Featuring cherita!

December 30, 2014

December 28, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I still have the occasional dream about not getting to class on time (if I get there at all) and I graduated from high school many decades ago! Pre-holiday anxiety dreams involve Christmas shopping, but now I'm free for another 12 months! Happy New Year!

December 26, 2014

Poetry Friday--"What Is It About a Cat"

Christmas is over. Hopefully the bits and pieces of paper and ribbon and tape have all been thrown out. Sometimes, though, the remnants of Christmas are found days later, in rather unusual places.

What Is It About A Cat

And Christmas ribbon?
She pounces upon it
like it is a living being
ripe for tormenting.

She chases it across
floors, under tables,
and paws it into dark
recesses. There, the

battered, hapless ribbon
is slobbered into pliability.
The cat, smugly victorious,
swallows. One, long,

spaghetti slurp--gone!
And then...the ribbon
fortuitously reappears at
the tail-end of Christmas.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

A mighty long build-up to a pun! If you live with cats, you will recognize the scenario. Every wrapped present be-ribboned with curling ribbon, has to be secured within a bag so that no cat is tempted. The taunting curls are more than a cat can stand and the lead-up to gift-giving is an ongoing fight between human, cat, and ribbon. I wrote the poem back in 2010--the battle continues...

I'm an easily distracted person, so, sometimes I can find myself lost for hours on Pinterest. I came across a board that is devoted to curling ribbon. I kid you not! If you're interested, click here.

Have a great New Year's holiday! Next week I'll have my annual haiku postcard (Nengajo) post. My 2015 postcard is a little funky.

Stop by Reading, Teaching, Learning for the last Poetry Friday Round-Up of 2014!

December 23, 2014

Haiku Sticky #285

Every year I swear I'm not going to get caught up in the madness, yet I always do. Then, I get tangled in nostalgia, and that's nearly fatal...However, in another 2 weeks, we'll be back to normal.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

December 21, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo by Jack Delano (1940), courtesy Library of Congress.

December 18, 2014

Poetry Friday--Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice takes place on Sunday, December 21, at 23:03. By Monday, the days will be growing longer once again. Hallelujah!

This poem was sent to me as part of a lovely gift package from my Winter Poem Swap gifter, Irene Latham. The Winter Swap was organized through the generosity of Tabatha Yeatts.

Poem © Irene Latham, all rights reserved. Photo by Matt Katzenberger "Touch the Light."

A lovely evocation of the season! Many thanks, Irene! Mary Lee Hahn sent me "Sensing the Solstice" for the 2012 Winter Swap, she wrote about it here. In 2013 I received a book of Margaret Gibson Simon's seasonal poems titled Illuminate. If you didn't participate in the Winter Swap this year, I hope you will in 2015!

The following is a collection of my solstice poems:

I'm not sure if this was posted/published anywhere. (I'm a lousy record-keeper.) I wrote it in 2010:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Print by Hiroshige courtesy Library of Congress.

Haiku Sticky #128 is from 2011:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

In 2012, at Random Noodling I wrote about the solstice and two poems about Saint Lucy. The following was also written in 2012, shortly after the tragedy in Newtown, CT:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I guess 2013 was uninspiring--I didn't write a solstice poem last year--but, here's a new one for 2014:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Happy Hanukkah to all who are celebrating it this week! I hope at least one of your gifts is a book of poems! And the same for all who celebrate Christmas next week. Buffy's Blog will be hosting the solstice/holiday poetry extravaganza today!

December 16, 2014

December 14, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo by Kaz Andrew. Flu information courtesy CDC.gov.

December 11, 2014

Poetry Friday--A Double Shot of Ekphrasis

I've been participating in Spark challenges for two years now. I'm not sure who introduced me to them, but, I'd sure like to thank her! If you're not familiar with SPARK Art from Writing: Writing from Art, it's a quarterly online project run by Amy Souza, herself a talented poet. Amy describes the project:
During each 10-day project round, participants create a new piece of work using someone else’s art, writing, or music as inspiration. All resulting work is then displayed online, alongside the piece that inspired it.

I didn't work directly with a partner, but asked to be assigned an inspiration piece. I received a poem by Kamika Cooper, which you can read here. What stuck in my mind were broken wings, trash, and a city street. This is my response:

"Everything Is Recyclable!" © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

For today, I thought I'd write a poem to go along with my picture. You're getting a double shot of ekphrasis--art inspired by art inspired by art! Here's my story poem based on the picture above.
A Christmas Card Night

Late night holiday
shoppers head home
as do I.
An uneventful day
not even a shoplifter.
Or maybe a more clever one
than usual.

