TCS: Bicycle Day – Only Moving Does It Have a Soul

.Good Morning!

______________________________

Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers
on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum,
so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in
your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.

______________________________

She who succeeds in gaining the mastery
of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.

– Susan B. Anthony

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A Poem for Animal Crackers Day

Animal Crackers Day celebrates these ever-popular treats. Animal crackers first came to the United States in the late 1800s when the U.S. imported animal-shaped cookies from England. In 1902, animal crackers officially became known as Barnum’s Animals and evoked the familiar circus train theme of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. Later that year, Nabisco designed the now-familiar box with a string for the Christmas season to hang from the Christmas tree. They were a big hit in 1902 and still are today.

Christopher Morely (1890-1957) prolific American journalist, novelist, poet, and essayist. He also produced stage productions and gave college lectures. Known for his novels, Kitty Foyle, Parnassus on Wheels, and The Haunted Bookshop, as well as his poetry collections The Old Mandarin, and On Vimy Ridge, and his essay collection, Off the Deep End. He suffered a series of strokes in 1951, and died at age 66 in 1957.

To read Christopher Morley’s poem “Animal Crackers” click

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TCS: Death, Taxes and Poetry

(originally posted April 15, 2019)

. . Good Morning!

_________________________________________

Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers on Monday mornings.
This is an Open Thread forum, so if you have an off-topic opinion burning
a hole in your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.

_________________________________________

When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men
in a society, over the course of time they create for
themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a
moral code that glorifies it.

― Frédéric Bastiat

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Scrabble Day: Tense, Tenuous, and Tender

On April 13, 1899, Alfred Butts was born. He was an American architect, and the inventor of the board game Scrabble.

On April 13, 1947, Rae Armantrout was born. She is an American poet, the winner of the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award, and of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her collection Versed.

Aside from sharing a birthday, you might think these two had little in common. But here’s a poem by Rae Armantrout which could help your Scrabble game:

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TCS: Let There Be No Beggar Children

 Good Morning!

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Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers
on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum,
so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in
your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.

______________________________

“On the street there is no tomorrow.
There is only here and now and nothing
else. And yesterday is just another day
you’re trying to forget.”

– from ‘freefalling’ by Darlenne Susan Girard

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A Child of Giant Cities: Charles Baudelaire

Who among us has not dreamt, in moments of ambition, of the miracle of a poetic prose, musical without rhythm and rhyme, supple and staccato enough to adapt to the lyrical stirrings of the soul, the undulations of dreams, and sudden leaps of consciousness. This obsessive idea is above all a child of giant cities, of the intersecting of their myriad relations.

 – Charles Baudelaire, from his dedication of Le Spleen de Paris, a collection of prose poems published after his death


April 9, 1821Charles Baudelaire born in Paris; French poet, art critic, essayist, and translator; best known for his book of lyric poetry, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), he was a major innovator in French literature, with far-reaching influence over future French writers. Most of his life he was deeply unhappy. His father, who was 62 when Charles was born, died when he was only six years old. His mother was 34 years younger than his father, and as a widow, she soon remarried. Baudelaire was deeply attached to his mother, and he grew to dislike and resent his stepfather. By age 23, Baudelaire had wasted much of his inheritance, so his family went to court and had a lawyer put legally in charge of his remaining funds, which were doled out to him in an allowance. He deeply resented this intervention, and blamed it on his stepfather’s influence. It was one of the major causes of an estrangement from his mother for many years. It wasn’t until after his stepfather’s death that he was able to reconcile with his mother. He had expensive tastes, and was often so deeply in debt that he had to move frequently to escape his creditors.

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‘Lines on Ale’ for National Beer Day

April 7, 1933National Beer Day: the sale of beer becomes legal again in the U.S. as the Cullen-Harrison Act goes into effect, redefining an “intoxicating beverage” to exclude beer from Prohibition – but the full repeal of Prohibition wasn’t until December 5, 1933, when ratification of the 21 Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment. The disastrous attempt to ban alcohol was over.

