Improvised Life » poems If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Thu, 08 Oct 2015 17:21:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How This Lovely Gif Helped Us Discover ‘The Future is Space’ Wed, 12 Aug 2015 06:50:06 +0000
When we found this gif, we thought “How beautiful. That is the wondrous globe we are riding around on every day.
We started following trails and inviting connectors —the daily practice of Improvised Life —and suddenly there was a poem by Pablo Neruda we had never read before, whose last line led us full circle to perfection.


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Brilliance: Email Signature with a Poem Attached Wed, 05 Aug 2015 07:39:56 +0000

Sally Schneider

Today I got an email from a Rachel Fleishman, a therapist I met recently. Attached to the usual email signature with her name and link to her website, was a short poem by Antonio Machado in tiny print.

Ahhhh…such a swell idea: to send along some image-producing/light-bearing poetry, or a particularly great quote, that would surprise and shift the recipient’s thinking for just a moment.  (more…)

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Ocean Vuong Thinks You are Perfect Wed, 08 Jul 2015 06:39:28 +0000

In a recent New Yorker, we found ourselves moved and boggled by the poem Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong, as though its language were working on us like a painting or a subtle medicine.

We looked up the poet Ocean Vuong. His bio reads: Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he currently resides in New York City. He thinks you’re perfect.

We found the stanza, above, in a very long poem of his, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, and on his tumblr, his answer to a stranger asking him to explain one of his poems:  (more…)

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A Sign from Mary Oliver Wed, 01 Jul 2015 06:25:54 +0000


This wonderful sign is a fragment from Mary Oliver’s longish 3-part poem Evidence.

As usual with her poems, there several passages that we could see on that sign board, which is, curiously, the kind used by churches.(Oh for a church where Mary Oliver is quoted and read.)

Here are some beauties, which together, make their own poem:


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Use A Typewriter to Tap Your Poetic Subconscious Wed, 24 Jun 2015 18:35:52 +0000

Scott Lynch/Gothamist

A public typewriter is stationed at Tompkins Square Park for whoever wishes to write on. It is the brainchild of the The Poetry Society of New York who original introduced it at the NYC Poetry Festival on Governors Island:

The Typewriter Project’s mission is to investigate, document, and preserve the poetic subconscious of the city while providing a fun and interactive means for the public to engage with poetry.

They call the typewriter “The Subconscious of the City.” We totally GET that, having used a typewriter in the past because of the whole other realm we could access that is not possible with a computer. (more…)

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Practice: A Do Nothing Day (via Grant Snyder + Neruda) Thu, 11 Jun 2015 06:59:45 +0000

Grant Snider

At Grant Snider’s very wise Incidental Comics, we found THIS brilliant idea: take a day to do nothing. Only we’d change one word in the last panel of Snider’s comic about the worthy “pursuit of aimlessness”(more…)

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Is-ness and Poetry via The Wire Thu, 04 Jun 2015 06:24:22 +0000

(Video link here.)  Derek Donahue found all of the tautologies —phrases in which the same thing is said twice —from the great, gritty HBO series The Wire and supercut them into one video. Writes the ever-wise Jason Kottke, “these types of phrases characterize the immovable forces the characters feel govern their lives and actions: poverty, bureaucracy, addiction, institutional corruption, ethnicity”.

When we wrote a few down, they seemed more like some seriously ‘street’, existential koans— succinct paradoxical statements used for meditation in Buddhism. Here are our favorites, ESPECIALLY the rather cosmic ones at the bottom. They can be reshuffled to form curiously illuminating poems. (more…)

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LOOK! Cherry Blossoms are Happening NOW Tue, 05 May 2015 14:20:04 +0000 Two astonishing time-lapse videos and a couple of haikus remind us of the fleeing moment that is cherry blossom time. It only takes a moment to STOP and take it the fabulous colors as we walk by a blossoming tree.]]> 0 Look UP: An Artist and A Poet Expand Our View of Clouds Mon, 04 May 2015 06:08:06 +0000

Wendy Mark/Jill Newhouse Gallery

At Brain Pickings, Maria Popova featured 89 Clouds, collaboration of Pulitzer-winning poet Mark Strand and artist Wendy Mark. Interspersed with 89 stunningly beautiful paintings of clouds are Strand’s one-line zennish poems. Popova excerpted 16 of them.

Published in 1999, 89 Clouds is out-of-print; copies are both rare and expensive. When we found a lovely pdf book of some of Mark’s cloud images published online by Jill Newhouse gallery, we put together a hybrid of Strand’s excerpted poems and a selection of Mark’s sensational images.

We now view clouds differently as we wander through the world. (more…)

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How a Computer Crash Yielded a Vacation with Rumi Wed, 29 Apr 2015 06:12:52 +0000

My recent week-long hiatus sans computer proved to be tremendously healing, slowing things down in the studio, allowing me to complete reorganizing my jumbled correspondence and writings — a task I’ve been nibbling away at for months that somehow never seemed to gain traction until the looming presence of my iMac disappeared… Also giving me permission to pick up books and plunk down and read (!) in the middle of a working day.

Going bare of electronics was like what happens when the refrigerator kicks off and the hum stops and the house falls silent. Ahhhh… A huge peace suddenly descends. (more…)

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A Powerful Spring Poem with Robledo’s Wondrous Images Mon, 20 Apr 2015 07:20:36 +0000

Maria Robledo

When we stumbled on this powerful little haiku, we thought right away of Maria Robledo’s wondrous flower assemblages…where we found another surprising haiku hidden amidst her Instagrams. (more…)

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Scaffolding Festooned with Flowers, with Haiku Tue, 07 Apr 2015 06:05:33 +0000


Holton Rower sent us this astonishing image of scaffolding festooned with flowers,  an utterly magical arbor to walk under.  We wonder who made this ephemeral artwork, and where it was?

We found two haiku to go with our imagined walk through it: (more…)

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‘Be a Spot of Ground Where Something Might Be Planted’ Thu, 26 Mar 2015 06:07:13 +0000

Robert Kesseler

Stumbling on this fragment from Rumi’s wondrous poem The Fragile Vial got us thinking about seeds…

Try and be a sheet of paper with nothing on it.
Be a spot of ground where nothing is growing,
where something might be planted,
a seed, possibly, from the Absolute.

Images of seeds viewed through an electron microscope revealed the myriad forms — all pure wonder —of those tiny beginnings… (more…)

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‘The Good Life…Gives No Warning’ (Mark Strand) Mon, 16 Mar 2015 06:26:41 +0000

Maira Kalman

Usually we think that only difficulties come without warning. It hadn’t occurred to us that harmony and abundance can seem to come without warning as well, until we read this from the Selected Poems of Mark Strand: (more…)

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