Just a note: beautiful new essay by Chicago writer Lee Nelson now online at my other blogGetting Along with Grief. And new poems, one by UK /Australian writer Joe Massingham, and one by Shirley Smothers.
I was watching the news late one night, and what I saw and heard changed me. No, it was not a report on wars, national debt, natural disasters, or famous politicians or celebrities. It was an interview with a 14-year-old young lady, named Emily, who is a patient in Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth. In 2006, Emily was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. The key symptom of the disease is pain--pain that often does not respond to pain relief medication, as is the case in Emily's situation.
In the interview you can see here, Emily describes what it is like to take just five steps. And then the pain is too much and she has to lie or sit down again. On a scale of 1 to 10, she says her "low" score is a 7, with her pain level often reaching a 9, not just when she walks, but all the time. Her voice is calm. She is poised and talks with the interviewer with ease--as she draws. Emily participates in Cook Children'sFrom the heART Program.
I can't think of anything better to post on Mother's Day than mothers' children's creative work. In my last post, I included an image of Cheyann Hayes' painting. A mixture of figurative and abstract themes, it really set my imagination going. But her painting was not alone at the high school art exhibit in Graham, Texas. I have been privileged to visit many a museum in more than one country, and I can honestly tell you that I spent as much time at this exhibit at the Old Post Office Museum and Art Centerin Graham as I did at any expo at a museum. More than 140 students had work in this show.
The Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte said that the most important element of art is "the presence of the spirit" within the work itself. That spirit was truly present in these young people's work. Kudos to their teacher, Kathy Lambden, at Graham High School.
It gave me great joy to see this art--it is resounding proof that we have not all turned into text…
Nature has made lots of news lately. Wind, flood, and fire. I live in the part of the country effected by fires. Hundreds of homes and buildings burned. Thousands of people watched both the horizon and the weather reports to see if the fires were headed their way, if they needed to run, wondering what to grab, what to leave for the flames to destroy.
I happened to drive in the direction of one of the largest fires a few weeks ago and had to cut my day trip short due to road closures caused by the fires. I got as far as Graham, Texas, and walked into their local art museum, established in a former post office.
All the art on display was by high school students. It was good, inventive, exploratory, and often meaningful. And there was a remarkable variety of techniques and media on display. I was captivated by the painting below by Cheyann Hayes. A few days later, I received an email from Graham resident Sue Gilmore that expressed the experience of so many people in this vibrant small tow…
The Storm that Swept Mexico is a wonderful documentary: informative, elegant, and deep. It includes interviews with men who fought with Emiliano Zapata, Zapata's grandson, author Elena Poniatowska, and many extremely well-informed scholars on Mexican history. For those of us who live in the United States, understanding Mexico is an important task. Learning its history is key to that understanding. You can see the trailer for the documentary here.
Seeing and hearing the interviews with the Zapatista veterans was an amazing experience. The light that still burns in those men's eyes is hard to forget, once seen--and perhaps, as hard to understand. It is not all fire, that light. It is also liquid, a mobile mixture of chispa and sadness, of hope once lived in extremis and hope destroyed in extremis. The documentary also includes interviews with people present at the 1968 college demonstration in Mexico City, where Mexican federal police killed 300 people. This is live history, bea…
Will and Kate have married. Osama bin Laden has been killed. The U.S. DOW dropped. The Endeavor's next space flight is postponed. FEMA is setting up "pods" for tornado victims in Alabama. My grocery store rearranged everything. All news. All part of my time and space. But not anything I can do something with or about. What can one do with the news?
First, limit intake. News is a substance, like milk and alcohol. Too much of anything is a bad thing.
Second, ask what you can learn from it. That may be the only "doing" we have in relation to the news. I learned a lot from the latest royal wedding. Unlike the media hoopla surrounding it, the ceremony itself was sacred, serene, and beautiful. The Bishop of London preached a sermon that could be read at any wedding. The couple's choice of scripture and prayer was exquisite. And, I learned that England needs to have laws about hats.
I learned that bin Laden used a woman as a human shield during the attack. If this i…
In my part of the world, it's just past midnight and now May 1. But the day is not yet done in California, so I feel completely legal entering one more post for National Poetry Month. The new issue of Red River Review has just gone online, and I encourage you to pay this resurrected online literary magazine a visit. Red River Review started publishing exclusively online in 1999--the pioneer days of online literary journals--and has always been dedicated to poetry. From 1999 to 2007, it published 34 issues.
The journal went on a prolonged "vacation" from 2007 to 2010, when poet Michelle Hartmann stepped in as editor. Have you ever met a true poet who is a genuine extrovert? You have, if you've met Michelle. I'll never forget a "gaggle" of us poets taking a group photo after a reading. We were all competing to be on the back row--until Michelle stepped in and told us to stop being ninnies and line up and take our pictures. And she was genuinely nice about …