The Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation (who also have an excellent app, allowing you to search for poems at the intersection of Humour, Commitment, and Work and Play, amongst other terms) has just revamped their website too.

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It’s a dream. Poets from the 8th century and earlier – good old Anon – to the present day can be searched by name or theme.

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I especially liked the pre-made collections. Summer had the Amy Lowell poem on the bath, whilst Movie Heroes & Villains had several crackers, including What I Learned From the Incredible Hulk, May Swenson’s very funny poem about watching Roger Moore as Bond whilst struggling with the popcorn, and tame Monsters in the Closet (“Dracula wants to drink my blood – I think that’s rather rude.”).

If you click through to a poet’s page, it includes a link to their other poems and I’ve already had a gorge on Ben Jonson, whose wit appeals to me more and more. But best of all is discovering so many new poets: Paisley Rokdal, Gwendolyn Brooks, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Jesse Randall, Lucia Perillo and James Weldon Johnson. In fact, this website’s a model of what to be: made for easy browsing by the beginner, but segmented enough for the specialist researcher and not falling into the usual school textbook cliches for the anthologies.

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Bastille Day

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Monet, Rouen art gallery.

Is this a difficult image these days? I think the nationalism sits uncomfortably with memories of Nice 2016 and many other events. Even in Monet’s life the existence or otherwise of a republic was fraught; his first London paintings were the result of being a refugee from the Franco-Prussian war, which is maybe why this reminds me of American WW2 ticket-tape parades. But as a painting of exuberance, movement and space, it’s joyful.

Blog of the week

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I love the Tube and I’m currently exploring one of the lines of it with the Bishopsgate Institute. The first week was St John’s Wood, and the station platforms are plain cream except for cheeky little heraldic tiles and snapshots of London by Howard Stabler.

150 great things about the Tube has taken far better photos than I could and has also written about Stabler here.

Pretties

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In fact, twice in one day because I ┬ácan’t resist: a scrapbook of Instagram pretties: Schiaparelli dresses from @the_corsetedbeauty;

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an Evelyn Dunbar sketch from @designfortoday;

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an elegant doodle from @garancedore;

 

marmalade jars and the delightful National Trust home of Standen from phil._.b;

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dogs on the beach from @thewomensroomblog

Tiger women

In the middle of heat rage a few weeks ago, I saw this fierce woman, captured in a 1930s photo by Fubing Chang.

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Instantly I thought of her waving a battle banner, and @jennifershortotextiles showed me both the flag and how this girl might appear nowadays.

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Finally, her palace: on sale in the Atlas Mountains via Christie’s,

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where she sits waiting for lunch in the heat (@thebreadcompanion)

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Gudrun Sjoden

Love these ceramics, both the splodgy insides and the flower pattern. I can imagine this recycled glass plate with its subtle flower design looking stunning for dinners in the garden on summer evenings too.

Never has washing up looked so good. Photos from Pinterest, and The Women’s Room blog.

Sao Paolo

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This floating display method in the Sao Paolo Museum of Art look stunning. The building itself – a glass box floating between a brilliant red pair of bands, and set in a lush green garden isn’t bad either.

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Seduced by Naples

I first saw Naples when I was working as a babysitter in Rome. It was winter.

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The beginning of Rachel Donadio’s Seduced by Naples, a great piece of writing from 2013. The Instagram feed that fed this to me talked of the slap of realising it’s only an hour from Rome by train. I’m goggling at a holiday that would cover both.

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Even today, you can tell that Naples was once a Greek city. It is the quality of light, which is clearer and stronger and feels more ancient and essential here – and in all of Magna Grecia, the Southern Italian regions that were once Greek colonies – than the light of Rome, with its softer pinks, or the steady, subtle light of the Italian north, with its countless shades of grey.

paintings by James Wilson Carmichael and Renoir