Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kenny G links for Matthew Quick's Silver Linings Playbook

Kenny G:
Exercise: Before posting your comments about Kenny G on the Silver Linings Playbook discussion board, read the song titles listed below and speculate on the relationship between those titles and the various emotions that Pat feels regarding Nikki, his wedding, etc. Remember that “Songbird” was their wedding song, and that he heard it one day when he got home unexpectedly early and...

Exercise: Again before posting your comments about Kenny G on the discussion board, listen to one of the pieces listed below and freewrite your thoughts and feelings as you listen to the piece unfold. Before judging the piece positively, negatively, or otherwise, see whether you get any automatic or “knee-jerk” responses, and try to see why you might have these reactions, what in your own background (your parents’ favorite music, your friends’ music, subcultural identifications you may have, etc.) might influence your reactions, etc.


Forever in Love:


Endless Love:

Loving You:


The Wedding Song:

Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet:


Michael Bolton and Kenny G: “Missing You Now”

Silver Linings Links--Matthew Quick

Veterans stadium implosion and other Eagles-related clips:

Exercise: Eagles fandom plays a large role in The Silver Linings Playbook. Some of the specific scenes and occurrences in the novel are shown to be reflected in actual video clips (the Eagles chant, tailgating at the stadium parking lot, fan reactions to Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens). Look at the following videos and then comment upon how they affect your reading of the related scenes in the text: whether they underscore your initial reaction as a reader, whether they give you a different view of the episodes and settings, whether they present evidence that things you had thought hard to believe were in fact based on reality, etc.

Veterans stadium implosion:

Yo Eagles chant:

Fly Eagles Fly at tailgating:

Katie’s introduction to Eagles tailgating:

Eagles tailgating drunken jousting:

ditto #2:

Eagles fans are insane:

Eagles boo selection of Donovan McNabb in 1999:

Eagles fans lyrical moment:

Eagles fans yell “@ssh0!e” at Terrell Owens:

Terrell Owens cries:

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Life in Poetry: Narrative Poems

My Life in Poetry: Narrative Poems

When I was in grad school for Creative Writing, 11-12 years ago now, the professors who taught in it were, on the poetry side, dismissive of narrative poetry, and would root out “hidden narrative” in poems that were ostensibly not so. However, I had had a number of years in which narrative was the central element in the poetry I read. Epic poems, such as the Aeneid by Vergil, the Odyssey and Iliad nominally assigned to “Homer,” Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride” – even Frost’s “Mending Wall” is about two neighbors doing the annual spring repair of the stone wall dividing their properties, a progressive narration of a shared activity and its implications.

Similarly, I have heard that “poetry is not therapy.” However, when I write my daily sonnet, I find that those which most satisfy me have unearthed some element from my past, or perhaps my unconscious, that in some way fills in the narrative of my life, and gives me some clue as to why I am currently driven, or empty, or ambivalent, or whatever. Here is an example:

Fourth House Thumbnail

That tiny bedroom, maybe ten by twelve,
is not just where I slept, but where my desk
and chair under the built-in bookcase sat.
I had a dictionary and a lamp –
harsh fluorescent white – a can of pencils,
pens, and a compass on my right, the window
also on my right but behind my back.
There I’d perch on weekday nights for six years,
when I would stay at school and walk home late
just in time for dinner, then climb upstairs
while the rest of the family watched TV.
Three closed doors kept most of the laughter out
of my ears. My consciousness was an ant
that slowly would meander across the page.

Those who work in the English and Philosophy department know that I am here in my office constantly – one colleague, in fact, asked me why I bothered to pay rent for an apartment – and I have not lived with a television since, well, since I was kicked out of a commune I lived in during my first stint in graduate school, thirty years ago.

The previous poem captures a typical evening from seventh through twelfth grades, at least during the school year. I did watch television with my family over the summers, as far as I can remember. I suppose that’s how I know the tune to the theme from Gilligan’s Island, can sing the “little girls have pretty curls but I love Oreos” jingle, and can hum the Jeopardy tune that indicates time’s passage while people are racking their brains for an answer – that drives my students crazy, by the way.

The following I wrote one morning when a brief flash of memory popped in my head, and I wanted to get it down while it was still on the conscious level:

Brief Intrusion

I was a child when someone, a youth, came
to our front door, asked if he could come in.
He used to live here, could he see the house
from inside. Anything else I say he said
I’m not sure of, I must have invented.

The only thing I really do recall
is him standing in the upstairs hall
right at the top of the stair. He nodded –
that is the only “word” I remember ,
him looking at the wall, painted light blue,
the window that showed the Armstrongs’ next door,
deciding at that moment not to go
further, he’d seen what he had come to see,
or not, just knew he didn’t need any more.

Now, my mother was home, and she was the one to let in the young man, let’s call him Jimmy Williams for the sake of exemplification. I was maybe eight years old, if that, and I trailed along to observe this predecessor in our house go through his nostalgia trip. I’m still wondering why it was that one particular moment that sticks in my memory, or that at least was the one to emerge that morning, not too long ago.

The last poem of today’s narrative and therapeutic sequence – at least, poems that I write as an adjunct to my therapeutic process, which involves sudden emergences from the past – is the following:

Ominous Dreams

I hadn’t talked to him in a decade,
but he penetrated the screen of my
voicemail and I picked up the phone. He had
had two dreams where something awful happened
to me, he didn’t recall what, but he
just wanted to check and make sure I was
okay. I said I had a cold, but that
was all. He still sounded concerned, as if
reluctant to let go of that omen.
His father’d died, no electricity
for a month, twice. He’d a census temp job,
but he said he doesn’t like to work. I
thanked him, didn’t mention I’d dealt myself
the Tower, Death, and the Hanged Man lately.

