It’s no secret that I have stepped into the position of managing editor for the arts journal, Pomona Valley Review for the upcoming 12th edition. For those that don’t know, PVR is an arts, poetry, and short story journal that comes out once a year and is run out of Cal Poly Pomona by alumni, graduate students, and faculty from …
Summer may not officially kick off until June 20th, but here in California, the weather is already providing an excuse to throw on a swimsuit and head down to the water. It’s also giving me an excuse to search for bookish beach towels to bring along with me, like the one above (cats are jerks, so it only makes sense that they’re secretly plotting world domination).
Below you can find some more of my favorites.
It’s story time in this dark forest, where a friendly monster and cute bunny find a quiet spot to read. I love the soft, muted colors and imagery in this print.
Anyone who knows me can tell you my favorite movie is Jurassic Park (the book, though quite different, is great too), and as such, I’ve always been fascinated with dinosaurs. On this beach towel, the artist has combined dinosaurs and books. I love the fact that the dinosaurs aren’t only reading them, they’re made of them—their bony armor replaced with colorful books.
The haiku is one of my favorite poetic forms. I will often jot one down in class when not paying attention to a teacher, or when riding as a passenger in a car, or on my friend’s facebook pages when I am awake late at night and procrastinating on something important to do.
Haikus are short and to the point, much like I am. It was as if the form was made for me, but really, it wasn’t. Haikus were made for all to enjoy, not just me. A traditional haiku has 17 syllables, broken up into lines that are 5/7/5 syllables each. In sticking with tradition, most haikus usually include references to nature or the seasons and contain a contrasting image within it. It is common for haikus to have spliced words, elongated vowel sounds or double syllabic sounds to fulfill the syllable count requirements. Haikus can also be joined together to make a larger poem, but each haiku must stand on its own and be able to be read as an independent piece for the poem to truly be considered a haiku.
Below is my interpretation of a traditional haiku. This is a series of haikus, but each also stand independently, or, I at least hope they do.
I wouldn’t call myself a poet, but I do write poetry and do pursue publication of my poems. One weakness I have for poetry is shaped poetry. I’ve tried my hand at it many times, but outside of one shaped poem I’ve completed, I haven’t really fell in love with any of my shaped poems.
John Hollander, a well known American poet, makes some fascinating shaped poetry. For example, his cat poetry:
Carrie Ann Schumacher is an artist and teacher living in Chicago. She uses various mediums to create her pieces, like paint, videos, and even the pages of romance novels. With the book pages, Carrie Ann makes beautiful, one-of-a-kind dresses. I first stumbled upon her dresses on Tumblr; I spent the next hour captivated by them, scrolling through older posts and making my way to her website, where I scanned through her portfolio. Each dress is extremely elaborate and intricate. I was curious about Carrie Ann’s process and the books that inspired the pieces, so I reached out to her for an interview.
The Poetics Project: First off, I’ve looked at most of the pieces you’ve shared on your Tumblr and website. My favorites so far are Vicki and The Vision, Harlequin, and Never the Prom Queen. Do you have any favorites?
Carrie Ann Schumacher: Every dress is my favorite and my least favorite when I make it. On one hand, I’m usually pretty excited when I’m done because I’ve tried something new or I’ve executed something that’s been floating around in my head for a while. On the other hand, I know every single flaw and mistake of each dress. There’s definitely an unglamorous side of creating the pieces that I’m intimate with, so sometimes it’s hard for me to see the beauty. Alice and the Boy She Left Behind will always be my favorite-favorite, at least when it was first made. Creating the dress was this really intense out-of-body experience. I made that piece the week after my grandmother died as a prayer and an apology, and it was exhausting and all consuming. Seeing it completed was like coming through to the other side or giving birth; all of a sudden you’re at the start of something new. I think I slept for three days when I was finally done.
Guy Laramee has his hand in a little of everything. He has composed music, directed and wrote for the theatre, and designed musical instruments. He’s singer, a painter, and a sculptor, among other things. Personally, I know of him from his work carving old books into pieces of art.
Laramee sums up his artistic statement beautifully by stating:
“So I carve landscapes out of books and I paint romantic landscapes. Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains. They erode a bit more and they become hills. Then they flatten and become fields where apparently nothing is happening. Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply IS. Fogs and clouds erase everything we know, everything we think we are. After 30 years of practice, the only thing I still wish my art to do is this: to project us into this thick ‘cloud of unknowing.'”
Most recently, Laramee took a twenty-four-volume set of a now discontinued Encyclopedia Britannica and turned it into a stunning mountain range. Here are two pictures of the entire sculpture:
This wasn’t a bad start. I didn’t get just one book though, oh no. The Last Bookstore is known for its dollar book catacombs, where books are sometimes organized by genre, or by color, or by country. Needless to say, I was up there for hours (I think two and a half was the final agreed upon time I spent perusing books).
I believe my final count on books was thirty. Yes, that’s right, I bought thirty one-dollar books. Why? Because who can say no to dollar books! I got books on linguistics, books on Shakespeare, books on British Literature, books on history, books on naturalism, books on poetry and, of course, books on politics, because I can.
It seems that one poetry submission lead to another! Today we’re looking at another user-submitted poem from Gibianainspiree (who’s blog you can visit at Lybdbibiana2013.Wordpress.Com. Her poem goes a little something like this:
Thinking about time
and the period of stone age
when everything seemed peaceful
all of my regrets
were nothing but emotions
now I am forgetting
when life gave me crystals.
Each time I remember the silence
and the contacts we made
it tickles so hard
to know that the past
is not the present.
The future I do not hate
neither is the present wasteful
but all I wish for,
is the good old days
when time was time
love gave the rhyme
adventure the treasures
and life a bed of roses.
All I miss right now
is the good old days.
When I read this poem, I feel like this poem is probably very personal with a lot of good feelings there for people to interpret, but it also has a deeper meaning that I can’t get at with just the words presented here alone. I like how it seems to contain a secret, but I can’t help but feel there’s a lot of intention within these lines that can pop out more with a few revisions.
In honor of National Novel Writing Month, November, our writers are going to undertake a novel writing challenge! We’ve all heard claims that writing a novel isn’t really that hard, and that it can be done in one’s spare time.
So, what the heck, we all figured, let’s all write a novel in our spare time and see if we can get it done by the end of November.
Ah yeah, look at that hot composition book action I got goin’.
I’ve recently been drawn to pieces of art created using pages from old books. Book sculptures aren’t just nice to look at; they’re also a good way to recycle old books that have been abandoned in thrift shops, used bookstores, or that one box in the corner of your garage. To see an example of book sculptures, check out my past posts on artists Kathy Ross and Su Blackwell. The other day, I came across some other creative ways to use old book pages– as wedding decorations.
1. Flower Vases
The cute flower vases pictured below can be made at home following these simple steps. You’ll need a sharp craft knife, old books, a small piece of cardboard, a pencil, and a hot glue gun. After some practice, you can have some fun with the shapes of your vases, making them taller or curvier.