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Friday, March 23, 2018

Poetry Friday--How Lovely the Ruins

If you browse our new books shelf you'll find an anthology titled, How Lovely the Ruins: Inspirational Poems and Words for Difficult Times [808.8035 HOW]. I was surprised to see it sitting on the shelf because these are sure difficult times we are living in! Maybe all that's needed is an introduction to this book, which was released in 2017. Consider this your introduction!

The poems and words were selected by Annie Chagnot and Emi Ikkanda, two editors from the publishing house Spiegel & Grau. They say in the introduction,
...we decided to create a collection to offer readers inspiration in these times of turmoil and divisiveness (and beyond). We collected poems we saw on Facebook. We turned to friends and colleagues for the poems that most spoke to them when nothing else seemed to help.

What I like about the book is that after every two or three poems, there is a quotation that inspires or comforts. For example, here's one by Rabindranath Tagore,
Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.

And for a sample poem, try this one on for size:
The Thing Is
by Ellen Bass

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

Another poem that stands out for me is "There Are Birds Here" by Jamaal May. I found that there are several filmed versions. Here are two to compare:

Look for How Lovely the Ruins on your next visit to the Library. I think it will help you face both your inner and outer worlds.

You'll find the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week being hosted by Laura at Writing the World for Kids.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sharing a Birthday Today!

It's March 22 and many people share this day as their birthdate. Here are a few:

Louis L'Amour, popular writer of western novels [F LAM], born in 1908 (died 1988).

Chico Marx, the Marx brother who spoke with an Italian accent in the Marx Brothers' films [DVD MAR] was born in 1887 (died 1961).

James Patterson, writing machine [F PAT, YA PAT, J PAT], born 1947.

William Shatner, born in 1931, went on to star in television series such as Boston Legal [DVD TV SERIES BOS], the Star Trek films [DVD STA], and, he also writes [SF SHA]!

Stephen Sondheim, composer of Broadway musicals including Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street [DVD SWE]and Into the Woods [DVD INT]. Born in 1930.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, yet another composer of Broadway musicals! Cats [CD BROADWAY CAT] and The Phantom of the Opera [DVD PHA], are probably his most famous. Webber was born in 1948.

Reese Witherspoon, actress, star of Legally Blonde [DVD LEG], Wild [DVD WIL], and a gazillion other movies! Born in 1976

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Russian Classics

Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Anton Chekhov are classic Russian writers most literature students will come across in their schooling. Chekhov is best known for his plays, and The Seagull has been made into a film which is scheduled to open in May.

If you didn't read The Seagull in one of your literature classes, be sure to do so before the movie comes out; find it in Eight Plays [812 CHE].

Surprisingly, Chekhov's plays have not made their way into films the way some works of Russian novelists have--we have three different film adaptations of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina on the shelf [DVD ANN]! Depending upon the reception of The Seagull, may we see more in the future?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

There's a Cure for Yellow Milkmaid Syndrome!

It's called "visiting an art museum"! I personally recommend it! See works of art as they should be seen, not by way of pixels. (If you missed yesterday's post explaining Yellow Milkmaid Syndrome, click here.)

We have library passes (donated by FLOW) to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, and the Currier Museum, Manchester, NH. Click here to reserve a pass (you will need your current Nesmith Library borrower card).

Also, within a short drive from Windham are these museums:

Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA

Andres Institute of Art, Brookline, NH (an outdoor sculpture park)

Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA

Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA

Hood Museum, Hanover, NH (currently being renovated and expanded)

Institute of Contemporary Art [ICA], Boston, MA

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA

Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art [MASS MoCA], North Adams, MA

Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Ogunquit, MA

Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA

Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME

Whistler House Museum Of Art, Lowell, MA

Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA

There are more, but this list should keep you busy for a while!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Yellow Milkmaid Syndrome

No, it's not a disease! Nothing really to worry about unless you're a student of art, or simply someone who appreciates it.

A co-worker and I were talking about how the internet is great for viewing works of art. There are any number of sites--Google Arts and Culture and The Athenaeum are two examples--where you can find thousands of works. We then spoke about how the quality of the reproductions, though, may not always be the best. This lead to color, and how colors appear differently for a variety of reasons.

Here's where Yellow Milkmaid Syndrome comes in--it's a tumblr page that compares online reproductions. The site is subtitled: "Artwork with identity problems."

Take a look at "St. Jerome" by Albrecht Dürer, 1521.

Kind of shocking, isn't it? Makes you wonder what he looks like "in person." Spend a little time on Yellow Milkmaid Syndrome--you'll be amazed!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Poetry Friday--Remembering Stephen Hawking

Sorry for not posting on Wednesday and Thursday, but with the nor'easter, plans and schedules have gone awry. I won't promise things will be back to normal next week because we may have yet another nor'easter heading this way!

Cosmologist, Stephen Hawking died early Wednesday morning at the age of 76.

Credits: NASA/Paul Alers.

Since it's Poetry Friday, I browsed through Verse and Universe: Poems about Science and Mathematics, edited by Kurt Brown [811.008 VER] to find a poem to honor Hawking's memory.

I think this one by Pattiann Rogers will do nicely:
Life in an Expanding Universe

It’s not only all those cosmic
pinwheels with their charging solar
luminosities, the way they spin around
like the paper kind tacked to a tree trunk,
the way they expel matter and light
like fields of dandelions throwing off
waves of summer sparks in the wind
the way they speed outward,
receding, creating new distances
simply by soaring into them.

But it’s also how the noisy
crow enlarges his territory
above the landscape at dawn, making
new multiple canyon spires in the sky
by the sharp towers and ledges
of its calling; and how the bighorn
expand the alpine meadows by repeating
inside their watching eyes every foil
of columbine and bell rue, all
the stretches of sedges, the candescences
of jagged slopes and crevices existing there.

And though there isn’t a method
to measure it yet, by finding
a golden-banded skipper on a buttonbush,
by seeing a blue whiptail streak
through desert scrub, by looking up
one night and imagining the fleeing
motions of the stars themselves, I know
my presence must swell one flutter-width
wider, accelerate one lizard-slip farther,
descend many stellar-fathoms deeper
than it ever was before.
Linda at Teacher Dance is playing host to the Poetry Friday Round-Up. Stop by and say "hello."

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Speaking of Midwives...

Yesterday I mentioned the PBS series, Call the Midwife [DVD TV SERIES CAL], which is starting up again on the 25th of this month. The seventh season covers the lives and work of fictional characters who specialize in the field of midwifery. The series may be considered a bit graphic in that childbirth is filmed in as realistic a manner as possible.

If you'd like to learn more about childbirth (and midwifery), here are some items to look for on your next visit:

Cassidy, Tina. Birth: The Surprising History of How We are Born. [618.2 CAS]

From Conception to Birth. [DVD 612.63 FRO]

Gabriel, Cynthia. Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds. [618.45 GAB]

Gaskin, Ina May. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. [618.45 GAS]

Wagner, Marsden. Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must be Fixed to Put Mothers and Infants First. [362.1982 WAG]

WBUR radio in Boston, recently ran a series on pregnancy and childbirth. The latest segment aired on March 11, "Many Women Come close to Death in Childbirth." Here is the shocking premise that was explored:
NPR and ProPublica have reported American mothers die in childbirth at a higher rate than mothers in all other developed countries. And for every woman who dies, 70 women reach the brink of death.

We can watch Call the Midwife and marvel over how much healthcare has improved since the 1960s, but when faced with a statistic such as the above, we have to ask ourselves, "Why is this happening?"