Category: On Poetry

Oct 10

Hugo where I go

“Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.” Victor Hugo

Be like the bird who, halting in his flight on a limb too slight, yet sings, knowing he has wings.  Victor Hugo

“Let us be like a bird for a moment perched
On a frail branch when he sings;
Though he feels it bend, yet he sings his song,
Knowing that he has wings.”  Victor Hugo
Saw a variation of this Hugo quote on a site but could not share it. So I searched for the quote elsewhere on the Internet to cut and paste. Funny thing is, I found several variations. I find it difficult as a poet to imagine having my words paraphrased or rewritten when we as poets select just the right words for a multiple of reasons after must consideration. Which version do you like the best? This brings me to the topic of translations. Great vehicles to share great words … but at what cost. Would you want your poems shared in another language if your exact words were lost?

Last thing I want to share, this comment also from someone out there on the Internetsphere,  “I think the hard part is singing even when you know you don’t have wings!” My sentiments exactly. Where Hugo, I go.

0
comments

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).

 

 

0
comments

Jun 03

The poetry of birds and fish

Years ago, I wrote a sonnet about flying in my dreams. It is titled, Flying, with the closing couplet, “To flight, to search for freedom, we fleet/While fish they wish their fins were feet.” This ties into my day. Today, with great sadness, I watched my dog attack a bird. The bird suffered. Though upset, I was intrigued by the other birds. The robins were screeching. A mourning dove sat guard for a while after the robins pecked a grackle away. A few finches and wrens came and sat on the fence to see what was going on. I wonder if birds do everything on instinct or if there exists some small kind of feelings under all those feathers. On a happier note, Springfield Poets and Writers‘ teen anthology Navigating the Maze is published and copies distributed to contributors. With SPW and Adonis Designs Press, I design and edit the publication, of which the art selected for this year’s cover is titled, Fish. It is the image that one will see on these websites. Now I must tell you, the poem makes allusion to evolution. Fish may love to swim if they too have any feelings under those scales. As a swimmer, I must also tell you that it is as glorious to swim and it is to fly in your dreams. It’s all poetry to me!

0
comments

Apr 05

Poet laureates

Happy National Poetry Month! Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein heads to Springfield, Illinois on Saturday, Apr. 21 to be the featured poet at the Vachel Lindsay Home Historic Site, 603 S. Fifth Street. The site’s recurring series, Poets in the Parlor, begins at 2 p.m. Stein will read from his new book, Poetry’s Afterlife: Verse in the Digital Age. Seating is limited at this intimate venue. Stein teaches at Bradley University in Peoria and has been Illinois Poet Laureate since 2003. Read all about our current U.S. Poet Laureate and past laureates at one-of-my favorite websites – the Library of Congress.

0
comments

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.

0
comments

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.

0
comments

Jul 10

Street Wars

Okay…someone tell me…what is the name of the national or international group that requires its members to drive ten to fifteen miles below the speed limit to slow down traffic and befuddle my need to be on time? Inquiring mind needs to know, because if I can’t beat them, I gotta join them or build that airspeeder real soon.

0
comments

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.”

0
comments

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.

0
comments

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. http://www.nea.gov/features/writers/writersCMS/writer.php?id=07_26

1
comments