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May 28, 2015

Poetry Friday--"Mind and Heart"

At the Library, we lost one of our co-workers to leukemia last week.

You start to think about things like how you'd like YOUR memorial service handled when the time comes. I came across a portion of "Mind and Heart" on a Pinterest quotes page, many months ago, and it somehow lodged itself in my head. I find it to be affirming.
Mind and Heart
by Charles Bukowski

unaccountably we are alone
forever alone
and it was meant to be
that way,
it was never meant
to be any other way–
and when the death struggle
the last thing I wish to see
a ring of human faces
hovering over me–
better just my old friends,
the walls of my self,
let only them be there.

I have been alone but seldom
I have satisfied my thirst
at the well
of my self
and that wine was good,
the best I ever had,
and tonight
staring into the dark
I now finally understand
the dark and the
light and everything
in between.

peace of mind and heart
when we accept what
having been
born into this
strange life
we must accept
the wasted gamble of our
and take some satisfaction in
the pleasure of
leaving it all

cry not for me.

grieve not for me.

what I’ve written
forget it

drink from the well
of your self
and begin

I would like to have the part that begins "peace of mind and heart" read at whatever memorial service may take place after I go off to that big library in the sky. (Where else would a librarian and a writer go?) I also think "My Grave" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, would do.

And do you want to know what song I want played at my memorial service? This one:

Hurry down to Reflections on the Teche where I'm sure Margaret will be rounding up poems leaning more to the "bright side."

May 26, 2015

Haiku Sticky #307

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

I don't mind the birds in the morning, however, the dogs barking I can definitely do without! Here's a short video, which shows nothing, but is interesting to listen to. I don't believe you can hear the second grey tree frog, nor the breeze, but believe me, when everything was going at once it was incredible!

May 24, 2015

Happy Haiga Day!

On Thursday, Jama Rattigan posted her "HotTEA of the week" featuring Gary Cooper.

I have a book of Edward Steichen's life and work, which I've had for years and love, love, love. Hollywood star, Gary Cooper, was photographed by Steichen in 1930. The photo in the book is stunning. What is even more stunning is the result of a Google image search using "Edward Steichen Gary Cooper" as a search term. The page of results is a solid wall of a single image. Oddly enough, some of them are black and white and others are sepia-toned. Although I don't have permission to reproduce the original Steichen photograph, I think I may be okay reproducing the results of a Google search and using it in an art project. If I am wrong, please let me know!

I've combined the results page with a tanka that can be read in several ways. The tanka could also stand alone or be paired with any other black & white photo, in case I'm asked to take the Cooper photos down!

Click on the image to enlarge for OMG-ness. Tanka © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Original photo of Gary Cooper © Edward Steichen.

May 22, 2015

Poetry Friday--Mass Poetry Festival Review

The weekend of May 1-3, I attended the annual Massachusetts Poetry Festival held in Salem, MA. What follows is not exactly a review, but is more like random thoughts and photos.

Let's start with my accommodations. I stayed in a lovely old b & b, The Stepping Stone Inn. The Inn is next door to the famous Salem Witch Musem. I'd like to hint that I had a difficult night of sleep, but I slept surprisingly well! I guess I was far enough away from the witchy-ghosty vibes--my room was in the middle of the building, second floor, overlooking the alley!

Key: yellow arrow = Stepping Stone Inn, my room was on the second floor; blue = Salem Witch Museum; red = red-painted line indicating Salem Heritage Trail; green = nine-foot tall bronze statue of the founder of Salem, Roger Conant. It is the work of Henry Kitson, who also sculpted the Minuteman statue on Lexington Green.

The best part of the Inn is that it was a two minute walk to the Peabody Essex Museum where many of the poetry events took place.

The photo below is of the cafe/atrium area of the PEM. The museum had poetry-related crafts tables set up at which any age person could feel comfortable working on a project. This was a poetry silhouette project. Participants were provided with silhouettes, old magazines, scissors, and glue. It was up to the individuals to decide if they wanted to write or "find" a poem, or simply fill their silhouettes with fun words.

