Archives for posts with tag: Education


A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people — people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.” E.B. WHITE, author of Charlotte’s Web


“I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library. Before I fell in love with libraries, I was just a six-year-old boy. The library fueled all of my curiosities, from dinosaurs to ancient Egypt. When I graduated from high school in 1938, I began going to the library three nights a week. I did this every week for almost ten years and finally, in 1947, around the time I got married, I figured I was done. So I graduated from the library when I was twenty-seven. I discovered that the library is the real school.” RAY BRADBURY, (1920-2012)

PHOTO: Ray Bradbury at the Palms-Rancho Park Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, located at 2920 Overland Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90064. In the photo, Bradbury is wearing the medal he received in 2007 from the France Minister of Culture as Commandeur, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Photo by Gary.

by Edward Hirsch

I wish I could find that skinny, long-beaked boy
who perched in the branches of the old branch library.

He spent the Sabbath flying between the wobbly stacks
and the flimsy wooden tables on the second floor,

pecking at nuts, nesting in broken spines, scratching
notes under his own corner patch of sky.

I’d give anything to find that birdy boy again
bursting out into the dusky blue afternoon

with his satchel of scrawls and scribbles,
radiating heat, singing with joy.

SOURCE: “Branch Library” appears in Edward Hirsch‘s collection Special Orders (Knopf, 2010), available at

IMAGE: “In a Land Far Away,” painting by Carol Berning. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Edward Hirsch is an American poet and critic who wrote the national best seller How to Read a Poem. He has published eight books of poems, including The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (2010), which brings together thirty-five years of work. He is president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in New York City.


“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”

 JACK KEROUAC, The Dharma Bums

Painting: “There and Here, State I” by Edward Ruscha (2007)

CAPTION: “If he was really intelligent, he wouldn’t limit his applications to East Coast schools.”

CREDIT: New Yorker cartoon by Danny Shanahan, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

“Anyone who can only think of one way to spell a word obviously lacks imagination.”  MARK TWAIN

“In this chthonian* world the only thing of importance is orthography** and punctuation. It doesn’t matter what the nature of the calamity is, only whether it is spelled right.” HENRY MILLER

*chthonian: Concerning, belonging to, or inhabiting the underworld.

**orthography: A part of language study that deals with letters and spelling.

Cartoon: “The Far Side,” 1985 by Gary Larson, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


The Book of Unnecessary Quotation Marks: A Celebration of Creative Punctuation by Bethany Keely (Chronicle, 2009) was one of my recent one-dollar finds at a Los Angeles Out of the Closet thrift store — and I enjoyed it so much that I felt as if I’d won a jackpot. (I find misspelled and improperly punctuated signs both sad and funny.) During the past few days, the book has provided many laughs, as I’ve explored 176 pages of photos featuring real-world signs that include unnecessary quotation marks.

The Book of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks is an outgrowth of the author’s “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. If you’d like a little levity today, visit Bethany Keely‘s blog:

Find The Book of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks at

by LeeAnne McIlroy Langton

I noticed that most of my students
Were gazing longingly out the window
On an unusually beautiful
Southern California morning
I paused in my lecture to discover
That they were collectively noticing the unusual fruit
Exploding on the tree just outside our window
“What kind of fruit is that?”
They wondered with more curiosity than
They had ever shown for Plato or Rousseau
And so I told them about the pomegranate
How according to the Q’uran, it filled the gardens of paradise
How its image had once adorned the temples of Solomon
How it doomed Persephone to Hades
How it symbolizes prosperity and fertility in Hinduism
How it came here to us:
From the Iranian Plateaus to Turkey
Across the Mediterranean and transported across the oceans
By the Spanish conquistadors
How the city of Kandahar—now bombed and ravaged—
Was once reputed to have the finest pomegranates in the world
I told them that this was my favorite tree
And then we all went outside for a moment—
To marvel at this tree
Just staring for a moment
While the wind blew
Across our faces, a tender caress across the ages
And then the moment was gone—
The next day I walked into class
And someone, anonymously, had placed a single pomegranate
On my desk at the front of the class,
An altar before thirty students,
All newly baptized—
The red stain of pomegranate seeds outlining
Their smiles

Illustration: “Pomegranate Tree,” watercolor by Karina Zlotnikov, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


A prolific reader, former U.S. President Bill Clinton in 2003 released a list of his 21 favorite books. Clinton, who honors his Irish ancestry, has a special place in his heart for  Irish poet William Butler Yeats. To celebrate Bill’s love of poetry and Will’s poetic genius, we include below one of our favorite Yeat’s poems.

by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

While we try to avoid politics and polarizing discussions in this blog, whatever your political persuasion, you will have to admit that as an avid reader President Barack Obama is a reading role model to daughters Sasha and Malia (and to the rest of the populace, as well).

In the photo above (from November 2011), Obama and his daughters visited  Kramerbooks & Afterwards Café, an independent bookstore in Washington, D.C., and picked up a stack of reading material. According to an article at, the Obamas’ purchases included:




THE TIGER’S WIFE by Tea Obreht



The last title — THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET, source material for the movie HUGO (2011) — is the volume in the middle of the book sandwich Malia Obama holds in the photo above. Happy reading!