Sunday, March 30, 2008

Recent Lightening Bolts

Favorite book of the week: Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. I enjoy literature not because of our view of the characters' lives, but rather our view of our lives through the characters.

Favorite movies of the week: Mona Lisa Smile, starring Julia Roberts. Fabulous show and completely opposite of what I expected. If I may share a little dialog between Roberts (Watson) and Julia Stiles (Brandwyn) as they debate motherhood and careers.

Katherine Watson: No-one's asking you to sacrifice that, Joan, I just want you to understand you can do both.
Joan Brandwyn: Do you think I'll wake up one morning and regret not being a lawyer?
Katherine Watson: Yes, I'm afraid that you will.
Joan Brandwyn: Not as much as I regret not having a family, not being there to raise them. I know exactly what I'm doing and it doesn't make me any less smart.

Any favorite books and movies to share?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Nothing Twice.

The first three stanzas of "Nothing Twice"

Nothing Twice
Wislowa Szymborska

Nothing can ever happen twice.
In consequence, the sorry fact is
that we arrive here improvised
and leave without the chance to practice.

Even if there is no one dumber,
if you're the planet's biggest dunce,
you can't repeat the class in summer:
this course is only offered once.

No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach what bliss is
in precisely the same way,
with precisely the same kisses.

Teagan Lynn: Time is so fleeting. I often wonder if I will look back on high school and regret working so much and spending less time being a teenager. I decided today to blow some of my college savings and take a trip to Alaska. I won't be young forever, right? I guess I'm in a bit of a restless mood right now. I don't want to live near home forever. I want to spend a fall in New England and summer in Europe. Why just one season? I might as well make it a year while I'm dreaming. Or move there if I like it enough. After all, this course is only offered once.

Where have you always dreamed of going to?

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Far better than the Easter eggs filled with chocolate and jelly beans is the Easter egg that sits empty, rather like the tomb from which the Savior rose over two thousand years ago. The Savior’s rise from this tomb is the beautiful reason for the Easter season.

Remember the empty tomb.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Perhaps my favorite literary character of all time is Jo of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. The poem of tonight is a stanza from "In The Garrett," a poem written by Jo. Jo writes the poem to characterize her sisters and herself through what is found in their hope chests. Jo's stanza is the one I'd like to share.

From "In The Garrett"

'Jo' on the next lid, scratched and worn,
An within a motley store
Of headless dolls, of school-books torn,
Birds and beasts that speak no more;
Spoils brought home from the fairy ground
Only trod by youthful feet
Dreams of a future never found,
Memories of a past still sweet;
Half-writ poems, stories wild,
April letters, warm and cold,
Diaries of a willful child,
Hints of a woman early old;
A woman in a lonely home,
Hearing, like a sad refrain,--
'Be worthy love, and love will come'
In the falling summer rain.

Jo is much like me. However, in my poem the dolls would be neatly laid, the school books in unscathed, and the "birds and beasts" would be once-loved stuffed animals. There is such a wistful feel to the poem and it makes my heart ache without quite knowing why.

The beautiful part of the story is that it is this poem that brings Mr. Bhaer back to Concord. He sees the sorrow of Jo's heart through her poetry and longs for her to feel his love. Mr. Bhaer expresses his love and proposes marriage. But, like the humble professor he is, he holds out his empty hands and says, "Ah! thou gifst me such hope and courage, andI haf nothing to gif back but a full heart." Jo places both her hands in his and says tenderly, "Not empty now."

It is this sort of humble, honest, and open love, that I, the dreamer, the poetess, and the hopeless romantic, silently sigh for. I am yet young, and not much concerned about it, but I find this sort of love beautiful.

What literature defines love for you?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Broken Words

A painful rough draft. A poem about what else, but poetry!

The Poetess
Valerie Owens

A hand sweeps across the page.
Ink, the blood of the soul, spurts across the pallid paper.
Words emerge,
awkward, jumbled,
and imperfect, rather the poetess herself.
Jagged sentences follow,
roughly arranged in fragmented lines.
Poetry rises, blatant and unsure,
from the silent cacophony.
Red ink flies,
slicing and dicing deformities.
Another attempt, and then another.

Poetry draws violently on the marrow of being.
Beauty is never guaranteed,
self satisfaction is a delusion,
perfection is a joke,
and no one listens anyhow.
But such is the burden and the blessing
of the poetess.
Like Divinity's beckon to Samuel,
the call comes again and again,
soft and familiar in the hollows of night.
The deluge of words cannot be dammed
and the poem must be.
Such is the poetess's charge.

The poet recieves kick-butt advice

I am currently enrolled in a creative class in my high school. The other day I got into a discussion with a fellow writer. He gave me some of the best writing advice I have ever received, and I feel it my duty to share it with my loyal readers (haha). Who knew wise words would come from the lips of a high school boy?
  1. Plan out what you write- This wise bit of wisdom is one that grates upon my mind. I feel as though the writer should sit down, start pumping out words, and let the plot develop as it may. In reality this doesn't work. I know that. I know that, and I hate that. My young friend stressed the importance of this to me. Planning ahead is crucial. There is no point in writing a story if you have no climax in mind.
  2. Learn to love what you write- I am a butcher. I often find myself dissatisfied with my work. I have a horrible habit of butchering the first draft and starting over entirely. This can be such a waste of time and leads me no where. Build upon the first draft, don't waste time starting another. Write it, love it. Somebody has to. Learn to love what you write!
Thank you, dear friend.

