poems

History Haiku Saturday – September 9 – The Discovery of Amalthea, 1892

rectangular photograph of a collage of cut up letters forming today's haiku, on a bright pink background

There is nothing more
To learn by watchful eyes, said
Galileo’s ghost.

Today’s history haiku is to commemorate the discovery of Amalthea, one of the moons of Jupiter, by E.E. Barnard in 1892. It was the first new moon of Jupiter discovered since Galileo’s discoveries in 1610 and the last planetary satellite discovered by direct visual observation (as opposed to photographic observation). Barnard (1857-1923) was an American observational astronomer who discovered numerous astronomical features by both direct visual observation and photography, including 15 comets. In the 1880’s there was a prize offered of $200 per newly discovered comet: coming from very modest means, Bernard seized the opportunity and turned in 5 new ones. He used his prize money to build his family a house.

I’m pleased to report that I’ve been keeping up with the daily history haiku. Last Saturday’s haiku, on the Rock Springs Massacre, sadly highlighted the fact that I could, without too much effort, make these haiku a litany of war, battles, and tragedy. In addition to preferring to learn about a new event, I’m trying to vary the topic a little so that is not the case. I suspect, though, that some days that will be hard. Collage and haiku by me. Have a good weekend!

History Haiku Saturday – September 2 – Rock Springs Massacre, 1885

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Workers’ unequal pay:
Deep coal seams, deep racism
Bodies left unburied

I am someone who does well with assignments and “projects” – even if they are self-assigned! So in order to get out of the poetry lull I’ve been in for awhile, I assigned myself the task to write a history haiku a day. People spend lifetimes mastering the art of English haiku and I don’t pretend that these are true haiku in that sense. But I find the strictures of very short poetry to be helpful, so I went with it. Each day I look up the historical events for the day and pick one, trying to favor those I don’t know much (or anything) about.

Today’s haiku recalls the Rock Springs Massacre that took place in Rock Springs, Wyoming in 1885. A mob of white miners turned on their Chinese co-workers, killing 28 of them and injuring 15. The remaining Chinese miners were driven from the settlement. Tensions over unequal pay (Chinese miners were paid less), long simmering anti-Chinese sentiments, and an unsuccessful attempt by white miners to unionize had reached a boiling point. You can read more at Library of Congress’ Today in History (Wikipedia also has a lengthy article). Poem and ink design by me.

Double Original Friday – Dada Resume

Monoprint of layered patterns and the silhouette of a woman, black ink on newsprint

Lab lights
overhead

in sciences
in vivo, present
University into University

writing for-  of-  and-
and have I meant it too

I is day,
am of am
issues the other
kind of variety

shareholders, all

effort, curriculum, height
of the present

Developing quantitative
sciences of my Artwork

in
California.

 


I put my CV and a few job ads into the Dada Poetry Generator (check it out
here if you need some Dada poetry in your life!). With only a little bit of clean up, this was the result. I find it encapsulates my experience of being a scientist on the job market very well. The monoprint is also the result of a little random chance too. I was using this sheet of newsprint, an initially rejected print, to protect the table while I worked with the printing ink. It became a layered work of art in its own right. It seemed to me to be a pair. Poem and monoprint (ink on newsprint) by me. Have a good weekend! (Sneaked this one in under the Friday line, at least on the west coast!)

Double Original Friday – Bird Watching

black and white monoprint of a skeletal bird and a haiku

The bird watching from the car is good.
Peregrine, kestrel, loggerhead shrike
Winter fog no winter has known.

I wrote this short poem while on a long drive through California’s central valley in the middle of January. Interstate 5 there is straight as an arrow and flat, plowing its way through hundreds of miles of farmland. It was bitterly cold and dry and a heavy fog hung over the fields. It looks for all the world like ordinary fog, except when you get out of the car and the mix of chemicals and animal waste hits you. By many measures, the central valley of California is one of the most polluted areas of the state, but it is also one of the breadbaskets of our nation and a place of startling diversity of wildlife – particularly predatory birds you can see from the highway. Poem and monoprint (ink on mineral paper) by me. Have a good weekend!

