October 30, 2014

Poetry Friday--Galway Kinnell, Emily D. and Me

Time to get back to Emily Dickinson inspired haiku, but first, I'd like to note the passing of Galway Kinnell on Tuesday. I remember him fondly as the man whose love of poetry oozed from every pore. I wrote about when I saw him at the Dodge Festival back in 2010.

If you've read any Emily Dickinson at all, you probably picked up on the fact that she was fond of bees.

Photo and haiku © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I love taking pictures of bees, and I have several of a rather cooperative bee making its way up and down the goldenrod. When I cropped this particular photo, the bee's wings and fuzzy coat really popped out. This haiga is intended for the Ku-dos to Emily project. To learn more about the project, click here and here.

On this All Hallow's Eve, the Poetry Friday Round-Up will be taking place at TeacherDance. I used to sing a little song in story hour about witches dancing--it was always a great hit. I imagine there'll be some witches dancing around the blogosphere today!

Next week, the Round-Up will take place right here! See you next week!

October 28, 2014

Haiku Sticky #277


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Another Sunday morning spent listening to NPR!

October 26, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!


Click image to enlarge. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

October 23, 2014

Poetry Friday--On Listening to A Moveable Feast

I recently listened to an audiobook of A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway's novels didn't interest me, but I developed a desire to learn about him as a person three years ago after reading The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, watching Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, and hearing someone speak about Hemingway's letters in a program at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library--all within a short time.

I came across Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Fowler about a year later. Z presents Hemingway as a cad. I use the word "cad," because in A Moveable Feast Hemingway relates a whole conversation he had with Ford Maddox Ford about gentlemen and cads. Ford, assured Hemingway that he was not a cad. Then last year I saw the HBO movie, Hemingway and Gellhorn. Each of the works presented a look at the man. Who was the real Hemingway? Could a guy who loved cats really be all that bad?

Courtesy John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, MA. The Library's Ernest Hemingway collection has a number of photos of Hemingway and his cats.

I thought A Moveable Feast, being written by him and not about him, might provide some insight.

The first thing I realized was that Hemingway was a funny guy! A Moveable Feast was so damn funny I often laughed out loud! The scene in which F. Scott Fitzgerald demands that Hemingway take Scott's temperature was a hoot. (Scott was sure he was on death's doorstep.) Another funny episode involved Ralph Cheever Dunning. Hemingway said, "...Ralph Cheever Dunning, a poet who smoke opium and forgot to eat." He then related a rather odd story of Ezra Pound, who, being fond of Dunning, left Hemingway in charge of a for-emergency-use-only jar of opium in case Dunning went a little crazy in Pound's absence. Dunning ended up throwing the jar at Hemingway, as well as a few milk bottles.
I only know that Ezra tried to be kind to Dunning as he was kind to so many people and I always hoped Dunning was as fine a poet as Ezra believed him to be. For a poet he threw a very accurate milk bottle. But Ezra, who was a very great poet, played a good game of tennis too.

I loved the line, "For a poet he threw a very accurate milk bottle," and it started me on a search for Ralph Cheever Dunning. I found almost no information about Dunning, other than he was born 1878 in Detroit, moved to Paris in 1905, and died there 25 years later (tuberculosis and starvation). There isn't even a Wikipedia entry for him!

A little of his work can be found online. There is a dramatic piece titled Hyllus, published in 1910, and "The Home-Coming" published in Poetry magazine, January 1916, which is short play-poem (I don't know how else to describe it). A sequence of poems appeared under the title, "The Four Winds," in Poetry, April 1925.


"The Home-Coming" was an interesting little ghost story, but the dozen poems from 1925, didn't do anything for me. I'll leave it to you to read them and decide for yourself! I think Hemingway, in writing "I always hoped Dunning was as fine a poet as Ezra believed him to be," avoided coming right out and saying he considered Dunning to be considerably less talented.

So, what kind of poet was Hemingway? Actually, he wrote short and irreverent verse, generally the type of stuff I like to read. I'm not claiming that they're good, and it seems he never broke free of second grade potty humor (I can't remember ever having read the word "fart" in a poem, but I discovered Hemingway loved to use it.) Before I can decide if he was a fine poet, I'll have to locate a copy of 88 Poems (Harcourt Brace, 1979). Here are two Hemingway poems, which I found online, that make sense to me after just having read A Moveable Feast:
Chapter Heading

For we have thought the longer thoughts
      And gone the shorter way.
And we have danced to devils’ tunes,
      Shivering home to pray;
To serve one master in the night,
      Another in the day.


