30 April 2004

woefully remiss

So, I didn't actually post too many poems for National Poetry Month after all.

I just started rereading my favorite epic poem, so I will conclude the month with the first few lines of Homer's Iliad (the Lattimore translation):

"Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus' son Achilleus
and its devastation, which put pains thousandfold upon the Achaians,
hurled in their multitudes to the house of Hades strong souls
of heroes, but gave their bodies to be the delicate feasting
of dogs, of all birds, and the will of Zeus was accomplished
since that time when first there stood in division of conflict
Atreus' son the lord of men and brilliant Achilleus."


Y'know, having typed that, I have to wonder -- not for the first time -- how it is that I, a woman who believes so strongly in peace can love this bloody bit of warfare poetry so passionately... As ever, when faced with this conundrum, I shall smile and quote Whitman, "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes."

So, there.

fart and booger jokes

That's what lots o' young (and older) boys want. Lucky for them, there are authors who are happy to oblige.

Says author Glenn Murray (of Walter the Farting Dog fame), "You gotta give kids something they want to read... Now he's the people's dog, and I'm just his agent."

(Personally, I think Walter is a rip-off of Dav Pilkey's book Dog Breath: The Horrible Trouble with Hally Tosis. I like Hally better, too -- the story, the art, everything...)

People just *think* I live in the library...

... This kid did: "A New York University sophomore who says he spent eight months sleeping in a library basement because he couldn’t afford campus housing has been moved to a free dormitory room, school officials said."

29 April 2004

Poet Thom Gunn dies

The British-born poet Thom Gunn, considered to have written some of the best poetry of his time, has died at the age of 74.

28 April 2004

Nothin' like hand puppets to cheer up a gloomy day...

Thanks to Anne for directing me to The Hand Puppet Movie Theatre Presents:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - "The Not-So-Golden Snitch."


I especially like Uncle Verne insisting, "What if that letter has anthrax? I better burn it for you."

quote o' the moment

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

When I got home from my last shift at job #2 Monday night, I began reading Vote for Larry (even better than the first book!) and this quote opened part one. It inspires me.

Well, it didn't *use* to be personal...

So, I need to vent. I try not to do that here, so please excuse this exception.

I quit job #2. This morning, my previous boss (she of no MLS), called me at job #1.

She basically accused me of looking through the administrative assistant's files to find out her educational background and said she was about to fire me anyway; I just beat her to the punch there. In fact, she suggested that I only quit because I had heard she was planning to fire me. (This really fascinates me since when I told my supervisor I had to quit he made a point of emphasizing how highly she thought of me, how she commented on the way staff and patrons both had mentioned to her what a good librarian I am.)

She also insisted that she is totally honest about her background and has never claimed to be a librarian. I told her that, yes, she did; I have heard her at meetings and saw it in print in the library newsletter.

I told her (before her accusations began) that this was not personal. I told her that she seemed like a nice lady, but I had a problem with the fact that she does not have an MLS. I even used the school teacher analogy and told her that whomever the board hired, if that person didn't have an MLS, I would have quit. It truly wasn't personal.

Now it really is. Now I am feeling some pretty ugly feelings in my heart toward this ugly-spirited woman...

I just feel a bit beat up. But... I've lived through worse and I don't have to go back, so I guess it's all good. I just hate confrontation. I hate that she made me cry (after I hung up, and not a lot). And I *hate* that I was so surprised by her call that I wasn't prepared to fight back more...

Sigh.

27 April 2004

in memoriam

Hubert Selby, Jr., author of Requiem for a Dream and Last Exit to Brooklyn, has died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his home in Los Angeles. He was 75.

26 April 2004

Taking a stand

I love job #2. This is where I held my first full-time library job after getting my degree. It is close to home, in a community that I love, has a great staff... I have never really left. I have been oart-time ever since I quit working here full-time.

And now, in just under 20 minutes, I will be gone, leaving my letter of resignation on my supervisor's desk, dropping a Cc: of that letter in the mail for the Board president.

I am leaving because, when our previous Director took ill and retired, the Board made the decsion to hire a non-professional for the job, despite the fact that they had a number of very qualified candidates from which to choose. It has bothered me every day since then. It bothers me that she calls herself a Librarian when she is not. It bothers me that she is now letting Circ staff work Reference. She may be a very nice woman, but...

