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Poetry reading by poets published in the
2010 Texas Poetry Calendar.
Friday, December 4, 7 p.m.
Half Price Books on
Northwest Highway in Dallas.

Y'all come on out now, ya hear?

Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!

May our families and friends, our blessings and gratitude, and our joy for life be as colorful and delightful as this priceless image of the "Thanksgiving Child!"


Photo by Brandy Taylor from istockphoto.com

Ah, mon petit chou

At last, I understand that French term of endearment, "my little cabbage."

I bought an organic cabbage from my local health food store. I bought it simply because it was beautiful. Its shape was flawless, smooth, ovule, and its outside leaves met in the center, gently touching edges as if they were human hands in prayer. I peeled back one of those leaves, and the photo above shows you what I saw.

The architecture of this single cabbage leaf is a work of wonder. Take a moment to look. See if you can count the veins or follow their many pathways without your eye becoming lost in the complexity... of one leaf.

Le chou tasted as wonderful as it looked. This naturally grown, divinely made cabbage tasted positively mellow with a hint of the tang it is so well-known for--just enough to make it interesting to my palate, just enough to make it un chou and not une laitue.

November is a time of harvest. Such wonders as these abound. Let not the abundance blind us to the many marvels ea…

Peaces of Space

forest journey by scottie parsons

A beautiful new exhibit opens this weekend at William Campbell Contemporary Artin Fort Worth, Texas: "Pieces of Space" by Scottie Parsons. I've titled this post Peaces of Space, though, because Scottie's paintings always give me such a great sense of peace and space.This brief description of the artist's work comes from the gallery Website:

"By rigorously examining planes of color and their relationships to one another on the canvas, Parsons strives to inspire a feeling of the infinite - both physical and spiritual - and to evoke a sense of the human essence beyond everyday life. Each piece creates its own indefinable atmosphere, inviting the viewer to enter, explore, and experience the sublime. "

sky ladder by scottie parsons

Visit the gallery online or in person and experience the sublime in these planes of colors that speak of all the elements of earth and those of heaven, too.

William Campbell Contemporary Art
Scottie Par…

A different kind of terrorist

These terrorists are killing wolves indiscriminately. Why? For the meat? Hard to believe. For the pelts? Wolf fur makes a good fur coat? The thrill? What thrill?

Here's what's happening: Entire wolf packs in the Greater Yellowstone and northern Rockies region are being stalked and killed.Already destroyed isYellowstone National Park’s famous Cottonwood pack.The pack’s adults were all apparently gunned down -- the surviving pups will likely starve to death without their family.

Here's what you can do to help: Go to www.savewolves.org. Read the details. Sign the petition to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Consider donating to this amazing organization and to its important advertising campaign.

The natural world is sacred. Just as human life is sacred. When ranchers' livestock is genuinely threatened, killing a wolf, or even a few wolves is understandable, even though it's a sad affair. Killing wolves by the scores in a national forest is not right in any s…

A special Quiet place

I found this place by "accident" one summer day. An old chapel on a residential street in a Texas town. Now, when I travel through this part of the state, I go to this place very much on purpose. Where it is matters much less than the fact that it Is. Before I stop at a different spot in this small town to fill my car with fuel, I stop here to fill my soul with Quiet, that inimitable Quiet, the one that cannot be manufactured, but is alive and grows, waiting for us to partake of it as we would partake of a great tree's soundless shade. May you, too, find this kind of special Quiet place on some part of your journey.

Autumn Flowers

Autumn Flowers
by Fannie Sherrick
. . .

You are the last bright blossoms,
The summer's after-glow,
When all her early children
Have faded long ago.

. . .


For a poetic treat, go to Grandma's Family Poems, hosted by Grandma Mary. The poem above comes from that site, which features a wonderful selection of poems. It may inspire you to collect poems from and for your family, too. A beautiful and lasting legacy to hand down to future generations. Thanks to Grandma Mary for sharing.

Images, copyright Ysabel de la Rosa.

