Category: On Media

Sep 08

Live long and google

Live long and Google! Thanks to our innovative and happening friends at Google my day has been made (right here in the home stretch to the midnight hour)! Not sure how long the Star Trek interactive icon has been up, but I just saw it and checked it out. Great stuff, Google. Happy 45 years to all forward thinkers and dreamers. This almost tops my Star Trek find at Goodwill this week. Thanks also today to Valerie Johnson of Chicago’s best poetry magazine ever,  Poetry. How many can claim they’ve done it for 100 years, yet alone, done it right (and/or done it with poetry). Valerie made the trip to Springfield to collect a Centenarian award from the Illinois State Historical Society. Beyond 100 years, and Star Trek and Google, good folks like Valerie, surpass the stars in my books. There’s nothing better than the humble and kind. Make sure to check out the Poetry Foundation, and if you are in Chicago, the awesome new green building they are housed in (by John Ronan Architects).




Feb 26

Star treks poetic

Look who’s tweeting now – Kirstie Alley, who I might mention was in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as Lt. Saavik, is holding a Twitter poetry contest!!! I would really, really like to win, as SPW could use that money for Navigating the Maze…BUT…it’s such a cool contest put on by one cool lady, that I want to tell everyone about it. So hop on board the tweet street and head to – Kirstie Alley. Just signed up myself three or four days ago on Twitter – Anita Stienstra. Maybe it pays to tweet! Kirstie’s contest ends tomorrow high noon.


Sep 20

In the Heart of Contemplation – Daniel Day Lewis

Recently saw a photo of Daniel Day Lewis dining at Augie’s Front Burner in my hometown of Springfield, Illinois. A first date with my sweetie was there. Wish we might be in conversation with Lewis over dinner about poetry or metaphysics. Last of the Mohicans continues to be a favorite—unusual since Westerns and historical films are not my forte. But what a masterpiece— the music, the story, the scenery, the acting, DDL with long hair—. I dare say that we all expose a fraction of ourselves in the choices we make, whether that is from words in a blog or the acting jobs we take. I find a sort of poetry in Daniel Day Lewis from Gandhi to The Unbearable Lightness of Being to The Crucible. In fact, fondness for poetry motivated me to buy one of his father’s books when I discovered C. Day Lewis was poet laureate of England from 1968 until his death in 1972. Complete Poems was published in 1992 by Stanford University Press with an introduction by his widow, Jill Balcon. As many times I do in a game of chicken with fate, I flipped open the book and gazed upon a poem, “Is It Far to Go?” followed by an asterisk that notes, “The third stanza is on CDL’s tombstone in Dorset.” The book’s introduction states that Lewis is buried near Thomas Hardy—my footsteps have fallen there. Then there’s Lincoln. DDL plays Lincoln in a 2012 movie by the same name. A story I tell too often at readings is about the synchronicity of landing in central Illinois, the land of Lincoln, with my dog, already named Lincoln when I adopted him from an east coast pound. “An Address to Lincoln” remains a favorite poem, crafted based on the love of a dog and the Gettysburg Address.


Mar 19

Space and experience

Recently I’ve mused about how space plays into experience. This came about after listening to Dave Matthew’s CD, Big Whiskey in my bedroom then my car. It sounds different. Now I know that’s a concept even an elementary student would theorize might happen, duh…you snort, but just thinking about these little variables that play into experience inspire and thrill me. Imagine if we speak with someone in a bus as compared to a superstore. Imagine if the length of a poem’s line runs on for twenty words instead of two, and then you read it in a coffee shop as opposed to an outdoor fair. Imagine how incredible life is – that so much must come together in each moment. Space; heck, spacetime – the fun frontier. Here’s to being in the right place at the right time. Here’s to Samuel Coleridge who said, “Poetry: the best words in the best order.”


Feb 10

Automatonphobia, Geeks and Nerds, and Sci-Ku

It began with Jeff Williams. Who is Jeff Williams? He’s a Springfield artist and musician from a popular local band NIL8. Fabulous performers, the kind that made you think, “these guys will make it far,” the group toured nationally, opening for famous bands including Smashing Pumpkins. Recently, Williams passed through my life because his work is on exhibit at Robert Morris Gallery in downtown Springfield. Williams kicked my geek meter up a notch on two fronts (or maybe it’s nerd meter). First, his art is titled Automatonphobia. Google that one! Love it, love it, love it! Second, after speaking with him about the show, he referred to himself as a nerd. This prompted an extensive search of the terms “nerd” and “geek.” What is that quote about no man in his own country? In postscript, in the ever turning synchronistic cogs of my life, I also at this time came upon a literary magazine that listed a page of Sci-Ku poetry. Having invented our own Low-Ku here in Springfield (Low-Ku — the poetry, not of nature, but of urban life and all its unpleasantness), it was delightful to find Sci-Ku. Love it, love it, love it. Not to mention the Fibonacci Sequence…plasmoids…white dwarfs…but that’s another post.


