Tag Archives: poetry

Tumblr blog – celebrities reading poetry

It’s that subject no one wants to study in English class. It’s that aisle in the bookstore that’s always empty. It’s that stuff that star-crossed lovers spout at each other through open windows.

Explains the author of this Tumblr, called SpeakCelebrity. Offering that poetry isn’t scary, “it’s exciting, and comforting, and new, and old, and it can be clear-cut or all jumbled up, but most of all, it’s human.”

I couldn’t agree more and it’s a delight to browse through the celebrities:

  • Al Pacino reading – “Sonnet 150″ by William Shakespeare
  • Meryl Streep – “In Vain” by Emily Dickinson
  • Morgan Freeman – “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley
  • Ralph Fiennes – “Ode to the Sea” by Pablo Neruda
  • Benedict Cumberbatch – “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll
  • Johnny Depp – “The Girl of the Ghetto” by Jim Morrison

My favorite so far is Benedict Cumberbatch – Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series – and Johnny Depp. Both invite you into the poem and let you forget the world around you.

Dig-in and enjoy - SpeakCelebrity.

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A Labor Day Question: Will You Be Living Your Passion At 80 Years?

Composer John Williams

This weekend, I experienced the mellifluous genius of John Williams conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl through a series of scores he has composed over his fifty-plus year career. The man responsible for creating the iconic themes to Star Wars, Superman, Indiana Jones, E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter (the list goes on, and on, and on) is now eighty years old and is the living embodiment of having a career versus having a job. Last year, he received two Academy Award nominations for War Horse and The Adventures of Tin Tin and shows no sign of slowing down.

Which got me thinking…what will I be doing when I’m an octogenarian? Will I be living my passion? How many people envision a career beyond “retirement age”?

It wasn’t until I witnessed Williams on stage — the exuberance on his face, the vigor in his voice — that I considered the question.

Warren Buffett is 82 years old and while preparing for his abdication of the Berkshire Hathaway throne, appears amazingly involved. Queen Elizabeth is 86 and spoofing herself at global arenas like the London Olympics. It’s conceivable these magnates will remain actively centered in their vocations well into their 90s.

As our lifespans lengthen, are our views on everything from careers to relationships to faith expanding as well? While I haven’t read it (yet, it’s on my to-read list), I’m told the book “100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family and Faith” tackles these issues with thought-provoking adroitness.

A couple years ago I made the decision to pursue a career I loved, versus succeed in a job (that started out as a career) I liked. Now, as I draw inspiration and guidance from those living and sustaining their dreams, like Margaret Atwood, who at 72 is working with the online writing community at Wattpad to encourage new writers, I look towards the future with an unexpected optic, one that answers “I hope so” to the aforementioned question: Will I be living my passion at 80 years old?  

Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, Margaret Atwood

On Labor Day, as we pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers, it seems appropriate to reflect upon on our laboring futures, with farsighted lenses.

Businessman and author Harvey Mackay is touted for coining the phrase: “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” While this feels exceedingly trope-ish, there is a distinct difference between a labor of love, and just laboring, with the former presenting a much more sustainable, and fulfilling, future.

Grading Obama’s love letters: women swoon, men see through them

What kind of grade would he (Barack Obama) have gotten for such T.S. Eliot analysis…a reading that was admittedly done without perusing the footnotes? We checked in with some current members of the Columbia English department.

Matthew Hart, who specializes in 20th- and 21st-century Anglophone culture with an emphasis on modernist poetry, was not terribly blown away, as he wrote in an e-mail.

Considered as homework, I’d give the future President a B-minus…the allusion is forced and the connection specious. You get this a lot when students try too hard. Still, I think that’s the point here. This isn’t so much literary criticism as flirtation.

The best part is at the end…this is what the letter’s really about. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to use The Waste Land as a come-on. He gets a B+ for that.

Would a female professor grade Obama’s efforts any differently? We polled his colleague Sarah Cole, who just finished teaching a course on The Waste Land.

In these brief musings, President Obama shows himself to be a sensitive reader of Eliot’s great poem The Waste Land.

It is a poem of local brilliance and intensities, to which Obama responds with appropriate personal intensity.

I would praise it for its insights and sensitivity, would encourage the president to develop his ideas…

There you have it. Obama might not have done groundbreaking literary analysis, but his undergraduate prose managed to convince at least a couple of discerning women of his “insight and sensitivity”.

via NY Mag

Enroll in free online in courses from top institutions – Princeton, Stanford, Michigan

Online educational marketplaces are on the rise, with tools like Udemy and Khan Academy allowing people of all ages to become an expert in any topic.

New company Coursera is targeting higher education by offering university-level courses from top institutions to students all over the world, all for free.

The company launched with $16 million in Series A funding and is announcing partnerships with four schools:

  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Michigan.

Coursera will offer over 30 courses from its partner schools across a variety of disciplines, including computer science, sociology, medicine, and math.

 

A selection of the classes:

 

Classes typically last for five to ten weeks, and during that time students commit to watching the lectures, and completing interactive quizzes and assignments, which are auto-graded or graded by peers. Upon completion, the student receives a statement of accomplishment, a letter from the professor, and a score, but the course doesn’t count for any actual credit with that specific institution. The site also features a Q&A forum where students can ask questions about the course material and get answers from fellow students.

via Betakit

 

Screenshot of Coursera offerings

Favorite Commercials: Robert Frost, poem, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of the easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Do not go gentle into that good night

[testimonial company="" author="Dylan Thomas, 1951" image=""]

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, 

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

[/testimonial]

Or, if you prefer the audio version.

Rodney Dangerfield from Back to School.