Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rod Blagojevich and Rudyard Kipling

I was listening to the radio just the other day and could not believe it when I heard Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich quote the popular English poet Rudyard Kipling. It actually offended me in a small way.

I love the poetry of Rudyard Kipling, and over the years I have argued that he was not so much a racist, but a poet who wrote about the romantic and heroic times that he lived in. As for Rod Blagojevich, while I believe you are Innocent until proven guilty, I just found it odd that he would choose that poem.

And then I read NPR's Linton Weeks article titled Rod Blagojevich And The Poetry Slam. The article gave me a total new take on Rudyard Kipling and his poem It.

Rudyard Kipling @Amazon.com

Monday, December 22, 2008

NPR's All Things Considered Interviews Elizabeth Alexander

Click on this article at NPR.org Poet Calls Writing Inaugural Poem A 'Challenge', to hear an interview by poet Elizabeth Alexander.

I found her interview interesting and the comments at NPR.org amusing, can you believe there are people who do not understand the value of poetry. Or who think that poetry should stay the way it has been for thousands of years and never change.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jackson Poetry Prize Winner Elizabeth Alexander Reads Work

Jackson Poetry Prize Winner Elizabeth Alexander Reads Work

In December 2008, it was announced that Elizabeth Alexander will read at the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama. Ms. Alexander will be only the fourth poet in history to read at a presidential inauguration.

Some books by Elizabeth Alexander @Amazon.com

The Black Interior

American Sublime

The Venus Hottentot: Poems

Power and Possibility: Essays, Reviews, and Interviews (Poets on Poetry)

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Christmas Carol MP3s by Grant Fitch

A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol MP3s by Grant Fitch
click image for mp3s @Amazon.com

Here is a cool way to enjoy Charls Dickens' A Christmas Carol as read by Grant Fitch.

List of Mp3s
1. Visitors to the Counting House
2. An Ordinary Knocker
3. Marley's Ghost
4. The First Spirit
5. At Fezziwig's
6. Lost Love
7. The Second Spirit
8. Evening With the Cratchits
9. His Laughing Nephew
10. The Third Spirit
11. The Neglected Grave
12. God Bless Us Every One!
13. Clement Moore's the Night Before Christmas

Thursday, December 18, 2008


click image for info @Amazon.com

Two Pages from an issue 1862 . THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS . THESE WOOD ENGRAVINGS FROM SKETCHES, OR EARLY PHOTOGRAPHS WOULD MAKE AN IDEAL GIFT FOR CHRISTMAS OR BIRTHDAY . The actual date is printed on each page . This engraving is over 140 years old. And is not a modern copy. THESE IMAGES ARE scanned at low resolution for quick uploading and are much better than the scanned image.. Size of print is approx 14" x 9.1/2" if it is shown as whole page, or prorata.. Approx. Page size = 16" high x 11" wide. Ready to matt and frame. These old Prints really look great with Matt and Framed. . Note this print is from a periodical and has printing on reverse.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

O Holy Night!: Masterworks of Christmas Poetry

O Holy Night!:
Masterworks of Christmas Poetry
O Holy Night!: Masterworks of Christmas Poetry

According to Ray Olson
The Christmas season is the time of year when poetry is actually heard in public, thanks to the resolutely secular works of Clement Clarke Moore ("'Twas the night before Christmas") and Dr. Seuss (How the Grinch Stole Christmas). Religious folk remind us, of course, that the season is basically of sacred significance. They might add that there is a vast body of beautiful religious verse for it, too, from which editor Moser here makes a small selection of real gems. He presents them in four parts concerned with, respectively, the prophecies of the Christ, the Annunciation and Immaculate Conception, Jesus' birth, and the promise of the Christ; each section is prefaced and "postfaced" by appropriate passages from the Bible. The poets represented, though predominantly writers of English from Cynewulf to Richard Wilbur, include Virgil as translated by Dryden among the prophets, many early churchmen, and non-English bards ranging from Dante to Pasternak; Moser, often with helpers, does most of the translating. This is a reverently lovely gift for the season.

