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MEGA LOVE POEM MASHUP

A mad dash through all sorts of love, courtesy of 11 fine poets (named at the end of the post!). It’s a scientific fact that love poems can keep you warm in a snowstorm (it’s not a fact.)  Check some out at the library today – they’re great inspiration for writing your own. After all, the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest is coming up.

“I didn’t fall in love. I fell through it:

bestofthebest
“I can see what I would miss in leaving—

unincorporatedpersons
ignatz
deanyoung
1: Sarah Manguso
2: Lorna Dee Cervantes
3: Melanie Almeder
4: Tony Hoagland
5: June Jordan
6: Anna Swir
7: Monica Youn
8: Reginald Shepherd
9: Thomas Hardy
10: Ella Wheeler Wilcox
11: Dean Young
– Tessa, CLP – East Liberty

Winter as Metaphor

Even though we have had several inches (about 18 inches) of snow this season, winter is just beginning!  According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, winter  begins at 12:11 PM on December 21st.  Winter, like all of the seasons, has its lovers and haters.  Personally, fall is my favorite season, but winter has to be my second most favorite.  I like cold weather and I love walking in fresh snow, especially at night. 189884_1845951477408_4735855_n Is winter harsh and bleak?  Or beautiful and full of joy?  The answers to those questions can be found in poetry.  Yes, poetry.  The mystery and wonder of winter can be found by reading poetry.  Poets often use one  of the elements of the winter season as a metaphor in their poems.  The bare trees and fields.  The cold winds.  The short days and long nights.  The snow. 563232_10200782434472075_1505638863_n Two of my favorite winter poems come from the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Anthology series.  The first one is from 2008. Crystal Blankets by Valesha Edwards

My eyes glued to a winter wonderland

Crisp, chilling breeze blusters and flows

Light, white flakes whispering off to new regions

I gaze transfixed on an earth blanketed with white crystals

Delicate flakes with unique shapes weave gracefully from a somber sky

Amazing how simple white crystals disclose joy in me

How beautiful, yet simple white crystals enlighten a person,

is one of life’s vast mysteries 65286_10200641321184331_1790025591_n

The second one comes from 2011. Sparsile by Annie Utterback

November the barber

sweeps with the wind,

collecting his trimmings

on the forest floor.

I left my tree house

in its snug red jacket,

but the compass is a circle

and she’s led me here before.

I don’t want to meet you,

Miss Argyle Winter.

My friends have all vanished.

I’ve nowhere to go.

With your blanketed blizzards

and white woolen mittens,

I can’t seem to distinguish

man from snow.

The forest Manhattan,

its trees all the same,

our faces are blank,

our branches are bare.

The city is night,

We’re all constellations.

You need no map to find me.

I cut my own hair.

For more information about the Ralph Munn Creative Writing program click here. Happy Winter Solstice!  Winter is here whether you love it or hate it. ~Marian

Teen Media Awards

On Wednesday, August 14, 2013, Library staff and community members gathered to honor the creative works of Pittsburgh teens at the 3rd annual Teen Media Awards! Winners of the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest and TheLabs “Labsy” Awards shared their writing and creative arts with a packed theater!

Teen Media Awards 2013 @ Carnegie Museum of Art Theater

Teen Media Awards 2013 @ Carnegie Museum of Art Theater

Keynote speaker Shioban Vivian started off the evening with an inspiring (and comical) talk about following your dreams and always striving to be creative and hard working. See below for winners and photos from this very special night in Pittsburgh!

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Keynote Speaker: Siobhan Vivian

Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest

Poetry
1st Place: “A or a” by Rose Swanson
2nd Place: “Hospitalia” by Agatha Monasterios – Ramirez

Short Prose
1st Place: “Bishop and Wash” by Lana Meyer
2nd Place: “Veteran Advice” by Kristen Grom

Screen Writing
1st Place: “cHaos before hArmony” by Justen Turner-Thorne
2nd Place: “On the End of Every Fork” by Tyler Hudson

Labsy Awards

Photography
1st Place:Tanzania” by Olivia Muse
Honorable Mentions: “Flagpole” by Morgan Wable-Keene, “Downtown” by Raven

Design
1st Place:Chronology Poster” by Morgan Wable-Keene
Honorable Mentions: “Submission 2” by Sarah Watkins, “Drawing 1” by Lexi Hall

Music/Audio
1st Place:Short Jam” by David Watkins
Honorable Mentions: “Midas Theme” by Morgan Wable-Keene

Maker’s Studio
1st Place:Space Intruder” by Morgan Wable-Keene
Honorable Mentions: “Speaker” by Ceu Gomez Faulk, “Glam-o-Tron” by Joshalyn and Cassidy

Video
1st Place:Hat Chasers” by Simone Traub, Julian Edwards, Ashae Shaw, Umoja Shaw, Trayvon Ramsey, Jayla Ramsey, and Caliyha Hogan
Honorable Mentions: “Midas” by Cody, Morgan, Sarah, Philppa, Pascal, Kayla, and Pei Pei, “Electric Twist” by Kate Philipps, Hannah Philipps, Tessa Twyman, and Mae Twyman

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For more photos from the Teen Media Awards click here or here or here.

The 2014 Teen Media Awards are just around the corner. If you are a budding writer, photographer, filmmaker, designer, creative-extraordinaire in Pittsburgh or Allegheny County, get started on your work today!

Looks for details on the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest in spring 2014 and visit The Labs at Main, East Liberty, Southside, and Allegheny to start working on your designs, photography, and more!