As a librarian, I am forever dealing with crap pay, with little respect, with patrons who believe that anyone could walk in off the street and do my job. We try to convince them that isn't so; we have been trained. We got degrees. Then, when the Board puts in someone with no degree and no experience as the Director...

I am a good librarian. I worked hard (and spent a lot of money) to get my Masters' degree because I wanted to do this full-time. If I walked into the neighborhood school tomorrow and told them I would be a great teacher, they would tell me, "That's nice for you. Come see us when you have the right piece of paper." My MLS would mean naught without the teaching certification.

I want standards in our profession, too. So, now...

It will be nice to have only one job, even for a short while. I am confident that when I am ready, I can find a job #2 pretty quick. (In fact, I already have a few leads.)

This sucks. I really do love it here...

Still... It is the right thing to do.

Sigh.

Damn.

Huzzah! and Hooray! Oh Frabjuous Day!

I love being a librarian so much that I just basically consider my whole life one big perk. However, every once in a while you get a small extra-special perk from being the Director of Youth Services.

Today, I got one.

I was getting ready to leave job #1 to head to job #2 (last day there -- but that's another post) when I noticed that a small package, one book maximum, had come in from our book dealer on our YA account. I am always eager to open the new book boxes... It ever feels like Christmas to me!

ANYway, I opened the book kind of absent-mindedly as I walked back to the office. And there, in my hands, was...

(dramatic drum roll)...

Vote for Larry by Janet Tashjian!

I have been waiting for this book since the first moment I finished The Gospel According to Larry and sat in stunned silence, aware that I had just read one of those rare books that has the potential to change the world if we but listen...

Needless to say, the new book is in my knapsack now. I will be forsaking all sleep, no matter how sweetly Morpheus whispers and cajoles until I have read it. (Or, more realistically, until my eyes are so tired they feel like they are gonna fall out. Mightn't take too long!) It will definitely be finished by tomorrow so I can get it to Tech Services, have it on the shelf, and start selling it to impressionable young people!

Rent-A-Rhetorician

And now that I have mentioned my dear Professor Rank, let me direct you to his website. I am particularly enamored of his Rent-A-Rhetorician program, but the whole of his Persuasion Analysis program is fascinating.

vanity

I printed this for a co-worker this weekend and then thought maybe I should post it here... It is possible I will change my mind and take it down, but for now...

I wrote this poem in 1999 as part of an assignment to write a Whitman-esque poem for one of my favorite professors ever, Duke Rank. Not *too* shabby, I think...

Democracy

1.

Just before midnight, air sultry, heavens dark,
The key turns in the lock, alarms are disarmed, and the young woman enters,
Walks in to a place where anything can happen,
Anything or nothing, be it as she pleases.

Oh library! Great democracy and endless possibility live within your walls!
On your shelves, in your rooms, live the greatest minds the world has known,
Side by side with the most vacuous.
Oh catalogue of cards! Within your drawers the map contain’d, the key to the world beyond.

Eschewing cards (for she has been here before, has lived in Buildings similar, has visited other great libraries in Stratford and Checaugo, in Concord and the City of Calumet),
She saunters down an aisle, marveling at the wonderful democracy, the overwhelming collection of what is held within.


2.

On this shelf, a whale (vast, white, evil) and a cat in from the rain.
On this shelf, a curious little monkey, a duck family walking through Boston, a bear without a button.
On this shelf, Kings (Stephen and Dr. and Henry the Eighth) and renegades side by side, wait in silence, ready for all.
On this shelf, wise men and dreamers keep company with those not as wise, those whose dreams would destroy, Henry David and Ralph Waldo as well as Benito and Adolph.
(And yes, dear Bronson, you, too, have a place here, are welcome and respected here as you were not always as you lived.)
Hemingway, fresh from safari, ruddy and masculine and confident, drink in hand, lovely girl child on his arm, ready to regale with tales of his exploits in Africa or Cuba,
What have you to say to Germaine Greer? What ideas to share? What abuse to hurl?
And you, Aristotle, toga-clad sage, what words have you for DeCartes and Kant, for Nietszche?


3.

