72. From Poe To Plutarch


Children’s Literature…


Philadelphia Reads…A Wednesday Love of Books’ Gala.

The University of Pennsylvania is teaming with Philadelphia Reads to host a FREE open house from 5-8 PM on Wednesday April 10th. You will get a chance to meet museum people, Philadelphia Reads staff, and a host of organizations that support reading throughout the area. The Egyptology and China sections of Penn’s Museum are a must see as part of the celebration.

Please bring some books to donate to the effort. Thousands of teachers and tens of thousands of students have enjoyed books from the Martin Luther King Center FREE book bank. If you know of any organization that hasn’t joined the Philadelphia Reads’ Network of Supporters, please encourage them to join with a financial or book donation.

The news’ release for the event is extensive and is reproduced for you below:

PHILADELPHIA, PA Spring 2013—It’s a groundswell and it’s building momentum—Philadelphia’s cultural community is putting the spotlight on reading, literacy, and community engagement. Reading opens up worlds of opportunity—and books, like the many cultural treasures in the city, bring so many worlds vividly to life.


Penn Museum, in cooperation with the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance’s GroundSwell initiative, opens its doors Wednesday, April 10, 5 to 8 pm, for a free Philadelphia READS! Community Night and the official kickoff of a month-long children’s book drive to benefit the teachers, the children, and ultimately, the community of Philadelphia.

The free event is an invitation for people young and old to explore the world through the Penn Museum’s many-cultured galleries—filled on this evening with a host of special activities and a literary twist. Guests are welcome to bring a gently used or a new children’s book—suitable for pre-kindergarten through elementary school—to contribute to Philadelphia READS, a program that provides books and literacy resources to educators in the City of Philadelphia.


A Night to Celebrate Reading

Penn Museum curators, collections keepers, and graduate students join in the celebration with gallery storytelling, and hands on activities.

The Museum has the world’s largest collection of ancient clay cuneiform tablets with Sumerian literature—featuring some of the earliest storytelling in the world. Irene Plantholt, Graduate Student, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, teaches guests how to write in ancient Sumerian on clay tablets, in a “first day of school” workshop at 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 pm. Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs workshops, where everyone can learn to write his or her own name in hieroglyphs, are offered by Allison Hedges, recent Penn MLA graduate in Ancient Studies, at 6:30 and 7:15 pm.

Column Ending

Guests can enjoy favorite stories from diverse cultures, presented by curators and keepers and staff in the Museum’s related galleries: International Classroom Program Manager Prema Deshmukh at 5:00 pm; Egyptian Section Associate Curator Jennifer Wegner at 5:30 pm; Near Eastern Section Assistant Curator Lauren Ristvet at 6:00 pm; Mediterranean Section Associate Curator Ann Brownlee at 6:30 pm; Physical Anthropology Curator Janet Monge at 7:00 pm; and Adrienne Jacoby, Executive Director, Philadelphia READS, at 7:30 pm.

Community presenters and performers join in the evening. Guests can explore the “language” of the drum, at a Middle Eastern drum workshop hosted by renowned Philadelphia drummer Joe Tayoun at 5:30 pm. Teaching artist, actor, and storyteller Jan Michener of Arts Holding Hands & Hearts leads an interactive program using newspaper headlines to create and perform poetry. Youth poets from ArtWell perform throughout the evening. Local dance companies Chisena Danza, Stone Depot Dance Club, and Jennifer Yackel & Dancers dazzle guests with two lively performances at 6:00 and 7:00 pm.

Column start

The West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC) joins the night. WePAC opens and staffs elementary school libraries with screened and trained volunteers, making a difference for more than 5,000 students. They will provide information on ways to volunteer in their effort to promote literacy.

Reach Out and Read Greater Philadelphia and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Reach Out and Read Program are also on hand. Reach Out and Read is a national program that prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.

Guests are invited to sign up in advance and share the invitation with friends: http://philadelphiareadscommunitynight.eventbrite.com/

Walk ins are welcome, too!

Thanks….Pam Kosty, Public Relations Director


Poetry…From Poe To Plutarch

Our poetry talk continues with the revisited question of: Can the loss of someone dear to you drive you insane and make your writing macabre and memorable like Poe’s works of death and depravity?

It was a tough search to find a poet that lost the woman of his life and created far lighter in spirit works than Poe.

Plutarch wrote in the 1300’s. He wrote 365 sonnets to a woman named Laura who he loved from afar. She, too, died at an early age. The sonnets have every touching, endearing, romantic, and unique word or phrase that has ever been written about a woman to a woman or about womanhood. The sonnets are really worth reading before you write that next poem or romantic email to your ‘someone’ special. Paraphrase a point or two from the sonnets to partner with your best writing.


Earlier in the year we introduced Eugene Field “The Children’s Poet” and the poem he wrote after the death of his son. It is just as heart pulling as Petrarch’s work. It is reprinted for you below and serves as an excellent discussion piece for poetry month activities.

Little Boy Blue
by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

The little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and stanch he stands;
And the little toy soldier is red with rust,
And his musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
Kissed them and put them there.

“Now, don’t you go till I come,” he said,
“And don’t you make any noise!”
So, toddling off to his trundle-bed,
He dreamt of the pretty toys;
And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
Awakened our Little Boy Blue—
Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
But the little toy friends are true!

Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
Each in the same old place—
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face;
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
Since he kissed them and put them there.

Image  Image

Did You Know? We Didn’t!…The Mobile Phone…The Cellular Phone

Okay cell phone users and those tired of the old history of Alexander Graham Bell. Dr. Martin Cooper of Motorola is The Father of the Mobile Phone. His new mobile phone invention was first used on April 3, 1973. We have had those phones in our hands for forty years now. Amazing! Amazing! The first ones looked like army walkie-talkies and weighed over two and a half pounds.


How Stuff Works (www.howstuffworks.com) is a great website for exploring who invented what and how things were actually designed to work. Their site is linked to Epic Science and Stuff To Blow Your Mind (http://www.stufftoblowyourmind.com/video/). The three sites have a never-ending array of videos, talks, demonstrations, and blogs on topics from slime to television secrets that will keep your mind amazed.


Weekend Wonders…Homonym Names

Every issue of this column presents in puzzle, game, poetry, or creative writing form some little challenge that will keep you mentally sharp. The top index bar of this column has over one hundred of these creative encounters.  If you teach or are home schooling members of your family, these ideas are perfect for young and old alike. Past columns have recommended that you keep a writing or activity journal. Hopefully, you will rekindle an old love of puzzle solving, poetry, and writing….or discover a new interest and skill.

Sorry To Ruin Your Weekend! Really Sorry!

These 17 Homonym Puzzles Will Drive You Crazy!

Fourteen Correct Is An Excellent Score!

You Can’t Take All Year Or Ask A Friend’s Help.


Homonym Names

You have probably studied homonyms in every form. I bet you never thought of friends and family whose names were homonyms. See if our clues will help you. Add the letters in each word and place the answer in the middle column under the asterisk. Try multiplying the letters or squaring the first’s and adding the second’s amount of letters if you are an upper grader.

Clue Phrase                                                         Clue Word                   *             Name

1.  I’m a type of moss                                         Peat                             8               Pete

2.  Command for water in a glass                    Fill                               __             Phil

3. A windy sea storm                                     __________                __        __________

4.  A sound of relief                                        __________                __        ________

5.  Water measurement rate                            __________                __        __________

6.  Foot wiper                                                 __________                __        __________

7.  School’s basketball area                             _________                  __        _________

8.  A month                                                     __________                __        __________

9.  Part of a monastery                                   __________                __        __________

10. Pro-England in colonies                         __________                __        __________

11.  Your roof’s edge                                      __________                __        __________

12. Bright weather condition                          __________                __        __________

13. Desk position in class                               __________                __        __________

14. Position for king’s blessing                       __________                __        __________

15. A female sheep                                         __________                __        __________

16. Space between buildings                           __________                __        __________

17. The article before vowels                          __________                __        __________

18. New baby builder/parent attributes          __________                __        __________

19. Short with someone in speech                  __________                __        __________

Pat's Mountain

New Visitor’s Greeting…Welcome to Let’s Talk, a freewheeling column on movies, theater, television, books, educational practices, the arts, current events, and the Internet. If you are a first time visitor to the column, I recommend that you start with the About topic in the Index Bar at the top of the page. Follow About with the Let’s Talk column in archives. It was the first column of the New Year. Proceed to Let’s Talk II and then work your way up to today’s column. These columns will introduce a plethora (a better word choice than myriad) of new ideas and old delights you may have missed. It will give you a strong foundation for some of the issues we are introducing and following up in newer columns.

New visitor’s comments are welcome, too. They are immediately placed on this page in the contributor’s comment section or are shared with the column’s readers on Sunday. You are welcome, also, to suggest topics for discussion or enlist help from the site’s family of readers. I am a compendium of useless information. Challenge me, please, with great theater, travel, history, books, movies, and educational issues that would interest a wide audience of readers. The “compendium comment” was stolen from Orson Bean. Bean used the quote many times on television talk show interviews. Please recommend my column to your friends and other lovers of discussion.


About tjpalumbo

Tom Palumbo is a nationally known and award winning author, teacher, technology designer, administrator, and grant writer. He has taught for thirty-five years in preschool through 12th grade classrooms throughout the quad state area. His ideas have made a difference in the way thousands of teachers, parents, and children read, write, do mathematics, use technology, and think creatively and critically. Tom’s twenty books on reading, writing, critical thinking, and mathematics have won four national book awards. 5,000 teachers and home schooling parents have matriculated through his graduate courses/lectures. 12,000 have signed up for his website. As Director of Pennsylvania’s Parent Information Center and New Jersey’s Citizen’s For Better Schools Resource Center, Tom received over two hundred commendations for his presentations to thousands of teachers, parents, and administrators throughout the Florida, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland area. Workshop participants receive idea loaded CD’s, access to hundreds of videos, PowerPoints, curriculum links, games, and lessons on his website, and an activity booklet filled with common core curriculum in line with local, state, and national standards. Instruction, on each of these resources, is presented during his presentation. Mr. Palumbo has over two hundred learning centers, bulletin boards, and project developers in reading, writing, poetry, literature, and math in make-it/take it item format that can, also, be part of any workshop program. Call or email Tom to set up a workshop for your organization. Tom Palumbo tjpalumbo@aol.com 215-262-9986 aimtjp.wikispaces.com
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