Category: The Arts

National Poetry Month graphic

5 Incredible Books for Celebrating National Poetry Month

For the non-poetry reader, finding ways to celebrate National Poetry Month can be hard. We’re making it easier for you to find your next favorite book while also celebrating the beautiful art of poetry!

1. Slammed by Colleen Hoover

 

Slammed infographic
IMAGE VIA PINTEREST

After the death of her father, Layken moves away from sunny Texas to snow-ridden Michigan with her brother and mother. She immediately finds love in their neighbor, Will Cooper. Will introduces Layken to the wonderful world of slam poetry through an open mic night at a local club. Though their relationship gets more and more complicated, their love for poetry remains true through the book and its sequels.

2. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

 

on the come up infographic
IMAGE VIA GOODREADS

Sixteen-year-old Bri dreams of becoming a rapper and ultimately making it out of her neighborhood. Before his death, her father was “an underground rap legend” leaving Bri with some big shoes to fill. The book is filled with fresh rhymes written by Angie Thomas herself, leaving readers inspired and with a renewed love of music.

 

3. The Rose that Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur

 

Tupac Shakur Rose that Grew From Concrete
IMAGE VIA CESAR VELEZ

Published after his death, the book chronicles the poetry Shakur wrote from the time he was a teenager. Each poem is filled with the most intimate of thoughts and emotions. These poems will speak to each of his fans and fill them with the Shakur’s spirit, energy, and hope for a better future.

 

4. Crank by Ellen Hopkins

 

crank outdoor photo
IMAGE VIA THRIFTY BIBLIOPHILE

Hopkins has a unique way of telling her story, using lines of poetry instead of prose to convey the narration. The book chronicles the disturbing relationship between Kristina and her monster. Kristina is inspired by Hopkins’ own daughter, while the monster is crystal meth or ‘crank’. Kristina is introduced to the drug after a visit with her father. Under the influence, she turns into her “sexy alter-ego ‘Bree’.” The book is sure to provoke an emotional response and inspire a love of poetry.

 

5. Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

 

Shout with Laurie Halse Anderson
IMAGE VIA EVENTBRITE

After her debut Speak, which touched upon the very serious effects of sexual assault, not much has changed. Shout is her response to the continued fight to end sexual assault. These poems are thought-provoking, personal anecdotes by Anderson. If Speak didn’t make you angry, Shout is sure to have you screaming. The book is filled with “reflections, rants, and calls to action” all written in free-verse to inspire the activist in you.

Do you have a favorite poetry book not found on this list? Let us know!

featured image via susan gaylord

Authors Oprah Winfrey, Jane Goodall Included in Activist Art Installation

Equal rights activists, artists, and married couple Gillie and Marc Schattner are bringing gender-balanced public art to global cities with their new initiative, “Statues for Equality,” which aims to introduce statues of living women to cities that favor statues of male figures (so, most cities). New York will be the first city to display 10 of the artist-couple’s statues, all of which will pay tribute to living women. Authors among these women will include renowned public figures Oprah Winfrey (author of What I Know for Sure) and Jane Goodall (author of In the Shadow of Man).

According to the couple’s website, fewer than 3% of public statues in New York depict women, and even fewer depict historical women who made or are making significant contributions to society—as opposed to children’s book characters. Writers, world leaders, researchers, and more will debut at 1285 Avenue of the Americas on August 26th, 2019.

 

A statue of Eleanor Roosevelt sits at West 72nd Street and Riverside Park. Image Via Wikipedia Commons.

 

Gillie and Marc are perhaps best known for their widely popular sculpture The Last Three, a massive work featuring three life-sized northern white rhinos stacked precariously on top of one another that was installed at Astor Place and which was intended to immortalize the three remaining northern white rhinos in the world. (Since the statue’s debut, the last male northern white rhino has died while two females are still alive; all three are depicted in the sculpture.) The statue is now located at the San Antonio Zoo in Texas. According to their website, Gillie and Marc have nicknamed themselves “the world’s most loving artists” due to their tendency to focus on humanitarian causes in their work.

