Thursday, December 31, 2015
Saturday, December 19, 2015
First Lines Second Thoughts is a look at the first lines of well known literary works. On second thought, do these opening words stand alone as poetry? Today, in keeping with the spirit of the season we look at the opening lines of Charles Dickens' timeless A Christmas Carol.
Rather than write pamphlets and essays to address the issues of poverty and social injustice in Victorian England, Dickens conveyed his thoughts into A Christmas Carol. A book so cherished that it has never gone out of print since being published this day — December 19 — in 1843.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Parker's found poetry poem — Erratic Fire, Erratic Passion also serves as the title of his latest book. Erratic Fire, Erratic Passion is a collection of found poems composed of the words of professional athletes.
Iconoclastic author Chuck Klosterman says, "There are many who refer to sports as poetry in motion, and there are some who argue that all conversation is a living form of poetry. These are both imperfect metaphors. But here is a book that takes the literal language of sports and converts it into the actual structure of poetry, and — sometimes, almost by accident — the result is actual perfection."
Monday, December 14, 2015
Uncle Jeff ruminated on thoughts and themes from sorrow to happiness at the turn of the last century. His niece, Iva, noted nine such sayings. As a young woman of 26 in 1929, Iva was determined to collect and write down the quaint sayings of her Uncle Jeff for posterity's sake. She wrote down his homespun adages within the pages of her second-hand copy of Three Centuries of American Poetry and Prose.
Uncle Jeff had this to say about happiness...
Friday, December 11, 2015
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
|Remembering John Lennon on a hot day in Mexico, 2015.|
In that difficult weighted heat
of placid summer afternoons
in a tropical country
when the air is so thick that nothing can shift,
and not even a gnat or a mosquito is
buzzing the voice of God
into the sleeping ear
of “Beyond John”
who replaced Jesus
in the second half
of the twentieth century
in a smoky cannabis haze.
I remember, but not that well.
Monday, December 7, 2015
Thursday, December 3, 2015
Two months into the worst season of his 20 year basketball career, L.A. Laker legend Kobe Bryant announced his retirement at the end of the season on Derek Jeter's The Player Tribune website. The announcement itself was not unexpected, nor was the forum. But the form of the announcement shook not just the sports world but the literary world as well because Kobe Bryant announced his retirement in the form of a poem. Dear Basketball.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Monday, November 30, 2015
|Happy Birthday Mark Twain! Born November 30, 1835.|
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is arguably Mark Twain's most famous work after those two boys named Tom and Huck. First conceived within a dream in 1884 and published in 1889, Twain's novel is a time travel romp from 19th century New England to the 5th century court of King Arthur.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
|Greetings to the Natural World|
Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have
been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living
things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and
thanks to each other as people.
Now our minds are one.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Monday, November 23, 2015
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Monday, November 16, 2015
|The Wall for Peace on the Champs de Mars in Paris.|
Allons enfants de la Patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Contre nous de la tyrannie,
L'etendard sanglant est levé, (bis)
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
Égorger nos fils, nos compagnes!
Aux armes, citoyens,
Formez vos bataillons,
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!
Sunday, October 25, 2015
Born this day in 1881, Pablo Picasso was a 20th century Renaissance man. A cofounder of cubism, a poet and a playwright, Picasso was not afraid to share his thoughts on any topic.
The quote that appears on Library Walk is from a collection of thoughts, Picasso on Art: A Selection of Views. It was published in 1972, the year before his death.
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Friday, September 4, 2015
Monday, August 10, 2015
Sunday, August 2, 2015
Monday, July 27, 2015
If you've ever been on a film set one of the first pieces of advice that you are given is, "bring a book." There's alot of down time and reading a book helps while away the hours. Especially if you are background.
Background is just an industry term for being an extra...all those people in the background of a scene that you shouldn't be noticing. This background player has been seen on screen at a bar with a copy of Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano, riding the subway with a copy of Lao Tse and this past week walking a downtown street carrying Jeff Seymour's The Real Life Actor.
If you've acted before, Seymour's book will make you rethink your craft. If you are just starting out, The Real Life Actor will open your eyes.
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Friday, July 3, 2015
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
|A. A. E. C.|
Born, July 1848; died, November 1849.
Of English blood, of Tuscan birth
What country should we give her?
Instead of any on the earth,
The civic Heavens receive her.
And here among the English tombs
In Tuscan ground we lay her,
While the blue Tuscan sky endomes
Our English words of prayer.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
The Library of Congress announced today that Mexican American poet Juan Felipe Herrara will succeed Charles Wright as the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States.
Herrara is currently the Poet Laureate of his home state California and will officially become U.S. Poet Laureate with a reading at the commencement of Hispanic Heritage Month on September 15.
