Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spotlight on Poetry and Jazz

April may be best known for jokes and showers, but it also is a month in which two art forms are highlighted. April is both National Poetry Month and Jazz Appreciation Month.

National Poetry Month was started by the American Academy of Poets 17 years ago. It is a time to celebrate poetry and the place it has played and continues to play in our culture. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to celebrate.

Click here for some suggestions from the Academy. One of the suggestions that jumped out at me is "Take a Poem Out to Lunch". Of course my first thought was "or, you could take a poet out to lunch!"

Here in the Kansas City metropolitan area, we are fortunate to have a Poem-a-Day Program sponsored by the Johnson County Library. Go to the library's homepage beginning April 1 and there will be a link to the program. Poems are posted everyday in April and archived on the site. If you go to the archive, you also will see poems from previous years. The poems for this program are supplied by The Writers Place. 

The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History has led the Jazz Appreciation Month initiative. The purpose is to learn more about jazz history and the current jazz scene in our country.

Click here for some suggestions on how to celebrate JAM.  This is not on the list, but I think in fairness I have to suggest that you take jazz or a jazz performer out to lunch!

One suggestion is to visit a jazz city or museum. Of course, I am going to suggest Kansas City. By visiting the American Jazz Museum and The Blue Room, you can learn about jazz history and hear contemporary performers.

I hope you will take some time in April to explore both poetry and jazz. It will be both a fun and enriching experience.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday Photo-Spring

Nothing says spring like a robin-even when there is snow on the ground! Welcome to spring 2013. This picture was taken Saturday afternoon, shortly after the snow began.

This is approximately the same spot Sunday morning. Not a robin in sight!
I'm reprising a poem I posted a couple of years ago called Snow in Spring.
I hope your spring has a little more spring in it than mine does. Either way, take a picture of it and post a link in the comments on this week's Wordsmith Studio Photo Prompt.  Thanks to Linda G Hatton for this week's prompt.
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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ella Fitzgerald

As we are nearing the last week of Women's History Month, I am posting a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. She was known as "The First Lady of Song" and had a long and storied career. She also was a groundbreaker in civil rights and an advocate for children, the disadvantaged and the needy.

Read her biography and I think you will be surprised by some of the things you learn. I was and I summed up my feelings in the following poem:

The Unheard Ella

You’ve heard Ella sing and
you’ve heard Ella swing.
You’ve heard her scat and
her tisket a tasket.
But, do you know
Ella was the first African-American
to do a show at the Mocambo?
That she sued the airline
that said her ticket was declined?
That she helped children galore
and today her foundation
continues to do more?
We will always remember
Ella for her songs,
but let’s not forget
that she was a woman
who helped to right wrongs.
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday Photo-Yuck

This week's Wordsmith Studio Photo Prompt is Yuck! Thanks to Rebecca Barray for this prompt.
To me, dirty snow is always good for a yuck. I found some leftover from our late winter snowstorms.  It seems the snow at shaded street corners gets the most yucky.
What makes you say yuck?  Take a photo and post a link to it in the comments on the prompt post.
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Poetry Form-Pantoum

It's been a while since I tried writing a form poem, so when Robert Lee Brewer posted a challenge on Poetic Asides; I took the bait. The form is Pantoum.
A pantoum is composed of 4-line stanzas (quatrains). The minimum is two, but there is no maximum.  The second and fourth lines in a stanza become the first and third lines in the following stanza. "Robert's rules" suggested that lines two and four of the final stanza be the same as lines one and three of the opening stanza.  Lines one and three rhyme, and lines two and four rhyme.
I still had snow on my mind (and in my yard) so I wrote about a storm.  I had to backtrack a few times to make both the rhyme scheme and repetition work. Following is the finished product:
The storm hits
with two fists
Traffic sits
Windows mist
With two fists,
hold the wheel
Windows mist
View concealed
Hold the Wheel
The storm hits
View concealed
Traffic sits

I made the choice to keep all lines at three syllables. I thought the rhythm and the shortness of the lines fit with the theme.
I enjoyed writing this pantoum and think I will work with this form again.
Have you ever written a pantoum? Do you write any form poems or do you steer clear of traditional forms?
Links that might be of interest:
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday Photo-Early

When I saw the Wordsmith Studio Photo Prompt-Early, provided by Rebecca Barray; I knew what I had to do. I  got up early to see if I could catch a little color in the sky.
I was successful the first morning I went out. I took a few shots, including the one above, and headed home.
Fortunately for me, I had crossed the street while taking the first set of pictures. When I looked back to the east when I crossed again, I saw

a big, beautiful fireball on the rise.
It's not too late to take your own photo that represents early and post a link to it in the comments on the prompt post.
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Edgar Allen Poe and the Sunday Salon

You may not realize from the title that this is a modern day tale.
The Sunday Salon is held at The Writers Place the third Sunday of each month from 2-4 p.m. It is hosted by Sharon Eiker. Sharon likes to say that we live with a different writer each month, learn about both the life and the works then get together to share our journeys. We generally leave the gathering both knowing more and still wanting to know more.
On March 17, we will discuss Edgar Allen Poe. Of course, I am reading his poetry. Since I also love a good mystery, I am reading the three stories that earned Poe the title of father of the modern detective story: The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Mystery of Marie Roget and The Purloined Letter.
I already have had two special experiences on my journey with Poe. First, it happened that The Coterie Theatre opened a production  called Tell-Tale Electric Poe February 23. This is a performance of three poems and two short stories by a single actor, accompanied by music (electric guitar, keyboard+) and special effects. It runs through March 10. All you Poe fans who will be in the Kansas City area this weekend should go see it.
Secondly, I discovered a juevenile biography of Poe, Nevermore-A Photobiography of Edgar Allen Poe by Karen E. Lange at the library. It looks like a great resource, even for adults.
I'm looking forward to March 17. I can't wait to hear what everyone decided to read and see the resources they bring. If you are in the area, give some consideration to joining us.

Do you know Poe?
The Poe I know
may not be
known to you.
How so?
I choose the works
to which I go to
get to know Poe.
So, I know a
part of Poe
that you may not.
Could you get to know
the whole Poe?
Never. More Poe exists
than I will ever
get to know.

How much Poe do you know? Let me know in the comments below.
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tuesday Photo-Broken

What do you think of when you think about breaking an egg?
Scrambled, Sunny-side up, Over easy?
Pancakes, Waffles, French Toast?
Cakes, Cookies, Pastries?
Or just Sunday Brunch!
What else can we break and then enjoy so much?
Take a picture of something broken and put a link to it
 in the comments on the prompt page.
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