Wednesday, March 27, 2013

National Poetry Month: Walk With Nature

Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events.

As I have done for the past few years, I've created a slideshow in honor of National Poetry Month.

My first effort, Poems In Words and Images, featured a combination of my own and Creative Commons photographs:

Last year, I challenged myself to only use my original images to construct Picturing Poetry:

This year, I've selected verses based on a nature theme, pairing them with photos from my Flickr photostream. I hope you enjoy Walk With Nature:

"Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance." -Carl Sandburg

Monday, March 25, 2013

All Shall Be Well

The Three Desires of Julian of Norwich

Sometimes I do a bit a research just for the fun of it. This morning, a tweet from Liz Burns sent me on my merry way:

I discovered that this quote is attributed to Julian of Norwich, a 14th-15th century Christian mystic. Her visions while seriously ill led her to write Revelations of Divine Love (ca. 1393), purportedly the first book composed in the English language by a woman. Despite living in a time of turmoil, punctuated by peasant revolts and outbreaks of the Black Death, Julian believed in a merciful and loving deity. She claimed that her famous "All will be well..." was spoken directly to her by God.

The lines were incorporated into T. S. Eliot's Little Gidding (1941-42):
"Whatever we inherit from the fortunate
We have taken from the defeated
What they had to leave us—a symbol:
A symbol perfected in death.
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
By the purification of the motive
In the ground of our beseeching."

In more recent times, Julian's words appear in an amazing variety of song lyrics:

Pete Townshend (from The Iron Man: The Musical, 1989)

Anderson Peterson (from The Far Country, 2005)

A more traditional rendition by OHRWURM Folk Orchestra (c. 2012)

And for Easter, from the Oremus Hymnal (1984)
All shall be well! Lift every voice on high;"Death has no more dominion but shall die."

Poetry, song lyrics, even the title of a murder mystery...Julian of Norwich's words live on. Tracking down the source of this quote, and its modern manifestations, was a lovely little task for a Monday morning.

Thanks for the inspiration, Liz!

"ALL SHALL BE WELL" By Leo Reynolds

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Semi-post About Google Reader

I saw this notice on Google Reader:

Through my social networks, most notably Twitter, I was already aware of the impending demise of GR. Within a relatively short time period, I saw numerous RSS aggregator options suggested, evaluated, and endorsed, all in 140 characters or less. Ultimately I chose Feedly, which seamlessly migrated my Reader content.

It is troubling when well-regarded free sites and services cease operation. I'm still angry at Picnik's termination and skittish about its "reincarnation" as Ribbet. I've moved on.

And although Flickr seems to be thriving, I've also taken steps to back up my photos. Some content is too precious to risk on the vagaries of chance and the Internet gods.

To be honest, the Google Reader situation is less disruptive to my online life than it would have been a few years ago. As you can see in the screenshot above, there are 1000+ unread items in my feed. Where once I religiously scanned GR daily, I now check infrequently. Most of my information, resources, and conversations flow through social networking sites these days.

I laughed at Judy's retweet today, then decided to do a sort of non-post post. Google Reader is old news in the connected life.

Thanks Judy O'Connell and Ian Clark for inspiring this post!