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Archive for May, 2009

Robert Bly’s book, Loving a Woman in Two Worlds, is one of my favorites. It was first published in 1985 and explores the relationship that men and women build together in love and commitment to one another; the “third body” that they share and nurture together.

I’m not normally one for love poems, as they tend to often go awry with sentimentality, becoming cloying rather than transcendental; however, Bly’s poems in this work are the transcendental type. By the term transcendental, I refer to their ability to transcend experience but not human knowledge. They explore the realizations and sustainability that love brings at a depth of experience few can match. They contain a zen-like quality in their connection with nature. Most are short, which I prefer, and quite poignant. Pablo Neruda is the only other poet I have encountered who can match Bly’s ability to examine the subject of love in such exquisite concentration.

Some of my favorites from Loving a Woman in Two Worlds include the following:

The Minnow Turning

Once I loved you only a few minutes a day.
Now it is smoke rising, the mushroom left by
                the birch,
and horse’s forefoot, the way the minnow stirs silver
as he turns, carrying his world with him.

The Conditions

What we have loved is with us ever,
ever, ever!
So you are with me far into the past,
the oats of Egypt . . .
I was a black hen!
You were the grain of wheat
I insisted on
before I agreed to be born.

Ferns

It was among ferns I learned about eternity.
Below your belly there is a curly place.
Through you I learned to love the ferns on that bank,
and the curve the deer’s hoof leaves in sand.

There is an interesting bit about the poems in this book in interview 7 on this website as well.

Enjoy!

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As the 2nd Annual WordCount Blogathon comes to a close (tomorrow being the last day of May), I realize just how happy/relieved I am that it’s almost over. Not that I didn’t enjoy writing everyday, and not that it didn’t raise my visits per day, or teach me a lot about blogging (strategies, tips, and SEO included) but it did, surprisingly, turn out to be hard work. 

At times, it was thinking of topics that flummoxed me and at others, I had a topic but had a hard time finding the time to actually sit down and write. I am a pretty hard-headed person however, so having put my mind to successfully completely this blogathon, I was not about to miss a day. I’m proud to say that I completed my mission, our collective mission, successfully (well, with tomorrow’s post I will have anyway, but it’s pretty much a guarantee that’ll happen).

As I mentioned in an eariler post, I strongly encourage bloggers, especially new bloggers, to participate in a blogathon for the learning experience it provides. This blogathon had around 40 bloggers participate, so it was also a great way to get introduced to other blogs on an amazing variety of topics. I hope they all had as much success and fun as I did!

My goals now that the Blogathon is coming to an end are to:

First and foremost, keep up with regular posting. Keeping a regular schedule keeps readers engaged and coming back for more, since they know they can count on new content.

Second, spend more time with each post. By that I mean craft solid, content-rich posts that will lead readers to more information on the topic I’m addressing and provide a new understanding of the information.

Third and last, have fun with it! I don’t think this one needs much explaination.

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Just a quick plug for the editing and writing services I offer. Please see my previous post regarding my services and check out the other pages of this blog that include information regarding those services, such as Past Clients, Details, About, and Editing and Writing Service at the top of this page.

I am currently offering a special on proofreading/editing resumes and cover letters for as little as $35.00 to $45.00 (most professional services I’ve researched charge upwards of $65.00 to $75.00). I hope some of you will take advantage of this special.

Have a beautiful day!

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I found an interesting blog that also happens to be part of The New York Times, like the Grammar News section I mentioned in a previous post. The blog is called After Deadline and examines “questions of grammar, usage and style encountered by writers and editors of The Times.”

This is potentially an informative and useful resource for those in journalism using AP style.

Tuesday’s post tackled varied subjects, from the phrase “openly gay,” describing when it is in/appropriate to use it to the recurring mistake of calling people who have moved from Puerto Rico to the United States “immigrants,” when in fact, they are not immigrants but U.S. citizens.

There is also a section called Bright Passages in which the author, Philip B. Corbett, brings our attention to what he calls “sparkling prose” that has been featured in various articles in The Times. I really enjoyed this section for the deft composition skills that it showed off and for that fact that rather than simply pointing out mistakes, as many grammar blogs do, it offered the reader a chance to admire some of the more resourceful and pithy phrasing in current reporting.

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I frequently see authors make errors when citing references in the text of scholarly papers in APA style.

A few things to remember:

1. When a reference has only two authors, remember to cite both at every occurrence in the text. APA does not shorten when there are only two authors.

