Tag: Poetry

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Haiku, unrhymed poetic form consisting of 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively. The haiku first emerged in Japanese literature during the 17th century, as a terse reaction to elaborate poetic traditions, though it did not become known by the name haiku until the 19th century. –Encyclopedia Brittanica……………………………………An example:Toward […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: Doggerel

 

Doggerel

Doggerel, doggerel, doggerel, doggerel,
Doggerel, doggerel, doggerel, cattical,
Doggerel, doggerel, doggerel, mousical,
We’re gonna have some fun with doggerel.

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Dana Gioia, a poet, writer, and the former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Dana discusses why the arts are so pivotal to the intellectual and civic development of America’s K-12 schoolchildren, allowing them to grow spiritually, emotionally, creatively, imaginatively, and even physically. He also explores how some of the specific skills students learn through music, drawing, poetry, and theater go well beyond traditional subjects. Dana explains why he believes the lack of arts education in our schools is a national problem, and addresses some misconceptions about why schools are not offering it. He delves into why poetry has such a profound connection to the human experience, and the many ways in which it builds self-confidence, emotional maturity, and can lead to intellectual transformation. Dana shares stories about learning from his Mexican-American mother to love the arts, teaching students to appreciate poetry at the University of Southern California, and the success of a national contest that he launched at the NEA, Poetry Out Loud. Throughout the interview, he treats listeners to recitations from Shakespeare and Poe, and concludes with a special reading of one of his own sonnets.

Stories of the Week: A new poll finds that 1 in 5 teachers say they are unlikely to return to their classrooms if schools reopen this fall, and in a separate poll of parents, 60 percent will likely pursue homeschooling options. A USA Today series highlights the benefits of high-quality dual-language programs to close achievement gaps among America’s five million English language learners, especially in states with a growing non-native population.

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It’s hard to imagine Samuel Johnson, the curmudgeon’s curmudgeon, writing a paean to spring. Johnson’s world was his beloved London, where he walked the cobblestones from ale house to coffee house, eating, drinking, reading, and arguing with his friends — the center of attention wherever he went. Johnson was overweight, disheveled and sometimes dirty (he […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Mystery of Love

 

Yes, I have always come to the crucifix to pray,
But I never knew Jesus Christ and His love until to-day,
I sought by the feeble ray of the dim light of my mind;
But now it is dark, I learn by touch as they do who are blind.
I feel the pulse of infinite love beat feebly like my own,
And the heart of God confined in space to a little cage of bone.

I have often pondered this but have never understood
How hands which heal are stark and still, nailed to a piece of wood.
The love that makes, the love that mends, my own weak Faith could guess,
But not the love that wills to bear man’s utter helplessness,
The love in the womb, the love int he Host, the love in the burial bands,
The power and the gentleness of the love nailed fast by feet and hands.

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Here’s a short quarantine update from my neck of the woods: all public K-12, colleges, and universities are moving to online learning for at least two weeks. Activities, dances, sporting events, and concerts have all been cancelled. My mother’s assisted living center has locked down—no visits from anyone except in an emergency. We can drop […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Puppy Love

 

I didn’t get this posted for Valentine’s Day because I was out of town, but it’s too fun not to share. Every year I send out Valentine’s postcards to friends and family with an illustration done by one of my children. This year, my new daughter-in-law did the honors. I was hesitant to ask at first, but she seemed excited to be included in this family tradition. After years of asking my sons to remember to marry someone who would like me, I feel very blessed that (so far) they have listened! The dog in the illustration is my six-year-old puppy Inigo.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Flyting: More than 1,500 Years of Rap Battles

 

Battle Rap. Have you heard of it? It’s a fairly new thing that started in the 1980s, I am told. In fact, Wikipedia says:

Rap battle is generally believed to have started in the East Coast hip hop scene in the late 1980s. One of the earliest and most infamous battles occurred in December 1982 when Kool Moe Dee challenged Busy Bee Starski – Busy Bee Starski’s defeat by the more complex raps of Kool Moe Dee meant that “no longer was an MC just a crowd-pleasing comedian with a slick tongue; he was a commentator and a storyteller” thus, rendering Busy’s archaic format of rap obsolete, in favor of a newer style which KRS-One also credits as creating a shift in rapping in the documentary Beef.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Let America Be America Again

 

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

— Langston Hughes, excerpt from “Let America Be America Again,” written in 1925

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Unselfing, Marys and Marthas: Winter of Discontent, or Mind of Winter?

 

“One must have a mind of winter… And have been cold a long time… not to think / Of any misery in the sound of the wind,” the January wind. So says Wallace Stevens in his poem, The Snow Man. Misery and discontent aren’t identical, but a series of small miseries — unrelated to wintry weather — means February snuck up on me this year, almost as if January never happened, so misery must do for my “winter of discontent”. To “the listener, who listens in the snow,” hearing the sound of the wind, the poem promises if he becomes “nothing himself” he’ll “behold[] / Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.” People “cold a long time” can go numb, of course, and numbness is a kind of “nothing” obliterating misery. But numbness seems insufficient for a “mind of winter”.

For our own survival, we see winter’s cold as hostile. Our success as biological beings depends on our sensing discomfort, in order to mitigate risk before it’s too late. Concern for our own comfort is a form of self-regard that isn’t optional, if we care to live. Nonetheless, necessary self-regard is still self-regard. A mind of winter leaves self-regard behind. And so, it sees wintry beauty — the snowy, frozen world lit with “the distant glitter / Of the January sun” — simply because it is there to see, irrespective of what it might mean to the self. Winter in itself isn’t hostile, just indifferent: self-regard makes the indifference seem hostile. A mind of winter is “unselfed”.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Cursing, Swearing, Blaspheming, and Obscenity

 

Not just a matter of knowing the words,
Nor stringing together in ways unheard
That makes a blast of vitriol seem new.

