Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Monday, December 26, 2016
Friday, December 23, 2016
|The Central Synagogue in New York City.|
I am at synagogue tonight and
when we turn to face the Sabbath Bride,
I am walking with your elbow in my palm
to the corner restaurant.
A boy came past and
cursing, muttered, "Dirty Jew."
I wheeled and punched and
he fell to the sidewalk.
He had a bloody mouth.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
|Canada's oldest Christmas hymn was written in the Wyandot language of its Huron First Nation people in 1642.|
'Twas in the moon of winter-time
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wandering hunters heard the hymn:
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."
Monday, December 19, 2016
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
|Reinhold Niebuhr Place is there for a reason.|
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Sometimes referred to offhandedly as the Facebook Prayer for it's ubiquitous presence on the social media app the Serenity Prayer is more than one sentence long.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Monday, December 12, 2016
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Friday, December 9, 2016
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Sunday, December 4, 2016
|Literally, poetry on the road...|
Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer is considered to be the most widely read Spanish writers after Cervantes. The Bar None Group came across his poetry on a mural of the history of Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico. Is it coincidental that Bécquer's poem is found in Christmas town? The author himself died Christmas week in 1870.
Known as Rima XXXVIII, Bécquer's poem in Barra de Navidad is one of three pieces of poetry that encapsulates the sea as a central theme.
Thursday, December 1, 2016
|Cristo del ciclone watches over the faithful in Barra de Navidad.|
Predawn bottle rockets calling the faithful to prayer.
The thunderclap of surf meeting sand.
The first glare of sun offering promise of warmth
A choir of magpies singing in a papaya tree
The warm ocean breeze runs her fingers though my hair.
She whispers in my ear and her name is Barra.
Monday, November 28, 2016
|Tania Bruguera's Untitled (Mouth with Nails) / Sin titulo (Boca con clavos), 2003.|
While it is her art that Tania Bruguera is known for, it is her words that have struck a chord. Her words that have resulted in action and her words that have landed her in jail in her native Cuba. It is her words that we read at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach in the days after the death of Fidel Castro that stay with us still.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Friday, November 18, 2016
|An artist's hues.|
On Eid Al Istiqulal — Morocco's Independence Day — we cast a glance at Moroccan poet, Aïcha Amara. C'était hier — It Was Yesterday — is from her 1996 collection of themed poems, Mogador fille d'aylal — Mogador: Daughter of Aylal. We came across Aïcha and her poetry in the coastal community of Essaouira, Morocco in 2011 and have been captivated by her words ever since.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Monday, November 14, 2016
|American Poets Corner enshrines Eugene O'Neill in 2016.|
Eugene O'Neill is being celebrated tonight with his induction into the American Poets Corner at Saint John the Divine in New York City. The author of 32 full length plays and 21 one act plays is probably best known for his four Pulitzer winning plays: Beyond the Horizon (1920); Anna Christie (1922); Desire Under the Elms (1924); Strange Interlude (1928) and; Long Day's Journey Into Night (1957).
America's only Nobel winning playwright — Eugene O'Neill — never thought much of his poetry. More than sixty years after his death we still do not have the definitive collection of his poetry. Though attempts have been made.
Friday, November 11, 2016
Thursday, November 10, 2016
|The view from Paul Wilhelm's Vagabond House.|
So let me live where I may hear
The silken whisper of the sand
The singing music of the sphere
The light-wing feet, the unseen hand
Of pressing winds that murmur near
The pulsing spirit of this land!
Paul Wilhelm (1909-1994) described himself as "a naturalist who lives in Thousand Palms Canyon" in the postscript of his articles for the Indio Daily News. The plaque at the Paul Wilhelm Palm Grove dedicated to him reads, "This magnificent desert fan palm oasis is dedicated to the memory of Paul Wilhelm, desert writer, poet and naturalist. Paul devoted his life to the protection of these palms and the surrounding desert. Through his writings and conversations with visitors, he opened his arms and heart, passing on his deep love of the desert and its history for all who listened."
It was the part about his being a poet that piqued our interest.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
|CONFIRMED: The sun rose again. November 9, 2016 Long Beach, California.|
It is the morning after
the night before
and I had filled up my mug
with my favored brown elixir
to walk the block to the beach
in the predawn light
illuminated by the moon, the stars
the sodium lamps
to stand by the shore of the Pacific Ocean
to sip and wait
— a man and his mission.
Monday, November 7, 2016
|One day she woke up...|
We came across this poem and painting at a catered event in Rancho Mirage, California. The harried server didn't know the origins of the poem or the painting but said that there was someone who did. He turned to ask, but that person was no longer there.
Research would need to be undertaken to discover the artist. The poet.
Thursday, November 3, 2016
|The ivy covered bleachers at Wrigley Field.|
Hours after ending an 108 year World Series drought the theme song of the Chicago Cubs written by local legend Steve Goodman has cracked the Top 15 on iTunes. Go Cubs Go was one of the last songs written and recorded by Goodman before he died in 1984, two weeks before he was scheduled to throw out the opening pitch of a Cubs baseball playoff game.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
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? What better time of year than Halloween to take a second look at the opening lines of William Peter Blatty's spine-tingling novel, The Exorcist.
