Nature, Movement, Dream and Actions: Quotables

On Outdoors: “the absence of nature in the lives of today’s wired youth and its negative health and societal impacts [is] a phenomenon Louv terms Nature-Deficit Disorder

On Science vs. Imagination:

“three-year-olds literally spend more waking hours in imaginary worlds than in the real one. Why? Learning about the real world has obvious evolutionary advantages and kids do it better than anyone else. But why spend so much time thinking about wildly, flagrantly unreal worlds?

[…]the two abilities — finding the truth about the world and creating new worlds — are two sides of the same coins. Theories, in science or childhood, don’t just tell us what’s true — they tell us what’s possible, and they tell us how to get to those possibilities from where we are now.” – Alison Gopnik via Isabella

On Exercise:

2,401 twins and assessed the length of their telomeres – the ‘caps’ on the ends of their chromosomes that help to protect the DNA from wearing down during the replication process that replenishes cells. Telomeres shorten over an individual’s lifetime and are thought to function as a marker for ageing. Smokers and obese people were already known to have shorter telomeres than their healthier counterparts.

The team found that, on average, telomeres in the most active group (who took more than 3 hours 20 minutes of exercise a week) were 200 nucleotides longer than that of the least active group (who took less than 16 minutes exercise a week). “This difference suggests that inactive subjects may be biologically older by 10 years compared with more active subjects,” say Spector and colleagues in their paper in Archives of Internal Medicine.” – via 3 Quarks Daily at Not Exercising Ages You Faster

On Women:
Interesting that these two routes of women should be cheek by jowl, and that they both should be on the way to remaindered. Speculations?

Action, Not Time Heals:

“a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively.” […]

“If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: “Get rid of your discontent.” Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action.” – Letter from a Birmingham Jail at King Papers

Audio Link: Pollyanna looked at In Character at NPR [via]

Digital Latin American Studies Books: University of Pittsburg Press releases a pilot of digital books (Post article via Poetry Blog Hut), for example, this title,

Imagination Beyond Nation by Eva Bueno: This innovative collection features studies of iconography in Mexico, telenovelas in Venezuela, drama in Chile, cinema in Brazil, comic strips and tango in Argentina, and ceramics in Peru. From the studies of these popular arts the idea of nationality in Latin America is revealed to be a problematic, divided one, worthy of further study.

Quote: “Whatever touches the nerves of motive, whatever shifts man’s moral position, is mightier than steam, or calorie, or lightening.” – Edwin Hubbel Chapin

29 Jan 2008, 9:48am


Kevin remarked once on how in scrabble different people have different dominant strategies. Some will pass to trade in until they can make all their points off a word that uses all their tiles and put it on a triple letter score. Some play to use all the letters and make a compact filled in board. Some make small common words often. I’ve played against people who strive for an aesthetic balance on the board and some who will grab every chance for a double-word score leaving this sprawling expanse of letters that shut up much chance of cooperative play.

Games can give show life patterns and give life lessons. For example, Deal with things now, completely, leaving no gaps. You really can’t afford to let things pile up. The more time goes on, the faster time passes. You can go faster. The mind goes on automatic and efficiently, if you don’t dawdle and futz. You can’t afford to indulge in idle thoughts while the clock is ticking. If you let things pile up, you’ll have to work that much more frantically to stay on tip. Keep your mind on what you’re doing, or lose. Look at what’s coming up ahead and think how you’ll fit that in with what’s there already. Sometimes the pieces do just fall into place but you can’t count on that for long. You can only wait on a particular thing to come for so long before you have to move on without it. Yes, when you’re “on” you can do a much better job, but you can can still play when you’re “off game.” You can afford to mess up for a little while with wrong decisions and still make a comeback to clear the slate. If you’re working too below your level or far too above it, you won’t do well. Score doesn’t matter. There’s always people leagues ahead and behind you. Did you get better at what you’re doing and improve against yourself. The cat will moan if you get tense. Being tight and you’ll mess up. Stay loose. (These life lessons courtesy of Tetris, Nblox and the letters Y, Nt.)

