Wednesday 28 April 2010

Conservation Corner (5): Green Zoos - wild, woolly and poetic

(These flamingos are not in the zoos mentioned,
but I thought their stately poses resembled poetic installations!)

A number of wild animals are to share their USA zoo quarters with installation works of poetry to raise awareness of wildlife conservation. The project, under the auspices of the Poets' House, is called The Language of Conservation. Poets' House, the national literary centre and poetry library in New York City, has teamed up with five zoos in New Orleans, Milwaukee, Little Rock, Jacksonville, and Chicago.

A $1 million National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services has helped the project to get off the ground. You can read more about it here and here. There is a great photograph of Mark Doty sharing a poetic moment with an elephant at Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. Little Rock Zoo is one of the institutions taking part.

Saturday 24 April 2010

Creative Corner (7): Seth Apter's DisCo Project

Buried Treasure - of a kind!

Do take a look at our recycled project work by clicking the links above to the 'Cloth Paper Scissors' magazine site.

You can read more about Seth Apter's Disintegration Collaboration art project here.

Friday 23 April 2010

Window on Wildlife (10): Here, there and everywhere

At WWT Llanelli last weekend

Do take a look at the post about a Willow Warbler
on the Gower Wildlife blog here.


We took a few days to see some sights in Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall last week.
The following pictures are mainly from this trip, but there are a few taken at WWT Llanelli on our return.
Spring has arrived, and there is a huge variety of birds and butterflies to be seen.


I would be delighted if anyone could give us an ID
for the bird below, seen off Hartland Point in Devon.

A Green Finch in Sidmouth...

... and a Goldfinch

We watched these Shelducks
from Blue Anchor, near Dunster...

A Pochard at WWT Llanelli...

... and a Tufted Duck

Prospecting: the islands at WWT Llanelli
make a good breeding ground

Is this a Rook?
(I took the shot from a long way away:
we weren't even sure if there was a bird in residence)

I think this may be a Fox Moth caterpillar.
I noticed it on the cliff path at Hartland Point.
Do take a look at the Marsland Moth pages here.

A Speckled Wood butterfly at Hartland Abbey...

... and a Peacock Butterfly

This Red Admiral (below)
was enjoying the sunshine at Blackbury Camp.
It was the first butterfly of 2010 for me!

I wonder what Spring wildlife
you have been enjoying...

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Anthology Alert (3): 'Empty Shoes' ... update

I am delighted that the 'Empty Shoes' website is now up and running. Those of you who follow this blog may recall that Patrick T. Randolph edited this book of poems about hungry and homeless people in the hope that it would raise funds for those who lack food and shelter. The volume contains over 15 poems donated by 80 poets, to benefit Wisconsin-based food banks and homeless shelters. It reached number 2 in the pre-Christmas 'Hot New Releases' list of popular new books in the 'religious and inspirational' category.

The good news is that $1,203 has already been sent to FEED AMERICA. This money came from the recent proceeds of 'Empty Shoes', and was sent by Popcorn Press. If you would like to help the cause by purchasing a copy of the anthology, you can follow the links from this page.

You may recall that the volume includes my poem, 'Stranger'.

Friday 9 April 2010

Puffin Quest (5): THANK YOU to all who voted!

It's those puffins again!

My sincere thanks to all who voted for my puffin poem, 'A Chink in the Sky' in the Writelink Spring Fever poetry competition. I am pleased to report that it made the 'grade for publication' in the anthology in the judge's eyes by the skin of its teeth (or should that be by the tip of its bill?).

'A Chink in the Sky' came in at number 10 in judge, Magdalena Ball's shortlist.

If my poem had been number 11, all your votes would in fact have saved my puffins from 'near-extinction' (as the final publication list comprised the judge's Top 10 poems plus the 10 poems with the most votes) - so thank you very much for your support.*

The poem will be published in the Writelink Spring Fever anthology in due course.

* Many of you will know that puffins are in the Amber category on the RSPB 'conservation' list...

Wednesday 7 April 2010

Poems on the Web (6): Thalatta! Thalatta!

A blue plaque in Tenby, South Wales

I am delighted that Dr Marc Latham's Folding Mirror Poetry form is listed on Professor Lewis Turco's 'manuscript-in-circulation' entitled The Book of Odd and Invented Forms. The two examples of the form are:
  • 'Hourglass of Time' by Claire Knight, 2009 First Prize winner of the Haiku section of the New Zealand International Poetry Society Competition (and winner of the Jeanette Stace Memorial Prize).
  • 'Thalatta! Thalatta!' by yours truly.
I have long admired Professor Turco's work, 'The Book of Forms: a Handbook of Poetics', and am delighted that he is planning a sequel. You can read about Dr Marc Latham's Folding Mirror Poetry form on the FMP site here.

Saturday 3 April 2010

Calendar Corner (10): New Nature Writing Course

I'm told there is a 10% discount for Wildlife Trust members on a Nature Writing course at Ty Newydd, Llanystumdwy, North Wales this May. The tutors are the well-known naturalists, Nigel Brown and Mark Cocker.

This 4½ day course will involve trips out everyday to study the local wildlife and then time back at Ty Newydd for group work and individual writing. This course is suitable for beginners as well as more experienced writers.

The course would develop writing skills. The organisers say that 'We are very keen to work with Wildlife Trusts and are therefore very happy to offer a 10% discount to members.'

Chris Kinsey asked me to pass this information on to others who might be interested...

Thursday 1 April 2010

Calendar Corner (9): Google Translate for Animals

Check out this new application for your mobile... the amazing Google Translate for Animals. The pig on the YouTube video is so cute!

P.S. Was Shakespeare really French?!!

Ars Poetica (1): William Blake and Metaphor

'Little Lamb, who made thee?"
William Blake
Songs of Innocence*

I came across a fascinating article in the New York Times of 25 September 1910 (a century ago - almost!) in which Mr Arthur Symone is noted for having described Blake's imagination as 'visual' and of a kind more 'natural to a painter' (which, of course, he was - as well as a poet) than to an 'imaginative writer'.

According to Symone, the painter "sees an image or metaphor as a literal reality, while the other, seeing it not less vividly but in a more purely mental way, adds a 'like' or an 'as' and the image or metaphor comes to you with its apology or attenuation and takes you less by surprise."

We all know the power of metaphor today in our writing; but are there still instances, I wonder, when a simile does the trick in a way that cannot be matched?

How about:
  • My love is like a red, red rose (Robert Burns)
  • The ranks pulled closer, tight as a mason packs a good stone wall (Homer in translation)

What poets have said:
  • All metaphor is poetry (G.K. Chesterton)
  • Simile and Metaphor [are] things inessential to poetry (A.E. Housman)
Do take a look at this article by Tim Love, and see what you make of the given examples of metaphor and simile. The one by prize-winning poet, Alice Oswald, stands out for me.

* N.B. The Little Lamb poem by Blake includes a line of metaphor about the vales rejoicing,
presumably paraphrasing biblical metaphors such as this one from Psalm 65:13:

'The pastures are clothed with flocks;
the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.