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August 31, 2012

Poetry Friday--Still More Poets on Poetry

Once you become aware of something, you start seeing it everywhere. Since first writing about poets on poems, I seem to find suitable references wherever I look! I'll round out what has turned into a series with these four poets:

Paul Blackburn
from Chantars No Pot Gaire Valer

It is worthless to write a line
if the song proceed not from the heart:
nor can the song come from the heart
if there is no love in it.

Nikki Giovanni
from Poetry is a Trestle

poetry is a trestle
spanning the distance between
what i feel
and what i say

from Poetry

poetry is motion graceful
as a fawn
gentle as a teardrop
strong like the eye
finding peace in a crowded room

William Carlos Williams
from The Desert Music

                       And I could not help thinking
                       of the wonders of the brain that
                       hears that music and of our
                       skill sometimes to record it.

And to finish up, a few lines from Dorothy Parker:
Fighting Words

Say my love is easy had,
Say I'm bitten raw with pride,
Say I am too often sad--
Still behold me at your side.

Say I'm neither brave nor young,
Say I woo and coddle care,
Say the devil touched my tongue--
Still you have my heart to wear.

But say my verses do not scan,
And I get me another man!

This week's Round-Up is being held at Poetry for Children. Have a lovely 3-day weekend!

Photo by Jonathan Cohen.

August 28, 2012

August 26, 2012

August 24, 2012

Poetry Friday--Summer Poem Swap

The final poem I sent off in this year's (I'm hoping there's a next year) Summer Poem Swap was "Noblesse Oblige," a ekphrastic poem inspired by a painting by Amedeo Modigliani, "La Jeune Bonne" (1918). I wrote the poem specifically for my swap partner, Tabatha Yeatts, who has a penchant for sharing art on her blog The Opposite of Indifference. It's a payback for all the art she's introduced me to.

I incorporated the poem into a reproduction of "Le Jeune Bonne," but, I will only post a link where you can see the art, since, I'm unclear about copyright issues involved in using the work.
Noblesse Oblige

On the job her eyes
reveal nothing
for those she serves,
her own elan vital
so well suppressed she
no longer remembers
that she had a dream.
The price of hiring
a perfect servant
does not come cheap.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.
I posted another ekphrastic poem last month, "Obsessive Compulsive: On Degas' Blanchisseuses et chevaux." The poem dealt with a laundress. Today's poem is about a maid. I think perhaps I've found a new project--writing poems about servants portrayed in works of art. Servants have two lives, so there's twice as much to imagine!

Once again I'd like to thank Tabatha for organizing the Summer Poem Swap and for letting me participate! I'm also amazed by the reverso poem she sent to me. A reverso is something that seems to me to be so complicated as to be undoable! In other words, don't look for me to write one any time soon!

This week's Round-Up is being held at Dori Reads.

August 21, 2012

August 19, 2012

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Yesterday I attended a speech by president Barack Obama, which took place in Windham, NH. Here are a few photos.

August 17, 2012

Poetry Friday--"Daybreak"

Here is an absolutely gorgeous little poem by Galway Kinnell.

On the tidal mud, just before sunset,
dozens of starfishes
were creeping. It was
as though the mud were a sky
and enormous, imperfect stars
moved across it as slowly
as the actual stars cross heaven.
All at once they stopped,
and, as if they had simply
increased their receptivity
to gravity they sank down
into the mud; they faded down
into it and lay still; and by the time
pink of sunset broke across them
they were as invisible
as the true stars at daybreak.
From Galway Kinnell: Selected Poems, Houghton Mifflin, 1982.

Imagine seeing a dozen creeping starfish on the sand! Kinnell took such care in setting the scene for me, that I can see it, too!

Visit Mary Lee at A Year of Reading for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Image courtesy Open Clip Art Library.

August 14, 2012

Haiku Sticky #162

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I normally wouldn't use "thru" instead of "through," but to spell it out would have split the line on the page, even with an ampersand.

August 12, 2012

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. John James Audubon illustration courtesy New York Public Library Digital Gallery.

August 10, 2012

Poetry Friday--Summer Poem Swap

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I've been taking part in the Summer Poem Swap organized by Tabatha Yeatts. She explains the swap and shares several participants' poems here and here.

Tabatha sends out a prompt for those who like a little jumpstart. The photo of Annie Oakley was the prompt for our 4th swap poem.