Any wonderful advice to share?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Maya Angelou

Teagan Lynn Comment: I found The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou in a used bookstore called The Book Cellar. On the inside cover were brief messages from Gloria, Amy, and Jessica wishing Kimberly a happy 20th birthday. And then Jennifer wrote the message, "Be friendly to strangers for in the midst one can be an angel. Happy 20th." I imagine the four women as coworkers or roommates, not close friends, but close enough to feel the obligation to celebrate birthdays. Jennifer, the hopeless romantic, purchases the book because it inspired her and she has these high hopes that it will change young Kimberly's life. The other women sign, not really caring. Kimberly receives the book with thanks, smiles, gives each woman a hug, then shelves the book, never cracking the cover. A few years down the road, the book winds up at a used book store in exchange for a little cash. Kimberly goes on her way, the incident quickly forgotten. Kimberly, Angelou had so much more to offer you.

I for one loved the book. Of course, "Caged Bird" is part of the collection and is well worth a read, particularly the refrain. Also noteworthy: "Just for a Time," "A Conceit," "Wonder," "How I Can Lie to You," "Insomniac," "Passing Time," and the last stanza of "They Ask Why." But the one that oddly struck me the most was "The New House."

The New House

Maya Angelou

What words
have smashed against
these walls,
crashed up and down these
lain mute and then drained
their meanings out and into
these floors?

What feelings, long since
streamed vague yearnings
below this ceiling
In some dimension,
which I cannot know,
the shadows of
another still exist. I bring my
memories, held too long in check,
to let them here shoulder
space and place to be.

And when I leave to
find another house,
I wonder what among
these shades will be
left of me.

Angelou, Maya. "The New House." The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou. New York: Random House, 2002.

Any interesting used bookstore stories to share?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Writing Quotes

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.

~ E.L. Doctorow

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.

~ William Faulkner

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

~ Anton Chekhov

It’s much more important to write than to be written about.

~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez

True literature can exist only where it is created, not by diligent and trustworthy officials, but by madmen, hermits, heretics, dreamers, rebels, and skeptics.

~ Yevgeny Zamyatin

If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.

~ Toni Morrison

… this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, as my friend Dale puts it, How alive am I willing to be?

~ Anne Lamott

I write the way women have babies. You don’t know it’s going to be like that. If you did, there’s no way you would go through with it.

~ Toni Morrison

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.

~ George Orwell

Don’t ask a writer what he’s working on. It’s like asking someone with cancer about the progress of his disease.

~ Jay McInerney

Any cool quotes to share?

i thank You God for most this amazing

I can't have a poetry website without having e.e. cummings on it. This is a most appropriate poem for a Sunday. The title alone should be enough. My favorite stanza is the third. I don't comprehend it, but that's part of what makes it beautiful. I comprehend so little of the ways of God and yet I find it all so breathtaking.

i thank You God for most this amazing
e.e. cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
And one more poem to wrap up an ode to the greatness of God... Though I will only post my favorite, check out "The Windhover" and "God's Grandeur" by Hopkins as well. Just read it aloud. Don't try to comprehend it. Just let yourself be immersed by the richness of his words

Pied Beauty
Gerard Manley Hopkins

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; 5
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 10
Praise him.

So frustrating! The original format of Hopkins poem is not aligned to the left like this. He uses spacing to create a more beautiful poem. But tragically the blogsite will NOT let me keep it indented (any suggestions?), so you'll just have to Google this to see it as it should be.

Any suggestions of similar poems or opinions of posted poems?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Hey Webster, define poetry, please

Teagan Lynn Comment: Our wise proclaims poetry as "the art or work of a poet," but I think the poets define it better. Two poems, both titled "Ars Poetica," make me crave beautiful poetry.

From the first, "Ars Poetica," by Archibald Macleish, I will only pull one stanza:
A poem should not mean
But be.

And the second, "Ars Poetica," by Vicente Huidobro, as translated by David M. Guss

Let poetry be like a key
Opening a thousand doors.
A leaf falls; something flies by;
Let all the eye sees be created
And the soul of the listener tremble.

Invent new worlds and watch your word;
The adjective, when it doesn't give life, kills it.
We are in the age of nerves.
The muscle hangs,
Like a memory, in museums;
But we are not the weaker for it:
True vigor
Resides in the head.

Oh Poets, why sing of roses!
Let them flower in your poems;

For us alone
Do all things live beneath the Sun.

The poet is a little God.

Huidobro, Vicente. "Ars Poetica."
Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and the Essay
Comp. Robert DiYanni. McGraw-Hill, 1998.

What do you think defines a poet? At what point does one go from one who writes to a writer?

When I heard the learn'd astronomer

Great example of free verse poetry. It reminded of the line from F. Scott Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby, "I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life."

When I heard the learn'd astronomer
Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

Monday, March 3, 2008


I have come to the conclusion that this blog remains largely unread. It is likely that few will read these words, but it is personally satisfying. I first started the blog with the belief that I just might have something good and I would like some feedback. Since then, I have been humbled by the works of William Wordsworth, Maya Angelou, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Walt Whitman, Robert Herrick, and many others. I have come to the reality that my work is, though not bad, horribly mediocre. It is merely poetic paragraphs chopped up into aesthetically appealing lines. I am fine with this. I have decided then, to devote this humble blog to the sharing, illegal at that, of poetry of the great poets of the world, giving due credit to the authors and assuring accurate publications. Such poetry has changed my life, may it change yours as well.
The humbled poet