“Oblique Strategies” for Reviving Creativity

Oblique Strategy
Lately, in the midst of promoting our Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest, I’ve been thinking about all of the aspects in a teen’s life that can impede creativity. Is the impulse just not there? Perhaps its there but is just being diverted? I wonder if any of these seem familiar:

Enter Brian Eno…

Brian Eno glam

(b Woodbridge, 15 May 1948). English composer and producer. While attending art school in Ipswich and then Winchester he developed an interest in ‘systems’ music, and much of his work can be seen as continuing the work of composers such as John Cage. He first worked professionally from 1970 to 1973 with the seminal art-rock band Roxy Music, lending their first two albums, Roxy Music (Island, 1972) and For Your Pleasure (Island, 1973), a quirky surrealist edge. By treating the group’s live sound electronically with a tape recorder and VC5 3 synthesizer, he defined a role for himself as an ‘aural collagist’. After leaving Roxy Music in 1973, Eno developed this interest in the timbral quality of music further with the albums No Pussy Footing (Island, 1973; with King Crimson’s Robert Fripp) and the seminal Another Green World (Island, 1975), the latter a brilliant combination of quirky songs and pastoral instrumentals. In 1975 his interest in aleatory music led him to produce with Peter Schmidt ‘Oblique Strategies’ cards, a collection of ‘over one hundred worthwhile dilemmas’, which formed a sort of musical tarot, each card containing a directive on how to proceed to the next creative stage. He then collaborated on three of David Bowie’s most innovatory albums (Low, ‘Heroes’ and Lodger), produced new-wave bands such as Talking Heads and Devo, and released two important ambient instrumental albums, Music for Films (EG, 1978) and Music for Airports (EG, 1979).

Info from our Grove Music Online database of music.

Basically, Brian Eno is a creative genius who is one of the most important musical artists of the seventies. And he’s a critically important part of making the following scene happen (you might remember it).


What I want to focus on today are the “Oblique Strategies” cards, which are a great legacy to leave to people of any creative persuasion.

Brian Eno and his artist friend Peter Schmidt had discovered that they both developed a set of working principles for whenever they were getting creatively stuck under pressure. They mixed, matched, meditated, and ultimately developed a deck of cards with ideas designed to move the creative process forward.

Whenever you’re stuck within a creative activity, draw a card, read it, and trust it.

oblique box

While the original cards are long out of print, and while recent reincarnations are fairly expensive, some Eno historians have made electronic copies available to any creative adventurers. Check out this colorful web recreation. And, of course, there’s an app for that (and for Android, too).

Happy creating!

~Joseph
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main

Ralph Munn Creative Writing Programs

The Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest is an annual contest for high school students (grades 9-12) in Allegheny County.  Submit a piece of creative writing (short prose, poetry, or screenwriting) by the May 1st deadline for a chance to win a first place prize of $250 and to be considered for publication!  Click here to learn more.

If you need inspiration, attend one of the 22 Ralph Munn Creative Writing Workshops offered this month at our branches.  If you live near CLP-Lawrenceville, join us on April 8th from 4:30-5:30 for our Creative Writing Workshop.  If you need even more inspiration, check out these creative writing titles!

Screenwriting for Teens

Spilling Ink

A Teen's Guide to Getting Published

The Poet's Companion

Happy writing!

Amy, CLP-Lawrencevile

Pittsburgh: haunted by historical photographs and documentary poetry!!

Have you ever taken a walk down a Pittsburgh street and wondered what wonderful or terrible things may have happened there in years past?  There’s a way to maybe find out.

crazy clown time

Go to Retrographer to see the past overlaid upon the present.  There, over 5,000 historic images of Pittsburgh have been tagged to the locations at which they were taken.  You can see that in 1935, there was a particularly scary Halloween Party  happening in front of the fountain at the Frick Fine Arts building (read: clowns) and that trolley car tracks used to criss-cross Centre Street.  You can check out how bustling East Liberty looked in 1928, and a road crew working in Homewood, around 1910, looking towards some very familiar rowhouses on Hamilton Ave. that I drive past almost every day of my life.

Or maybe you’d like to take a walk and read poems about the streets on which you’re wandering?  Then get yourself over to Public Record, a project done in 2010-11 by Justin Hopper in connection with Encyclopedia Destructica and Deeplocal.

Hopper uses poetry to expose history.  You can download an iPhone app that will show you a map of Pittsburgh and the locations that correspond to the poems, written about what daily life was like in 19th century Pittsburgh.  Or you can download the MP3s for free.

I hope these sites will inspire you to go create your own Pittsburgh-centered creative works.  Find some history there, at the library, or the Heinz History Center Archives, and make it your own. Submit it to the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest. Record it in words, film or music at the Labs.   Find the cutest historical boy from Historic Pittsburgh and send the link to My Daguerreotype Boyfriend.

Happy exploring,

-Tessa, CLP-East Liberty

Teen Blogger: Wei Interviews Jesse Andrews, author of Me & Earl & the Dying Girl

Hello, my name is Wei. (Before we go further, it’s important for you to know that it’s pronounced like “WAY.” I mean, how awkward would it be if you came up to me & called me “WEE”?) I’m a senior, a vegetarian, I read ALL THE TIME, I can lick my elbow, and I believe I am searching for a “Great Perhaps.”

Wei interviewed author Jesse Andrews at the 2012 Teen Media Awards held on August 2, 2012. Special thanks to Jesse and Wei for a great interview! (Awkward transition at about :40 is totally my fault – corey)

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