Idealist and cynic!
Poet and Anti-poet!
Pacifist and Warmonger!
Men of science! Impractical dreamers!
Child (innocent and not so innocent) and Adult (innocent and not so innocent)!
Crucified Genius and Poisonous Trendsetter!
Together here, in this great democracy,
Home to dreams! To practicality! To science! To abstract ideals!
(And yes, home, too, to hate and intolerance and those who should have smote you, Walt Whitman, had they been able.)


4.

And you, Walt Whitman, nestled close to Emily,
(Nearby, your children, Ginsberg and Hughes, Ferlinghetti and Pound – for he, too, is your son, try as he might to deny –
Nearby, they slumber, content to be counted among those who came after.
Are you satisfied with this fruit, with these sons of yours?)
Full in the knowledge that your life has, at last, been recorded and recorded again, has been examined and analyzed and sung and celebrated as you knew it should be,
Are you, Walt Whitman, satisfied? Worried no longer that “proud libraries” shall shut their doors to you? Smug in the way they order each new edition, each new biography, needing to make you a part of them?


5.

She closes her eyes and envisions the morrow.
There, in the corner, the old old man, eyes weary, tears on cheek, reliving his war, his boyhood,
There, at the table, a strong father smiles gently at the pig-tailed head bent over her reader, sounding out the words carefully,
There, the chubby blonde toddler teethes on Thoreau as her harried mother finishes her homework,
There, the pregnant teen, frightened, alone, speaks softly to the librarian, desperately ashamed, pleading for help,
There, the surly young man, eyes hooded, countenance dark, pushes the poetry book across the counter, pretends it is for school,
There, by the bathrooms, the homeless couple waits (he, working a crossword puzzle, she, napping without fear),
At the next table, the new grandfather learns to sound out his words, careful as the pig-tailed child, hoping to surprise them all, to read his grandson a story.

All these she sees as she closes her eyes in the dim room.
She sees them and she smiles, knowing that all are welcome here, all offered here,
that here, ever and always, a true democracy exists.

now *that's* a poem!

Thanks to lalcorn for referring me to the ever-so-cool Goth-O-Matic Poetry Generator, which helped me compose this dark little gem:

Darkness Descends
the night falls in a heavy, suffocating cloak, entwined are we.
the salvation for which you pine
flares once, then dies,
devoured by the all-encompassing dark.
all hope must surely perish.

your soul thrives no more.
how could you fail to believe?
lost souls surround us, crying,
save us from ourselves.

25 April 2004

What's the Buzz?

Sue Monk Kidd's novel, The Secret Life of Bees, is coming to the stage.

24 April 2004

Detectives ask for help with Bradley Sisters case

I think about Diamond and Tionda Bradley often. I am glad to see that their disappearance is still being investigated.

Commander Sutor of the CPD Central Investigations Detail says, "I'd like to emphasize that it doesn't matter how insignificant or unimportant they think what information they have may be, because that may just be the key, somebody out there knows something, somebody out there knows the whereabouts of Tionda and Diamond Bradley and they need to come forward and these children need to come home."

This troubles me some...

While I freely admit to being fascinated by the (almost) lost art of letter-writing, and while I happily, voyeuristically devour collections of letter, especially those by authors (and, yes, even love letters), it bothers me a little bit that a highly personal love letter by James Joyce is up for auction.

Maybe it is not the reading of so personal a document. That part doesn't bother me overmuch. Rather, it is the idea that it will be sold and can be owned by someone other than its intended recipient. Hmm...

in memoriam

Mary Rodd Furbee, an author of non-fiction books for children, has died at the age of 49. The books I know best by her are the marvelous "Outrageous Women" series...

Clearly, I am a slacker

15 year-old Flavia Bujor has published a best seller. And she has plans for the next one: "I really don't want people to think ... I will always write this kind of book. It was just a beginning... My way of writing has changed a lot. My next book will have to be different, because I am different."

22 April 2004

You cannot unknow something

I wish I had never read a biography of J. M. Barrie, but I did.

Now the Globe and Mail has an article emphasizing the parallels between Barrie and Michael Jackson....

Someone with *way* more patience than I...

...has made Shakespeare (and others) out of origami!

Free Scoop Night!

It's almost time for the 5th Annual Free Scoop Night at Baskin Robbins! You get free ice cream and First Book gets more books.

