Karl Lagerfeld, creative director of Chanel and one of fashion’s most prominent and recognizable visionaries has passed away aged eighty-five. The native of Hamburg, Germany, affectionately known as The Kaiser in fashion circles, had missed the Chanel haute couture show in Paris last month, sparking speculation about his condition. According to Closer, on Monday night Lagerfeld was admitted to hospital in Paris, however his cause of death has not yet been released.
Image Via Usmagazine
Lagerfeld started out in 1955, as assistant to Pierre Balmain, before joining Chanel in 1983, where he spent thirty-six years. In addition to these roles, he also held long-term design positions at Fendi, Chloé, and established his own Karl Lagerfeld label. However, not only was Lagerfeld a revolutionary designer and fashion icon, the renowned polyglot was also a great lover of books.
In September of 2005, Lagerfeld gave an interview to Vanity Fair, in which he revealed his favorite writers in his many tongues, saying “I like poets best, E. Dickinson (English), R. M. Rilke (German), Mallarmé (French), Leopardi (Italian). I speak no other languages and I don’t believe in translated poetry,” as well as his fictional hero, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. In 2008, he spoke to Women’s Wear Daily, saying “I hate leisure, except reading.”
Image Via Vogue
In addition to this, in September 2017, French Vogue ran an article simply titled ‘Karl Lagerfeld’s Favorite Books’ in which he listed works by the likes of Neitzche, for who’s entire works Lagerfeld was an editor in Germany, Spinoza (“the person who wrote the phrase that I live by: ‘Any decision is a refusal'”), Didion, Homer, and Borges among many others. In this piece, he also noted that he ‘wrote literary reviews for Vogue at the start of the 1970s, using Minouflet de Vermenou as [his] pen name.’
Lagerfeld had a personal collection of over 300,000 books. At the 2015 International Festival of Fashion and Photography, Lagerfeld explained “Today, I only collect books; there is no room left for something else. If you go to my house, I’ll have you walk around the books. I ended up with a library of 300,000. It’s a lot for an individual.”
In addition to this, Lagerfeld’s name appears on a number of books, including The Karl Lagerfeld Diet, The Glory of Water: Daguerreotypes, and Casa Malaparte among others.
Benjamin Giroux always felt different because of his autism, and at times it made him stand out from the other children in ways he didn’t ask for. However, he has found a new way to distinguish himself- his literary superpower!
Viralslotshared a poem that a ten-year-old Benjamin wrote back in 2016 for class. His poem, “I Am,” amazed his teacher and gained him online supporters. It has gone viral since the last couple of years. It has even been shared and highlighted by the National Autism Association, and it deserves to keep being admired.
The poem reads:
I am odd, I am new.
I wonder if you are too.
I hear voices in the air.
I see you don’t, and that’s not fair.
I feel like a boy in outer space.
I touch the stars and feel out of place.
I worry what others might think.
I cry when people laugh, it makes me shrink.
I am odd, I am new.
I understand now that so are you.
I say, “I feel like a castaway.”
I dream of a day that that’s okay.
I try to fit in.
I hope that someday I do.
I am odd, I am new.
Image via Viralslot
“Ben’s goal was to have people understand that being odd is different, and different is amazing, and people shouldn’t be afraid of who they are,” Sonny Giroux told Today. “And that makes me one proud father!”
There is a powerful kind of honesty and vulnerability that is displayed in Benjamin’s words. An inability to connect with people is hard. Admitting to wanting to, can be even harder. Benjamin surely just scratched the surface of his talents back in fifth grade. He will be one to look out for in the future ahead.
On this day in 1902, Langston Hughes—poet, playwright, novelist, and leading writer of the Harlem Renaissance—was born. Hughes is revered throughout the world for his extensive literary contributions: his short story collection, The Ways of White Folk, and his poetry collection,I, Too, Am America, are some of his most renowned works.
image via Jeremy q. butler
He was young at the time of his first foray into writing, and he recalls his introduction to poetry as the result of a racial stereotype. “There were only two of us Negro kids in the whole class, and our English teacher was always stressing the importance of rhythm in poetry. Well, everyone knows,” Hughes added with a note of irony, “that all Negroes have rhythm, so they elected me the class poet.” At the time, he had no idea of everything his work would become.
In his adulthood, Hughes was a world traveller, enriching himself with trips to Europe, West Africa, and the Caribbean. He wrote substantial work while residing in Paris, France. Working a series of odd jobs to support his writing, he earned his B.A. from historically black Lincoln University. Some scholars believe that Hughes was either homosexual or asexual; others believe the world will never know with any certainty. The universal truth remains: Hughes’ legacy is that of a prolific writer, a cultured intellectual, and a voice for freedom everywhere.
Image Via Wdkx radio
Let’s celebrate his life and work with ten of his most powerful quotations:
“I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.”
2. “I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I’m dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.”