In-let

I've been reading Julia Cameron's The Sound of Paper. A beautiful book. She is the now-famous author of many books, so well-known that I think even posting a link here is unnecessary. After that book, I began reading her trilogy, The Complete Artist's Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice. Cameron shares her inner life with her reader in a remarkable way, including how she hears God speaking to her. No, not the delusional kind of God-speak, but the quiet, honest, and undeniable kind. I believe that Charles Wesley described it amazingly well when he wrote these lines:

"Thou callest me to seek thy face. 'Tis all I wish to seek;
To hear the whispers of thy grace, and hear thee inly speak."


Did you "start" at the same word that has always made me "start" in this hymn, entitled "Talk with Us, Lord?" Inly. Not inwardly. Not toward the interior, not aiming for the "in" within us, but going there directly. Inly.

When I first r…

What about to have a red book?

Madame Fortune's Cookie Jar by Ysabel de la Rosa

What about to have a red book in your life? This is how Brazilian writer Beto Pelaio's latest post title reads, and I love it. Beto has a thoroughly interesting blog at outsiderwriters. His title today captivates my ears and my inner sense of rhythm.

He is speaking of the new red book by Carl Jung. A book, which I would not recommend to many, though I understand both its value and its appeal. You can read all about it in the New York Times Magazine's excellent article on the subject, written by Sara Corbett.

What is equally as important as Jung's inner discoveries (in my opinion, of course) is the delicate twist of discovery Sr. Pelaio has given to English--a language so much more flexible than it is frequently given credit for. He makes me want to ask:

What about to have a red book?
What about to have an ice cream?
What about to have a masked ball?
What about to hold someone's hand?
What about to lie on the grass and loo…

Looking for books worth looking for?

Then visit my bookseller page atalibris.com
You'll find books from Europe and the US, poetry, prose, rare books, signed books, first editions, and more--all at really good prices. Every book is sent to its buyer wrapped in beautiful paper with an equally beautiful note card . . . you can buy holiday gifts from Artis Lingua Books and not even have to wrap them! Click here to take a peak.

Just added today: Stories of the French Artists: From Clouet to Delacroix, published in London in 1909; the first edition of poet John Berryman's beloved and famous book Love & Fame.

International shipping available.

Above illustration from Stories of the French Artists.

In memoriam

September 11, 2001














DreamBones #3
by Shelia Campbell

a voice comes tunneling
between the skyscrapers, and men
hunt down corners
to hide in, hoping the sound
is some new alert and not the last
prelude

children in the park drop
their toys and, looking up
listen

leaves uncurl their ears
in wonder, making cover
for the terror-stricken

no four horsemen of the apocalypse
no fire, no sword, no cracking
of the earth
just a voice tunneling between
the skyscrapers, a wind moan
amplified, asking
why














______________________________________

To order the book DreamBonesby Shelia Campbell at a special price, click here.

Poem, Copyright Artis Lingua, 2005, all rights reserved.
Top photo by Mark Stout from istockphoto.com
Bottom photo by Melissa Day from istockphoto.com

Hearing Hope Whisper

Isn't that how hope usually speaks to us? In a whisper? In the still, small voice after the great winds have passed? Sometimes that whisper is just enough, sometimes it is all we have, yet whether just enough or all we have, it is always alive. That is the nature of Hope.

Lynn Johnston of Whispering Angel Books has just published an anthology entitled Hope Whispers. Two of my poems are included in the anthology, and they're in great company in this inspirational book that includes work by: Glenda Barrett, Linda O'Connell, Francine L. Bilingslea and Perry P. Perkins, along with Pushcart Prize nominee, Lyn Halpern and Pulitzer Prize nominee, Ed Roberts.

The book is selling now at a special pre-publication price, and proceeds go to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. It's a great opportunity to buy a gift for yourself or for someone you love, while giving a gift to a great cause. Normally $14.95, the book sells for just $10 through September 15.