A Poem From The Book

"A Child of the Snows" by Chesterton:

There is heard a hymn when the panes are dim,
And never before or again,
When the nights are strong with a darkness long,
And the dark is alive with rain.

Never we know but in sleet and in snow,
The place where the great fires are,
That the midst of the earth is a raging mirth
And the heart of the earth a star.

And at night we win to the ancient inn
Where the child in the frost is furled,
We follow the feet where all souls meet
At the inn at the end of the world.

The gods lie dead where the leaves lie red,
For the flame of the sun is flown,
The gods lie cold where the leaves lie gold,
And a Child comes forth alone.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

2009 Poet's Market - A Poet's Tool

2009 Poet's Market
2009 Poet's Market
click image for info @Amazon.com

Book Description - 2009 Poet's Market gives readers all the information necessary to research markets and submit poetry for publication. In addition to market listings, poets will find guidance for preparing and submitting manuscripts, identifying markets, relating to editors, and more. Plus, the book includes additional listings for conferences, workshops, organizations for poets, print and online resources, and the latest trends in poetry writing and publishing.

About the Author - Nancy Breen, editor of Poet's Market, is a published poet with two chapbooks in print. She's also a contest judge and speaks about publishing poetry at writer's conferences and other public venues.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Poet Quotes: Walt Whitman

A morning-glory at my window
satisfies me more
than the metaphysics of books.
Walt Whitman

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Poet Quotes: Amiri Baraka

A man is either free or he is not. There cannot be any apprenticeship for freedom.

Amiri Baraka

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Sky is Low.... A Poem by Emily Dickinson

The Sky is Low.... A Poem of Emily Dickinson

"The sky is low, the clouds are mean,
A travelling flake of snow
Across a barn or through a rut
Debates if it will go.

A narrow wind complains all day
How some one treated him;
Nature, like us, is sometimes caught
Without her diadem." Emily Dickinson

Heavy clouds passing by and the Adagio of Sonata BWV 1029 by JS Bach.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Walt Whitman in "L.I.E." Video

Walt Whitman in "L.I.E."

"Demon or bird! (said the boy's soul,)
Is it indeed toward your mate you sing? or is it really to me?
For I, that was a child, my tongue's use sleeping, now I have heard you,
Now in a moment I know what I am for, I awake.


Never more the cries of unsatisfied love be absent from me,
Never again leave me to be the peaceful child I was before what
there in the night,
By the sea under the yellow and sagging moon,
The messenger there arous'd, the fire, the sweet hell within,
The unknown want, the destiny of me."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Poet Quotes: Dante Alighieri

Art, as far as it is able,
follows nature, as a pupil imitates his master;
thus your art must be, as it were, God's grandchild.

Dante Alighieri

Friday, November 14, 2008

First Address To The Lord

Lord, guard me against proclivities of lust for things
that I can not have; teach me to see the woman as my
sister, daughter and friend. Check my ambitions and
show me humility in both love and war.

Nurture my most high hopes; to be a husband and a craftsman.
In the hours of darkness, be that light that shines
on me and my dreams. Grant me rest, least I lose my
strength, and dreams become nightmares. Mold me to my true
nature, that of a patient man, waiting until the waiting is done.

Make me a vessel that holds and spreads joy. Grant
me the opportunity for hard work that breaks into sweat.
Allow peace to be my guiding ray, and let me remember
that I never could have made it, without fear of the
common path of death.

