Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 1, Karel Mácha, and God Bless Blesk

May is a big time each year for the Czech poet Karel Mácha. This year pieces of his long poem May showed up in all sorts of unexpected places.

My particular favorite place was the tabloid Blesk. Blesk always spices up it's sensational articles and paparazzi photos with pictures of naked women (ah, Europe). But Blogger doesn't like that too much. So in order to show you what there was to celebrate this May, I had to crop these images very carefully. So here's a bit of Karel Mácha's famous spring poem getting a makeover. Wherever he is, Karel is psyched.

Czech: Byl pozdní večer - první máj - večerní máj - byl lásky čas. Hrdliččin zval ku lásce hlas, kde borový zaváněl háj.
English: Late evening, on the first of May - The twilit May - the time of love. Meltingly called the turtle-dove,Where rich and sweet pinewoods lay...

And continuing on the back:
Cz: O lásce šeptal tichý mech; květoucí strom lhal lásky žel, svou lásku slavík růži pěl, růžinu jevil vonný vzdech.

En: Whispered of love the mosses frail, The flowering tree as sweetly lied, The rose's fragrant sigh replied To love-songs of the nightingale.

There's a bit more to the actual photos than I can show. But you get the idea I guess. God bless the good people at Blesk for doing something to make poetry exciting.

Go get this free book: How to be Creative by Hugh Macleod

This book by cartoonist and businessman Hugh Macleod is really something special that you have to check out if you are into creating anything at all. It's really well written and designed, it's free, and it's been downloaded something like 4.5 million times. Here's a quote from the page:
MacLeod, an advertising executive and popular blogger with a flair for the creative, gives his 26 tried-and-true tips for being truly creative. Each point illustrated by a cartoon drawn by the author himself.

If you've ever felt the draw to do something creative but just haven't been able to pull it together, you'll love this manifesto.
Get it over at changethis.com.You will definitely find something in it that will move you.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Poetry in Movies - The Proposition, Before Night Falls

I've been seeing a lot of amazing movies lately that use poetry in such an amazing way. Here are two of my favorites.

The Proposition (2005)

"There's night and day, brother, both sweet things; sun, moon, and stars, brother, all sweet things; there's likewise a wind on the heath. Life is very sweet, brother; who would wish to die?" from Lavengro (1851) by George Borrow

Before Night Falls (2000)

For Spanish speaking friends out there, this one from the amazing Before Night Falls. I'll put it here with a translation below. Even if you don't understand Spanish watch it anyway and read along. The music really brings it to life.

"Walking along streets that collapse from crumbling sewers. Past buildings that you jump to avoid because they will fall on you. Past grim faces that size you up and sentence you. Past closed shops, closed markets, closed cinemas, closed parks, closed cafes. Sometimes showing dusty signs, justifications: "CLOSED FOR RENOVATION," "CLOSED FOR REPAIRS." What kind of repairs? When will these so-called renovations be finished? When at last will they begin? Closed... closed... closed... everything closed. I arrive, open the countless padlocks and run up the temporary stairs. There she is, waiting for me. I pull off the cover, and staring at her dusty, cold shape I clean off the dust and caress her. With my hand, delicately, I wipe clean her back, her base and her sides. In front of her, I feel desperate and happy. I run my fingers over her keyboard and suddenly it all starts up. With a tinkling sound the music begins, little by little, then faster; now full speed. Walls, trees, streets, cathedrals, faces and beaches. Cells, mini-cells, huge cells. Starry nights, bare feet, pines, clouds. Hundreds, thousands, millions of parrots. A stool, a climbing plant, they all answer my call, all come to me. The walls recede, the roof vanishes, and you float quite naturally. You float uprooted, dragged off, lifted high. Transported, immortalized, saved. Thanks to that subtle, continuous rhythm, that music, that incessant tap-tap." - Reinaldo Arenas

Walt Whitman's Song of Myself read by James Earl Jones

You haven't heard anything like this. He goes off.

Poet Laureate's Gift to Prince William and Kate Middleton

I don't know what's going on with this royal wedding business. I'm out of the loop.

But it is interesting that Britain's first female poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and textual artist Stephen Raw got together to create a limited edition print of Duffy's poetry for the royal couple. Turns out there aren't too many actual pictures of the piece (titled "Rings") floating around. These were posted recently over at Stephen Raw's website:


Text of the poem (thanks to the Guardian):

Rings by Carol Ann Duffy

for both to say

I might have raised your hand to the sky
to give you the ring surrounding the moon
or looked to twin the rings of your eyes
with mine
or added a ring to the rings of a tree
by forming a handheld circle with you, thee,
or walked with you
where a ring of church-bells,
looped the fields,
or kissed a lipstick ring on your cheek,
a pressed flower,
or met with you
in the ring of an hour,
and another hour . . .
I might
have opened your palm to the weather, turned, turned,
till your fingers were ringed in rain
or held you close,
they were playing our song,
in the ring of a slow dance
or carved our names
in the rough ring of a heart
or heard the ring of an owl's hoot
as we headed home in the dark
or the ring, first thing,
of chorussing birds
waking the house
or given the ring of a boat, rowing the lake,
or the ring of swans, monogamous, two,
or the watery rings made by the fish
as they leaped and splashed
or the ring of the sun's reflection there . . .
I might have tied
a blade of grass,
a green ring for your finger,
or told you the ring of a sonnet by heart
or brought you a lichen ring,
found on a warm wall,
or given a ring of ice in winter
or in the snow
sung with you the five gold rings of a carol
or stolen a ring of your hair
or whispered the word in your ear
that brought us here,
where nothing and no one is wrong,
and therefore I give you this ring.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Great BAnd

also great

and if you like those

watch the making of their great last album starting here


Quote from the end by William Lloyd Garrison:

“I will be as harsh as truth, and uncompromising as justice... I am in earnest, I will not equivocate, I will not excuse, I will not retreat a single inch, and I will be heard.”