We close out National Poetry Month this year with a poem by my teacher, Garrett Hongo, to whom I owe so much for opening the world of contemporary poetry for me and challenging me always to stand in the hottest fire, in poetry and in life.
Something Whispered in the ShakuhachiTo read more or comment...
Once, long ago, Kevin Young and I were fellows at the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets at Bucknell University. I knew then how talented he was, but I couldn't know how talented he would become. Here, he riffs off Robert Lowell's poem, For the Union Dead.
For the Confederate DeadTo read more or comment...
NORWALK, CONN.: A homeless single mother has been arraigned for allegedly stealing educational services by sending her son to the wrong Connecticut school district.To read more or comment...
Age saw two quiet children
Go loving by at twilight,
He knew not whether homeward,
Or outward from the village,
Or (chimes were ringing) churchward,
He waited (they were strangers)
Till they were out of hearing
To bid them both be happy.
"Be happy, happy, happy,
And seize the day of pleasure."
The age-long theme is Age's.
'Twas Age imposed on poems
Their gather-roses burden
To warn against the danger
That overtaken lovers
From being overflooded
With happiness should have it.
And yet not know they have it.
But bid life seize the present?
It lives less in the present
Than in the future always,
And less in both together
Than in the past. The present
Is too much for the senses,
Too crowding, too confusing
Too present to imagine.
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.
I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
Special to the Beacon Journal
By John Higgins
Beacon Journal staff writer
The school boards of Cuyahoga Falls and neighboring Woodridge will meet tonight to discuss the possibility of sharing a superintendent.To read more or comment...
Here's a video I shot while reporting about Barberton jazz students working with member of the Brad Wagner Sextet in preparation for a concert that evening. A $1,000 grant from PPG and $800 raised by the Barberton band boosters made the day possible.
These are the 8th graders (plus senior MarQuis Brown on piano) rehearsing a variety of jazz standards including "Take the A Train," "Lester Leaps In" and "All of Me."To read more or comment...
WASHINGTON: No matter how many subjects they're acing, most college students these days find economics a grind. Tricky financial calculations influence everything from what school they attend and what major they choose to how quickly they finish their degrees or whether they graduate at all.To read more or comment...
Thunder blossoms gorgeously above our heads,
Great, hollow, bell-like flowers,
Rumbling in the wind,
Stretching clappers to strike our ears . . .
Bitten by the sun
Dripping rain like golden honey
And the sweet earth flying from the thunder.
Beacon Journal staff
The Ravenna school board has hired a new superintendent, Dennis Honkala, who is superintendent of Buckeye Local Schools in Medina County, according to a Ravenna district press release.
Honkala received a three-year contract. He has been superintendent at Buckeye since 2007 and previously was an administrator in Green Local Schools.To read more or comment...
It's a jazz affair, drum crashes and cornet razzes.
The trombone pony neighs and the tuba jackass snorts.
The banjo tickles and titters too awful.
The chippies talk about the funnies in the papers.
The cartoonists weep in their beer.
Ship riveters talk with their feet
To the feet of floozies under the tables.
A quartet of white hopes mourn with interspersed snickers:
"I got the blues.
I got the blues.
I got the blues."
And . . . as we said earlier:
The cartoonists weep in their beer.
I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand
singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or
at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of
the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the dayat night the party of young fellows,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
I had the honor of joining a graduate class on ethnic autobiographies at the University of Oregon taught by Li-Young Lee, visiting poet and scholar. To hear Li-Young read this poem, click here for The Academy of American Poets Web site.
The Hour and What is DeadTo read more or comment...
This week Cisco, the makers of the Flip video camcorder, announced that it's shutting down production. Here's the obit by David Pogue in the New York Times.
I posted my first Flip video on First Bell on Feb. 3, 2010 of Akron superintendent David James pledging not to put a levy on the ballot at his annual "State of the Schools" address.To read more or comment...
First Bell reader Larry D. recommends this Civil War poem by Herman Melville, more famous for Moby-Dick and Billy Budd. Thanks for the suggestion, especially given the 150th anniversary of the start of the war this week. Other readers also are invited to submit poems for Poem of the Day during National Poetry Month.
Shiloh: A Requiem (April, 1862)To read more or comment...
