Archive for the ‘photography’ category

The Saturday Book Shop: The Poetry Deal

April 10, 2021

April is National Poetry Month. This is the 25th Anniversary of the Academy of American Poets celebration of the meaningful role poets and poetry play in our culture, our dreams, and our inspirations. It has become the largest literary celebration in the world with readers, writers, publishers, educators, librarians, and anyone who loves the written word uplifting the importance of poetry in helping us see life anew.

I thought I would share a couple of books from a poet I greatly admire: Diane di Prima, a legendary feminist Beat Generation poet and activist. To quote Allen Ginsberg, she was “… a learned humorous bohemian, classically educated and twentieth-century radical, her writing, informed by Buddhist equanimity, is exemplary in imagist, political and mystical modes. A great woman poet in the second half of the American century, she broke barriers of race–class identity, delivered a major body of verse brilliant in it particularity. — Allen Ginsberg”

Pieces of A Song is one of my favorite Diane di Prima books. It contains her Poems from Loba series as well as so many other gems, such as Rant, in which she reminds us in her bold caps refrain:

The Poetry Deal (San Francisco Poet Laureate Series, 7) is a collection of poems and personal reflections on her 40 years in the Bay Area, which became her home after moving to San Francisco from New York in the 1960s.

My ongoing thanks to Rob Brezsny, author of Pronoia: the Antidote to Paranoia—How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You With Blessings for introducing my the poetry of Diane di Prima via his weekly email news and vivid writings.

I’ve also written here about favorite Mary Oliver poetry books.

May April be a month of rediscovering your favorite poems, exploring new poets like Morgan Harper Nichols, or jotting down some lines of your own poetry or a brief haiku.

POETRY ALL AROUND

Poetry is an ongoing gift whether you’re reading it, writing it, or being inspired by it. I was delighted to find a list of collage prompts drawn from lines of poetry last month on Instagram, which both helped rekindle my collage joys, and also brought a talented new poet to my attention, Nayyirah Waheed, who has written a book called salt.

“remember,
you were a writer
before
you ever
put
pen to paper.
just because you were not writing
externally.
does not mean you were not writing
internally.”
Nayyirah Waheed

You’ll find poetry I’ve written over the years scattered throughout the posts here on this blog, as well as included in several books published recently, including these titles which are filled with visual poetry in the form of amazing art and fabulous photography. Was thrilled to be a part of both of these books:

Beyond the Surface: Art, Discovery, Healing and Transformation by Chantal e.y. Bethel

Exumas: The Kingdom of Blue by photographer Alessandro Sarno

Here’s to poetic days! Would love to hear about any of your favorite poets or books of poetry or anything else you’re excited about reading.

Thanks for checking in here at The Saturday Book Shop. Hope you have a great weekend with time to read …enjoy and see you back next week!

A book is a present you can open again and again.

The Saturday Book Shop: Bisa Butler—Portraits

April 3, 2021

I am in awe of Bisa’s Butler’s art. Her work creates stunning and powerful portraits made from myriad vibrant fabrics and patterns, cut and stitched together with meaning and a depth that almost defies description. Her portraits speak of a multitude of life layers, generations, and experiences that are expertly woven into a new picture both moving and mesmerizing in its depth and humanity.

Bisa Butler—Portraits was published in conjunction with an exhibit by the same name that opened at the Art Institute of Chicago last fall, and where it continues through September 6, 2021.

The catalogue is exquisitely done. 96 beautiful pages of Butler’s incredible art, along with wonderful essays focusing on her influences, process, and stories held within the individual art pieces. Printed in Italy. Hardbound. This book leaves you feeling as if you almost got to be at the exhibit. Always better to get to see original art in person, but this book brings me closer, and I’m grateful for it during this time.

Bisa Butler’s work is a treasure. This catalogue captures both the intricacies of her art and how her work illuminates the family album of humanity.

Thank you for being here at The Saturday Book Shop for a few minutes during this holiday weekend amidst Easter — Passover — and Springtime celebrations of the Revival and Renewal of The Spirit. Hallelujah! ❤️🙏🏼❤️

The Saturday Book Shop – The Snail with the Right Heart

February 13, 2021

Most book stores do not have a section labelled “Simply Enchanting”, but they ought to, and this book definitely falls into that category of undefinable magic (mixed with true science) that will no doubt make it a contemporary classic for young readers—and everyone young at heart too.

The Snail with the Right Heart: A True Story by Maria Popova with illustrations by Ping Zhu is a children’s book that holds a fascinating story with down-to-earth wisdom alongside soaring wonder of the ages within its covers. (And if you’re a book printing/design geek like me, you’ll notice that not only the stunning pages, but even the end papers of the covers are delicately and brilliantly illustrated. The tiny details of book production, along with the inner workings of tiny gliding snails zing me.) Three years in the making, the book is quite timely, especially in these times:

“A love story, a time story, an invitation not to mistake difference for defect and to welcome, across the accordion scales of time and space, diversity as nature’s wellspring of resilience and beauty.” – Maria Popova

Maria Popova’s name is familiar if you’re a reader of her fabulous BrainPickings site where she mesmerizes us all with her passionate and poetic writings about all things books, art, design, poetry, music, marvels, philosophy: LIFE.

