The best in poetry, (and poetic things), this week with Matthew Kreider.
A book can make the floor drop from under my feet. Or make me want to get cozy on the couch. Joel Robison’s visual abstractions connect with me. His playful photographic work provides a beautiful scale and shape to the unseen and often ethereal relationship between books and their lovers.
This year the daffodils, tulips, and lilacs began blooming early in my neighborhood. But if you’re still waiting for the scent of your favorite flower to inspire you, perhaps a thoughtful bouquet from art history might do the trick. Here’s the ten best flower paintings, according to one critic at The Observer.
Small bookstores are bracing for yet another hit. That’s because “Google is ending the program which allows independent booksellers to sell Google e-books through their websites.” Executives are dropping Google’s eBookstore for Google Play to create a consolidated iTunes-like entity.
Breaking news? According to Highbrow Magazine, American poetry is galloping into a new golden age. Though the latest scene can be attributed to a rise in MFA programs, poetry is also wildly alive in the urban jungle. One street poet says, “You’d be surprised how many people stop for me to drop a poem. People just like poetry.” What’s your inside scoop on this scandalous claim?
Just look at the media today. Can anyone blame my family for unhooking the television? Now that we’ve unplugged, it feels apocalyptic whenever we are subjected to a blitzkrieg of commercials at someone else’s home. Emma Gardner writes, “It sometimes feels as if we’re one more Pirates of the Caribbean sequel away from forgetting about Shakespeare entirely.” Andrew Rashbass, chief executive of The Economist Group, offers us an optimistic forecast, however. He believes society is witnessing the rise of the mass intelligent.
Rachelle Gardner is no Luddite. As an award-winning literary agent, she uses crazy stuff like the Internet. Gardner responds to a recent talky Wired article, sharing her wisdom about the industry’s evolving relationship with new media. She says,
“I’m excited about new technologies and expect to spend the rest of my career grappling with them on a daily basis. But in the hype and excitement over technology, sometimes I feel compelled to speak up for the unparalleled pleasure of simply… reading a book.”
What’s your social media strategy? Every company has one whether they know it or not, according to Douglas Rushkoff. And it’s time for every poet, painter and computer programmer to read Technology, Art, and Why the Future of Branding Is Nonfiction.
Speaking of social media strategies, I’ve been on Twitter for only a little over a month, even though it’s been around for years. Embracing new tools can be difficult, especially when we’ve grown accustomed to the old ones. If you feel like you’re tweeting in the dark, read how to make Twitter and Socialoomph work for you.
These days, even art seems to demand a high-speed connection. Dial-up won’t do. PBS Off Book explains how three digital powerhouses — Kickstarter, Creative Commons, and The Creators Project — influence the world of art. The video is only six minutes long, providing you have a good connection.
A poet might feel most at home in words. But for creativity to breathe, you need to find ways to prevent your primary craft from wholly defining who you are. Look for different outlets to express that primordial urge to make something new.
I was inspired by Fleda Brown’s account of the creation of one of her poems.
“The poet was on stage, a long way from me—it was a big room—and I ended up watching the person doing sign language more than I was watching the poet. The sign language was its own poetry. I started thinking about how the poem must seem to the person signing, and how it must seem to the deaf person. How a poem changes into a different thing with each translation.”
Now I want to listen to sign language, too, hear how it might give voice to a poem.
Speaking of poems, why not give voice to your own Mirror, Mirror poem? I want to see what you see in that silver place.
When my wife and I fell in love, we ate a lot of gourmet jelly beans together via webcam. This is something lovers can do when they live in different countries. Somehow, pairing different flavors together in different ratios provided us with a sweet opportunity to explore and understand the nature of relationships. After reading Jelly Belly Warehouse Tour by Tania Runyan, I marvel once again at the ubiquitous presence of the humble jelly bean.
While a citrus-flavored jelly bean can be lots of fun, let’s not forget what happens when we peel away the skin of a real tangerine. Read “Exposed” by Maureen Doallas.
Maybe April Fool’s Day isn’t entirely pedestrian. Turns out, several literary greats have practiced the fine art of April Foolery. But they didn’t limit themselves to the first day of the month. Poe, Mencken, and Welles made use of the entire month. We still have a few weeks of April left. Have fun, everyone.
Wendell Berry, one of my favorite literary rock stars, doesn’t own a computer. Jack White, one of my favorite musical rock stars, doesn’t own a cell phone. While both of them are a type of social rebel, read why Jack White Is the Coolest, Weirdest, Savviest Rock Star of Our Time. I still think if Wendell ever picked up a guitar, he could be a contender.
Teens need poetry — and not just because it’s National Poetry Month. Shmoop stands out as a relevant and helpful poetry resource for teens. Imagine using Tim Burton to explain Emily Dickinson.
And what about the wee ones? PBS Kids offers practical advice for introducing children to the world of poetry. “Children will not gravitate to poetry, poetry must be brought to them, ” says J. Patrick Lewis.
10 Sound n Motion
Poetry needed to find new recipes following the rise of Twitter. Poet Holly Bass says,
“I kind of make this analogy with cupcakes, so a long form poem would be like a layer cake and a Twitter poem is like a cupcake. So you still need all the same ingredients. You don’t skimp on the ingredients just because your end product is smaller.”
Listen to NPR’s “Muses and Metaphor” and hear how young bakers put together delicious Twitter poems.
Finally, during this National Poetry Month, The Englewood Review is celebrating the sound and voice of poetry. Here’s Langston Hughes reading two poems. They may not be Twitter poems, but they’re still pretty sweet.
Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $5.99— Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In March we’re exploring the theme Angels.