CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 4, 2013 |
Ruth "Uncle Ruthie" Buell, who lives in L.A.'s Pico-Robertson neighborhood, had a thought one day. Actually, the thoughts are always bubbling over with her, but this one was particularly inspired. Why not replace the rotting tree stumps in her frontyard with benches as a way of inviting neighbors to take a breather, talk and get to know one another? That was Part One of the idea, which took shape about two months ago. Part Two was a note to visitors from Uncle Ruthie - who has graced the planet for 82 years - encouraging them to take pen and paper from pouches pinned to the tree and share their thoughts.
May 23, 2013 |
The books go ever on and on. Forty years after his death at 81, works by J.R.R. Tolkien continue to appear. The latest, "The Fall of Arthur," lists nine works published during his lifetime ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy appears as a single title) and 24 posthumously, including the 12-volume "History of Middle-Earth," edited by Tolkien's son and literary executor Christopher. After his father's death, Christopher left his own position at Oxford to devote his life to Tolkien's vast oeuvre.
May 2, 2013 |
The MAVEN spacecraft is leaving for Mars in November. Along with scientific gear and advanced communication technologies, it will be bringing along some poetry. It could be yours. NASA launched -- or, rather, opened -- the poetry contest on Wednesday. Anyone 18 or over can enter -- or, as the entry form puts it, "Anybody on planet Earth. " No Martians allowed. To enter, write a haiku that is a message to Mars . Haikus, of course, are three-line poems with a specific syllable count -- five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second, and five again in the third.
April 23, 2013 |
Boston-based musician Amanda Palmer has generated an outpouring of responses to her posting over the weekend “A Poem for Dzhokhar,” in reference to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It's a 35-line series of statements, posted to Palmer's blog , each beginning “you don't know … .” Beginning with “you don't know how it felt to be in the womb but it must have been warmer than this.” Some of the other lines: “you don't know how intimately they're recording your every move on closed-circuit cameras until you see your face reflected back at you through through the pulp.
April 11, 2013 |
A tiny poem written by a teenage Charlotte Bronte has sold for more than $140,000 , the Guardian reports. Called "I've Been Wandering in the Greenwoods," the poem, composed when Bronte was 13 years old, is handwritten on a piece of paper just three inches square. It is difficult to read without a magnifying glass. The manuscript is dated Dec. 14, 1829, and signed " C. Bronte . " Written in a minuscule hand on the scrap of paper (easy to hide, one imagines, from one's siblings or clergyman father)
April 9, 2013 |
I've got mixed feelings about National Poetry Month - not because I don't love poetry but because I do. If you ask me, every month should be poetry month, and the idea of setting one apart feels a bit like cultural condescension, as if we were paying lip service to an art that we all know ought to be important, even though, deep down, we fear it's not. And yet, poetry is important, as a form of expression that does (or can) stand outside narrative, that makes meaning through language, that connects us through the music of words.
March 26, 2013 |
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a sweet poem for actress Helen Hayes' daughter, Mary McArthur. Then, six years later, he penned her another one on the reverse of the same page that's, well, a little unsettling. Would you write to a 7-year-old about the "thumb-print of lust"? The poems can be seen at the website of Nate D. Sanders Fine Autographs and Memorabilia . They are part of a lot that is set to go up for auction on April 2. The first poem was written to Mary when she was just a year old. It's a singsong verse: "Is Papa / Your Papa / My Papa?
February 28, 2013 |
Just a few months ago, Eloise Klein Healy was chosen as L.A.'s first poet laureate. Now a new anthology of Healy's work offers ample proof, if any were needed, what an inspired choice she was. "A Wild Surmise" is a vivid record of one woman's artistic and emotional quest, a journey that unfolds, for the most part, in the streets, gardens and homes of Los Angeles. The City of Angels appears again and again in the work of Healy, a native of El Paso who grew up in Iowa but who has made Los Angeles her home since the 1970s.
February 25, 2013 |
Poet Simon Armitage has announced a plan to walk 260 miles along the English coast this summer. During this sojourn, Armitage will offer readings at pubs, schools and other venues in exchange for food and shelter, carrying no money and relying on his pen to sustain him. "The whole idea is that of the barter. All I've got to offer is my work, and the reading of it," he told the Guardian. "Will that be enough for people to say I can stay at their home, or that they'll give me some sandwiches?
February 20, 2013 |
An unpublished manuscript by the 19th century Scottish poet William Topaz McGonagall is up for auction at Bonham's this spring, and is expected to fetch something in the neighborhood of $4,600, according to the Guardian. This price is not despite its notable badness, but exactly because of it: McGonagall, born in 1825 in Edinburgh, is widely considered to be the world's worst poet. The achievement, if one can call it that, has kept McGonagall's work in print over a century after his death, even as his more talented (not to mention mediocre)