Win-Win all the way!

Neil Gaiman's Acceptance Speech

When Neil Gaiman won the Nebula Award for the marvelous Coraline, Harlan Ellison accepted on his behalf. And had to read the speech Neil had preprared, which is now on Mr. Gaiman's web journal and reads, in part:

...I'd like to thank Harlan for accepting the award on my behalf. The knowledge that the person reading the acceptance speech will actually say whatever I write here is deeply intimidating. Think about it: for the first time in my life, possibly for the first time in anyone's life, I can make Harlan Ellison say, literally, anything. And he will. Because it's my acceptance speech. He's not going to extemporise here, or suddenly start telling a joke about a duck trying to buy a condom or something. He has to read what I've written. I could make him proclaim his love of the Republican party, or reveal his membership in Al Quaida. I could write down the words "I, Harlan Ellison, am actually a science fiction writer" in my awards speech, and he'd have to say them. I wouldn't actually do any of this, though, because Harlan's revenge would be swift in coming and incredibly funny whenever he told people about it. Well, incredibly funny for everyone except me, anyway. I'd still be in Hibernia, pursued by enraged lascars and apothecaries....

Scott Fitzgerald stuff

For anyone who doesn't yet know, let me just say that I love Scott Fitzgerald. I love his work but, even more, I love his letters. When I was at GSU, I used to snag a tiny table in a deserted corner of the library at night, get the book of his letters from the shelf, and spend hours poring over them. The man who came through those letters was often witty and warm, but could be critical and off-putting, too. I was fascinated.

Later, while in library school, during one of our visits to a local used book store (made while ditching Library Automation), I found a copy of the letters for a measly $5. I was thrilled. The book immediately joined the elite collection of books I keep on a shelf by my bed.

I have since accepted that he was likely not the Romantic hero I held him to be -- although that view was tarnished fairly early on. I accepted that it was unfair of me to hold a grudge against Papa (whom I have also since come to love) for his seeming unpleasantness toward Scott.

But I still think he wrote great letters.

All of this rambling on about Scott just to tell y'all that the New York Times is running a story about the years he spent in Hollywood, the screenplays he produced, and the heartbreaking lack of success that seems one of the unfortunate hallmarks of his life.

librarians sharing ideas

Thanks to Nat for directing me to one librarian's take on how to keep patrons from coming behind the reference desk:

"We set up a Task Force to come up with a solution, and that group quickly determined that we could try a passive solution (barriers and other fortifications) or an active one.

Three active ones immediately identified were poison
gas, small arms fire, and mines..."

21 April 2004

It's not enough that the pay stinks and you get little respect...

It's official: "Poets die young -- younger than novelists, playwrights and other writers, a U.S. researcher said on Wednesday."

"How can I keep from singing?"

There is a lovely interview with Pete Seeger at Acoustic Guitar Central. It's not new (2002), but it was new to me. Maybe to you, too...

SIGH

I just have one comment:

If you are lucky enough to make a living writing, don't be dumb enough to get convicted for tax evasion.

Thank you.

It's never too late to make things right with your local library

Another library patron makes good:

VALLETTA, Malta (Reuters) - A former British Royal Air Force employee has returned a history book to the Malta public library 42 years after he borrowed it and was given a cup of coffee instead of a fine.

Ernie Roscouet, a resident of the Channel Islands, inadvertently packed the book when he left Malta in June 1962 and returned it when his wife gave him a holiday to Malta as his 65th birthday present.

"It's actually been on my conscience all this time," he told the Times of Malta newspaper.

Although he expected a fine he was given a cup of coffee instead.

"Perhaps this story will encourage others to bring back overdue books," librarian Joe Debattista said.

Tales of a librarian...


Yay! I get to be Tori, who named her most recent album in honor of librarians! Good enough for me.

Which Rock Chick Are You?

Two sides to every story...

Garrison Keillor tells the story of the "Mighty Casey" from the point of view of the opposing team in his poem, "Casey at the Bat (Road Game):"

So happy were the Dustburg fans that grand and glorious day,
It took a dozen cops to help poor Casey away,
But we grabbed hold of the bumpers and we rocked him to and fro
And he cursed us from inside the bus, and gosh, we loved it so!

