Archive | September 2012

Just so sweet…

 

This is from booksofmylife.tumblr.com via Pinterest.

 

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Life can sometimes scream poetry at you

and expose all your inner silly.

I love the musical Jersey Boys; I particularly liked the original London cast which I only knew from the extremely wonderful work their PR people did on the internet. If you’re a Jersey Boys fan, I suggest you look up their series of videos of the ‘making-of’ and behind-the-scenes stuff because it was the best marketing I’ve ever seen for a musical online. Granted, I don’t do a lot of surfing for musical theater websites, but their site really sucked me in.

One publicity still caught my eye and sent me right to a Dorothy Parker poem. I have no good reason for this, but it’s this poem:

The Red Dress

I always saw, I always said
If I were grown and free,
I’d have a gown of reddest red
As fine as you could see,

To wear out walking, sleek and slow,
Upon a Summer day,
And there’d be one to see me so
And flip the world away.

And he would be a gallant one,
With stars behind his eyes,
And hair like metal in the sun,
And lips too warm for lies.

I always saw us, gay and good,
High honored in the town.
Now I am grown to womanhood….
I have the silly gown.

The Red Dress by Dorothy Parker
 
 It’s that line about “hair like metal in the sun” that sends me to this poem whenever I look at this photograph. (I hope the Jersey Boys people are okay with my putting this photo up. It’s from their site via a fan site.) See the hair? I guess the 1950s gel makes it look metallic to me…And he fits the rest of the description pretty well, too, I suppose.
 
So you see what I mean when I say the life can scream poetry at you and make you feel silly, especially when you’re declaring it on your blog. But it’s just too much fun to draw attention to these poetic associations because EVERYONE has them in some form or another. You know you do!
 
I don’t know why but I seem to have visual associations for two other poems, as well. What is it about poems? I’ve never even been a huge poetry fan.  To come later: Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias, two great high school poems for which I think my textbook sent imagery into my mind forever.

Is this Emily Dickinson?

According to this article from The Guardian, it might just be!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/sep/05/emily-dickinson-new-photograph?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038

She comes alive again, doesn’t she, now that we have a new image of the woman who wrote those poems I thought were so cryptic when I was in high school. Makes the imagination wander, especially when you get a tantalizing glimpse into her soul as you do in the poem below. When you think about the story of her being a recluse, it can make you ache…

Wild Nights! Wild Nights!

Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port,
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!

The internet is really just like a big, fat, glossy magazine you could peruse forever.

It was bad enough when magazines were piling up from my having no time to read them. As an enthusiastic reader of anything language arts, I just keep finding more and more sites to favorite, pages to like and twitter accounts to follow. (And everything increases exponentially when you decide the ‘net is a cheap way to practice your high school French.)

When it comes to literature and language, the World Wide Web is an oyster. Here’s a few sites for the hungry book lover looking for more fun to pile onto their plate.

1- Pinterest

Now, you probably know all about this, but I just discovered it a few months ago. It’s like flipping through enormous scrapbooks of pictures important to people from all over that may or may not appeal to you, too. So, if you have an interest – say, Agatha Christie book covers – you can just search and make your own virtual corkboard of photos by ‘pinning’ them up on your own account. There’s plenty out there to satisfy any literary fetish you might have. Snarky memes, vintage book covers, illuminated manuscripts from museums we might never visit. It’s some great eye candy. http://pinterest.com/.

2- Massachusetts Center for the Book

I’d never heard of this, but it seems to be part of a network of state centers connected to the Library of Congress and promoting books and literacy. What fun!! Of course, Massachusetts is – at least to me – a very special place. It’s pretty much, as they say, home to the Cradle of Liberty (Boston) and a significant place in the history of American wordsmanship. Boston was home to The Old Corner Bookstore, a publishing company  where lots of the great old writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow used to mingle. So, a website celebrating Massachusetts writers and writing (and books and reading, in general) is a perfect idea, I think. Here’s the link: http://www.massbook.org/index.html Be sure to check out the Literary Map; so far it’s my favorite part. You can’t beat a good literary map.

3 – Linguapax

I’ve always kind of had a fantasy that I’d help decode a language no one ever encountered before, but I think it’s much more likely that I would do some good by helping to preserve a language. According to its site, Linguapax is an organization largely based on the idea that the world needs “language diversity” in order for its inhabitants to coexist peacefully. Here’s a part of its mission statement:

“Its [Linguapax’s] main aim, synthesized in its name, is to rally linguistic communities worldwide around the belief that the maintenance of language diversity is inseparable from the goals of peace and intercultural understanding.”

I find this a very cool idea, and look forward to finding out more in the future. Here’s the site where we can all do that: http://www.linguapax.org/.

So that pretty much runs the gamut from silly to serious, as if you needed more spots to find on the world wide web. But these do seem pretty promising, no?