Welcome from Amy D. Unsworth

Language, Literature, Learning & Life.

Wind & Walking

. . . and we went out into the cold and wind, so we could remember that we are a part of nature. The epiphany came just six steps out of the building; there's a little weeping tree about 5 foot tall. We stopped and looked at the way the branches curled and twisted and cascaded. None of them could remember ever seeing the tree before; even though we have been passing by for months. Under the old oaks, a gift, an impromptu lesson from D. on how to use acorn caps for whistles. If you are ever lost, he said, now you will know how to call for help. Back in the room the heated air felt too warm. They wrote what they saw as they walked : the way periwinkle catches a blanket of leaves; the swirling carvings on the buildings; a cardinal in the tree with his tuft; the single hedge apple, poison, and fallen; the scrap of fine fur, the drop of blood, which hinted at the death of the rabbit.

If we had world enough and time, the poet said;
but this is the only world, this is our only time.

New Tricks

Ok. So maybe if you're one of those people who actually took a class on Microsoft Word you might know this already. You can "score" your readability and the grade level of your writing in Word by chosing "options" under the "check spelling and grammar." When you get done with your spell check, they'll be listed!

The site, linked above, says we should aim to write between the 60-70 % for readability and the 7-8th grade mark for "standard writing."

But this doesn't work for poetry; the program hates that the lines don't begin with capital letters, and it thinks that the sentences are mighty short. According to the program, one of my last poems was so easy to read that a 1st grader could read & understand it. Alas. I don't think my writing is that simplistic.

It's good to be a word person. We're so easily amused with just a few facts about writing, a dictionary, some white paper, and a few bottles of ink.

As Mr. Strand would say:
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.


So, it appears that blogging is falling out of favor with the poets-in-the-ether.
Now, 30:30 is the "in" thing. I'm playing along. It is a challenge to write 30 poems (or drafts) in a 30 day period. There's a public accountability & peer pressure factor that means I have others looking over my shoulder going "Where is that Draft? Get busy!" Hopefully, the practice will help me establish a daily habit of putting pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard as the case may be.)

at my back I always hear Time's winged chariot


What I wanted to ask. . .

but didn't. If music is the food of love, as Mr. S. would say, what does it mean that Othello has the musicians stop playing? Is it that he's so uncultured that he doesn't appreciate music? Is it that Cyprus has such different music that it is unpleasant? Or is the "Wedding Band" just that bad? (Oh, the choices that a director gets to make! It could be comic! Tragic! Strange!)

Or is it as in Twelfth Night, that Othello doesn't want to have an "excess" of it?

"If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die."
--From Twelfth Night (I, i,1-3)

And then there's the "swan song" that Desdemona sings. Questions & more questions.

For the stage director, music adds dimension to a performance and helps showcase the talents of the actors. But what does it do for meaning? I know that emotional content and experiences are often tied to music. But what does the "Willow" song really add to the play?

I should go to the MLA and see what critics have said about the music. So many research projects, so little time.

Even Easier

I've noticed that quite a few more journals have entered the world of electronic submissions recently. The last time I was researching for submissions there were hardly any print journals that offered an online option. Now, some only accept electronic versions. There are several handy databases with links to journals as well. Nice.

I think it's a great move in general. I've been reading submissions via email or electronic files for about five years. Actually, I've only had paper submissions once, as a reader for Touchstone. The files are so much easier to handle, to share, and for responses.

But, even after an hour long struggle to install a printer driver today, I'm still awfully fond of printing out my poems so that no changes/glitches/gremlins occur during their travels to editors. And I'm fond of postage stamps. Possibly because my older brother once collected them, so I think, perhaps, my boys will want all these stamps from the submissions I've sent out and had returned to me.

It's a process in patience & I'm still trying to learn.

Creation Buzz

What is it about creating a poem, a book, a piece of art, that gives one a buzz? When a poem is "right," I have a "high" that lasts throughout the day.

Who needs red wine?

Oh, and I saw a new journal today "Fickle Muses" which is calling for poetry & writing that intersects with myth and legend. Looks interesting to me.

Not Me. . .

Somewhere in the UK there's an Amy Unsworth that works in a cancer lab. She's published a short piece of non-fiction here at LabLit.

Strangely enough, I had an acceptance in my in-box for the piece although I'd never heard of the site before. But, apparently they've caught up with the right Amy Unsworth now. Thank you Amy for whatever you do to support cancer research & for reminding us to laugh now and again.