Friday, April 24, 2015

Poetry Friday--Spring Waters

Now that the snow has melted here in southern New Hampshire, and it continues to melt further north of us, New England's rivers and brooks are full to overflowing. The power of these rising waters is astounding!

Here's a poem from Wendell Berry that is found in Leavings: Poems [811.6 BER]:
Give It Time

The river is of the earth
and it is free. It is rigorously
embanked and bound,
and yet is free. "To hell
with restraint," it says.
"I have got to be going."
It will grind out its dams.
It will go over or around them.
They will become pieces.

Let us not forget that Mother Nature always has the last word!

This video was filmed in March 2010, in Deerfield, NH:

Coincidentally, Renée at No Water River is this week's Round-Up hostess. How can there be a "no water river"--what does it all mean? Renée's explanation of the blog name is found here.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Lost Generation

On Monday I posted about the movie Midnight in Paris [DVD MID].

In the movie Owen Wilson's character keeps meeting up with members of the "Lost Generation"--American and British writers and artists who took up residence in France in the 1920s. These people included Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, etc.

Many biographies and commentaries have been written on the "Lost Generation," but, these people also seem to hold a fascination for novelists who have imagined incidents in the lives of the "Lost Generation":

The Hemingway Project is a website devoted to "collecting stories about the enduring influence of Ernest Hemingway." If you wish to learn more about the "Lost Generation," this site is worth a visit.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It's Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! Please join with others around the world in preserving our planet for future generations.

Earth Day began back in 1970--this is the 40th year it has been celebrated. Children are introduced to the day through lots of Library materials such as these in hopes they will carry forth the ideas which spawned the original Earth Day movement:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Life among Animals

Gerald M. Durrell would have been 90 this year if he had lived beyond 1995. He was a man who devoted his life to animals and conservation and he left behind Durrell Wildlife Park, which he founded in 1958 on the Channel Island of Jersey.

I first encountered one of Durrell's nonfiction books back when I was in high school. I loved it and I purchased his many other titles and read them all. My favorite book, during that period, was the memoir, My Family and Other Animals. I thought it was hilarious--and who can't use a good laugh?

The book was adapted for a Masterpiece Theatre presentation about 10 years ago, and we have the DVD in our collection. I highly recommend it!

If you are interested in the plight of endangered animals, I suggest exploring, especially the pages devoted to the Durrell Index.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Paris in the Springtime

Here's the trailer to one of my favorite films. It's perfect for this time of year when I imagine Paris is literally blooming!

Watch Midnight in Paris [DVD MID], then borrow one of the books by, or about, the writers and artists portrayed in the movie. You might start with Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast [B HEM].

Friday, April 17, 2015

Poetry Friday--National Haiku Poetry Day!

I'm a big haiku fan as many of you know, so today's designation as National Haiku Poetry Day makes me happy! The Haiku Foundation website is the place to start if you're interested in learning more about haiku. For those of you who have only known haiku as a three-line poem of 5-7-5 syllables, you're in for a surprise!

If, after visiting The Haiku Foundation, you've been inspired to read more haiku, then look for one or more of these books that I can personally recommend:

Whenever someone asks for a recommendation for haiku, I always suggest The Haiku Anthology: Haiku and Senryu in English edited by Cor van den Heuvel [811 HAI]. This anthology presents an infinite variety of poems. Here is a sampling:

spring is here
      the cat's muddy pawprints
      on the windowsill

by Nick Avis

the plumber
kneeling in our tub
--talking to himself

by Tom Clausen

The last kid picked
running his fastest
to right field

by Mike Dillon

In my medicine cabinet,
   the winter fly
has died of old age.

by Jack Kerouac

by the autumn hill
my watercolor box

by Raymond Roseliep

behind sunglasses
I doze and wake...
the friendly man talks on

by Anita Virgil

In case you don't know the term "senryu," it is simply a poem in haiku form that is about human nature. Nature, with a capital "N" is the subject of a haiku. The poem by Nick Avis is a haiku. The one by Tom Clausen I would categorize as a senryu. The one by Anita Virgil could be either. It deals with human nature in that we all find ways to hide, but, it also deals with the effects of a bright summer's day where we must wear sunglasses and the sun's warmth can put us to sleep. You'll find the lines between the two are often blurred!

I invite you to visit Robyn Hood Black for the Poetry Friday Round-Up. Robyn, too, is a fan of haiku. Maybe she will feature some today?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Letter from a Birmingham Jail

On April 16, 1963 Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote a letter to the clergymen of Birmingham. The letter has become famous for its passionate plea in response to Birmingham's clergy labeling protestors as troublemakers. The letter outlines the segregation, racial hatred and its effects--including violence, that led to the protests. Negotiation had been ineffective and King wrote, "I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth."

He began his letter by explaining why he, a preacher from Atlanta, was compelled to be in Birmingham. It drew to a conclusion with this:
Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?

Dr. King's long thoughts inspired thought in others, and the struggle for freedom and equality moved forward. Sadly, the struggle continues to this day.

If you have a reading device look for Gospel of Freedom by Jonathan Rieder [Overdrive ebook], which provides background and analysis of the letter.