March 2010


Poet, teacher, Susan G. Wooldridge

  

The 2010 poster for National Poetry Month features the lines “We make a dwelling in the evening air, / In which being there together is enough.” It is from Wallace Stevens’s poem “Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour.”  

 I had never read this poem, before looking at the poster for National Poetry Month.  I can’t say that I understand it fully, but that’s about the truth of it for me with most poetry–like a trickster, poems insert themselves at a horizon just beyond the rational mind  to connect with some nonverbal wisdom that exists in our body, our heart. From there, given time,  they travel to the mind  to observe  a view we may not have quite noticed before.  I love poetry but I only find it accessible if I start out by not thinking too much.  A little backwards I think, from our traditional educational models.  Worse than trying to understand poems is trying to write them.  So I admire poets; but even more I admire teachers of poetry who dare to assure us that we too can say something of meaning, no matter how faulty we sound to ourselves.   

Poet and author Susan G. Wooldridge says on her website, that she  “has found that in a safe, free setting, surrounded with words, most everyone can write poems and they’re often extraordinary.”  She will be here at the Dublin Library on Saturday, April 3, for a workshop from 1:00p.m. until  3:00 p.m.  Susan is the author of poemcrazy: freeing your life with words, and Foolsgold; Making Something From Nothing and Freeing Your Creative Process.  Do you notice how attached to the word “freeing” she is in these titles?  To me, freeing conjures an opening up to spaciousness–both internally and extrernally.  So Saturday is an opportunity to open up space for yourself and see what new views your psyche is interested in having you notice.  Join us for a couple of hours of psychic elbowroom with words, pictures and collage.  Invite your hidden artist to come out and play!  

We are grateful to the Friends of Dublin Library for providing the funding for Susan’s visit.  

Here’s the  complete poem from Wallace Stevens that the poster celebrates.  I believe I will be carrying this around with me all month…..  

Light the first light of evening
In which we rest and, for small reason, think
The world imagined is the ultimate good. This is, therefore, the intensest rendezvous.
It is in that thought that we collect ourselves,
Out of all the indifferences, into one thing:   

 Within a single thing, a single shawl
Wrapped tightly round us, since we are poor, a warmth,
A light, a power, the miraculous influence.   

 Here, now, we forget each other and ourselves.
We feel the obscurity of an order, a whole,
A knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous.   

 Within its vital boundary, in the mind.
We say God and the imagination are one…
How high that highest candle lights the dark.   

Out of this same light, out of the central mind,
We make a dwelling in the evening air,
In which being there together is enough.    

 

Between March 19th to April 19th, Dublin Library will host an Authorized Census Questionnaire Assistance Center.

If you need help filling out your 2010 Census questionnaire or did not receive a questionnaire in the mail, then come see Sally Hughes in the Reference Area of the Dublin Library.  She will be glad to answer your questions and has census questionnaire forms in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, and Vietnamese. 

Sally will be available to help you Sunday 1 – 4 p.m., Wednesday 5 – 8 p.m., Thursday 10 – 1 p.m., Friday 3 – 6 p.m., and Saturday 10 – 1 p.m. 

The U.S. Census counts every resident in the United States, and is required by the Constitution to take place every 10 years.

The 2010 Census will help communities receive more than $400 billion in federal funds each year for things like hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, bridges, tunnels and other-public works projects, and emergency services.

If you or your child needs to do a school report on any of the 50 states or 6 United States territories, then you should take a look at the latest addition to the Alameda County Library System database Collection, “A to Z the USA”  by World Trade Press.  Entries for individual states include sections on animals and plants, art and culture, climate and weather, crime statistics, demographics (including housing, social, and economic characteristics), economy, education, energy, the flag and seal, etc. 

Many of my colleagues have explored the maps section to find antique maps, beginning with California in 1849.  I liked the history section, which has a historical timeline of California from 25,000 BCE to 2003. 

Some fun facts I learned were that the state reptile is the desert tortoise, the Bear Flag California Republic flag we use today was not officially adopted as the official flag by the State Legislature until 1911,  and the unofficial state dish is fish tacos.

