Poet Linda Pastan

As I read Linda Pastan’s obituary in the Washington Post I remembered a book of hers on my shelf. When I read The Last Uncle I was so moved by her poetry, I wrote to her. She wrote back. Fortunately I’d tucked the postcard inside the book. Postmarked 2004.

Because I don’t have permission to reprint her poems here today, my wish is you’ll find one, they are out there on the Internet, read her words and know the world will miss her.

A link to Linda Pastan reading three of her poems.

Here’s a link to Kirk Lawrence reading of one of her poems on YouTube titled My Obituary

Credits-cover design Eleen Cheung.
Cover photograph by Bob Grove of The Artist’s Father by Paul Cezanne from Collection of Mr.and Mrs. Paul Mellon Published by W.W.Norton

Little Italy Days Bocce Tournament

Thursday evening. Steve’s first Guest blog.

Steve photographed Franco Harris* at the Little Italy Days Bocce tournament in the neighborhood of Bloomfield. * (Former Steeler. Known for the “immaculate Reception “ play and a member of four Steelers Super Bowl Championship teams) Mr. Harris threw out the first ball of the Bocce tournament.

In 2017 Steve photographed me with Mr.Harris at the same event.

Little Italy Days 2017
Remembering Jimmy Cvetic RIP- photographed with Franco Harris by me in 2017

*Cvetic, a gregarious and gravelly-voiced Pittsburgh native, was a Vietnam veteran, Allegheny County narcotics detective, boxing coach and poet. He also organized annual holiday toy drives for needy children.

To see the famous play of The Immaculate Reception click here

From a blog post in 2013 when Steve and I went to. Steelers game in the snow https://rutheh.com/2013/12/09/steelers-game-in-the-snow/

A Bald Cypress in Clintonville Ohio

A deciduous conifer -the Bald Cypress
In Whetstone Park by the playground and library

I used the inaturalist Seek app to identify this magnificent tree

This tree has inspired much poetry and prose over the centuries due to its melancholy and mysterious appearance. Longfellow refers to its “towering and tenebrous boughs” that “waved like banners that hang on the walls of ancient cathedrals” in his 1847 poem, Evangeline. Naturalist John Muir in his book Thousand-Mile Walk refers to “the dark, mysterious cypress woods which cover everything” and states that “night is coming on and I am filled with indescribable loneliness.”- click text for ArborDay source

Closeup

Remembering Poet and Friend Dorothy Holley on Her Birthday

Two posts reblogged honoring

Dorothy Holley Poet, Friend post from 2010 click for slideshow

May 15, 1923 – June 6, 2010.
Link to her obituary

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Dorothy Holley’s Iris from her garden are in the photo below replanted by fellow poet and friend Liane Norman, who is the author of I Dug Up the Iris

I Dug Up the Iris

in Dorothy’s garden
to plant in the soaked

soil of mine, memorial
to her each spring

when they’ll open
complicated ruffles

and flourishes, purple
or blue with speckled

throats. They’ll rise
out of rhizomes

sprawling at soil’s
surface like the joints

of my old  hands
anchoring the tall

stalks and frilly petals.
This morning

in the brief breath
of cool I dug shallow

trenches for this legacy,
this pantry of pollens

the bees prospect,
insects with lives

beyond what the mere
gardener knows.

Liane Ellison Norman, a Madwoman in the Attic, has published two books of poetry, The Duration of Grief and Keep(www.smokeandmirrorspress.com). She has published poems in 5AM, Kestrel, North American Review, Grasslimb, Rune, Voices from the Attic anthologies and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Her poem “What There’d Been” won the Wisteria Prize in 2006 from Paper Journey Press.

reblogged On the occasion of the birthday of poet Dorothy Holley http://rutheh.com/tag/dorothy-holley-poet/

Robert Burns Statue in Brisbane – Guest Blog

In response to yesterday’s post about January 25th being Robert Burns’ birthday

In my inbox was an email from my friend and blog follower Gayle. Gayle lives in Brisbane, Australia. I’d “met” her through the Woolswap exchange program she created and runs.

Would you believe there’s a Robert Burns statue in a park Centenary Place, directly across the street from where she lives in Brisbane? Here’s a photo of the statue. I’d a link in my original post of a list of sixty Burns statues around the globe.

Photographed in Brisbane by Gayle’s partner, Dean

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And here’s a comment from my friend Joanne with what her sister wrote after viewing the blog post. Joanne’s sister Mary wrote of the annual dinner that she and her friends celebrated in Canada, on the poet’s birthday –

JB says

Ruth – here’s a comment from my sister Mary up in Canada:
“Our friend Esther always had a special dinner for the occasion ……
We all decked out in whatever tartan we had (I made Nova Scotia tartan vests for Bernie and me) . We were allowed to bring Scottish themed appetizers (I took little oat cakes with a whiskey flavored cheese ball) (or is it whisky – actual scotch whiskey is spelled differently from the others).
Anyway Esther served the entire traditional meal – a modified Haggis (liver flavored meatoaf) served with a wee dram of Drambuie, cock-a-leekie soup, roast beef with taters and neeps (mashed potatoes and turnips), and a trifle for dessert. Dave spouted from memory the actual Toast to the Haggis as he sliced and served it, with much brandishing of a large carving knife and using his best Scottish accent. And we all came prepared with Burns poetry that we took turns reciting while toasting Burns. It was great fun. And it was there that a number of us tried Scotch for the first time and decided we liked it.”

