July 31, 2012

Haiku Sticky #160


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Written as part of Laura Salas's 15 Words or Less Thursday challenge.

July 29, 2012

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine courtesy New York Public Library Archives.

July 27, 2012

Poetry Friday--Poetry & the Olympics

The American team, which took part in the 5th Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden in 1912. Perhaps the one in the in the turtleneck is on the poetry team? Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Today's the beginning of a two week extravaganza known as the Summer Olympics. It is a celebration of sports and also of poetry! The mayor of London, Boris Johnson wrote, and will recite, in both ancient Greek and English, this poem celebrating the Olympics.
Ode for the London Olympics 2012

This new Olympic flame behold,
that once burned bright in Greece of old;
with happy hearts receive once more
these Games revived on London's shore.

Praise rival teams, in sport allied,
as athletes stream from far and wide;
the poet too must take the road
conveying praise to victory owed.

Millions of watchers will embrace
the passion of each close-­run race,
the efforts of the rowing teams
and gymnasts balancing on beams.

They will observe with rapt delight
the archer draw his bowstring tight,
the skilful rider guide her horse,
and lightning bolt around the course.

The pipes will play, the drum resound,
as medallists are daily crowned;
the crowd's hurrah will reach the skies
when victors hoist the golden prize.

Now welcome to this sea­‐girt land,
with London's Mayor and co. at hand.
Good luck to all who strive to win:
applaud, and let the Games begin!

Courtesy BBC News.
More on 2012 Olympic poetry can be read in this Huffington Post article and on the London2012 site. A New York Times article provides a more historical look at poetry and the Olympic games.

Here is a marvelous quote by Carol Ann Duffy, the British Poet Laureate, "The original Olympics involved poetry as well as sport, celebrating the wholeness of human endeavour. I think it is very good they are echoing the early spirit of the Olympics, as it would be a shame not to bring the arts into people’s focus. I think it makes us healthier, as well as our running, jumping and marvellous physical achievements, to look more internally at art, music and poetry."

Join the Poetry Friday team warming up at Life Is Better With Books. In the coming week, exercise your poetry muscles with a summer sports poem and join me back here next Friday to share.

July 24, 2012

Haiku Sticky #159


With my deepest sympathies to the people of Aurora, CO.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

July 22, 2012

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel illustration courtesy New York Public Library Archives.

July 20, 2012

Poetry Friday--"Caroline"


Several years ago, I had the honor of judging some of the entries in New Hampshire's "Letters About Literature" competition before they headed into the final, national judging. Letters About Literature is sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, and participating Centers for the Book in the states.

The contest requires that students write a letter to an author about how a particular book has affected them. On its website, the Library of Congress has winning letters back to 2000. One of the letters was written by Amelia Leuer to poet Linda Pastan about her poem, "Caroline." I direct you to the letter with the instructions: bring a tissue.

Here's Pastan's poem:
Caroline

She wore
her coming death
as gracefully
as if it were a coat
she'd learned to sew.
When it grew cold enough
she'd simply button it
and go.

Such a simple poem had the power to relate to the life a young woman, and to inspire her to create a moving tribute.

Tara at A Teaching Life is this week's Round-Up host.

Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

July 17, 2012

July 13, 2012

Poetry Friday--More Poets On Poems

Finches photo by photosbyflick.


Last month I posted about Poets on Poems. Many of you commented on how much you liked the poems I selected, and many specifically mentioned "Ars Poetica" by Archibald MacLeish. I like that poem, too, and, so, I ordered a used copy of New and Collected Poems: 1917-1976 (Houghton Mifflin, 1976) to explore more of MacLeish's work.

Being an impatient soul, I skipped over his extremely lengthy poems and just concentrated on reading the short ones. In doing so, I found that MacLeish had much to say about writing and poetry in particular.
Theory of Poetry

Know the world by heart
Or never know it!
Let the pendant stand apart--
Nothing he can name will show it:
Also him of intellectual art.
None know it
Till they know the world by heart.

Take heart, then, poet!


Poetical Remains

What will our reputations be?
whole things? Constructions
Resisting time (that sea!)
With the rock's persistent luck?

I doubt it. We leave behind
An anthological rubble:
Mind mingled with mind,
Odd and even coupled.

But poetry thrives that way.
Out of the tumbled coral
One exquisite spray,
Ivory, tipped with ore.


They Come No More, Those Words, Those Finches

Oh when you're young
And the words to your tongue
Like the birds to Saint Francis
With darting, with dances--
Wait! you say, Wait!
There's still time! It's not late!

And the next day you're old
And the words all as cold
As the birds in October
Sing over, sing over,
Sing Late! Late!

And Wait! you say, Wait!

Isn't that last one fantastic! When I went looking something to illustrate this post, I came across the photo above, which I love, but what got me was that the photographer captioned it with "They are pretty hard to capture in flight." Sort of like writers trying to grab the right words, or any words, for that matter!

Fly over to Check It Out for the Poetry Friday Round-Up.

July 10, 2012

July 6, 2012

Poetry Friday--Ekphrasis part II

Blanchisseuses et chevaux by Edgar Degas courtesy
Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne.


Last week I wrote about Eavan Boland's "Degas's Laundresses," click here if you missed it. In searching the internet, I found several Degas works that used laundrywomen as a subject. I also found many works depicting horses. The picture above combines the two favored subjects.

I've written my own ekphrastic poem to go with it:
Obsessive Compulsive: On Degas' Blanchisseuses et chevaux

Laundress was the perfect
job for her--the woman
who was always scrubbing
away at personal stigmas.

At work, imagined stains
were replaced by the tangible
make-up smears, wine drips,
menstrual blood, and sweat

rings of others' lives.
In cleansing them she
cleansed herself. But,
the horse? Why did she

stop that day on her way
to deliver the load of milk
white sheets perfectly
bleached and crisply folded?

Perhaps she merely stopped
to caress the beautiful creature
without the compulsion to strip
it of its sins and render it pure.

Perhaps...but not likely.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Tabatha is hosting this week's Round-Up at The Opposite of Indifference.

July 3, 2012