spoken word

Apr. 19th, 2019 12:43 pm
asakiyume: (bluebird)
[personal profile] asakiyume
We'd looked at "quiet" poetry earlier--the sort you read to yourself in books--and so I brought in some recordings of poetry being performed for my students to react to and think about.

I played them Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner's "Tell Them," and felt a warm glow as they reacted visibly to her lines about Styrofoam cups and dusty rubber slippers, and my favorite line, about the children flinging like rubber bands across the street. And then when I asked them which lines stuck with them, they had so many others they loved too--the curling letters, "toasted dark brown as the carved ribs of a tree stump," "the breath of God," "papaya golden sunsets" ... and "the ocean level with the land" and "we see what is in our own back yard."

They heard what her poem said.

I played them Elizabeth Acevedo performing "Night Before First Day of School, the opening poem to her novel-in-poems, The Poet X (which I'm reading--except I lent it out to one of the students), and they loved "I feel too small for all that is inside me."

I played them Laurie Anderson's "From the Air," and several students fell in love with it. What's it about, I asked, and some talked about a plane and a crash, but several said, "It's about more than that. It's about living your life--'there is no pilot': you're the pilot. But you're not alone."

I played them Billy Collins reading "Monday," and they got his teasing affection for poetry and poets.

--I should have asked them if they noticed the boys angling across the street... in context, an echo of Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner's poem.

And then we turned to some Tupac Shakur raps. The students range in age from 22 to 55, mainly White, but everyone knew those raps. They recited right along with them, and by the end of "Dear Mama," several were in tears--I think maybe not just for the love in it, but because that love came in spite of the fact that Tupac's mom was an addict. In that piece he's acknowledging all she's gone through and asserting that he loves her as she is. **Many** of my students really want that to be possible for them, with their kids.

I felt like I had wandered into a room so much bigger than I had imagined.

"He's not dead," one student said stoutly. Yeah. Sometimes your presence and your creation is so meaningful that even death can't decommission you.

Salon post: April 19

Apr. 19th, 2019 08:13 am
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
[personal profile] jenett
Welcome to this week's salon post!

Topic of the week
What's your favourite holiday? (Been thinking about this because of a thing I'll put in a comment.)

What I've been up to
A short work week, and a quiet one, and trying to line up ducks for various other projects (including a "Wow, my June is busy.")

Reminders and tips for making this post flow better )
House rules )

Songs of the day: YoungJae and Apink

Apr. 19th, 2019 05:06 am
brithistorian: (Default)
[personal profile] brithistorian
Youngjae is the main vocal of the group Got7.  Here we get to see him performing by himself, and I must say, he does not disappoint.

I have fun trying to figure out where K-pop videos are being filmed based on signs in the background.  Usually I can narrow it down to a town, sometimes to a street, but this time I'm able to narrow it down to a specific block:  Thanks to the include of The Wee Chippy, I know that at least past of this video was filmed in the 1300 block of Ocean Front Walk in Venice, California.

brithistorian: (Default)
[personal profile] brithistorian
Donations to rebuild Notre Dame highlight the gulf separating the super-rich from everyone else.

As novelist and philosopher Ollivier Pourriol put it:  "Victor Hugo thanks all the generous donors ready to save Notre Dame and proposes that they do the same thing with Les Misérables."
brithistorian: (Default)
[personal profile] brithistorian
This was a fun one to try to try to find on Youtube this morning.  And by "fun" I mean "frustrating."  All I had to go on was a notation on the list at Kpopmap that Stephanie (no last name given, no other information given) had a comeback today (no song title given).  So I started searching and finally found it - and it was well worth the search.

