September 29, 2015

September 27, 2015

Happy Haiga Day!

I was on vacation in Maine this past week. I took lots of photos and wrote a bit of haiku, but they're not ready yet--come back on Friday.

For today, a celebration of bees and wildflowers:


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

September 24, 2015

Poetry Friday--Review of the First NH Poetry Festival

Last Saturday, on a beautiful late summer day, the first NH Poetry Festival was held in Manchester, NH. Overall, I'd say it was a success!

I'll get the not-so-successful part out of the way first--Charles Simic's reading. Sadly, I was only able to catch about every fourth word. The sound system was not adjusted properly to project Mr. Simic. He tended to step back from the mic when he wasn't reading, but still talking, rendering his humorous asides unintelligible to most. Plus, something that sounded like a giant fan droned continuously in the auditorium. It could be that the poet, at 77, is not as strong on stage as he once was, however, the venue played more of a role in the failure of the reading.

That being said, here is a remark I did catch, "any kind of excess [of one sort or another] in poetry is dangerous." (The bit in brackets, I'm not sure I quoted correctly.)

On to the the workshops:

One, run by NH Poet Laureate, Alice Fogel, "Form & Essence in Poetry," dealt with a poem's look on a page. Alice handed out three poems. She presented them as they originally appeared, and reformatted them (adding white space, eliminating punctuation, changing line breaks). We weren't told which was the original, and so we discussed how the two formats "read." We had to guess which was the original. It was quite an eye-opening exercise. It also pointed out how very differently two people read the same poem!

After the initial discussion of appearances on the page, we had a small writing exercise. We selected one of the poems we had before us, pulled out words from the text, and wrote a new poem. Not surprisingly, I ended up with a haiku sequence. Another person wrote in iambic pentameter, which is the way he most often writes. We are creatures of habit!

The poem I used was by Amy Lowell, "Summer Rain."
All night our room was outer-walled with rain.
Drops fell and flattened on the tin roof,
And rang like little disks of metal.
Ping!--Ping!--and there was not a pin-point of silence between
them.
The rain rattled and clashed,
And the slats of the shutters danced and glittered.
But to me the darkness was red-gold and crocus-colored
With your brightness,
And the words you whispered to me
Sprang up and flamed—orange torches against the rain.
Torches against the wall of cool, silver rain!

I wrote haiku and I set it up so that it follows the seasons--winter through fall.

Rain: A Haiku Sequence inspired by Amy Lowell's "Summer Rain"

dead of night
dreams rattled by the ping
of cold rain


crocus-colored
brightness of spring
rain


sunshower over:
tin roof glitters
red-gold


whispers
under the covers
...silver rain

&169; Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Just an aside: Alice Fogel was a wonderful workshop leader, and she is a fine representative for NH as our poet laureate!

Another workshop I attended had to do with Robert Frost's poems of the New England landscape. We had an interesting discussion about the line "I'm going out to fetch the little calf" that appears in the poem "The Pasture." I know I wasn't the only one to learn that to "fetch" a calf on a farm means more than simply bringing the calf back to the barn. Our workshop leader told us it means to separate a nursing calf from its mother so that the mother could be returned to the milking herd. Yikes, that puts a whole different spin on things. (Imagine reading "The Pasture" as a lovely illustrated poem for children after learning the other meaning of fetch.) I looked up the word in my dictionary, which didn't list the definition. I also checked my unabridged dictionary. I'm now wondering what is the real story? I went to Internet Archive: Open Library and found Domestic Animals by D. H. Jacques, published in 1858. It did not use the word fetch when talking about removing a calf from its mother. Nor did John Michels in Dairy Farming from 1907:

Click on the image to enlarge.

None of my quickly executed research eliminates the possibility that in New Hampshire, it was common to refer to removing a calf as fetching. And it is reasonable, that in his poem, Frost was referring to the removal of the calf at the tender age of three days! More research to be done...

A workshop, titled "The Poetry of Lost Voices," was described,
What role can poetry play in recovering and preserving voices that have been swallowed by the past or made invisible in the present? Voices from history, voices from vulnerable populations—the forgotten, the abused, the enslaved, the neglected. How can we render them alive in our poetry and what are the ethical considerations in doing so? Who has the right to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves? What part should factual, secondary source material play? Where is the line between empathy and appropriation? Three poets read and discuss their process and practice.
It was fascinating workshop, but, I don't think I'm any closer to finding the answers to all the ethical questions (like, "can you write outside your own ethnic group?" or "if I'm writing about lost voices, am I guilty of preventing those who are still living from using their own voice to tell the story?"). However, it is my opinion that a writer needs to make sure that the reader knows, without a doubt, that the voice of the person being written about is strictly the result of the imagination of the writer. Admittedly, this is easier to do with people who are long dead!

