Monday, May 31, 2010

With Creatures Like This....

Who needs science-fiction when there are creatures like this on earth? I'd say unreal, only this is absolutely real. And terrifying. And beautiful. Besides, who can resist the common name - the Googly-Eyed Glass Squid (so much more charming than Teuthowenia pellucida)? To see more photos like this, spend some time here, and then get your hands on a copy of The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of The Abyss by Claire Nouvian.

And if you're in Seattle, check out the 7th Annual Cephalapod Society celebration (Cephalopod-Inspired Live Music, Poetry, Shipwrecked Tales, Art, Fashion, Film & More!) on Sunday, June 13, 2010 from 1:00pm - 3:00pm at the Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave (btwn Pike & Pine on Capitol Hill) Seattle, WA.

To whet your appetite, here's another unbelievable creature: The Dumbo Octopus. If you made something like this up, people would tell you, No, no one will ever believe that.


Friday, May 28, 2010


I was challenged by a colleague to write a villanelle. Ouch, they are hard! In some ways, the form demands a kind of incantatory frame of mind - those repeated lines just do something trance-like. So, of course, when I'm challenged, and when there's a form demanding something from me, I want to do just the opposite of what it asks. In this case, I make it go an intellectual direction, even though the argument between head and heart is what it's actually about.  My heart is almost always quieter than my head -  not always good.

In any case, I'll offer up the resulting villanelle for Poetry Friday.


This is the way Head plays:
cultivating the Art of the Clever
whenever Heart has nothing to say.

I’m upset with Cleverness today
though sometimes he’s my lover.
This is the way Head plays

with me, the not quite innocent way
a lover does, our purposes severed
whenever Heart has nothing to say.

Heart, Head – their display
of appetites in me is hand delivered.
This is their way – the play’s

the thing wherein the bray
of Head projects while Heart withers,
having nothing quite as loud to say.

Head, Heart whispers, find a clever way
to end this. Do it one way or another.
And so -  Head plays
and Heart has nothing to say.
Poetry Friday today is being hosted over at THE MISS RUMPHIUS EFFECT.   Head over to see what other people have posted!

Friday, May 14, 2010


 A.A. Milne 

W.G.Du P.
Took great
C/O his M*****
Though he was only 3.
J.J. said to his M*****
"M*****," he said, said he:

This is the last stanza of A. A. Milne's wonderful poem titled Disobedience. You can read the whole poem here.   I've chosen it for Poetry Friday not only because I love it, but because it's mentioned in an essay I hope you will read, written by Katherine Paterson, our new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.  I've met Katherine several times - she visits our residencies at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where I teach in the graduate Writing for Children and Young Adults program; sometimes she kicks the residency off with a wonderful keynote presentation.  She is the very best kind of ambassador, since she combines the ability to listen carefully with the ability to speak eloquently. Besides, she is gentle and funny and bright - such a lovely combination! I am so so pleased to have her represent children's book writers and readers to the American public at large. Please do go to the linked essays - both are hers)- it will only be available online through May 24th....
...and Happy Children's Book Week May 10-16!
Katherine Paterson

This week's Poetry Friday round-up is over at Jama Ratigan's delicious Alphabet Soup. Go slurp some up!

P.S. I'd like to call special attention to a poet over at the Round-Up - her name is Shelley Shaver and she has a very exciting site (sponsored by  The Horton Foote Society) called Rain: A Dust Bowl Story. You simply have to go there to understand how this episodic story-poem works. Linger, and leave comments, either at the main page, or after one of the poem's episodes. It puts a face - many faces, actually - on the Great Depression (and don't we all hope that we won't have to start putting a #1 after that, given how many families are losing their homes, their jobs, their hope for the future now.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Poetry Friday: The Pecan. The Toucan.

People have asked for a little more from Robert Williams Woods' How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers, (shared last week) so here is one more of his tree/bird pairings:

The Pecan. The Toucan.

Very few can
Tell the Toucan
From the Pecan --
Here's a new plan:
To take the Toucan from the tree,
Requires im-mense agil-i-tee,
While any one can pick with ease
The Pecans from the Pecan trees:
It's such an easy thing to do,
That even the Toucan he can too.

What fun! Woods needed some instruction in punctuation rules, but why quibble? I'll post one more poem from the book next week, and that will be that for Trees and Birds. 
Ich sage: Das toucan ist nicht eine Pekannuss! (close enough) 

The Poetry Friday Round-up this week is being hosted by Diane, the wonderful random noodler over at Random Noodling. Go noodle around for awhile, see what other poems are being posted.