Looking for some poetry recommendations?

Check out the reviews and recommendations from Claudia Emerson’s Creative Writing class. Featuring everything from Yusef Komunyakaa’s Neon Vernacular to Edwin Arnold’s Fear of Death and Other Poems to Nikki Giovanni’s Love Poems. And we can’t forget The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, and that’s just a few samples. See them all here.

A particular favorite of mine is Hillaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales for Children. Given the anestheticized  and inane children’s books you often come across today, it’s nice to see that in the 19th century the macabre was alive and well. Take a listen to a little poem about “JIM, Who ran away from his Nurse, and was eaten by a Lion.”

Download JIM, Who ran away from his Nurse, and was eaten by a Lion.

The Two Dollar Challenge

Photo by Christopher Wehling, The Free Lance-Star (04/18/08)

Photo by Christopher Wehling, The Free Lance-Star (04/18/08)

The Two Dollar Challenge starts in just a few hours here at UMW, it’s an intensive week of living off, yep—you guessed it—$2 a day. Professor Shawn Humphries of the Economics department has spearheaded this initiative, and the Two Dollar Challenge website describes it as follows:

Our Challenge, the Two Dollar Challenge, is to partner with the poor to break the self-perpetuating cycle of poverty. The solution is twofold, through various development programs we can (1) expand economic opportunities and (2) improve the everyday living conditions faced by the poor. By relieving the immediate stresses of survival, we can help each individual see that they can take control of their own lives and act upon the opportunities that are present.

Our Poverty Action Program is designed to meet this challenge by working to create passionate and effective leaders in the field of economic development. Starting March 28 and ending April 26 each participant in our Poverty Action Program will have the opportunity to administer Challenge Week on their respective campus and fundraise for their own initiatives. (See a list of current participants).

Creating “passionate and effective leaders,” now there’s a challenge, I think must of us would just settle for effective! You can read more about the challenge on the official site here. And if you are planning on taking the challenge, or would simply like to follow it more closely over the next week, check out the Two Dollar Challenge blog right here on UMW Blogs. The site will be aggregating relevant blog posts, images, and videos from around the web regularly. And if you are starting your are planning on documenting your own challenge with a blog, photos, or video camera, be sure to share them through this site. Go here for more details.

Good luck, and if cigarettes were cheaper I’d join you 🙂

UMW on Flickr

There is a great pool of images on Flickr dedicated to UMW. It has 45 members and almost 300 images, many of which really capture the beauty of the campus.

Also, if you haven’t seen them already, there are more than 150 images from the UMW archives on Flickr here—with many more to come.

Postcards for the Dead Letter Office

Front:

Back:

Click on the images above to see the full-size version. You can also see them on the original post.

I have been following a series of postcards on Elizabeth Staggs’ blog (Byrd & Lomax) which is nothing short of beautiful and inspired.
They’re a series of postcards she wrote up for the creative writing class she is taking with Colin Rafferty, and the assignment is quite fun. Here’s how Elizabeth describes it:

Our professor mentioned the not-so-secret fact that anything openly accessible that goes through the postal system is read. Magazines, literary journals, newsletters: all get read by bored or curious postal workers. This, of course, includes postcards. In the spirit of getting one’s original work in front of an audience (albeit a small one), our assignment is to write a short fiction on the back of a postcard & send it to Rafferty over spring break.

I got really excited! Postcards are an ultimate appeal to my analog nature. Not only are they the literary equivalent of vacation snapshots, there is that ticklish curious feeling of being on the edges of someone else’s life. Like epistolary novels or peering into a room of safe deposit boxes, or even, to an extent, blogging, you have access to story that invites you to recreate the missing parts. Vague references tease you into furthering the story, imposing your own order onto something that’s only supposed to be shared between others.

The above postcard is my personal favorite, but there are seven in all and I highly recommend you take a minute and view them all, they are really powerful.

EscherMath

Image of Debra Hydorn's students at Joe DiBella art showThe students in professor Debra Hydorn’s Freshman Seminar EscherMath have created a series of pieces that imagine “the mathematics of art.” They class visited professor Joseph DiBella’s exhibit at UMW’s DuPont Gallery in order to study how he “uses symmetry and pattern to define space, fill space and create borders in and around his works.” After thinking and discussing the way in which art and mathematics intersect, students imagined and created their own pieces as you can see from the fruits of their labor above. Professor Hydorn’s course provides a wonderful example of how a Freshman Seminar might explore the interdisciplinary nature of the arts and sciences in some creative ways–very exciting and inspiring stuff afoot at UMW.