Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Coursera.org's MODPO with University of Pennsylvania English Professor Al Filreis

MOOC  Have you heard about them?

Massive Open Online Courses where anyone who is interested from around the Globe, and has an internet connection can participate.

I recently completed 11 weeks of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, better known to it's THIRTY THREE THOUSAND students as MODPO on Coursera.org.


Taught by University of Pennsylvania Professor of English Al Filreis whose 30 years of teaching have made him a juggernaut authority on poetry, and a funny, kind and compassionate listener. Not only that, Al is all over technology and social media. He set up a FACEBOOK page for MODPO, which now has 3229 members, a Twitter feed, conducted video discussions for EVERY POEM with his team of incredibly talented and erudite assistants to close read poems, online discussion forums, broadcasted live webcasts on YOUTUBE with call-ins from all over the world, (what would Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson have thought about Brazil connecting to Los Angeles through the UK via Philadelphia?), and crafted a syllabus of bedrock pioneers of the Word.

In 11 weeks the course took us from Whitman and Dickinson to the Rise of Modernism, doubts about Modernism, the Beats, the New York School Poets, the Language Poets, chance, conceptualism and unoriginality.

My "Brain, within it's Groove" savored the MODPO weeks spent with Walt, Emily, Cid Corman, William Carlos Williams, "Leaves are graygreen,
the glass broken, bright green.",

            - Allen Ginsberg, Lorine Niedecker, Ray Armantrout, H.D., OH MY God, her Sea Rose and Sea Poppies, are you getting this? This Amber and Gold and Fruit on Sand, this Rich Grain of words clopted together clopstopiaed?

Ezra Pound in the Metro,  Marcel Duchamp and his cubist/readymade beauty spiraled in a downward move, and Stein, shutters shut and shut and shutting shut and omg she is shuttering shut in the face of the Baroness Elsa Von Freytag Loringhoven, a real wild woman, and onto John Peale Bishop who I am ashamed to say I did not know but taught me how to read in another direction - from the edge down.

So many great poets, I have to keep talking about them:

Ruth Lechlitner, whose 1936 poem "Lines for an Abortionist's Office" is pure NOW, show me the trojan horse, baby. Genevieve Taggard, Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, Gwendolyn Brooks,
and then Robert Frost, the wall mender, Oh what a jewel encrusted journey. Richard Wilbur, "The Death of a Toad", does the comma come before or after the quotes? I forget. Beautiful Music, Al, what a line up.

Ginsberg, Kerouac, Robert Creeley, Anne Waldman in a ROGUE STATE, oh yes, if you have never hear that, please click onto YOUTUBE and watch her and you will understand:


Amiri Baraka, so many beautiful poets they all deserve to be named. I started this and now I have to keep going: Frank O'Hara, Kenneth Koch, KINKY! I broke your leg so you could be here with me - Barbara Guest, "20" her voice is so wonderful when she reads her own poem, John Ashberry, - "Some Trees"- that's us MODPO people, waving our arms of poetry, weaving that web around the world, Ted Berrigan, Bernadette Mayer, Lyn Hejinian, Bob Perelman, Charles Bernstein, all leading up to Ron Silliman, whose "Albany" cut through my dross in the middle of my morning and burst me into tears. Funny how one line can do that, eh?

John Cage, your Mesostic, your reversal, your whispers and silence, thank you, Jackson MacLow, Jena Osman, Joan Retallack, thank you, Kenneth Goldsmith, Christian Bok, Erica Baum, Caroline Bergvall, Mike Magee, Rosmarie Waldrop, Jennifer Scappettone, and Tracie Morris' Afrika. Her voice resounds.  Have I forgotten anyone? Thank you. Thank you.

And Al can also be found at:




Is this man on top of things or what??? How does he have time to read? All that is left to say is I've become acquainted with a lot of MODPO people and their love of poetry. These people and this course have enriched my life. The final live webcast that wrapped up the course had people in tears from Germany to Korea or was it Thailand? I know there were tears in Los Angeles.

Next up, MOOC in February THE LANGUAGE OF HOLLYWOOD; Storytelling, Sound and Color with Associate Professor of Film Studies Scott Higgings from Wesleyan University.

