Construction murals, new tUnEyArDs, FiDi European beer halls

If the rain makes you want to stay indoors this weekend, there's lots to read and hear in this issue of artRecs.

I've shared fewer poems than I meant to do for National Poetry Month, but I've read plenty, thanks in part to the Festival of Faith and Writing. This year I actually bought more poetry books than any other kind, including a wonderful biography-in-poems of George Washington Carver by Marilyn Nelson. What notable poems have you read this month?

Stay warm and dry out there! And don't forget to send your latest publication or upcoming show.

:: events ::
:: our stuff ::
:: tunes ::
  • NPR has a whole slew of First Listens this week:
  • Thanks to a Delta Airlines playlist on my recent flight, I've been listening to Taj Mahal this week.
:: visual art ::
:: reading/food for thought ::
  • Technically you can't read these, but this video of a Lourine Clark session from Redeemer's "Humanizing Work" conference looks really good. My prayer life was significantly changed after I heard Lourine speak about learning to pray about her work. The Center for Faith and Work has several more videos on their Youtube account.
  • Has conversation suffered from our smartphone use? Two years ago, a New York Times piece explored that question, which a writer for the Atlantic took up again recently, vis-a-vis his experience teaching high school students. Some of this may be alarmist, but I don't doubt that our technology habits exert a more powerful impact on our routines and expectations than we realize. One striking quote used in both pieces: “Face-to-face conversation unfolds slowly. It teaches patience. When we communicate on our digital devices, we learn different habits … we start to expect faster answers. To get these, we ask one another simpler questions. We dumb down our communications, even on the most important matters.”
  • I did not know Tolkien wrote and illustrated a children's book for his own kids, but Mr. Bliss (as highlighted on the Brainpickings site) sounds lovely. And, yes, Tolkien nerds, you can buy a reproduction.
  • Science proves crafting is good for you! Or something like this. CNN reports on the benefits of creative activities that help you zone out.
  • I haven't watched Jimmie Fallon since he took over Tonight from Jay Leno, but I hope his practice of thank-you notes spurs more handwritten cards, as this NYT piece muses.
:: food ::
  • Downtown German beer spots: Since I've forgotten the name in several recent conversations, I finally looked up the Financial District's sprawling, if folding bike-cold, beer hall: It's Schroeder's, on Front between Sacramento and California. Apparently they've closed for major revamping, but plan to re-open in May. In the meantime, Cafe Prague at Merchant and Battery (tucked into an alley, next to a wine bar) looks very promising.
  • If you're headed to Chicago in the near future, take a look at Paste's craft beer guide to the city.
  • Ever since Luis Villavelazquez stopped making his amazing maple-bacon beignets for the Cafe Arlequin stand at the Ferry Building farmer's market, I've been craving his donuts (and I'm not usually a donut person). However, the re-opening of unrelated restaurant Bacon Bacon gives me hope I may yet eat another maple-bacon donut.
  • Need a hot beverage to sip at home instead? My family used to rely on the unfortunately named "floor wax" when we got colds. Add boiling water to 1 tablespoon each of lemon juice and honey (more, depending on the size of your mug). For extra warmth, add a few cloves and a shot of whisky, bourbon or brandy (I don't recommend a peat-y Scotch for this; Irish whiskey works well enough).


A poem a day for National Poetry Month

Throughout the month of April, I'm trying to share a new poem on Twitter each day. Thanks to Rachel Held Evans for the inspiration.

Updated April 23, 2014

  • April 1: Letter needing no stamp, "Mr. Zed"


  • April 2: Summer Storm, Dana Giaoia - one of my all-time favorites. I heard him recite this poem at an event in San Francisco, and it cast a spell over the room, the way some songs do when, after you play the last note, you find yourself sitting quietly at the piano for a beat or two. "Summer Storm" appears in Gioia's Interrogations at Noon.


  • April 3: Across a New Dawn, Kofi Awoonor (Ghanaian poet killed at the Nairobi mall last year). Awoonor's book The Promise of Hope was released last month.
  • April 4: Song of Hiawatha, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - one of my childhood favorites; I love the words' sing-song music. Rereading it now, though, that book might have only kept the high points and dropped a great deal of the battle.
  • April 5: Funeral Blues, W. H. Auden
  • April 6: Christ's Passion, Mary Karr (via Micha Boyett)
  • April 7: The Mark of the Beast/The Mark of the Lamb, Tania Runyan from the January/February Books and Culture
  • April 8: A Miracle for Breakfast, Elizabeth Bishop. Years ago, when I lived in New York, I used to enjoy the short poems you'd find on the subway or bus, amid the advertisements for blemish corrections, foot-pain cures and housing programs. Each was included as part of the MTA's great Poetry in Motion program.

    One day - I think it was when I rode the bus to downtown Brooklyn to follow up on a jury-duty notice I forgot to respond to - I looked up and saw a wonderful Elizabeth Bishop poem floating above my head in the grimy panel. I liked it so much that I added it to one of the chapters in my memoir. But I've been slow to read more of Bishop since then, though I bought at least one volume of her work. That means many treasures more to discover.
  • April 11: Slow Pleasures, Luci Shaw (which I heard her read at the Festival of Faith and Writing, along with several others whose titles I didn't catch). 
  • April 12: Selections from Carver: A life in poems by Marilyn Nelson. I'd not read about his life for years, but this novel approach to biography is really wonderful. 
  • April 16: #workhaiku
  • April 17: More #workhaiku
  • April 18: Knowledge of Self, Amiri Baraka
  • April 20: Forever, Ben Harper
  • April 21: Thanatopsis, William Cullen Bryant
  • April 23: Sonnets, William Shakespeare - Because today's the day people celebrate his birth. And supposedly he would have turned 450 today. (Perhaps fittingly, his first few sonnets discuss aging.)
  • April 24: #workhaiku
  • April 25: Haiku from the @nytmetro haiku project (via Michael Luo)
  • April 28: Bluebird, Charles Bukowski, which I know best from Over the Rhine's tribute to it on The Long Surrender.
  • April 29: Four a.m .in the Woods, Marilyn Nelson, from Carver: A life in poems.