Allow me to become stronger, wiser, better all the days
of my life. Forgive me my offenses against the and thy
other children. Wipe their tears and comfort their souls
for this is my prayer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Poetry Handbook - Mary Oliver

This slender guide by Mary Oliver deserves a place on the shelves of any budding poet. In clear, accessible prose, Oliver (winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for poetry) arms the reader with an understanding of the technical aspects of poetry writing. Her lessons on sound, line (length, meter, breaks), poetic forms (and lack thereof), tone, imagery, and revision are illustrated by a handful of wonderful poems (too bad Oliver was so modest as to not include her own). What could have been a dry account is infused throughout with Oliver's passion for her subject, which she describes as "a kind of possible love affair between something like the heart (that courageous but also shy factory of emotion) and the learned skills of the conscious mind." One comes away from this volume feeling both empowered and daunted. Writing poetry is good, hard work.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Article About Emily Dickinson at Slate.com

Emily Dickinson

Slate.com has a very interesting article about Emily Dickinson titled Emily Dickinson's Secret Lover!.

The article presents recent research into something I have always wondered about, who was Dickinson's lover and discusses why it is largely being ignored. Consider this following quote from the article;
Andrews does not pretend to be the first person to claim that Gould was Dickinson's secret lover. Genevieve Taggard, a leftist poet best known for her Depression-era populist verse, published a vividly written biography of Emily Dickinson in 1930 after teaching for a year at Mount Holyoke, Dickinson's alma mater. Taggard discovered what she called the "purloined valentine," sent by Dickinson in 1850, inviting a mysterious someone to "meet me at sunrise, or sunset, or the new moon."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's the Birthday of Poet Lew Welch

It's the birthday of Beat poet Lew Welch. He was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1926. He's the author of many collections of poetry, including Hermit Poems (1965) and At Times We're Almost Able To See (1965). He became friends with poets Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen at Reed College in the late 1940s.

During this time William Carlos Williams visited the college and met the three poets. He admired Welch's early poems and tried to get his thesis published.

After graduating from Reed College, he moved to New York and worked in advertising. He later became a part of the San Francisco poetry scene. His first book, Wobbly Rock, was published in 1960. He taught poetry workshops at Berkeley, but he became depressed and he moved up into the mountains.

In 1971, his friend Gary Snyder visited Welch's campsite and he found a suicide note in Welch's truck. Welch's body was never found.

Lew Welch is the step-father of Huey Lewis and the news, who took his stage name in honor of Welch.

Lew Welch Quotes
"Step out onto the Planet. Draw a circle a hundred feet round. Inside the circle are 300 things nobody understands, and, maybe, nobody’s ever really seen. How many can you find?" -Lew Welch

"Seeking perfect total enlightenment is like looking for a flashlight when all you need the flashlight for is to find your flashlight." -Lew Welch

"You can't fix it. You can't make it go away. I don't know what you're going to do about it, but I know what I'm going to do about it. I'm just going to walk away from it. Maybe a small part of it will die if I'm not around feeding it anymore." - Lew Welch

"trails go nowhere. they end exactly where you stop." - Lew Welch

"The True Rebel never advertises it. He prefers his joy to Missionary Work". -Lew Welch


Lew Welch at The Beat Page

Lew Welch @ Wikipedia

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Poetry Daily's Poem of the Day: The Loom

I recently came accross a very delightfull poetry website called Poetry Daily.

From their About Page;
Poetry Daily is an anthology of contemporary poetry. Each day, we bring you a new poem from new books, magazines, and journals.

Poems are chosen from the work of a wide variety of poets published or translated in the English language. Our most eminent poets are represented in the selections, but also poets who are less well known. The daily poem is selected for its literary quality and to provide you with a window on a very broad range of poetry offered annually by publishers large and small. Included with each poem is information about the poet and the poem's source.
The Loom by Anne Stevenson.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Love is Not All by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Tennis Couple Kissing, Valentine's Day, Harido
Buy at AllPosters.com

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Earl's love for Mrs Dorothy May

State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento, CA
Buy at AllPosters.com

People ask me how I learned to love my wife so much,
Is it because Earl is my grandfather or maybe just luck?
I watched this illiterate railroad man compose sonnets
and soliloquies so tender that they could rest on the petal of a rose
He spoke his love letters on Fridays after working
on the Kansas City Southern line all day
Promising to never leave and to treat her right
in his garage talking about her til day slowly became night
Words like love, honey, baby, please, seemed out of place
with his back bent and hands calloused from loading cross ties
a coil of rope at his feet, a claw hammer looped at his side
My grandfather could not even write his name, but he could
tell you the exact measurements of a section of track
This man who took the time to gesture so lovingly to
my grandmother, Mrs. Dorothy May, was teaching
a young boy how to love his wife.

