hard words,” she says. “I just get excited by them.” I would have to agree: I had the privilege of seeing her play Richard II some 15 years ago in London. The British actress is one of the powers behind Peace Camp (part of the Cultural Olympiad), a poetry installation in remote British coastal areas. She’s also taking Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” to Greece, of all places. She says she’s not interested in anything old-fashioned, but I think she has a secret mission to make us fall in love with the English language all over again.
Canadian poet Christian Bok has been working on a couple of Petrarchan sonnets for about ten years now. That would seem a bit extreme (I mean, does it really take that long to write 28 lines?) But these poems are…special.
The two poems are part of a project that Bök calls The Xenotext — an attempt to encode a poem into the genome of a bacterium in such a way as to cause the genome to manufacture a protein that encodes yet another poem, mirroring and referring to the first.
You have to check this out. It’s wild. And weird. And way over my head.
Grammar and punctuation geeks, rejoice! Mary Norris explains (and sort of eulogizes) the oft-overlooked but oh-so-valuable semicolon.
And here’s something for you poetry geeks: a long, ubergeeky look at different kinds of rhyme. Be still my beating heart.
And if that’s not enough geekspeak for you, you can further geek out by learning the difference between a geek, a nerd, a dweeb, and a dork. Even though I like the term word nerd (it rhymes!), I’m really a geek. Really.
10 Sound n Motion
Last week here at Tweespeak, Angela Alaimo O’Donnell introduced us to the cento, a poem formed of lines from other poems and reminded us that T.S. Eliot’s most famous poem, “The Waste Land,” is “a big, fat, magnificent Cento.” Here then, is Eliot reading his famous cento:
And if that’s not enough Eliot for you, the folks at Open Culture have another reading, of “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock,” complete with a choreographed tag-cloud of the poem. I found the video rather distracting, but to each her own, right?
I hesitated to include the following video, because it’s really an ad for the Shakespeare Sonnet app, but I couldn’t resist: Stephen Fry reciting Sonnet 130? Nope. It had to go in. Enjoy!
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 July we’re exploring the theme The Cento.