 

Gillie and Marc’s Astor Place installation ‘The Last Three.’ Image courtesy of Gillie and Marc Schattner.

 

In addition to Goodall and Winfrey, the summer installation will also feature Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, P!nk, Tererai Trent, Janet Mock, Tracy Dyson, Cheryl Strayed, and Gabby Douglas. You may recognize Harriet Tubman (St. Nicholas Avenue and West 122nd Street) and Joan of Arc (West 93rd Street in Riverside Park) as two of the existing five statues of historical women figures in the city—sculptures depicting fictional figures include Alice from Alice in Wonderland and Fearless Girl.

There are no plans for the statues to remain permanently at 1285 Avenue of the Americas after the exhibition closes, but the team’s website emphasizes that Statues for Equality is a global initiative, and the sculptures will likely travel. Gillie and Marc will expand their initiative to other cities after the New York launch and are still accepting nominations from the public for future statues.

 

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.

A Homeless Man’s Coloring Book Pages Show Us Another Side of Creativity

A lesson for children and adults alike.

Healing, like creativity, is a process; there is no on/off switch. It flows like a river, sporadically obstructed by nature and chance. Shit happens—emotionally, spiritually, physically, we get hurt and we turn to various outlets to heal. People exercise, meditate, cleanse, float in some sort of sensory reduction tank (because apparently, that’s a thing), and others create. Regarding books, I do not mean to exclude the reader from this act of creation. There’s a well-known quote by Samuel Johnson circling our illustrious world wide web that says: “A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.”

 

Look at that face, that’s a solid blue steel.
Image Via Wikipedia

 

The reader fills in all the blanks—I know this because of all the literary theory classes those college people made me take…Reading allows the human mind to escape the limitations our so-called realities place upon it. Creating is the same. In the moment, your creation feels like all that matters. But it’s still about more than just you.

A local news station in Cleveland recently did a piece on a homeless man who enjoys drawing as a means to cope with his own limitations. Eugene Sopher draws pages for a coloring book that, due to Sopher’s precarious financial situation, may never be published. To Sopher, that doesn’t matter.

 

 

“I do this drawing, and it’s medicine, baby,” said Sopher. “I’m in the zone. Not trying to mix it with drugs, but it’s the best high I’ve ever had.”

 

His lack of finances and exposure have led to some unconventional PR methods: he relies on strangers to make copies for him so that he may share is art with the world. The wide variety of pages he has created contain lessons for young and old alike. Some of his pictures warn about the dangers of gang violence or meeting strangers online, and others aim to simply put a smile on your face. Sopher, who suffers from depression and bipolar disorder, has not had an easy life. He has felt the weight of the world and the resulting discombobulation. At forty-four years young, he spends a good amount of time drawing uncolored pages so that he can escape any personal grimness and help his readers.

 

 

 

“I can do something because if they’re reading that, they can say, ‘You know what? That happened to me. Oh, you what know, I went through that,” said Sopher. “A lot of the reason I keep my cartoons in black and white is it gives you a chance to put color to them.”

 

Sopher’s story and art remind us that creativity is not some sort of commodity purchased in the restricted section of society. It’s not exclusively available to those deemed ‘intellectual.’ It’s part of all of us, a silver lining that bridges the gap between reality and perception, body and soul. Regardless of one’s age, race, or gender—whether it be the lawyer who journals in her free time or the homeless man who lives to doodle—we are all connected by imagination and our ability to create.

 

 

 

Images Via News5cleveland.com

‘The Fault in Our Stars’ Director to Bring Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ to TV

Following the huge success of the movie IT and the excitement for the upcoming Pet Semetary, Stephen King’s The Stand is being adapted as a TV mini-series. The Stand will include approximately ten episodes and will be available on CBS all access. 

