November 27, 2009

Poetry Friday--"Perhaps the World Ends Here"


Yesterday, many of us spent time at the kitchen table paring, cutting, slicing, buttering, carving, doing all those things that need be done to prepare a Thanksgiving meal. Some of us ate in the dining room, but others sat down to dinner at the good old kitchen table. Joy Harjo celebrates the kitchen table in "Perhaps the World Ends Here":

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.
To read the rest, click here.

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being held at Becky's Book Reviews.

November 24, 2009

November 22, 2009

Project Runway

The final episode of the latest season of Project Runway took place Thursday night. My favorite didn't win. Truthfully, I haven't heard of anyone who preferred the winner, Irina. I wear a lot of black, but I also like color. Irina's show was all black with the exception of two tan jackets. Boring. (To see the three finalists' runway show, click here.) And don't get me started on the bitchy factor!

I receive the online newsletter from the Poetry Foundation and the latest issue contained an article called Poetry and Project Runway by Stephen Burt! It was interesting and compared the way the work of poets and fashion designers is critiqued.
...Techniques command attention from technicians, practitioners of the relevant art, and those who know it intimately. Life stories, on the other hand, are easy to follow; so are "personalities." And flagrant failures—easy to judge, and easy to describe—tend to stick in the mind.

Those truths affect, not only the judging of hurriedly-assembled cocktail dresses on television, but the reading and reviewing of new poems.
Quite an interesting article, I recommend you take look at it and Project Runway when the new season starts in January. I'll be right there watching. Why? Because fashion is another art, and art always has a story behind it!

November 20, 2009

Poetry Friday--Pumpkin Pie, Yum!

Photo by Deiru

In preparation for next Thursday, here's a stanza from "The Pumpkin" by John Greenleaf Whittier:
Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South comes the pilgrim and guest;
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored;
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before;
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye,
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?

John Greenleaf Whittier's home in Massachusetts is a few miles from mine in New Hampshire, and yet, I've never been for visit! One of these days...

Visit the Poetry Friday Round-Up at The Drift Record.

I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving holiday with plenty of pie for dessert!

November 17, 2009

November 15, 2009

The Story of Saint Ursula

After Friday's post I decided to do a little research on Saint Ursula. There's a Wikipedia entry and many other sites. One thing is pretty certain, most of the Ursula story is legend. Here's one short biography from Catholic Saints:
The story and history of Saint Ursula. The legend of St. Ursula and her 11,000 virgins has been greatly modified in modern times. It is suggested that instead of ten companions, each with a retinue of a thousand virgins, she had but one companion, named Undecimilla, and that this name was originally mistaken for undecim millia, or 11,000. Whatever may have been the real facts, it is certain that the church dedicated to St. Ursula at Cologne contains more tombs of virgins than can properly be accommodated. The revenues of this church, which are considerable, belong to an abbess and six canonesses, who, to do honour to the saint must all be countesses. The Legend of Saint Ursula is considered to be fiction and in 1969 Pope Paul VI removed her name from the 1969 revision of the the universal calendar of the Catholic canon of saints.
Here's my take on it:

The STORY of Saint Ursula

Ursula, martyred by the Huns, was
massacred along with eleven thousand
virgins. Eleven thousand! Imagine
these thousands of handmaidens screaming,
pleading, praying, hoping to catch the ear of God.

Imagine the Huns. Burly men, hour after hour
lifting axes, slamming them down, cleaving
bone and sinew. Blood spurting, splashing.
Up to their knees in it, yet, powered by evil,
they remained able to complete the vile deed.

It does not have the ring of truth like the
report of an eleven-year-old girl, murdered.
But, where is the STORY in truth? Hmm...eleven?
What if we say Ursula and eleven others?
Better yet, eleven thousand! Make them virgins!

One innocent child murdered? Sad, but
it happens every day. Virgins decapitated by
ruthless barbarians? Sex and gore magnified!
Throw in God and you've got the medieval
equivalent of the Hollywood blockbuster.

Ursula, baby, it's all about STORY.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved

Vittore Carpaccio created an entire sequence of the "Life of Saint Ursula" paintings. You can find them here.