I mean after all, I do live in Hollywood. After all......

                            "so much depends
                           a red wheel

                         glazed with rain

                        beside the white


                                                          - William Carlos Williams

ONE CLASS, 36,000 students

Check out Elliott Holt's post on the Poetry Foundation about MODPO


Monday, December 3, 2012

Downton Abbey - LIFE of PI - The Story, The Poetry, Thank you Julian Fellowes, and Thank you Ang Lee.

Downton Abbey is back.

Review of Season 2 began last night on PBS, just to get us ready for Season 3 coming in January. I LOVE revisiting this glorious house and all the marvelous characters at Downton. My favorite scene last night was Lady Mary seeing Matthew off to war...the smoke whirls from the train, the whistles blow, her suit of claret for his departure, stark against the sepia drab of war and death in the background.... all the longing in her face and the unspoken love between them as he enters the FIRST class compartment.


With all the desire, hope, drama, fashion, angst, and love we all possess as humanoids.


And if that isn't enough, and you want to leave the house, go see LIFE OF PI, in 3-D, and enter that journey, that fable, that poem, that brilliant magic carpet ride that is a true metaphor for any of us, for anyone in the boat with the Bengal Tiger, which is ALL of US.

THANK YOU ANG LEE, not only for the story, but what is in Back of the story.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Los Angeles Arts : Cultural Weekly & Writ Large Press & A.O. Scott's review of Steven Spielberg's LINCOLN....I"M BACK!

Content is King. 



Publisher Adam Leipzig's brainchild is a sure thing to look forward to every Wednesday night. Get a weekly dose of Literary Alchemy, Chiwan Choi's weekly blog on the state of small press, get Kickstarter of the week, get a dose of POETRY, YES, Cultural Weekly loves poetry, and editor Wendy Rainey serves up week after week of deep thoughtful strings of words by Los Angeles poets. There are video's, interviews, sections on literature, art & architecture, music, dance, cartoons, the Writer's life, theatre and performance, all served up in easy to digest segments to dip in and out of all week, PLUS a reminder on Sunday mornings should you forget to go back to the site.



Publishers Chiwan Choi and Judeth Oden Choi present state of the art on what is NOW for small press and their authors. Throw in Peter Woods for PR & Marketing, who is also the event director for THE LAST BOOKSTORE in downtown Los Angeles, and by the way, if you haven't been there, you must explore a current and interesting discovery in the hub of the downtown scene. Conrad Romo, booking and sales director rounds out the crew in a press that has their hands onto the writing scene in LA.

and if you haven't read A.O. Scott's review of Steven Spielberg's LINCOLN, do it now, I'm off to the movies. Scott calls Lincoln a "masterpiece."


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First season's apples in Julia Child's Tart Tatin

I started reading the script for Julie & Julia.

Everything they cook is so inspirational I had to
start peeling apples, and really, it isn't quite apple
season yet. But I got some Granny Smiths, and
some interesting organic sugar at Whole Foods and put that together in my mother's 50 year old seasoned cast iron frying pan and concocted the best. One. Yet.

Oh, Julia Child's recipe for Tart Tatin is simply the best. EVER. A poem, a cog in the feel good bank, a deposit, a winner.


A little time consuming, but worth it.

The secret is in basting those apples while they cook on top of the stove before you push them into the oven. Thank you Julia Child. Thank you.

Here is the way it looked before flipped it over.

Took it to a party over the weekend and had 3 phone calls (actual calls, not text or email) for requests.

Tell me you want one. Email me.

Ahhhhhh, Tart Tatin. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Getting to know Nora Ephron + Lillian Hellman

I absolutely love Nora Ephron, her clarity of voice, and her "cashmere clad" wing spreading over me.

Right. If I were to have something named for me it would be cashmere. The Kathleen scarf, throw, socks?

I love the chapters "Addicted to LUV" I relate. I am just as addicted to Bejeweled Blitz as she was to Scrabble Blitz. It takes your mind off things, helps you see where you are not lined up, just one more game, just one more minute and focus!