-by Kelvin Cook

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

If by Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling English Writer
Buy at AllPosters.com

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sonar Techs @ Work or Death From Below

Submarine Seahawk

Submarine Seahawk


Buy at AllPosters.com

The other submarine's screw blade noise
called to us, like the hum of a queen bee
We had calculated her speed and only
needed to compute the lady's range

Listening for the slightest sound
range rate calculator in hand
Oscilloscopes and spectrum analysers
recreated the sound scape of the ocean

While searching for the enemy
sweat rolled down our faces
as we examined every reverberation
every sound was a clue

And just as quick we whispered "we've got the bitch"
"Bridge, this is Sonar, firing solution to follow
On our mark fire tubes two and three at will"
And now we listen for the impending implosion

- Kelvin Cook

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Forgetfulness by Billy Collins

The name of the author is the first to go followed obediently by the title, the plot, the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of, as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain, to a little fishing village where there are no phones. Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag, and even now as you memorize the order of the planets, something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps, the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay. Whatever it is you are struggling to remember, it is not poised on the tip of your tongue, not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen. It has floated away down a dark mythological river whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall, well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle. No wonder you rise in the middle of the night to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war. No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Muta Baruka Reading "Dis Poem" on Def Poetry Jam

dis poem
by Muta Baruka

dis poem
shall speak of the wretched sea
that washed ships to these shores
of mothers crying for their young
swallowed up by the sea
dis poem shall say nothin new
dis poem shall speak of time
time unlimited
time undefined
dis poem shall call names
names like
haile selassie
dis poem is vex
about apartheid
the klu klux klan
riots in brixton
jim jones
dis poem is revoltin against
first world
second world
third world
manmade decision
dis poem is like all the rest
dis poem will not be amongst great literary works
will not be recited by poetry enthusiasts
will not be quoted by politicians
nor men of religion
dis poem is knives...bombs...guns...
blazing for freedom
yes dis poem is a drum
mau mau
niahbingi warriors
namibia uhuru
dis poem will not change things
dis poem needs to be changed
dis poem is the rebirth of a people arising...awaking...overstanding
...dis poem speak
is speakin...has spoken
dis poem shall continue
even when poets have stoped writing
dis poem shall survive...u...me...
it shall linger in history
in your mind
in time....
dis poem is time
only time will tell
dis poem is still not written
dis poem has no poet
dis poem is just a part of the story his-story...her-story...our-story
the story still untold
dis poem is now ringing... talking
making u want to stop it
but dis poem will not stop
dis poem is long
cannot be short
dis poem cannot be tamed
cannot be blamed
the story is still not told about dis poem
dis poem is old
dis poem is copied from
the bible
your prayer book
the new york times
readers digest
the c.i.a. files
the k.g.b. files
dis poem is no secret
dis poem shall be called
dis poem is watchin u
tryin' to make sense from dis poem
dis poem is messin up your brains
makin u want to stop listenin to dis poem
but you shall not stop listenin to dis poem
u need to know what will be said next in dis poem
dis poem shall disappoint u because...
dis poem is to be continue

in your mind...
in your mind...
in your mind...