November 13, 2009

Poetry Friday--One Thing Leads to Another

I was skimming through some of Amy Lowell's poems and came across this one:

On Carpaccio's Picture

Swept, clean, and still, across the polished floor
From some unshuttered casement, hid from sight,
The level sunshine slants, its greater light
Quenching the little lamp which pallid, poor,
Flickering, unreplenished, at the door
Has striven against darkness the long night.
Dawn fills the room, and penetrating, bright,
The silent sunbeams through the window pour.
And she lies sleeping, ignorant of Fate,
Enmeshed in listless dreams, her soul not yet
Ripened to bear the purport of this day.
The morning breeze scarce stirs the coverlet,
A shadow falls across the sunlight; wait!
A lark is singing as he flies away.

This led me to wonder about the "picture" that Lowell describes. I wasn't familiar with the name Carpaccio, so I looked him up and found that Vittore Carpaccio lived from 1460 to 1525/26.



I found "The Dream of St. Ursula," which I assumed was the picture Lowell wrote about--there is the polished floor, a tiny lamp near the door, the sunbeams, the sleeping woman, and the shadow that "falls across the sunlight," but I did not see the lark. So, I went looking for another picture and found Vittore Carpaccio: The Complete Works. There are 147 images on the site and I looked at every one! I found nothing else that had a sleeping woman. I think what I have to do next is look into the story of St. Ursula. Maybe the lark is part of her story--one of those cultural references that I obviously missed, or, maybe the lark is Amy Lowell's spin on the picture. It's nice how art leads to art leads to art!

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted this week by Gregory K. Thanks Greg!

November 12, 2009

Shouting from the Rooftop!

The other day I posted my piece of shameless self-promotion with an IndieBound link and was told today that Run, Turkey, Run! is #10 on the November 12 IndieBound Children's Illustrated Bestsellers! Wow, I should be shameless more often!

Doin' the happy dance!

November 10, 2009

November 8, 2009

Shameless Self-Promotion



In a few weeks it will be Thanksgiving. If you have a little one in your life you might want to consider getting him or her a book for the holiday. How about Run, Turkey, Run! by Diane Mayr (ME!) with illustrations by Laura Rader (Walker & Co., 2007). The book came out in paperback just last week (9780802784810).

For the longest time Run, Turkey, Run! was my favorite of everything I had written. I used to say that if it were ever published I could die happy. Let me tell you, the road to publication was not an easy one--it was rejected 25 times before finally being picked up! I believed in it and kept sending it out. My faith was rewarded.

If I go anytime soon, though, I'll only be half-happy. Now, I tell myself, "If you could get Kids of the Homefront Army: Poems of World War II published, you could die happy." Hey, if that's ever going to happen, I'd better get off my butt and send it out again! (I came very close, but I had to place my gut instinct above editorial suggestions.)

November 6, 2009

Poetry Friday--Haiku, A "New View"

John S. O'Connor's recent post, "A New View on Haiku," on the Poetry Foundation's blog, explains that haiku isn't simply a 5-7-5 form. Yeah! I hope the view is finally ready to be accepted!

I'd like to introduce you to four haiku/senryu sites where you'll be able to expand on the view for yourself:

The Four Seasons of Haiku. Click on "Autumn" for the current season.

Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry.

Prune Juice: Journal of Senryu and Kyoka.

The Haiku Foundation: Montage. A Haiku gallery.

The Round-Up this week is being hosted by Wild Rose Reader.

November 3, 2009

Poetry Stretch

Check out the Miss Rumphius Effect "Monday poetry stretch" for this week. I had quite a bit of fun with it, but, since it had funky formatting, I had to scan it and post here as an image.



© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved

Haiku Sticky #17



© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved

November 1, 2009

Is This the End?

I'm sure you've all heard of the "price war" on books taking place online. If you're a consumer, it's a great opportunity to buy a book cheap. For the price warriors it means publicity, and sales at a loss, but with perhaps future sales to make up for any losses.

What does it mean for a writer? It means a devaluation of the art of literature. The loss of publishing options. And, it may be a death knoll for up and coming writers.

If you haven't seen it, I direct you to a piece by William Petrocelli, in the Huffington Post.

For readers it may be the end of choice. Think about it--do you want Target and Walmart deciding what reading choices you'll have in the future?

So sad...