This Week’s Top 10 Poetic Picks

The best in poetry (and poetic things), this week with Seth Haines.

Artful Girl by Claire Burge

1 Art

Tattooing is all the rage these days. And if you’ve seen the work of a talented tattoo artist, it’s easy to see why. Vivid colors, artful lines, all dancing against the backdrop of a living, breathing person? It can be art in motion.

But when you think of tattoos, do you consider them works of art? (I’ve seen a few, not to mention the one on the right shoulder of my lovely and talented wife.) The art world is increasingly accepting of the notion that tattooing can be a medium of fine art expression, “particularly in areas where art and fashion meet.”  This, according to Emily Randall in her piece for The New York Times.

From the swallows on Kate Moss’ lower back, to the “fine artist and tattooist” Duke Riley, the medium is causing some of the most famous art institutions to take note. But what is the future for the tattoo? What challenges lay ahead for the accomplished fine art tattooist? And will I be introduced into the growing number of fine art tattoo recipients by the next Tweetspeak Top 10? Two out of three of these questions (and more) are explored in the fascinating article at the Times.

News by Claire Burge

2 News

There has been much debate about school security over the last several months. How exactly should we go about protecting our children? Should we have armed police officers? Security Guards? Should principals carry concealed weapons? At least one principal in Roxbury, Massachusetts believes the answer lies less in firepower and more in fostering a well-rounded, creative approach to education. As a result, he fired his security staff and reinvested the budget surplus in the arts. Did it work? Just watch this short clip.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Publishing by Claire Burge

3 Publishing

Prague is home to one of my favorite free-thinking writers, Franz Kafka. But despite a wellspring of creative material, Prague publishers are facing dramatically decreasing sales. Increased taxes, economic woes, the increase of electronic publishing, and global competition have led to a drastic sales decline. And now, in the midst of these pressures, publishers are asking tough questions about innovation, about changing their sales strategies.

We’ve often cited articles discussing the rise of e-publication and its impact on the publishing world. This article at the Prague Post frames the issues in a practical context, highlighting the challenges that lie ahead of traditional book publishers. (On an personal note, it’s disheartening that world seems to have a decreasing appetite for the tactile feel of page in hand.) Personal notes aside, check out the article at the Prague Post for a primer on the challenges faced by modern publishers.

Reviews by Claire Burge

4 Poetry at Work

Who says pig farming and poetry don’t mix? Certainly not the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, who has pulled together a delightfully refined event—Pigs, Pinot, and Poets. The event, which will be held June 6th, will celebrate good wine, good food, and a healthy portion of pig poetry. Proceeds from the event will help fund local after-school programs.

Has your workplace considered combining poetry in the next fundraiser or office party? Take a page from the Nebraska Pork Producers Association and incorporate some verse into your next event. And if you do, let us know how it turned out.


5 Creativity

In the past, we have highlighted articles discussing the close connection between mental illness and creativity. Frankly, it’s a subject that has long interested me, how those coping with debilitating mental illness can create some of the most beautiful works of art. And now, researchers from Harvard suggest that the children of schizophrenic mothers, those who have not contracted the illness themselves, may have inherited a different, more creative way of seeing the world, too. This article at the Inquirer delves deeply into the issue, and discusses the effects of reduced cognitive filtering and cognitive disinhibition.

If you, like me, are intrigued by characters such as Albert Einstein, and John Nash, if you are interested in the processes of “a beautiful mind,” this article will be right up your alley.

Write It by Claire Burge

6 Write-It

I love the “write-it” section of the Top 10. It’s good place to keep abreast of the latest writing contests, poetry prompts, and sites for writing submissions. This week, we’re taking it to the next level. That’s right: we’re taking this segment to Mars.

Okay… actually, NASA is.

In November, NASA is launching MAVEN, its next mission to Mars, and you can go along for the ride! Submit your name, and NASA will write it to a DVD which will make its way to Red Planet. You can also submit an original haiku, the top three of which will be sent above MAVEN, and prominently displayed on the projects homepage. Wouldn’t it be great if one of our Tweetspeak faithful won a coveted spot?

Poems by Claire Burge

7 Poems

Last month’s poetic theme here at Tweetspeak was Dragons and Creatures. There were many epic poems, but our favorite was this piece of light verse by Tammy, titled “Sandman.” In it, she writes, in part:

What bedtime tale
would any good parent speak
to strike fear
so a child would sleep?
Oh, I ain’t a-sleepin’
‘though my covers quake
I’m holding out
’til there’s no sand to shake.
Move right along
and don’t stop here
bringing your “f” that ends in “ear”.

You can read her entire work here. And if you want to have your work highlighted here at Tweetspeak, join us for our monthly poetry prompts? This month we explore the theme Swans, Swallows, Phoenix. (And no… we will not be discussing the Kate Moss tattoo referenced in the art section above.)

Speaking of Swans, Swallows, Phoenix, Every Day Poems jumped into the theme, sending this poem by L.L. Barkat to my inbox early this month.

Bird on the Mountain

When does the bird
begin to flee
to her mountain?
When does she make
the plan,
pack nothing
for the journey
but a piece of straw
she has not yet

 Are you an Every Day Poems subscriber? For only $5.99 per year, you will receive a daily poem paired with beautiful art, delivered directly into your inbox.

People by Claire Burge

8 People

New York City—that grand city that reaches to the sky, that grand city where housing is evidently quite difficult to find. And when James Carpenter, a down-on-his-luck thirty year old with an eccentric cat, lost his girlfriend and his apartment, he took a bold approach to locating new housing—he wrote a public poem. Carpenter’s poem was written in rhyming couplets and posted in public places. I have to hand it to him—Carpenter has some guts. The poem is creative and witty (but for the record, doesn’t disclose whether Carpenter is, in fact, an ax-murderer).

Don’t miss this piece at NYU Local. It’s hilarious, and there’s a nice little hat tip to Allen Ginsberg in the beginning.

Book by Claire Burge

9 Books

This Friday, the film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic The Great Gatsby opens in a theater near you. The movie promises to put you smack in the 3D-middle of the roaring 20s, promises to bring the book to life. But if you haven’t yet read this amazing piece of literature, allow me to make a suggestion—read it before you see the movie. (Yes, I’m sort of a book-snob that way.) And if you need a little extra accountability to help you stick with it, you’re in luck. Stephen Colbert kicks off his very own book club with The Great Gatsby. And he promises that his book club will be just like every other book club of which you’ve ever been a member.

At least he’s honest about it.

Motion by Claire Burge

10 Sound n Motion

Patty Griffin is one of my favorite living singer-songwriters. She has a poetic way with a turn of phrase, and a voice that’s powerfully sweet, if not sometimes raw. This week she dropped her newest album, American Kid, and it’s a gem. Here’s a taste of Griffin’s latest work.

Cover photo by Double–M, Creative Commons via Flickr.  Article photos by Claire Burge.  Used with permission. Post by Seth Haines.


Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $5.99. Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In April we’re exploring the theme Swans, Swallows, Phoenix.

Every Day Poems Driftwood


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