Oh, have you tried Temple Run? That's crazy, the sound effects alone make it compelling to do another game and another. I switch back and forth when I have a little minute to focus, which turns into 5 or 10 then just one more, just one more game, something I can focus on, like Nora Ephron's wisdom, maybe follow her through a doorway into a more relaxed place, as if I were in the kitchen with her, sitting at the table, watching her cook while she talked to me.

Food is a very big part of life. Food is life. Isn't it amazing how much you can eat, how full you can get, and suddenly you aren't full anymore and begin to think of the next thing you will eat. I like how Nora says she goes into her kitchen a hundred times a day just to think about the next thing She will eat, and the next.

I love her chapters about the egg white omelette, teflon, chicken soup, Lillian Hellman, a real original and wild card. This is not in Nora's book, but I read somewhere one summer when Sinatra's yacht was anchored off Martha's Vineyard and a wild party was going on to which she was not invited, she went to a phone booth and called in a bomb threat and stopped the party cold. I imagine her standing on shore, cigarette in hand, fur coat around her shoulders, Blackgama of course, remember the advertisements she was featured in?, infuriated with the music and laughter floating back her way, and she chose to shut it down. True? Who knows.

I love Nora's final chapters, What I Won't Miss,  - EMAILS!
What I Will Miss  - her husband, children, friends, twinkle lights, pie.

Thank you Nora Ephron for clear soothing words. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Nora Ephron keeps right on giving. She speaks to me.

I have 179 emails in my inbox, but I ignore them and go back to reading Nora Ephron. With all this heat it's the only thing I can focus on. Los Angeles has been about 95 degrees for weeks in a row.

I am reading the chapter called "My Life as a Meat Loaf," when Graydon Carter opened a restaurant in New York and put Nora's Meat Loaf on the menu. It had it's ups and downs, patrons tried to adjust it and everybody put their hand in until it was no good and flopped on the plate. Eventually they took it off the menu, but in the mean time, it wasn't exactly what Nora thought of when she used to play a game called "if you could have something named after you, what would it be?"

That got me to thinking, wow, if if I could have something named after me, what would it be?

I would name the ___________________ Kathleen.  Child? Ship? Chair? Car? Dog? Peony? Souffle? KKKKKKKathleen?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nora Ephron Quote: "Falling in love.....

...is the most


because it's so

        full of hope."

   - Nora Ephron

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Reading Nora Ephron posts "Everything is Copy"

Yes, I'm reading the posts, watching the movies, picking up cookbooks, and I've even put a google alert on to Nora so I can read what everybody else is saying about her. From Martha Stewart, to FASHIONISTA BLOG for standout style in Nora's movies, I have to read it all. She is gone and I want more of her charm and wit and humor.

I can't quite let her go. I miss her and I never knew her. I love her wisdom, and her common sense. I love that she was a foodie, but insisted, as John Horn's piece in the LA Times points out, that homemade pastry dough is a waste of time: "Don't ever make piecrust, just buy it."

Meghan Daum's column in the LA Times, one of the first, tells us "Nora was not only an influence but a sort of literary mother hen with a cashmere-clad wing outstretched."

The New York Film Society paid tribute with free screenings of YOU'VE GOT MAIL at Lincoln Center.

Tom Hanks: "journalists-artist who knew what was important to know, how things really worked, what was worthwhile, who was fascinating and why. At a dinner table and on a film set she lifted us all with wisdom and wit mixed with love for us and love for life. Rita and I are so very sad to lose our friend who brought so much joy to all who were lucky enough to know her."

Meg Ryan: "Nora was an era. We pictured outselves inside her dreams and they became ours. All wisdom, wit and sparkle lights, what a treat she was, what a blessing. I marvel again and again, what a life...To have created simple happiness in people, to have added to the sum of delight in the world."

Mike Nichols: "What kind of a place is this? I feel like someone reached in and grabbed my compass from around my neck and threw it from a moving train. How will I navigate? I think a lot of friends and readers will feel like that. Nora was so funny and interesting that we didn't notice that she was necessary. She is absolutely irreplaceable."