Montparnasse

There are never any suicides in the quarter among people one knows
No successful suicides.
A Chinese boy kills himself and is dead.
(they continue to place his mail in the letter rack at the Dome)
A Norwegian boy kills himself and is dead.
(no one knows where the other Norwegian boy has gone)
They find a model dead
alone in bed and very dead.
(it made almost unbearable trouble for the concierge)
Sweet oil, the white of eggs, mustard and water, soap suds
and stomach pumps rescue the people one knows.
Every afternoon the people one knows can be found at the café.

Visit Cathy at Merely Day by Day for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.


October 21, 2014

October 19, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

I missed going to the Big E this year, but I did manage to take in the Topsfield Fair!


Click on the image to enlarge for better reading. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

October 16, 2014

Poetry Friday--My Trip to the Witch City

I headed to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA last Saturday to see the Sketchbook Project mobile library. I was hoping to get some idea of the type of end product I should expect to turn in. (For more information about my participation in the Project, click here.)

But first, this rant! Whoever thought it would be a good idea arrange for a mobile library to visit Salem, MA on a Saturday in October, should have their head examined. Salem is an absolute circus in October. It seems to be a mecca for anyone who wants to don a costume, and for those who want to gawk. It took me forever to get through the traffic jam going into the city, and an eternity to find a parking spot. I ended up about a mile away from the PEM. Walking is normally okay, but, it was raining. And it was chilly.

When I got to the PEM, I found that the mobile library was set up outdoors. Yes, I understand how a trailer would require an outside location, but with the huge PEM lobby, there was no reason why the picnic table reading area couldn't have been indoors. It certainly would have been safer for the books! In the rain, there was no way I was going to sit outside, juggle my phone to request a book to "borrow," and sit at a picnic table that had a tendency to tip if two people were sitting at opposite ends and one got up!

Fortunately, I had borrowed my public library's pass to the PEM, so I went into the museum instead. It was a fantastic day to visit the PEM! The atrium floors and walls were covered with painters' tape art created by the visitors. Here's a photo, and a haiku I wrote after observing a child while I sat in the cafe area:

street art:
the girl playing hopscotch
between the lines

There was also a 30-minute sequence of animated films, one of which was Harold and the Purple Crayon. Another was Catson Pawlick, which I posted at KK's Kwotes on Sunday.

The best part of my visit was viewing the Alexander Calder exhibit of mobiles and stabiles. After walking around, I sat in the Calder exhibit area and wrote a few haiku. I suppose they could be labeled ekphrasis--art about art--but, since they are more reflective of viewing an exhibit, I wonder if the term still applies?

I would have liked to take a photo of some of the objects, but, photography of that particular exhibit was forbidden. This is a photo from the PEM site, it shows "La Demoiselle," but what you miss is the exhibit area lighting and the shadow play, which is outstanding, adds a whole other dimension to the viewing, and is what really inspired my haiku.


Alexander Calder, La Demoiselle, 1939. Glenstone. © Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. PEM website.


Calder mobile
wires and shadows
intertwine

museum guard
his toupee shifts
in the light

Calder exhibit
shadows step across
visitors' feet

When I left the PEM, I found that the rain had stopped and the sun had made an appearance. I was able to borrow several sketchbooks before the library closed. I snapped a photo of two very different sketchbooks. One, from Japan, was primarily manga characters, but, it also had a variety of interesting collage embellishments, for example, the cover and an inside illustration, used crocheted doilies. The other sketchbook, I believe it was from Baltimore, was an incomplete volume of verbal musings and pencil sketches. It ended a few pages before the end of the 32 pages with something like this: Once again, I've run out of time.


At this point, I'm still not completely comfortable in the direction I'm taking with my project, but, from what I saw on the shelves of the mobile library, anything goes.

To be fair, I think the Sketchbook Project folks must have been pleased with introducing the Project to vast numbers of people who floated by as part of the street show, so my earlier rant is to be taken with a grain of salt! However, to give you the flavor of Salem during October, take a look at this trailer for a 1997 documentary film called Witch City:



Michelle of Today's Little Ditty is today's host of the Round-Up, and, she is currently challenging readers to create a zeno! Visit her blog to learn more about the zeno challenge.

Photos, except for the Calder mobile, and haiku, © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.