Friday, June 5, 2015
The plaques on Library Way across from the main branch of the New York Public Library grab quotes from history, famous literary works and from the lion of literature — the authors. Alfred Kazin's quote is different.
Kazin's quote is of the library itself. Room 315 in particular — the Main Reading Room.
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
"This poem may be the last best hope for real literary art. It is the cave wall where we record our passing."
So begins the bookmark placed inside my recently purchased copy of Allen Ginsberg's The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice. It was "smuggled into this book by one of our Special Operatives" at the Guerilla [sic] Poetics Project.
The Guerilla Poetics Project was a marketing strategy to bring underground poetry to the mainstream by placing broadsides in selected books. From 2006-2008 selected poems of more than 50 poets reached new, unsuspecting audiences in this manner. How the Bar None Group came to stumble upon a broadside at a bookstore in University Village in Chicago in 2015 is somewhat surprising.
Curiously — and probably by happenstance — the broadside which spoke of morning was placed next to a Ginsberg poem which spoke of the evening. Reading the two pieces of poetry together seemed like the proper thing to do...like watching The Wizard of Oz while listening to Pink Floyd. You end up with an inter-generational poetic mash up. One that I am sure Ginsberg would be keen to explore himself.
Sunday, May 31, 2015
A Connecticut teacher was forced to resign for reciting the Allen Ginsberg poem Please Master to his class of high school seniors.
One of his students asked to share the poem with the class and after some trepidation, David Olio — a former teacher of the year — recited the poem. Some students were left feeling uncomfortable which in turn lead to parents becoming infuriated that their children were subjected to the poem.
We present Please Master in it's unadulterated entirety for you for the sake of discussion. If you are offended by poetry, art, rights and freedoms then stop reading now because you will no doubt be offended.
Friday, May 22, 2015
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
|Award recognizes lifetime accomplishment with $100,000 prize.|
CHICAGO – The Poetry Foundation is honored to announce that Alice Notley has been awarded the 2015 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, which recognizes the outstanding lifetime achievement of a living U.S. poet.
Presented annually to a living U.S. poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize is one of the most prestigious awards given to American poets.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Monday, May 4, 2015
|A river runs through it...|
First Lines Second Thoughts is an occcasional look at the first lines of well known literary works. On second thought, do these opening words stand alone as poetry? Today, we look at the opening lines of James Joyce's classic Finnegan's Wake. Published this day in 1939 after 17 years of writing and rewriting.
The first words are a sentence fragment which continues from the book's unfinished last line. This has the effect of making Finnegan's Wake a never-ending cycle.
Sunday, May 3, 2015
Saturday, May 2, 2015
|On the night of the greatest fight...a poem from The Greatest!|
This is the legend of Cassius Clay,
The most beautiful fighter in the world today.
He talks a great deal, and brags indeed-y,
of a muscular punch that's incredibly speed-y.
The fistic world was dull and weary,
But with a champ like Liston, things had to be dreary.
Friday, May 1, 2015
|May Day without remembering Joe Hill and the Wobblies? Unthinkable!|
To call Joe Hill a rabble-rouser would be an understatement. To say that he was a hero of the working man would also be an understatement. An immigrant from Sweden, Joe Hill came to America during difficult times, when companies were known to use violence to keep their overworked and underprivileged employees under thumb.
Joe Hill would take popular songs, change the lyrics and come up with working man, pro-union tunes. One of his most famous reinterpretations, The Preacher and the Slave is remembered today for giving us the phrase, "pie in the sky."
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
|The poets and artists of Immortality and Vulnerability.|
There is an exciting new art show with a twist of poetry at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago. Immortality and Vulnerability blends together artists and poets, the art and the poetry, in a month long exhibit.
Media for Immortality and Vulnerability states that, "In this exhibition, the invited artists and poets have been asked to reinterpret the idea of immortality and vulnerability in a personal, psychological or social manner and provide the viewer with a contemporary glimpse into an age old concept."
Immortality and Vulnerability is that rare occasion when two art forms come together to create a new visual and cerebral experience. Didi Menendez, publisher/editor at Poets and Artists curated the poetry for the exhibition. Didi also curated the art alongside Sergio Gomez of the Zhou B Arts Center. The wide open space of the second floor gallery lends itself well to the overall feel of the exhibition as the viewer can be left feeling vulnerable in the gallery's expanse.
In the coming days The Bar None Group is going to highlight poetry from the poets featured in Immortality and Vulnerability. Today we shine the spotlight on Vincent Katz's poem, A Huge Weight.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
So, I ask
what all humans have asked
from the very beginning,
the primary questions
we all ask ourselves,
that we ask our imaginations
unless we are willing to take
someone else's word for it,
because who else is there to ask,
unless we invent someone,
and how can any answer come to be
unless someone imagines it first?