Click here

From the Patient's Mouth

My friend and colleague Dr. Joe Goldblatt sent me an essay he wrote recently about his experience with National Health Care in Scotland. Below is a condensed version of the essay that I think those of you following the health care reform "debate" in the US might find interesting:

My Dentist and Why I Believe National Health Care Worksby Joe Goldblatt, patientWhen we arrived in Scotland nearly two years ago, we were told to sign up with a local dentist who accepts National Health Service patients. My dentist is a soft-spoken, kind gentleman of 50ish from Mauritius. He has been practicing dentistry for more than 25 years. His dental office is spotless and yet has none of the typical artificial hygienic smells that I normally associate with a busy dental practice.After examining my teeth, he noticed a cavity and suggested that he fill it.When I asked him if he provided local anaesthesia, he smiled warmly and said, “Yes, of course.”Then I asked if it would be alright if I had a w…

Honoring the Peruvian Patroness

Depending on where you live, the feast day for Santa Rosa de Lima is celebrated on August 23 or 30. I like to think of the 23-30 as her feast week. Widely known in South America, she is much less well known in North America. I like thinking of her during this semana de fiesta for many reasons. Santa Rosa was of both Spanish and Inca bloodlines, and one of the causes dearest to her heart was what we think of today as "equal rights" among ethnic groups. She was acutely aware of the treatment of Africans "imported" to South America as slave labor. She set up a small clinic in her family's courtyard to offer herbs and remedies to any who needed them, irrespective of their skin color. This--in the 17th Century--is behavior that challenges the most radical definition of "radical." Much against her parents' wishes, and those of various ardent suitors, she chose not to marry, but instead to live a life of service. For a beautiful woman whose impoveri…

Pero ¿dónde vivo?

Es casi imposible creer lo que veo en las noticias. Una reunión que tiene como propósito ser un foro para hablar sobre las posibilidades de nuevos planes de seguro médico, y aparecen personas con armas de fuego. Hay más de 45.000.000 de personas en este país sin seguro médico. Hecho. Es un problema. Hecho. Hay que hacer algo, ¿no? Y, en este caso el hacer es el hablar. Es una de las cosas que este país solía tener fama por permitir y fomentar, la libertad de hablar--hablar con seguridad, sin miedo y sin amenazas.

Ya es hora de notar un detalle lingúistico.

Cuando hablamos de EEUU, decimos, "Estados Unidos es". No decimos, "Estados Unidos son". Somos uno, un país, un pueblo. Podemos ser y pensar de formas distintas sin perder nuestra unidad. Pero no la podemos mantener apuntando armas los unos a los otros. Por Dios, ¿a dónde se ha ido mi país?

Easily entertained!

Sometimes entertaining moments remind me of a Japanese flower my father once brought home to my sister and me when we were very young. The "flower" appeared to be only a twisted bit of colored paper--until it was dropped into a bowl of water, where it bloomed into its own floating world of petals.

Moment 1: A very tall, big-boned woman walks into a health food store with a list in her hand. She is on a mission. The store manager, an expert herbalist and very gentle spirit, greets her and asks how she can help. The woman replies in a booming voice: "I need yeast flakes. That's what the list says. The flakes are for the rat. My son wants the rat to live a long time. Oh, I see the yeast flakes also have B-6. That must be good." She bought an 10-inch-high canister of yeast flakes and continued on her mission, list in hand.

Moment 2: I am leaving a crowded grocery store, accompanied by a high school student who will load the grocery bags in my car for me. I re…

Beauty in Hardship

Apologies for the long absence from blogging. Unicef has brought me back (with a promise to be, as Larry McMurtry once said, "more regular.")

I learned about Unicef in high school. I bought a Unicef desk calendar, which I kept for many years to continue to look at the wonderful art and wise quotes from around the world on its pages.