Popova is after my own heart here when she describes so wonderfully what I have long felt about the best of children’s books:

“Great children’s books move young hearts, yes, but they also move the great common heart that beats in the chest of humanity by articulating in the language of children, which is the language of simplicity and absolute sincerity, the elemental truths of being: what it means to love, what it means to be mortal, what it means to live with our fragilities and our frissons. As such, children’s books are miniature works of philosophy, works of wonder and wonderment that bypass our ordinary resistances and our cerebral modes of understanding, entering the backdoor of consciousness with their soft, surefooted gait to remind us who and what we are.” – Maria Popova

There’s more to Popova’s behind-the-scenes about writing this gem, as well as more photos of the gorgeous inside pages of the book here.

And while we’re on the subject of snails, and because it’s the day before Valentine’s, I’ll leave you with a little poem I wrote back in 2014 about embracing the spirit of snails and all they can teach us about unexpected blessings of perspective, whether we’re in full tilt hummingbird-heartbeat doings mode or embracing the reminders of slow and steady rhythms of just being that come our way … Happy Heart Day All! ❤️❤️❤️

OF SNAILS AND TRAILS
by Paula Boyd Farrington

 

I read about Totem Animals
whose essence shows The Way
The article said if you don’t know yours,
Be aware: it will somehow speak to you; show up during your day
 
And there you were
when I went out to the car
In plain view—a darling little snail
On the rear view mirror: driver’s side
 
Oh no, I groan …
I don’t want my totem to be a SNAIL!
Sluggish. Slow. Escargot.
No, thank you. No. Just … no.
 
But there you are again
In the evening dusk
climbing outside the kitchen window,
seemingly everywhere I look.
 
Oh my. Not what I wanted to see.
Why couldn’t I have glimpsed a National Geographic Gazelle?
A Lion. A Jaguar. A Hawk. A Flamingo!
Something powerful or exotic. Oh hell.
 
But there you are.
Carrying your likeness of a gratitude symbol
upon your mandala of a spiral shell,
your home right with you, wherever you may dwell.
 
Let me look closer, your antennae sweeping out
Stretching forward, inquisitively sensing the air
I watch you quietly know where you’re going,
on your own glossy path, climbing here and there.
 
Let me rethink this tiny powerhouse of Now
to warm to What Is
seeing anew the natural grace
In everything that lives.
 
This little snail is more than cute,
It fulfills an important role
Recycles organic matter,
Strong and steady it goes and goes.
 
And your giant ocean cousin?
All pink lipped with curvy shell,
known as an aphrodisiac,
her majesty feeds the islands well.
 
Named the Queen Conch.
She sometimes sports a pearl.
A royal snail in aqua seas
Classic beauty, a crown of whorls.
 
So can I embrace this totem tale?
As a celebration of gentler slower trails?
Of gliding along smoothly through time & tide?
The heart’s humble wisdom says: oh, snail—be mine! ❤️
Paula Boyd Farrington ©2014Oh! And one last time-oriented p.s. … I had the pleasure of getting to create the art for the cover of this Exumas: The Kingdom of Blue coffee table book (and wrote a poem inside about my first flight to Exuma!). The book is filled with gorgeous photos by Alessandro Sarno, holding a reverent gaze on life in this beautiful chain of islands surrounded by some of the most stunning clear ocean waters anywhere. It’s perfect for anyone who loves The Bahamas or whose heart wants to visit. The publisher is offering a 20% discount through Valentine’s Weekend. Link to the site is here.

 

Enjoy & see you back next week at The Saturday Book Shop!

 

Monday Musings

January 25, 2021

Mixing up a vintage ARTChix mermaid image with layers of ink painted papers, and wisps of photos for a digi-collage ocean dreamscape to gently stir the imagination when it’s easy to feel a bit underwater these days. Wishing you waves of whimsy and wonder splashed throughout your week … 🧜‍♀️

The Saturday Book Shop – Trees, Glorious Trees

January 24, 2021

Welcome back to The Saturday Book Shop (which originally started here.).

The ongoing and everyday marvel of trees is on my mind this week. Books and trees. Trees and books. They are intertwined and connected at their very essence. We leaf through stories, ideas, adventures, wisdom, poetry, insights, and shared written human experiences thanks to pages made (mostly) from trees. 