Friday night this atrium space was filled with seating for the headline poets, Denise Duhamel, Nick Flynn, and Adrian Matejka.

On Saturday, there was poetry in gallery spaces, on stage, in meeting rooms, etc. There was also music!

The sessions I attended were:

1. "Edna St. Vincent Millay's Massachusetts Poetry."

2. A panel discussion titled, "You Probably Think This Poem Is About You: Lovers, Friends, Family and Children." The discussion primarily focused on the question of "is poetry fiction?" Here are some notes and quotes I jotted down: "I believe it is all fiction." Poetry is "made up of half-remembered stories." Poetry offers "the most liberty." "At some point you just have to trust the reader." One of the panelists thought of poetry as an intellectual exercise and that to become preoccupied in writing form enables the poet to disengage emotionally. And, not surprisingly, another poet said her well ran dry "once I became happy." It was suggested that we look at Ron Padgett's poem, "Poetic License."

Poetic License

This license certifies
That Ron Padgett may tell whatever lies
His heart desires
Until it expires

3. "Big Apple Blues: The songs of Yusef Komunyakaa & Tomas Doncker" performed by the Tomas Doncker Band.
4. "The Golden Shovel: A New Poetic Form that Honors Gwendolyn Brooks" with panelists Jericho Brown, Adrian Matejka, Gail Mazur, Wesley Rothman, Lloyd Schwartz, and Ravi Shankar. There will be a Golden Shovel Anthology coming out in the near future, although I didn't write down a date, so it may not be ready. If you go to the original call for submissions page, you'll learn more about the form.

5. "The State of Poetry" with panelists Stephen Burt, Denise Duhamel, Martin Farawell, Regie Gibson, and Jennifer Jean. As could be expected, this discussion was all over the place! Notes and quotes: There's "an incredible range of poetry online." On the subject of spoken word, "there are multiple poetries" like slam and Poetry Out Loud, and there's room for both. In Poetry Out Loud, students perform poems by poets other than themselves and "every one of those kids reinvents the poem." Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine was the book that "everyone was talking about last year." The talk about the book seemed to center on, "Is it poetry?" The name Angie Estes came up. Regie Gibson's TEDtalk was highly recommended; it's short, so I'm including it here.

Saturday night was a FABULOUS reading by Rita Dove and Richard Blanco. (I know I'm given to hyperbole, but this is no exaggeration!)

On Sunday morning, I attended a discussion on Mass Poetry's outreach program, "Common Threads." Each year poets bring a preselected collection of fewer than ten poems to the "common folk" in libraries, senior centers, etc., where they are read and discussed. I also attended last year's "Common Threads" session and I am fascinated by the idea. This year's panel included Rhina P. Espaillat, Alice Kociemba, John Hodgen, and Fred Marchant. Each poet read two poems that were paired for their discussion possibilities. (To see all the poems, click here.) As an example, John Hodgen read "The Birthing" by Deborah Digges, and one of his own, "For the Man Who Spun Plates." Hodgen said, "If you haven't read any Deborah Digges you need to catch up." I hope to do just that!

"Shakespeare's *itches: The Women Talk Back (A Poetry Musical)," was performed single-handedly by troubadour, Susanna Rich!

The afternoon concluded with a reading by Stephen Burt and Jorie Graham.

All in all, it was a remarkable weekend! There were dozens of other sessions that I wasn't able to attend due to scheduling conflicts, but there's always next year...

I managed to write one poem over the weekend, which I have illustrated with a photo.

Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading and to get a look at the cat.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up is being held by Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme (right here in NH, I might add).

All photos and the illustrated poem © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

May 20, 2015

Lunar Moth

I could not have created this picture, if, several years ago, my friend and co-worker, Jena, hadn't asked me to come outside to see what was clinging to the library's window. I don't believe I had ever seen a moth of such size before, or since.

Sadly, Jena passed away yesterday. I thank her for her generosity over the years, and, I wish her spirit peace.

Originally created as part of the Spark 21 challenge in February 2014.