3. “What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode? ”
4. “Though you may see me holler,
And you may see me cry-
But I’ll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.”
5. “I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers as ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.”
6. “Good-morning, Revolution:
You’re the very best friend
I ever had.
We gonna pal around together from now on.”
7. “When a man starts to build a world,
He starts first with himself.”
8. “I am so tired of waiting,
For the world to become good
And beautiful and kind?”
Is a strong seed
In a great need.
I live here, too. I want freedom Just as you.”
10. “I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When the company comes,
But I laugh
And eat well
And grow strong
Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When the company comes.”
We all know that one person who claims they’re the next J. K. Rowling or Stephen King, but when you read any of their work, you’re… pretty convinced they’re delusional.
Image via HCT Today
You may think they will never have a shot at having their work recognized: wrong! Believe it or not, there’s a couple of contests that they could win! But only if they’re bad enough!
The Alfred Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest
Image via Bwog
This first competition may pose a challenge for many to enter, since its only meant for students of Columbia University in New York City. However, the contest is in memory of the Poet Alfred Joyce Kilmer, who is known for his infamous Poem Trees; in fact, every year, attendees close the competition with an “impassioned reading” of Kilmer’s critically despised Poem.
Photograph of Albert Joyce Kilmer. I wonder if he’s dreaming about trees in this one. | Image via Orange County Register
The poem goes thus:
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
To honor Mr. Kilmer’s infamous legacy, students aim to create the greatest worst poem they can! The pieces that are read for the competition are both creatively horrific and terribly funny! Here are a few of the entries for this past year as well as the big winner; all found in the New York Times (check out the article if you have some time):
My sunlight in a bottle
only $9.99 for 10 liters at Costco
a flavor so piercing
like true love’s gaze
like a tattoo needle orange flavor dances across my tongue
it is raw and I must wait 2-3 weeks for it to heal
— From “An Ode to the Quality of Orange” by Jux
Ah, who knew shopping for Orange Juice could be such a passionate experience!
Who is the voice
in the wind?
Who is the candle
in the night?
Who will defend the children
Like a seatbelt
that defends children
or like a guy
whose job it is
to defend children?
— From “Our American Heroes,” by Isobel Nadine Shaffer
Such a deep subject to pick for a bad poetry competition. I personally think this is great, but is it great at being bad? I leave it to the critics to decide.
I can only speak in five 5-7-5 Haikus
Thanks for listening.
— Untitled entry by Nathaniel Marrinson
This one is my pick! It’s terrible, but well thought out, and I love it!
And now to the winner of this year’s Alfred Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest…
Your pith in my nails
As I peel you, stinging juice
Squirts into my soul
— From “A Story of Unrequited Love in 5 Haikus,” by Dylan Temel
I think I’m seeing a theme to these bad poems. People love to hate on oranges.
So if you’re a terrible poet,
And you know it,
Forget about the best,
And enter this bad poetry contest!
Another big competition celebrating bad writing is The Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest
Image via LitReactor
This contest was thought up by Professor Scott Rice from San Jose State University. While putting together research back in his own University days, Professor Rice was intrigued with the old cliché “It was a dark and stormy night” and learned that the phrase and many other clichés had been used for centuries!
Scott Rice and his daughter EJ. What an adorable father/daughter relationship! |Image via bulwer-lytton.com
With the help of his daughter EJ, the Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest is held each year, receiving hundreds upon hundreds of short entries, all written for different genres. It would take a long time to go through them all! Here are a few of the “worst”:
Given the honor of “Grand Panjandrum’s Special Award”
I knew that dame was trouble as soon as I set eyes on her, see: there was a stain on her clingy dress, wine, difficult to get out (you notice these things when you’ve been in the business as long as I have); there was a piece of gum stuck to the bottom of her high heel, cherry, that would leave a gristly pink trail following her every step (you pick up on these things when you are as experienced as I); and when she coolly asked me directions to the detective’s office, I pointed her down the hall and went back to mopping the floor.
-Bridget Parmenter, Katy, TX
The contest’s runner up…
Dreaded Pirate Larry was somewhat worried, as he looked down at his boot, where his first mate was stretched out, making whooshing sounds, attempting to blow him over, that despite having the fastest ship, the most eye patches, and the prettiest parrots, his crew may need a few lessons on the difference between literal and figurative, as evidenced by the rest of the crew applying ice to the timbers.
-Shelley Siddall, West Kilowna, BC, Canada
And the grand prize winner of the 2018 Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest is..
Cassie smiled as she clenched John’s hand on the edge of an abandoned pier while the sun set gracefully over the water, and the final rays of light disappeared into a star filled sky she knew that there was only one thing left to do to finish off this wonderful evening, which was to throw his severed appendage into the ocean’s depths so it never be found again–and maybe get some custard after.
-Tanya Menezes, San Jose, CA
So next time you criticize someone’s work for being cliché, or too simply written, or just plain terrible, remember; they could be winners somewhere!
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