Light Link: Online commentary

Quote: “During his career, Lovecraft wrote more than 100,000 letters. Think of what he might have accomplished with Twitter.” – Michael Berry

28 Jan 2008, 4:11pm
Ottawa Poets

Iron Works

At Sasquatch yesterday our class did a second reading (of three?). (The first had been at The Muses series.) In the picture, another wave of laughter hits the room.

The open mic was reasonably full. Chris guest hosted. He opened by reading two of his poems, one of getting perspective as you climb the earthly rungs. Bob’s granddaughter Sage made her open mic debut reading a short story of surreal moment in a Mexican cantina. Murray read a poem he’s translated from Yiddish on a woman named Abishag who got only one line in the Bible (from the book of 1 Kings 1:3-4) for a lifetime out her village in order to be a hot water bottle to an old king.

Grant read some haiku and part 190 of his lyrical long poem. Another “frequent flyer” recited a poem in German and gave translation between stanzas. He also recited a poem of his own which he knew he’d written decades ago, and finally came across among his papers so committed securely to memory. Between paper and memory it’s always hard to judge which one keeps better. (Best to have both I think.)

readinga Karl read some of his writing and explained to the group that when he moved here in 1972, there was no literary scene. For any culture, one had to go to Quebec on the weekends. It wasn’t until Jane Jordon and Juan O’Neill kickstarted the poetry that Ottawa’s poetry began to grow until what you see now, with one poetry class this week and Barbara Myer’s poetry group the next time, and so many events going on all the time.

Pictured (left) are Stephen, myself, Wendy and Gwen. Stephen Brockwell (top left) led the Pumping Irony workshop. He read on behalf of those who couldn’t make it out, including Lynne, whose mom has passed on. Our thoughts are with Lynne at this time. Wendy did an abcedarian and I read a couple fur poems.

readingb Mike, Robin, Jean and Janice read their epigrams and sonnets from the chapbook, and Robin read another that had started at Sage Hill and continued since.

Stephen read on behalf of Emily, Rol, Lynne, Amanda, T, and Jorge.

JY and Monique both were new to public reading and did a stellar job too (above) and (bottom 2 photos) Lise, after reading her ghazal is shown leading the thanks applause to Stephen as we wrap up the afternoon.

27 Jan 2008, 11:43am
Ottawa Social Issues

Interconnected World

The 6 degrees of separation isn’t a prime number. Maybe there are only 2 degrees or 3? Elizabeth Bear put the new amount of connection people can have very well –

One of the weird things about being an entertainer is that people who you don’t know know you. And one of the cool things about the internet is that it’s bringing back the village. We used to know our baker, our barber, our blacksmith. Now, we can know our writers, our musicians, our crazy-ass remix artists.

But fame, the kind of fame that separates famous people from the hoi polloi, as it were, is a funny thing. Not only does it turn the famous person into a construct, it turns them into a slate that the fan can project all sorts of things into. […] the celebrities (loosely so termed) that one knows on the internet are suddenly real people. They’re not constructs anymore. […]

Does it have a potential to be scary? Sure. Absolutely. But on another level, I think we may be looking at the end of reputation by fame, and the birth of a different kind of reputation. Because while there are people who want that mystique, that megastar distance, that princess in a tower thing… there’s also a lot of people who want to be able to drop Jonathan Couton an email and say, “Hey, can I remix “Code Monkey?”

– Elizabeth Bear, in post code monkey think maybe manager want to write goddamned login page himself.

People aren’t far away. For example, in the discussion forum of The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill the fellow the doc is about participates.

Cultural Literacy Weekend: It seems to be a weekend for revolution and history, watching The U.S. vs. John Lennon, and getting up to speed on Angela Davis and Shut Up and Sing, reading the context of Irish history 1950s-1970s in Unforgettable Fire by Eamon Dunphy and finishing up The Atheist Manifesto (which has more exclamation marks than any book I’ve ever read, hands down, which itself is telling of the tone and rationality-engagement).

