The best in poetry (and poetic things), this week with Seth Haines.
Do you enjoy the spoken word, Shakespearean sonnets, and New York City? If so, we have a project for you.
According to The New York Times, 154 actors are setting out to read each of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets in 154 different locations across New York City. The project is the undertaking of the New York Shakespeare Exchange, a collective that seeks to combine contemporary culture with “Shakespearean poetry and themes in unexpected ways.” For a taste of “the sonnet project,” check out this video featuring “Sonnet 83.”
Nearly 40 years ago, Nobel prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda died suddenly after a military coup in his home country of Chile. Though it was assumed that Neruda passed of prostate cancer, new questions have arisen about his death. In fact, some speculate that General Augusto Pinochet, the prevailing coup leader and eventual Chilean dictator, had Neruda eliminated to prevent the poet from being the voice of opposition against the regime.
The controversy may soon be resolved. It appears that the remains of Neruda will now be removed from his grave, and investigators will determine whether the conspiracy theory holds water. And just how is it alleged that Neruda was murdered? Make sure to check out this article at the Guardian for the rest of the story.
Move over Kindle Direct Publishing; Barnes & Noble is coming to the party.
This week, it was announced that mega-bookseller Barne’s & Noble is launching a new, simpler solution to self publishing. The program, called Nook Press, will replace the Nook’s previous self-publishing program, Pubit!. The program is specifically designed for Nook users and will allow self-publishing authors to retain up to 65% of the royalties from any sale. If you’re interested in a simple solution for direct Nook publication, don’t miss this piece on Nook Press at The Christian Science Monitor.
4 Poetry at Work
My wife, a poet in her own right, stays at home with our four small children. She often feels the tension between being a stay-at-home and pursuing some other employment opportunity, some other calling. It turns out, she’s not the only one feeling the tension.
In this piece for the Huffington Post, Dr. Peggy Drexler deconstructs the dichotemy of the domestic woman versus the career woman, and she does it with a poetic flair. She writes, “in homes and offices and laboratories and classrooms, wherever we exercise our life’s calling–or callings–we share more similarities than the debate over ‘a woman’s place today’ suggests.” Drexler then turns to poetry to create a a “common space… for reflection.” Carve out some time today to celebrate that work poetically.
It’s a brave new world, one filled with social media, virtual realities, and robots to boot! In this age of new-fangled contraptions, exactly how do you get the younger generation interested in poetry? Robotics, claims Sue Melton, a California gifted support coordinator for the Allegheny Valley School District.
Imagine it–a blue plastic-wrap lake that lights up and vibrates at the push of a button when a student reads the word “water” in Robert Frost’s poem “Pasture.” This is all part of Melton’s strategy to get students to “engage” poetry. She encourages them to create “visual imagery and symbolism,” so that they more fully understand the work.
Are you a teacher looking for a creative way to get your students engaging poetry? Make sure you read this article discussing innovative strategies to encourage student creativity in the learning process. And after reading it, don’t be surprised if you want to create your own robotic poetry project because, let’s be honest, robots are just plain cool.
Want to be a better poet? Here’s a tip: write more poems. Seems simple, right? Maybe. As any good poet knows, though, sometimes the well can run dry. That’s why we at Tweetspeak offer Monday poetry prompts to our loyal readers. Check out this week’s poetry prompt, in which we challenge you to pen verse of mythical proportions.
Writer’s Digest is challenging its readers to write more poems, too. Follow Robert Lee Brewer’s 2013 Poem-a-day challenge, as he gives daily prompts that will help get your creative juices flowing. In yesterday’s PAD challenge, Brewer challenged readers to write a poem on suffering and wrote his own piece on the topic. In “burn,” Brewer writes:
a black night, she thinks, a dead man
reflecting the sun. stars explode
before we see them. stars explode
in a vacuum & burn. they burn
without our permission, she thinks,
unseen until after they’re spent.
Are you up to the Poem-A-Day challenge? Visit Writer’s Digest for more.
This month, Tweetspeak is exploring the poetic theme “Dragons & Creatures.” This, of course, has made for some interesting poems being delivered into my email inbox by Every Day Poems, and none has been more interesting that this piece by Idra Novey entitled “The Visitor.” In it, she writes:
Does no dishes, dribbles sauce
across the floor. Is more dragon
than spaniel, more flammable
than fluid. Is the loosening
in the knit of me, the mixed-fruit
marmalade in the kitchen of me.
Wakes my disco and inner hibiscus,
the Hector in the ever-mess of my Troy.
All wet mattress to my analysis,
he’s stayed the loudest and longest
of any houseguest, is calling now
as I write this, tiny B who brings the joy.
I love the way Novey turns the imagery of the dragon on its ear, makes it an endearing (even if fierce) character.
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I am a sucker for handwriting. I’ve always found it to be an incredibly personal expression, a way in which the art in each of us comes spilling out (whether intentionally or unintentionally). There is an intimacy implied in handwriting, a sort of laying bare. So, you can imagine how excited I was to catch the Atlantic’s piece that takes a look at the hand-written poems of Mary Shelley, Emily Dickinson, Bob Dylan, and others. I was most impressed by Dylan’s “Little Buddy,” which was written when he was only a teenager, and demonstrated a very deliberate and tight stroke. (Something tells me his penmanship might have developed a bit of a loopier, looser feel in the sixties.)
As a bit of an added bonus, the Atlantic references this article at Brain Pickings, which collects several hand-written poems by Marilyn Monroe. I must be honest, Monroe’s poems don’t do a lot for me, but they provide a sort of self-commentary of her life and career. A bit like reading someone’s diary? Sure. But in reading Monroe’s work, it’s difficult not to empathize with the troubled actress.
One of my first projects here at Tweetspeak was to compose a book spine poem centered around the theme “Rain.” I’ve loved bookspine poetry every since. It should be no surprise, then, that this excerpt from Nina Katchadourian’s new book, Sorted Books, grabbed my attention. In it, Katchadourian describes her journey to bookspine poetry, how it arose from a weekend art collective, an experiment in finding art in the world around her.
Reading Katchadourian’s guiding principals for bookspine poetry made me want to take another crack at the form. Perhaps I’ll do it and share it with you in the comments below. Perhaps you can take a crack at it, too. If you do, share it with us in the comments. We’d love to read your found poetry.
10 Sound n Motion
Last week, a dear friend sent me Billy Collins’ poem, “On Turning Ten.” I have always liked Billy Collins, the approachable nature of his poetry. But if you want to see the most approachable reading of Collins, make sure to watch this video of a 3-year-old reciting Billy Collins’ poem “Litany.”