'Tis the season.

Damn, it's frigid!
--with wind
but clear and bright
with stars...
whole galaxies
of stars.

A Christmas card night
except for the trash
put out in advance
of tomorrow's pick-up.

I turn the corner.

A feather.

whips around my legs.

In an otherwise empty
recycle bin a pair of wings.
A pair of wings!

What creature pinioned?

Whoosh--a gust--
and the wings appear
to be lifting.
Ready to go.

Do I take them?
For what?
Dressing for the window?

Only two more shopping days.

I'm tempted. Sorely tempted.
But it will be one more
piece of display clutter.
Might someone else
use them instead
to fly?

I leave them behind
in this poem and head home
to sleep.

There's no time for dreams
in retail.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Kamika Cooper's poem was also given to another artist to be used as an inspiration piece. You can see the results here.

I would encourage you to join the next Spark challenge, which I assume will come in February. "Like" the Spark Facebook page and click on "get notifications," and you will see when the next challenge comes up.

I also encourage you to visit Paul at These 4 Corners for the Poetry Friday Round-Up!

December 9, 2014

Haiku Sticky #283

I forgot to post a haiku this morning! After the wild weather of today, I've decided a haiku wasn't big enough. Here's today's sticky poem--only 16 hours later than usual:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

December 7, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, courtesy Library of Congress.

December 4, 2014

Poetry Friday--"Nothing in Moderation"

Cigarette card, ca. 1934-1939, courtesy NYPL Digital Gallery. See below for the back side of the card.

Last Friday I posted a tanka and a video about starling murmuration. In one of the comments, Mary Lee wrote, "And I love it that nasty annoying starlings can make something so movingly beautiful." I replied to her comment with a link to an article from the New York Times, "100 Years of the Starling" by Ted Gup and I also said, "There's an ironic poem here, methinks!" Of course, the wheels started turning and I wrote "Nothing in Moderation," which I'll dedicate to Mary Lee (happy birthday, Mary Lee!):
Nothing in Moderation

"Starlings do nothing
in moderation," the
ornithologist wrote.

Yes, they reproduce
like wildfire. Yes, they
lay waste to fields.

They carry disease &
torment innumerable
air traffic controllers.

But, do not blame
the iridescent bird
for being what it is.

Immoderation in
a lover of the Bard
let them loose here.

Our need to command
the heavens above
made them a hazard.

Humans' desire to
procreate like...like
...well, like starlings,

brought us to a state
where we freely bitch
slap Mother Nature

and, continue to
think we will
get away with it.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.
The poem is based completely on the article, but it reflects what I've come to understand--human beings never do anything in moderation if they can "supersize" it. It's the reason the world is in the state it's in--climate change, corporatocracy, American exceptionalism, obesity, etc. I don't know if I should thank, or curse, Mary Lee for making me think of all this stuff!

A little aside here, the name of the author of the starling article sounded familiar to me, and I realized he also wrote, A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness--and a Trove of Letters--Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression [Penguin, 2010]. I read the book when it first came out and I loved it. It's the story of a man who truly was a "secret Santa" who helped people survive one of America's darkest periods. The book would make for a good discussion group choice.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being held at Anastasia Suen's Booktalking #kidlit.

December 2, 2014

November 30, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

Tomorrow it's December! The month will whiz by!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Calendar poster courtesy NYPL Digital Gallery.

November 27, 2014

Poetry Friday--Murmuration

darkens to dusk
a murmuration
of starlings
tears me up

The tanka's eleven words, are not adequate to describe my reaction to the phenomenon taking place in the above video. A flock of starlings is called a "murmuration." I've seen one in person. It was while I was driving down the highway (495 near Lawrence, MA). I only wish I had had the wherewithal to pull over. The murmuration I witnessed was not half the size of the one in the clip, but it was enough. If you'd like to see more, go to YouTube and use "starling murmuration" as your search term. (I chose the above video on the basis of its beautiful accompanying music.) To learn more about the science behind the seemingly choreographed flight, click here.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving. There's plenty of poetry for dessert--just stop by Carol's Corner!

Tanka © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

November 25, 2014

November 23, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I guess those who do not encounter frost may not realize that it makes the stuff underfoot extra "crunchy"!

