February 28, 2013

Dawn

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--Description: 21st C, Bly R., Humanity, Life, Nature--


Some love to watch the sea bushes appearing at dawn,
To see night fall from the goose wings, and to hear
The conversations the night sea has with the dawn.

If we can't find Heaven, there are always bluejays.
Now you know why I spent my twenties crying.
Cries are required from those who wake disturbed at dawn.

Adam was called in to name the Red-Winged
Blackbirds, the Diamond Rattlers, and the Ring-Tailed
Raccoons washing God in the streams at dawn.

Centuries later, the Mesopotamian gods,
All curls and ears, showed up; behind them the Generals
With their blue-coated sons who will die at dawn.

Those grasshopper-eating hermits were so good
To stay all day in the cave; but it is also sweet
To see the fenceposts gradually appear at dawn.

People in love with the setting stars are right
To adore the baby who smells of the stable, but we know
That even the setting stars will disappear at dawn.



Robert Bly

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--Did You Know: (born December 23, 1926) Bly is an American poet, author, activist and leader of the Mythopoetic Men's Movement. Robert Bly was born in Minnesota to Jacob and Alice Bly, people of Norwegian ancestry. After one year at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, he transferred to Harvard University, joining the later famous group of writers who were undergraduates at that time, including Donald Hall, Adrienne Rich, Kenneth Koch, and John Hawkes. He graduated in 1950 and spent the next few years in New York. In 1956 he received a Fulbright Grant to travel to Norway and translate Norwegian poetry into English. While there he found not only his relatives, but the work of a number of major poets whose work was barely known in the United States, among them Pablo Neruda, Cesar Vallejo, Antonio Machado, Gunnar Ekelof, Georg Trakl, Rumi, Hafez, Kabir, Mirabai, and Harry Martinson. Bly determined then to start a literary magazine for poetry translation in the United States. The Fifties, The Sixties, and The Seventies, introduced many of these poets to the writers of his generation, and also published essays on American poets. During this time, Bly lived on a farm in Minnesota with his wife and children. His first marriage was to award-winning short story novelist Carol Bly. They had four children, including Mary J. Bly, a Literature Professor at Fordham University and also a best-selling novelist. Bly and Carol divorced in 1979; he has been married to the former Ruth Ray since 1980. He has a stepdaughter from his marriage to Ruth Bly. A stepson from the marriage died in a pedestrian-train incident while he attended private college in Minnesota. Suicide was suspected but never confirmed. Read more at: Robert Bly

--Poetry Terminology: Topographical poetry-
The poetic equivalent of landscape painting e.g. Pope's Windsor Forest or Gray's Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College. A more modern example of the genre is Remains of Elmet by Ted Hughes which was a collaboration with the photographer Fay Godwin.

--Word of the Day: lollapalooza \lol-uh-puh-LOO-zuh\, noun:
an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event; an exceptional example or instance.
Example:
In America, the German announcement prompts Mayor La Guardia to tell City Hall reporters, “Any American who can believe that lollapalooza of a Nazi lie has sunk to the lowest possible level.”
-- Philip Roth, The Plot Against America

--Language Arts-SPANISH: regalar, verb
to give; to give away
We’ve already come across regalo, meaning a present. Regalar, to give, is the related verb.
Example:
¿Y si le regalamos un libro?
What about giving him a book?

--Quote of the Day: The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. ~Henry Miller
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February 24, 2013

The Darkling Thrush

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--Description: 20th C, Hardy T., Hope, Nature, Night

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.

The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seem’d to be
The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seem’d fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carrollings
Of such ecstatic sound,
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air,
Some blessed Hope whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

Thomas Hardy
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--Did You Know:(2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) Thomas Hardy was an English author of the naturalist movement, although in several poems he displays elements of the previous romantic and enlightenment periods of literature, such as his fascination with the supernatural. He regarded himself primarily as a poet and composed novels mainly for financial gain. The bulk of his work, set mainly in the semi-fictional land of Wessex, delineates characters struggling against their passions and circumstances.

--Word of the Day:counterfactual \koun-ter-FAK-choo-uhl\, noun:
a conditional statement the first clause of which expresses something contrary to fact, as “If I had known.”
Example:
The ruse is so obvious, a counterfactual posing as a home truth.
-- Matt Feeney, "Michael Chabon's Oakland," The New Yorker, September 26, 2012

--Quote of the Day: Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny. ~Carl Schurz, address, Faneuil Hall, Boston, 1859

Language Arts-FRENCH:
French word: démontrer
English translation: to prove
Part of speech: verb

French example: Lorsque que vous êtes au tribunal vous devez posséder de solides arguments afin de pouvoir démontrer votre innocence.
English example: When you are in court, you need to provide strong arguments in order to be able to prove your innocence.
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February 16, 2013

A Noiseless Patient Spider

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--Description: 19th C, Whitman W., Death, Life, Nature, Patience-- 

A noiseless, patient spider,
I mark’d, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;
Mark’d how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;
Ever unreeling them—ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you, O my Soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,—seeking the spheres, to connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form’d—till the ductile anchor hold;
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.


