Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tacoma Reads Together - The Emigrants

This "tour of the emigrant's district" contains a photo from The Emigrants movie which shows their ship, The Catharina.


When Tacoma Reads Together did The Crucible a couple of years back, during one discussion I brought up a book with my own disclaimer to the title, because I do not make a habit of using language that is like this and if I do I try to get myself back to making a better choice. But this book is a philosophical treatment of this word. The word really deserves this treatment, because people who use this word usually are reiterating for shock effect, but sometimes they really have a clear meaning in context. Halloween is here and a candidate has been hanged in effigy in California, but because they are not a black male the incident lacks historical impact in the United States.

Monday, October 20, 2008

At The Rally

The walk from the bus to the rally area was quiet the day before when I checked to see if I would be on the right track on Sunday. On Sunday the side of the street was packed with roadsigns and other people were walking in too.

Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell spoke, Governor Christine Gregoire introduced Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Joseph Biden. In this photo lots of photographers are taking pictures of Joseph Biden.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Footage Inside An Old Mill

Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent was shown at Tacoma Public Library this week. It had footage inside an old mill like an old mill photographed in Finland by my mother's aunt in 1930. There is some footage shown on You Tube, but without the sound. The movie informed me about the appearance and the sound inside an old mill.

Friday, October 17, 2008

That I Saw John Kennedy at Cheney Stadium in 1963 - That I Can See Joe Biden at Cheney Stadium Autumn 2008

That I Saw John Fitzgerald Kennedy at Cheney Stadium in Autumn 1963 - That I Can See Joseph Biden, Democratic Candidate for Vice President at Cheney Stadium in Autumn 2008 - A Series of Litanies

Litany: One - The University of Puget Sound Field House

When I attended a Hillary Clinton rally at University of Puget Sound Field House in February this year it was the second time recently that I felt a stirring to compose a litany.

The first time I felt that stirring to refer to the litany was in 2006. I noticed from the bus as I rode by the University of Puget Sound reader board that Robert Moses was to speak there - coincidentally during the weekend of the 100th Anniversary of Stadium High School Restoration Celebration. So while Stadium High School (I went to Wilson) enjoyed individual year reunions and the band Blood, Sweat and Tears, I was going to be able to pay the ten dollars and sit in the upper section at UPS to hear Robert Moses.

I remembered the name but had also read about him in Parting the Waters, by Taylor Branch.

Yes, once again. In that side of the upper section I was back, once again, where my parents had taken my sister and me that evening when they said we were going to go see Carl and Ellen - if we had behaved badly we might indeed have gone to see our uncle and aunt. As we were going into the garage I stopped at grass allowed to grow long there to pull at it, because my thoughts began to fill up with the horse that lived across the alley from them, their house was in a zoning code that allowed horses. Instead it was the Shrine Circus. There were a thousand clowns, there was a costumed escaped gorilla on the other side of the upper section. Above us came high wire walkers and trapeze artists. Most of all, with the other lights lowered, in a ring came palomino horses with bareback riders.

Yes, once again. All the women's costumes were skimpy and scandalous, flashy with shiny appliques. But their somersaults in the air between trapezes and catches at arms where the partner was swinging enraptured their audience and filled us with awe.

Yes, once again. My mother took my sister and me to the fieldhouse to see Sofia Flickor, Swedish girl gymnastics. Their neutral leotards and mats made a pattern on the wood floor and they performed in synchrony. My mother loved Finland and Sweden, she brought us because we were Swedish and Finnish.

Yes, once again. In fifth grade I made friends with several girls. In junior high I went with Janet and her parents to the field house for the Harlem Globe Trotters. The accidental bucket of confetti paper spilled on us where we sat at the sidelines.

Yes, once again. Janet and her family took me to a Home Show at the fieldhouse, the space redesigned with booths.

Yes, once again. With my eight hundred classmates (we went to Wilson, not Stadium) I graduated at the fieldhouse.

Yes, once again. I attended a basketball game by the college team there after I was thirty and lived in Tacoma.

Yes, once again. I attended a speech there by Robert Moses.

Yes, once again. I attended a rally there for Hillary Clinton.

That I Saw John Fitzgerald Kennedy at Cheney Stadium in Autumn 1963 - That I Can See Joseph Biden, Democratic Candidate for Vice President at Cheney Stadium in Autumn 2008 - A Series of Litanies

Litany: Two - About Litany

A litany is a series of supplications with a repeated refrain. The term, apart from church service, entered my attention as a poetry student, so it was already a resurrection twenty-five year ago among writers and poets in the early nineteen eighties when I taught ten different writing classes at Tacoma Community College.