November 21, 2014

Poetry Friday--"O World of Toms"

In preparation for the big feast next Thursday, here's an odd little poem by Robert Francis:
O World of Toms

O world of Toms--tomfools, Tom Peppers,
Dark Peeping Toms and Tom-the-Pipers,
Tom Paines, Tom Joneses, Tom Aquinases,
Undoubting Toms and Doubting Thomases,
Tomboys, Tom Thumbs, Tom-Dick-and-Harries,
Tom Collinses and Tom-and-Jerries,
Tom Wolfes, Tom Jeffersons, Tom Hardies,
Tom cods, tomcats, tomtits, tom-turkeys--
O hospitable world! And still they come
In every shape and shade of Tom.

I'll bet nine out of ten holiday gatherings will have at least one Tom beside a tom-turkey at its table!

By the way, "O World of Toms" has been set to music as part of Fort Juniper Songs. I would have embedded the video, but I couldn't understand a word! A cute poem drowning in the music. However, if you insist on giving it a listen, click here.

Becky at Tapestry of Words will be hosting a cornucopia of poetry!

November 18, 2014

November 16, 2014

Haiga Day

In memory of Joseph H. Mayr 1926-2014. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

November 14, 2014

Poetry Friday--Autumn

Autumn seems to linger. It's not that I want to hurry winter, I'm simply tired of autumn. I don't like it. Scram! Go already!

I'm going to wrap up autumn in a neat little haiku sequence for today, and then, not another word about leaves until it's spring leaf-unfurling time.

Click on the image to enlarge. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Painting by Adolf Kaufmann, courtesy The Athenaeum.

Last week a new haiku and art journal, Muttering Thunder, released its first issue. It's online and can be downloaded for free! For those of you who may not be familiar with the names of haiku poets, take note of the ones featured in Muttering Thunder, they're the cream of the crop! And, if you're still trying to wrap your head around non-5-7-5 haiku, be prepared for the monostich--a haiku in one line! The monostich has grown in popularity over the last few years and is something to be aware of when talking about contemporary English language haiku. By all means, if you're interested in writing haiku, please read the essay by Robert Spiess, "Specific Objects in Haiku," which appears nears the end. After reading it, and looking at the haiku in my sequence, I may have missed an opportunity for specificity! There is always something to be learned about writing haiku.

Another haiku poet, Keri Collins Lewis of Keri Recommends is rounding up the poetry this week from the state of Mississippi! Autumn in Mississippi must be vastly different from what it is in New Hampshire!

November 12, 2014


I own an iPhone. And, I think that makes me complicit in the death of a young Chinese poet. I urge you to read the report that appeared in the Washington Post earlier this week. And, then, perhaps, contemplate how our American craving for stuff has ramifications beyond ourselves: "Youth stooped at machines die before their time." Sad, sad, sad.

November 11, 2014

November 9, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

Since I posted a tea haiga last week, coffee demanded equal time! And, being that I've been in a state of despair since the elections, this non-haiku poem demanded to be written.

Click on the image to enlarge for easier viewing. Graphics from a number of public domain sources. Poem and haiga © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

November 6, 2014

Poetry Friday--This Is the Place!

Welcome! The Poetry Friday Round-Up is taking place here. I hope you're ready for some poetry, 'cause there's a lot of it being shared around the blogosphere today.

Sadly, with the winds we've had this week, the trees have been stripped nearly bare. But, it is November, afterall, and the sky shows seem to be making up for the loss of color in the trees. Here's a poem called "November Skies" that is fitting for this first week of November. The photo was taken by me on Tuesday around 4:30. My phone wasn't able to capture the full effect of the orange sky, but it captured enough.

November Skies
by John Freeman

Than these November skies
Is no sky lovelier. The clouds are deep;
Into their grey the subtle spies
Of colour creep,
Changing that high austerity to delight,
Till ev'n the leaden interfolds are bright.
And, where the cloud breaks, faint far azure peers
Ere a thin flushing cloud again
Shuts up that loveliness, or shares.
The huge great clouds move slowly, gently, as
Reluctant the quick sun should shine in vain,
Holding in bright caprice their rain.
And when of colours none,
Not rose, nor amber, nor the scarce late green,
Is truly seen, --
In all the myriad grey,
In silver height and dusky deep, remain
The loveliest,
Faint purple flushes of the unvanquished sun.

Leave a link to your P.F. post in the comments below. I'll be rounding them all up, with commentary, throughout the day.

I'll start with Kurious Kitty, who's taking the day off from the library, but, she did manage to leave a short book review of JoAnn Macken's Read, Recite, and Write Free Verse Poems. Kurious Kitty celebrated 8 years of blogging on November 6!