Short Poem Saturday – Haiku by Knoll

LadyBugsHaiku_KnollGoing back through the archives, I found this illustration I did last year and I couldn’t resist reposting it. Ms. Knoll’s haiku has the same positive effect on me it always has – and with the front page of the news pretty much universally gloomy, I didn’t think it hurt to post a happy, fun poem. I’m pleased to say Ms. Knoll continues to be extremely active, with a forthcoming poetry book for June 2017 and lots of new poetry focused on social justice and current issues. She always has new stuff happening – her website: http://triciaknoll.com/

Original text of the post:
This haiku puts a grin on my face every time I read it. And it never fails to launch me on an extended trip down memory lane as well – from the greenhouse in my grandparents’ backyard to one I visited once in Iceland. I consider this one of the superpowers of the haiku: they are a reservoir of memories stored in present tense words. Ms. Tricia Knoll is an award-winning poet working and living in Portland, Oregon. Her website, triciaknoll.com, has more of her wonderful haiku as well as links to many of her published poems and books – I definitely recommend a visit! Painting (acrylic on cardboard), digital collage, and composition by me. Have a wonderful weekend!

Excerpt Tuesday – Mars Being Red – Bell

IMG_4836 (1).jpg…In a red world, imprint
the valentine and blush of romance for the dark…
Marvin Bell (b. 1937)

It’s been a little while since I posted a new illustrated excerpt and it seems good timing to post this one – from Marvin Bell’s amazing short poem Mars Being Red (Mr. Bell is helping me continue a space theme after last week’s announcement of the discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets, you see). Marvin Bell is a widely decorated poet, including being the first state Poet Laureate of Iowa, and is very active in the poetry community with more than 20 books of poems in print. You can read all of Mars Being Red here. Monoprint on newsprint by me (it was so so good to be working in this medium again after a long break from it!).

Furthering our theme of exploration and discovery, Little Monster Girl invited me to participate in her Weekly Chat this week – and the theme of the questions is “World Traveler” and is part of Cee’s Share Your World Q&A. Head on over to LMG’s blog, compare our answers (there are some interesting convergences) and sample some of her comics while you are at it! (although, warning: they are not always safe for work)

Ever run out of gas?
No – although I was the passenger once in a car that did run out of gas. The gas gauge was broken and my friend’s system for knowing when to get gas mostly involved her “gut feelings”. We were on the freeway when the engine began to sputter and lurch, and she veered off the next exit. The engine died as we coasted to the top of the off-ramp. There was a gas station right there though and luckily for us, it was downhill.

Which are better: black or green olives?
I love olives, so both. You can’t pick one over the other – a ridiculous notion!

If you were a great explorer, where would you go?
I try to be an explorer in as many ways as I can be today – traveling, meeting people from all over the world who have lived such different and fascinating lives, and expanding our understanding of the natural world as a scientist. Like LMG, I too will be traveling to Southeast Asia in a couple of weeks (perhaps our paths will cross, LMG?), and so the adventure continues!

Favorite 3 Quotes
(it is very hard to choose 3, I’d like to say)

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.” – Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)

“Above all, it is a matter of loving art, not understanding it.” – Fernand Léger (1881 – 1955)

“Find what you love and let it kill you.” – Charles Bukowski (1920 – 1994)
I even did an illustration for this one a little ways back!
OROD4154
Bonus Question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week I was so grateful to be able to go out with some dear friends to hike in the desert and take 100’s of pictures of wildflowers. We went to Anza Borrego State Park, which is a simply fantastic place and a hidden California gem (no entry fee, no fee to camp in 95% of the park). The visitor center was staffed almost entirely by volunteers, who took the time with each one of us in waiting in line to send us to the best flower viewing locations. It made me grateful for our national and state park systems, which are always sadly underfunded, and the army of volunteers which keeps them going!

Next week I will be teaching a science workshop for high school students and I am looking forward to their infectious enthusiasm! It never gets dull to get excited about science!

Thanks again, LMG for inviting me to participate!

