I have SUCKED at poetry month recently, but I am about to make it up to you hardcore. Via [livejournal.com profile] debitha:

THE LOLCAT WASTELAND. april hates u, makes lilacs, u no can has.

And because no post on cats is complete without a post on dogs, I dare you to spend five minutes on this site and not actually laugh out loud. And if you do not LOL, you should consider the idea that you may need some kind of mood stabiliser.

Upside Down Dogs.
I just got an email from Lulu.com: "Creating a Great Book Cover Has Never Been Easier!"


The cover was done (I chose the tan and olive but intensified the shading a bit; we'll see how that works) and the proof has been done for a few days, so I uploaded them and finalised the proof and had them ship me one and then went to the bathroom and threw up.

It's stupid really because it's just a self-published book, but I wrote it at a time when I was slowly going insane and I've worked hard on it. I sent it all over and rewrote it and gave it to friends to read and then rewrote it again and gave it to everyone to edit and rewrote it two more times and now the first copy is on its way. Eight days, ten at the outside, I'll have a thing I made in my hands. No mask I ever made took four and a half years to finish.

When I finished The Dead Isle it was a total shock, because I wrote the ending and then said to myself, "Okay, what scene do I write next?" and there were no more scenes to write. Apparently when I finish stuff I get musical, which I am not really at any other time, but I had to hear "We Have Fed Our Seas" because it was in my head for some reason. This time the finishing wasn't such a shock because it had been done for a long time, sort of -- the fabric was all there, anyway. So uploading it was this nerve-wracking "Oh god what did I forget" process, and hopefully I haven't forgotten anything. But I did have The Old Churchyard in my head, so I put that on, and that calmed me down a little.

Turns out I'm a high-strung artist after all. Who knew?

Anyway, have some poems for the evening.

The Old Church Yard
Trad. Appalachian

O come, come with me to the old church yard
We well know the path through the soft green sward
Friends slumber there we were wont to regard
We'll trace out their names in the old church yard

Oh mourn not for them, their grief is o'er... )


We Have Fed Our Seas
by Rudyard Kipling, this arrangement by Peter Bellamy/David Jones

We have fed our seas for a thousand years
And it calls us still unfed
Though there's never a wave of all her waves
But marks our English dead
We have strawed our best to the sea's unrest
To the shark and the sheering gull

And if blood be the price of admiralty
Lord God, we ha' paid in full

There is never a tide that moves shoreward now... )
I thought I'd get the drop on the day and post poetry early! This is another classic that I post every year, because I love EA Robinson's poems and he was a very interesting person, too.

This is how my week has gone: In the time between typing the above and pasting the below, I had two phone calls and three people come by my desk Wanting Things. The burden of competence is an expectation of omniscience, you guys.

Dear Friends
by EA Robinson

Dear friends, reproach me not for what I do,
Nor counsel me, nor pity me; nor say
That I am wearing half my life away
For bubble-work that only fools pursue.

And if my bubbles be too small for you,
Blow bigger then your own: the games we play
To fill the frittered minutes of a day,
Good glasses are to read the spirit through.

And whose reads may get him some shrewd skill;
And some unprofitable scorn resign,
To praise the very thing that he deplores;
So, friends (dear friends), remember, if you will,
The shame I win for singing is all mine,
The gold I miss for dreaming is all yours.
Mondays are always intense, but seriously, I know the morning existed. WHERE DID IT GO. I ate a cheese sandwich at one point, that's the most vivid memory I have of this morning.

[livejournal.com profile] twirlynoodle tells me that Chios is still standing after their annual Fireworks Battle. Next year, man, I WANT TO BE THERE.

I've been doing a terrible job of Poetry Month for a bit, so here's some new versifyin' for you. Well, when I say new, I mean "something I love and have posted every year".

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
by T. S. Eliot

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question...
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
Let us go and make our visit. )
Time for a book review! I wrote this yesterday and then totally forgot to post it. :D

Pale Fire was recommended to me because of Nameless. I chose a waxwing as the "magic bird" in the story because it was native to Illinois and has a lovely, faciful name, but a couple of people asked me if I took it from Pale Fire, which I'd never read.

I was the shadow of the Waxwing slain
By the false azure in the windowpane;
I was the smudge of ashen fluff -- and I
Lived on, flew on, in the reflected sky.

-- lines 1-4

Pale Fire is a metanovel of sorts -- the axis of the story is the poem, also titled Pale Fire, that the fictional John Shade wrote in the month before his death. The poem is reproduced in full, but the body of the novel is the preface and annotation by "Charles Kinbote", who obviously tricked Shade's widow into signing over to him the sole right to edit and publish the poem.

