Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Sherley Anne Williams: The Green Eyed Monsters of the Valley Dusk

photo © Mark Butkus 2018
Almond orchard in the Central Valley.

Sunset knocks the edge from the
day's heat, filling the Valley
with shadows: time for coming
in getting on; lapping fields
lapping orchards like greyhounds
racing darkness to mountain
rims, land's last meeting with still
lighted sky.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Longfellow's Evangeline — A Tale of Acadie

photo © Mark Butkus 2015
Evangeline Oak in St. Martinville, Louisiana.

This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,   
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,   
Stand like Druids of old, with voices sad and prophetic,   
Stand like Harper's hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.   
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean           
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Library Way: Langston Hughes and a Refugee in America

"Refugee in America" is referred to as "Words Like Freedom" on Library Way.

The poem on the plaque commemorating Langston Hughes on Library Way in New York City is identified as Words Like Freedom. A Google search of the title will come up with 201,000,000 results. Add Langston Hughes' name to the search and your total drops to 636,000 results. Google Refugee in America and you will see 2,680,000 results. Add Langston Hughes name to that search and your total becomes 140,000.

Friday, February 23, 2018

John Keats — Here Lies One Whose Name was Writ in Water

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
The grave of  the romantic poet John Keats.

The epitaph of the poet — a young English poet — John Keats is one of the most famous literary epitaphs. Died February 23, 1821 in Rome, Italy, Keats is buried in that city's Protestant Cemetery. 

Keats' unmarked grave contains the following poetic epitaph that begins with words written by his good friend, the artist Joseph Severn and concludes with Keats own words:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Death’s Echo by W.H. Auden is to Dance in Barra de Navidad

photo © Bar None Group 2010
Dance, dance, dance till you drop.

“O who can ever gaze his fill,”
Farmer and fisherman say,
“On native shore and local hill,
Grudge aching limb or callus on the hand?
Father, grandfather stood upon this land,
And here the pilgrims from our loins will stand.”

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Visit to the Asylum with Edna St. Vincent Millay

photo © Mark Butkus 2007
The oldest public hospital in America, Bellevue has housed its' fair share of poets.

Once from a big, big building,
When I was small, small,
The queer folk in the windows
Would smile at me and call.

Monday, February 19, 2018

D.H. Lawrence, Walt Whitman and The Open Road

photo © Mark Butkus 2014
The great home of the Soul is the open road.

The following excerpt is from an essay of Walt Whitman by D.H. Lawrence in Studies in Classic American Literature published in 1923. It has been arranged poetically.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Artist's Easel: Legal Victory for 5Pointz Graffiti

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
5Pointz was a popular destination for graffiti artists until 2013.

The "world's largest open air aerosol museum" known as 5Pointz was a beacon for graffiti artists in New York City until 2013 when the owners of the building in Queens whitewashed all the graffiti on the building. Graffiti artists sued and on February 12, 2018 a federal judge granted 21 graffiti artists an award of $6.7 million.

The following pictures capture a moment in time at 5Pointz before the art was obliterated.