Monday, September 29, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

Swimming Up A Waterfall

Photo of EJ Koh by An Rong Xu

Today, EJ Koh shares two poems, plus thoughts about writing poetry. Thanks for giving me permission to post these, EJ!

Carp ascending a waterfall
by Keisai (aka Ikeda) EISEN (1790 - 1848)

Everyone Should Write Poetry
by EJ Koh

In my own Utopia, every man and woman would write a poem. They would write it with intent and care, re-write it several times, read it in a whisper, place it under the pillow before bed, and then tear it up.

For me, I became a grown-up with zero exposure to poetry. I felt love without having to write it down, or pain without trying to find a measure. Now, I write couplets to feel love, entire poems to remember pain. It’s all backwards ever since I have decided to let poetry into the center of my life.

The truth is I want to stop. Not only stop writing, but also, speaking. I want language to end for me because I’m sick of saying the same thing about my mother, about my grandmother, about my inconsiderate childhood—for years. When I’m sick of hearing myself, I turn to the craft of the poem, and even then, the rhythms sound like me. I become sick of me. No one is sick of me more than me.

Despite the lows between manuscripts, rejections, and joblessness, it’s an honor to be a poet. That’s my unpopular opinion—that a poet must remain humble, changing, and sincere. In exchange, I will opt for the shorter life, and potentially destructive, because few things in occupation depend on sincerity.

I recall this piece of information I had tucked away: There is an ancient Chinese belief that if a carp swims up a waterfall, the carp will turn into a dragon. To me, the waterfall is the life that I watched from a distance. When I read poetry, I am standing under that waterfall. I am experiencing the brunt of every droplet—of incident, memory, and dialogue.

Read the rest here.


EJ Koh is a poet and translator of Korean poetry. Her poems have appeared in Southeast Review, Columbia Review, and World Literature Today with recent work in Privacy Policy: The Anthology of Surveillance Poetics from Black Ocean Press (ed. Andrew Ridker, 2014). She earned her Masters of Fine Arts at Columbia University in New York. She was awarded a Kundiman Fellowship for Poetry and The MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She blogs at


Laura at Writing the World for Kids is the Poetry Friday round-up host today.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


We are surrounded by poetry on all sides, but putting it on paper is, alas, not as readily done as looking at it.
~Vincent Van Gogh

When I decided to have watermarks on paper be the theme for this Art Thursday, I wasn't sure it was a good idea. Watermarks, by their nature, are subtle: "A watermark is a change in the thickness of the paper that can be seen when you hold the paper up to the light" (Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking). But I wanted to, and nobody argued with me, so watermarks it is.

How are watermarks made? Gravell Watermark Archive says they are: "designs impressed into paper in the manufacturing process resulting from wires twisted into shapes and sewn onto the mold used to make the paper...they came to be used by paper manufacturers as a kind of trademark for them and their mills." The Williams Museum explains that watermarks can also be made by "relief sculptures on the mold."

In addition to stationery watermarks, there are banknote and stamp watermarks. Info about the making of stamp ones is located here and more links are included below the images.

P&O 1837 (Peninsular & Oriental)

Parchemín Calidad Extra

Watermark - Dard Hunter exhibit
Robert C. Williams Paper Museum

Self-portrait in a cap and scarf with watermark Basel crosier
by Rembrandt (1606–1669)

Hermann Eidenbenz for the German Bundesbank - banknote

Holy Apostolic Palaces
The Vatican

Un Caballero (El Greco)
Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre, Burgos, Spain (FNMT)



* A Teacher's Guide to the Science, History, Art, and Technology of Papermaking
* A history of watermarks
* A student project with watermarks
* An Instructable about how to make paper

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Laughter, Transcribed

Hat tip to Patrick, who knew I would get a kick out of this one:

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Sacred Journey

Having a Movie Monday instead of Music Monday this week. I received a press release about A Sacred Journey and found the trailer very touching:

A Sacred Journey was crowdfunded on Hatchfund.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tenants of Air

Follow the spiders...Why spiders? Why couldn’t it be "follow the butterflies"?!
~Ron Weasley

This video of a flutist who has a butterfly land on her face during a competition made me want to have a butterfly theme for Poetry Friday:

by William Roscoe

Come take up your Hats, and away let us haste
To the Butterfly's Ball, and the Grasshopper's Feast.
The Trumpeter, Gad-fly, has summon'd the Crew,
And the Revels are now only waiting for you.

So said little Robert, and pacing along,
His merry Companions came forth in a Throng.
And on the smooth Grass, by the side of a Wood,
Beneath a broad Oak that for Ages had stood,

Saw the Children of Earth, and the Tenants of Air,
For an Evening's Amusement together repair.
And there came the Beetle, so blind and so black,
Who carried the Emmet, his Friend, on his Back.

And there was the Gnat and the Dragon-fly too,
With all their Relations, Green, Orange, and Blue.
And there came the Moth, with his Plumage of Down,
And the Hornet in Jacket of Yellow and Brown;

Who with him the Wasp, his Companion, did bring,
But they promis'd, that Evening, to lay by their Sting.
And the sly little Dormouse crept out of his Hole,
And brought to the Feast his blind Brother, the Mole.

Read the rest of The Butterfly's Ball


A Blue Butterfly
by JR Solonche

I was outside reading.

A blue butterfly settled on the table.

The opening and closing of its blue wings

looked like a small blue book opening and closing to one blue page.

Then it looked like a blue eye opening and closing.

Then it looked like the blue book.

Then it looked like the blue eye.

Then the blue book.


Truth Serum
By Naomi Shihab Nye

We made it from the ground-up corn in the old back pasture.
Pinched a scent of night jasmine billowing off the fence,
popped it right in.
That frog song wanting nothing but echo?
We used that.
Stirred it widely. Noticed the clouds while stirring.
Called upon our ancient great aunts and their long slow eyes
of summer. Dropped in their names.
Added a mint leaf now and then
to hearten the broth. Added a note of cheer and worry.
Orange butterfly between the claps of thunder?

Read the rest here.


Ten Taps
by Megan Arkenberg

the ten taps of your fingertips
to a sonnet’s beat

Read the rest here (Sorry, it's short. I would have gotten permission, if I hadn't done this at the last minute...)


More flute:

A final word from Emily Dickinson:

In the name of the Bee -
And of the Butterfly –
And of the Breeze – Amen!


Amy at The Poem Farm is the Poetry Friday round-up host this week.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Eugene Ivanov

Eugene Ivanov was born in Siberia in 1966 and has been living in the Czech Republic since 1998. I love his work.

Noční hotel (Night hotel)
by Eugene Ivanov

Po železnici (By rail)
by Eugene Ivanov

Nad střechami jaro (Above the roofs of spring)
by Eugene Ivanov

Houslista (Violinist)
by Eugene Ivanov

Divadlo doby Sovětského svazu (Theatre time of the Soviet Union)
by Eugene Ivanov

Předměstí (Suburb)
by Eugene Ivanov

Pozorovatel (Observer)
by Eugene Ivanov

Dáma na balkoně (The lady on the balcony)
by Eugene Ivanov