One Halloween, my church's youth group went trick-or-treating for Unicef. We split into teams, and each was assigned a different part of our small town to knock on doors and ask for donations. My team was assigned the poorest neighborhood. And to this day, I am glad. I knocked on the doors of those houses with trepidation. How could I ask these people for a donation--they were already struggling. But I asked. And they answered. Not one single family turned us away without making a donation. In some cases, their contributions were as small as 3 pennies, but NO ONE turned us away without making a gift to this wonderful organization that helps ch…

An Aesthetically Pleasing Opportunity

If you're looking for an exciting new venue for your poetry, fiction, or artwork (including photography), then take a look at Aesthetica Magazine. This is an interesting and lively publication based in the UK, and every year they publish a Creative Works Annual. You can submit work to the Creative Works Annual through August 31, 2009. And, when you submit, you'll receive a free digital edition of the 2009 Creative Works Annual.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 2009 Annual. It's very nicely done. The selection of poetry is wide-ranging, as powerful as it is sensitive, and much of it, I felt, really honored language in its technique and structure. Hard to pick a favorite in this section, but I must say that "Invasion" by Anthony Watts is one of the most memorable poems I have ever read, and "Ash Wednesday" by Andy Humphrey stood out to me due to its intelligent and poignant handling of a Christian subject.

The artwork section represents many visions. I particul…

Starring Poetry from the Lone Star State

The 2010 Texas Poetry Calendar is now available. I've just received my copy, and it's quite a treat! Editors and publishers Scott Wiggerman and Cindy Huyser did a wonderful job. Kudos also go to David Meischen, Managing Editor, Kristee Humphrey, Cover Designer, Photographer Gerald R. Wheeler who created the cover photograph, and last but not least to Texas Poetry Calendar Judge Poet Mark Doty, whose wonderful poem "Iris Catalogue" opens the calendar / poetry collection. You can order your own Texas Poetry Calendar at dosgatospress.org or check your local Texas bookstores. (Links are in purple.)

I believe a rose

is as much a journey as a flower. Have you traveled with a rose lately? I highly recommend it.

Don't Send Madoff to Jail

That's right. Send Madoff to work, instead. He could spend months helping the charities his investment schemes ruined. He could collect cans with Ms. Sigman, who was interviewed today on NPR and who, having lost her life savings, is collecting cans for recycling fees, among other activities to make ends meet. He could help build homes for the people who lost theirs, due to "investing" with him. Or, he could just get a plain old job, like so many Americans have to do, and then turn over every dime he makes until the day he dies to the people he robbed. It's a win-win. He doesn't take up space in prison at the expense of tax dollars, he has a chance to atone, and it's bound to help him feel better as a human being. Jail is the wrong answer. Put this man to work instead.

Hellth Insurance

Yes, I believe that is how it should be spelled these days. Hell-th insurance. I was amazed yesterday at the hypercritical and plain gossipy questions President Obama fielded on this topic. (And grateful for his intelligence and eloquence as he answered those questions.) One reporter asked and insinuated: "Won't a public health insurance plan put private insurers out of business?" What planet does that reporter live on?

Private insurers are not interested in the public welfare, or one or more of them would have made an effort to offer some kind of decent coverage to self-employed, under-employed or even unemployed persons--certainly at least to children. The convoluted underwriting guidelines of these companies makes it clear that they have no sense of mission to the masses. My case is a great case in point.

As an employee, I was insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield for five years. In the 30 days after leaving said employ, I applied for individual coverage with BCBS. I w…

I don't get it

Some things make no sense to me.

There are more than 45 million Americans with no health insurance. Yet not one private insurance company sees this as a business opportunity. That's one large "pool," and many of these people have enough income that they would and could pay a reasonable premium, even if only for hospital care.

In my experience, only companies offering "minor medical" insurance at premiums that are border-line "reasonable" are taking advantage of the situation. Some in a good way, others in a bad way. I recently signed on with one of these programs and then received my "health discount documents" only to find out I'd been lied to about network providers. I can cancel only by phone, which I've tried to do--but no one is "available" when I call to cancel.