Oh sometimes in America the sun is shining bright,
Life is joyful sometimes, and all the world seems right,
But there is no joy in Dustburg, no joy so pure and sweet
As when the mighty Casey fell, demolished, at our feet.

observation

Dressing up in a bunny suit with full bunny face makeup for a pajama storytime with the theme Books and Bunnies is lots of fun.

When, just after the storytime ends (when you're still dressed as a bunny), a tornado is sighted and you have to round up all the adult patrons (who are cranky at having had to get off the computers and come down to the basement) into the storytime room -- and almost all the kids have left by then... Yeah, that's a little bit less fun.

But only a little bit.

interview

A new interview with Lois Lowry is now available.

20 April 2004

Spring = Baseball

When The Boy was wee, we read this poem by Ernest L. Thayer too many times to count. I still think it's one of the best story poems ever:

The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate,
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate;
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville--mighty Casey has struck out!

19 April 2004

I *thought* it didn't look so good...

In his review of the film Ella Enchanted, Orson Scott Card writes:

"Here’s a helpful hint. If you haven’t read the marvelous young adult novel by Gail Carson Levine, do not read it before seeing the film.

Because if you have read the book, you will spend the first half of the movie absolutely furious at the idiotic, formulaic destruction of the story by the screenwriters.

They have taken a witty, warm, truthful story and for no intelligible reason formulized it and camped it up so that almost nothing from the original survives – except the fundamental premise of a girl who is magically compelled to obey any direct order.

Unfortunately, since they did keep the title and the premise, it will be virtually impossible for anyone to ever make a film that is actually based on the novel Ella Enchanted. So this “pod movie” has effectively killed and replaced the real thing as it might have existed on the screen."

Tigerlily Smallburrows of Sandydowns

I know nothing about Hobbits, but I love my Hobbit name! (Thanks to lalcorn for the link.)

Do you ever have days like this? *I* do!

I have neglected to post a poem each day of National Poetry Month (bad Kitten!). Today, though, we have another selection from "The Hunting of the Snark" by Lewis Carroll:

He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
With his name painted clearly on each:
But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
They were all left behind on the beach.

The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
He had seven coats on when he came,
With three pairs of boots--but the worst of it was,
He had wholly forgotten his name.

Reversing Vandalism

Cool art exhibit rose from the ashes of a vandal at the San Francisco Public Library.

Calloo! Callay!

Which children's author wrote me?

Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll!


Which Children's Author Wrote You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I chortle in my glee!

"Dr. Seuss Origami"

Cute animation of a Dot and her origami puppy.

Run, run, as fast as you can!

Gentle readers, I beseech you, if you are near Chicago, go with all haste to the AIC for the Rembrandt exhibit!

The Boy and I went Friday morning. Neither one of us was too excited, but we figured we had a duty to go since I get free member tickets and he *is* considered one of the venerated "Old Masters" of art.

The exhibit started out kind of slow for us. *Lots* of etchings, which were fine, but didn't blow us away or anything. The etching plates were pretty amazing, though.

Side note: At one of the first etchings, I said, "Huh. That's kind of good." Then I heard myself, looked at The Boy -- who was ready to openly mock me -- and said, "Oh. My. God. I must be on crack! Are we at a Rembrandt exhibit and I just said, 'That's kind of good?!" He nodded and proceeded to give me the mocking I so rightfully deserved.

So, we were looking at the etchings, being suitably impressed, making snide comments to each other about the many, many visitors from the Smithsonian who were crowding around, examining the etchings with magnifying glasses, taking a looong time to do so, while we waited patiently for a chance to see. Then, finally, we came to a painting, "Samson Betrayed by Delilah."

Damn.

I don'y know that I can articulate what happened then. My best friend likes to say that something "rocked her world" when someone is sneak-attacked and blown away by something. This painting definitely rocked my world.

It was so good, it made me cry.

It wasn't the subject matter, for all I love the Bible and am fascinated by the stories therein. Rather, it was the light. The way the light fell on Delilah's foot, the way her purple gown shimmered and looked alive.

I can't even say. My words are not adequate to convey how much the world was too much with me then. I was moved and humbled by the genius.

And it was Every. Single. Painting.

No wonder he is revered. Surely he was Apollo in a previous life?