That's where it gets weird... )

Final Verdict: I kind of wish I'd just read the poem. I like the poem! I'd like to have a bound copy of the poem without the annotation, really.

And I thought for Poetry Month today I would share one of John Shade's poems:

Mountain View

Between the mountain and the eye
The spirit of the distance draws
A veil of blue amorous gauze,
The very texture of the sky.
A breeze reaches the pines, and I
Join in the general applause.

But we all know it cannot last,
The mountain is too weak to wait --
Even if reproduced and glassed
In me as in a paperweight.
AHA! I knew the name Kevin Young sounded familiar!

He wrote the poem I posted yesterday, and when Vivichick told me his name some random neuron fired in the back of my head. But it's not like either name or surname are very unusual, so it took me until this morning to realise he wrote Most Way Home, which is a book of poems that I received as a prize in a short story competition in high school when I was seventeen. It was the first time I'd ever been rewarded or remunerated for writing, and I still have it.

Once Most Way Home hit my brain I vividly remembered the gut-punch I got when I opened the book and read "Reward", so that's today's poem.

by Kevin Young

RUN AWAY from this sub-
scriber for the second time
an outlandish dark fellow

with his country marks... )
Poem for poetry month! In under the wire.

I'm not usually a fan of free verse, but [livejournal.com profile] vivichick shared this one with me and I was quite taken with it.

Ode to Pepper Vinegar
by Kevin Young

You sat in the tomb

of our family fridge
for years, without

fail. You were all

I wanted covering
my greens, satisfaction

I've since sought... )
Watching my flist, some of the linkspages, and the twitter, it's -- strange, because on the one hand I think, holy crap, the internet is going to spank Amazon hard and not in the fun way. On the other hand, occasionally I am hyperaware that just because Fandom Knows About It doesn't mean Anyone Else Cares.

However in this case apparently Amazon phone reps are begging people to stop calling (uh, good luck with that -- my sympathies with the reps, but none for the company just now). They're calling it a "computer glitch" but that doesn't so much work when they responded to author complaints with a smug self-congratulatory form letter. Authors are finding out and flipping their shit, in the oddly civil and yet incredibly subversive way many writers do. Twitter is like a some kind of atom bomb. So I am pretty confident that if Amazon doesn't reverse their policy or fix their code or whatever is wrong with them, they'll be a ghost town a month from now and some new little adorable startup will be getting our moneys.

A press release wouldn't hurt either. Am I the only one who ever thinks of this stuff? Is there some kind of training PR people get in PR school that says "When you screw up and get caught, WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T TELL ANYONE YOU'RE FIXING THE PROBLEM. OH GOD DON'T COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CLIENTS."

All that being the case, have some Easter-appropriate WH Auden. He was a big gay poet!

Friday's Child
In memory of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, d. April 9, 1945

He told us we were free to choose
But, children as we were, we thought---
"Paternal Love will only use
Force in the last resort

On those too bumptious to repent... )

I found this poem while I was looking for The Clean Plater, and thought it was...well, if not a shining example of the poet's art, at the very least pretty fascinating historically. And rather charming, too.

Advertising poem from 1859
by J.W. Renoud of Norwalk, CT

Step up ye gallant fair and brave!
Step up, Tom, Jake and Kate,
Unto my store in Norwalk town,
In Main Street, number eight!

In Main street, number eight, good folks
Things very cheap are sold,
To fat and lean, to rich and poor,
And to the young and old.

It is the cheap Cash Store, my friends... )

I'm pretty outspoken about plagiarism in academia, mainly because as a teacher it insults my intelligence and wastes my time when a student turns in a plagiarised paper. And certainly I respect the right of anyone to object strongly to plagiarism in any genre of written work. That being said...

I stumbled over a fanfic today where a portion of the story had obviously been lifted from one of mine. And my first reaction of course is annoyance, but it's also kind of funny and sad, because even with part of the story plagiarised there's not a single comment on it. It's the only piece they've posted, as far as I can tell, and I don't see that they have any other archives. Apparently they don't read copperbadge or sam-storyteller, or at least haven't friended either one.

So, you know, if they'd turned in a stolen paper for me to grade I'd have failed them. And it occurs to me that I could possibly fail someone out of fandom, if I worked at it a bit, but it just seems like a lot of effort for petty theft, and I was a wee fanbrat myself once. I dropped them a comment, let them know OH HAI I SEEZ U, and I'm giving them a few days to take the story down or edit it appropriately. Civility is always best in these things, I think.

In unrelated news, if anyone has a Dreamwidth code going spare...*shifty look*

In other other news, I thought I'd post another Taylor Mali poem today in honour of all my former students.

