David Cherry's blog

Words in the Air: Poetry on Audio

Caedmon in stained glassAs most of us know, listening to poetry is nothing new. Poetry started out in the audio format. Rhyme and meter and many other poetic conventions were essentially mnemonic devices to help itinerant poets keep the story going so that they might earn a place by the fire for the night. Back then, a poet couldn’t read his stuff off the page making minimal eye-contact with the audience like we do now. For one thing, until relatively recently, there were no pages to read off of. For another, after getting conked on the head by a flying tankard or turkey leg hurled by some philistine in chain mail, poets figured out it paid to keep their hands free and their eyes peeled.

A Heap o' Holiday Cheer: Programs for All Ages @ Your Library

Original illustrations from Dicken's A Christmas CarolChances are good that at some point between now and the ceremonial breaking of the first New Year's resolution, each and every one of us will temporarily give in to the bah-humbuggery that is as much a part of the season as the mistletoe, the eggnog and the annual Black Friday Feast of Immaculate Consumption. It’s natural and nothing to be ashamed of. A Christmas Carol remains so popular not because we are a nation of Tiny Tims, but because we all have at least a little Scrooge in us and we want to be reminded of the fact before the ghosts start waking us up at all hours to go flitting around the space-time continuum.

Luckily for all of us, Harris County Public Library offers a little oasis—actually twenty-seven little oases—from the hurly-burly that is the holidays, a place where you can find a nice quiet corner and comfortable chair in which to unwind and let some of the frenetic festivities go on without you, a place where you can browse the aisles and not hear the exOriginal illustration from Dickens' A Christmas Carolhausted whimpering of your credits cards in your wallet, a place to reconnect with the handmade spirit of the holidays, a place to join with others in song, and a place to sit with your child or grandchild in your lap and be dazzled again by a tale of the season.

Remember, all branches will be closed Saturday, December 22 – Tuesday, December 25 in observance of the holidays, so don’t forget to stock up on books, DVDs and music for those cozy evenings.

Below are some of the holiday programs still in store at HCPL.

Get the Scoop on your Favorite Reads with NextReads Newsletters

NextReads Logo What if we told you that you can get the latest news about the hottest titles and trends in the world of books delivered to your email inbox? What if that news was focused on just the type of books you like to read--whether that be romance, mystery, historical fiction, or other genre? What if it was compiled by the people who wrote the book on recommending books? What if all of it came in a spiffy, quick-reading newsletter format? What if signing up for the service took only seconds and it was all absolutely free?

We’re guessing you would say something like, “Golly gee, that sounds super!”

It is. It really is.


Can't wait to get started? Visit our NextReads Newsletter Subscription page.


What’s best of all about our new NextReads newsletters is that when you see something you just have to read—and you will—you just click a link and it takes you straight to the title’s HCPL catalog record where you can make a request. In a day or two, the book will be there waiting for you on the hold shelf of your local branch. And it’s all free! You don’t have to worry about maxing out your credit cards and you will never have to decide whether you want to read or eat that month.

Scary Monsters, Super Creeps: Poets Behaving Badly (or Not).

When Nosferatu's ShadowRimbaud was introduced to the leading lights of Parisian poetry, he managed to alienate dang near every one of them within minutes. After the group's tres gentile dinner, each poet stood and read his verse aloud. Rimbaud listened more or less politely for a time, then pronounced each man's poem...um...not good. Actually, he used a scatological term more appropriate to the barnyard than to a literary salon. That it turns out his assessment was by and large correct, makes it no less rude.

Free Film Screenings with a Modern Day Marco Polo

HCPL hosts filmmaker Francis O’Donnell and free screenings of his Emmy®
Nominated Documentary, In the Footsteps of Marco Polo.

Still Photo from the documentary: In the Footsteps of Marco PoloWhat happens when two ordinary guys—one working as a wedding photographer, the other a former Marine turned artist--decide they need a little adventure in their lives? If they are Denis Belliveau and Francis O’Donnell, a 25,000 mile trek across Eurasia retracing the journey of 13th Century adventurer Marco Polo, and a PBS documentary that earns an Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Arts and Culture Programming.

This month, Harris County Public Library will host one of those intrepid travelers, Francis O’Donnell, for two free screenings of the film In the Footsteps of Marco Polo to be followed by lively discussions of the journey and the making of the film.
During the two-year journey from Venice to China and back, the pair traveled on foot, horseback, camelback, in jeeps, trucks, boats and trains, and survived everything man and Mother Nature threw at them, including the forbidding Taklamakan Desert, Tajik soldiers, bureaucrats, and border guards.

Fat Chance / Slim Chance: Random Thoughts on Randomness

Spin by Conor OgleI’ve been thinking a lot about the randomness of the universe lately…well, the randomness of my little corner of it anyway. When I was a kid I saw connections everywhere I looked. Odd events really did come in threes, knocking on wood was a sovereign corrective for unintentional hubris, and an involuntary shiver really did mean someone had just walked over my grave.

Now, I just see accident.

Upcoming MFAH Exhibition Explores War through Photography

Cover Art: Photo by Brady: A Picture of the Civil WarAs horrifying as war is, there is no arguing the fact that much great art has arisen from its ashes: Homer’s Iliad, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five in literature, Picasso’s Guernica, Goya’s The Disasters of War in visual art, Grand Illusion and Apocalypse Now in cinema, but no medium has captured war, and all its chaos and misery and valor, the way photography has.

This Veteran’s Day, November 11, The Museum of Fine Arts – Houston will debut the exhibition, WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath. Spanning 165 years and six continents, the exhibit explores the experience of war through the eyes of photographers.

Keep Your Card Handy! Starting Nov. 14, You Will Need Your Library Card for Self-Checkout

The Knowledge CardStarting NovKid Know it Cardember 14, 2012, customers will need to scan their library cards when using the self-checkout machines at all Harris County Public Library branches. In the past, customers could use the key pad on the machine to enter their library card number. We feel that this change in policy will allow us to better safeguard our customers' privacy.

Evelyn Meador Branch Goes Green, Gets Gold

WhenEvelyn Meador LEED Plaque you walk up to Evelyn Meador Branch Library you will notice its sleek, modern look with its attractive mix of glass, metal and natural stone. You probably won’t notice all of the features, inside and out, that have earned it recognition for its energy-saving, environmentally friendly design  The building was recently awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The library which opened in June 2011 replaced the previous one that was heavily damaged in Hurricane Ike, and it was designed, top to bottom, with energy and water conservation in mind.

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