Ekphrastic Blog #28

I have to automatically thank the networking of internet in general for my next Ekphrastic Blog inspiration. I ask my audience, have you ever been witness to an unbelievable event? If you say no, that is ok, don’t worry about it. If you say yes, good for you. But what tragedy would it be if none of us recognized that event for what it was? How would we feel if later, we found out that we missed the chance of a lifetime and ignored it completely? Well, my topic and inspiration is just about such a thing. The fact that over a thousand people passed by a concert violinist,  Joshua Bell, performing in the lobby of one of the busiest times of day, is not surprising to me. It is simple enough to explain, we as a culture have become so busy that we ignore the beauty. Or at least that is the study the Washington Post tried to, and succeeded in, proving with this study on people’s ability to recognize beauty in the most obscure and unnatural places. Like a metro station lobby.

Reading the article I found interesting tidbits of information involving those people who ignored the famous violinist and those that could not help but stop and listen. The people that seemed to notice the beauty the most, and tried very hard to stay and listen were the children who had no choice but to leave with their parents, who ignored the beauty their children instinctively heard. Billy Collins is quoted saying that, “all babies are born with a knowledge of poetry… life starts to choke the poetry out of us. It may be true with music too.” A truth that surrounds me, a poet by nature, with morose dread for the general society that has, in a sense lost the baser quality that I find necessary to call ourselves human.

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Ekphrastic Blog # 27

hubble telescope

Editor’s Note: This post has been written by Linda K. Strahl, an editor at the Jet Fuel Review. Her full bio can be found at the end of this post.

This week, class assignments led me to look outside of the sphere we call earth. It was more of a choice to find things that are not attributed to the realm of perceptions in our common day lives. I decided to look to the stars, and thought I would find something in the pictures the Hubble Telescope sends to us every so often. What I found is that there are things science explains on every chemical level, but when I look at pictures like these, I am inspired to write a poem entirely based on their beauty. There has always been something ethereal about the stars, but that is how stars are described. They embody the word “otherworldly” and being at a lack for words seems like an interesting challenge for this week’s Ekphrastic.

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Ekphrastic Blog # 26

La Lettre Photograhie
Natsumi Hayashi

Editor’s Note: This post has been written by Linda K. Strahl, an editor at the Jet Fuel Review. Her full bio can be found at the end of this post.

Yet again, I am late posting. The silver lining is that I am posting at all. The reason I am so looking forward to even sharing this post with you, my audience, is that this woman is a spectacular artist. Natsumi Hayashi  is a woman with a photographic journal called, “YowaYowa camera woman diary.” There are cats and other random everyday things in her journal, but the self portraits she showcases on a daily basis are called, “Today’s Levitation” and they all feature the artist never touching the ground.

Natsumi Hayashi

The review that attracted the attention of a fellow JFR editor, Deirdre McCormick, is found in La Lettre De La Photographie.com This linked me to Natsumi’s self-portrait portfolio that spanned all of last year. The many different photos I have for this Ekphrastic Blog are all from the same album, and clicking on them will send you to the site.

How is this album inspirational? I ask my audience to think about it for a second, stare at the photos, and think about the freedom they represent. Nastumi is weightless in that captured moment. If we didn’t know any better she could be the first person to learn how to levitate herself. A summary from the La Lettre blog informed me that this girl is very good at clicking a fantastic picture as she gracefully jumps into the image pose she choose to depict.

When I learned that these shots were of her jumping into place, I gasped out loud. The grace caught on camera astounds my former dancer’s mind, as I am familiar with the rigorous practice necessary to be this disciplined and comfortable in your own body. I hope you all appreciated the talent this woman has, and the inspiration she gave me for this new Ekphrastic installment. Remember, a writer’s work is never finished. You just get to see a stage of drafting. Enjoy!

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Ekphrastic Blog # 25

Editor’s Note: This post has been written by Linda K. Strahl, an editor at the Jet Fuel Review. Her full bio can be found at the end of this post.

This Ekphrastic is a better-late-than-never sort of post. I found the story months ago, and decided this was as good a time as any to share with my audience. The city of Amsterdam is infamous for its reputation as a place where drugs are fairly easy to get. But not many know about the eco-friendly bicycle riders, and as with any trend there is also a side effect. Bikes are frequently stolen, or parts are lost amongst the busy shuffle of an ever-moving city. The bike bells, my topic for this poem, tend to fall off as the owner weaves through the traffic patterns and, what is interesting, is that these beautiful bells are crushed into the pavement of the street.

Today I look at the accidental artwork that paves the streets of Amsterdam. I found out from a native of the area, that her hobby was collecting bicycle bells. She discovered on her many outings that some of the bells cannot budge from their decorative spots upon the street pavement of Amsterdam. Therefore she adapted her hobby to taking pictures of the bells embedded in the street, as they glint in the sunlight. To facilitate her artwork she began to take a picture of every bell that was crushed into the streets of her city. She admits that she knows Amsterdam by the bell spot rather than the streets or buildings. Her website the many different pictures that inspire my poem today which I link with a few of the photos, in case the audience would like to browse through the bells that pattern the city streets. Hope you all enjoy a trip to Amsterdam, because it is definitely some place I would like to visit and walk the streets, looking down, and The Bells of Amsterdam.

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Ekphrastic Blog # 24

Card Company: Artists to Watch

Editor’s Note: This post has been written by Linda K. Strahl, an editor at the Jet Fuel Review. Her full bio can be found at the end of this post.

Hello, audience. Today was one of those days that nagged me about what to write. Lately I have back-stepped into the habit of taking pictures of pictures, because I think, “Oh, I can write about this…” only to later realize that the glare from the fluorescent lights just makes the shot horrible. I had pictures that reminded me of Daenerys the Dragons’ Mother in “The Game Of Thrones,” another of a very sad, gothic girl who had a jester’s eye make-up, and a third of a woman in red surrounded by crows. None of these photos turned out right, but if you would like to see them, just go to the puzzle section of your Barnes’ and Noble store, and you will be sure to find them.

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Ekphrastic Blog # 23

Photos of Massawepie were taken in the 1940’s by Edward C. Dreby, III

Editor’s Note: This post has been written by Linda K. Strahl, an editor at the Jet Fuel Review. Her full bio can be found at the end of this post.

Hello my dear and devoted audience. It is the first post of the year and I am already late. I apologize, but the choice of poem and picture caused an internal debate that I had to sleep on to solve. In the end, the trees won. This poem is an old one, but I altered it over time, and this picture I found added much more content than the rough draft had.

Like many poets (Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Robinson Jeffers), I personified nature in this poem. It was originally inspired by two trees I discovered on the campus of Bates College, a school I attended from 2004-2007. Staring at them through the classroom window, I saw their stalwart stance as a victory against the cold and unforgiving wind that is ever-present in the northern state of Maine. I saw soldiers, battling and taunting their unseen foe. Their irregular gaps and missing branches looked like a grin with missing teeth. Their compatriots that stood straight looked like the younger versions of these worn out and mangled pines.

The challenge, one that I found to be trivial and too particular, ended with the inability to find a picture of these two particular trees. I found some so similar that I improved on my rough draft, giving them a new setting closer to a threatening and watery grave depicted in the picture I used for my current Ekphrastic inspiration. I hope you enjoy these stalwart soldiers.

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Ekphrastic Blog # 22

Editor’s Note: This post has been written by Linda K. Strahl, an editor at the Jet Fuel Review. Her full bio can be found at the end of this post.

To those that can’t tell, I love Halloween. It is one of my favorite weeks of the year. Yes, to many others it is just a day, but most of the time on Halloween I get involved with kid parties that land on a week before the actual day, so I can justify my madness in this area. I found this picture of a zombie crawling, and the black and white made it an even better inspiration. Ignoring the creepy zombie for a moment, and look at the background, the bleached house gives a haunting entrance to the poem. When I think of zombies lining the streets I see blood stain carpets being cut out of house living rooms to get rid of the infection. I see the blood seeping onto the street and staining them red as zombies hunt, therefore I added that image in the first stanza.

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Ekphrastic Blog # 21

Editor’s Note: This post has been written by Linda K. Strahl, an editor at the Jet Fuel Review. Her full bio can be found at the end of this post.

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, the National Day on Writing occurred this week. I did not know there was one, which is why I am so interested about its history. It has only been around for three years, but I have found so many different ways people celebrate writing and I wanted to share them with you.

To have a day in celebration of writing is brilliant, because cultures have been built upon the cornerstone of written work. Not all cultures,of course, which is not saying that they are not less of a culture for lacking the element of written work, but many of the modern day cultures use writing to facilitate progress, or sometimes recall the past. Many people who presented at the Day on Writing event, a group that included fellow editors of The Jet Fuel Review, Mark Jacobs and Deirdre McCormick, were very expressive in their interpretation of life and its many situations they have experienced.

I decided that I would use that as an inspiration to show my audience a poem that was inspired by a radio broadcast I attended last semester. I believe that speaking is a very intricate part of writing as it is the vocalization of ideas just as writing is considered its physical form. Hopefully you, as the reader, notice this underlying theme in the poem. Here it is!

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Ekphrastic Blog # 20

Editor’s Note: This post has been written by Linda K. Strahl, an editor at the Jet Fuel Review. Her full bio can be found at the end of this post.

This week I have been tasked to researched fairytales for Philip Lynch Theater. It wasn’t arduous or mundane, on the contrary I enjoyed almost all of what the undertaking required. The only scary part was presenting to a room full of people, which I did, and survived. From all of the research and the presenting I had to do, I felt it was better to write about an ideal within the fairytale world rather than find a picture and start a whole new process of composing. By looking through my various notes and ideas behind my dramaturgical pursuit I found an idea, that I thought, would be entertaining for my audience.

I am posting a clip of a favorite moment in a favorite play, that caters to the image of the Prince Charming we all know and love or love to hate. The song, Agony, from Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods, shows the outsider a glimpse of the ideal of a fairytale prince being warped by reality.

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Ekphrastic Blog #19

http://faculty.frostburg.edu

I discovered a shocking fact about many people I have come to call my friends this week. They do not know the movie Dead Poet’s Society. One of my favorite poems is from this movie. I have transcribed it for my audience to read at their leisure. The poem is actually an ekphrastic of Walt Whitman’s quote, “I sound my barbaric YAWP over the rooftops of the world.” I believe it is an ekphrastic within the scope of the movie. Therefore, I am using both the quote and the poem as my inspirations.

I have also included the clip from youtube as a vessel to the theme. I look at the poem that is said, the mood that it’s performed in, and find that the best way to mimic that perspective is to look within. The mood of the poem is an internal struggle for the individual. If you have the time, I suggest you watch the movie, as the theme is repeated frequently. The character that introduces the topic to the sheltered and controlled boys of Welton is Robin Williams’ character, Mr. Keating.

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