The the impotence of proofreading by Taylor Mali )
I am obscenely cheerful this morning. It's not healthy, really. :D But I got a good night's sleep and actually packed a breakfast as well as a lunch, and I forgot how much energy I end up with when I actually eat breakfast. Yoghurt and homemade granola OM NOM NOM NOM.

I didn't post a poem yesterday because it was kind of an intense day, so I am posting two today. I wanted to post them in partnership anyway -- I've posted both before, but they bear repeating. Two takes on the relationship of teachers to students and, as any teacher will tell you, both are equally valid.

(This could be why I do not teach....)

Did I Miss Anything? by Tom Wayman )

What Teachers Make by Taylor Mali )
So today I scheduled myself out -- 8-10 for TARDIS Big Bang fic, 10 - 1 for Nameless corrections, and 2-4 for Extribulum research. I got a good deal done on all three; not much as I'd wanted, but more than I usually get without scheduling.

Extribulum Press is not going to be a fast process, I have a feeling. There's reading to be done each step of the way and figuring to do, but the nice thing is that once I figure it all out that will be a service I can offer to the authors (recruiting and boot-camping the authors is going to be a process all on its own). It's all going to be a bit seat-of-one's-pants for the first run, but as Art Buck said, "The first time anything is done, it's done by amateurs." Not that I'm the first to follow this model, but I think I will be one of the first to do it in this particular fashion. And I am certainly an amateur.

Most of today's presswork was meta-reading. I had a bookmarks file, which is now converted to a delicious account (feel free to leave recommendations) and IN AN IRONIC TWIST I reformatted and printed out a lot of the meta-tagged articles.

Reading the 1000 True Fans article and two of its follow-ups on the El home, I got a sort of gut-shredding sense of terror. That being said, two of the best things to ever happen to me -- a summer in Boston and my move to Chicago -- have been preceded by the same "Get it off get it off me oh god don't make me do it" sensation, so it's usually a sign that I'm on a good track. Which is why I talk about this kind of thing here, because if other people think I'm doing it then I have to do it...

And since it is poetry month I went looking for poems about books and found this one by dint of "hit random a bunch on the Wondering Minstrels archive". The citation there claims it is pre-10th-century, but I make no assertion as to the validity of that. If you know the proper source, please share. :)

The Bookworm
Anon, originally in Old English

A moth, I thought, munching a word.
How marvellously weird! a worm
Digesting a man's sayings --
A sneakthief nibbling in the shadows
At the shape of a poet's thunderous phrases --
How unutterably strange!
And the pilfering parasite none the wiser
For the words he has swallowed.

ETA: It's from the Exeter book! Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] cageyklio, and thank you [livejournal.com profile] mystefaction for the alternate translations. My cafe is the most awesome. :D

ETA2: Getting a lot of spam on this post so I'm shutting off comments. Sorry guys!
I am cooking today, and PeaPod is impending (and the people who came to look at the flat across the hall were heard to remark "Well, it smells like good cooking in here!" thank you, prospective new neighbours!) so I thought today would be a good day for a bit of food-obsessed Ogden Nash.

The Clean Plater
by Ogden Nash

Some singers sing of ladies' eyes,
And some of ladies' lips,
Refined ones praise their ladylike ways,
And coarse ones hymn their hips.
The Oxford Book of English Verse
Is lush with lyrics tender;
A poet, I guess, is more or less
Preoccupied with gender.
Yet I, though custom call me crude,
Prefer to sing in praise of food.
Yes, food,
Just any old kind of food.

Pheasant is pleasant, of course... )
Something a bit different for today, as the clock just barely ticks over into April 4...

Found Poem

What is the mark of Web success in 2009?
A million page views in a week?
A spike in Twitter mentions?
Both are meaningful indices,
but not quite as satisfying
as traffic crashing your whole site.
It’s the Internet version of a standing ovation.
— Sasha Frere-Jones

I don't think this is actually a poem, I think it's really a quote, but it was line-broken in such a way that it struck me as one, and I've always been told that's Found Poetry, so there you have it.

I couldn't sleep, so I was cleaning out my bookmarks when I found a website I'd marked for an ongoing research project. It doesn't actually fit the criteria of the project, but it's fascinating in its own way. Stolen boldly (like a gentleman should steal) from The Errant Aesthete.
Taken from Ode To Solitude
by Pablo Neruda

And this word
which I poise here suspended on a branch,
this song that yearns
solely for the solitude of your lips
to repeat it-
the air inscribes it at my side, lives
that were lived long before me.
And you, who are reading my ode:
you've used it against your own solitude.
We've never met, and yet it's your hands
that wrote these lines, with mine.

Today's poem is stolen from [livejournal.com profile] blushingflower, who was reminded of it by yesterday's. Like The Gardener from yesterday, it is the last stanza of a longer work. I'd like to post the Spanish as well, but you can't even find the English online, let alone the original.