Nov 21

Year of the raspberry

Rumor has it that the alternative English rock band The Lightning Seeds named themselves after a misheard lyric in the song Raspberry Beret by Prince: “Thunder drowns out what the lightning sees.” Inspiring poetic lyric and a wonderfully fun-poetic-mistake-for-a-band-name. This has been the year of the raspberry. My most successful crop this year was in fact a raspberry bush. The thing didn’t stop producing. I’d go to it in late morning and gather a meal, and find such peacefulness and joy in the act of gathering berries. It is a gentle, slow, and quiet process. The plant towered over me, and I felt lost in it sometimes. I marveled at the attention it took. To avoid thorns, I moved my hand slowly under and over and between the leaves and prickles. A light grasp was needed so as not to smash the fruit. Then, a gentle hand was still needed when I washed and inspected the raspberries for tiny black bugs or decay. The fiery bush has so inspired me that I penned a poem for the Springfield Watercolor Society’s first-place-ribbon painting in its fall exhibit. I titled my poem, The Hunt. Find it soon somewhere, or I’ll post it to this blog. In the meantime, check out this link to John Bradley at the NEA website and enjoy more raspberry mania.


Sep 24

Oh Where, Oh Where is Natalie Merchant

Natalie Merchant has a new two-disc CD out titled, ” Leave Your Sleep.” It consists of poems by famous poets or authors that Merchant has set to music, some that she once sang to her children. The CD comes with a small book containing 25 poems and a short bio written by Merchant on each poet. I should love this CD. There’s a book for heaven’s sake. But, I don’t. Merchant claims she is no poet, those she calls, ” our soft-spoken clairvoyants,” but her own lyrics are more clairvoyant, interesting, unique and beautiful than any in this collection. Shucks, I even think Merchant’s CD title is more creative than its poems. It surprises me because four of the poets are personal favorites: EE Cummings, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Christina Rossetti, and Robert Graves. Perhaps the ditties will grow on me. I’m ready to leave this opinion behind.


May 24

Monuments and Statues

The poem below was birthed in 1995 based on a memory of a statue that stands in the eastern edge of Valley Forge Park. There is a Star Trek Voyager episode titled The Monument that I think of in relation to my poem. In that particular story, a centuries old civilization left behind a monument with the capability of providing a virtual experience of the event in anyone’s mind as if the battle were their own memory. Bravo to whoever came up with the idea, whether writer or producer. It is intriguing. You sure could breed some empathy with that machine.


The young boys scream
and fight each other. Wailing by tears
they cry continental pain. A regiment
with unrelenting blasts pierces the clogged ears
of the hanging air. Thick in frustrations
voices grope away from resolutions
and betray themselves explosive noise. Limitations
on simple minds delay solutions.

Where is the hand that feeds them? Hobbledehoys
rely on the mare to corral them clear of the clench
of the herd’s stampede. The young boys
fall away to silence (the wretched trench
calms fear) and mouths drop. Eyes, with convoys
of trooped vacuity rise upon the gray sky— appeals
to the Motherland. What shocked the impetuous
monsters into mocking statues? The metal feels
soft, no, smooth and righteous.

Anita Stienstra


Mar 05

Star Trek: Rall on Ann and Odo

Last week, I discovered that political cartoonist Ted Rall questions in his blog if Ann Coulter and Odo, the shapeshifter from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, were separated at birth. This gives Ann too much credit. The character Odo does not deserve comparison to a regular, run-of-the-mill sensationalist and gossip-girl who tries to incite more friction and trouble into the world for financial gain. Odo is interesting and unique and has goodwill toward mankind. If Rall was right about anything, it was that metaphorically, Ann lacks the ability to form a real human face.


Jan 28

This is why I like…

… Paige’s art “The Pole” so much as seen on the cover of The Maze 2008 ( For me, all the history and important-world-changing stuff that happened inside the fence is put into perspective. Her focus on the pole instead of the historical building reminds us to pay attention to the little things, the ignored, the trivial, to the seemingly insignificant stuff, that many times makes up all that big stuff.

Art takes a back seat to sports and politics often. Not here. The pole is part of an intricate piece of art. Sure it’s a barrier around a famous building, and perhaps a frame to draw attention to the importance of the history contained within, but the fence is a beautiful sculpture too.

Furthermore, the pole is a mirror. If we stand close enough and gaze into its reflective globe, it contains our image. From the right seat on a freezing February day, or on another day in the heat of August, that object held an entire city of people ready for change.

From an artistic point of view, I like how the pole mimics the shape of the capital dome. Others might snicker, “It’s just a pole!”