June 29, 2009
Tuesday, June 29, 2009—With a little over a month until the Pan-Mass Challenge, Rob is in high training mode. So while the rest of us at our house enjoy leisurely bike rides around the neighborhood, he managed 99 miles over the weekend (and reports he’s not saddle-sore!).
A big thank-you to everyone who has sponsored Rob’s ride!!! (PMC raises money for cancer research and treatment at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.) For anyone who would still like to contribute, it’s not too late! Click here for more info.
June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009—My family is in the search portion of a dog adoption. We’ve come across many sweet dog faces on petfinder, and lots of sad background stories. Have been visiting local shelters and meeting lots of dogs. Daughter is diligently recording shows like “It’s Me or the Dog,” “The Dog Whisperer,” “From Underdog to Wonderdog,” and “Dogs 101,” so we can all discuss with relative ease training techniques like the clicker method, the grooming needs of Lhasa Apsos, and the amazing water-rescue skills of Newfoundlands. And we’re in conversation with a couple of dog foster families about specific dogs we’re interested in meeting (not Lhasas or Newfies, not that there’s anything wrong with them). So we’re getting closer to finding the dog for us, to making our home—in the vernacular—a dog’s ”forever home” (I wonder how dogs feel about that phrase? ”You mean, gulp, I’m going home with them? Forever?” That’s a joke, by the way, to any dog-placement person who may be reading this. We really are a very nice family who has disclosed all background truthfully, including this also being the home of two cats.)
It’s no surprise that, everywhere I look, I see something related to dogs—and have to stop and investigate. While visiting National Geographic’s site, I immediately spotted this “My Shot Dogs Infinite Photograph.” By clicking anywhere on the main photo of the dog, you zoom into a mosaic of dog photos. Click again, more dog photos, and on and on. Kinda cool. Especially for those of us around here with dogs on the brain.
June 22, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009—You wouldn’t know it from the weather, but it’s summertime! I thought I’d search for a poem about summer, so I jumped out to the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Tool, where you can look for poems by poet, title, first line, or occasion, among other search—I almost wrote “parameters,” but that doesn’t feel like a word that belongs in a blog entry about the start of summer. Anyway, I found this page with links to poems “that bring back memories of summer.” Enjoy the season and the new memories it brings.
June 19, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009—Today is the birthday of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s imprisoned democracy leader, who turns 64. Around the world, celebrities, politicians, and ordinary citizens are calling for her release from prison, and the release of other political prisoners in Burma. I came across the site 64 for Suu, where you can post a 64-word birthday greeting or message of support (text, video, twitter). The site’s home page includes posts from Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Bono, and women Nobel Peace Laureates, among other celebs and noted individuals.
June 11, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009—The One-Card Tour continues. Last Friday afternoon, our group checked out the Dover Town Library, located, as you likely have guessed, in the town of Dover (in this case, Massachusetts). I can’t help breaking into the old song, “Put on your old grey bonnet, with the blue ribbon on it, while I hitch old Dobbin to the shay, and through the fields of clover, we’ll drive up to Dover, on our golden wedding day … ” Continuing on that tangent, I just found some neat early-1900s’ recordings of ”Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet” (plus a bonus “By the Light of the Silvery Moon”) at the site of the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project of the Department of Special Collections, Donald C. Davidson Library, UC Santa Barbara. But I digress . . . (though will go back to that site at some point.)
The Dover Library received thumbs-up from all of us. Oh, let’s face it, it’s hard for us to give any of these libraries a thumbs-down. Still, this one has its own special vibe. From the brickwork out front, and this being an old New England town, I expected a darker, possibly creaky main floor. But when you walk in, it’s quite a different feel altogether. An expansive glass entryway is just beyond the front doors; you can take a moment to observe the sweep of the library before you become part of its activity. High ceilings, skylights, and extra-long windows provide lots of light. Your eye immediately catches the artwork along the white walls.
As far as selecting books, you can browse the stacks or pluck from stack-end library picks, “some great books you may have missed.” The YA area is on the main floor; comfortable—I’d say coffee-shop like, just minus the barista.
Where the upstairs is about light and open space, the downstairs children’s department is cozy and kid-scale. The green book shelves and classroomish-environment transported me back to my own elementary-school years, though the book selection is current and diverse. It’s a visually alive, hands-on room.
A note from the library’s Web site: The Dover Town Library has been ranked 7th in the country, and first in the state, by population category, according to the HAPLR library rankings.
Also noted on the Web site, if you need a new library card, you can donate one nonperishable item to the food-pantry program and receive a free library-card replacement.
June 6, 2009
Saturday, June 6, 2009—The challenge: Create a poem using only the titles of books. With thanks to Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect and Julie Larios at The Drift Record for this one. Their poems “Nobody’s Fool” and “Naked” are must-reads, regardless of whether you try the challenge. If you do decide to play, the one rule is to provide the titles and authors of the books you use. Post a comment with a link to your poem if you’d like to share one.
Using titles for both kids and adults, and including the title of a writer’s reference guide, I ended up with this poem/love note:
‘Tis a dangerous age,
I know this much is true.
The joy of keeping score,
the rules of survival . . .
woe is I,
abide with me.
Out of the dust,
my grandfather’s blessings!
The audacity of hope!
Guess how much I love you?
Eat, pray, love,
‘Tis by Frank McCourt
A Dangerous Age by Ellen Gilchrist
I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
The Joy of Keeping Score by Paul Dickson
The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
Woe Is I by Patricia T. O’Conner
Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
My Grandfather’s Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen
The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
June 5, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009—This week, while sitting on the parents’ bench at tae kwon do class, between watching blocks and kicks, I was jotting down some notes on Ralph Fletcher’s wonderful Buried Alive: The Elements of Love, poems told through several teen voices. Another mom saw the book from over my shoulder, and asked to take a look. We started talking about the collection and poetry in general—her son, another one of the kids out on the floor, recently started writing poetry, and is really getting into it. Because of his enthusiasm, she’s also begun enjoying poetry beyond the more traditional forms she knew when she was younger. The family’s interest was ignited by a visiting classroom poet (visiting poets, take note!).
I appreciated how just sitting with Ralph Fletcher’s poetry book sparked a wonderful conversation with another parent about poetry, about kids and poetry, and about taking a look at poetry with fresh eyes. Then the kids were dismissed and it was off to the rest of the day’s activities. But I still have the book, not due back to the library for another week or so.
From “Brock” (part one: earth)
These pumpkins will get big,”
he promised and I smiled:
I had big plans for us.
From “This Is Not a Love Poem” (part three: air)
This is not a love poem no way
you need big words for that
like “luminous” and “eternity”
you need lots of serious rhyme
or at least iambic pentameter …
from “Dawne” (part four: fire)
Dad found your poems
found your notes found
the translations, evidence
he could use against me.
–Excerpted from Buried Alive: The Elements of Love by Ralph Fletcher (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1996).
This week’s poetry roundup is hosted by Sara Lewis Holmes at Read Write Believe.