“Lines on Ale” is a curious artifact of the 19th century. It was originally attributed to Edgar Allan Poe. The poem is believed to have been written in July, 1848, at a tavern in Lowell, Massachusetts. It was found in an obscure source in the 1930s by Thomas O. Mabbott, who included it in the volume he was publishing of Poe’s poetry. Poe did visit Lowell in either 1848 or 1849, but the anecdotal evidence that he is the poem’s author is fairly sparse. Several Poe experts have since rejected it, but the attribution persists.

Whether it was written by some unknown writer or by Edgar Allan Poe, the poem is a celebration of drinking ale. For you precisionists out there, ale is “a type of beer with a bitter flavor and higher alcoholic content.”

To read “Lines on Ale” click:

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TCS: Something Forgotten – Cartography for Beginners

. . Good Morning!

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Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers
on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum,
so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in
your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.

______________________________

A poem becomes a map when it crosses boundaries
of identity and experience, when it shows us how to
move through and beyond the spaces that keep us
from one another, and keep us from our own humanity.
The poem as map situates readers within larger contexts:
cultural, historical, social, and spatial. It layers personal
and universal experiences, interior and exterior perspectives,
and then it invites us to transgress them.

– Taiyon J. Coleman

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April is National Poetry Month – The Light Filled Up the Sky

April is National Poetry Month in the U.S. It was first introduced and organized in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, as a celebration of American poetry, and a way to increase awareness and appreciation for the art of verse.

In a proclamation issued on April 1, 1996, President Bill Clinton declared: “National Poetry Month offers us a welcome opportunity to celebrate not only the unsurpassed body of literature produced by our poets in the past, but also the vitality and diversity of voices reflected in the works of today’s American poetry….Their creativity and wealth of language enrich our culture and inspire a new generation of Americans to learn the power of reading and writing at its best.”

For National Poetry Month in 2001, the Academy of American Poets invited people to “vote” for poets they most wanted to have a postage stamp. More than 10,000 people cast ballots, with Langston Hughes receiving the most votes. The vote tally was sent to the United States Postal Service, which issued a Langston Hughes stamp in January 2002.

In 2006, the Academy of American Poets launched Poem-a-Day, publishing one new poem on its website Poets.org each day during the month-long celebration. Poem-a-Day is now a daily, year-long series, which has been syndicated by King Features.

In 2012, the Academy of American Poets launched the Dear Poet project, which invites students to read and write poems during National Poetry Month, some of which are published on Poets.org. The project is accompanied by a lesson plan offered to K-12 teachers for free.

Each year, a special poster is commissioned by the Academy of American Poets for National Poetry Month, with almost 150,000 copies distributed to schools, libraries, and community centers for free.

– from Wikipedia

Poetry extends far beyond America’s national borders, and much farther back in time than the founding of this country. And this is a country of culturally diverse First Peoples, and waves of immigrants from around the globe. So I think that we should celebrate not just “American” Poetry, but Poetry in all its glorious history, both ancient and modern, and its vast variety of ever-evolving forms.


Maria Polydouri was born on April 1, 1902; Greek Neo-Romantic poet. One of her poems brought her attention from Literary circles at age 14. When she was 20, both her parents died within 40 days of each other. The poems which are regarded as her most important were written during the last four years of her life, while she was suffering from consumption (tuberculosis). She died in a sanatorium at age 28 in April 1930. Her two collections of poetry are The Chirps That Faint, and Echo Over Chaos.

As you probably expect, her poems are not happy ones, but in a time of global pandemic, this poem will speak to many of us.

 To read Maria Polydouri’s poem “Today” click:

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TCS: Write Where We Are Now – Poetry of the Pandemic

.. Good Morning!

______________________________

Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers
on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum,
so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in
your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.

______________________________

“We need the voice of poetry in
times of change and world-grief.
A poem only seeks to add to the
world and now seems the time
to give”

– Carol Ann Duffy

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