#amreading: “Godfather Death”

from Philip Pullman’s re-telling of the Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm:

A poor man had twelve children, and had to work day and night just to get them a little food to eat. So when his wife gave birth to a thirteenth, he didn’t know what to do, and he ran out into the road, thinking he might as well ask the first person he met to stand godfather.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Paraphrasing From Mark Doty

Landscape, With Sudden Rain, Wet Blooms, and a Van Eyck Painting (an excerpt)

— by Luisa A. Igloria

Who else loves his own decorum as I do? The names
of trees are lovely in Latinate. I can’t recite those,

can only name their changing colors: flush
and canary, stripped and rose; or moan like the voice

of a cello in the leaves, imitating human speech.

That artful bit of landscape description we encountered in the first couplet? Now we can understand that was an act of avoidance, of self-distraction. I can name the colors, the speaker tells us, or I can merely moan. Naming “the changing colors” becomes a means both of revealing pain and containing it, just as these decorous couplets provide kind of orderly structure in which to organize this poem’s song of lament. There is the lovely paradox: the poem is a moan, but it is a song too.

To paraphrase: the written piece is a moan, but it is a song too.

Music is not an outcry, or an only one.

A piece of writing is not an outcry, or an only one; it is a made thing that testifies to our persistence, and to a faith in the power and necessity of art. Which sometimes does nothing but make an outcry bearable — but that gesture, in itself, can be quite enough.

— Mark Doty, from the Foreword to Luisa A. Igloria’s collection, Ode to the Heart Small as a Pencil Eraser (Winner of the 2014 May Swenson Award)

#amreading: A Friend’s Memoir

The friend is Kathleen J. Burkhalter, and her memoir is called The Greatest of These Is Love: Selections From Kathleen’s Celebration of Daily Life, edited by David Bell

  • It takes courage to begin writing because to write is to reveal. When you live in a critical environment, it is hard to write authentically. Even to begin writing is an act of bravery. But on the other hand, writing is a form of liberation. Like singers who sing, or composers who make music, or artists who paint, the use of one’s talent is an essential element of being happy.

— p. 116, The Greatest of These Is Love, vol. III

Kathleen Joaquin Burkhalter was born in Augusta, Georgia and grew up in Baguio, Mountain Province, in the Philippines. Her mother was from plantation families in Pampanga and Marinduque, and her father was from a colonial Georgia family. Kathleen would proudly say, “I am 100% Filipino and 100% American.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreadingfairytales: “Little Brother and Little Sister”

from Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm, edited and re-told by Philip Pullman:

“Now you get into the bed,” the witch said to her daughter, and when the girl had clambered in, the old woman put a spell on her so that she looked exactly like the queen. The one thing she couldn’t do anything about was the missing eye.

“Lie with that side of your head on the pillow,” she said, “and if anyone speaks to you, just mumble.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Links to Other Earths

English fields in Chris Beebart’s What’s (In) the Picture?

Beautiful paintings by Pain(t)h.D.

Beautiful picture of High Park, Toronto in crafts.feelings

A day at Griffith Island, Port Fairy in Sukies Original

Earth Day community tree-planting in Do What You Wish

Anjung Kampiun’s picture of Kaolin Lake, Indonesia

Protect our Earth. Once her resources are used up, they can never be replaced. Never.

In Honor of Earth Day 2017, #amreading

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill (Flying Eye Books)

This is a grrrreat children’s book which gives a clear picture of the difficulties faced, through spare illustrations that evoke the truly epic nature of Shackleton’s journey.

DSCN1528

There’s a quote from Roald Amundsen on the publication information page:

  • No man fails who sets an example of high courage, of unbroken resolution, of unshrinking endurance.

— Roald Amundsen

DSCN1529

Self absolutely loves it.

DSCN1531

Stay tuned.

CATO in Robert Harris (Conspirata, p. 92)

#amreading all Imperial Rome narratives

Until next week, when self begins Rinker Buck’s The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

Robert Harris’s Conspirata (In the United Kingdom it’s got a different title: Lustrum) covers exactly the same ground as the books self just finished reading: SPQR by Mary Beard, and Rubicon by Tom Holland. So she knows how everything is going to end. But Harris is such a good writer (She read Fatherland, years ago: highly recommend) that self is giving Conspirata a go.

Here’s a speech by Cato which self thinks is fascinating for what it reveals of the character (Also, it is interesting that millions of youths around the world see the name Cato and think immediately of that blonde bully in The Hunger Games):

Never be moved by favour. Never appease. Never forgive a wrong. Never differentiate between things that are wrong — what is wrong is wrong, whatever the size of the misdemeanour, and that is the end of the matter. And finally, never compromise on any of these principles. “The man who has the strength to follow them — is always handsome however misshapen, always rich however needy, always a king however much a slave.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Translation: Domenico Adriano, transl. by Barbara Carle

Perhaps because within myself
I had already chosen your portrait
here they are in fields of thought
one thousand and a thousand more red poppies

— Domenico Adriano, excerpt from Da Papaveri Perversi, translated from the Italian by Barbara Carle

Surprise! It’s Spring

Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!

— Wallace Stevens, quoted in The Daily Post

Yesterday was self’s first walk to the lake in over a month. It’s but a five or 10-minute walk at the most. But self has been busy, and the weather’s been unpredictable.

Yesterday, Esther came to change the sheets. So self took advantage of the break to go out of her cottage. And the first thing she noticed was: close by the cottages, there were suddenly so many flowers! (Has it really been that long since she took a walk? Apparently, it has! Surprise!)

Self had a lovely walk. Spring has truly arrived!

Here are some other beautiful spring shots:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreadingpoetry: Liu Xia

Before you go into the grave
Don’t forget to write to me with your ashes
Don’t forget to leave your underworld address

quoted by Liao Yiwu in his introduction to Liu Xia’s collection Empty Chairs, the bilingual edition (Graywolf Press)

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