The section of the play, "The Boy With a Cart," by Christopher Fry, from which the quote comes, continues

Who shall question then
Why we lean our bicycle against a hedge
And go into the house of God?
Who shall question
That coming out from our doorways
We have discerned a little, we have known
More than the gossip that comes to us over our gates.

May 17, 2015

Happy Haiga Day!

A short poem for today.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Photo: "Man making head-and-shoulders sculpture of an angel, at Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City," 1909. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Not all that long ago, like the first week of April, I unintentionally made a fool of myself by stating I would not be participating in another Sketchbook Project. Ha! That determination lasted about two weeks. I purchased a sketchbook for 2016, and I've signed up for the Hark! Angels! theme. Today's haiga will probably be the first of many angel poems.

May 15, 2015

Poetry Friday--Welcome Poetry Pardners!

Welcome! I'm hosting the Round-Up today! (For those unfamiliar with the Round-Up, if you have a poetry related blog post, leave a link to your post in the comments. If you're here to read poetry--enjoy the links that I'll be "rounding up" for you today.)

I was looking back over poems written on May 15 in prior years. This one, from May 15, 2009 is short and shareable:

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. The border, edited by me, is an illustration by Albrecht Dürer found in Of the Decorative Illustration of Books Old and New by Walter Crane (1896). It's interesting to note that on the top of the box are the words ratio vincit, which means "reason prevails."

Have you got a cup of coffee ready? Settle in...and now, without further ado--the Poetry Friday Round-Up!

Kurious Kitty (my alter-ego) is sharing a poem that was first published in 1892: "Blossoms." KK's Kwotes has a line from Larry Sawyer from his poem "Sundial."

First up is my neighbor to the north, Matt Forrest, who shares two poems sent to him from a middle-school, and modeled after one of Matt's own poems! What an honor that must be!

At Keri Recommends she's got a short poem "to match the short visitor" she has at her house. A bit cryptic...you'll have to click over in the morning.

Robyn Hood Black shares more student haiku--this time, some award-winners from the 2015 United Nations Student Haiku Contest. Lucky Robyn--she's heading off to a Haiku Society of America meeting/conference!

At Jama's Alphabet Soup, she's looking at a book titled Cool Melons--Turn to Frogs!: The Life and Poems of Issa by Matthew Gollub. It's one of my favorite haiku books for kids and I'm sure you'll like it, too! Her post will go live in the AM.

Tara at A Teaching Life talks about the preciously short time of year that is lilac time. She shares a poem by Alice N. Persons on lilacs and the power they have to lead a person to thievery.

Penny Parker Klostermann has two guests today participating in the "A Great Nephew and a Great Aunt" project--Michelle H. Barnes and her daughter, Miranda. Check out the awesome art work of young Miranda! I love the bird!

With her original poem, "Sequoia," Joy tells us the story of the Cherokee man who brought reading and writing to his people. Head over to Poetry for Kids!

There's a gorgeous photo of iris at Friendly Fairy Tales, and Brenda's sonorous rain poem is a delight!

Laura Salas has another of her "poetryaction" poems written in reaction to another poet's work. Today she has "A Train Is..." in response to Rebecca Kai Dotlich's All Aboard.

Ever think that poetry and kindergartners don't mix? Becky Shillington proves otherwise today at Tapestry of Words!

At Today's Little Ditty, Michelle has posted another entry in the Nikki Grimes wordplay challenge. Read Penny Klostermann's playful poem, "Shadow."

Sally Murphy shows us a great, and useful, Mother's Day gift she received, AND, she shares the well-shared poem, "The Owl and the Pussycat" that inspired the gift.

April Halprin Wayland has a LOT going on at Teaching Authors including an introduction to a new picture book by Barbara Bottner, Feet, Go to Sleep and poems by Barbara and April.

At Beyond LiteracyLink Carol Varsalona is sharing a number of quotes on "voice," which I'll probably borrow for KK's Kwotes! And she has an original poem, "Writer's Voice." Carol also left a little note:
I would like to invite all Poetry Friday writers to write for the new gallery, Spring's Symphony, that I am designing, if interested. There is no rush. I will post the gallery at the close of the spring season. (The invitation was at last week's Poetry Friday post: http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2015/05/may-blossom.html). Thank you, Poetry Friday friends.
I forget how much time is involved in this round-up business! Excuse us while we take a minute to wash up!