 

tv poster for the stand

Image Via Highlight Hollywood 

The Stand will be directed by Josh Boone, who is huge fan of King.. When asked about the work in progress he stated:

“I wrote King a cameo as himself in my first film and have been working to bring The Stand to the screen for five years. I’ve found incredible partners in CBS All Access and Ben Cavell.” 

Ben Cavell who is working with Boone will be executive producing and writing the script.  Boone goes onto describe a touching moment from his childhood, after his parents had burned his copy of the The Stand.

“I read The Stand under my bed when I was twelve, and my Baptist parents burned it in our fireplace upon discovery. Incensed, I stole my Dad’s FedEx account number and mailed King a letter professing my love for his work. Several weeks later, I came home to find a box had arrived from Maine, and inside were several books, each inscribed with a beautiful note from God Himself, who encouraged me in my writing and thanked me for being a fan. My parents, genuinely moved by King’s kindness and generosity, lifted the ban on his books that very day.” 

The Stand is set during the apocalypse, when a super-virus that leaked from a lab wipes out most of the population, leaving the survivors to decide between what is good and what is evil, plunging them into not only a battle for survival, but also a battle of morals.

 

Stephen king at press conference

Image Via La Boucle

King expressed his own excitement for the new series:

“I’m excited and so very pleased that The Stand is going to have a new life on this exciting new platform. The people involved are men and women who know exactly what they’re doing; the scripts are dynamite. The result bids to be something memorable and thrilling. I believe it will take viewers away to a world they hope will never happen.”

King’s spine-chilling work always delivers and we will be looking out for this one!

 

Featured Image Via ew.com

Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man And The Sea’ Adapted For Stage By Lifelong Friend

THE OLD MAN’S LEGACY LIVES ON…

Ernest Hemingway coined the termed “the iceberg theory” which refers to an understated style of writing that concerns itself with surface elements in a story rather than the more preachy approach. In other words, Hemingway respected the intellect of his readers—we can see what’s beneath on our own. This is perhaps one of the reasons the man became so popular, this and his larger than life persona. One could argue that it was his relationship with the world that catered to his relatability and universal appeal. His most notable works are The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell To Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. The latter, for which Hemingway won the Pulitzer and Noble prize in the 1950s has just been adapted into a play by someone who used to fish with Master Hem himself.

Image Via Theguardian.com

AE Hotchner, a friend and longtime biographer of Hemingway’s during the time in which The Old Man and the Sea was written, promised Ernest he would adapt the novella before he died. The story goes, Hemingway went to see the 1958 John Sturges film version of his book with Hotchner and was dissatisfied (this is a nice word). In a recent interview, Hotchner described Hemingway’s reaction to the film:

“He said, ‘You know, you write a book that you really like and then they do something like that to it, and it’s like pissing in your father’s beer’,” Hotchner said. (Hemingway reserved this particular turn of phrase for a handful of hated adaptations of his work, he said.)

The film was miscast and lacked the novella’s vision. Hemingway asked his friend to take a “crack at it” and now, at 101 years old, Hotchner finally has. The subtext of The Old Man and the Sea more or less has to do with success; while writing The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway was under a lot of pressure to reclaim his former glory. In the same way that the fisherman Santiago is after his marlin, Master Hem was after the reaffirmation of his own creativity and self-worth. This part of the story was not conveyed as well in the film adaption, it is the part that AE Hotchner wishes to accentuate on stage. He promised his friend he would.

Image Via cdapress.com

Some people define legacy as the things we leave behind; our relationships, work, and the impression we make on people. It’s easy to get distracted by our careers as we become obsessed with superficial things like money, fame and the fruitless pursuit of immortality. What we can all can take away from Hotchner’s life-long devotion to his friend is a blissful sense of pride in the only immortal thing that has ever existed; beneath it all—the sanctity of human connection. And now, after making a version of Master Hem’s tale for a new audience (not the annoyed teenagers in Mrs. Gross’s high school English class), Hotchner feels he’s honored the connection he once formed with a friend.

 

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Image Via Giphy.com

The play opens at Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse on February 1st.

 

 

Featured Image Via Amazon