I have long been enchanted by trees. And books. So many. Highly recommend these books for fellow tree lovers:

 This beautiful coffee table book, Wise Trees by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel, with gorgeous photography and writing, tells tales of 50 of the most historic and inspiring trees around the world. Wonderful to learn there is a tree that still stands on the site where the Magna Carta was signed, as well as learning where the phrase “knock on wood” originally came from. So many moving, uplifting, and poignant stories told here through the living spirits of wise old trees.

Another favorite story, beautifully written and illustrated is about Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees

Wangari Maathai’s story is an amazing portrait in courage, dedication, and commitment, where the simple act of planting trees sparked resistance and equal determination to reclaim the environment of her beloved Kenya. Her determination led to a movement of peace, reconciliation, and healing that lights the way for all of us going forward into this time of looking for common ground and changing the world one loving, earth-friendly tree-loving act at a time. This inspiring book soars with light and life and spectacular illustrations.

AND HOORAY for the new books soon available by Amanda Gorman, the young poet and self-described bookworm that wow-ed everyone at the Inauguration. Such heart and talent. Brava for her work and books that will be available in 2021


 

“… there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it; if only we’re brave enough to be it.” – Amanda Gorman

 Happy Reading and have an especially lovely tree-appreciating week ahead! Please feel free to share any special favorite book titles about trees in the comments!

The Saturday Book Shop

December 5, 2020

Many years ago (pre-Amazon days!) and for a very short time, I had a little bookshop that popped up on Saturdays in a picturesque Italian gelato cafe on Grand Bahama Island. My love of books was on full display within the shelves I would set up every week amidst the scent of cappuccino and waffle cones awaiting scoops of fresh-made gelato. The wide range of titles—everything from children’s book classics to National Geographic coffee table books—were very well received. I adored getting to introduce cafe visitors to new stories—and getting to learn about their favorites. It was a joy, pure and simple.

I still love all sorts of books and I thought it would be fun to host a sort of online essence of the shop here … sharing a few books each week as if we were sipping an espresso or indulging in a tropical treat together. There are so many great reading resources online these days, it’s hard to know where to start, and yet the thing about any creative process is it’s often best to do just that — start — and enjoy the process of figuring it out!

So, here we go … and I’ll begin by noting books that are top of mind for me right now. I love these new coffee table books about the Exumas because of the gorgeous photography and vignette stories inside, and also because I was delighted to get to create the cover art for them! 

E

A glimpse inside and more details about these new coffee table books by photographer Alessandro Sarno is here. The images, gathered over eleven years of visits to the Exumas, showcase some of the incredibly beautiful places and faces within the rare natural beauty of these islands of The Bahamas.

FROM THE STACK OF BOOKS NEAR THE BEDSIDE TABLE

How To Fly in 10,000 Easy Lessons by Barbara Kingsolver

The Life of Plants—A Metaphysics of Mixture by Emanuele Coccia

TRUST by Pete Buttigieg

Pieces of A Song by Diane di Prima

Threads of Life: A History of The World through the Eye of A Needle by Clare Hunter

Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz

AND A COUPLE OF CREATIVE TOUCHSTONES

I love to reread parts of these often … full of inspiration and timeless wise and witty reminders … especially important anchors in this unusual-to-say-the-least time … 

click books for link

AND MORE PLACES TO FIND WONDERFUL BOOKS & TERRIFIC WRITINGS ABOUT BOOKS …

I am especially fond of the marvelously thoughtful Brain Pickings by Maria Popova, Austin Kleon’s brilliant and eclectic weekly newsletter and blog, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s new Onward book club as sources of sharing a wide wealth of writings and books. Well worth being on their mailing lists.

That’s it for now, other than a plea to support local independent booksellers whenever you can—these intrepid entrepreneurs have made the publishing world go round for a long long time and are essential nooks of civilization and creative caffeine everywhere! 

What are you reading now? Would love to hear what’s on your nightstand table or in your book bag or e-reader if you want to share in the comments. See you next Saturday … 📚 

“A book is a present you can open again and again.”

 

 

 

Picture Postcard Kind of Day

January 25, 2015

Banana.Bay.1.25.2015

© paula boyd farrington 2015

 

Enjoying the afternoon at Banana Bay … a true Grand Bahama paradise kind of day … straight out of a picture postcard. The combination of brilliant and soft-blended blues, an intensely-gentle warming sun, a just-enough breeze, and low humidity all came together today in one stellar “Ahhhhh ….” that begs both simple enjoyment and a cyber-singing of its praises.

