Thursday, March 22, 2018

#PoetryBreak The Snow Man - Wallace Stevens

Snow Falling (M.A. Reilly)

The Snow Man

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

#PoetryBreak: Horses by Pablo Neruda

Dreaming of Horses Running (M.A. Reilly)


by Pablo Neruda

From the window I saw the horses.
I was in Berlin, in winter. The light
had no light, the sky had no heaven.
The air was white like wet bread.
And from my window a vacant arena,
bitten by the teeth of winter.
Suddenly driven out by a man,
ten horses surged through the mist.
Like waves of fire, they flared forward
and to my eyes filled the whole world,
empty till then. Perfect, ablaze,
they were like ten gods with pure white hoofs,
with manes like a dream of salt.
Their rumps were worlds and oranges.
Their color was honey, amber, fire.
Their necks were towers
cut from the stone of pride,
and behind their transparent eyes
energy raged, like a prisoner.
There, in silence, at mid-day,
in that dirty, disordered winter,
those intense horses were the blood
the rhythm, the inciting treasure of life.
I looked. I looked and was reborn:
for there, unknowing, was the fountain,
the dance of gold, heaven
and the fire that lives in beauty.
I have forgotten that dark Berlin winter.
I will not forget the light of the horses.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

#PoetryBreak: Blizzard

Zen (M. A. Reilly)

by Linda Pastan

the snow
has forgotten
how to stop
it falls
at the glass
a silk windsock
of snow
under the porch light
tangling trees
which bend
like old women
in their own
snow drifts
up to the step
over the doorsill
a pointillist’s blur
the wedding
of form and motion
shaping itself
to the wish of
any object it touches
chairs become
laps of snow
the moon could be
breaking apart
and falling
over the eaves
over the roof
a white bear
shaking its paw
at the window
splitting the hive
of winter
snow stinging
the air
I pull a comforter
of snow
up to my chin
and tumble
to sleep
as the whole
of silence
falls out of the

Saturday, March 17, 2018

20 Latinas Who Persevered: Picture Books for Grade 2

Image result for the flying girl margarita
from The Flying Girl

1.    Benatar, Raquel. (2004). Isabel Allende: Recuerdos para un cuento/Isabel Allende: Memories for a Story. Illustrated by Fernando Molinari.  Houston, TX: Piñata Books.
2.    Brown, Monica. (2017). Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos. Illustrated by John Parra. New York: NorthSouth Books.
3.    Brown, Monica. (2010). Side by Side/Lado a lado: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez/La historia de Dolores Huerta y Cesar Chavez. Illustrated by Joe Cepeda. New York: HarperCollins/Rayo.
4.    Brown, Monica. (2004). My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz/la vida de Celia Cruz.  Illustrated by Rafael López. Cooper Square Publishing.
5.    Chambers, Veronica. (2005). Celia Cruz: Queen of SalsaIllustrated by Julie Maren. New York: Dial.
6.    Cohn, Diana. (2005). ¡Si, Se Puede! / Yes, We Can!: Janitor Strike in L.A. (English and Spanish Edition). Illustrated by Francisco Delgado. El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos Press.
7.    Engle, Margarita. (2018). The Flying Girl: How Aida de Acosta Learned to Soar. Illustrated by Sara Palacios. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
8.    Engle, Margarita. (2017). Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics. Illustrated by Rafael López . New York: Henry Holt and Co.
9.    Gonzalez, Lucia. (2008). The Storyteller’s Candle/La velita de los cuentos. Illustrated by Lulu Delacre. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
10.Herrera, Juan Felipe. (2014). Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes. Illustrated by Raul Colón. New York: Penguin Books.
11.Mora, Pat. (2002). Maria Paints the Hills. Paintings by Maria Hesch. Albuquerque, NM: Museum of New Mexico Press.
12.Mora, Pat. (2002). A Library for Juana: The World of Sor Juana Ines. Illustrated by Beatriz Vidal. New York: Knopf Books.
13.Mora, Pat. (2005). Dona Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart. Illustrated by Raul Colón. New York: Knopf Books.
14.Morales, Yuyi. (2014). Viva Frida. Illustrated by Tim O'Meara. New York: A Neal Porter Book.
15.Tafolla, Carmen and Sharyll Teneyuca. (2008). That's Not Fair! / ¡No Es Justo!: Emma Tenayuca's Struggle for Justice/La lucha de Emma Tenayuca por la justicia.  Illustrated by Terry Ybáñez. San Antonio, TX: Wings Press.
16.Tonatiuh, Duncan. (2017). Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México. New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers.
17.Tonatiuh, Duncan. (2014). Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation. New York: Harry N. Abrams. 
18. Warren, Sarah. (2012). Dolores Huerta: A Hero to MIgrant WorkersIllustrated by Robert Casilla. New York: Two Lions.
19.Winter, Jonah. (2009). Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx: La juez que crecio en el Bronx. Illustrated by Edel Rodriguez. New York: Atheneum.
20.Winter, Jonah. (2002). FridaIllustrated by Ana Juan. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

#SOL18: 3 A.M. (For Rob on the 2nd Anniversary)

Rob and Devon celecbrating Dev's 2md birthday.
As I write this it is nearing 3 a.m. We are buried under the snow tonight. More than two feet fell throughout the day. In the next room, my son is busy making a pot of rice. I can hear the press of his foot against the wooden floor, the rattle he makes each time he lifts the lid off the pot and stirs. Such ordinary sounds are the ones of industry. Earlier he handed me his iPad and showed me a piece of writing he had finished. Strong, clear writing. He is his father's son.

Thirty years ago, Rob and I went to hear Li-Young Lee read. We quickly purchased two volumes of his poetry--books I have kept close throughout our many moves.  I have turned to Young's words for comfort, joy, surprise, and knowledge. His insights so soften startle me. So it isn't so surprising that tonight, although accidental, it was Young's words that were the balm I most needed.

Rob, mid-word. 
"From Blossoms" caught my heart tonight on this anniversary of Rob's death. How two years could have come and gone is more mystery than not. But it has. More lessons than my  hands could possibly hold have come and faded these last two years. From that fog, what emerges most though is the blessing that comes from living deeply during those twenty-eight years.

I'm so grateful now that we didn't muddy living with too much worry about things we could not control. "From Blossoms" is a reminder of that adage: live well, live deeply, live now. It is a sensual feast and against such lushness, Young's closing stanza resonates. He writes,

Rob and I in Maine. Dev took the picture. 
"There are days we live/as if death were nowhere/in the background; from joy/to joy to joy, from wing to wing,/from blossom to blossom to/impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom." 
We lived more days than I could count as if death were nowhere in the background.  Tonight, I'm so grateful for that. These days when I start to feel blue, I remember what it means to live joyfully--to appreciate the ordinary moments that give the most definition to the day by noticing how the scent of rice lingers well after it has been eaten.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

When Music Meets Poem: Kris Delmorst's "Strange Conversation"

Sea Impression (M.A. Reilly, printed on linen)

I really love Kris Delmhorst's interpretation of John Masefield's "Sea Fever" on a released album of hers, Strange Conversation (2006).  I could listen to it over and over again. 
Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; 
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

Her range is powerful. In contrast to the lulling and soulful "Sea Fever," her spirited take on e.e. cummings's poem "anyone lived in a pretty how town" is nothing less than rambunctious.  The whole album is excellent.   

[anyone lived in a pretty how town]