Showing posts from July, 2013

Poetry Wednesday: Cookie Monster, Poet

Cookie Monster, via Sesame Street, tweeted the following poem:

This is just to say
Me have eaten
the cookies
that were in the cookie jar

and which
you were probably
for snack time

Forgive me
they were so delicious
and om nom nom

Me love poetry... and cookies!

You may recognize its inspiration: "This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams.

I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and whichyou were probablysaving for breakfast  Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold

Thanks, Cookie Monster!

Night Reading and E-Reading: Ne'er the Twain Shall Meet

I am a fan of the electronic reader. I keep my Kindle with me at all times — one never knows when the need to read shall arise. A quiet lunch? A visit to the doctor's office? Unexpected downtime? All those and more translate into extra reading time, and I am glad I have my choice of books.

I also keep my magazines on it so I'm never without a New Yorker. (Hey, I've got to be prepared for every contingency.)

However, there's a limit to how I will use an e-book.

Now, I didn't understand my limitations until recently, more than a year after I started loading my Kindle — and, now, my iPad (thank you, Kindle Reader app!).

My limitation is simple, but clear: I will not take my Kindle to bed.

Oh, I may work like a demon on my computer until 2 am and I may Pinterest or BuzzFeed on my iPad until way later than I should; I am, after all, only human (despite evidence to the contrary).  Electronics are valuable. However, I always shut off the electronics when I climb between …

Fun Friday: The What of Reading?


Poetry Wednesday: Buddhist New Year Song

Buddhist New Year Song

I saw you in green velvet, wide full sleeves seated in front of a fireplace, our house made somehow more gracious, and you said “There are stars in your hair”— it was truth I brought down with me
to this sullen and dingy place that we must make golden make precious and mythical somehow, it is our nature, and it is truth, that we came here, I told you, from other planets where we were lords, we were sent here, for some purpose
the golden mask I had seen before, that fitted so beautifully over your face, did not return nor did that face of a bull you had acquired amid northern peoples, nomads, the Gobi desert
I did not see those tents again, nor the wagons infinitely slow on the infinitely windy plains, so cold, every star in the sky was a different color the sky itself a tangled tapestry, glowing but almost, I could see the planet from which we had come
I could not remember (then) what our purpose was but remembered the name Mahakala, in the dawn
in the dawn confronted Shiva, the cold …

Fun Friday: Reading is Dangerous

Courtesy The Reading Room

Poetry Wednesday: The Swan at Edgewater Park

The Swan at Edgewater Park Isn't one of your prissy rich peoples' swans
Wouldn't be at home on some pristine pond
Chooses the whole stinking shoreline, candy wrappers, condoms
      in its tidal fringe
Prefers to curve its muscular, slightly grubby neck
      into the body of a Great Lake,
Swilling whatever it is swans swill,
Chardonnay of algae with bouquet of crud,
While Clevelanders walk by saying Look
      at that big duck!
Beauty isn't the point here; of course
      the swan is beautiful,
But not like Lorie at 16, when
Everything was possible—no
More like Lorie at 27
Smoking away her days off in her dirty kitchen,
Her kid with asthma watching TV,
The boyfriend who doesn't know yet she's gonna
Leave him, washing his car out back—and
He's a runty little guy, and drinks too much, and
It's not his kid anyway, but he loves her, he
Really does, he loves them both—
That's the kind of swan this is.

by Ruth L. Schwartz
from Edgewater. © Harper Collin…

Review: Next

Michael Crichton was always about a decade before the rest of the world. Sucking dinosaur DNA out of bits of amber? Check. Computers taking over the world? Check. Time travel causing schisms in our universe and its travelers? Check.

His last book seemed to look inward as much as ahead: to our cells and what's in them. Who owns a cell? Who owns a gene? Who owns the blood the doctors take from you to do tests? Rebecca Skloot was asking the same questions while writingThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks during this time — and unfortunately, the ending has yet to be written for her non-fiction bestseller.