But who is Stephanie?  It turns out Stephanie is Stephanie Kim, former member of the group The Grace, a group from SM Entertainment that has never officially disbanded even though they haven't released anything in years.  She's Korean-American, originally from San Diego.  She was (is?) a member of the Los Angeles Ballet.  She's a DJ, a musical theatre actress, and a frequent guest on Korean variety shows.  She also, according to the credits at the end of this video, wrote the words and music to this song.  Quite talented, apparently.  

to reach the limits of ourselves

Apr. 17th, 2019 10:05 pm
oliviacirce: (lady day//bunnymcfoo)
[personal profile] oliviacirce
I went to see Cradle Will Rock at Classic Stage Company tonight (the first of three shows I am seeing this week). It was an amazing production, but I totally didn't realize how well I still knew the show from my obsession with the 1999 Movie and the Patti Lupone recording of the musical (I know it...really well?!). Anyway, there are a shortage of poems about unions and labor organizing and the Federal Theatre Project. But I've been sitting on this poem since the beginning of the month, and although it's not directly related, it seems appropriate to me, in a sort of two-steps-sideways kind of way.

I lived in the first century of world wars )

Books read, early April

Apr. 17th, 2019 11:12 am
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Claire Eliza Bartlett, We Rule the Night. Discussed elsewhere.





Lois McMaster Bujold, Paladin of Souls. Reread. It was interesting to revisit this middle-aged coming-of-age tale after it's had more than a decade to influence the rest of the field. I still love the worldbuilding and the characters, but it was important to keep in mind how much of an influence it's been--that it looks a little less groundbreaking in retrospect than it actually is because other people have used that soil. Such a fun book, such a good book--and I'm so glad we've been thinking and writing about it since.





Pamela Dean, The Dubious Hills. Reread. One of my favorite books ever, and basically I will use any excuse to reread it. The way the worldbuilding and the characterization intertwine always makes me think...and then I always get pulled into the story. Go read this book. Go read this book again.





Emilie Demant Hatt, By the Fire: Sami Folktales and Legends. Discussed elsewhere.





Nicola Griffith, Hild. Reread. This is so immersive for me and so lovely and all the details and...it's just so easy to slide into this cultural mindset. I hope that Griffith meant it that she's writing more of St. Hilda's story because I want that so much.





Barbara Hambly, Cold Bayou. The latest Benjamin January mystery. This is a perfectly serviceable entry in the series but not one of the standouts, and it's a terrible place to start because it relies so much on you already knowing and caring about the characters. There's not even a murder until halfway through the book, so if you don't already want to spend time with these characters, go a bit further back in the series and try there. If you do--it further elaborates on some key relationships, particularly with January's mother.





Larry Hammer, trans., Ice Melts in the Wind: The Seasonal Poems of the Kokinshu. Discussed elsewhere.





Beth Hilgartner, A Murder for Her Majesty. Reread. After so many years. My friend Ginger happened to mention this in passing, and I almost certainly lit up visibly, because I loved it as a child and did not remember the title. (My booklog only goes back to age 23 or 24 reliably. This is a source of sorrow sometimes.) There is a girl who disguises herself as a boy to run from murderers and does not do the sword fighting! No! She sings in a cathedral choir! There is Elizabethan roughhousing! There are Latin mottos iced onto cookies! There is music theory! I loved this book so much, and now I know which one it is, hurrah. Also...it is pretty anachronistic, now that I have somewhat more extensive knowledge of the Elizabethan era than I did when I was 8. So one must be braced. Still. Eeeee.





Ann Leckie, The Raven Tower. Extensive thoughts about what it's like to be a god in a rock! Cholera or dysentery or similar disease! Despite being based on a very famous story whose parallels become very obvious as you read, this is not like anything else. I'm thrilled to see Ann doing something completely different and can't wait to see what she does next, but in the meantime I sure enjoyed this.





Ursula K. Le Guin, Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems. This is very much a late-life collection, with thoughts about aging and death coming to the fore. I found it touching and valuable.





James E. Montgomery, Loss Sings. A slim chapbook about grief and translation. I would have liked for him to connect a few dots about different kinds of translation--to have some thoughts about translating for people who have or have not had a personal experience, or between those two groups--but what he had was interesting and did not outstay its welcome.





Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems Volume One. I wish there was a Collected Works out, but right now I'm approximating as best I can with this. I just keep having the urge to immerse myself. I know I'm going to return to several of these poems at important life moments, and also at random, just because.





Suzanne Palmer, Finder. Discussed elsewhere.





Kate Quinn, The Alice Network. This is a female-centered spy novel that spans two world wars and an important bit thereafter. The things it's doing and saying about spying illuminate other works in the genre by contrast. I found it interesting, exciting, worthwhile. Will definitely look for more of Quinn's work.





Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas, and Michi Trota, eds., Uncanny Issue 27. Kindle. I had an essay in this, and I don't review work I'm in.





Jo Walton, Lifelode. Reread. This is still one of my favorite domestic fantasies, and I love the worldbuilding that is interwoven with everything and yet not...centered in a traditionally questy fantasy novel way. I love that the shape of this book is a character shape and yet the worldbuilding is not neglected.





Fran Wilde, Riverland. Oh good heavens this book. I picked it up one Sunday afternoon and basically did not put it down until it's gone. It has so many things I love, glass and rivers and family relationships, and it is breathtaking in its handling of incredibly difficult things happening to its young protagonists. The way that the heroine both internalizes and fights the bad things that are happening in her life is so human and so real and cuts like broken glass. Highly recommended, but with care to pick your day so that you can handle the intensity of this book.


Lamy Safari, Pokemon edition

Apr. 17th, 2019 10:39 am
brithistorian: (Default)
[personal profile] brithistorian
Over at dapprman they've done an unboxing of the limited edition Pokemon Lamy Safari.  Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for my wallet) it was[*] only available in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

[*]  It's a limited edition that came out at the end of 2018, and the blog refers to it in the past tense, so I'm assuming it's sold out now.  :-\

Security alert

Apr. 17th, 2019 10:20 am
brithistorian: (Default)
[personal profile] brithistorian
I just got a phone call and a text[*] from my university's security service.  They've received a bomb threat at one of the buildings on campus, and are in the process of evacuating that building and all surrounding buildings.  I'm hoping it's nothing, but you never know.  I'm glad I'm not on campus at the moment, and at the same time I'm angry that someone would do something like this.

[*]  I'm sure when I next check my email I'll have gotten an email too - I signed up for every means of notification available.

ETA:  Update, T+25 minutes:  "{City} bomb squad en route.  FBI consulting.  Stay clear from {Building} and surrounding buildings until further notice."

ETA:  Update, T+40 minutes:  "Seach of {Building} in progress.  Stay clear.  Classes in {Building} have been cancelled until 1PM"

ETA:  Update, T+45 minutes:  "The threat period has expired.  We are still searching {Building}.  Stay clear until further notice."

ETA:  Update, T+1:25:  "The {City} campus is closed for business and all classes cancelled for the day.  Essential employees remain on campus.  All other employees can leave campus."

ETA:  Update, T+2:40:  "{Unliversity} continues to evaluate the situation on the {City} campus.  No suspicious objects have been discovered at this time."  Unfortunately, this means the career panel and the debate that I was supposed to go to this evening are still cancelled.

ETA:  Update, end of business day:  No suspicious object was found.  Classes to resume as usual tomorrow.

Use and misuse of art #eyeroll

Apr. 17th, 2019 09:41 am
brithistorian: (Default)
[personal profile] brithistorian
 Trump's PAC is selling a shirt satirizing Obama's official portrait to raise money.  (Link goes to the Hyperallergic article about the shirt, not the PAC store.)  I think the fact that he's running against Obama says so, so much about Trump and his base - Obama is one of the people you can guarantee will not be running against Trump in 2020, but by running against the "scary black man" he's able to gin up all kinds of support from his base.  *eyeroll*  Some people get the government they deserve.  Unfortunately, at the moment the rest of us are stuck with it as well.
brithistorian: (Default)
[personal profile] brithistorian
I don't really have much to say about this one except that Kisum is one of my favorite Korean rappers and I really like this song.  I hope you check it out.

bloodygranuaile: (teeths)
[personal profile] bloodygranuaile
 For the politics book club last month we read The Dictator's Handbook, by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and a bunch of other people (the team apparently calls itself BdM2S2, which I think sounds like it should refer to something spicier than a bunch of political science researchers, but there you go). Since we've already discussed it pretty thoroughly, I don't have a lot of brain left to rehash all my thoughts about it. 
 
The Dictator's Handbook is an introduction to the team's flagship political science hypothesis, which they call "selectorate theory." Selectorate theory makes two key assertions:
1. Regardless of intent or stated political ideology, leaders' primary goal is to stay in power.
2. How a leader gains and keeps power, and therefore the actions they take as leader, are shaped by the interests of the people who keep them in power (the selectorate). 
 
The selectorate is not the same thing as a leader's supporters; all sorts of people can support a leader but not be materially relevant to whether they keep their job or not. 
 
Most of the book is then dedicated to comparing and contrasting stories of leaders in "small-coalition" — i.e., more autocratic — systems with leaders in "large-coalition" — i.e., more democratic — systems, and the ways in which the difference in the size and interests of the selectorate affect policy. There's also some really interesting stuff about why leaders are incentivized to shape their selectorates to be as small as possible — mainly, that they'll have fewer people to keep happy — and how they pull off doing so, and some even more interesting stuff on the times when leaders have been incentivized to expand their selectorates because they couldn't get a leg up with a small one. 
 
The writing style is not fantastic and the book can get a bit repetitive, but I'm sure it beats the hell out of reading the 500-page academic version, especially if you're trying to cram the whole thing in less than a week.

Song of the day: Hashtag, "Freesm"

Apr. 16th, 2019 08:50 am
brithistorian: (Default)
[personal profile] brithistorian
Just out today.  I'd never heard of Hashtag before this, but this definitely make me want to go back and check out their earlier videos.  Their singing is good but not amazing, but their dancing really blows me away - elaborate arm movements, performed in sync, like I can't recall seeing before.  (Not since Madonna's "Vogue" video, at any rate.)



Also, the April girl group reputation rankings have been announced.  Blackpink is at #1 (no surprise).  IZ*ONE is at #2 (surprising, but not really the result I'm interested in).  Everyglow is at #7 and Itzy is at number 18 - this is the result I think it worth talking about.  Two brand new groups, both with about the same concept, and the one that I think is better is ahead in the rankings despite being managed by a smaller label.  (Yuehua Entertainment is a smaller label in Korea, at any rate - their main focus has been in China, with Korea being an add-on.)

April So Far

Apr. 16th, 2019 06:16 am
sartorias: (Default)
[personal profile] sartorias
An extremely rough month on the family front, and tomorrow I go north for another stint on the far front. (The one at home has been bad enough.)

News is worse. As I walked through the kitchen at different hours yesterday, both times the news coverage was showing the Notre Dame spire falling, which gave me a sharp, unpleasant throwback first to 9/11, but then also (in black and white) to certain clips of President Kennedy's assassination, which you could not get away from, late '63, early '64. TV, magazines, had those same pictures, now permanently etched in my memory.

Re Notre Dame, that 800 year old edifice has taken hits before. Notably, the French Revolution. It was very badly damaged by revolutionaries. It was gussied up superficially by Napoleon so that he could be crowned emperor there (though French kings had actually been crowned and buried at Reims and St-Denis respectively). It wasn't until Victor Hugo wrote about it so nostalgically (he also did that about other parts of old Paris in Les Miserables) that it was finally restored as much as nineteenth century tech was able to do so. I believe some of those famous gargoyles appeared then, if I'm not mistake, remembering my tour as an awe-filled student in 1972, listening to the tour guide heavily French-accented German.

The dawn of the automobile has done nearly as much damage as the revolutionaries, just not to the art, which was carried out. Whenever I smell diesel smoke on a city street still, I'm thrown back to the Paris I roamed in '72, and then again in '75, which smelled of diesel first, then equal parts cigarette smoke and urine. (there were outside urinals for men in those days, and there was also a lot of alleyway and building pissing). The urine never hurt the church building, but I bet anything that grainy smoke that got all over your clothes and in your hair after a day's wandering certainly did. It had had an entire century of accumulation.

