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This section contains various descriptions and short pieces that are not substantive enough to include elsewhere but are worthy of attention.

 

Magnificent Libraries, A beautiful powerpoint show created by Dan Calistrat, with music by Fur Elise-Beethoven, 2009.


Slideshow: Bruno Torfs' Sculptures & Paintings:
A Very Sad and Devastating Loss of Beauty:  The raging forest fires in Victoria, Australia completely destroyed Bruno Torfs' unique forest creation in February, 2009 taking over 300 sculptures and paintings. (5.5MB Download)


"By making us stop for a moment, poetry gives us an opportunity to think about ourselves as human beings on this planet and what we mean to each other.
...Equally important is the connection poetry emphasizes of human being to human being: what are we doing to make the lives of everyone better, and not just materially but spiritually as well? I think that's why poetry has often been considered dangerous."

                                                   - by Rita Dove


Slam Poetry
“SLAMMING”

“Slam Poetry” is connected to “hip hop” or “rap music” which like jazz, has its origins in black culture. This fascinating and dynamic new form introduced the term “wigger”---the white kid who wants to be black. It is interesting that 70 per cent of hip hop sells to the white audience.

With its close connections to hip hop, “slamming” is poetry and performance. Equal weight is given to the poetic lines and recitation (performance). The event is competitive. A mediocre poem performed passionately can beat out a superior poem read lifelessly.

There seems little question that slamming came along at the right time when oral tradition was being eradicated by too much abstraction and analysis. Slam events breathe new life and passion into poetic experience. Yet the grounding in hip hop (rap) sometimes undermines these values.

As one ciritic, John Sutherland, put it, “the ability to wrongfoot prejudice, shuffle images and make whitey look stupid is one of the most interesting features of rap.” Hip hop in wrong form magnifies the black/white divide in America and in its other demeaning references---women as bitches and ho’s---is a danger for the slam vitality and integrity.



“Every poem is a love poem. You have to be feeling some sort of love to sit down and spend the time involved in the creation of poetry . . . but I also mean that all poems are love poems in another sense which involves the power of language and the real nature of what a poem is. Ultimately a poem has an electrical force field which is love.”
--- Joy Harjo


EMILY DICKINSON’S “MENTOR’

Although identified as reclusive, Emily Dickinson had a literary friend and correspondent whom she thought could be her mentor: Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Dickinson followers will recognize his fame in association with the poet. In a recent review (Wall Street Journal, August 16-17, 2008), Bill Christopherson .adroitly gets the essence of their relationship:

“Though she addressed him as 'Preceptor' and countenanced with good grace his initial attempts to sand her raw prosodic edges, Higginson hadn’t much to teach her. He was, however, an appreciative reader. His spot-on characterization of Dickinson’s verse: 'poetry torn up by the roots' that 'takes one’s breath away.' ”


IRISH NOBEL LAUREATE SEAMUS HEANEY ON ROBERT BURNS
                                        From "A Birl for Burns"


Leg-lifting, heartsome, lightsome Burns!
He overflowed the well-wrought urns
Like buttermilk from slurping churns,
Rich and unruly,
Or dancers flying, doing turns
At some wild hooley.

For Rabbie's free and Rabbie's big,
His stanza may be tight and trig
But once he sets the sail and rig
Away he goes
Like Tam-O-Shanter o'er the brig
Where no one follows.

And though his first tongue's going, gone,
And word lists now get added on
And even words like stroan and thrawn
Have to be glossed,
In Burn's rhymes they travel on
And won't be lost.


Vegetation to Flowers to Poems

Earth, 114 million years ago, one morning just after sunrise. The first flower ever to appear on the planet opens up to receive the rays of the sun. Prior to this momentous event that heralds an evolutionary transformation in the life of plants, the planet had already been covered in vegetation for millions of years. The first flower probably did not survive for long, and flowers must have remained rare and isolated phenomena, since conditions were most likely not yet favorable for a widespread flowering to occur. One day, however, a critical threshold was reached, and suddenly there would have been an explosion of color and scent all over the planet----if a perceiving consciousness had been there to witness it.

Much later, those delicate and fragrant beings we call flowers would come to play an essential part in the evolution of consciousness of another species. Humans would increasingly be drawn to and fascinated by them. As the consciousness of human beings developed, flowers were most likely the first ting they came to value that had no utilitarian purpose for them, that is to say, was not linked in some way to survival. They provided inspiration to countless artists, poets, and mystics.

Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature. The first recognition of beauty was one of the most significant events in the evolution of human consciousness. The feelings of joy and love are intrinsically connected to that recognition.

From Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth, 1995


 

Per Amica Silentia Lunae

 

We must not make a false faith by hiding from our thoughts the causes of doubt, for faith is the highest achievement of the human intellect, the only gift man can make to God, and therefore it must be offered in sincerity. Neither must he create, by hiding ugliness, a false beauty as our offering to the world. He only can create the greatest imaginable beauty who has endured all imaginable pangs, for only when we have seen and foreseen what we dread shall we be rewarded by that dazzling, unforeseen, wing-footed wanderer. We could not find him if he were not in some sense of our being, and yet of our being but as water with fire, a noise with silence. He is of all things not impossible the most difficult, for that only which comes easily can never be a portion of our being; ‘soon got, soon gone,’ as the proverb says. I shall find the dark grow luminous, the void fruitful when I understand I have nothing, that the ringers in the tower have appointed for the hymen of the soul a passing bell.

 

W.B.Yeats

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