Friday, July 25, 2008

John Milton - Paradise Lost, Book 1, Lines 221-270

Paradise Lost, Book 1,
Lines 221- 270
by John Milton

Is this the Region, this the Soil, the Clime,
Said then the lost Arch-Angel, this the seat
That we must change for Heav'n, this mournful gloom
For that celestial light? Be it so, since he
Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid
What shall be right: fardest from him is best
Whom reason hath equald, force hath made supream
Above his equals. Farewel happy Fields
Where Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrours, hail
Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
Receive thy new Possessor: One who brings
A mind not to be chang'd by Place or Time.
The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less then he
Whom Thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
Th' associates and copartners of our loss
Lye thus astonisht on th' oblivious Pool,
And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy Mansion, or once more
With rallied Arms to try what may be yet
Regaind in Heav'n, or what more lost in Hell?

From Wikipedia;
John Milton (December 9, 1608 – November 8, 1674) was an English poet, prose polemicist and civil servant for the Commonwealth of England. Best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost, Milton is also known for his treatise condemning
censorship, Areopagitica.

Very soon after his death (and continuing to the present day) Milton became the subject of partisan biographies, confirming T. S. Eliot's belief that "of no other poet is it so difficult to consider the poetry simply as poetry, without our theological and political dispositions... making unlawful entry".[1] Milton's radical, republican politics and heretical religious views, coupled with the perceived artificiality of his complicated Latinate verse, alienated Eliot and other readers; Samuel Johnson disparaged him as "an acrimonious and surly republican." (It is important to remember that for English people living shortly after the English Revolution, the term "republican" indicated anyone who had opposed the Crown during the Revolution.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hey Central

Long Distance Telephone Exchange in London
Buy at AllPosters.com

Hey Central
Give me ext. 189
Please get
Mrs. F. on that line.

Tell that woman
she better come on
Tell her, her sweet
loving man is on the phone

This is true
It aint no lie
I'm going to love
that woman till she cry

I'ma love her till she
break down and cry
And if I don't, call me
a ball face lie

This is the last thing
I'm going to say
I got to get back to
my angel some day

- Words by Kelvin Cook

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pablo Neruda Photographic Print

Pablo Neruda Chilean Poet and Diplomat

Digitally Printed on Archival Photographic Paper resulting in vivid, pure color and exceptional detail that is suitable for museum or gallery display.

Pablo Neruda Chilean Poet and Diplomat

Buy at AllPosters.com

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Couple of Poems by Charles Simic

Here are a couple of poems by Charles Simic from YouTube. I like these because of their simple presentation.


Classic Ball Room Dancing

From Wikipedia;
Charles Simic (IPA: [ˈtʃ​͡ɑːɻls ˈʂimitɕ​͡], born Dušan Simić, May 9, 1938 in Belgrade, Serbia) is a Serbian-American poet and the 15th Poet Laureate of the United States. He is co-Poetry Editor of the Paris Review. Simic is the 2007 recipient of the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Charles Simic @ Amazon.Com

Monday, July 21, 2008

The day Miss Kimberly Was Born

Miss Kimberly was born on a day the bees ran out of honey,
they needed something beautiful and sweet and just as sunny.

So they buzzed and they buzzed and wondered what could they do,
then they got an idea and off to the flower gardens they flew.

From flower to flower collecting nectar and dew they went,
buzzing right along they prayed that she'd be heaven sent.

And when they had enough they fashioned her into a baby girl,
And that is how Miss Kimberly was born into this world.

* I wrote this poem for my daughter when she was a little girl.

By Kelvin Cook

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Poetry: A Definition

From Wikipedia;
Poetry (from the Greek "ποίησις", poiesis, a "making" or "creating") is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its ostensible meaning. Poetry may be written independently, as discrete poems, or may occur in conjunction with other arts, as in poetic drama, hymns or lyrics.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kay Ryan Is Appointed U.S. Poet Laureate

The Library of Congress announced Thursday the appointment of Kay Ryan as the 16th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2008-2009.

The native Californian will take up her duties Oct. 16 by reading her work at the opening of the Library's annual literary series. She also will be a featured guest at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in the Poetry pavilion Sept. 27 on the National Mall.

Read the full store here at PBS.org.