The themes of the poems are very different -- Tagore is writing about history and individual experience, while Neruda is writing about the "lie" that he found solitude to be. That being said, both of them share a single action, an urge of sorts, to form a bridge between their experiences and ours. Tagore invites the reader to imagine his past existence, Neruda invites the reader to accept his own sense of loneliness as a balm for solitude, but both are attempting to identify a method of uniting poet and reader in the common human experience.
Another good "kickoff" poem for Poetry Month....

The Gardener (verse 85)
by Rabindranath Tagore

Who are you, reader, reading my poems an hundred years hence?
I cannot send you one single flower from this wealth of the spring,
one single streak of gold from yonder clouds.
Open your doors and look abroad.
From your blossoming garden gather fragrant memories of the vanished
flowers of an hundred years before.
In the joy of your heart may you feel the living joy that sang one
spring morning, sending its glad voice across a hundred years.

I love the way it speaks of a connection to history -- not talking about history itself, not in any sweeping sense, but inviting the reader to open their imagination and make their own visceral connection to the reality of the past. It's not quite an hundred years hence yet -- the poem was published in 1915 -- but it's near enough. I wonder what he would have thought of this verse being preserved digitally, in a medium that distances his poem even further from the senses. Then again, the message of the poem is that he can only give so much, and the rest is up to the reader to experience.

Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali artist and writer around the turn of the last century, part of a movement that celebrated Indian culture but rejected traditional cultural formulae in the arts. This is the closing stanza of a longer work, translated from the original Bengali by the author. You can find more of his work here.
So, it's Poetry Month, and by tradition I always kick it off with the same poem. This year, I'd also like to link back to a post I made last year, commemorating the anniversary of a very special event for me: The day my student told me he broke his penis.

Feel free to comment. I am so sad all the comments were lost.

And now, drumroll please:

The Symbolic Poem
by Fred Bremmer and Steve Kroese

< > !* ' ' #
^ " ` $$-
%*< > ~ #4
&[ ]../

This poem can only be appreciated by reading it aloud, to wit:

Waka waka bang splat tick tick hash,
Caret quote back-tick dollar dollar dash,
Bang splat equal at dollar under-score,
Percent splat waka waka tilde number four,
Ampersand bracket bracket dot dot slash,
Vertical-bar curly-bracket comma comma CRASH.

A poll conducted among readers of InFocus magazine, where it was originally published, established "waka" as the proper pronunciation for the angle-bracket characters, though some held out resolutely for "norkie".
The last post of Poetry Month is upon us!

Okay, so I haven't managed a full record of thirty days of poetry, since I skipped a few days and forgot some others. But! I think I have put a lot of versifyin' out there, and everyone seems to have enjoyed kicking around in it, so I'm satisfied.

I picked this poem out to be the last of the month when I was going through my archives before it even began. It says what I feel about writing, and I think it's a lovely, defiant, cheerful note to end on.

Dear Friends
by EA Robinson

Dear friends, reproach me not for what I do,
Nor counsel me, nor pity me; nor say
That I am wearing half my life away
For bubble-work that only fools pursue.

And if my bubbles be too small for you,
Blow bigger then your own: the games we play
To fill the frittered minutes of a day,
Good glasses are to read the spirit through.

And whose reads may get him some shrewd skill;
And some unprofitable scorn resign,
To praise the very thing that he deplores;
So, friends (dear friends), remember, if you will,
The shame I win for singing is all mine,
The gold I miss for dreaming is all yours.
An interesting side effect of Poetry Month with a journal of this many readers is that not only am I posting poems, but other people are posting poems in reply, as well as crit and discussion. And correcting me in that it was Robert Frost, and not my Chemistry teacher, who said that free verse was like tennis without a net. Still, points to Mr. B for knowing Frost (he was a merciful teacher and a true Renaissance man -- used his electric guitar to teach us about the properties of light).

It's like high-impact Lit 202 around here, man. Pentameter X-Treme.

At any rate, [livejournal.com profile] kevin_hy linked a handful of poems in one post, and I liked this one enough to share.

High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

High Flight )
I try to be widely-read in my tastes, and to embrace different literary forms, but I'm afraid at the end of the day I'm basically a curmudgeon. I like my poems to rhyme. I blame it on my high school Chemistry teacher, who said to me, "Free verse is like playing tennis without a net. Sure it's easy, but what's the point?"

And, being raised on the mainstays of English Lit, most of my chosen favourites are pretty traditional. This one was given to me to memorise in the eighth grade, and I have an odd block against the third stanza -- I always leave it out -- but the rest I can recite offhand.

And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

Invictus )


Sam's Backup Page

April 2017

2 345678
91011121314 15


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 20th, 2017 01:20 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios