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Saturday, November 28, 2020

A Writer's Moment: Those Tightly Wound Words

A Writer's Moment: Those Tightly Wound Words: “ Poetry is an orphan of silence. The words never quite equal the experience behind them. ” That description comes from Charles Simic who...

Those Tightly Wound Words


Poetry is an orphan of silence. The words never quite equal the experience behind them. That description comes from Charles Simic who, despite his disclaimer, won a Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his 1990 work The World Doesn’t End.   Simic writes with a style called literary minimalism, creating terse, imagistic poems. Critics have referred to Simic poems as "tightly constructed Chinese puzzle boxes."

An immigrant from Yugoslavia, Simic didn’t speak English until he was 15.  Once he learned the language, though, he became one of our most prolific writers, producing some 60 books.  He was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry in 2007 and named for the Frost Medal for lifetime achievement in 2011.
 
For Saturday's Poem, here is Simic's,

                                                        The Wooden Toy

                                            The wooden toy sitting pretty.

                                             No … quieter than that.

                                             Like the sound of eyebrows

                                             Raised by a villain 

                                             In a silent movie.

                                             Psst, someone said behind my back.


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Friday, November 27, 2020

A Writer's Moment: With Love and Books You're Never Poor

A Writer's Moment: With Love and Book You're Never Poor:   “It was on my fifth birthday that Papa put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'Remember, my son, if you ever need a helping hand, you&#...

With Love and Books You're Never Poor

 “It was on my fifth birthday that Papa put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'Remember, my son, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.’” – Sam Levenson


Born on this date in 1911, American humorist, writer, teacher, television host, and journalist Levenson was originally a Spanish teacher in Brooklyn, New York.  But, once he started writing humor pieces he was sought after as a columnist and that led to his stand-up comic routine.  He 
appeared a record 21 times on the Ed Sullivan Show 
and multiple times on The Tonight Show.

Once he got more into writing, he focused on nonfiction and wrote the bestsellers Everything But Money (1966), Sex and the Single Child (1969), In One Era And Out The Other (1973), and You Can Say That Again, Sam! (1975).

Poetry was another of his somewhat hidden talents and he is credited with authoring the well-known poem "Time Tested Beauty Tips.”  Levenson, who adored children, said he was inspired to write the poem for his grandchildren and in memory of his parents.

He pointed out that while his parents were not wealthy, they cared about what their kids did and encouraged them to read, read, read.  “Any kid who has parents who are interested in him and has a houseful of books is never poor.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

A Writer's Moment: Inspiring and Supporting Children

A Writer's Moment: Inspiring and Supporting Children: Thanksgiving marks the anniversary of a program called “Thanks & Giving All Year Long.”    Started by Marlo Thomas, the program provides...

Inspiring and Supporting Children

Thanksgiving marks the anniversary of a program called “Thanks & Giving All Year Long.”   Started by Marlo Thomas, the program provides ongoing support for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital – the world’s leading center for research on treating cancer and other catastrophic illnesses in children. 

 

In 2004 Thomas had the idea of writing a children’s book and album that would both inspire young people and help fund St. Jude’s work. For her effort Thomas won a Grammy Award; but more importantly she started a project that may go on for decades, continuing to both inspire kids and draw attention to St. Jude’s – which was founded by her father Danny Thomas.

 
 The Grammy Award was only one of many, many awards for this tireless actress and writer, who celebrated her 83rd birthday this week.  She also has earned four Emmys, a Golden Globe, the George Foster Peabody Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
 
 
Marlo Thomas

Thomas also wrote the bestselling children’s book/album called Free To Be … You and Me.  Its major thematic message is that anyone—even a child—can achieve anything.  Every dime of profit from that book/album is earmarked for major causes supporting children and their families.

“My father said there are two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers,” Thomas noted.  “The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better.”  

 

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