Kay Ryan @ Amazon.com

Recent Kay Ryan post @ FitzPoetryBlog

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pablo Neruda - If You Forget Me - Poem Video

Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904–September 23, 1973) was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean writer and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lord Byron - She Walks In Beauty Video

She Walks In Beauty - Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

In the summer of 1814 Lord Byron attended a party and was captured by the beauty of his cousin, Mrs. Wilmot. Mrs Wilmot was in mourning and wearing a black mourning dress. According to his friend, Mr James Webster, "I did take him to Lady Sitwell's party in Seymour Road. He there for the first time saw his cousin, the beautiful Mrs. Wilmot. When we returned to his rooms in Albany, he said little, but desired Fletcher to give him a tumbler of brandy, which he drank at one to Mrs. Wilmot's health, then retired to rest, and was, I heard afterwards, in a sad state all night. The next day he wrote those charming lines upon her—She walks in Beauty like the Night..."

Lord Byron: The Major Works (Oxford World's Classics)
George Gordon Lord Byron English Poet Depicted Here in His Costume as a Greek Patriot
Buy at AllPosters.com

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dylan Thomas Reading His Poetry

I realy enjoy these two YouTube clips of Dylan Thomas reading his poems. I love his voice.

In My Craft or Sullen Art recited by Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas - Do Not Go Gentle

Dylan Thomas@ Amazon.com

Friday, July 11, 2008

100 Best-Loved Poems edited by Philip Smith

I love cheap (don't cost a lot of money) books that are packed full of good poetry. 100 Best-Loved Poems (Dover Thrift Editions) edited by Philip Smith is just such a book. There is a sampling for just about every taste. He includes Shakespeare, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Marlowe, Donne, Jonson, Herrick, Milton, Gray, Blake, Burns, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Mr and Mrs Browning, Longfellow, Poe, Whitman, Dickinson, Hardy, Housman, Yeats, Frost, Pound, Millay, Cummings, Auden, Dylan Thomas, and many others.

All told I would say this book is an excellant buy.

It is just the kind of book that a teacher might want to use in an introduction to English literature class. You pretty much get what you would expect. Poems that you probably have heard or read before, poems that speak to the modern reader and that have some connection to the times we live in.

Other similar books;

100 Poems by 100 Poets , compiled by Harold Pinter, Geoffrey Godbert, and Anthony Astbury.

One Hundred and One Famous Poems, compiled by Roy J. Cook in 1927

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Video: Chickens and the Funnies by Kay Ryan

Transcript of this video

I wrote this—well, I'm sure that I was thinking that I had made a lot of very stupid decisions in my life and that I was now suffering the consequences of them having all piled up and come home. This was a very personal poem, I'm sure, when I wrote it, although I like to write personal poems in such a way that nobody has to know that.

"The chickens are circling and blotting out the day." Now that's a really funny thing to say. You know, somebody has written me a letter and told me: "I love your poem 'Home to Roost' but you should know we raise chickens, and you need to know chickens don't really fly."

Home to Roost

The chickens
are circling and
blotting out the
day. The sun is
bright, but the
chickens are in
the way. Yes,
the sky is dark
with chickens,
dense with them.
They turn and
then they turn
again. These
are the chickens
you let loose
one at a time
and small—
various breeds.
Now they have
come home
to roost—all
the same kind
at the same speed.

Carol and I were reading the paper on Sunday morning in bed, and Carol is reading the funnies, and she says in this stricken or awed or something tone, she says: "Kay, read this out loud" and she passes me the funnies. I start reading this cartoon and it is Boondocks and in it, the little brother, who wants to get his bit of the action now and is complaining is smacked down by his big brother, Huey, who uses my poem "Patience" in this cartoon. It was just astonishing. He says: "You know, a poet named Kay Ryan once said, 'Who would have guessed it possible that waiting is sustainable—a place with its own harvests. Or that in time's fullness the diamonds of patience couldn't be distinguished from the genuine in brilliance or hardness.' What do you think that means?" Huey asks Riley. Riley answers: "It means you're a nerd and poetry is stupid."