First out of the gate is Carmela from TeachingAuthors. If you're a writer, you're going to love the fact that she's giving away another copy of the 2015 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market. She also shares a Thanku, which, if you haven't come across them before, is a haiku of thankfulness. Nice idea, isn't it?

Michelle at Today's Little Ditty, has an interview with Bob Raczka whose book of Christmas poems was just released. (Our children's librarian waved the book in front of me yesterday and ran off with it, so I only got a cursory glance. The illustrations have a nice European look to them--not at all cartoony. I look forward to seeing the whole thing!)

At Author Amok Laura shares part one of her lesson for teaching onomatopoeia, and she illustrates the concept with student poems. Good job!

Jama's Alphabet Soup shows us what peace around the world can be like through a poem by James Rumford. If you, or someone you know, is able to translate into another language, your help is required in a worthy poetry project!

Tara's choice of poems for today, "A Crown of Autumn Leaves" by Annie Finch, is a thing of beauty! Find it at A Teaching Life.

Linda at Teacher Dance also has a leafy poem, this one by Elsie N. Brady. Fall is almost over, so we need to enjoy the color while we can!

Gift-giving season is coming, so Robyn Hood Black has given us a gift of 3 haiku, and, she's hoping we'll do some gift shopping at her etsy store! It's worth a look, there are some fine literary gifts awaiting!

Madelyn Rosenberg has made it hard for me to continue with the Round-Up, she waylaid me with the Kinks and I'm now listening to YouTube clips! You'll have to visit her page to see how she gets from "The Importance of Picture Books" to the Kinks.

Bridget wins the best title award for this week! Her original poem is titled, "From Orange to Black, the Decomposition of Jack." She also explains how art inspires! Stop by Wee Words for Wee Ones.

Tabatha Yeatts brings us the poetry of Appalachia. The short video clip is quite moving, so don't skip it! Also, Tabatha reminds us of today's deadline to sign up for the Winter Poem Swap. (I'm signed up, are you?)

Joy Acey, at Poetry for Kids, explains and demonstrates the use of anaphora in poetry with her poem, "My Dog." (Silly me, I always thought an anaphora was a type of Greek pottery. I had to look it up and found that the vessel is called amphora. Duh.)

Lucky Mary Lee will be attending the upcoming NCTE conference in Washington, D.C. There seems to be a lot of Poetry Friday representatives attending. I'm envious. I'm not, however, envious of Mary Lee's encounter with a "Shadow."

Margaret will also be attending NCTE, but she will be there to also accept the Donald H. Graves Award.

Today, at Reflections on the Teche, Margaret is sharing an exercise she did with her students that resulted in this from a student poem, "Be a warrior./Ride on your unicorn." How great is that?

My Juicy Little Universe
shows us today that Walt Whitman is not just for adults! Normally that's hard to believe, but "The World Below the Brine" proves otherwise. It also goes to show that school science doesn't have to be restricted to textbooks and a lab!

Irene Latham at Live Your Poem is telling how she actually LIVES poems and asks for titles of children's poetry to include in her list. (I'll have to go back later and read all your suggestions.)

At Merely Day by Day, Cathy has an original poem about the recent time change. It's called "The Gift of an Hour," and it raises some interesting questions about how we spend our time.

Matt Forrest Esenwine exacts "Revenge" (or does he?) in a poem he wrote for David L. Harrison's Word of the Month challenge for October. The challenge word was "spree." [Note, November's word is "brew."]

Ruth has a killer of a poem at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town. That's all I'll say except...Go. Read. It!

Time for a little shameless self-promotion! If you live in the Portsmouth, NH area, please support the Seacoast Rep. They are staging Run, Turkey, Run! The Musical next weekend, and the one after that. I wrote Run, Turkey, Run! the book. :-)

Becky Shillington spread poetry amongst 5th graders last week, which she obviously enjoyed greatly. This week she is sharing a poem by a poet who before today was completely unknown to me and whom I've encountered twice within the past 4 hours! How about that?

Joyce's Musings include a ekphrastic haiku and the work of Maine artist, Bernard Langlais. Langlais' work is seen in many locations in southern Maine, and being that it's kinda in my neighborhood (New England--it's a rather big neighborhood), I'm sorry to say I've never encountered his work before Joyce's post!

Over at The Logonauts we learn that mindfulness is a concept that third graders can understand. Who woulda thunk it? And meditation is a concept I still haven't been able to wrap my mind around. Thanks Katie for showing us a way to explain both concepts--with poetry.

Another book of Emily Dickinson poetry? You might ask that, but the one Sheri Doyle highlights today, My Letter to the World and Other Poems written by Emily Dickinson and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, looks fresh with its pictures and layout. I'm definitely going to seek it out!

I recently updated my library's website with some information about November being Native American Heritage Month, and now Jan at Book seed studio has posted a list of children's books in an "Appreciation" of Native Americans and giving thanks! Thanks, Jan!

[By the way, the Library of Congress houses the Edward S. Curtis Collection of photographs, which you really need to see!]

In the Kingdom of Ice is a book that I've been waiting to listen to on audio, so I'm further intrigued to learn that the title of the book is taken from the first line of a poem, "The Sinking of the Jeannette." Dori Reads pointed it out and includes the poem, as well as a limerick from the same poet. (The limerick is quite funny and deserves a kudo to the translator who took it from German to English!)

Bildungsroman shares a poem by Mary Oliver, "Next Time." [Did you know that the New York Times stated that Mary Oliver is "far and away, this country's best-selling poet."]

Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink has taken on the Zeno and a public discussion of "The Homework Deception," combining the two into an illustrated poem. Well done, Carol!

Tricia posts a Robert Frost poem today at the Miss Rumphius Effect that makes me feel cold and lonely. How does "Acquainted With the Night" make you feel?

At Mainely Write Donna shares the first snow poem of this winter season (at least for me), and promises more to come as she assembles a book.

Karen Edmisten
has a poem, "An Autumn Reverie," by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. It is full of sadness and loss, but also of faith. Karen will be appearing with EWTN host Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle in a segment on miscarriage, tonight at 6:30 Eastern.

Kelly's been accompanying a future student on college tours. She wrote about it at Writing and Ruminating.

Ramona went to visit her niece's 4th grade classroom and found some very poetry-receptive students! She also reminisced about her 4th grade teacher, which got me thinking about my teacher in 4th grade, and will probably get you thinking about yours!

I received two more comments this morning (Saturday), but I was out all day and didn't see them until 7:30 at night. Sorry, Ladies. Please stop by the better-late-than-never blogs of my friends Jone and Julie!

Jone writes about a subject I have definite opinions about--haiku. She already knows mine, but please weigh in on how you think haiku should be taught to kids. Actually, I've changed my mind slightly over the past few years. Where once I thought it's great to teach haiku to elementary kids, I'm more of opinion now that kids below 6th grade just don't get the "essence of a moment," so go ahead and teach them the 5-7-5. (Okay, I've really invited the rotten tomatoes!)

At The Drift Record, Julie has something I loved, loved, loved--a music video with an exuberant woman in a polka-dotted shirt, topped by a polka-dotted Mickey Mouse apron, singing her heart out! You MUST watch. There's no way you won't be smiling by the end!

November 4, 2014

Haiku Sticky #278

I submitted this to the October Shiki Kukai, the theme was "moonless night." © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

November 2, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

Brass Bell is a monthly theme-related journal of haiku. November's theme is tea. I never got around to submitting a haiku, but I borrowed the theme to create this haiga.

Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Teacup illustration courtesy The Graphics Fairy.

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.


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

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.

October 14, 2014

October 12, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

I've had this in my files for many years, but I don't believe I've posted it before. I guess it's time!

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

October 9, 2014

Poetry Friday--Me & Mr. Poe

When I created the haiga, posted this past Sunday, I didn't realize that the posting date would coincidentally be the day of the unveiling of a new Edgar Allan Poe statue in Boston, and that it was two days prior to the 165th anniversary of the death of Poe (October 7, 1849). But, when I found out (thanks to my favorite NPR station, WBUR in Boston), I decided to take it as a sign to write a little about me and Edgar Allan Poe.

I have fond memories of the Saturday afternoon matinees (admission price, 25 cents) that I often attended with my friend, Nancy Hubbard. One of the movies I remember seeing is House of Usher, starring Vincent Price, which is, of course, based upon "The Fall of the House of Usher." The film came out in 1960, which is about the same year I was in 4th grade. I think, too, that it was my 4th grade teacher who read the Poe stories.

I don't much care for scary movies now (I think the last one I willingly sat through was The Shining in 1980), I wonder if the Poe movies had any influence on that?