Come and explore this new, informative, and entertaining database! 

March 2 is the birthday of Dr. Seuss, one children’s author I am sure most, if not all of us are familiar with!

Baby boomers were the first lucky generation to revel in the nonsensical stories and verses of a Dr. Suess book. He would later write, “I think I had something to do with kicking Dick and Jane out of the school system.” (The Man Who Was Dr. Seuss, by Thomas Fensch c2000, p.178) In doing so endeared himself to millions of children.   

Theodor “Ted” Seuss Geisel was born March 2, 1904 in Springfield Massachusetts, a town with neighbors who had names like…McElligot and Terwilliger.

 “As an adult, Ted credited his mother “for the rhythms in which I write and the urgency with which I write it.”  (www.seussville.com) Henrietta Seuss Geisel (known as Nettie)  (Fensch, p. 27) worked in her father’s bakery before she married Ted’s father.  She would memorize the names of the pies that were on special each day and “chant” them to her customers.   As a little boy, his mother would chant her pie-selling rhythms to help him and his sister sleep. 

                                Apple, mince, lemon….

                                Peach, apricot, pineapple..

                                Blueberry, coconut, custard …and SQUASH! (Fensch p.27)

Ted was known for his doodling and artwork as he grew up and went to college.

His early career he worked in advertising and as a cartoonist.   His first children’s book was And To Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street.   The inspiration for its rhythm came from the droning the engines made on a luxury liner he was traveling with his wife, Helen. He couldn’t get the sound out of his head.  Helen suggested that he apply the rhythm to his first book. 

Writers take note: And To Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street was rejected by 27 publishers before finally being published by Vanguard.  “It was too different; it wasn’t wholesome enough; it didn’t teach the right moral lesson; it wasn’t right for children.”  (Fensch, p.66) And in a moment of serendipity that is now legend, as he stood on a New York street after the 27th rejection, he ran into someone he had known at Dartmouth, Marshall McClintock.  As it happened, McClintock was children’s book editor with The Vanguard Press.  “How are you Ted?  And what to do you have under your arm?”(Fensch p. 66) It was the manuscript for And to Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street. Vanguard ended up publishing the book!

His next breakthrough came as a response to an article in Life Magazine, by John Hersey Why do Children Bog Down on the First R.  The premise for the article was that children’s books were boring.  Hersey called them “antiseptic” and called for illustrations “that widen rather than narrow the associative richness children give to words.”  (www.seussville.com)“He suggested that someone – perhaps Dr. Seuss—free the nation’s children from the oh-so-dreary Dick and Jane readers.”(Fensch p.111)

Houghton Mifflin and Random House asked Ted to write a children’s reader using 220 vocabulary words; the result was Cat in the Hat.  His publisher, Bennett Cerf once wagered that Ted couldn’t write a book using 50 words or less: Ted responded by writing Green Eggs and Ham. (www.seussville.com)

Friends who knew him recall Ted putting on a “thinking cap” from his amazing hat collection and wearing it to help lighten the stress of creative blocks.

When asked where do you get your ideas, he was just as likely to answer with some nonsensical string such as…. uber glitch. (www.seussville.com)

His wife Helen Palmer started the Beginning Reader imprint at Random House. Together they wrote and published books that would transform the way children would experience learning to read.

At the time of his death on September 24, 1991, some 200 million copies of his books, translated into 15 different languages, had found their way into homes and hearts around the world.(www.seussville.com)

Quotes:

“Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age. Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. It’s more than just a matter of laughing. If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack.”

As quoted in “Author Isn’t Just a Cat in the Hat” by Miles Corwin in The Los Angeles Times (27 November 1983); also in Dr. Seuss: American Icon (2004) by Philip Nel, p. 38 (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Dr._Seuss)

Join us for a little nonsense of our own as we celebrate the birthday of the great Dr. Seuss.  On Wednesday, March 3 at 3:30 kids can drop by the Library Program Room and make their very own Cat in the Hat hat! (Children aged 5 and under should be accompanied by an adult to assist them.)