Damn.

The moral of that story? For me, it was to take advantage of my membership and go see every exhibit, even if I think I don't care. Yeah, we made it through the Manet show in something like eight minutes flat. However, Rembrandt kept us captivated for over three hours. If I hadn't had somewhere else to be, we might have stayed all day!


music video

Someone has created an oddly cute anime style video for the Me First and the Gimme Gimmes cover of "I Believe I Can Fly," based on the actual video.

14 April 2004

Not sure what to read next?

Check out the Celebrity Reading List, compiled by the Gardiner Public Library in Maine.

One of the oddest things I've seen in a while

Burger King's new website that allows you to "get chicken just the way you want it."

Somehow, this really bothers, rather than entertains, me...

13 April 2004

Poor Henry...

So, this woman just came down asking for books about my beloved Henry Thoreau. I, of course, got excited and started talking about him.

This led to much mocking. Actually, the woman who originally needed the book didn't give a fiddler's fart about dear Henry. She was taking a class and was not pleased she had to read him. Blah.

My Super Page didn't know who he was, so I was telling her how incredible he is, that Walden was the best book ever. Yes, even better than Lewis Carroll.

I spoke about Civil Disobedience and how he inspired Gandhi and Dr. King. I confessed that I want to one day name a son Henry. I told Super Page that I had a poster of early American authors, including Henry, in my room.

I revealed my extreme geekiness.

I don't care. I am a book geek and I don't care who knows it!

We had one other patron down here who laughed at me. She said that she thought she loved books, but I had her beat. I told her that I know I'm a book geek, that I even sojourned to Concord a few years ago to absorb the literary energy.

I think I really entertained her. On her way out, she was laughing and said, "She's gonna name her baby Henry!"

Sigh.

Well, I guess if I am to be mocked, it could be for worse things...

poem o' the day

I love the night, the moon. (There is a lovely Maurice Sendak quote I would like to plug in here, but I have the memory of a lab rat... I will look for it for tomorrow...) So, for today, Robert Bly's poem, "The Moon:"

After writing poems all day,
I go off to see the moon in the pines.
Far in the woods I sit down against a pine.
The moon has her porches turned to face the light,
But the deep part of her house is in the darkness.

Here comes another one

Read all about it: "Comedian Billy Crystal joined the ranks of celebrities peddling children's books on Tuesday with the debut of I Already Know I Love You..."

Kirkus says, "Another celebrity author misses his audience... Picture-book readers will not identify with the adult perspective and the logic of activities..."

12 April 2004

Well, it's been a slow news year... right?

Bush will hold his first press conference of the year tomorrow. Well, heck, it's only April...

*I* care!

Today's offering is Allen Ginsberg's poem, "Is About," originally published in the 21/28 October 1996 double issue of The New Yorker:

Dylan is about the Individual against the whole creation
Beethoven is about one man's fist in the lightning clouds
The Pope is about abortion & the spirits of the dead...
Television is about people sitting in their living room looking at their things
America is about being a big Country full of Cowboys Indians Jews Negroes & Americans
Orientals Chicanos Factories skyscrapers Niagara Falls Steel Mills radios homeless Conservatives, don't forget
Russia is about Czars Stalin Poetry Secret Police Communism barefoot in the snow
But that's not really Russia it's a concept
A concept is about how to look at the earth from the moon without ever getting there. The moon is about love & Werewolves, also Poe
Poe is about looking at the moon from the sun
or else the graveyard
Everything is about something if you're a thin movie producer chain-smoking muggles
The world is about overpopulation, Imperial invasions, Biocide Genocide, Fratricidal Wars, Starvation, Holocaust, mass injury & murder, high technology
Super science, atom Nuclear Neutron Hydrogen detritus, Radiation Compassion Buddha, Alchemy
Communication is about monopoly telivision radio movie newspaper spin on Earth, i.e. planetary censorship.
Universe is about Universe.
Allen Ginsberg is about confused mind writing down newspaper headlines from Mars--
The audience is about salvation, the listeners are aBOUT SEX, Spiritual gymnastics, nostalgia for the Steam Engine & Pony Express
Hitler Stalin Roosevelt & Churchill are about arithmetic & Quadrilateral equations, above all chemistry physics & chaos theory--
Who cares what it's all about?
I do! Edgar Allen Poe cares! Shelly cares! Beethoven & Dylan care.
Do you care? What are you about
or are you a human being with 10 fingers and two eyes?