Kahlil Gibran was all the rage (if there can be a poetry rage) when I was in college in the 70s. At Gathering Books I am reminded why.

At My Juicy Little Universe, Heidi tells us of her daughter's 10th grade poetry project on Natasha Trethewey. I get a hollow feeling just remembering those days of projects. These days, the hollow feelings are all of my own making--why, why, why, do I get tangled up in multiple projects?

I've got the radio on in the backgrounds and all I've been hearing about this morning is Johnny Depp's dogs! And this is on public radio! Yikes, no wonder the world is in the mess it's in. Oops, sorry for that little editorial comment in the middle of the round-up. Note to self: stay on task.

You're in for a treat when you visit Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference. She has an original poem inspired by a poem from Langston Hughes. She also invites readers to contribute their own.

Mary Lee has a Robert Frost poem today. Up the road from me is Frost's Derry farmhouse. The golden greens are at their height!

Margaret Simon has created a poem of simple peace. There's nothing more I can say--just read it.

Irene Latham's Dear Wandering Wildebeest was inspired by the photos of Greg du Toit. Visit Live Your Poem and you'll understand why.

The Logonauts are writing about waiting...and waiting...and waiting X100 for their book club books to arrive.

Dori Reads has an incredible poem that requires some manipulation of the reader's voice! She also shares links to royalty-free photos which we blog-types will find helpful.

At The Poem Farm is an original poem that Bert, of Ernie and Bert fame, would love! There's a lot to see and hear on Amy's blog today!

Many of us signed up for the Silver Star Elementary School Poetry Project, organized by Jone MacCulloch for NPM. At Mainely Write, Donna shares the poem she received from a fifth grader.

We find another Robert Frost poem today posted by Little Willow at Bildungsroman. It is nothing like the poem posted by Mary Lee. Frost was definitely not one dimensional!

Jan at bookseedstudio has a double treat--art and poetry! More specifically, a pantoum by Kristine O'Connell George from a book pairing art and poetry--Heart to Heart compiled by Jan Greenberg.

Have you ever heard of a "poetry blitz"? You can see photos at Pleasures from the Page. Oh, to be a student again!

Reading to the Core shares an Emily Dickinson poem that has some BEE-yu-tee-ful lines! Read and see if you don't agree!

Reading, Teaching, Learning
's Holly has a poignant poem about a place that has nurtured many futures--Miami University (in Ohio, not Florida).

(My daughter graduated from college 10 years ago and guess what? By the end of 2015 we'll have her undergraduate loans paid off! Woohoo!)

Anastasia Suen introduces some of us (me) to Birthday Rules, a new book by Laurie Friedman.

Sylvia Vardell, co-editor with Janet Wong of the Poetry Friday Anthology for Science, has an excerpt from an article of theirs that recently was published in ALSC's Children and Libraries. It's chocky-block full of suggested books and magazines.

Talk about ironic titles--Karen Edmisten has a poem by Carl Dennis called "To Happiness."

Run right over to readtotz to enter the drawing for a copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations! And check out the poem card made from Lorie Ann Grover's poem, "Selfie."

I'm going to indulge in a little lunch and come back later to catch up on any late-comers.

Jessica Bigi has a lovely flower photo to share.

Here's what Laura Shovan had to say this evening (it's now 9:00): "I'm super late for Poetry Friday, but had to share my third grade students' Simile Zoo. We've been working on animal simile poems. You'll find links to the full lesson, plus monsters, penguins, sloths, and a lovely momma cat at Author Amok." It's never too late to join the party!

Just checking in is Cathy from Merely Day by Day with an original poem about bird watching--who's doing the watching?