The 1996 Wellesley commencement address was riveting, and inspirational. "Above all, be the heroine of your own life, not the victim." When she graduated in 1962 they threw six young women out for lesbianism. There were curfews. If there were guys in the room, one had to leave the door open. And she reminded these young women how much antagonism there is toward women, still. She told them to rejoice in the complications and the mess, and for a woman over 50, reading that, I'm telling myself to rejoice, even when "I feel bad about my neck."

Her movies are stellar. I've watched HEARTBURN, twice, love those 80's, when you met someone and bam - went right to bed with them, so cavalier, so luscious, so much fun. What happened in that picture between the lovely scene with the new baby in the hospital and the jump to him, Jack Nicholson exercising with a demonic-angry-rageful look on his face? Why so angry? Pissed she was paying too much attention to the newborn? I guess we can't explain everything. Stuff happens, dreams broken. The Carly Simon soundtrack filled in nicely: "out came the sun and dried up all the rain and the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again."

Rejoice in Nora:

5 things that describe me:
fun lover
art hound
good friend

Now tell me,
My Favorite Nora Ephron movie is ____________________.

To be continued.

Monday, July 2, 2012

On Vacation - Reading Nora Ephron

It's summer vacation time and I'm going to sit in a chair and read all the pieces about Nora Ephron in the New Yorker and New York Times and the Atlantic and every place else I haven't read yet. Then her movies, then her books.

I'll be back when that's complete.

Tell me what you will be doing.
Love, Kathleen 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Girls. The rise of LENA DUNHAM

 OK, I love Lena Dunham. I'm a little late to GIRLS, but have watched all the episodes now, AND TINY FURNITURE, her first feature film, and I'm intrigued, not because Hannah and her friends are off having weird/fun sex (which I think of with fondness) but because the show, makes me remember that I forget that life is simply random - nothing is safe - nothing is secure - nothing lasts forever - and everyone is just trying to figure life out while weird stuff continues to happen; HELLO! taking pills, screwing in cast off construction pipes, smoking dope, getting fired from their jobs, power drinking, and being financially severed by their parents,
photo by Christian Oth                        

our Hannah, now forced to "make it" on her own, which I never was because I was so thrilled to get away from them (parents) that I took the bus out of Main Street, USA, got to California, and started to make my fortune one, two, three.

What I wonder now is why I never tried to make it in Hollywood, I mean I've been here 35 years - but I got involved in commerce instead, and it was very seductive...big FAT commission checks.

I'm not 25, not even 35, but interchange sex, drugs & rock & roll with retirement, menopause and healthcare and there is the next GIRLS......Girls like us,
remembering what it was like to be 25, wearing platform heels, fringed ponchos and low riding leather pants from the front row of a Rolling Stones concert.  I saw stars!

This show is intriguing. Miss Dunham dares to be herself; tattooed, overweight, sometimes without makeup, centered, present, and wickedly talented.

She's my kind of daughter, if I had one.

Thank you writer, director, star,  Miss Lena Dunham.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Poetry - Charles Bukowski - a man of beauty

By now you must have figured out I love Bukowski. That's right. You heard me. I love Charles Bukowski. But you post all this stuff that's beautiful. You go to gardens and art galleries and films searching for beauty. Right. I'm always searching. Beauty is what drives my life, but if you read closely you'll find the beautiful in this man's poetry. It's raw. It's real. It cuts through all the malarky of what's going on and gets down to truth. I'm trying to write. YOU never write me back, and you know I need distraction, but it doesn't matter. I get to the next line and the next, and in the meantime I go to gardens and art galleries and films and look at things that are beautiful. The same way Buk went to the track. He had to go out, so he could come back. Here's another one of his that is so true.

drawing courtesy of The Huntington Library

"so you want to be a writer?"
                          by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in

there is no other way.

and there never was.

The Huntington Gardens - The Huntington Art Gallery

Don't forget, the gardens surround the villa, and oh what a villa.

Henry E. Huntington build what is now called The Huntington Art Gallery in 1911.

Such a wonderful place to go to relax, and so diverse. It you don't want the Beaux-Arts house, you can get a completely different vibe at the new Japanese Pavilion.
 But do stay a while, enjoy this library, the British Art as well as the French, the early miniatures, silver medals, 18th century snuffboxes, the loggia, Renaissance paintings and furniture, Wedgwood vases, Morris & Co. stained glass window, ceramics, paintings, more paintings.