The person who called me is someone I had known from elementary school on, and who had appeared at times over the course of my life – my junior year of college, my final year in graduate school, my year of marginal employment right after I’d gotten my doctorate – to impact one transitional point or another. I told him the “me” that had appeared in his dreams probably represented whatever role I played in his own psyche, but you never know...sometimes, as Don Juan tells Carlos Castaneda while they’re driving late at night way out in the country, Death flashes his headlights in your rear-view mirror just to keep you aware of your mortality...

-- Don Riggs

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Contemporary Horizon
A European independent, bilingual and multicultural magazine of contemporary culture and spirituality
marți, 15 decembrie 2009

Don Riggs este un poet de un rafinament aparte, şi în egală măsură un artist înzestrat cu o forţă expresivă care nu poate rezulta decât din talentul şi din forţa personalităţii sale. Revista “Orizont literar contemporan” găzduieşte, în numărul special pe lunile noiembrie-decembrie 2009, o selecţie din creaţia sa literară, din care le oferim cititorilor de pe internet ai revistei noastre acest text reprezentativ. (Daniel Dragomirescu)

Don Riggs is both a poet whose work displays a special refinement and an artist endowed with a force of expression which can't stem but from the talent and force of his personality. “Orizont literar contemporan” / “Contemporary (Literary) Horizon” magazine is publishing a selection from his literary creation in the special issue for November-December 2009, a selection from which we offer our Internet readers a representative fragment. (Alina-Olimpia Miron)


Concupiscence means having a little
Cupid inside each of us, even when
we’ve just been born, desiring what we’ve just
been jerked from, maybe, or the very first
fruits hanging to slake our thirst, which we had
never known before, back when we were in
the Garden where we had no needs, unless
our mother, the universe herself, did.

So now we’ve had to improvise techniques
from foraging to gardening to field
work to hydroponics to distilling
brandy from fruit juice and whiskey from grain
and sticky black resin from alkoloids
in flowers refined into heroin.

But what about the yearning for union
with the divine? the abnegation of
the self, the body, the will – unless it’s
will that drives one to fast, ignore hunger
– or, better, to focus on that feeling
like a flame the chela gazes into,
subtly shifting, not too brilliant, a bit
of blue or even blackness near the wick.

Exempla abound: the nun who only
ate one consecrated wafer a week,
the guru who must have had chlorophyll
in his epidermis, living on air,
sunlight, and moisture that dripped in his cave.
The hiker who froze to death in winter.



Concupiscenţa înseamnă să avem în noi
un mic Cupidon, chiar şi-atunci
când abia-am fost născuţi, cu dorinţa
să fi fost smuciţi poate. Sau ca
primele fructe coapte să ne-astâmpere setea
ce n-am mai cunoscut, atunci când eram
în Grădina unde n-aveam nevoie de nimic, doar dacă
mama noastră, universul însuşi, avea nevoie de ceva.

Aşa c-acum a trebuit să improvizăm tehnici
de la a săpa la a planta la a munci
pământul la a creşte artificial la a distila
coniac din suc de fructe şi whiskey din grâne
şi răşină neagră greţoasă din alcaloide
în flori rafinate în heroină.

Cum rămâne cu dorul de uniune
cu divinul? Cu abnegaţia sinelui,
a trupului, a dorinţei – doar dacă nu cumva
dorinţa ne-ndeamnă la abstinenţă, la ignorarea hranei

sau şi mai bine la surprinderea intensă a acelei senzaţii
precum o flacără spre care priveşte chela
foindu-se abia simţit, nu prea aprinsă,
cu mucul albăstriu şi chiar negru.

Exemple din belşug: călugăriţa
ce mânca o singură napolitană sfinţită pe săptămână,
un guru care pesemne c-avea clorofilă
în epidermă, care trăia cu aer,
cu soare, cu lâncezeala ce i se scurgea din căpăţână.
Alpinistul ce-a îngheţat iarna de viu.

Romanian version: Sînziana MIHALACHE
Publicat de Daniel Dragomirescu la 13:03 0 comentarii Linkuri de întoarcere către această postare

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I, Rowboat links

I, Rowboat:
In “I, Rowboat” Doctorow uses some science fiction tropes (common themes, patterns, motifs, concepts) that may be better understood with some context provided:
noosphere: -- Doctorow uses “noosphere” here to indicate a level of existence which is purely on the mental/idea level, without a necessary physical substrate for the thought to be founded in, as, say, someone’s mind is founded in his or her body.

Further definition of and links about the noosphere:

the Noosphere and the Internet:

Navigating and staking claims in the Noosphere, as in open source software:

Embodied consciousness / Incarnation / Downloaded mind patterns:
Some science fiction has dealt with the possible separation of mind from body, of reproducing someone’s mind as an electronic configuration, then downloading it into a computer or another physical body:

meat puppets:
Bisson text:

alien email:

Rachel in Love:
Rachel in Love, the Game:

mind uploading:

Doctorow on Science Fiction:

uplifting nonhuman animals:

storytelling and future empathy:

human-robot relations:

Journal of Evolution and Technology (relevant issues):

Robotics Links

Laws of robotics:
Asimov’s Laws of Robotics and information technology, by an information tech specialist:

Asimov’s Laws of Robotics as seen by a contemporary SF writer:

Microrobot developed to travel in the human body:

History of the Three Laws of Robotics:

The Three Laws as summarized in a future encyclopedia:

“I Robot” Links:
I, Robot:
trailer from 2004 movie “I, Robot”

animated music video:

scenes from the movie:

Will Smith/I Robot parody:

actual robots for sale at iRobot:

robot evolution:

robot security guard: