Monday, August 30, 2010

Hooray for Poetry and Hooray for My Son

Some of you few who venture here may have noticed the cellpoems link I have provided on the right side of this blog page. cellpoems is a web site dedicated to publishing short poems - poems limited to the number of characters one can use in a single "Twitter" submission. The site has a steadily growing membership and has received submissions from a number of well known poets including Billy Collins, the former US Poet Laureate among many others.

cellpoems recently was the recipient of a $2500 grant from the National Book Foundation. A goodly  portion of this grant has gone into a redesign of the site which is still underway, plus the addition of more efficient means by which poems can be received and distributed to the site's members. (All of this is free BTW.)

cellpoems is the brainchild of my younger son, Chris and submissions are evaluated by him and other poets. They are pretty tough to please.

A couple of weeks ago Chris received word that he has been chosen one of five winners of the Ruth Lilly  Prize for Poetry given yearly to young poets across the country. The award is sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and its publication, Poetry Magazine. The prize includes a fellowship award of $15000. The poems submitted by Chris and the four other winners will be published in the November issue of Poetry Magazine. There were more than a thousand entrants. The submissions were evaluated by a group of esteemed poets, professors, etc. blindly - that is no names were attached to the works they judged so that only the poems and not the poets were being evaluated.

Ruth Lilly, a member of the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical family, passed away a few years ago leaving the Poetry Foundation and Poetry Magazine two hundred million dollars through her will. This gift raised a number of eyebrows at the time, but poetry was, perhaps her main love in life. Ironically, Ms. Lilly submitted a number of poems to the magazine over the years, none of which were published.

The four other winners include Brooklyn Copeland (also) of Indianapolis, Miriam Bird Greenburg of rural Texas, Nate King of Wellesley, MA, and Dora Malech of Maryland.

Note that a lifetime poetry award which includes a $100,000 prize was awarded to 94 year old Eleanor Ross Taylor of Charlottesville, VA

Kudos and WOOHOOs! to Chris and all of the other winners.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Karaoke Night Out

As this is the first time in 3 or 4 years all four Shannons have been together, we celebrated last nite by hitting a bit of the karaoke circuit. We kinda did two extremes: First, we hit Marty's at Carson Square. Low key. Kinda redneck. Lotta Country.  Preferring to keep things at a highbrow level, I started off with Jim Croce's "Workin at the Car Wash Blues" Chris followed with Rod Stewart's version of "Reason to Believe." I came back with Jimmy Buffet's "Come Monday," a song I quickly realized I didn't know so well as I thought. Nick wrapped up our adventure at Marty's with a kick ass rendition of John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy." Sadly, we could not prevail upon Jo to give it a whirl.

We left Marty's with our thanks and headed north, passing downtown Indy, and winding up on Illinois St at Downtown Olley's. Olley's is very Gay. It was also really fun. There was a much longer list of singers signed up, and we waited some time before our turns came along. Showing my age, I led off with Buddy Holly's "That'll Be The Day" which garnered about as much approbation as anyone else's efforts to that point. But then Nick and Chris absolutely nailed Elton John's "Rocket Man" passing the lyrics back and forth and achieving some great harmonies. Comparatively speaking, it brought the house down. I loved it.
Once again, Joan demurred at the prospect of taking the mike. Maybe another time.
We then drove back to our humble domicile and had a late nite snack of homemade cherry cobbler (Jo made with cherries from our own tree) and ice cream and topped off the late evening by watching a couple of season one episodes of  "The Wire."  Good times.