The best in poetry (and poetic things), this week with Seth Haines.
Since my introduction to Bottle Rocket, I have been a shameless apologist for Wes Anderson. His unabashed use of obscure music, vibrant color, and awkward, character-driven storytelling has led to some of the most artistic film-making in recent memory. His latest release, Moonrise Kingdom, is no exception.
The New Yorker’s Russell Platt details Anderson’s careful attention to musical detail, how the children’s opera Noye’s Fluddle, became a central and driving force in the film. Of the score, Anderson says “[i]t is the color of the movie in a way.”
And speaking of vibrant colors (and awkward characters), Derek Benson claims to be “just [an] embarrassing dad.” But as this Huffington Post article indicates, this video game developer and father sends his children to school with some brilliantly decorated lunch bags. These certainly aren’t the brown bags of my youth! As an aside, do you think Mr. Benson’s children ever trade their empty bags for some other student’s pudding cup?
After the swimmers swam their final lap, after the gymnasts flipped their final flips, after Usain Bolt destroyed his last competitor and engaged in one last self-glorifying flexation, the 2012 Summer Olympics came to a close. And for those of you who thought the British might conduct a staid and stodgy ceremonial extinguishment of the torch? Guess again.
If you missed the closing ceremony, it was complete with Winston Churchill reciting a passage from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” Fatboy Slim riding a giant inflatable octopus, and the reunion of the Spice Girls, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic Randall Roberts delivers a full recap. And for those of you looking for a stop-motion sort of review, Kevin Lincoln delivers his hilarious take in “The Top 25 Most Absurd Moments of the Olympic Closing Ceremonies.”
Do you have a collection of short stories or poems that you’re considering bundling into a book for publication? Interested in compiling an anthology of works submitted by contributors? Sophie Masson shares her thoughts (and a few tips) on compiling a collection of shorter works for publication.
Chances are, one of your acquaintances or loved-ones has been touched by Alzheimer’s disease. When Holly J. Hughes’ mother was stricken with the disease, Ms. Hughes posted an online invitation for poem submissions dealing with the Alzheimer’s. A portion of the submissions were compiled into the book, Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease. Paula Span reviews this book for the New York Times, and includes a stunning poem by Sean Nevin, entitled “Losing Solomon.”
Do you remember Chairy, that over-stuffed, talking chair that was a central character in Pee-Wee’s Playhouse? (I must admit, she is the stuff of my nightmares all these years later.) You can bet that Wayne White remembers her well. White, a former Playhouse artist and puppeteer, has been creating eclectic and odd works since the early 1980s. In this interview, White discusses some of the highlights of his career, including his work with Pee-Wee, and the direction of the famous Peter Gabriel video “Big Time.”
White says: “[f]reedom is what drives me to keep creating. That’s what everybody wants: liberty, freedom. That’s the whole point of being an artist….” I loved this insight into White’s work and enjoyed his zany antics in the trailer for the film Beauty is Embarrassing, a documentary of White’s art.
I’m a sucker for a quiet river and a fly rod. And since my first reading of Norman Maclean’s grand novella A River Runs Through It, I’ve been a sucker for writings on the topic.
In Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey’s work titled “Elegy,” Ms. Trethewey shares the story of a father-daughter trout fishing trip, of a morning that was “awkward… and heavy in our hip waders.” The poem captivated me, but this peek into her creative process might be even more captivating. She writes:
Writing [by hand] frees up a mode of thinking that allows me to consider more things without censorship, the way I would censor if I were typing. If I start writing on a computer, I feel that it’s official. When I’m actually writing by hand, I get more of a sense of the rhythm of sentences….
If you are a slave to the computer screen, might we encourage you to dust off those old journals and begin filling the blank pages with reckless abandon? Might we encourage you to [hand] write-it?
Did you know that the Every Day Poems Facebook Page provides regular poetry prompts? This month’s prompts have centered around rain imagery, and Monday’s prompt was a photograph of soggy-booted girl standing in a down-pour. John Blase took the prompt and created a bit of tragic nostalgia. In “Walk ‘Em Dry” he writes:
Her Daddy used to buy a new pair of boots
once a year in the early spring. When he got
home she’d watch him pull them on then walk
straight into the creek…
Read the rest of this poem at his website, The Beautiful Due.
And what do a thin plastic grocery sack and a long-lost acquaintance have in common? In “There is no Word,” Tony Hoagland shares the answer. He writes of language, “how it will stretch just so much and no farther.” A grand poem for word and life lovers, you can read his work at the Poetry Foundation.
Have you ever wanted to visit the homes of the great literary figures? Ernest Hemingway’s Paris apartment, E.E. Cummings’ New York studio, they’re all part of a virtual globetrotting tour at Flavorwire. Which is your favorite? I might be partial to Twain’s abode in Missouri. It’s just up the road from here. Maybe I’ll saunter on over.
As the school year begins, teachers across the country are setting classroom rules: don’t chew gum in class, raise your hand and wait to be called upon, no feeding chocolate to the classroom pet. Yes, some rules are more tempting to break than others.
But consider Sister Corita Kent’s rules for teachers and students. This article at Brain Pickings explains how a good set of classroom guidelines can be applicable both inside and outside of the classroom. My personal favorite? “Don’t try to create and analyse at the same time. They are different processes.” Sage words for an aspiring writer.
10 Sound n Motion
Meet David Moore, hermit musician and eclectic folk artist. He plays the meanest Schizoid Zither I’ve ever heard. Never heard of the Schizoid Zither? Me either, at least not till watched this short film produced as part of the Oxford American’s SoLost series. Part drum, part furniture, part hammered dulcimer, part “crap,” I fell in love with the sound of this instrument from the minute I heard it (from the 1:06 second time-stamp to be exact).
The Schizoid Zither is the last instrument I’d expect to see on the next Coldplay world tour. But if they could work it into the lineup, I’d be a fan for life.