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contest: find a poem that best reflects spirit of LV

Posted: June 20th, 2006, 8:58 am
by hugh
in anticipation of the 1-yr anniversary, I am launching a challenge:

to find the best public domain poem out there that describes the spirit of LibriVox ... freedom, literature, reading, voice ... and whatever other characteristics you feel are important to this place.

Feeling a bit dictatorial today - I will make the final choice of submissions ... though, being a benign kind of guy, I'll probably ask for some input.

Posted: June 20th, 2006, 11:14 am
by Yakumo
ok, this is not a poem, but it is a quote from a work we have in our very own librivox library:

Sādhanā : The Realisation of Life (1916)

* All the great utterances of man have to be judged not by the letter but by the spirit ? the spirit which unfolds itself with the growth of life in history.
o Preface

* The meaning of the living words that come out of the experiences of great hearts can never be exhausted by any one system of logical interpretation. They have to be endlessly explained by the commentaries of individual lives, and they gain an added mystery in each new revelation.

found through wikiquote.

Posted: June 20th, 2006, 11:19 am
by hugh
nice start ... keep em coming.

Posted: June 20th, 2006, 12:53 pm
by jimmowatt
hugh wrote:nice start ... keep em coming.
My first thought was Hamlet, act iv scene ii

Scene II. A hall in the Castle.

[Enter Hamlet and cartain Players.]

Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you,
trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it, as many of your
players do, I had as lief the town crier spoke my lines. Nor do
not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all
gently: for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say,
whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a
temperance that may give it smoothness. O, it offends me to the
soul, to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to
tatters, to very rags, to split the cars of the groundlings, who,
for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb
shows and noise: I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing
Termagant; it out-herods Herod: pray you avoid it.

I Player.
I warrant your honour.

Be not too tame neither; but let your own discretion be your
tutor: suit the action to the word, the word to the action; with
this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of
nature: for anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing,
whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as
'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own image,
scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his
form and pressure. Now, this overdone, or come tardy off, though
it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious
grieve; the censure of the which one must in your allowance,
o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. O, there be players that I
have seen play,--and heard others praise, and that highly,--not
to speak it profanely, that, neither having the accent of
Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so
strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of nature's
journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated
humanity so abominably.

I Player.
I hope we have reform'd that indifferently with us, sir.

O, reform it altogether. And let those that play your clowns
speak no more than is set down for them: for there be of them
that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren
spectators to laugh too, though in the meantime some necessary
question of the play be then to be considered: that's villanous
and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go
make you ready.

Plenty about speaking there but also quite a lot about theatre ...


Posted: June 20th, 2006, 3:02 pm
by hugh
good stuff... keep em coming!

Posted: June 20th, 2006, 4:45 pm
by earthcalling
I only know one poem:-

Digestive biscuit, big and round
And brown and round and chumbly;
How come in the packet you're one big piece
While in my mouth you're crumbly?

Not sure if it's PD, though, so that probably disqualifies it, right? :D

Are you sure it's 1 year only? My goodness, that's unbelievable! So much achieved, so little left to do! (Wait, no, that's not right...)


Posted: June 21st, 2006, 7:28 am
by hugh
I find that poem almost perfect ... the way the author uses "cookie" imagery to subversively highlight at once the importance of gaining knowledge/information ("in my mouth"), but also it's elusiveness/crumbliness. And the commentary on our institutions of information and knowledge dissemination - universities, big media (print and electronic), the publishing industry - is almost too perfect: the "package." Why, indeed, does knowledge come "all in one piece" within the "package" of the Official Gatekeepers of knowledge, and yet, once it is democratized through tools such as libraries and the internet, we see that knowledge is not in fact uniform, but rather "crumbles" into many different, and equally compelling knowledges. some see that as dangerous (for instance the DRM lobby, mainstream media), but does "crumbly" knowledge really taste any different than the packacked whole? or is it just as sweet? perhaps even sweeter for its very crumbliness - in fact isn't it the crumbliness of knowledge that allows us to chew it, and digest it? what if that knowledge was force (for instance thru DRM) to stay in one piece, inside it's wrapper? what good would it be then.

and lets not forget the sharing aspect, an underlying principle of LV, and clearly one of the driving metaphors of the poem: a packaged "big and round" (ie platonic sphere, ie idealized perfection) can be held by one hand at once only (a controlling, possessive hand is implied), yet "crumbled" cookie/knowledge can be distributed among many, can be *shared* ...

In fact I feel that this poem, (written when?), presaged the Internet, and projects like LibriVox, where finally through technological innovation, and though the desire to share information, society for the first time can not only find and sort thru all human knowledge (cookie), but can ALSO take this knowledge (cookie), through unlimited/free/ copying and distribution, crumble the cookie, and share it with all human kind.

This is something new, and the "narrator" of the poem -- a stand-in for everyman, sure that something is afoot, but not certain yet what all this means -- rightly asks: do you mean the cookie tastes just as good when not in the packet?

And this is the genius of the piece, where the everyman realizes that new distribution methods mean that knowledge can be disseminated everywhere for free ... "how come in the packet you're one big piece/ while in my mouth you;re crumbly?" (emphasis added). Why indeed, the "one big piece" argued for by DRM, Main Stream Media, the University system? Why the artificial "plastic packaging" of our information gatekeepers? Why not celebrate the crumbliness of knowledge, art, literature... why not, in effect, read a chapter for LibriVox?

(Or DEAR. that got a little out of hand. what time is it???? aargggg!)

Posted: June 21st, 2006, 7:47 am
by a.r.dobbs
I see two more chunks to the anniversary podcast script (though I cringe that the crumbly verse is not likely to be PD) -- and I hear the voices that would read them.

Posted: June 21st, 2006, 4:03 pm
by tina
The Land of Story-books

At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.

Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.

There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter's camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.

These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.

I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about.

So when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear land of Story-books.

-Robert Louis Stevenson

Posted: June 21st, 2006, 4:37 pm
by jimmowatt
tina wrote:The Land of Story-books
For me, that's the one.
It portrays all that's best about someone reading you a story.

Posted: June 21st, 2006, 4:47 pm
by kayray
tina wrote:The Land of Story-books
Yes. Yes. Yes!!!

Posted: June 21st, 2006, 10:30 pm
by earthcalling
tina wrote:The Land of Story-books

Posted: June 22nd, 2006, 10:37 am
by hugh
very good ... lets keep em coming.

Posted: July 7th, 2006, 6:56 am
by Starlite
Any more ideas here? We would like to feature a reading of the poem that wins in the anniversay podcast. Hugh, can you do the judging? Or just take everyone's oppinions? ......................... :)

Posted: July 7th, 2006, 7:37 am
by thistlechick
"Art and Heart" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox from Poems of Passion

Though critics may bow to art, and I am its own true lover,
It is not art, but _heart_, which wins the wide world over.

Though smooth be the heartless prayer, no ear in Heaven will mind it,
And the finest phrase falls dead if there is no feeling behind it.

Though perfect the player's touch, little, if any, he sways us,
Unless we feel his heart throb through the music he plays us.

Though the poet may spend his life in skilfully rounding a measure,
Unless he writes from a full, warm heart he gives us little pleasure.

So it is not the speech which tells, but the impulse which goes
with the saying;
And it is not the words of the prayer, but the yearning back of
the praying.

It is not the artist's skill which into our soul comes stealing
With a joy that is almost pain, but it is the player's feeling.

And it is not the poet's song, though sweeter than sweet bells chiming,
Which thrills us through and through, but the heart which beats under
the rhyming.

And therefore I say again, though I am art's own true lover,
That it is not art, but heart, which wins the wide world over.