I'm one of the 45 million Americans unable to procure major medical insurance. Yes, I've seen doctors in the past 10 years for a variety of reasons. But…

A Quote for All Time

I just received this from a friend and think it well worth sharing:

"Part with self-conceit, for it is impossible
for anyone to begin to learn
what he thinks he already knows." -- Epictetus

Un homenaje fotográfico

These photos by Argentinian photographer Eduardo Longoni are true works of communication. They provide a look at the life of author Mario Benedetti that is both intimate and respectful. Each is a story in itself. My thanks to Sr. Longoni for his permission to post these photos here. You can see more of his work at his website. (English and Spanish)

Mario Benedetti en El Café Brasilero, Montevideo, Uruguay

Estas fotos del fotógrafo argentino Sr. Eduardo Longoni son obras profundamente comunicativas. Nos ofrecen una mirada a la vida del escritor Sr. Benedetti que es a la vez íntima y respetuosa. Cada foto es una historia en sí, historias que se cuentan sin palabras. Gracias a Sr. Longoni por su permiso para colocar estas fotos en mi blog. Puedes ver más de su obra y aprender más sobre su trayectoria profesional y artística en susitio web.

Escritorio de trabajo de Mario Benedetti / The writer's desk

Because everything we say and do is the length and shadow
of our own souls, our influence…

Arrivederci, Sr. Benedetti

I felt my heart skip a beat when I saw the news on Letralia. The beloved author, poet, critic, and humanitarian Mario Benedetti left this earth on May 17. He suffered for some time from lung and other problems. He died at home in Montevideo, Uruguay--a country where he was not able to make his home for many years of his life.

Here are some links where you can learn more about Sr. Benedetti:
Letralia a wonderful literary magazine published in Venezuela (Spanish). CBC News Story (English). A Wikipediaentry (English) gives an overview of his works and short biography. Click on the photo above to visit the Cervantes Institute page on Benedetti (Spanish).

Here's avideowith Mario Benedetti reading, "And if God were a woman?". The poet uses Juan Gelman's question as the starting point for this poem. Warm and comforting as it is confrontational and startling, this poem speaks straight to Men about the Divine Feminine--not as a replacement for the Divine Masculine, but …

May Flowers

This tulip appears to be in prayer, folded inward, becoming ready to open,
and then to bless the eyes lucky enough to see it blossom.

How do I love hydrangeas? I could not count the ways! Their bounty amazes me, great clouds of flower, made up of small and perfect blossoms. Colors ethereal, pastels never had such strength
as in the petals of this flower.


A mum in spring. I like the contrapuntal thought of this, paired with the hardy Peruvian Lily.


And one of the world's great treasures: the interior world
of the iris.

***

How glad I am to have the company of these creations,
to be in the presence of
their color, their light, their beauty.


Images, copyright Ysabel de la Rosa, all rights reserved.

Merry May

As I type these words, the birds outside my upstairs window sing to each other. A hawk just swooped by in the clear blue sky. And speaking of blue, this color was never more beautiful than in Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, created by the brothers Limbourg. Here, the Duke's party are on a merry May outing. The subject of one of my most cherished research papers, I'll reserve any further comment on the book or even this one plate. I invite you instead to spend some quality time with this image, explore its dynamic stillness even as its subjects "move" to their destination, drink in these colors, rich as any jewel, and enjoy.

Having Fun

I am having so much fun with my poetry poster. So far, posters have found their way to Italy, Spain, Argentina, and Scotland, as well as Texas, Washington, DC, Washington State, and Florida. They've gone to homes and offices, to one post office, and one beauty salon. If you would like to have one, just send an email via the contact link in my profile.

A Poetic Gift for You

Time to be verse-atile!
It's Poetry Month!
(en castellano abajo)

In honor of National Poetry Month, I've created the small poster above (6 x 11" / 15.2 x 27.9 cm). Would you like to have one? Yes? Well, I would be very happy to send you one! ¡De regalo, claro! All you need to do is:

Click on the contact link in my profile.
Send me an email with "Poetry poster" in the subject line.
In the body of the email, include your address details.
And, yes, I will ship overseas.
(And, no, of course, I will not share your address.)

Any catch to this? Only one. The total press run for my poster is just 95, so the sooner you send that poetry poster email, the surer you can be that you will have your very own poetry poster. Once they're gone, they're really gone.

