Archive for ‘Literature’

July 8, 2012

A Smattering of Notes

by Jillian Douglas

Hullo, friendlies.

Today I bring you… a few notes that have been floating in this brain of mine. Enjoy! ❤

A. Cities are fabulous, but let’s face it; there’s nothing like a small town. Remember why with this article by Sarah Dobbins at Apartment Therapy

062912_cookeville.jpg

B. Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith. This is a really good book. Like, really, really, really good. Go. Get it. You must. She writes about the first year of marriage for Annie and Carl, two (very) young adults living in the early 20th century in the mid-west. This is one (just one!) step below A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, another book by Betty Smith, that is my absolute favorite piece of literature.

C. Driving home today, I couldn’t help but stop by a little vegetable cart by the side of the road, full of bright and happy garden goods. I picked up some beets and zucchini for practically nothing. (Another wondrous note: that same gardener/farmer sells sunflowers for only 35 cents each! They were all out this time, but next time I see those babies, they’re mine! For you local people, this cart is on East Henrietta Rd, between Rush and Henrietta). But back to beets: this Beet Hummus recipe at The Color Issue looks delicious! And did you know the leafy greens are also edible?

That’s all for now…

Live simply; love deeply. xo

First photo by Sarah Dobbins at Apartment Therapy; second and third photo by Aarean at The Color Issue.

June 30, 2012

The Poet Visits the Museum of Fine Arts by Mary Oliver

by Jillian Douglas

My readers,

I am currently in Manhattan this weekend, visiting my brother and his girlfriend. It’s been a lovely little trip! Yesterday we went to the Met, full of wondrous things (like Van Gogh and Monet, my favorite). I thought it fitting to share this poem I found in my inbox today:

The Poet Visits the Museum of Fine Arts by Mary Oliver

For a long time
     I was not even
        in this world, yet
           every summer

every rose
     opened in perfect sweetness
        and lived
           in gracious repose,

in its own exotic fragrance,
     in its huge willingness to give
        something, from its small self,
           to the entirety of the world.

I think of them, thousands upon thousands,
     in many lands,
        whenever summer came to them,
           rising

out of the patience of patience,
     to leaf and bud and look up
        into the blue sky
           or, with thanks,

into the rain
     that would feed
        their thirsty roots
           latched into the earth—

sandy or hard, Vermont or Arabia,
     what did it matter,
        the answer was simply to rise
           in joyfulness, all their days.

Have I found any better teaching?
     Not ever, not yet.
        Last week I saw my first Botticelli
           and almost fainted,

and if I could I would paint like that
     but am shelved somewhere below, with a few songs
        about roses: teachers, also, of the ways
           toward thanks, and praise.

 

You shall see more of me soon. Pinky promise.

March 20, 2012

Spring is Sure to Follow

by Jillian Douglas

Spring is, without a doubt, my favorite season. I love watching the world come to life, the buds forming on the trees, the mud oozing beneath my feet. Even though this winter wasn’t very wintery, I still can’t help but feel renewed as I listen to the birds sing outside the window and watch the sun pour into these dark rooms once more. Not to mention, my birthday is coming up, which is always nice, too. 🙂

Here’s a lovely poem by Mary Oliver for this fine, spring day.

Spring

Somewhere
a black bear
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain.
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
rising
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees.
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its glass cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness
coming
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her—
her white teeth,
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.

 

Well have a fantastic Spring day!

jj

Image by Alyssa Nassner.

February 23, 2012

Getting Through by Maxine Kumin

by Jillian Douglas

I’m not quite sure what this poem is really saying. But I think it is beautifully written and worth other people knowing about.

Getting Through by Maxine Kumin

I want to apologize
for all the snow falling in
this poem so early in the season.
Falling on the calendar of bad news.
Already we have had snow lucid,
snow surprising, snow bees
and lambswool snow. Already
snows of exaltation have covered
some scars. Larks and the likes
of paisleys went up. But lately the sky
is letting down large-print flakes
of old age. Loving this poor place,
wanting to stay on, we have endured
an elegiac snow of whitest jade,
subdued biographical snows
and public storms, official and profuse.

Even if the world is ending
you can tell it’s February
by the architecture of the pastures.
Snow falls on the pregnant mares,
is followed by a thaw, and then
refreezes so that everywhere
their hill upheaves into a glass mountain.
The horses skid, stiff-legged, correct
position, break through the crust
and stand around disconsolate
lipping wisps of hay.
Animals are said to be soulless.
Unable to anticipate.

No mail today.
No newspapers. The phone’s dead.
Bombs and grenades, the newly disappeared,
a kidnapped ear, go unrecorded
but the foals flutter inside them
eleven months in the dark.
It seems they lie transversely, thick
as logs. The outcome is well known.
If there’s an April
in the last frail snow of April
they will knock hard to be born.

“Getting Through” by Maxine Kumin, from Selected Poems 1960-1990. © W.W. Norton, 1997. Reprinted with permission.

February 1, 2012

Love, Lost and Found

by Jillian Douglas

Lovelies,
This Christmas my brother’s girlfriend gave me a delightful book titled Missed Connections: Love, Lost and Found by Sophie Blackall.
It’s a collection of little blurbs people put on Craigslist or in newspapers in hopes to reconnect with someone they happened to meet but lost, and whimsical illustrations to match these little but important events. It is the sweetest book ever, and just perfect for anyone who’s ever thought, what if?

Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found

Missed Connections actually started as a blog… where people fell in love with Sophie’s illustrations. Now prints are available for sale at her Etsy shop, too.

Here’s one I love…

Girl Sleeping on Train
Sunday, May 9, 2010
-m4w -19 (2 or 5 train)
You were the gorgeous brunette sleeping on the train. I was the guy sitting next to you. I just wanted to apologize for my repeated lack of consciousness onto your shoulder, we both got off at flatbush. Hit me back up if you think this is you.

So if you need a good dream nowadays, please grab this book, or visit her blog. You will be delighted.
And who knows what could happen to you one day?

Photos acquired from the Sophie Blackall shop and blog.

January 24, 2012

Rest

by Jillian Douglas

I like poems that read like a conversation, a mumbled tale of a daily occurrence.

Brought to you by The Writer’s Almanac

Rest. by Richard Jones

It’s so late I could cut my lights
and drive the next fifty miles
of empty interstate
by starlight,
flying along in a dream,
countryside alive with shapes and shadows,
but exit ramps lined
with eighteen wheelers
and truckers sleeping in their cabs
make me consider pulling into a rest stop
and closing my eyes. I’ve done it before,
parking next to a family sleeping in a Chevy,
mom and dad up front, three kids in the back,
the windows slightly misted by the sleepers’ breath.
But instead of resting, I’d smoke a cigarette,
play the radio low, and keep watch over
the wayfarers in the car next to me,
a strange paternal concern
and compassion for their well being
rising up inside me.
This was before
I had children of my own,
and had felt the sharp edge of love
and anxiety whenever I tiptoed
into darkened rooms of sleep
to study the small, peaceful faces
of my beloved darlings. Now,
the fatherly feelings are so strong
the snoring truckers are lucky
I’m not standing on the running board,
tapping on the window,
asking, Is everything okay?
But it is. Everything’s fine.
The trucks are all together, sleeping
on the gravel shoulders of exit ramps,
and the crowded rest stop I’m driving by
is a perfect oasis in the moonlight.
The way I see it, I’ve got a second wind
and on the radio an all-night country station.
Nothing for me to do on this road
but drive and give thanks:
I’ll be home by dawn.

“Rest.” by Richard Jones, from The Correct Spelling and Exact Meaning. © Copper Canyon Press, 2010.

December 27, 2011

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

by Jillian Douglas

My mom checked out Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? from the library over this Christmas week and I must say, it is so funny!

I must also say that I apologize to any regular blog-readers; I know everybody has already posted about this but whatever. I enjoyed this book enough to be that guy. Hee hee.

November 21, 2011

Turkeys

by Jillian Douglas

Another poem brought to you by The Writer’s Almanac!

Turkeys by Mary Mackey

One November
a week before Thanksgiving
the Ohio river froze
and my great uncles
put on their coats
and drove the turkeys
across the ice
to Rosiclare
where they sold them
for enough to buy
my grandmother
a Christmas doll
with blue china eyes

I like to think
of the sound of
two hundred turkey feet
running across to Illinois
on their way
to the platter
the scrape of their nails
and my great uncles
in their homespun leggings
calling out gee and haw and git
to them as if they
were mules

I like to think of the Ohio
at that moment
the clear cold sky
the green river sleeping
under the ice
before the land got stripped
and the farm got sold
and the water turned the color
of whiskey
and all the uncles
lay down
and never got up again

I like to think of the world
before some genius invented
turkeys with pop-up plastic
thermometers
in their breasts
idiot birds
with no wildness left in them
turkeys that couldn’t run the river
to save their souls

October 26, 2011

wheaties and ee cummings

by adandelionchild

I thought I would help you start your day off right by giving you a poem by the late and great ee cummings. Have a great day!

FINIS

Over silent waters

day descending

night ascending

floods the gentle glory of the sunset

In a golden greeting

splendidly to westward

as pale twilight

   trem-

              bles

                        into

                                  Darkness

comes the last light’s gracious exhortation

 Lifting up to peace

October 18, 2011

a poem

by Jillian Douglas

here’s a poem that popped up in my inbox today:

Problem by George Bilgere

Jerry is at his usual table this morning
with his cup of coffee and his laptop,
working on his science fiction/fantasy novel.

In every café in America
men and women are hard at work
on their science fiction/fantasy novels.
Perhaps you are one of them. If so,
I salute you; it’s a very competitive field.

Forty years, says Jerry, I sold life insurance.
Now I can do what I really want to do.

The planet where his story takes place
has three suns, and the problem he’s working on
is how do the aliens there tell time.

I suggest having everyone wear three watches,
which Jerry doesn’t think is funny.
This is a serious novel, he’s taking it seriously,
and he’s wants to get everything just right.

Forty years I sold life insurance, he says.
Now I can do what I really want to do.

The Writer’s Almanac is a neat, free program that used to be on the radio but now offers daily emails with nuggets of literary and world history along with a poem.  It’s a great way to increase your exposure to the arts a little at a time.