It’s always fun to receive responses to a blog post.

Robert Burns 263rd Birthday -a Reblog

Originally posted 7 years ago- it’s snowing today, too! 2022-1759=263

SCOTTISH BARD’S 256TH BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY – JUST BEFORE SUNSET IN THE SNOW-January 25, 2015

Steve said it was Robbie Burns birthday today.  Born January 25, 1759.

We missed the fancy fundraiser for the museum last week, the Haggis and men decked out in kilts of their clan.

We missed the “not your grandfather’s ” Robert Burns birthday party in Lawrenceville and the one on the South Side with all kinds of scotch at Piper’s pub.

But we got to pay homage to the Scottish poet, just before dusk.  The end of a January gloomy Sunday.

We headed out to Schenley Park to the Robert Burns statue (by Scottish sculptor J. Massey Rhind)  and it started to snow.

Burns statue with snow front

Right next to Phipps Conservatory.

Burns statue with snow
Burns statue with plow
Burns Pedestal

Mrs. Peacock sounds like a game of clue but here is  a snippet of the article in the Mary 3, 1914 Post-Gazette.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 10.48.20 PM

For a list of Robert Burns memorials around the world, click here

Quotes

“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley.
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

(To A Mouse)”
― Robert Burns, The Works of Robert Burns

                                                                                          My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;

                                                                                          My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;

                                                                                          A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,

                                                                                          My heart’s in the Highlands wherever I go.” 

                                                                                                                                  ― Robert Burns

from Tam o’Shanter

But pleasures are like poppies spread—

You seize the flow’r, its bloom is shed;

Or like the snow falls in the river—

A moment white—then melts forever.
Line 59

“And man, whose heav’n-erected face
The smiles of love adorn
Man’s inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!”
― Robert Burns

Supporting Your Independent Bookstore and a Friend

October 11th, fellow blogger and friend, Audrey Kletscher Helbling, posted the news that her poem, “Funeral During a Pandemic” had been published in an award winning book- This Was 2020—Minnesotans Write About Pandemics and Social Justice in a Historic Year.


The collection was compiled by Paul Lai, a Ramsey County Librarian in Minnesota. If you click the link at “posted the news” above so you can see a photo of the beginning of her poignant poem.

There are 54 pieces of prose and poetry in the volume.  I called the reference librarian at their library and was able to get the

ISBN# 9781087967622

I discovered the book could be ordered from your independent bookstore. So I did!

Here is a nearby independent bookstore, White Whale Bookstore (“a home for book lovers”) in Bloomfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh PA, just a few miles from my home.  Today I went to pick up the book. I’m looking forward to reading it.

Hope you have an independent bookstore near you.

 

 

 

Coffee, Earl Grey Tea Bread and a Remembered Poem

After our walk, my friends Jen snd I Went to have a coffee. There was a slice of of Earl Grey Tea Bread in the case and she’d had it before. Encouraged me to order snd try it . It was brought to the table with a generous amount butter and lemon zest on top.

We were at de Fer Coffee in the Strip District. And she was right. It was delicious. The butter slathered on top reminded me of the A.A, Milne poem the King’s Breakfast when the Dairymaid asks the Alderney “Don’t forget the butter for
The Royal slice of bread.” I’d say the cow did the butter spreading royally!

Remembering how my mother read aloud to me, this is a poem I can hear her voice recite the verses. Another she’d read with great expression was Milne’s poem Disobedience. I’d not thought of either in years.

Until the slice of bread arrived at the table in the coffee shop.

Funny how a slice of bread with lots of butter sparks a childhood memory of a poem being read aloud and the cadence and tone of a mother’s voice can come alive in your head, decades later.

Once my cousin John B wrote that my mother’s voice was mellifluous. I had to look it up!

Diane Kerr Poet, Author of PERIGEE

I received a copy of PERIGEE in the mail today.  A gift from the poet Diane Kerr.

I had the honor of capturing her author photo which now graces the back cover of her just published poetry book.

Thank you Diane and congratulations on winning the Brittingham Prize in Poetry and having your book published at the University of Wisconsin Press.  

To read reviews and/or purchase a copy click here 

Release from the  University of Wisconsin Press Click link for more information

“Diane Kerr mentors poets through the Madwomen in the Attic Creative Writing Program at Carlow University and is the author of the collection, Butterfly. Her work has appeared in the Alaska Quarterly Review, Mississippi Review, and Pearl, among others. She holds an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Kerr’s forthcoming Perigee follows a speaker’s emotional reckoning with a traumatic secret she felt pressured to keep during her girlhood. In varied lyric narratives, these poems reinforce that shock and suffering have no statute of limitations.”

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Perigee.

  1. the point in the orbit of the moon or a satellite at which it is nearest to the earth.