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Langston Hughes: To a Black Dancer in The Little Savoy

Wine Maiden

To a Black Dancer in "The Little Savoy"
by Langston Hughes

Of the jazz-tuned night,
Sweet as purple dew,
Like the pillows of all sweet dreams'
Who crushed
The grapes of joy
And dripped their juice
On you?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

by Mary Frye (1932)

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Site For Langston Hughes Poetry

Check out this site Langston Hughes - poetry. It has many cool poems by Langston Hughes, one of my favorites being;

Dead in There

A night funeral
Going by Carries home
A cool bop daddy.

Hearse and flowers
He’ll never hype
Another paddy.

It’s hard to believe,
But dead in there,
He’ll never lay a
Hype nowhere!

He’s my ace-boy,
Gone away.
Wake up and live!
He used to say.

Who couldn’t dig him,
Plant him now—
Out where it makes
No diff’ no how.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

I loaf and invite my soul

[1] I celebrate myself, and sing myself, (from Song of Myself)
Walt Whitman

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loaf and invite my soul,
I lean and loaf at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, formed from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back awhile sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Shakespeare Sonnet #64


When I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-razed
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the watery main,
Increasing store with loss and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay;
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.

Sonnet 64/81

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Poetry as Punishment : The Punishment Fits the Crime

According to a story on NPR; Vandals Forced to Study Poetry of Frost.

In December, more than two dozen teenagers were arrested for breaking into and vandalizing the one-time summer residence of Robert Frost. Their punishment? Attend a class about the American poet. Novelist and Middlebury College professor Jay Parini, who taught the class, talks with Robert Siegel.

Friday, May 23, 2008

England's Poet Laureate: Is It Time for a female Yet?

Editor Robert Lee Brewer of Poetic Asides writes about the Poet Laureate debate that is going on in England in a post titled;Female Poet Laureate?!?

I have to admit that I did not know that in 340 years England has only had men Poet Laureates. You would think that over the years a woman would have been picked by now.

For a list of American Poet Laureates check out the Library of Congress' Poet Laureate timeline.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Road Not Taken - Robert Frost

I've often wonder about this poem and what it really means, because there are definitely roads that I will never go down again. As Mr. Frost points out, "Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back."

So having taken all these paths to reach this point (yes many of them less traveled), has it really made all the difference?

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Katie Couric at the Poetry & Creative Mind Benefit Video

Poets.org my favorite poetry website (I'm about to ware that link on my favorites out). Recently posted some interesting video of Katie Couric Backstage at the Poetry & The Creative Mind Benefit.
On April 1, 2008, the Academy of American Poets held its sixth annual benefit, Poetry & The Creative Mind, at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. Some of America’s leading artists, scholars, and public figures participated in this extraordinary evening celebrating the role of contemporary poetry in American culture. Poetry & The Creative Mind kicks off National Poetry Month, established by the Academy in 1996and now the largest literary celebration in the world.

Poetry & Meryl Streep

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Phillis Wheatley

photo by clairity

Phillis Wheatley, 1753-1784, poet, was the first African-American to publish poetry. Born into slavery, she was taken from her parents at an early age. She was raised Christian and offered an exceptional education by the family that owned her. She received he freedom on the death of her owner in 1778 and married. She had three children and none survived infancy. She died at age 31.

`TWAS mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew,
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
"Their colour is a diabolic die."
Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain,
May be refin'd, and join th' angelic train.´

Phillis Wheatley @ Wikipedia - They have some great links there please check them out.

A Geo-Biography of Phillis Wheatley on Google Earth

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Animation - Edgar Allan Poe reads Annabel Lee

Notes from YouTube - Edgar Allan Poe cartoon made with trial version of Toon Boom software and other programs. Granted, the animation is a bit limited, but until two weeks ago, I had never tried to animate anything. I do have too much time on my hands. This took about four hours total. But it was fun time and another good learning experience.