Then I read and thought books were important and important to have around, but I noticed that I could increase my book collection, books were what I collected. Many people enjoy collections. The presence of books looks nice to me and repeated visits to familiar books create an experience I enjoy. Now most of my books are in boxes or are not assigned steady spots on shelves, right now I live in a small place.

Next to other books today in a pile was a poetry book, Braille for a Storm of Loss, by Father William Ruddy, and, close by, was the one I was looking for, Parting the Waters, by Taylor Branch. In summer 1982 I taught a summer school class at TCC. In September I was featured as a reader at Tacoma's Antique Sandwich Company, and had been attending readings at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Seattle, where I had met Father William Ruddy. He gave me a signed copy of a book he published.

Braille for a Storm of Loss features an introduction by William Everson. Everson notes the influence of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Edith Sitwell, and Dylan Thomas and explains that "the wonderful thing to watch is his instinct in play as he saves himself from the onslaught with which the primitive beliefs of India overwhelmed him. By recourse to three distinct levels of evolving British sensibility, he emerges in India with a medium that is perfect for American survival there, the kind of intuitive coherence that transmutes technique into slavivic opportunity."

That is the word: slavivic. The word slavivic - definition.

Some of Ruddy's poems are about the suffering of children and some are about the sacrifice of children. Primitive beliefs lead us now to reflect upon ancient ways when we consider No Child Left Behind.

That I Saw John Fitzgerald Kennedy at Cheney Stadium in Autumn 1963 - That I Can See Joseph Biden, Democratic Candidate for Vice President at Cheney Stadium in Autumn 2008 - A Series of Litanies

Litany: Three - A Blind Rain, and How Those Years Did Seguay into...

Braille for a Storm of Loss has a section titled from a line of the section's poem, " a blind rain."

Yes, again and again I have wondered how to address the idea of my blind aunt Christine - that she became blind in her mid-thirtes from Glaucoma.

Yes, again and again as the rain falls it becomes: when the rain fell into the puddles on the sidewalks in Seattle, when it fell from the roof of their small house onto the puddles on their walk, again and again I have believed a time did come at last when she did not see that rain anymore, but could hear the rain falling on the roof of their house.

Yes, again and again since I began to keep my parents archives with me I have wondered how to research my grandfather's sister who emigrated from Denmark with her mother to join her brothers and their father in Iowa. The story is that my grandfather's sister Marie died in Iowa, but I have not yet found out information about how that happened.

Yes, again and again I know I would not be able to learn more from her if I learned more about her.

Yes, again and again I notice that there are reasons to care about the well-being of others.

William Ruddy explains in his Acknowledgements: Poetry, also, through its driving force of verbal feeling, intensified into speech, renews the entire ground of Being, thereby bringing into breathless focus exactly what our blinded childhood fashioned us to speak. This objectification of heart-felt feeling is very close to me, because my own brother is blind, and I remember how the rest of us had to deepen down our voice from ordinary, sighted speech as a kind of accommodation. Of course, all that it takes is love...The poems in this book are meant to be a sort of braille for the heart.

Yes, again and again I ride the bus with those who board on their own but are seated only with assistance from the driver because their chair must be seat belted.

Yes, again and again I realize that still, though, I want to know more about my family history.

If I go to see Joseph Biden speak at Cheney Stadium it is always true that I carry all of that along with me.

And I have to limit the personal belongings.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Women Without Children

In the nineteen-nineties articles occasionally were in the news about non-parent response to parents demands for special treatment in the workplace. The content has been about non-parents having lives that require attention, just as parents have dependents who need them. When a parent I worked with skipped a meeting that mattered to me to drive her daughter to college, I noticed it. In the library collection I have noticed only a few titles about non-parents, a book called Women Without Children. One recent article about census describes the generation now 40 to 45 representing an increase in the number of women without children - doubled from the small ten percent in my generation born right after World War Two. There is a paper on the internet about this. I want to link to it without having read it completely - it is about making decisions about mothering in the life course. The author, Grace Eileen Scrimgeour, M.A. Loyola, concludes that "further work is needed in this area to look at whether attitudes in wider society toward 'obligatory motherhood' are changing in the U.S."

When I started to use the library computer center in 2000 I enjoyed Effects. Now I have learned Lunapic has effects - a portrait of me as the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Work At Salt River Review

Two poems and a prose piece I wrote appear at Salt River Review in the new issue. These and other work on the internet are listed to the right.