Any man can make fires rhyme and smell
Of brimstone, sulfur, and lye, all quite well,
But is it art? Is it glory they spew?

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: 19th-Century Discontent

 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning.jpgDISCONTENT
Light human nature is too lightly tost
And ruffled without cause, complaining on–
Restless with rest, until, being overthrown,
It learneth to lie quiet. Let a frost
Or a small wasp have crept to the inner-most
Of our ripe peach, or let the wilful sun
Shine westward of our window,–straight we run
A furlong’s sigh as if the world were lost.
But what time through the heart and through the brain
God hath transfixed us,–we, so moved before,
Attain to a calm. Ay, shouldering weights of pain,
We anchor in deep waters, safe from shore,
And hear submissive o’er the stormy main
God’s chartered judgments walk for evermore.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

On first glance, Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1805-1855) would seem to have lived a life of privilege and fortune, with little room for discontent or unhappiness anywhere. Her family, which resided in the north of England, was extremely wealthy on both sides, the result of both inheritances and ownership of Jamaican sugar plantations. As the oldest of twelve children, she had a very comfortable upbringing, well-educated, and encouraged in her love of poetry-writing by her mother, who kept every one of her daughter’s notebooks, giving us a fascinating glimpse into Elizabeth’s stylistic and philosophical development as she aged.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Focusing on the Personal

 

Last year, my church introduced a new at-home study program called “Come, Follow Me.” It included weekly reading assignments for studying the New Testament, including suggestions for how to adapt those assignments for different family situations. Probably a lot of you have followed similar programs on your own or with your families.

When I started the program, I decided to do something a little different. I made a goal to write at least one poem inspired by the reading assignment each week. The goal wasn’t necessarily to try to interpret the scriptures, but to deepen the spiritual and emotional experience I had during my study.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Ave Atque Vale, Thou Bleak Midwinter of My Discontent!

 

As most of you know, I’m British. And as such, I generally try to keep a pretty stiff upper lip about things. Not to whine unduly. And when I do whine, I try to whine at the person or people who are at the root of my dissatisfaction or unhappiness, or in the case of “things” that unsettle me, at the person or people who can actually do something about them. Thus my recent encounter with Highmark Insurance, who abruptly cancelled Mr. She’s Medicare Advantage plan because of “your failure to pay your bill for several months.” Big mistake. By the time I’d finished “whining” at them, I’d gotten matters corrected, his coverage reinstated and backdated, and an abject and fulsome apology from the Assistant to the CEO. The next day, I cancelled Mr. She’s Highmark Insurance, and signed him up with UPMC. A petty revenge, perhaps, but sweet nonetheless.

Which is all a roundabout way of saying that I’m not very good at passive-aggression, as (for better or worse) my behavior generally tends towards the denominator, rather than the numerator, of the fractional representation of the whole number that is my life. Passive-aggression, has just never been my style. Usually, if you’ve ticked me off, or (in my estimation) treated me poorly, you’ll hear about it from me directly. Doesn’t mean the rest of the world has to, though. If there’s a real point of contention at the center of our disagreement, hopefully we can sort it out between ourselves, without outside meddling. Hopefully. Because I was brought up to believe that’s how it’s done.

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Member Post

 

 We ventured out between monsoons to pick up last minute holiday gifts and necessities, which included Barnes & Noble, a book store with a coffee shop, delicious cookies, a toy section and my yearly cat calendar by artist B. Kliban. There are only three bookstores left in our area. I picked up a discount book […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Three Melancholy Poems

 

I haven’t been around here for quite awhile while I dealt with some things. Mostly, politics was driving me crazy so I stepped out for a bit. I didn’t want to make a big explanatory exit, so I just left … and now I’m back.

It’s been quite a year. While there have been many happy occasions—one son married, another son returned home after two years in Tijuana—I’ve also faced plenty of personal dissappointment and the feeling that little bits of my heart were gradually being stripped away. On the plus side, I’ve done a lot of writing and it looks like I’ll probably publish another volume of poetry by the end of next year. Today I’m sharing three more personal poems that won’t be included in that volume. They kind of ecompass the tectonic shifts in my world this year.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: The Bard of the Yukon

 

Klondikers on Lake LeBarge 1897There are some things that, when they erupt in my life, catapult me instantly back in time, or elsewhere in place or company. Certain smells, and I’m in Granny’s kitchen five or six decades ago. Or, it’s the early 1970s, and I’m cleaning fish on Court Brothers’ wharf in Rustico Harbour, PEI. Or perhaps I’m wandering around Kano Market in 1960, eyes and nose running at the variety of pungent spices and out-of-this-world hot peppers for sale, or just for breathing-in. (I’m thankful it’s only on rare occasions these days, that a redolent something wafts by and reminds me of the camels.) Particular colors, and my sister appears before me, as I think about how well a pair of earrings would suit her, or what use she could make of a gorgeous skein of yarn.

Flowers and landscapes–reminders of childhood, of places I’ve visited, of places I love–reminders of beloved friends, some still here, some, seemingly lost to me forever. All, at one time or another, a part of my life. All, when they happen now, becoming themselves a part of my life today.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: Autumn’s Rainbow

 

There was no rain. There was no wind.
A sunny day’s bright, piercing sky,
And colors that refuse to blend
In trees that wear each hue and dye.

The sky scalded with skeins of crimson:
Sweet sugar maples sing of red,
The green of leaves long left behind.
And excreted over all: the oil of blood.

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