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The Month Of Poems That You Used To Know By Heart

It’s April, it’s spring, and it’s National Poetry Month in the U.S. This is a good occasion to scan the web for poetry. We found some gems to brighten up our lifes, hypnotize our minds and remind us of our forgetfulness.

Animated Poetry

Animated poetry can be a mesmerizing way to rediscover and enjoy poems. One of our favourites is Julian Grey’s animation of Billy Collins’ poem “Forgetfulness”. The animation underlines the intelligent humor and insight, Billy Collins’ poems are loved for.

Forgetfulness

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

Spoken Word Poetry @TED

Sarah Kay is one of the founders of Project V.O.I.C.E, a lovely project that aims to use poetry as a way to entertain and educate. Sarah’s TED Talk “If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she’s gonna call me Point B … “ recently inspired standing ovations. Enjoy!

PDF Poetry For The Busy

The Academy of American Poets, spin doctor of the National Poetry Month, aims to bring poetry to everyday life. The Academy wants to get even the busiest people involved. Take for example these pocket-sized poem PDFs. You can click a pocket and share the attached poems with others. Download, print, and enjoy!

iPhone Poetry

The App Store wouldn’t be the App Store if there wasn’t a handy app that brings poetry to our touchscreens. “Poem Flow” delivers a new poem each day in order to create an invisible community of simultaneous readers. Join the flow!

By the way, which poems do you (still) know by heart?

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Happy Birthday, Dear Vincent!

Vincent van Gogh was born 158 years ago on 30 March 1853 in Groot-Zundert, a village in the southern Netherlands. He died, largely unknown, at the age of 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Today, he is widely regarded as one of the most important contributors to the foundation of modern art.

For his birthday we found this gem of digital artist Philip Scott Johnson who has morphed Vincent van Gogh’s self portraits into this great video.

Meanwhile swiss comedian and cabaret artist Ursus Wehrli has tidyed up the artist’s bedroom and has given a very entertaining TED Talk about his project Tidying Up Art.

However, due to time and self inflicted gun shots, visiting van Gogh today should bring you to Auvers-sur-Oise next time you come to France. Happy Birthday, Vincent van Gogh!

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Facebook Killed the Private Life

Clay Shirky, who popularized the concept of cognitive surplus, the time freed from watching television which can be enormously productive, talks in an interview about the risks of social media and broadcasting yourself on the internet. Shirky provides the following example: “The employer says: ‘Anything that is accessible to me is also acceptable to me.'” While in the real world there is a notion of privacy in public spaces (e.g. listening in the neighbors’ conversation in a restaurant is considered wrong), this notion lacks in the semi-public semi-private sphere of social networks and the internet. Shirky concludes that unless we find a better solution than the existing one, we will “have robbed young people of something that they won’t even know they are missing, because they never leave the web of surveillance.”

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An Evening with Werner Herzog


Werner Herzog is often considered as one the greatest figures of the New German Cinema, along with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Volker Schlöndorff, Wim Wenders and others. He is definitely one of my favorite filmmakers. His edgy, larger-than-life films fuse the epic with the intimate, redefining the scale and scope of filmmaking to include more than 60 works shot on every continent.

Last April, Herzog visited the UC Santa Barbara campus where he spent two hours in conversation about his film making and life with the author and essayist, Pico Iyer.

You may also have a look at Werner Herzog’s 1968 short film “Last Words”. It was shot and edited in only 2 days. The film tells a story of the last man to leave the abandoned island of Spinalonga, which had been used as a leper colony. The film’s narrative style is very unconventional, with most characters speaking their lines several times repeatedly in long takes. The man from the island has the most spoken lines of any character, as he repeatedly explains that he refuses to speak, even a single word.

These videos will help time pass before the Spring 2011 premiere of Herzog’s upcoming 3D film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

Thanks Film Studies For Free

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Technological Antiques

Ever since Paul Virilio coined the term ‘dromology’ (the study of speed) in the late 1970s, searching for the meaning of ever speedier change has become a respectable path of scholarship. “Everywhere life seems to speeding up: we talk of fast food and speed dating. But what does the phenomenon of social acceleration really entail?”, Hartmut Rosa asks in a collection of essays called High Speed Society.

Last year, French journalist Jean-Christophe Laurence took an interesting approach. He showed primary school kids old technology like floppy discs, a 1st generation Game Boy, a mouse from the 1980s or a telephone with dial plate and filmed their reactions. In the end he asks: “Not even 30 years old… And already antiques?”

In my opinion, the fact that mankind renews its tools within less than a generation should affect the way we teach and learn in schools. It becomes more and more important to teach our kids how to cope with change. Watching these kids discovering the meaning of stuff unknown to them, comparing it to things they know and finally giving it a meaning made me happy. Kids are explorers, and if school doesn’t destroy their curiosity and even helps them to develop such skills, “technological antiques” won’t be a problem at all.

(via rferl.org)

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