I’ve been trying to remember what it was that Richard Leakey said when we heard him speak years ago. I don’t have much trace of what he said in head, although I was impressed at the time that he was the one who had firsthand contact with the bones of Lucy. Since that talk, the same museum offered lectures on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Lectures on the Dead Sea Scrolls are still available online.

Event: Having not heard of her before I discover, Angela Davis will be speaking locally, on Feb. 1 at 8:00 p.m. at Kailash Mital Theatre (Theatre A, Southam Hall) at Carleton University. Tickets are $15 for Carleton students and $30 for non-students.

Davis is an activist, professor and philosopher dedicated to racial and gender equality and prison abolition. She was a member of the Black Panther Party, appeared on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List in 1970, and ran for Vice President of the U.S. on the Communist Party ticket in 1980 and 1984. She is currently Professor of History of Consciousness at the University of California.

Tickets available at Octopus Books.116 Third Ave. 613-233-2589

Poetry Event: Sasquatch reading at Royal Oak II, this afternoon at 2 p.m.

26 Jan 2008, 2:07pm
Ottawa Poets

New Issue of Ottawater

Monty ReidAll the seats were full at the Factory Series. Monty Reid (pictured) was MC of the Ottawater Issue 4 launch. (On third photo my camera battery light started flashing. bah.)

Ottawater’s an annual magazine, a free pdf. This issue has art by various people, over 30 poets (I’m in there on page 80), interviews (Nicholas Lea, Anne Le Dressay, David O’Meara) and book reviews (Muybridge’s Horse, and John Newlove’s A Long Continual Argument).

The reading moved along quickly with readers introduced two at a time. Each person read about 3 poems, some from issue, some new or old from elsewhere. Some people I have known and appreciated the work of, some were new to me. It overall made for a nice mix of familiar and not.

Each poet had a distinct coloring of mood, intensity, pace, style and humor so it was was a varied buffet of ideas. It is always interesting to hear work read that you’ve seen on the page and the cadence and body language that surrounds the words. There were 8 readers: Rhonda Douglas, Anne Le Dressay, Chris Jennings, John Lavery, Marcus McCann, Christian McPherson, Sandra Ridley, and Peter Richardson.

Peter Richardson and Chris Jennings were new-to-me-voices in this issue. Richardson’s Sympathy for the Couriers just released a couple months ago, his third book.

ottawater4 Evidently Jennings has read a lot, given his dexterity at setting up a poem and making an audience anticipate and laugh. John Lavery too has that sense of comic play with expectation and pullback. You can see that for yourself in Quickeye (p. 32) in the issue. I heard read him read as part of Max Middle Sound Project in June and in the AB Series last week. I’ve heard his sound poetry, his lyrical music, his poetic short stories, but hadn’t encountered his poetry before. Equally pleasing sort of fare, that with a touch of irritation as comedy.

Likewise for Christian McPherson. I’d seen his art, come across his short stories but this was first exposure to his poetry. Unless my memory fails me he read from poems not in issue. His were more in touch with embracing the dark side of imagery.

Rhonda DouglasI can’t disclose what Rhonda Douglas read since it’s a shush-secret from her engineer-love. 😉 (Although you can peek to p. 17).

It was good to get the issue and get another “dose” of Anne Le Dressay’s gentle vision of the world. I waited a long time between her first book and her Old Winter, coming a few month ago. There’s a long view in her words, simply phrased, quiet, but looking for gold glimmer. Sandra Ridley has a slow unfolding reveal of what has a holy quality of the everyday. It appeals to me in a similar way to Le Dressay’s. Perhaps it’s the underlying quality of poems that content with the surface and denial of deeper, and the finding the deeper that appeals.

Sandra Ridley and Marcus McCann closed out the night. Marcus McCann read a series of poems that speculated what friends did on New Year’s Eve, although narrative deliberately scramble-filtered thru sound and word play.

The crowd seemed to enter and exit on a contented buzz with good applause and appreciation in between.

Blog Link: In other words, Amanda described her take on the launch.

Quote: “We could all stop writing poetry right now and there’s going to be enough to read. So in the end, you have to do it for yourself.” – David O’Meara

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