Out of Print

Even at a glance it’s obvious that I love books! I love to read and rarely leave my house without at least 1 book – it becomes a little tricky when traveling, on this trip to Europe I brought 4 paperback books as well as my e-reader spread out between my pursue and backpack.

As part of my clear obsession with books I love book paraphernalia and my go-to place for literary apparel is Out of Print. They carry things from t-shirts, leggings, canvas bags, socks, wallets, and so many other odd things you never knew you needed until you saw them!

A good chunk of my closet comes from this site and I always smile when I use my Edgar Allen Poe-ka Dot pencil bag. Something I didn’t initially realize but for each item they sell they donate a book to Books for Africa so more parts of the world have access to books and reading! It makes me feel a little better when I spend copious amounts of money on their Steinbeck or a Literary Terms shirt.

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Water Sculptures

I know I should be doing something productive like studying for my finals but the glow from my computer screen beckons me and the internet just always happens to be on so I find myself roaming around the web looking for something interesting.  Well I have something interesting to share today.

The following are a series of paint and water sculptures digitally altered that I think is really cool and beautiful.

 



 

Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein was born in 1930 to a Jewish family in Illinois.  He was expelled from from University of Illinois before attending the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts before being drafted into the army.  While in the army he was sent to Korea and Japan.  He has two children – a son and a daughter (who, unfortunately, died when she was 11 of a cerebral aneurysm) – out of all the poet’s I’ve featured the past few days Silverstein was the only one who had any children.

He was an author, poet, song-writer, and a cartoonist.  He illustrated all of his children’s books, won a Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe, and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.  One of my favorite picture books, The Giving Tree, is one of his books along with memorable titles like The Missing Piece, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and A Giraffe and a Half.  He took being a book-lover very seriously and even got to the point where he would choose the specific paper size, type, color and shape his works would be printed on.  I wonder what his thought on e-books would be.

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Walt Whitman

Walter Whitman is best known for his incorporation of transcendentalist ideas into his works.  Born in 1819 as one of 9 to Quaker parents he finished his education by 11 and began working as an office boy for a law firm then an apprentice for a printer.  After a bit of moving around and some job changes Walt decided to become a poet and began working on Leaves of Grass, later paying for its publication.  The first poem is what is now called “Song of Myself”.  Later, during the American Civil War, he wrote my personal favorite of his poems’ “Beat! Beat! Drums!”.  He wrote on a variety of subjects such as slavery, sexuality, and religion.

He is well remembered for a line from “Song of Myself”:

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,

I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.One of the reason I’m sharing bits of “Song of Myself” instead of “Beat!” Beat! Drums!” is because the very talented Allen Crawford will be releasing an illustrated version of “Song of Myself” titled Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself.  I also encourage everyone to read the full poem even though it is really long.

 

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Emily Dickinson

I’m sure some of you guys are aware the April is National Poetry Month!  I haven’t been exposed to a wide variety of poetry but I enjoy what I’ve read.  For the rest of the month I decided to share some of my favorite poets and poetry here, starting with Emily Dickinson.

When I think about Dickinson I picture the quintessential introvert artist.  A very brief re-cap of her life: she was born to a decently well-off family in the early 1800s and was described as a “perfectly well and contented” child.  Eventually Dickinson went to study at an Academy before leaving to return to her family’s home and take care of her dying father, from then on death seemed to follow her (heavily reflected in her poetry).  As she continued further into adult her, she became increasingly secluded from outside life devoting herself to her close friends, family, and her garden (also a major theme in her poetry).

None of her poems were published in her life-time – instead her younger sister published them posthumously which is one of the reasons most of her poems’  titles are often the first line of the poem, Dickinson rarely ever named her poems.

That’s an incredibly brief and simplified history of Emily Dickinson – I encourage everyone to research her life and history more if they haven’t already!  Also, please appreciate that the amount of dashes used in a single 4 stanza poem – I wouldn’t be surprised if my love of dashes is somehow linked to my love of Dickinson.