Welcome to the Poetry Café. Whether you love blank verse or are a solid devotee of iambic pentameter; or love sonnets but aren’t that enamored of the ode; and, if you get Emily D. but wonder what e. e. cummings is trying to tell you, you’re in the right place. Share your original poetry or your favorite poems.
A Prayer for Caregivers
It never seems to end,
The “putting others’ needs first,”
The physical exhaustion,
The sense of being emotionally overwhelmed,
Listening for two,
Remembering for two,
Fighting for one.
Book Review & Ode: Shorter’s Way
Before I tell you about Shorter’s Way, I must tell you about my friend, Grace. I’ve known Grace for about two decades. We met when we were writers for the 1996 Olympic Committee in Atlanta. Given how hard we all worked, I’m not sure how we found time to become friends, but we did. Since then, through my move from and back to Georgia, we’ve never been out of touch.
Over the last decade, she’s sent me some of her works-in-progress. I’ve read; we’ve discussed; and, I’ve admired her persistence in sticking with what most of us have a hard time doing – telling the darn story. I could argue that Grace has a leg up since she’s also been a professional stand-up storyteller. But then, she’s also a fine photographer and, I only learned recently, a lyricist who still gets royalties.
Book Review: I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai and Christine Lamb
It is seldom that I devote an entire blog to one book, but this is an important book that tells the story of a very important young woman. In its own way, it is a book that bears comparison to The Diary of a Young Girl, written seventy years ago by another teenager in harrowing circumstances. The two young women, living decades apart, share a similar commitment to making a positive difference in the world and a similar belief that, despite their oppressors, there is an underlying goodness in mankind. It is amazing to find this streak of optimism in both books because both young women saw the very worst that humanity produces aimed at them through an accident of religious identity or gender.
We all do it. We buy too much, think we like leftovers better than we do, then forget what’s in the refrigerator and end up throwing out good food and bad. Recently, I had a bit of an epiphany in Trader Joe’s. I’d dashed in to pick up a few things – two days after a shopping blow out at another grocery store – and, as I was checking out, realized how much I’d gotten in my little red reusable shopping bag. Even the checkout guy was impressed when he popped my last minute wine into a side pocket.
I told him that, given how much I’d spent in three days, I should do all my shopping using only this little bag. Its size could do what my will power seems unable to do: not over-buy. We both laughed.
Reminding us all of Advanced Style
As many of you know, I’m a fan of Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style. I love his appreciation for older women and for our style, from conservative to what most of consider over-the-top. I’m a subscriber and get a daily email featuring one of Ari’s models. Most are from New York City but he’s begun to travel around the world, and now we’re able to see how older women are dressing everywhere. Then there are his regular models – women we get to know over time like Ilona Royce Smithkin. Mostly, Cohen sticks to our endlessly creative instincts for dressing ourselves but, as this post shows, this young man also gets that aging has its challenges, and that it is about a whole lot more than what we put on our bodies. He understands that what’s happening inside matters, too, and that attention must be paid. Here’s what Ari says …
My Friend Kate
I thought of Kate the other day when I heard someone say “flight attendant” like it was a normal thing. Kate Swift, who was a writer and journalist, would have done that small smile thing she’d perfected when there was a moment she knew she and her life partner Casey Miller had had a profound effect on the ways we express our sexist bias through language. Remember, we called them “stewardesses.” That . . . ess ending has long been a big language problem. Somehow actress always seems a diminutive of actor – and so on.
Kate’s revelation that our language is rife with gender discrimination came in 1970 when she was part of a team editing a sex-education book for junior high school students. Over the next couple of decades she and Casey fought the battle for linguistic good sense and fairness. Their baby was The Handbook of Nonsexsist Writing.