My swap partner, Linda Baie, did not use the prompt for her poem. She used the 1940s diary of her husband's mother, who had written on the inside cover, "Be a Lamplighter. We shall shine as the stars of the morning."
We Shall Shine As The Stars of The Morning

I saw these words about living a poem. Maybe I am doing that with Roy? The words paint some of the days.             Lora

         In January, sleet and snow, I ironed, cleaned and mended while Roy helped Grandpa render lard.
         By February Groundhog Day arrived, and the aunties came for dinner, but Grandpa was sick, so Roy stayed with him.
         In March, some days are warm, and I helped Mabel make a cake. Roy worked at church doing repair. Our evening time filled up with friends in Altoona.
         April brought a big frost--very pretty. I stayed in and washed, went to a musical in the evening. Roy mended fence.
         May was time to put the chicks out with a hen, and I had a nice visit with Effie one afternoon while Roy drove to town on business.
         On a June Day I picked berries and made preserves. It was a nice day. Roy got the Ford for $45.00.
         On one day in July, it was rainy. I ironed in the afternoon, and dressed a chicken for dinner. Roy helped pick gooseberries.
         August brought the celebration of Grandpa's 91st birthday; Flo visited. Roy cleaned the yard.
         In September, I fixed pickles in the morning, sewed in the afternoon. Roy went to a sale.
         One October day, I ironed and churned, made biscuits. Roy hauled manure and fixed the garden for winter.
         November held a very warm day and I peeled apples to dry. Roy went to buy a cow.
         In December, before Christmas , I mended and made sausage. We had a white Christmas. Roy washed the car for the new year.
                                    It was a good year.

© Linda Baie, all rights reserved.
Isn't it marvelous! I can hear the old Shaker hymn playing in my head, "Tis a gift to be simple..." Many thanks to Linda for swapping it and for allowing me to share it with you. (Our last swap is happening next week, and my swap partner is Tabatha. I hate to say it, but I haven't yet to start work on my poem. I guess I know what I'm doing this weekend!)

Violet Nesdoly / Poems is the place to be on this fine summer day. While you're there, check out her post for last Friday and see how Violet responded to the photo of Annie Oakley with "Medalled."

Annie Oakley photo courtesy New York Public Library Digital Gallery.

August 7, 2012

Haiku Sticky #161

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

My thoughts are with the people of Oak Creek, WI, and with all Americans who must work to end this continuing gun violence across our country.

August 5, 2012

August 3, 2012

Poetry Friday--Olympics Poetry

Last week I wrote about Poetry and the Olympics and ended by sort of issuing a challenge to write a poem inspired by the Olympics. Silly me. I thought it would be simple, but I am so easily distracted by the wonders of the internet that I got caught up in the 1908 Olympics held in London, and spent altogether too much time chasing links.

Here's a bit of what I learned: 2,008 athletes participated in those games, and of that number, 37 were women. Yes, women participated! If you click on the montage above you'll be able to make out seven women--they're the ones in the knee-length, or longer, skirts! I can clearly see one woman archer (Sybil Newall). The six women who seem to be performing artistic gymnastics, must in fact, be figure skaters practicing off the ice. There were only three events open to women in 1908--archery, skating, and tennis. None of the six gymnastic women, though, appear to be doing anything that resembles tennis.

I did a little digging in old newspapers online and found several articles from 1908. This one is from The Logansport Pharos Tribune (Indiana) and is dated June 27.

The women archers participated in the Women's Double National Round, which is described in the above article (click on the image and it will open in another window and be easier to read). The British won all the medals since the only women competing were British! In fact, of the 37 women athletes at the games, 25 were British archers. [Although if you add up the total number of women listed for the events by Wikipedia, it seems to add up to at least 42. Given more time, I would have tried to verify the numbers. In any case, the number of women who participated fell far short of the predications of the newspaper article.]

The gold medalist archer was Sybil "Queenie" Newall who was nearly 54 years of age. She was, and remains to this day, the oldest woman to win an Olympic gold medal!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

The oldest man to win an Olympic gold medal was Oscar Swahn of Sweden who was 64 when he took the gold in shooting in 1912. Swahn was also a participant in the 1908 Olympics, and, at the 1920 games, he won a silver medal. Fast forward to 2012, and we find 71 year old, Hiroshi Hoketsu, competing in the equestrian event of dressage! In yesterday's event he wasn't a medal winner, but what the heck--he didn't come in last!

I found it odd that figure skaters competed in the 1908 summer games, but the Olympics stretched from April through October that year. So much to learn, so little time...

I didn't spend as much time working on an Olympics poem as I needed to. I didn't research Queenie, so for all I know, she may have been a stay-at-home mom when she wasn't competing. I tend to doubt it, though! I imagine that any woman, even if she was a member of the royalty, still had to work long and hard to excel.

If you're looking for GOOD Olympics poetry, check out the poetry games at NPR, and make sure you vote for your favorite.

Stop by On the Way to Somewhere for the Round-Up this week.

Photo montage courtesy The National Archives (Great Britain). Photo of Queenie Newall courtesy Wikipedia.