Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Greatest Poems Ever Written

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

Robert Frost

Epoch Times — Evan Mantyk reports:For your education, enjoyment, and (perhaps) excitement, this is a list of the greatest poems originally written in the English language. It is presented from least greatest (10) to greatest greatest (1) and each poem is followed by a brief analysis of each poem.

The poems in the list were selected by the Society of Classical Poets to inspire and educate new poets, but can also inspire and educate all people with their timeless wisdom and universal themes.

Many good poems and poets had to be left out of this list because of the list’s necessary shortness (a mere 10 among many thousands) as well as the Society’s emphasis on classical poetry.

What is classical poetry? It means poems that follow perennial forms, like meter and rhyme, and that are infused with a classical flavor—that is, with humanity’s quintessential quest for virtue over vice, epic over ephemeral, and beauty over baseness.

Additionally, I note that long poems, such as epics and plays, and excerpts of such works have not been considered for this list. (01/23/2016)

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10. ‘The Road Not Taken’

By Robert Frost (1874–1963)

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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Kenny’s Window: A Book Review

Sunday, January 10th, 2016

Book Cover

brainpickings — Maria Popova writes: “I don’t write for children,” Maurice Sendak (June 10, 1928–May 8, 2012) told Stephen Colbert in his last on-camera appearance. “I write — and somebody says, ‘That’s for children!’” Having fallen in love with his work as an adult myself — none of it made it past the Iron Curtain and into the Bulgaria of my childhood — I’ve come to appreciate this sentiment all the more deeply. Sendak was indeed a storyteller who, while enchanting children, very much embodied E.B. White’s dictum that “anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time” — instead, he wrote up to them and made an art of naming what is dark and difficult, then enveloping it in hope.

It’s a craft he began honing in the largely forgotten 1956 masterpiece Kenny’s Window (public library) — his first and, in many ways, most directly philosophical children’s book, written and illustrated when Sendak was only twenty-eight.

Published seven years before Where the Wild Things Are turned him into a cultural icon, this was Sendak’s debut as a storyteller. He was yet to encounter William Blake, who would become his greatest influence. Although he had previously illustrated children’s books by other authors — including the immeasurably wonderful Open House for Butterflies and I’ll Be You and You Be Me by Ruth Krauss, one of the finest children’s storytellers of all time — this was Sendak’s serenade to his own becoming, a creative homecoming into his own voice as an artist of word and image. (01-10-2016)

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The Egret in Me

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Hot Toddy by Mary Kay KingCommUnity of Minds — Judy Wilken writes: Now, he will stand out, Mary thought to herself while watching the red canvas glisten in the sunlight. She filled her favorite round brush with her white and began creating the boundary of the egret’s body, fleshing out a large oval shape at first. “I have to get the nose to tail,” she said as she pulled some of the wet white pigment up, up, and up, at least a full three feet, on the canvas creating a long vertical line for his neck. “Any water snake could slip down that neck,” she told the egret. Perfect, she thought. More pigment went on top of the wet line and she saw his head, his whole face in her mind for the first time. Nose to tail, she reminded herself. A wingspan of five feet lifting only two pounds? She marveled. “I’ve got boxes of chocolates heavier than you,” she chuckled to herself. When she looked again she noticed the feathers on the right side of his body were quiet. She began brushing in his purplish-blue shadow on his quiet side with one of her Brights. It extended from his nose and shadowed him all the way down to his tail. The smallest round brush she loaded with black pigment. Two black eyes she painted, one on each side of his head. Then, the “straight as an arrow” bill in yellow. She painted his spindly legs a mud-black. “My god, they’re like black, hinged toothpicks,” she thought. They were as narrow as the blades of the narrowleaf cattails just twenty five feet away. After the last few strokes of yellow for his “get a load of those feet”, she looked over at the egret and said, “You look like you’re lost on a wind farm.”

Mary picked up her long handled raggedy brush planning on feathering out a distinct look for the egret’s main gliding and soaring feathers with its bristles. She knew that the tips of the bristles could do all the work. They are perfect for pulling the pigment out from his chest with just a few strokes, she thought. “That five foot wingspan has got to be something of an event,” she told the egret. She began building his “gliding” feathers slowly, long strokes piled on top of one another, slightly angled toward his foie gras. By making each stroke a little shorter than the previous one, she could fluff up his wing space until you were sure that that wingspan was very possible. “Such a perfect wind. You’re crazy with feathers. I can’t believe it.” Mary told the egret.

As she was gently brushing in some grey splashes giving the wings some depth, Mary leaned away from the canvas and got caught in a quick gust of wind causing her to shift her weight once again from one mud boot to the other. She steadied her body with legs a few feet apart while she studied the egret’s “canvas” head. Instantly, she decided to add what was glaringly missing. “A spot of red in that eye. Of course. How could I not see that?” She took her round sable brush, just barely touched it to a tiny smudge of red pigment on her palette then leaned toward the egret’s left “canvas” eye. With a steady hand she lowered the brush into the black eye and watched a red spot spread into it. “Red blood in there. Life in there,” she whispered to herself. Suddenly, she felt the hairs of her brush move, pulse just once while inside the black. She stared at the “canvas” eye, keeping the bristles in the red spot. She felt another pulse run up her brush and into her arm. She kept the bristles in the black and slightly leaned away from the canvas, somewhat startled by what she just felt. What did I feel? she asked herself. “Oneness,” she said outloud. (06/03/2013)

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