The novel that changed the face of horror and has been scaring readers since it was first published in 1971. In as much as satanic clowns lurk around every corner in 2016, the urban legend of young girls in the 1970s defiled by Satanic cults can trace their genesis to the popularity of The Exorcist. Novel and film.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Monday, October 17, 2016
Saturday, October 15, 2016
It's time to play Bob Dylan's Tarantula!
The object of the game is to complete an eight line poem of eight syllables each by reaching into a bag and grabbing 64 syllables and arranging them into a poem. The only words that are available for use in the game are culled from the 264 words that make up the titles of the poems in Bob Dylan's first book of poetry — Tarantula — published in 1971.
An alternate version of the game involves the use of any eight words per line regardless of syllable count. This could either sped up your play or slow your play depending on your play...or state of mind.
Friday, October 14, 2016
|A witch in Central Park.|
In being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016, Bob Dylan's first and only foray into published poetry, Tarantula was invoked as an "experimental work."
Written at the height of his fame in 1965 at the age of 23, Dylan was given the galleys of Tarantula in June 1966, for his final approval before publication.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
|"Dylan has published experimental work like "Tarantula" (1971)."|
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 was awarded to Bob Dylan "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".
Bob Dylan was born on May 24, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota. He grew up in a Jewish middle-class family in the city of Hibbing. As a teenager he played in various bands and with time his interest in music deepened, with a particular passion for American folk music and blues. One of his idols was the folk singer Woody Guthrie. He was also influenced by the early authors of the Beat Generation, as well as by modernist poets.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Thursday, October 6, 2016
|Chicago is the setting for the shortlisted poetry of Daniel Borzutzky.|
The shortlists for the National Book Awards were announced today and the nominees for the poetry award are: Daniel Borzutzky; Rita Dove; Peter Gizzi; Jay Hopler and; Solmaz Sharif. Tree Swenson who spent ten years as executive director of the Academy of American Poets leads a panel of five judges who will decide the 2016 honoree.
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
|A supermarket in California.|
Two of the more famous examples of banned poetry in America are of Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg. Whitman's Leaves of Grass was banned in 1855 for it's homoerotic overtones. Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems was cited for obscenity upon it's publication in 1955. It was deemed not to be obscene in a court of law two years later.
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Monday, September 26, 2016
The Banned Books Week Coalition is a national alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship. The 2016 celebration will be held September 25-October 1.
Friday, September 23, 2016
|The welcoming front porch of the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur.|
A recent trip up the California Coast to rediscover wandering roots took a detour at the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur. Tucked away on a curve of the Pacific Coast Highway the library came to be following the death of Miller in 1980 in the cabin of his longtime friend Emil White. One makes their way down a path — a piano in the woods to the left, Jesus on a cross of computer monitors to the right. Keep walking and turn right at the ping pong table and enter Emil's old cabin.
In among the books that you would expect to find in a library named after one of America's most polarizing authors — including a play by Jack Kerouac first published in 2005! — there was an apparent anomaly unto itself. A CD of music — Songs Hotbox Harry Taught Us.
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Monday, September 19, 2016
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Monday, August 22, 2016
I ran my fingers through your hair
as you ran through Dorothy Parker's words
"Why is it that your poems don't rhyme?"
You cooed while gently twisting
the dagger in my heart.
What was it that Ms. Parker wrote?
"Scratch a lover, and find a foe."
It was in a ballad I think,
A ballad of great weariness.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
|AJ Summers Memorial Tower at Seal Beach Pier, Seal Beach, California.|
As summer winds down a journey west comes to an end south of Los Angeles. When there is no more road to carry forth an adventure, that adventure reaches it's natural conclusion. The shore of the Pacific Ocean at Seal Beach. All a weary traveler can do is walk to the end of a pier, pause, reflect and turn around as a new chapter is about to set sail.
While taking this walk along the pier at Seal Beach and contemplating a new life on the left coast it was comforting to find poetry on the pier. A short poem dedicated to the life of a local lifeguard. A reminder of life's frailty and the inherent natural beauty that surrounds each and every one of us.
Sunday, July 31, 2016
|One of more than 350 crosses in the Sonoran Desert that mark the death of a dream, the death of a migrant.|
Uno de los más de 350 cruces en el desierto de Sonora que marcan la muerte de un sueño, la muerte de un migrante.
Un Oración por los Migrantes
Corazón de Jesús,
lleno de amor y misericordia,
quiero pedirte por mis hermanos migrantes.
Ten piedad de ellos y protégelos,
pues sufren maltratos y humillaciones
en su caminar,
Friday, July 29, 2016
We found the following poem — Growing Old in the Desert — and poet — Carmen Megeath — while exploring thrift shops in Douglas, Arizona. It is in these out of the way places that we sometimes first come across local poets. Where we are first introduced to the soul of a place. A region. A town. America.