Notre Dame was a living church--that is, unlike many, hadn't been turned into a museum, but was still consecrated. I image Palm Sunday masses were held earlier that day, before the fire.

In other news, something that likely only excites me--the narrator for A Sword Named Truth is really taking the pronunciation seriously, and even consulted me about overall narrative tone. Wow, this is what the A-listers must feel like. I don't expect to ever get this kind of attention again. I am so grateful.
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa
Translated by Barbara Sjoholm. Review copy obtained through a long chain too strange to get into.
This is the translation of a 1922 work by a Danish woman who traveled extensively in the Norden collecting stories. She also made some woodcuts related to the stories, which are reproduced here--one of the places where black-and-white reproduction absolutely does a great job for the material.

It matters that Demant Hatt was a woman in this field. It matters a lot. Because the people she had access to hear stories from, the stories she got to hear, were much more evenly balanced between men and women both as tellers and as characters. Compared to other compilations of Saami [both spellings are used, this is the one I favor, both are fine though] tales, this is a far more accurate representation of range.

And it's got so many great things. It's got girls with agency to spare; it's got feisty old ladies; it's got reindeer and murder and weird northern birds. It's got origin stories. It's got "we don't know anyone from OUR band who would do this but we HEARD of a girl who did this" stories. I was so excited when I heard this book existed, and it did not in any way disappoint. If you're interested in Arctic peoples, or even if you just like folklore, this is a must-have.

eight of swords, reversed

Apr. 15th, 2019 10:07 pm
andtheblackbird: Photo of a parrot perched on a person's shoulder, both in profile. (Default)
[personal profile] andtheblackbird
Day one of breaking habits and stretching into new shapes. All things considered I think I did pretty well. Paid all my bills, cleaned the apartment, made a bunch of meals for the rest of the week. Tuesday and Wednesday might be back to back D&D session nights depending on a group member's schedule, so I will need to do some prep in case my campaign gets slated for Wednesday.

I will also need to buy some supplies to try re-inking a few sets of my dice: latex gloves, wipes, q-tips, and acetone. My sets are all inked with the standard gold and silver and I'd like to try my hand at revamping them a bit. There's one set that I would love to re-ink with a transparent pink jelly color so that it will match my Cherry Blossom set when I put them together, but I'm pretty sure the only way I'll be able to make that happen is if I go hunting for the color in a nail polish.

Time to block off an hour in the nearby pharmacies, I guess.

In other news, a friend checked The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson out from the library for me, so that's my current reading project for the next stretch. I've been meaning to read it for seemingly years, along with a pile of other books. Lots of catch-up for me to do there too.

that square & speckled stone

Apr. 15th, 2019 02:16 pm
oliviacirce: (stacks//bunnymcfoo)
[personal profile] oliviacirce
Notre Dame is on fire and I'm depressed about it; I really love that cathedral. I was sadly texting with K about it, and she requested this poem, and, well, yeah. Nobody does church architecture like Herbert does, and he still makes me cry sometimes.

Blest be the Architect )

For Herbert, the church is always a heart (and the heart, a church).

(no subject)

Apr. 15th, 2019 11:21 am
skygiants: Yoko from Twelve Kingdoms, sword drawn (sword in hand)
[personal profile] skygiants
Okay, I'm going to start by ssaying that I'm glad to have read the new Shirley Jackson biography, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life -- it's extremely thorough, consistently interesting and has a great deal of respect for its subject -- but also, I have some bones to pick with it. I'm sorry, Ruth Franklin, you did a lot of work and I'm glad you're so fond of Shirley Jackson! I am too! I learned a great deal from your book, thanks for writing it!

