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Archive for May, 2010

It was a poetry-filled Memorial Day weekend in our part of Portland, OR.  On Thursday, May 27th we attended a wonderful poetry reading at the Looking Glass Bookstore in Sellwood where the co-editor of Windfall: A Journal of Poetry of Place, Bill Siverly, read several poems from his book Clearwater Way as well as poems from other sources.  Siverly focused on poems dealing with place and also read two interesting pieces that illustrate the best and worst jobs he has had.  “Guard Duty” tells story of a young man during a recession who takes a job with Pinkertons as a night watchman on the docks.  The workers ignore him has they plan to strike.  In the “Best of Days” the poet spends his days in the tops of trees clearing way for phone wire and day dreaming.

Charles Goodrich followed Siverly with heartfelt and often amusing renditions of his work from his latest collection of poems, Going to Seed: Dispatches from the Garden.  Goodrich’s poetry is full of beautiful images of nature and honest emotions about being human.

On Sunday evening we found ourselves once again at Looking Glass Bookstore this time to honor Oregon’s newly named Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen.  The store was packed with Oregonians who came to congratulate the local poet on her well deserved laureateship.

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Production has begun on the fourth film in the Poetry In Picture Series!  “Life” (1894) by Edith Wharton is a perfect poem for the series as it draws on connections to art, symmetry, sculpture and a first-century BCE Roman poet.  In the poem Wharton writes:  “And one, to wake the mirth in Lesbia’s gaze, / Carves it apace in toys fantastical.”  Lesbia was the nickname Catullus, the ancient Roman poet, gave to his lover Clodia.  He wrote numerous poems about her or to her.  Most of these poems were full of his feelings of desire or betrayal.

Below is the filmmaker sculpting a bust of Catullus.

In the film a piece of clay morphs into different shapes and images visually interpreting the poem.  The clay is filmed in front of a green screen so that during the editing process various images and footage can be juxtaposed with each sculpture to further enhance “Life” visually.

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In Why Poetry Matters, poet and scholar Jay Parini writes about the Walt Whitman poem on which the film A Noiseless Patient Spider is based. He says “the modern free verse poem has its origins in … such nuggets as ‘A Noiseless Patient Spider.’” He calls the work “masterly, and deeply considered, writing.” Parini goes on to state: “In no rational use of the term could this be called ‘free’ verse, for Whitman has brought to perfection dearly, having brought a wide range of skills and imaginative force to bear in a short space.” Clearly, this makes a fine foundation for a short film…

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