Sunday, May 15, 2016
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Visit the Off Site Classes page above and register for this class.
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Thursday, April 28, 2016
I know the loneliness of loss as June did at that time. She was in process of figuring out who she would be now that she was not half of a couple. She missed the affection and loving touch of her handsome husband. He was so young and she was too young to be left with the responsibility of raising two girls. But she found a strength she didn't know she had. She suffered the pain of grief, but had to make a life for herself and her children. I admired her more than anyone.
It was thirty years before she found another man she loved.
Friday, April 22, 2016
His parents divorced when he was a child and he was raised by his grandmother until he was 13. Then he went to live with his mother and stepfather.
In November 1924, he moved to Washington, D. C. Hughes’s first book of poetry, The Weary Blues, (Knopf, 1926) was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1926. He finished his college education at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania three years later. In 1930 his first novel, Not Without Laughter, (Knopf, 1930) won the Harmon gold medal for literature.
Mother to Son
Langston Hughes (1922)
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Sailed off in a wooden shoe,—
Sailed on a river of crystal light Into a sea of dew. “Where are you going, and what do you wish?” The old moon asked the three. “We have come to fish for the herring-fish That live in this beautiful sea; Nets of silver and gold have we," Said Wynken, Blynken, And Nod. The old moon laughed and sang a song, As they rocked in the wooden shoe; And the wind that sped them all night long Ruffled the waves of dew; The little stars were the herring-fish That lived in the beautiful sea. “Now cast your nets wherever you wish,— Never afraid are we!” So cried the stars to the fishermen three, Wynken, Blynken, And Nod.
My older brothers loved the rhyming poetry they were required to memorize in school. I can hear Max reciting The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe,
Abou Ben Adhem
By Leigh Hunt
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?"—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
When Ray began reciting verses, Max would join in. Those poems were not written in free verse or blank verse as most of the poetry is written today. They were easier to memorize because of the rhyme. I still love these old poems.
Sunday, April 10, 2016
In the most recent class I taught at Tri-County Community College, I could not interest my students in poetry. I mean they simply said no. They did not want to write poetry. They were not interested in reading it either even though I told them how much reading poems could help their prose writing.
I like this statement by Samuel Taylor Coleridge on the subject of writing poetry and prose.
Choosing the best words is an important part of making a good poem. I think my favorite part of writing a poem is going back, revising and finding the best word I can to put my reader right where I am when I am writing.
The poem below tells how a handsome young ski instructor in Colorado teased me, a young married woman and a complete novice at snow skiing. I blame most of this on the altitude.
on a faded brochure beneath my ski apparel.
What do you think? Did the words I used help your image of what happened?