Walt Whitman

--Did You Know:  (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892)Walt Whitman was an American poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist. He was a part of the transition between Transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality. Born on Long Island, Whitman worked as a journalist, a teacher, a government clerk, and a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War in addition to publishing his poetry. Early in his career, he also produced a temperance novel, Franklin Evans (1842). Whitman's major work, Leaves of Grass, was first published in 1855 with his own money. The work was an attempt at reaching out to the common person with an American epic. He continued expanding and revising it until his death in 1892. After a stroke towards the end of his life, he moved to Camden, New Jersey where his health further declined. He died at age 72 and his funeral became a public spectacle. Read more at: Walt Whitman

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--Word of the Day: diapason \dahy-uh-PEY-zuhn\, noun:
1. A full, rich outpouring of melodious sound.
2. The compass of a voice or instrument.
3. A fixed standard of pitch.
4. Either of two principal timbres or stops of a pipe organ, one of full, majestic tone (open diapason) and the other of strong, flutelike tone (stopped diapason).
5. Any of several other organ stops.
6. A tuning fork.

--Quote of the Day: We come this way but once.
We can either tiptoe through life
and hope we get to death without being badly bruised
or we can live a full, complete life achieving
our goals and realizing our wildest dreams.
- Bob Proctor

--Language Arts - Italian: biglietto: ticket
Example sentence: Scusi, dove possiamo comprare i biglietti dell'autobus?
Translation: Excuse me, where can we buy bus tickets?

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February 10, 2013

A Summer Ramble

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--Description: 19th C, Bryant W., Joy, Seasons, Nature--

The quiet August noon has come,
A slumberous silence fills the sky,
The fields are still, the woods are dumb,
In glassy sleep the waters lie.

And mark yon soft white clouds that rest
Above our vale, a moveless throng;
The cattle on the mountain's breast
Enjoy the grateful shadow long.

Oh, how unlike those merry hours
In early June when Earth laughs out,
When the fresh winds make love to flowers,
And woodlands sing and waters shout.

When in the grass sweet voices talk,
And strains of tiny music swell
From every moss-cup of the rock,
From every nameless blossom's bell.

But now a joy too deep for sound,
A peace no other season knows,
Hushes the heavens and wraps the ground,
The blessing of supreme repose.

Away! I will not be, to-day,
The only slave of toil and care.
Away from desk and dust! away!
I'll be as idle as the air.

Beneath the open sky abroad,
Among the plants and breathing things,
The sinless, peaceful works of God,
I'll share the calm the season brings.

Come, thou, in whose soft eyes I see
The gentle meanings of thy heart,
One day amid the woods with me,
From men and all their cares apart.

And where, upon the meadow's breast,
The shadow of the thicket lies,
The blue wild flowers thou gatherest
Shall glow yet deeper near thine eyes.

Come, and when mid the calm profound,
I turn, those gentle eyes to seek,
They, like the lovely landscape round,
Of innocence and peace shall speak.

Rest here, beneath the unmoving shade,
And on the silent valleys gaze,
Winding and widening, till they fade
In yon soft ring of summer haze.

The village trees their summits rear
Still as its spire, and yonder flock
At rest in those calm fields appear
As chiselled from the lifeless rock.

One tranquil mount the scene o'erlooks--
There the hushed winds their sabbath keep
While a near hum from bees and brooks
Comes faintly like the breath of sleep.

Well may the gazer deem that when,
Worn with the struggle and the strife,
And heart-sick at the wrongs of men,
The good forsakes the scene of life;

Like this deep quiet that, awhile,
Lingers the lovely landscape o'er,
Shall be the peace whose holy smile
Welcomes him to a happier shore.