For a whole lot more Poetry Partying, see the Academy of American Poets and Poets & Writers Magazine. Each of these sites will have links and connections to still more . . . Enjoy!

***********************

Para cele…

More than ever, a time to be peaceful

In today's internetted world, the news is already old enough to be absent from Yahoo's headlines for the day: "Dalai Lama banned from peace conference in South Africa." It's all I can do just to write those words on the screen. It makes my stomach hurt to see them.

So, this news makes today a good time for us to Be Peaceful and to look clear-eyed at this wrongdoing by the South African government, to pity the people who made this decision based on their cowardice and lack of humanitarian and spiritual values.

Now more than ever, we should Be Peace, as so many wise teachers have instructed. We should not waste time, breath or energy in criticism of leaders who have lost their way, but instead should turn anew to the Dalai Lama's teachings on peace and forgiveness. We should direct our light toward his spirit and his life-saving, life-giving work of peace. More than ever, it is a time for each of us to Be Peace, remembering that Peace is not the easiest way. It…

Holi Spring, Batman!

It's Spring! And leave it to India to usher in this season of rebirth and regeneration not with dainty pastels, but shades of fire, hot yet also jewel-like, brazen, yet with a depth and an indescribable refinement that create both awe and delight within my Western eye. India welcomes spring with the Holi Festival.

The site holifestival.org describes the festival: "Holi is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun which is March per the Gregorian calendar. Holi marks the end of winter gloom and rejoices in the bloom of spring time."

One of the great joys of Holi is the Festival of Colors: "Days before Holi, the markets become flooded with colours. It is a joyous sight to see huge piles of bright red, magenta, pink, green and blue everywhere on the streets. Buying those colours seems as though you are bringing joys into your life.

"These days it is easy to buy colours from the market but still s…

The Tides of March

The Tides of March come in on the waves of wind
cresting invisibly while ever so visibly rocking
the trees into a kind of waltz that, somehow,
does not take place in 3/3 time.

The Skies of March are grey, that shade
of light shadow that makes greens greener and
the dark bark of live oaks yet darker
and richer to the eye.

The Tides of March come quietly,
lapping up February,
then advancing fiercely,
on wave after wave of wind
carving its way across the plains.

May you enjoy the march through March,
this predictably unpredictable month that
keeps us awake, guessing and alive.


Text and image, copyright Ysabel de la Rosa. All rights reserved.

An Important Conversation about an "Idle Notion"

Once again, Bill Moyers brings us a voice that needs to be heard; that of linguist, professor and author John McWhorter. The starting point for tonight's conversation on Bill Moyers' Journal was Eric Holder's comments on needing a "conversation on race" and on our being a "nation of cowards." Holder's statement does a grand disservice. It labels, it assumes, it presumes. And it ignores the thousands of Americans who have fought for civil rights and racial equality, Americans of all "colors." I thought the new Attorney General was smarter than that.

Fortunately, John McWhorter is smarter than that. In his conversation tonight with Bill Moyers, he stated, "Conversation about race, I think, is an idle notion." It is becoming, in fact, a meaningless notion. I believe that we might even be reaching the point where such a "conversation" may recreate "racial" problems that were on their way to being resolved. McWh…

Limits, limitations and line

Rights are big news this week.

Case one: Shepard Fairey. Very creative guy, with good design skills and a talent for creative synthesis. He put that talent to work, however, on subject matter he neither created, owned or had permission to use. That's wrong. Fairey also installs / posts art in public places without permission. Also wrong. Y punto. I don't know why this is even making it to talk shows. Yes, it was a fantastic poster. And it was an illegal production. (As is, ultimately, that Che Guevarra t-shirt you have in your drawer.) If I take a denim jacket from your closet, glue fake gemstones to it, and then wear it to go two-stepping one Saturday night, that does not make the jacket mine.

The fact that there is so much buzz on this issue makes an important statement about our lives today in the weblectronic world. We can get our hands on lots of "cool stuff" now. I can download a Picasso, copy and paste a forwarded emailed poem that the last sender forgot to …