Saturday, April 25, 2015

Books on Film | iZombie

The 2010-12 comic book iZombie by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred has was recently adapted into a television show by The CW. The comic follows Gwen, a grave-digging Oregonian zombie, as she solves mysteries. Joining her are her ghostly best friend, a weredog, and a several other creatures that go bump in the night. 
Every time Gwen, a zombie, eats someone's brains she also inherits some of their memories and the latest morsel she devoured gives her memories of a murder she and her friends need to solve.

Note: Vol 2, Vol 3, Vol 4

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

She's Crafty | Concrete Poetry

In honor of National Poetry Month, let's celebrate concrete poetry.

The Mouse's Tale by Lewis Carroll.

When you make concrete poetry you take the words of your poem and shape them into an image that reflects the subject of the poem in some way. When the Mouse from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland decides to tell his "long and sad tale," Alice is puzzled that he would refer to his tail as sad. Well, by the time Mouse begins his tale, Alice imagines the poem above in the shape of a mouse's tail. Lewis Carroll also illustrates Alice's diminishing attention by making the text smaller and smaller until you can no longer read the poem. All round, a very clever piece.

In A Dazzling Display of Dogs, poet Betsy Franco and illustrator Michael Wertz use concrete poetry to showcase Franco's poems about dogs. One of my favorites is "Emmet’s Ode to His Tennis Ball."

Franco's poems and Wertz's illustrations are a wonderful take on concrete poetry. The match of shaped poem and colorful illustrations is fantastic. It reminds me of a project I thought of doing in college where you combine minimal illustrations with text that is shaped to match the content. I was going to illustrate the lyrics to Bob Dylan's 115th Dream, but in the end I went with a different project. I think of it from time to time. Hmmm, perhaps I will revisit this project in honor of National Poetry Month.

There are different ways to play with concrete poetry. The simplest is to type or hand write a poem into a simple shape in a font with uniform size and color. 

XLV by E.E. Cummings. Photo, cummings_xlv,
uploaded by William Cromar. Some Rights Reserved.

You can step it up by playing around with shaped letters, font size, and colors to add more complexity and reinforce your image. Like in, "Emmet's Ode to His Tennis Ball," up above uses shaped letters to help make the curve of the ball well-defined and fit the words together tight to help the impression of a solid object.

2013-07-04 13.41.32 by trevor.patt. Some Rights Reserved.

For the concrete poem project brewing in my head, I'm definitely inspired by Dazzling Display of Dogs. I'm itching to get some bright papers and collage a fun background. Then, I'll either create my concrete poem by hand-lettering the passage directly onto my background or by scanning my collage into the computer and digitally setting the type. Actually, I might try this with the Bob Dylan song. Yeahhh...

Well, feeling like giving concrete poetry a try? I hope you do. And I hope you get a chance to checkout Dazzling Display of Dogs. It's such a great book to look at, and would be great for story time. And before Dazzling Dogs, Betsy Franco came out with A Curious Collection of Cats (available through Link+), also featuring concrete poems.

In fact, here's a list of Betsy Franco poem books we have at our SSJCPL branches featuring her poetry or the poetry of others:

Monday, April 20, 2015

Just Life| Do it Yourself Manual

I just came across this great book called Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual. I think this a great book for any family to have.

It covers home problems from plumbing, electrical, interior repair, painting, landscaping, and more.

The book has great step by step pictures for the visual learners too. This is a great Father's Day gift idea.

Your library is a great resource for do-it-yourself projects. Here are some books on this topic:

If I had a hammer : more than 100 easy fixes and weekend projects

The complete photo guide to home improvement

  • Signing off until next next Monday- Panteha