Found Poetry Thursday – Detectiverse

Every weekend in January my neighbor put out a large printed sign that said “FREE” on the sidewalk in front of his house. Beneath it was a blue tarp piled high with mandarin oranges. Our block is a main thoroughfare for walkers and joggers, who often leaned over and took a few oranges as they went by. But it was almost comical, from my vantage point across the street, to see cars driving along, minding their own business, then suddenly jerk to the curb and screech to a halt. Doors would fling open and sometimes several people would pop out to scoop up armfuls of the fruit.

A glance at my neighbor’s house clearly yielded the source of his problem – a towering orange tree that was sagging with fruit. But my neighbor also used this bounty as an opportunity to give away other things as well; books, nicknacks, magazines, and spare parts were brought out from the bowels of his garage in boxes and plunked next to the bright orange lures.

Like many others, I went for the fruit but stayed for the boxes of free books and magazines.

In general, I was pretty good about saying “no” (you would understand how remarkable that was if you saw my bookshelves), but how could I say “no” to four issues of a mystery magazine, two from 1977 and two from 1978? Thus I acquired my first copies of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. The short stories were good, but the real surprise for me was when I found the mystery poetry!
IMG_4560.jpgI consider poetry “found” when it pops up in unexpected places. True, many literary magazines take both short fiction and poetry, but mystery isn’t a genre I often associated with poetry. That misconception has now been corrected!

Ellery Queen is still in publication (their website is here) and still accepts poetry submissions for “Detectiverse.” They are, in fact, the longest running mystery magazine in the world. I couldn’t find much information on the poet, Mark Grenier, other than his publications in Ellery Queen and Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine (SciFi poetry too!). He was featured in a 2006 article in the Irish Times for conducting poetry workshops for patients at several Irish hospitals. (Side note: “Grenier” is a very poetic last name, it turns out – there are several other published and famous poets that share it.) So, the author of this mystery poem is mostly a mystery himself, for now…

 

Short Poem Saturday – Corn Moon – Summers

KXSX3001.jpgThis was an illustration I did last year, finishing it before I had to take my hiatus from this blog. I was in a “no outline” phase, practicing building up an image from repeated mark-making.

Although a corn moon usually refers to the full moon in September, at least there is the lunar connection for the Lunar New Year today. My apologies to Mr. Summers for the long delay between our correspondence and this post! Mr. Summers is a much decorated poet in many of the Japanese traditions. His personal blog, Area 17, can be found here! He also runs an organization, With Words, that brings poetry workshops into schools and to the public in the U.K.

Drawing (ink on paper) by me. Happy New Year to all!

Found Poetry Thursday – The Poetry Bench

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It is slowly eroding, between a public restroom and a playground, shaded by shaggy trees. I have run by it a hundred times and never stopped, the long low form is the color of sand and earth and blends in well. But this one day it was hot and so we veered off and panted in the same shade as this mysterious sculpture. I had to laugh when I bent down to examine it and found the invitation above – Poems here.

It took a fair bit of googling to discover its identity – use the word “sculpture” as a search term and the much more famous works of art in Balboa Park crowd it out of the results. It is the Poetry Bench. Built in 2006 by 20 women out of cob – a natural building material made of clay, sand, and water and in use for thousands of years – it was meant to last a year. But a decade on, although a little worse for wear, it still invites us to sit a while in the shade and perhaps give it a poem. Patiently waiting and letting us hurry by.

(You can see more pictures of the bench and read more about its construction and subsequent lifespan extension here)
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Excerpt Wednesday – I dream of being a weed – White

Idreamofbeingaweed_2.jpgI was immediately impressed by Ms. Jana White’s poem I dream of being a weed, posted way back in February. I’ve read other poems about weeds, both literal and metaphorical, but her take on these hardy little plants is both beautiful and unique. She also created a lovely drawing to accompany her poem (a poet after my own heart!), so I decided to let this one sit for a while and incubate in my imagination. I wanted my illustration to be different and complementary to hers. A photograph of a grasshopper, taken by me on a recent run, became the inspiration to return to this poem and create a photo collage. Ms. White’s blog, Poetry of Light, is wonderful and I encourage a visit over there to experience some of her poetry. To hop directly to the full text and original illustration of I dream of being a weed, click here. Photo collage by me. Have a great Wednesday!