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle has completed a $55 million computerized atlas of the human brain that will be available to the public for research.
Also check out Jonah Lehrer's take on the new interactive map at The Frontal Cortex blog (but click with caution: his post includes a not-for-the-squeamish photo of brain slicing that resembles a deli counter more than a laboratory). He has an interview with the Allen Institute's CEO, Allan Jones.To read more or comment...
Fellow ABJ reporter Dave Scott has started a blog called, simply enough, Government Efficiency.
He'll be looking at schools as well as fire, police and other government services. If you have comments or story ideas along those lines, check his blog out at http://www.ohio.com.To read more or comment...
Here's an excerpt from the press release this afternoon from Kent State University.
Poor children are less likely than wealthier children to graduate from high school. And poor children who can't read well by third grade are even more likely to drop out, according to a new report published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
According to the report, titled Double Jeopardy: How Third Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School graduation:
Hikmet is considered Turkey's first modern poets and one of the great international poets of the 20th Century. In this poem, he writes from experience, having served a long prison sentence for his Communist beliefs. This poem about maintaining a split consciousness under duress reminds me of the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska's poem, Autonomy, which we featured during last year's National Poetry Month. Click on the poem title to see the line breaks at poets.org. I tried to get them as close as possible.
Some Advice To Those Who Will Serve Time in Prison
(translated by Mutlu Konuk and Randy Blasing)
One of the science blogs I'm really enjoying in my Google Reader is called Neuroanthropology by Daniel Lende and Greg Downey (their Wednesday roundup of links to research and stories is particularly useful). They brought my attention to these lectures on human behavorial biology by Stanford professor of biology and neurology, Robert M. Sapolsky, author of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers.
I just watched the hour-long intro to neuroscience, taught by very able grad students, to prepare the class for Sapolsky's lectures in his spring, 2010 class on human behavorial biology. The intro to neuroscience is a bit technical, but pretty much presented in basic English for beginners. I especially like the student-produced rap video at the end of the presentation about how synapses work.To read more or comment...
One of my favorite poems by one of my favorite poets. The simple yet evocative description of the waiting room is what makes the psychological abstraction so dramatic: a moment of self-realization and empathy for a six-year-old who will turn seven in three days.To read more or comment...
The final postcard poems of Hungarian poet Miklos Radnoti -- discovered in a small notebook in his trenchcoat pocket by his wife after he was shot by Nazis during a forced march and dumped in a mass grave that was later exhumed -- have always inspired me as a journalist for the witness they bear that is unlike any war dispatch.
Here is one of those documentary "post cards" from this website, which includes a short biography of the poet.To read more or comment...
The AfterlifeTo read more or comment...
Superintendent Wayne Blankenship will give a "state of the schools address" on Monday, April 11 from 7 to 8 p.m. in the gym at Northfield Elementary School, 9374 Olde Eight Road in Northfield.To read more or comment...
The Office of Budget and Management released two documents Thursday afternoon showing projected savings in Gov. John Kasich's proposed budget from shifting two percent of pension contributions from school districts to their employees.
Currently employers pay 14 percent of an employee's salary into the pension fund and employees contribute 10 percent. Under the proposed budget, employers and employees would each pay 12 percent. Extracting that 2 percent out of employees' overall compensation would save Akron $3.8 million a year, according to the OBM analysis.To read more or comment...
ProPublica digs into Akron-based White Hat, one of the largest for-profit charter school operators in the country. We wrote about the lawsuit filed against White Hat last year by some of its own school boards. That story is here.
ProPublica, an independent nonprofit organization doing investigative journalism "in the public interest," looks at that lawsuit and about the role of big for-profit management companies in the operation of charter schools. So are the kids learning better in those publicly funded, privately operated schools?
So I'm back from spring break and I notice that the Thomas B. Fordham Institute had an op-ed in the Akron Beacon Journal on Sunday that was critical of my story on rising math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress that ran on Monday, March 28 .
My story is here.To read more or comment...
Gov. John Kasich announced today that Bryan Williams, former Republican state legislator and former deputy director of the the Summit County Elections Board will replace Tamara O'Brien on the State Board of Education.
O'Brien was recently appointed as a Summit County Common Pleas judge. Williams will have to run in the November, 2012, election to serve the remainder of her term, which ends in 2014.To read more or comment...