May 12, 2015

Haiku Sticky #305

Haiku and photo below © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

The cat and I had to content ourselves by sunbathing vicariously through the window screen! That's Chuck at the top and Mrs. Chuck (a.k.a. Chuckella) stretched out. She's probably "enceinte," and is getting a well-deserved rest on Sunday, which was Mother's Day.

May 10, 2015

Happy Haiga Day!

Michelle H. Barnes has a challenge going on this month at Today's Little Ditty. It was suggested by Nikki Grimes:
When I talk about wordplay, I'm talking about studying a word from top to bottom, and inside out, considering every aspect of the word: What it looks like, sounds like, feels like. What it does, how it's used, etc. The idea is to bring all of your senses into the act. The poem you create may end up being complex and sophisticated, or very simple. But whether you're writing a nursery rhyme, or a complex prose poem for adults, wordplay is a valuable skill in the process of creating dynamic, original, poetry, or lyrical prose.
She then supplied a list of ten words to choose from. For some reason, "bullet" grabbed me. The poem I wrote is not exactly kid-friendly, so Michelle and I decided it would be better for me to post it here on my blog. I also illustrated it.

If you click on the image it should enlarge for better reading, however, I'm also going to include it below:

Let's just put it out there:
bullet is a phallic word.
Smooth, hot, projectile.

A macho don't-mess-with-me word.
Inflexible and rigid, unable
to be regulated or constrained.

A word delineating two purposes:
to act as an instrument of death,
or, as a security blanket for a fool.
© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. The bullet illustration is from a cigarette card, "Enemy Explosive Bullets," courtesy NY Public Library Digital Collections. I have edited the illustration extensively.

Thanks to Michelle Barnes and Nikki Grimes for this fun challenge!

May 8, 2015

Poetry Friday--V-E Day

This marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II on the European front. It was known as V-E Day and was celebrated joyously.

The anniversary will be remembered in many ways. Great Britain has extensive plans for the day, which you can read about here.

Some of you may have visited my Kids of the Homefront Army project page. On the occasion of the today's re-celebration of V-E Day, I'm going to post one of the poems from the project.

Sarah Jane


In my religion,
it is a sin to dance,
but I don’t think God
minded that today,
I joined a conga line
that wound its way
around town.
Today, May 8, 1945,
the war with Germany ended
with celebrations,
parades, hugs and kisses,
banging pots and pans,
horns tooting, confetti throwing,
dancing and praying.
All these ways
of thanking the Lord
that the boys in Europe
are coming home.
Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you, Lord.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

It must have been a bittersweet celebration, since the war still raged in the Pacific and would do so for three more months. World War II was very different from the wars we engage in now. Back then, individuals had a "we're all in this together" attitude. People were focused on the war and the efforts and sacrifices required of the country--shortages, scrap drives, bond drives, etc. Today war is kept separate from the people. They have many more things to distract them, and any sacrifices required seem to be placed mostly on the poor and disadvantaged.

I know I promised a review of last weekend's Massachusetts Poetry Festival. I'm postponing it until May 22. Next week, I'll be hosting the Round-Up. The host for today's Round-Up is my friend Michelle at Today's Little Ditty.

May 5, 2015

Haiku Sticky #304

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. This was my entry in a recent CKK special kukai.

May 1, 2015

Poetry Friday--A Haiku Sequence

If you have indoor cats, you know the feline frenzy that occurs the first time you open the window after winter. I found a painting, "Cats by the Window," by Nicholas Tarkhoff (1909) and a sequence sprouted!

Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Painting by Nicholas Tarkhoff, courtesy The Athenaeum.

I used the term "can-opener" despite the fact that I haven't had a can of cat food that required one in years. I wonder if ten years from now kids will scratch their heads and ask, "what's a can-opener?"

I generally try to avoid using junk words like "just" and "even," but I ended up using both! There is not a lot of room in haiku to explore alternative ways of saying something that may require more words (and syllables).

I'm leaving work early today and heading to Salem, MA for the annual Mass Poetry Festival. I'm looking forward to it, and, I hope to take enough notes and/or photos, so that I have something to share with you next Friday.

Please visit Ellen at Space City Scribes for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.