Thursday, April 24, 2014

Collections, I and II

I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen.
~J.G. Ballard

Welcome! Glad you could make it. The Opposite of Indifference is hosting two collections today— one is a compilation of poems that take place in imaginary places and the other is the Poetry Friday round-up. Please leave your link in the comments!

Has anyone brought any historical poems? My son is taking part in the first annual U.S. History Bee on April 25th. It's the brainchild of David Madden, who was a 19-day champion on Jeopardy. Madden also founded the National History Bee and National History Bowl, which will be taking place this weekend (and my son is doing those as well!). Lots of poetry and history for us today.

A while back, I began writing poems about fictional lands using entries from The Dictionary of Imaginary Places as prompts. I collected those poems, plus ones by other poets in this collection:


* Alice at Seventeen: Like a Blind Child by Darcy Cummings
* Alzuna by Alfred Noyes
* An Epilogue to the Above By Duchess of Newcastle Margaret Cavendish
* Atlantis by Tabatha Yeatts
* Atlas by Carol Ann Duffy
* Bibliotherapy by Linda Baie
* Eldorado By Edgar Allan Poe
* Fairy-Land By Edgar Allan Poe
* Geppetto in the Whale by Tabatha Yeatts
* Inside the Chocolate Factory by Irene Latham
* Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
* Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
* from Laon and Cythna; or The Revolution of the Golden City By Percy Bysshe Shelley
* Máel Dúin, Seafarer of the Atlantic by Diane Mayr
* Medusa by Louise Bogan
* Morte d'Arthur By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
* On the Island of the Fay by Tabatha Yeatts
* O.O.U. by Tabatha Yeatts
* Peter Rabbit by Laura Shovan
* Puff the Magic Dragon by Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow
* The Agamemnon Rag By Jack Conway
* The Division of Poetic Licensing by Tabatha Yeatts
* The Gardener of Tanje Palace by Tabatha Yeatts
* The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll
* The Sea of Frozen Words by Tabatha Yeatts
* The Sugar-Plum Tree by Eugene Field
* The Theater for Cloud Repair by Sandra J. Lindow
* The Valley of Unrest By Edgar Allan Poe
* The Well o’ the World’s End by Ethna Carbery (Anna MacManus)
* Waiting On Hogwarts by Tabatha Yeatts
* We Pay Our Fare in Apples Here by Megan Arkenberg

Some housekeeping notes:
I'll be running a Summer Poem Swap again -- let me know if you want in! Also, I am clearly technologically-challenged, based on what happened when I added a blog roll this week. I went through and got everyone's blog info, which then all got erased. It took me a while to figure out that I was only allowed to save one blog at a time, and by that point, I was pretty tired of doing it over again. If you aren't on the roll but would like to be, email me and I'll add you.


At Today's Little Ditty, it's Michelle's turn to host the Progressive Poem.

Mobile Libraries

I have always thought that librarians are a little bit like doctors, travel agents and professors all rolled into one. We all know that a great story can lift spirits, take you anywhere in the world you want to go and in any time period to boot, and the lessons you learn from a good book can buoy your own convictions and even change your life.
~Dorothea Benton Frank

I'm a week late, but this post is in honor of National Bookmobile Day (April 16).

photo by Musgo Dumio_Momio

Portable Hospital Library
photo by Musgo Dumio_Momio

Riverboat Library in Bangladesh
photo by the Gates Foundation

Bookmobile Cake
photo by paige eliz

Greensboro Public Library Bookmobile
photo by Brian

Liquid Books
photo by Linda

photo by Diana Arias

Taipei IT Month Fubon mobile library
photo by Solomon203

Pinterest Have Book, Will Travel board

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Gardener of Neither-this-nor-thats

Another entry for The Directory of Imaginary Poems, poetry inspired by The Dictionary of Imaginary Places.

The entry that inspired this poem reads:
"TANJE, a place in ATVATABAR some fifty miles by pneumatic tube from CALNOGOR. Notable are the gardens, where the evolutionary link from plants to animals, the phytes, are preserved. There are more than two hundred species of phytes in the gardens of Tanje Palace, including the lilasure (a bird-like fern), the green gazzle of Glockett (a flying weed) and the yarphappy (an ape-like flower).

