Poetic wanderings, real and virtual

IMG_3264Wanderings of the Real…

Harvard is blessed with a plethora of libraries and reading rooms (including the Woodberry Poetry Room that I visited for stop 5 of my Poetry Scavenger Hunt) – a little while ago I stumbled across this display of graphic novels in Lamont Library that included this stirring advertisement for an illustrated version of Ginsberg’s Howl. A different spin on the iconic lines than I put on them when I accompanied them with coffee for my Ginsberg “Place Mat.” 

Wanderings of the Virtual…

– I’m not sure what will happen to this blog once winter has truly ended, but for now, you can see pictures from this record breaking Boston winter paired with Samuel Beckett quotes at M(Becket)TA. I’ve read Waiting for Godot, but I had no idea how intimately Samuel Beckett knew a bleak winter…

– Need a poetic pick-me-up? I find that using either the Random Poetry Generator at ThinkZone or the Interactive Haiku Generator at the Language is a Virus website usually does the trick. These are virtual versions of aleatory creativity techniques – and I think the Surrealists would have approved. But I warn you – these websites can be addictive…

For the Haiku Generator, you can enter any text of your choosing and it will fit it into the forms of famous haiku:

(using quotes from M(Becket)TA in the Haiku Generator = Samuel Beckett meets Basho)


No one else

Along this world but I,

This tears hell.

apologies to Basho

– If, like me, you are fascinated by where the artistic impulse comes from, why we make art, and who we make it for, I encourage you to become acquainted with the story of Henry Darger (1892 – 1973). He was a janitor living in Chicago and unbeknownst to anyone, at least until he was on his death bed, he wrote a fully illustrated 15,000 page fantasy novel. His art is now world-famous. I first became aware of his story when, on a lark, I rented a documentary entitled “In the Realms of the Unreal” at my local video store (which dates the encounter since those no longer exist!). The good news is that the full length documentary is on YouTube for free (and has been up for quite a while with thousands of views, so I am hoping that means it is a legitimate source) – you can find it here. I was reminded recently of how amazing Darger’s story is when original Super-8 footage of Darger’s apartment was posted here.



    1. Henry Darger’s story is amazing – the documentary is well worth the time to view and enjoy. One of these days I’ll get around to visiting the American Folk Museum and go to the room dedicated to Darger.

      The opening line of Howl is one of the best there is – so you have good taste!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I was just reading these lines this morning (having taken Everyman’s “Beat Poets” out of the library).
    And yes I’m still addicted to both Poetry Generator and Haiku Generator.
    And I too always learn new and wonderful things from your posts.
    Snow almost gone in NYC…


  2. What a great wealth of information in this really, really good read. (I hate my ineptitude when I use “really, really” in comments… but this is a really, really good read.) yikes.

    Thank you! Meredith.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Meredith! I don’t do this kind of post too often, but I try to make them interesting and a “best of poetry links” when I do! I hope you enjoy the poetry generators and have a chance to view “In the Realms of the Unreal.” Let me know what you think of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I look forward to seeing it. I just found this, and it must be my lucky day because I have a whole piece of free time to indulge. YEA!!


      2. Wed., a.m.: Marcy, I just wanted to thank you for encouraging me to view Realm… I found it fascinating, inspiring… not sure which adjective serves best… but I am very grateful. After reading your post this morning, it seemed like a good time to come back and let you know that I found myself editing a small tome in this reply column every time I tried to offer a final insight… so I wrote a post, instead of overwhelming the reply box. Although this was not my intent, it seemed a better way to direct all the verbage in my head at the time.

        To me… well, knowing the little I do about Darger, I’d have to conclude, generally, that Henry was a visionary bonded to the true nature of his heart. The documentary was obviously a loving tribute, and even if Henry did not feel sure that his longings were listened to and attended by a humble servant, he didn’t wait for absolute, divine confirmation to continue his work… and that’s more than faith. That’s a glorious life.


      3. Dear Meredith – I am so glad you enjoyed the documentary!! I LOVED your post about Darger – you described the experience of discovering his work so much better than I could. I kept saying “yes! yes!” as I read it. I will be mentioning it and sending folks to it in my next post (hopefully later today, although I’ve been just slammed at work, so I am a little behind in the ol’ posting schedule). It was upon seeing that documentary again last year that I decided to start creating art and following my heart with it – “come hell or high water,” if you will – so Darger’s story is dear to my heart. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

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