...and now, the beef:

- Ruth Franklin really wants there to be two villains in Jackson's story, her mother Geraldine and her husband Stanley Hyman, and ... I'm absolutely not saying these two people were great people or treated Jackson wonderfully (Hyman especially not) but I feel like Jackson's relationship with Geraldine in particular seems more complicated than Franklin wants to make it, even from the snippets of letters that are included in the book

- and while Ruth Franklin is certainly dedicated to the Feminist Take and the Horror of Housewifery and, like, I sympathize, also it feels a little ... reductive? ... to imply that so much of Shirley Jackson's incomparably weird fiction can be boiled down to mother issues/husband issues

- on a related note, the biography spends a lot of time talking about Shirley Jackson's (and also her husband Stanley Hyman's) weight, and -- I mean, it's relevant, Shirley Jackson eventually had health problems of which she died, but it feels like we're getting updates on her size about once a chapter and I don't care that much and I kept getting slightly weirded out by the fact that Franklin cared that much

- meanwhile, Franklin teases in a very early chapter insights derived from Shirley's year-long correspondence with a kindred spirit housewife who wrote her a fan letter, and then when we finally get there spends a chapter discussing this VERY INTENSE letter-writing relationship which the housewife eventually dropped for Reasons Unknown, and doesn't even present a theory as to why or show us any text from the last letter that she read but never responded to? MORE TIME ON THIS, LESS TIME ON LOVING DESCRIPTIONS OF ALL THE HOUSES THAT SHIRLEY'S GRANDFATHER EVER BUILT

- ok so Franklin quotes this page from Jackson's college diary:

my friend was so strange that everyone, even the man i loved, thought we were lesbians and they used to talk about us, and i was afraid of them and i hated them, then i wanted to write stories about lesbians and how people misunderstood them, and finally this man sent me away because i was a lesbian and my friend was away and i was all alone

and Franklin's analysis:

although characters who may be lesbians appear more than once in her fiction, Jackson -- typically for her era and her class -- evinced a personal horror of lesbianism. It's possible that the relatively extreme way in which she would later disparage lesbians reflects some repression on her part, especially considering that she and Hyman had several close male friends who were homosexual. But that is conjecture only. Jackson never spoke of experiencing sexual desire for women. When she refers to herself and Jeanou as lesbians in that piece, at a time when lesbianism was little discussed or understood, she seems to be using the idea of it as a metaphor for social nonconformity.

Okay, look: I have not done extensive research into Jackson's life. I am not going to try to argue with Franklin about whether or not Shirley Jackson was queer. It's for sure possible to read the above as 'this man sent me away because [he thought] i was a lesbian'. But are you seriously really going to try to tell me that when Shirley 'Introducing Dreamy Gay Theodora' Jackson wrote 'everyone thought we were lesbians' she didn't know what the word meant? Because I DO NOT BELIEVE YOU, RUTH FRANKLIN.

(Also, she talks about how Jackson 'evinced a personal horror of lesbianism' but ... where's the citation? This doesn't come up again in-text until four hundred pages later in the biography, when Jackson is stressing about the first draft of Castle and whether she's accidentally writing the sisters as gay -- do they hide because they are somehow unnatural? am i never to be sure of any of my characters? if the alliance between [merricat] and constance is unholy then my book is unholy and i am writing something terrible, in my own terms, because my own identity is gone and the word is only something that means something else -- and again! it seems! that there is something significantly more complicated going on there than 'yikes, lesbians!' Also it seems hypothetically relevant that this was all being discussed in the correspondence with the housewife who eventually dropped her for Reasons Unknown! ANYWAY!)

...all that said, I appreciate Franklin for including these extensive quotes in the book to give me something to fight with her about; good scholarship even if I'm dubious about the analysis!

I also appreciate her description of Shirley Jackson's unfinished children's book: a portal fantasy about two kids who reluctantly go to the birthday party of a girl they don't much like, only to find out that she is a.) a portal fantasy princess and b.) now they have to go on a fantasy adventure to rescue her from peril. I'm so sad she never finished it, I would really love to read Shirley Jackson's Twelve Kingdoms.

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