Poems from newspaper clippings that don’t suck.

Austin Kleon art from newspaper

From Austin Kleon.

Austin, if you’re reading this, hi. I saw you in 2012 at the Penn Bookstore. Glad you enjoyed your falafel from Mamas. That is the city’s best. Now that I think of it, I may have made you a list of things to do and given it to you after the lecture. I made it during your lecture. Sorry if that is rude. I think you said you were leaving town right after the lecture, but that you would save it for next time.

I hope you weren’t just being polite.

Via {Christopher Wink/Twitter}.

Corita Kent, Why “Long/ Live/ the…” and More

eleven east cafe glassboro NJ

My first year as an undergrad was spent at a college in Glassboro, a medium-sized suburban New Jersey town. A city boy at heart, my new friends and I spent most of our time in the town’s sole independent coffee shop and book store: eleven east café and evergreen books, respectively.

It was in that bookstore that I found this:

to-believe-in-things

A book of poetry, sort of—written by playwright Joseph Pintauro and illustrated by sister Corita Kent. It was full of that trademark 1970s whimsy and innocence. One of the poetic devices used in the book is the repetition of “Long live the…”

Long Live the Thing by Joseph Pintauro and Sister Corita Kent

Long Live the Thing by Joseph Pintauro and Sister Corita Kent

The book is a celebration of life. It documents simple joys and observations:

Long live chickens
who run free
who lay their eggs
in dark
places around
the world where no man
sees.

This book seemed (and still seems) like a magic secret gift that random chance and serendipity gave to me. It spoke to me in a deep way when I first found them over ten years ago; it found me at the right moment in my life. It also speaks to why independent book stores remain so important, even though evergreen books shut down long ago. There are some experiences for which you cannot search.

I think this quotation from a 2012 PBS interview with art historian Kathryn Wat neatly summarizes the allure of Corita’s work, and it applies to her collaboration with Mr. Pintauro, too:

We feel that we’re living in dark times. And we look at this work and we see someone who was creating super-cool art, that’s very hip, but that is filled with a sincere spirit. And I think that’s appealing to all of us.

And now there’s a traveling exhibition featuring the work of Corita Kent {npr}. It opens at the Warhol museum at the end of this month.

Twitter Poetry

This is super cool:

Pentametron — which you can follow at @pentametron — watches all the public tweets created in a day. “It picks out the ones that happen to be in iambic pentameter,” says Ranjit Bhatnagar, an artist and the inventor of the program. “When it finds some of those, it looks for a pair that rhyme, and then it tweets out a couplet.”

Here’s one of my favorites:

Pentametron

Read more: Pentametron Reveals Unintended Poetry of Twitter Users {npr}.

See also: Google Poetics.

Poem

mom house


Chose creaky bench facing the sun; near

Flashy pink scooter.

Little boy runs up to the door; mumbles

Someone was chasing me!

Mom sticks her head out the window; asks

What?

Older boy rushes up; less out of breath

Dashes inside.

Mom sticks head out the window; asks

Where is he?

Long moment passes; gray-haired dad

Enters the house.

Woman in thrifted sweater wanders; unsure of

Direction crosses the street.

Oak-brown Buick coasts by; POP maybe it

Ran over an inflated balloon.

Mom makes final pass; eyes me up on bench

Look away.

Depart bench; boys run and screech

In the house.

car pop