"angelheaded hipsters"

An article about the building where the Beats came together one magical evening and Ginsberg read "Howl" aloud for the first time, Kerouac cheering him on...

tradition

Over the past few years, receiving an Easter egg from The Boy has become one of my favorite Easter traditions. It began, I guess, three years ago, when The Boy was 10. His mother has always let the children decorate an egg for everyone in the family. That year, I noticed that the egg he gave me was decorated with the Green Lantern's insignia (and even a portion of his oath).

The next year, I received a Woody Guthrie egg, complete with a Woody-style drawing of a guitar. Last year's egg was peace-themed. I never want to eat the eggs, thus ruining the art, but at some point, it's eat them or throw them out. Sadly, the pictures I have tried to take never turn out.

When The Boy gave me my egg after church yesterday morning, I was excited, but I tucked it into my purse. When I got home, I carefully unwrapped it to find...

...one of the Mac Nac Feegle (aka the Wee Free Men)! Yay!

Have I mentioned that I utterly adore The Boy beyond all reason?

10 April 2004

interview with Gail Carson Levine

Eclipse Magazine has an interview with Gail Carson Levine about the upcoming movie of her award-winning book, Ella Enchanted.

"Built close to water"

That's what my Grandpa used to say about me, since I can tend toward emotion.

I am prone to "Wordsworth moments" (when I feel that "the world is too much with [me]" -- though, to be fair, not in the same way as in the poem... more like things hit me emotionally and it's too much to bear without some expression of that emotion. I don't know if I am making sense at all or just rambling. Let's move on...).

Yesterday was full of such moments. Brian's Hunt was amazing, but kind of horrifying. Unexpected brutality took my breath away.

Then, too, listening to Jesus Christ Superstar, re-reading how the four gospels relay the trial and Crucifixion, and reflecting on those events, led to some fair amount of emotion from me. Whatever belief system one holds, this was a brutal act against a man who, by all accounts, preached love.

So, to Wordsworth:

THE World is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours
And are up-gather'd now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.—Great God! I'd rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn,—
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreath├Ęd horn.



09 April 2004

today's poet: Langston Hughes


April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

08 April 2004

woo-hoo!

Yay! Not a *lot* of perks working as a librarian, but I did get dibs on Brian's Hunt by Gary Paulsen (one of my absolute literary heroes). Thank goodness (and Mr. Paulsen) that it's not super long, because I am reading this tonight!

Books are coming -- by train, by backpack, by donkey...

I know that others have blogged this already (in fact, I don't even remember exactly who I am ripping off this link from, so apologies all around), but I felt I would be remiss if I didn't mention the wealth of information about unusual mobile libraries.

"I wander'd lonely..."

When we were in library school, I often dragged my best friend to the bookstore to buy yet another copy of Favorite Poems by William Wordsworth (God bless Dover for the $1 books!) because I would be absolutely overcome with a need to read "Daffodils" immediately. I must have bought (and then given away) about six of those books!

You'd think I'd remember to keep a copy in my knapsack.

You'd be wrong.

Spring is here again and the front of my library boasts a golden sea of these sprightly flowers. Everytime I go upstairs, I am struck by their beauty and my heart is made glad and I start to itch for the Wordsworth book again.

Hence, today's poem:

I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

why, indeed?

So, last night, we went to see Jersey Girl. At the end of the film, my friend leaned over and asked, "Why is it that Ben Affleck can only act in Kevin Smith movies and he sucks in everything else?"

I don't know. (Actually, I haven't seen many of his other films, but I liked him in Good Will Hunting and Changing Lanes.)

Regardless, though, we agreed that Affleck was the bomb in Jersey Girl. I know the film is getting mixed reviews, even among some of Smith's fans, but I don't care. I liked it. A lot. It made me laugh; it tugged at my heartstrings; it left me satisfied with this movie-going experience; it made me wonder when it's coming on dvd.

Oh, and it made me wonder if Affleck's character, Ollie, was named after the Green Arrow?

