Thursday, October 30, 2014

Poetry Friday--Remembering Galway Kinnell

Galway Kinnell, a poet from the neighboring state of Vermont, died on Tuesday. The New York Times said that Kinnell wrote
verses that, as he said, could be understood without a graduate degree. He succeeded well enough that all of the volumes of poems he published from 1960 to 2008--evocations of urban streetscapes, pastoral odes, meditations on mortality and frank explorations of sex--are still in print.

He had an admirable goal--to have his work appreciated by the average person. I also know, from having heard him speak at the Dodge Festival a few years ago, that learning poetry by heart was something he did well, and something he thought we all should do. My memorization skills are minimal, but it would be a way to honor his memory if I attempted to memorize one of his poems. Maybe this perfect little one?

On the tidal mud, just before sunset,
dozens of starfishes
were creeping. It was
as though the mud were a sky
and enormous, imperfect stars
moved across it as slowly
as the actual stars cross heaven.
All at once they stopped,
and, as if they had simply
increased their receptivity
to gravity they sank down
into the mud; they faded down
into it and lay still; and by the time
pink of sunset broke across them
they were as invisible
as the true stars at daybreak.

From Galway Kinnell: Selected Poems, Houghton Mifflin, 1982 [811 KIN].

It's also Halloween today, so I imagine there's lots of holiday poetry and fun taking place at TeacherDance where the Poetry Friday Round-Up is happening.

Photo by Eli Duke.

Day of the Dead

Halloween is Friday and the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos , or, Day of the Dead begins on that day extending through Sunday. In Catholic countries around the world, November 1 is "All Saints Day" and November 2 is "All Souls Day." Dia de los Muertos encompasses Halloween and both holy days.

Not at all creepy or depressing, Day of the Day celebrates the connections between the living and those loved ones who are deceased. These items may be of interest this coming weekend:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What? You Don't Have a Costume?

What are you waiting for? Halloween is Friday!

Don't panic, some costumes/masks require little more than imagination, paper, and a pair of scissors. If you need some inspiration, visit our 391 section, or, visit Pinterest and use "costumes" or "masks" as a search term. There are enough boards to keep you browsing until next Halloween! Here's one pin that links you to "45 Adorable Toddler Halloween Costumes." And another that has animal masks made from brown paper (remember those brown paper grocery bags from pre-plastic days?)

While you're cutting, listen to the "Masquerade Suite" by Aram Khachaturian.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

'Tis the Season

For spooky, creepy, and HAUNTED! There are "haunted" happenings going on in quite a few local places this year, including Screeemfest at Canobie Lake Park, Haunted Acres in Candia and Nightmare New England in Litchfield. Since Halloween is Friday, most of the haunted attractions will be closing shortly, so plan your visit for this week!

Salem, MA has spooky attractions and tours year-round. I would strongly suggest waiting until all the Halloween craziness dies down in Salem before trying to go. The whole month of October is a literal nightmare there. Easy parking is nonexistent!

If you prefer your haunted happenings in books, we've got quite a collection for you:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hot Beverages

Hot beverages have been served long before Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory [DVD BIG] learned of their social benefits (as taught by his mother).

Even longer before Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts, there were tea and coffee shops. The University of Cambridge recently posted an article about a archeological find of the remnants of one such 18th century coffeehouse. A cache of 500 related items were discovered, including 78 teapots. I found the article fascinating!

we have several books on hot beverages in the 641 section. Look for one of these on your next visit:

Evans, Sarah Jane. The Book of Tea & Coffee. [641.2 EVA]

O'Connor, Sharon. Afternoon Tea Serenade: Recipes from Famous Tea Rooms, Classical Chamber Music. [641.53 OCO]

Pendergrast, Mark. Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World. [641.3 PEN]

Slavin, Sara. Tea: Essence of the Leaf. [641.3372 SLA]

For readers of mysteries there's a "Coffeehouse Mystery" series by Cleo Coyle with punny titles like French Pressed and Through the Grinder for you to enjoy!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Poetry Friday--Creature Carnival

Creature Carnival by Marilyn Singer [J 811 SIN], is, as you would imagine, a book of poems about animals, but, its subjects are truly creatures of the mythological, legendary, and tall-tale type. And, considering what time of year it is, these creatures are fitting for Halloween! I need to add that the illustrator, Gris Grimly, does himself proud with equally creepy pictures. (A word of warning, his website was not created for a young child audience!)

The book is set up like a carnival sideshow and has a helpful glossary of "Featured Creatures" at the back of the book in case readers are unfamiliar with the creatures on display.

I think this one's my favorite:

Hurry, hurry, kids, gents, ladies!
Step inside the gates of Hades!
There'll be thrills, there'll be chills
        in this land of the dead,
And you'll get to pet Cerberus
        on the head
                                and head.

We can guarantee kicks
        when he shows off his tricks--
Fetching three balls at once
        from the deep River Styx.
Such an excellent pooch,
        but with one fault, alas--
You must toss him a treat
        if you're eager to pass.
For no matter how often
        he tries and he tries,
He's no good with hellos--
        and he's worse with good-byes.

Watch out for the creatures hanging out at the Poetry Friday Round-Up hosted at Merely Day by Day--poetry lovers are a wild and crazy bunch!

Animal Groups

One of the highlights of my morning is the daily Savage Chickens comic that comes into my inbox at home. This one from earlier in the week tickled me!

Courtesy Doug Savage of Savage Chickens.

Did you know, we have a number of books devoted to the listing of group names (also known as collective nouns). From picture books, A Cache of Jewels and Other Collective Nouns by Ruth Heller [JP HEL], to poetry A Bundle of Beasts by Patricia Hooper [J 811 HOO] to books for adults, An Exaltation of Larks: The Ultimate Edition by James Lipton [428.1 LIP]!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Got Opera?

We sure do! Quite a bit of it, too! Rather than start off by reading about it, it is always good to watch it live. Next best after that is to listen to it! We have a series of audio books that are part of the "Black Dog Opera Series." In each three disk package, disk one is devoted to background information such as an act and scene synopsis, as well as biographical information on the performers. The other two disks contain the complete opera for you to enjoy. One of the titles is Bizet's Carmen [AB/CD 782.1 BIZ].

Tomorrow, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, a.k.a. the Met, is live-streaming Carmen starting at 7:25, five minutes before the curtain rises. Click here for the schedule of upcoming operas, and, to access the live stream.

If the opera's not for you, you still can enjoy an adaptation of Carmen in the film, Carmen Jones [DVD CAR]. Or, pick out snippets of Carmen from Looney Tunes cartoons. Or, watch Carmen: A Hip-Hopera starring Beyonce [on order]. Here's a song from the film:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What the Lion Ate

Actually, the lion didn't eat anything. The lion is the gold statue, which, along with the silver unicorn, were removed from the Old State House in Boston for cleaning and repair. When the two statues came down in September, it was rumored that there was a time capsule inside the lion.

Last week the capsule was opened, and its contents, placed inside in 1901, were revealed. Read about what was found, here.

If you're interested in the period during which the time capsule was filled, early 1900s Boston, let me suggest a few of the "Images of America" series books of old photographs:

Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell. Boston: A Century of Progress. [3M ebook]

Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell. Boston: A Historic Walking Tour. [on order, but a copy is available through GMILCS]

Photo by Mikkashar.