Friday, September 28, 2012

Poetry Friday: A Graphite "Poem"

Can a drawing be a poem? Granted, no words, but "a poem" all the same, in the same way it can be a song, with a certain melodic line floating on top and a heartbeat underneath? And with the same sense of wonder (about the straight, true, beautiful and ordinary objects of this world) that underlies so much good poetry? Here to prove it, a graphite drawing by the Maine artist, John Whalley, titled "Three Nozzles."

I think that drawing is pure poetry. How I wish I could write as clearly and simply, and with as much technical control, as that. Thanks to fellow author and friend Patrick Downes for the heads-up about this wonderful artist and  - yes - "poet."
You'll find the Poetry Friday round-up today over at Paper Tigers. Head there to see what other people have posted.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Poetry Friday: Mbarka Mint al-Barra'

Artisans from Fez at work constructing the Moroccan Courtyard - Art of Arab Lands, Metropolitan Museum of Art

I got home recently from a wonderful trip to New York City, where I fell head over heels in love with the new Art of Arab Lands galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (under renovation and construction for the last eight years.) You can read all about my trip here (Books Around the Table - the blog I share with my writing group - please do go there to catch the links to the Met website about this project) and what the craftsmanship on exhibit in these galleries did to me...stopped me in my tracks, wowed me, thrilled me, awed me, amazed me,...I'm not sure I've found the right verb for it yet. They certainly made me wish I had another whole week just to take in everything on view. In honor of that experience, I'm posting a poem written originally in Arabic by the poet Mbarka Mint al-Barra' of Mauritania (just south of Morocco in West Africa) for today's Poetry Friday. Not sure how good the translation is, but here is an excerpt from it. The full poem can be found at the link below and at the website of the Poetry Translation Centre. I don't know anything about the poetry of the Arab world - time to learn!

Poetry and I 

The sin is that I wasn't a stone
     And the troubles of the world make me sleepless
And I shield myself with poetry
     And it keeps me company when I'm far from home
And poetry is my satchel that I will always carry with me
     It holds the taste and fragrance of the earth
It holds thickets of prickly branches
     It holds palm fronds loaded with dates
It paints all the stories of love in my language
     Its colours form the spectrum from grape to dawn....

[Read the full poem here....]

Textile Fragment, 14th Century, Nasrid

Mihrab - Prayer Niche

13th Century Astrolabe from Yemen - Brass - Cast, Hammered, Pierced, Chased, Inlaid with Silver
For a gorgeous educators' guide to the galleries (or just to see more of the collection) go here for a PDF that is not to be missed.
And for more Poetry Friday poems, head over to the round-up at NO WATER RIVER, blog of the wonderful and energetic Renee LaTulippe, who knows a thing or two or three about good poetry.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Julie Paschkis's APPLE CAKE Is On the Table!!!

Well, it's September, and I have apples on my mind. Our apple tree branches are bending down, loaded with Liberty apples - an old-fashioned apple I love - and we can pick and gobble that luscious fruit whenever we like (and we do like, often.) So I'm thinking of apple poems - Robert Frost drifts up, of course, as do several nursery rhymes, but so do these lines (you can see the whole poem by Hattie Howard here):

Oh, the peach and cherry may have their place,
And the pear is fine in its stately grace;
The plum belongs to a puckery race
And maketh awry the mouth and face;
But I long to roam in the orchard free,
The dear old orchard that used to be,
And gather the beauties that dropped for me
From the bending boughs of the apple tree.
From the bending boughs of the apple tree.

One other reason for thinking about apples: Julie Paschkis's new book, Apple Cake: A Recipe for Love, has just been released by Harcourt, and - no surprise - it's wonderful. Such a sweet story, and it's good for all ages (makes a nice wedding/anniversaty gift, too) plus Julie added a recipe for apple cake on the end page. Yummmmmm. Here's the glowing review from Kirkus:

“Beautiful, kind, brilliant Ida… / always had her nose in a book.” So begins this lighthearted and airy tribute to the powers of love and persistence. Alphonse tries to be interesting, but he is unable to get Ida’s attention. He presents her with bouquets and butterflies and serenades her with guitar music, but still her eyes never leave the pages. He makes a cake, which turns into quite a production indeed. Paschkis takes a marvelous detour from her familiar style here. The pages are open, filled with white space and almost translucent gouache colors. Readers see Alphonse going to the ends of the earth for the ingredients: riding a horse up a mountain for apples, harvesting butter from the sun and sugar from clouds, climbing a tree to grab an egg from a nest, spooning salt from the sea and catching flour and baking powder from the sky. If all this weren’t enough to prove his love, Alphonse dives into the bowl himself to stir the cake! The smell of the cake baking eventually gets Ida’s attention, releasing a flood of butterflies and sunshine onto the final pages. Sweethearts of any age will celebrate the joy of love and shared simple pleasures. 

Hooray for simple pleasures! Fall is just around the corner - so write an autumn poem and bake some apple cake!
Happy apple eating, everyone!


The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted this week by Katya Czaja over at Write. Sketch. Repeat. Head over there to see what other people have posted.