An Arbor Day during National Poetry Month

Today is Arbor Day, a curious holiday, born in the American Midwest, meant to celebrate and cultivate trees. It’s more established than the uncounted more recent designated days, special weeks and “National Months” like Poetry Month, but its observance is spotty. Wikipedia says this is someone named “Birdsey Northrup” who helped popularize Arbor Day. Since … Continue reading An Arbor Day during National Poetry Month

Cold Is the North Wind, and Why Did Confucius Collect a Book of Songs Anyway?

Here’s one more musical piece from the anthology of ancient Chinese poetry collected by Confucius and his school and known as the Confucian Odes  or The Book of Songs. This one may be my favorite, though my performance of it dates to a time before I could find literal translations to check against the extant … Continue reading Cold Is the North Wind, and Why Did Confucius Collect a Book of Songs Anyway?

Full Moon

Our last poet, Margaret Widdemer seems to have done most of her adventuring in fantasy, but today’s poet, Elinor Wylie—well, she caused quite a scandal in the pre-WWI years. Widdemer may have dreamed of cavaliers and wearing leather in a traveling Romany wagon; but for Wylie, there’s biography!  Elinor Wylie grew up in Washington D. … Continue reading Full Moon

I Felt a Funeral in My Brain

Before leaving our Transcendental Trio of Emerson, Whitman and Dickinson, we should feature another set of words from Emily Dickinson, particularly since today is her birthday. Besides the poems themselves, Emily Dickinson is a series of cracking good stories. One story is similar to guitar poets Robert Johnson, Nick Drake, or Rodriguez, all artists who … Continue reading I Felt a Funeral in My Brain