We are so lucky to have The Huntington preserved for us all.




Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Poetry - Carrie White - BLACK AND WHITE MOVIES

Reading fellow writer Carrie White's recent memoir UPPER CUT,
Highlights of My Hollywood Life was like riding in one of those tour buses through town, like a time machine through Hollywood in the 60's, 70's and 80's, like a madcap whirlwind of a "party time," glamour, palm trees, swimming pools and sun, with Robert Evans, Sue Mengers, Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty come to life. I marvel at the parallel in our lives, the places we probably passed right by each other and how Hollywood in the 70's affected my own decision to leave Ohio and travel west.

The ride through those decades and her honesty in telling her story is something to behold. Read it. And if you are lucky, Carrie will have one of her early poetry chapbooks for you to read too. http://www.thecarriewhite.com/post/12771858417/i-dont-have-a-question-your-book-answered-all-and
Follow me and SHARE this with your friends.

Here is a poem from BLACK AND WHITE MOVIES, a prayer to tweet, share, like, pin, photograph, blog, instant message and hey, even use the phone to call me up and talk about.

People, Places and Prayer
by Carrie White

Dear Heavenly Father
I thank you for your heavenliness
all the wisdom of the universe
the bodies of life and their infinite intricacy
a sun and moon and ocean of consistency
a heart that beats beyond control
the intangible place for love
the expandable space of soul
the workings of mind and memory
the coincidence and connections of affinity
the ability to grow
the desire to know
the unfolding of a flower
how sometimes fast and sometimes slow
that time is the same in any hour
how teaching is a learning game
how the reverse can be the same
which brings me to my question
about existence or purpose on this plain
is it for the lessons or awareness
of the garden
I know only by service we gain
yet why some lives so joyful
while others filled with pain?
I do my best
I guess
I choose with what I'm wired
and no matter how good at the job of this life
at the end we all are fired
I make requests
not that often
my relationships with you is enough
the details vary
it's still just stuff
my wholeself feels I love you
I believe in all my world
I am extremely blessed
I am a lucky girl
My children are the greatest gifts
My family are my friends
I understand and stand in my way
and once more I must say
Heavenly Father
I am grateful
for each moment of every day. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Los Angeles - Will Rogers State Historic Park

 Take a picnic on a Sunday and drive the winding road of Sunset Blvd. to Will Rogers Historic State Park in Pacific Palisades.


There you can spread out a blanket and watch Polo games right in front of you while your children run as fast as they can in the grass.

Take a tour through Will's recently refurbished home and marvel at the spirit of relaxation in this fine place Will Rogers lived in with his family from 1928 - 1935. In 1944 it was deeded to the State of California and now everyone benefits. Climb the trails to Inspiration Point, visit the stables, fly a few frisbees. Go on. Enjoy it. My favorite house in Los Angeles.


 These Instagram photos make it look instantly vintage.

The outdoor fireplace between the dining room and the music room are a wonderful way to entertain. Canvas awnings draw over the space during sunny days to protect you while you are relaxing.

Cool & breezy, just like Will who said things were going backward; the politicians are funny, the comedians are serious.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Pasadena - Restored Japanese Gardens at Huntington

OK, I know you have to drive to get there, but it is so worth it. Go on the weekend when there isn't as much traffic and go early before the crowds. You will find yourself walking through the rose gardens, down the steps and drawn up into the meditation garden, past the lovely house with it's shoji screens and tatami mats and tokonomas.


Here you can sit and observe the trees against the low wall, the carved rocks, the swish and caress of the breeze coming from the ginkgo trees in back of you.
I'm looking forward to watching them turn from green to gold over the next few months.

This garden will take away some daily stress, make you remember a place inside yourself, apart from the screen, apart from the media.

Of course I took the pictures on Instagram, and that is definitely part of the media, but look at them, and try them for yourself, see how easy it is to post to FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

Walk further into the new bonsai garden, a smashing sensitivity to nature, remarkable and invigorating.

Experience The Huntington.

You can follow them on Twitter

They even tweeted me a thank you for posting on twitter.

The drive back to Los Angeles will simply melt away.