Annabel Lee is the last poem composed by American author Edgar Allan Poe. Written in 1849, it was not published until shortly after Poe's death that same year, appearing in two newspapers.

Annabel Lee
It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child, In this kingdom by the sea:
But we loved with a love that was more than love — I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago, In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven, Went envying her and me —
Yes! — that was the reason (as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night, Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love Of those who were older than we — Of many far wiser than we —
And neither the angels in heaven above, Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling — my darling — my life and my bride, In her sepulchre there by the sea, In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Parade by Billy Collins Read by Garrison Keillor

The Parade by Billy Collins

Notes from YouTube - The poem, "The Parade" by Billy Collins read by Garrison Keillor for Writer's Almanac.

Monday, March 24, 2008

God Bless All Moms

I love it when I can kill two birds with one stone. I wanted to post something for Baby Buggy Bumper Blog for mothers and do a post here in Fitzgerald's Poetry Blog.

Well this poem for mothers seems to cover both blogs at the same time.

This is for the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, “It’s okay honey, Mommy’s here.”
I really enjoyed reading this and I hope you do too. The blog Pass the Torch is a good read, and I like the photography there too, so take a look around while you are there.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

click on link above to hear a reading of the poem at Poets.org

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Shakespeare Sonnet #3 Performed by Joe LaRue

Notes from YouTube - #3 is saying: take a good long look at yourself and ask: why haven't you had a kid yet? where is there any hot chick who doesn't want to screw you? is it because you're so in love with yourself? ok, here's yet another reason to have a kid - so that when you get older, you can look at that kid and relive your own beauty and youth through it, the same way your mother does with you now.

music: joni mitchell "both sides"

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Shakespeare's use of Oxymorons in Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet Art Print
Dicksee, Sir...
Buy at AllPosters.com

Oxymorons are used in Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' when Romeo is describing to Benvolio how much he loves Rosaline:

Romeo. Why then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
O anything of nothing first create,
A heavy lightness, serious vanity,
Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms,
Feather of lead…

Juliet also uses oxymorons after having found out about her cousins death at the hands of Romeo she says:

O serpent heart, hid with a flow'ring face!
Beautiful tyrant, fiend angelical'
Dove-feathered raven,wolfish ravening lamb'
A damned saint, an honourable villain

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sonnet from the Portuguese 44 audio version

Sonnet from the Portuguese 44: How do I Love thee?
click title to hear the audio version @ poetryfoundation.org

By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning Giclee Print

Galloway, Ewing

Buy at AllPosters.com

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Because I could not stop for death- Emily Dickinson

There are several versions of this poem, this is my favorite one;

Because I could not stop for death

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, be passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

By Her Aunt's Grave by Thomas Hardy

'Sixpence a week', says the girl to her lover,
'Aunt used to bring me, for she could confide
In me alone, she vowed. 'Twas to cover
The cost of her headstone when she died.
And that was a year ago last June;
I've not yet fixed it. But I must soon.'

'And where is the money now, my dear?'
'O, snug in my purse... Aunt was so slow
In saving it—eighty weeks, or near.'...
'Let's spend it,' he hints. 'For she won't know.
There's a dance to-night at the Load of Hay.'
She passively nods. And they go that way.

by Thomas Hardy. Public Domain.

See You Later Alligator

See you later Dad,

And it seemed that she was sad.

See you later Alligator,

After while Crocodile,

My little starry eyed woman child,

With your nappy hair and your big smile,

Go and go with style,

And when you have walked that mile,

Sit and rest a while.

When you have gone around that track,

Lugging that baggage in a big old pack,

Or if life won't cut you slack,

You may not even know how to react.

Think of home but don't look back.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Taylor Mali on what teachers make Video

Notes from YouTube; - Taylor Mali, slam poet, gives his mind on what teachers make.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Quote of the Day - John Keats

Poetry should please by a fine excess and not by singularity. It should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost as a remembrance.

John Keats (1795 - 1821)

John Keats