It is after all High Gratitude season here.  When I first moved here, people told me this idyllic time of year was sometimes referred to as “gloating season”—that is not my intent here. And we year-round island residents have waded through our share of summer heat and high humidity to get to these glorious days of dewy-free revelry. These slice-of-heaven days may already be well-enough celebrated in the tourism brochures, but those images don’t capture all the little moments of day-to-day warm winter bliss …  the long rays of dawn glinting off the cat’s fur …

cat.w.sun.glinting

… the delight of finding that the avocado tree in the back garden is offering up yet one more late-ripening gift of green goodness …

late.ripening.avocado.1.2015the silhouette of a shorebird wading in late afternoon liquid gold glimmers …

silhouettes.shorebirdsAhhhh indeed.  Perhaps today is received with extra gratitude and thanks because it was blustery and somewhat gray yesterday—a grand day in its own way with the palm fronds applauding madly in gusts, as if cheering wildly for the cool front to get here—sweeping a path clear for silky sun and cyan sky kisses that take your breath away. And give you pause to take an extra-deep breath and offer up a quiet hallelujah for natural wonders—and absolutely exquisite island days.  Here’s to the sunshine of the heart, wherever your paradise …

 

Crepe Paper & Cardboard, Costumes & Creativity — Junior Junkanoo 2013

March 5, 2013

Jr.Junkanoo.5.2013

photos by Paula Boyd Farrington

Junkanoo—that distinctly Bahamian combination of colorful handmade costumes, cow bells, horns, and rhythmic goat-skin drums pounding out a steady island beat were proudly on display at last month’s Junior Junkanoo Parade, February 2nd, 2013. Parents, teachers, children, and community volunteers dedicated countless hours through the year crafting costumes of hand-cut and finely fringed crepe paper, carefully pasted in layers onto cardboard forms sized to fit student performers—the next generation—who are learning first-hand about the history, design, and production of this unique cultural art form. The detailed costumes, dance routines, and fun themes chosen by participating schools are a delight to see, and a true celebration of island creativity. Here are a few photos from this year’s event:

Jr.Junkanoo.1.2013Jr.Junkanoo.2.2013

 

Jr.Junkanoo.8.2013Jr.Junkanoo.10.2013

Jr.Junkanoo.7.2013

Jr.Junkanoo.3.2013Jr.Junkanoo.4.2013Jr.Junkanoo.9.2013Junkanoo.Horn.Player2013Junkanoo.Jr.2013Congratulations to all the Junior Junkanoo participants, parents, teachers, coordinators, designers, artists, dancers, musicians, parade officials, volunteers, sponsors, food vendors, and support teams who made this lovely and lively Grand Bahama event possible.

Ka-lik, Ka-lik, Ka-lik. Hear that? That’s the sound the metal clanger in the cow bell makes when it rings—and it’s calling you to come see next year’s Parade. The Junior Junkanoo Parade is usually held in late January or early February each year, and the full scale holiday Junkanoo Parade in Grand Bahama is held in the evening on New Year’s Day. The Junkanoo Summer Festival is scheduled here for July 4 – 25, 2013.

Move to the rhythm. Move to the beat. Dance along. It’s a heartwarming treat!

 

Glimpses of A Warm Winter Garden

February 20, 2012

a soon-to-be red plum tomato ripening in the sun. photos by paula boyd farrington

There is green goodness on the vine in my Grand Bahama garden. The strong summer sun is sometimes too intense for growing these beauties, but it is just right just now in our warm winter. Fresh basil flourishes in a small patch …

… and Italian flat-leaf parsley basks alongside the full broccoli …

Along the fence, the pods of pigeon peas begin (and will be used in the traditional Bahamian dish of peas ‘n rice … the pea is similar to a black-eyed pea).

Elsewhere in the garden, it looks more like a traditional northern fall … the almond tree loses its leaves this time of year …

… and the Royal Poinciana tree that will bloom flame-red in May or June is in full winter … leafless … and busy growing its long slender seed pods …

The sunny faces of the impatiens that wilt in the bold summers smile in the shade of a tree …

… while avocados still hang heavy and heavenly on the tree …

Such a bounty of warm winter blessings. What abundance blooms in the appreciative eyes and happy heart of your paradise right now? Enjoy, enjoy ….

Grand Bahama’s Junior Junkanoo Parade

January 22, 2012

Playing the Cowbells. photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

I love a parade. Especially Junkanoo Parades—those uniquely Bahamian celebrations of sound and bold colors and creativity—pulsed to the steady heartbeat rhythms of goatskin drums, cowbells, whistles, horns, and dancing feet.  The Junior Junkanoo Parade is one of my all time favorites. Students, dedicated teachers, parents, and a host of volunteers from all over the island work countless hours creating meticulously-crafted, handmade costumes, and rehearsing lively music and dance routines to parade through the downtown streets of Grand Bahama. This year’s parade was held Saturday evening, January 14th, 2012, with a big crowd of friends and well wishers lining the streets to cheer the students of all ages on.

Junkanoo is loud. It’s proud. And totally adorable. Here’s a peek at some of the fun … congrats to all who participated and made it possible!

photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

photo by Paula Boyd Farrington
photo by Paula Boyd Farrington

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