Crichton takes multiple storylines and weaves them into a tapestry of confusion, deception, arrogance and chance. Frank Burnet's cells were taken by a doctor and used for research to develop a treatment worth millions of dollars, only Frank didn't know until much later, when he sued for a portion of the proceeds.

Henry Kendall works at a lab in Maryland for a while and uses…

Fun Friday: The Simpsons!


Poetry Wednesday: América

I. Although Tía Miriam boasted she discovered
at least half-a-dozen uses for peanut butter —
topping for guava shells in syrup,
butter substitute for Cuban toast,
hair conditioner and relaxer —
Mamà never knew what to make
of the monthly five-pound jars
handed out by the immigration department
until my friend, Jeff, mentioned jelly. II. There was always pork though,
for every birthday and wedding,
whole ones on Christmas and New Year's Eves,
even on Thanksgiving Day — pork,
fried, broiled or crispy skin roasted —
as well as cauldrons of black beans,
fried plantain chips and yuca con mojito.
These items required a special visit
to Antonio's Mercado on the corner of 8th street
where men in guayaberas stood in senate
blaming Kennedy for everything — "Ese hijo de puta!"
the bile of Cuban coffee and cigar residue
filling the creases of their wrinkled lips;
clinging to one another's lies of lost wealth,
ashamed and empty as hollow trees. III. By seven I had grown suspicious — we were stil…

Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Whenever I begin reading a book by Neil Gaiman, I always think I know where I'm going. Then I read the second paragraph and I realize how fundamentally, overwhelmingly wrong I am.

You may think Ocean at the End of the Lane is a book about what a seven-year-old boy experienced one summer. You may be right — a little. It's so, so much more.

It was a riveting tale. Gorgeous prose, incredible storytelling, a flawless narrator and a tale that takes you places you never expected. Plus, kittens are involved: not always in a good way, but always as they must be.

The young boy who is narrating the story is all of seven years old, and it hasn't been all that smooth – especially his seventh summerl. His own little room was being occupied by lodgers, and he had to share a room with his sister. His seventh birthday party was abysmal, but a quiet boy can endure much. Until the opal miner shows up and ruins everything. And that's when he meets the Hempstock women.

The narrator is b…

Fun Friday: Secret to Happiness


Poetry for Independence Day: I, Too

I, Too I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong.
Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes. Nobody’ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then.
Besides, They’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed—
I, too, am America.
by Langston Hughes
from Collected Poems
Courtesy Poetry Foundation

Poetry Wednesday: I Hear America Singing

I Hear America Singing

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
    Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe
              and strong,
    The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
    The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off
    The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deck-
              hand singing on the steamboat deck,
    The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing
              as he stands,
    The woodcutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morn-
              ing, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
    The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work,
              or of the girl sewing or washing,
    Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
    The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young
              fellows, robust, friendly,
    Singing with open mouths their strong me…

Independence Day — What Does It Mean To You?

What does "Independence Day" mean to you?

Parades, barbecues, fireworks?

How about sedition, treason and risking everything for what you believe?

Watch this video produced by Declare Yourself — and pause to think about it.

Be brave, be true. Happy Independence Day.

If you can't get to the National Archives, take a gander below: here's what the Declaration of Independence looks like:
Read the text here.

Library Loot: Creativity, Flowers

The library is a great place to shop for a single book, then cruise around the shelves for whole bunch of books on a single subject.

Let's say, for example, a reader sees a reference to a book on creativity and writing by one of her favorite authors. She trips over to the library website and discovers, quite to her dismay, that the library doesn't have said book.

What's a girl to do but shop around the shelves to see what other tender morsels are available for the plucking?

It started with Ray Bradbury, whose Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativitywasn't available in print or electronically at my library. It was, however, available on Amazon. (I will have it by Tuesday.)

However, for fun, I clicked on the library database button "what's nearby on the shelf." I found Natalie Goldberg and her two titles: Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft and Old Friend from Far Away. Then there was Will Write for Food and Writing Life …