The best in poetry (and poetic things), this week with Seth Haines.
What do get when you mix Shakespearean poetry, theater, and dialogue from the AMC smash hit The Walking Dead? “Lots and lots of blood, “ says Ruth Myles at the Calgary Herald.
William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead, ” is a modern play, co-produced in part by the Shakespeare Company, and is set against the backdrop of London’s fictional zombie plague in 1599. The piece was the brain-child of Haysam Kadri, who suggested that the genre mashup was a historical fit, since the Bubonic plauge was a going concern in London at the time. In fact, “the plague” led to the closure of the Globe in 1593, 1603, and 1608. The play, which substitutes zombies for the zoonotic disease, has been called a “fun romp, ” and will be showing in Calgary from today, through April 6th. Visit the Calgary Herald for more information about showtimes and locations. And if you happen to see it, drop back by and tell us what you thought.
I became acquainted with Tweetspeak by way of a Twitter poetry party, in which participants built collaborative poetry, line by line. In the party, L.L. Barkat might tweet the opening line of a poem, the second line which would be created on the spot by Glynn Young. Maureen Doallas might jump into the act, tweeting the third line, and after mustering up a bit of courage, I’d jump in and add to the piece, tweeting the fourth line. It was great fun, sure. But one thing that always bothered me about these Twitter poetry parties was the inability to include line breaks in your tweets.
Now, Twitter has upped its poetic quotient, adding the ability to view line breaks on the Twitter webpage. So you can quote e.e. cummings or Tennessee Williams properly.
This week, I read Carl Sandburg’s “Masses, “ on my e-reader. As I read his lines of the “patient and toiling, ” I noted the disjointed spacing, the awkward line breaks that seemed to be without reason or rhyme. Come to find out, the line breaks in my e-reader were improper, jumbled by the digital format of the piece. Does such a rendering affect the artistic quality of a work? Yes, notes E. Thelbert Miller, who claims that “form is essential to the art.” Miller states that often, form is exactly what is lost when works are translated from print to an electronic format.
Visit the Washington Post for more on the topic. Then, check out your favorite poem on your e-reader. Does the formatting hold true to the original? Does the rendering change the feel or implications of the piece? Come back here and let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
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Any psychology majors in the room? If so, you know that Sigmund Freud spent a great deal of time exploring the psychology of dreams. But did you know that in the early 1900s, he penned an essay on the interplay between day-dreaming and creative writing? In the piece, which was republished in The Freud Reader, Freud examined the commonalities between childhood play and creative writing, and further explored how creative writers overcome the shame of secretive daydreams to achieve satisfaction in the disclosure of their fantasies.
Check out this piece at Brain Pickings, where Maria Popova summarizes Freud’s theories, and shares other famous authors’ insights on the writing process.
In graduate school, my wife and I would frequently brunch at Uncle Gaylord’s restaurant, the cozy converted house just off the square in Fayetteville. Gaylord’s was an establishment for the locals, a place with an always smoldering fire and two cozy book nooks boasting an enviable selection of poetry and prose. From time to time, we’d take out-of-town company to Gaylord’s, and if they were the literary types, we’d watch as their mouths gaped at most perfect of reading spaces.
Do you have a perfect nook? If so, visit The Write Practice, where this week’s writing prompt involves the word, “nook.” In it, Suzie Gallagher asks you to “[e]nter your writing nook and practice for five minutes using nook often.” When you’re finished, copy and paste your words into the comments. And if you participate in The Write Practice’s prompt, come back here and share your work with us, too.
In the month of March, we’ve been playing with pantoums at Tweetspeak, and it’s been fun. Consider this collective pantoum we’ve been working on this week. Who knew that the prompt would lead to such an amazing collaborative collective.
In it, he plays with the form, writing in part:
Unhinge, God, my lover’s mouth
and let him kiss me
with the kisses of his mouth
so I will forget wine.
And let her kiss me.
And her word is a balm.
So I will forget wine
made from sweet palms.
In the winter of 2007, I visited the African continent for the first time. Although I was headed to Mozambique, that coastal country in southeast Africa, a friend recommended that I pass the fourteen hours of flight-time reading Chinua Achebe’s masterwork, Things Fall Apart It is a stunning portrayal of a Nigerian village, and the tension between traditional ways and the ways of the Christian colonists. I finished the book as the landing-gear touched down, and I knew I’d never be the same after reading Achebe’s work.
This week, Achebe passed at the age of 82. He will be long remembered, and if you are not familiar with his work, I suggest that you check out this interview by Katie Bacon, which first ran in August of 2000. A portion of Bacon’s interview was republished this week in The Atlantic. In it, Achebe shares his thoughts on his 2000 work, Home and Exile, and further examines his legacy.
Have you ever found yourself in the local bookstore, money to burn, but can’t quite decide just which book to take home? What do you do when you find yourself in such a pickle? Visit the Staff Picks shelf, of course.
Over the years, I’ve been drawn to the Staff Picks shelves. Here, I get a feel for the personalities of the establishment. Do they sport a morose sense of humor, do they promote Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter? Is there a hopeless romantic among the staff who claims that Pride and Prejudice is “the best novel ever written. Period.”? When I saw this piece at Flavorwire, I perused the pictures and spent far too much time analyzing the personalities of various bookstores vis-a-vis their Staff Picks Shelves. Jump over to Flavorwire for more, including the shelves of David Wheeler at Elliott Bay Book Company.
10 Sound n Motion
I’m a fan of creative recycling. I’m also a fan of music. So, when a group combines the two in a creative way to give impoverished children an outlet for creativity? It’s good. See for yourself.