Also, when I was in elementary school, I remember a college student came into our classroom to talk to us. She told us about a course she was taking in etymology (word origins). For some reason I thought it was wonderful--who knew you could learn such interesting stuff in college? (When I took a etymology course in college, I'm sorry to say, it was a big snore. Nothing at all about the nitty-gritty of word origins. It was more about the history of the English language.)

I've always been interested in words it seems, and one of the first poems that sticks out in my mind was Poe's "The Bells," with it's "tintinnabulation." What a musical word! Here's the first two stanzas of the poem.
The Bells

Hear the sledges with the bells-
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.


Hear the mellow wedding bells,
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten-golden notes,
And an in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the Future! how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells,bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

I don't much care for any of the other Poe poems I've read, and I don't believe I've read any Poe stories after college, but I sure think my early experience with Poe has been imprinted on my psyche! For better or for worse.

This week the Round-Up has a change of venue and Tricia will be hosting at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Tricia shared a great zombie poem a couple of weeks ago. If you missed it, I highly recommend you check it out here.

October 7, 2014

Haiku Sticky #274

Haiku blogger, Gillena Cox, surprised me a few weeks back when I went to her blog, Lunch Break, and was greeted by "Jingle Bells" and a one-hundred-day countdown. I wrote this one for her:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

October 5, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

I think it was my 4th grade teacher who read Edgar Allan Poe aloud to us. At that age, bricked-up dead people and cats, tended to imprint themselves in one's memory.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

October 2, 2014

Poetry Friday--Bookstock Literary Festival

Back in July I traveled to Vermont for the Bookstock Literary Festival held in Woodstock. I enjoyed myself thoroughly, and perhaps my favorite session was the appearance of Charles Simic. His was the only one in which I took notes. If you get the opportunity to hear him speak, take it! Here are some of my scribblings. I hope I have quoted him correctly:
"It's nice to be quoted, especially things you don't remember saying."

"Somebody annoyed me. Somebody asked me, Why do you have so many dogs in your poems? It's like asking Robert Frost, Mr. Frost, why do have so many trees?"

On love poems: "Everything you come up with is a cliché."

"I write short poems, but some of them are ridiculously short."

On the poem, "1938": "The first poem I wrote with the help of Google."

This video is Simic reading "1938" in 2010:

Here's a Simic love poem that is short, but not ridiculously so, and is definitely not a cliché:
Love Flea

He took a flea
From her armpit
To keep

And cherish
In a matchbox,
Even pricking his finger

From time to time
To feed it
Drops of blood.

From A Wedding in Hell [1994] and New and Selected Poems: 1962-2012 [2013].
I received an email notification from the Bookstock Literary Festival about two weeks ago. It had a link to videos of many of the poets and writers who read and spoke. I really appreciated receiving the link because there were some tough choices made about which workshops I would attend. You know how it goes, there are almost always two things you want to go to that are scheduled at the exact same time. One poet I missed was Martin Espada. I had seen him at the Dodge Festival a few years ago, and wanted to hear him again, so I'm happy the video is available.

[If you're in a book discussion group, you may have come across the novels of Roland Merullo such as Breakfast With Buddha or The Talk-Funny Girl. If so, I'd highly recommend watching his presentation; I was a fan before the festival--I'm an even bigger one now!]

For the Poetry Friday Round-Up, please visit Jama's Alphabet Soup where something wonderful is always cookin'!

September 30, 2014

September 28, 2014

Happy Haiga Day!

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

September 25, 2014

Poetry Friday--Another Ku-do to Emily

This cover has changed about a dozen times, and it'll probably change again before I decide which version I like the best!

Now that I've basically completed the Sketchbook Project poems, I'm getting back to another of my projects, Ku-dos to Emily. Read more about it here.

This project is slow going because I have to put together an illustration to go with either the original poem, or the response haiku, or both. It's not easy! So, there's only one pairing for today. (I'm taking a few days of R & R--maybe I'll be able to cobble together a few more for next time.)

Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading. Poem by Emily Dickinson, haiku and haiga © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

[A little aside: I'm reading Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian, which I'm enjoying. (The premise, however, is deeply disturbing, a nuclear meltdown at a power plant in Vermont!) The main character, Emily Shepard, is a big Emily Dickinson fan. At one point, she tells the reader that many Dickinson poems can be sung to the tune of "Gilligan's Island."

Do you know how hard it is going to be to read the poems now, without trying to sing them? Damn you Chris Bohjalian!]

Laura Salas is the Round-Up hostess this week at Writing the World For Kids.