2. When a reference has three to five authors, cite all of them the first time it is mentioned in the text. Subsequent citations within the same paragraph, can be shortened to include only the first author followed by et al. (but remember that et al. should be in Roman typeface rather than italics and that there should always be a period after al.). Also, the year should be included when it is the first citation in the paragraph (in following citations within that paragraph, you can omit the year).

For example, the first citation would look like: “Rodney, Stokes, and Barrister (2007) limited the scope of their first study to high school students.”

The second citation within that paragraph would look like: “Rodney et al. did not”

If you were to start a new paragraph, you would need to be sure to include the date again, like so: “Rodney et al. (2007) tried”

3. When two references with the same year and first author shorten the same, to distinguish, you should cite the surnames of as many additional authors to the first as needed to distinguish and then shorten with et al.

4. When an article has six or more authors there is no need to cite all of them the first time; you can immediately shorten to the surname of the first author and the year followed by et al.  

You can find all of these details and more in the APA manual in section 3.95, pp. 208-209.

Cheers!

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Some of my favorite SEO tips are:

Be bold. Use the <b> </b> tags around some of your keywords on each page. Don’t use them everywhere the keyword appears; once or twice is plenty.

Linking. Make sure you have links coming in to as many pages as possible. What does all this linking tell a search engine? That you have lots of worthwhile content.

Article Exchanges/Guest Bloggers. Article exchanges or guest bloggers are like link exchanges, only more useful. You publish someone else’s blog article with a link back to their site. They publish your article with a link back to your site. You both have content. You both get high quality links.

Here are some sites with more tips for bloggers:

1. 8 Simple SEO Tips for Blogs– Lots of good info for the beginner.

2. Search Engine Optimization for Blogs– Detailed site from Problogger. A must.

3. Google Success SEO SEM Tips for Better Ranking– Everyone want to succeed on Google, right?

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My grandfather was a veteran of the Korean War, and my father dedicated 22 years to the U.S. Army, so I have nothing but the utmost respect and love for our armed forces and our veterans. Let’s learn from and never forget our current and past conflicts.

Capturing this sentiment, this poem is by Carl Sandburg:

Grass

PILE the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work–
                           I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
                            What place is this?
                            Where are we now?

                             I am the grass.
                             Let me work.

–Sandburg, Carl. 1918. Cornhuskers.

Cornhuskers

Cornhuskers

Sandburg addresses several themes in this poem. First, after people kill each other in recurring wars, they let nature cover up the terrible result. Second, people forget the lessons of history. As a consequence, they repeat the mistakes that caused past wars. Third, people forget the fallen heroes of war after the years pass and the grass covers the battlefield. And last, nature is dispassionate and ineluctable, even in wartime.

The battles included refer to occurances of great carnage, as indicated in the following:

Austerlitz: Major battle of the Napoleonic wars, fought on December 2, 1805. Nearly 25,000 men died. Austerlitz is in the present-day Czech Republic.

Waterloo: The final battle of the Napoleonic wars, fought near Waterloo, Belgium, on June 18, 1815, and resulting in more than 60,000 casualties.

Gettysburg: Major battle of the U.S. Civil War in which Union forces defeated Confederate forces near the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 1-3, 1863, resulting in 45,000 to 50,000 casualties.

Ypres (pronounced E pruh): Town in Belgium that was the site of three major World War I battles (October-November 1914, April-May 1915, and July-November 1917) that resulted in more than 850,000 German and allied casualties.

Verdun: Indecisive World War I battle between the French and the Germans fought at Verdun, France, from February to December, 1916. Total casualties numbered more than 700,000.

Wine From These Grapes

Wine From These Grapes

 

Like myself, Edna St. Vincent Millay was a pacifist. The poem below was originally included in her book called Wine From These Grapes and is a beautiful example of her objection to WWII.

 

Conscientious Objector

I shall die, but
that is all that I shall do for Death.
I hear him leading his horse out of the stall;
I hear the clatter on the barn-floor.
He is in haste; he has business in Cuba,
business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.
But I will not hold the bridle
while he clinches the girth.
And he may mount by himself:
I will not give him a leg up.

Though he flick my shoulders with his whip,
I will not tell him which way the fox ran.
With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where
the black boy hides in the swamp.
I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death;
I am not on his pay-roll.

I will not tell him the whereabout of my friends
nor of my enemies either.
Though he promise me much,
I will not map him the route to any man’s door.
Am I a spy in the land of the living,
that I should deliver men to Death?
Brother, the password and the plans of our city
are safe with me; never through me Shall you be overcome.

–Edna St. Vincent Millay

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