Archive for January, 2016
Don’t hesitate Let’s celebrate!
Just you and me
April is that special time
to share a poem or read a rhyme.
Established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month is celebrated each April to increase awareness and encourage appreciation of poetry.
This is a time for publishers, booksellers and educators to take advantage of this special opportunity to highlight the diversity of poetry across the country and over the generations.
Looking for ways to join the fun and participate?
Why don’t you sit down and write some poetry that you have longed to do?
You say you’re not that bold; then head over to the library and check out a book or two on poetry.
While you are at your local library, ask the librarian how they are celebrating.
Are they hosting a poetrywriting contest for teenagers?
Will they be having a lecture or poetry reading this month?
If you are up for a little travel, you may wish to visit one of the many American Poetry Landmarks: whether it’s Emily Dickinson’s home in Amherst, Massachusetts or the American Poets Corner at the Cathedral Church of St. John Divine in New York City, New York, you can explore homes, gravesites and cultural centers that offer poetic inspiration in April or anytime.
You might consider the always popular “Adopt-a-Poet” program established to support the care and maintenance of Academy of American Poets. And just who is the AAP? The Academy of American Poets was founded in 1934 to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry. To Academy administers a wide variety of programs, including National Poetry Month. offers online educational resources and free poetry lesson plans for high school teachers.
Check out the Academy of American Poets website, http://www.poets.org/ for a list of events and activities around the country.
I love traveling by internet, meeting new people and being exposed to uses for objects that make my heart skip a beat. Recently a midwestern modern-day bohemian woman who happens to be a writer introduced me to an artistic approach to displaying books. This delightful tree-shaped bookshelf by designer Shawn Soh named “The Tree Bookshelf”, sets up several loving tree branches for kids and adults to stack up their most treasured literature. A wonderful design that recalls nature and cultivates a love for reading! Further investigation into this functional and funky product suggests that it forgoes the use of wood for a more eco-friendly option, steel, which boasts durability and can be recycled! Imagine yourself plucking a book from the shelf and resting beneath the branch. Quite clever.
When you look at the image on the left what do you see? Do your eyes behold the beauty of an antique Hungarian pickling jar, or do you see a glass container? Do you see three pounds or 300 jelly bellies? Do you see colors that represent tasty favorites: banana, tangerine, lime, grape or raspberry fizz? Do you see a rainbow of treats that will delight the taste buds for weeks to come?
I am looking at a whole lot of temptation and another lesson in will power. On one level this jar of jelly beans represents potential calories and tooth decay and on another this is a test of my patience.
Why does my impatience find me looking past the flavorful choices and plotting ways I can bypass mandarin orange and blueberry to get to the lonely black licorice jelly bean located near the middle of the jar?
And how come I get angry realizing that my favorite cinnamon reds are lining the bottom of this container?
We learn to walk or ride a two-wheeler, and once mastered, and generally we don’t have to revisit those skills. But patience, that is an entirely different story.
I can thaw frozen hamburger meat or make popcorn in two minutes, but when it comes to friendships they require patience along with constant love and nurturing.
I can email, Facebook, text or Twitter hundreds of people in a matter of minutes, but real relationships take a lifetime of care and attention.
So, blindly I pick a jellybean, a white one slowly followed by a brown one; savoring the creamy vanilla flavor and then a deep rich coffee bean. While I am not used to waiting for much, I have deliberately decided to adjust my attitude and behavior. I know it’s gonna take time to reach that pink watermelon jelly belly, but when I do, patience will pay off.
I love books. I love how they feel and smell. I enjoy holding a book in my hands and flipping pages with my fingers. I love knowing that a book I checked out from the local library was shared by another.
As a child I never imagined that there would be the invention of a handheld device that would make reading a current magazine article possible, let alone paying for a book to be downloaded onto an electronic reader. But then along came the e-reader and Sony, Android, Nook and Kindle.
Last year I purchased the Amazon Kindle for my husband for Christmas. I thought it would be a phase. But I was wrong. Kindle goes everywhere he does including into the bathroom.
For twelve months he has cajoled and begged me to spend some time with Kindle. I resisted until last night. It took a brilliant little short story by Dr. Joseph Bottum, essayist, poet, and religious scholar to tempt me. And engage me he did with “Dakota Christmas” that my husband was able to download for me for under a dollar.
Book reviewer Wendy Smith wrote this of “Dakota Christmas”
A memoir of childhood Christmases on the South Dakota plains. Joseph Bottum’s “Dakota Christmas” is an instant Christmas classic. In this beautifully written account of the mad joys and wild emotions of Christmas for children, Bottum captures the universal spirit of the season even while he recounts his memories with a sharp particularity that brings them alive for readers. “Her hair was the same thin shade of gray as the weather-beaten pickets of the fence around her frozen garden,” he writes of one chance Christmas encounter. “She had a way with horses, and she was alone on Christmas Eve. There is little in my life I regret as much as that I would not stay for just one cookie, just one cup of tea.”
While I enjoyed the short story, nothing can replace a book that you can curl up with next to the fire.
Beneath the patchwork quilt
Of the tin roofs
Arte es universal
Arte es natural
emptied pots filled
With the tears of motherless children
Men battle green for a place to call home
Blues blanket the boys and girls
Seeking shelter in a little classroom
There the air is brown
Splattered with hues of yellows and gold
A single ray of white dust
Dances from heaven
And moves to the sea
From this painful earth
On these broken faces
Arte is universal
Arte es natural
Where dreams fall deaf on
Broken glass and cobblestone
Step on foreign soil, the harsh reality is that life of the garment worker is hard.
Damn the industry, cry the worker’s rights advocates.
Lead them out of poverty, shout the consumers.
But what do the people want? Work, and the right to a decent life.
Developing countries want business. You want it cheap; the cheaper the better.
“Globalization is good-Globalization is bad.”
How do you make better choices? How do you sort through the acronyms? DWCFC, what does that mean to me? MFA, I don’t know what to say. Is NGO or ILO the way to go?
by Elizabeth Bishop