Some of the art used in the collaborative program. Photo by Diane Mayr.

The final workshop I attended was "Ekphrastics and Collaboration," which was a presentation and discussion of a special project undertaken by three poets and three artists. Ekphrastic, is one of my favorite types of poetry. (If you aren't familiar with ekphrasis, it is art about art. Here's a link, which was on the workshop handout; it has many examples http://cunydictspring2010.wikifoundry.com/page/More+Ekphrastic+poetry. Or, you can click on this link where you'll find examples from my work.)

Bravo to the festival organizers! I look forward to the second annual NH Poetry Festival.

Also, if you live in NH, you may want to attend "A Granite State Evening With Laureates Three," a benefit fund raiser, with plenty of poetry! Click here for more information.

Janet will be hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week at Poetry for Children.

I'm on vacation, so I may take a bit of time to respond to comments or other peoples' posts.

September 22, 2015

Haiku Sticky #324


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Speaking of Jack Benny, here's a quote from him, "Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

September 20, 2015

September 17, 2015

Poetry Friday--"Cat's Not in Sight"

Who hasn't heard a noise and hoped it was the cat, or the dog, or the breeze in the trees?


Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading. © Diane Mayr. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Michelle at Today's Little Ditty is sure to delight and inspire with her featured challenge poem for today, and, she's hosting the Round-Up!

A bit of news: I'm pleased to announce that I will be a Round 2 judge for this year's Cybils Award for Poetry. I'm honored to be member of the poetry crew!

Tomorrow, I'm attending the New Hampshire Poetry Festival taking place at the NH Institute of Art in Manchester. It's the first, and I hope, not the last poetry festival to take place in our fair state! Maybe it'll be the subject of a future post...


September 15, 2015

September 13, 2015

September 11, 2015

Poetry Friday--"Saved by the Bowl"

As promised, a more light-hearted Angel Sketchbook Project poem!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

This week my haiku friend, Robyn, is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up at Life on the Deckle Edge.

September 8, 2015

September 6, 2015

Happy Haiga Day!


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

This is more of a senryu than a haiku. The tree is found at Maudslay State Park in Newburyport, MA.

September 3, 2015

Poetry Friday--"St. Lawrence: Assus Est"


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

This is the first saint I have come across who is portrayed as having a sense of humor!

The tale of St. Lawrence of Rome is one of defiance and humor. Lawrence, a deacon of the Church of Rome in 258, was keeper of the Church's treasury. He was responsible for giving alms to the poor. Lawrence's excessive generosity led the Emperor Valerian to suspect that the Church had vast stores of riches. Valerian called upon Lawrence to bring the Church's treasure before him ("render unto Caesar" and all that). Lawrence asked for time to gather it. What he did then was to gather the poor, the sick, and the infirm. These people he presented as the Church's "treasures." Needless to say, the officials were not pleased. Lawrence was martyred. He was placed upon a gridiron (Lawrence is holding it in his right hand, although most of it has been cut out of the picture) and roasted over hot coals until he is reported to have said, "I am well done. Turn me over!"

I've recounted the legend rather briefly, and as expected, there's more to the story. The whole "roasting" incident may be the result of a "typo." The typical description of a martyr was inscribed Passus est meaning "he suffered," the "P" may have been accidentally left off on a description of Lawrence. The resulting Assus est can be translated as "he is roasted." It makes for a much better story than a simple beheading!

Here's the sound effect from the end of the poem.

So, how did this come about? I was playing with fire for the latest Spark challenge and I discovered the St. Lawrence story (after I found St. Florian, the patron saint of firefighters). He didn't fit with the response piece I was working on, but he sure does fit with the heaven and hell theme I've had going over the past few weeks! The response piece will be posted late tonight or early tomorrow. It's got lots of fire in it, too, but no saints!

Linda at Teacher Dance will be hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up. Enjoy the Labor Day weekend!

September 1, 2015

Haiku Sticky #321


© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. This was my free format entry in the August 2015 Shiki Kukai.