William Cullen Bryant
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Did You Know: (November 3, 1794 – June 12, 1878) William Cullen Bryant was an American romantic poet, journalist, and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post. Bryant was born on November 3, 1794, in a log cabin near Cummington, Massachusetts; the home of his birth is today marked with a plaque. He was the second son of Peter Bryant (b Aug. 12, 1767, d. Mar. 20 1820) a doctor and later a state legislator, and Sarah Snell (b. Dec.4 1768 d. May 6 1847). His maternal ancestry traces back to passengers on the Mayflower; his father's, to colonists who arrived about a dozen years later. Bryant and his family moved to a new home when he was two years old. He was admitted to the bar in 1815. He then began practicing law in nearby Plainfield, walking the seven miles from Cummington every day. On one of these walks, in December 1815, he noticed a single bird flying on the horizon; the sight moved him enough to write "To a Waterfowl". Bryant developed an interest in poetry early in life. Under his father's tutelage, he emulated Alexander Pope and other Neo-Classic British poets. Read more at: William Cullen Bryant

Quote of the Day: In spite of unseasonable wind, snow and unexpected weather of all sorts –
a gardener still plants. And tends what they have planted ...
believing that Spring will come.
- Mary Anne Radmacher

--Word of the Day: compotation \kom-puh-TEY-shuhn\, noun:
An act or instance of drinking or tippling together.
Example:
I may here mention, that the fashion of compotation described in the text, was still occasionally practiced in Scotland, in the author's youth. A company, after having taken leave of their host, often went to finish the evening at the clachan or village, in "womb of tavern." The entertainer always accompanied them to take the stirrup-cup, which often occasioned a long and late revel.
-- Sir Walter Scott, The Waverley Novels

Language of the Arts-FRENCH: batifoler
English translation: to frolic
Part of speech: verb
French example: Les vieux amis souriaient en se souvenant comme ils batifolaient sur la plage pendant leur enfance.
English example: The old friends were smiling, remembering how they were frolicking on the beach during their childhood.

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February 7, 2013

Mist

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--Description: 19th C, Thoreau Henry D., Nature, Seasons --


--Description: 19th C, Thoreau H.D., Nature, Seasons-- 

Low-anchored cloud,
Newfoundland air,
Fountain head and source of rivers,
Dew-cloth, dream drapery,
And napkin spread by fays;
Drifting meadow of the air,
Where bloom the daisied banks and violets,
And in whose fenny labyrinth
The bittern booms and heron wades;
Spirit of the lake and seas and rivers,
Bear only purfumes and the scent
Of healing herbs to just men's fields!


Henry David Thoreau

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--Did You Know: (July 12, 1817– May 6, 1862) Thoreau was an American author, poet, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, philosopher, and leading transcendentalist. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state. Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry total over 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions were his writings on natural history and philosophy, where he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close natural observation, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore; while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and "Yankee" love of practical detail. He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time imploring one to abandon waste and illusion in order to discover life's true essential needs. He was a lifelong abolitionist. Read more at: Henry David Thoreau

--Word of the Day: dyslogistic \dis-luh-JIS-tik\, adjective:
conveying disapproval or censure; not complimentary or eulogistic.
Example:
She had forgotten for the moment the Captain's invidious and dyslogistic employment of the Greek alphabet.
-- Michael Innes, Appleby's Answer

--Quote of the Day: "I like thinking of possibilities. At any time, an entirely new possibility is liable to come along and spin you off in an entirely new direction. The trick, I've learned, is to be awake to the moment."
-- Doug Hall

--Language Arts - SPANISH: revelar, verb
to reveal; to develop
Example:
No quería revelar su identidad.
He didn’t want to reveal his identity.

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February 2, 2013

Clown in the Moon

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--Description: 20th C, Thomas D., Celestial, Night, Sadness--
My tears are like the quiet drift
Of petals from some magic rose;
And all my grief flows from the rift
Of unremembered skies and snows.

I think, that if I touched the earth,
It would crumble;
It is so sad and beautiful,
So tremulously like a dream.


Dylan Thomas

--Did You Know: (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953) Dylan Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer who wrote exclusively in English. In addition to poetry, he wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, which he often performed himself. His public readings, particularly in America, won him great acclaim; his sonorous voice with a subtle Welsh lilt became almost as famous as his works. His best-known works include the "play for voices" Under Milk Wood and the celebrated villanelle for his dying father, Do not go gentle into that good night. Thomas once confided that the poems which had most influenced him were Mother Goose rhymes which his parents taught him when he was a child. He did not understand all of their contents, but he loved their sounds, and the acoustic qualities of the English language became his focus in his work later. He claimed that the meanings of a poem were of "very secondary nature" to him.

--Word of the Day: To withdraw one's feelings of attachment from (a person, idea, or object), as in anticipation of a future loss: He decathected from her in order to cope with her impending death.
Example:
Freud argued that grieving involved a process of remembering and reflecting upon all the memories associated with the deceased in order to sever an emotional connection, or “decathect,” and make room for new bonds and relationships.
-- Maria Cizmic, Performing Pain

--Quote of the Day: No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

--Language Arts-ITALIAN: superare: to pass / verb
Example sentence: Abbiamo già superato le indicazioni per il centro?
Translation: Did we already pass the signs for the city center?

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