(William R. Bradshaw, The Goddess of Atvatabar, being the History of the Discovery of the Interior World and Conquest of Atvatabar, New York, 1892).

by Tabatha Yeatts

He began as a scientist,
this gardener of neither-this-nor-thats,

an explorer, peeling back the world
to prod at the layers underneath.

On one such expedition—
a trip sponsored by Tanje's Grand Vizier—

a search for drinking water
led the scientist to a fern

that made him question his sanity.
“Dehydration can cause hallucinations,”

he murmured
as he fingered the wing-shaped leaves.

At the sound of the bird-song
sweetly ringing from the fern's green beak,

he sat heavily on the grass.

There were more in-betweens
weeds that dove down on their prey from above,

blooms with gorilla-jowls and drooping petal-arms,
vines that braided their own leaves,

bushes that licked their thin, green lips.
Collecting the beast-plants

was delicate work. More than anything,
he meant them to live, to thrive,

to want for nothing,
though they were as alien to the scientist

as the Vizier, whose name he
unofficially assigned to the ape-faced flower.

The scientist's doting attentions
brought them home alive

and he set about building a garden.
He had taken care to record

the plants' locations related to each other,
aware that he was not the god of this world,

and that they had an order
he did not understand.

When the Grand Vizier ordered him
to move the bat-buds next to the fanged ivy,

told him to heighten the garden's appeal
by carving out a "dangerous" area in the back

and assembling a "beautiful" section
near the wooing bench,

the gardener planned their escape,
and the Vizier woke

to find a desolate yard,
with only one sagging plant

next to the wooing bench
with odd, simian flowers

that reminded him of something.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Goofing Around With Zaz

Two versions of the same song by Zaz today. The first is a live version where the singer is playing around, and the second is the studio cut. I like both:

You can buy her music here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Of Rabbits and Hobbits

There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you.
~Beatrix Potter

More poetry that takes place in fictional locations today as part of my Directory of Imaginary Poems, inspired by The Dictionary of Imaginary Places. Thank you, Laura and Linda, for giving me permission to share your poems!

A gift from P by Hideya Hamano

Peter Rabbit
by Laura Shovan

God, I loved him. Bad boy in a blue jacket.
Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail were such bores
picking berries like good little bunnies.
I wanted to squeeze under fences with Peter,
eat my fill of Mr. McGregor’s onions
and blow the stink of them into the old farmer’s face.
I wanted to run like Death himself was shaking his hoe
yelling, “Stop, Thief!”
           Had my sister lived,
we would have worn matching pink sweaters,
had bread and milk and blackberries for supper.
But I recognized a scythe when I saw one,
and as many times as I made my mother read it,
there’s only ever been one Thief in this story.


"Peter Rabbit" was first published at the online journal Switched-on Gutenberg.


Hobbiton by John Mundy

I am in fact a Hobbit in all but size.
~J.R.R. Tolkien

by Linda Baie

Bilbo’s love of home
poignant exasperation
Gandalf at the door

sleepy newest hero
Gandalf offers Thorin’s crew
as Bilbo butters bread

"Abandon books and maps!"
advice given, warily taken
the world is out there

heroes should be followed
I steal into the circle
hooded me, a mouse

heave the rucksack alone
what happens out the door
will change me

Smaug rules my kingdom too
Time to learn how to fight dragons
Bilbo shows me a way

Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved


Today's Poetry Friday round-up host is Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge. I'm off visiting my parents, but I will make the rounds when I can!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


You CAN make an omelet without breaking eggs. It’s just a really bad omelet.
~Stephen Colbert

Easter eggs today. Want to try decorating your own? Martha Stewart has 40 ideas, ranging from lace to stamp-covered to silk-dyed.

Easter eggs, Austria

Easter eggs, Czech Republic

Easter eggs, Belarus

Easter eggs, Ukraine

Straw-decorated Easter egg, Czech Republic

Easter eggs, Germany

Easter in Wonderland, USA
photo by Ludovic Bertron

More ways to decorate Easter eggs

Monday, April 14, 2014


If you were music
I would listen to you ceaselessly
And my low spirits would brighten up.
~Anna Akhmatova

London's Rudimental seems to specialize in striking videos. Some of them, such as Free, have scenes that are just mesmerizing.