Judy Blume in the news

I loved this quote from a New York Times article about Ms. Blume:

"For her plain-speaking approach to intimate matters, Ms. Blume has been censored and adored."

You may have to sign in, but the whole article is worth a read.

So, where *are* the wmd?

A friend of mine sent me this tip for finding info on the weapons of mass destruction W has been hunting all these long months:

1. Go to Google.
2. Type in "weapons of mass destruction"
3. Click on "I'm Feeling Lucky"
4. Voila! Just what we've suspected all along!

07 April 2004

must-read

I have not read it yet, but I just learned that the April 12, 2004 New Yorker contains a profile of Madeleine L'Engle. It's not on the webpage, so get thee to a library (or, if you're lucky, your own mailbox) and check it out...

today's poetry...

Expect lots of excerpts from Lewis Carroll's masterwork this month:

"Just the place for a Snark!'' the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true.''

found

After 60 years, pieces of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's plane have been found in France: "It's impossible to say if he was shot down, if he lost consciousness, or if he had a mechanical accident," said Patrick Grandjean of the national Department of Subaquatic and Submarine Archaeological Research.

Saint-Exupery, as I am sure you all know, wrote one of the most marvelous books, which I love, The Little Prince. (NOTE: This praise applies to the Katherine Woods translation and not the unlovely, soulless newer translation!)

I was going to include a quote from the book, but I was horrifed to learn that my library does not own it! Since the Woods translation is no longer available, I will have to suss out how to remedy this wretched situation... Hmm...

05 April 2004

Public Domain Poetry

I was happy to find a user-friendly poetry site this evening!

how bizarre! (or, i dunno, maybe not so much...)

Bob Dylan is apparently appearing in a new ad campaign for Victoria's Secret. According to Yahoo!, "It's the first time in his 40-plus years as an international star that Dylan has appeared in an ad campaign."

I don't even know what I think of this. I know they were using his song, "Love Sick," in an earlier campaign and I was happy that the song was being played in a venue where it would be heard by a wide audience. It's a great song...

I dunno. Good for Bob, I guess.

one of my favorite spring poems

in Just-
spring       when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman



whistles       far       and wee


and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's
spring



when the world is puddle-wonderful



the queer
old balloonman whistles
far       and       wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing



 from hop-scotch and jump-rope and



it's
spring
and
     the


             goat-footed


balloonMan       whistles
far
and
wee



(e.e. cummings, of course)

Because librarians know everything...

A little girl just walked past the desk at job #2 and I said, "Hi! How are you doin', Miss?"

Her eyes got real big and, in a tone of wonder, she asked, "How did you know my name?"

Turns out her name is Missy.

I told her that it is my job to know stuff and if she needs any help, just to ask. She nodded solemnly and sat down with a book.

Hee.

04 April 2004

D'oh!

Another new "scholarly" book about America's favorite dysfunctional family. (I mean our collective favorite dysfunctional family -- The Simpsons, of course -- so don't panic...)

Really? That was *10*years ago?

Wow. I didn't realize that it has been ten years since Kurt Cobain died. (I actually hesitate to say that he killed himself, what with the not-unreasonable speculation about murder and all...)

So, in memory of Kurt, today's poem is from his song, "All Apologies:"

"I wish I was like you
Easily amused
Find my nest of salt
Everything's my fault
I'll take all the blame
Aqua seafoam shame
Sunburn with freezeburn
Choking on the ashes of her enemy...
...All in all is all we are"


03 April 2004

(this seemed an appropriate first poem)

from "Forgetfulness" by Billy Collins:

"...Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart."

By the way...

... shame on me for not mentioning National Poetry Month a few days ago!

(I was just gonna say that maybe I will post a poem a day, but knowing my memory, I will forget to do that... Maybe sporadically I will spout poetry this month -- much like I do on my voice mail messages...)

"It was a dark and stormy night."

I may be wrong, but I think that A Wrinkle in Time by the brilliant Madeleine L'Engle is the only book or story to ever successfully use that opening line. And now -- I'm not sure if I am excited or scared -- this amazing story has been made into a film, set to air May 15 on ABC.

01 April 2004

Thank God they're protecting us from those dangerous novelists!

Ian McEwan was prevented from entering the US before he could threaten us with prose! Good to know the Department of Homeland Security is doing it's job!