What value is mystery and strangeness to gratitude, to a sense of thanks? Let me try an experiment with you here. American Thanksgiving still retains a degree of its nature as a harvest festival, and so when looking for a text to use today I came upon this one by highly unfashionable poet Henry Wadsworth … Continue reading Longfellow’s Harvest Moon
I live in one of the northernmost states in the U.S., a place where winter cannot be denied, and so we must make our treaty with cold and snow. Some will even claim it makes us better persons—hardier, accepting of the Zen of difficulties. Still, if Minnesota has inherent Buddhist elements, it doesn’t lessen my … Continue reading Longfellow Goes Beat
The river of history runs only in one direction.* And so on our river journey, the Modernist poetic landmark “The Waste Land” will arrive, and stopping and resting on the landing there will mark us as well past the headwaters, and our memories will diminish of the headwaters, even if the very water that carries … Continue reading Eliot’s Oak
This project has gone on so long and produced so many pieces, so before February ends I thought I’d highlight five of the most popular pieces we’ve presented in past years that deal with Afro-American experience or history. The bold-faced start of each listing is a link to take you to the original Parlando Project … Continue reading Some past Parlando Project pieces relating to Black History Month
Here’s a piece that will seem appropriate for Christmas, but to be exact, it’s actually early and only due by January 6th. Yes, even though your standard-issue Christmas decoration depicts a stable with baby Jesus, his parents, livestock, shepherds, a hanging heavenly star, and that exotic trio: the Three Kings, the Three Wise men, the … Continue reading The Three Kings
A momentous week in the United States as election results are counted, and I’m frankly distracted from my normal creative routine. But as we wait, I can offer this piece by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that I presented as part of a celebration of American Independence Day last July. Mixed metaphors: ships and trains. Minneapolis has … Continue reading As we wait….
Claude McKay led an outsiders’ life, Allen Ginsberg became a near celebrity bohemian whose outsider status changed over his life. The author of today’s poem in our Independence Day series was more well-known than Ginsberg in his day, and he was as far from being an outsider as any American poet could be. At one … Continue reading Sail on, Oh Ship of State!
I can’t let February and Black History month go by without another poem, so let’s return to the man who could be said to have established Afro-American poetry in the United States, Paul Laurence Dunbar. Although he lived into the first few years of the 20th century, Dunbar as a poet is fixed in the … Continue reading Kidnaped
Here’s a hopeful song written by a worried man during the great trauma of the American Civil War. Those who’ve followed along on this blog in 2018 will know that I’ve performed several pieces with words written by that man, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I’ve written about his once great fame and his steep fall … Continue reading I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (Christmas Bells)
Remember back a few posts ago when the Parlando Project performed a question posed by poet Vijay Seshadri? He asked what poetry, or any art, can say about children in cages. There are many answers to that for poets. One obvious one: to say in your work that it is wrong and that you oppose … Continue reading The Quadroon Girl