Tis just a wee fuss for my friend Pikas

Today is Christina Pikas’ (of Christina’s LIS Rant) birthday.  Seeing as I’ll be seeing her in pretty much exactly a month at ASIS&T and she’ll be able to personally kick me for this, I decided to write her a little birthday ditty.

Tis just a wee fuss for my friend Pikas

I awoke this morning all a twitter,
my friend she is a knitter.

Once a naval officer, always a veteran,
she’s the physicists’ friend and librarian.

Whether slogging her way to a PhD with reliance
or blogging about the intricacies of science,

Her work is very prudent
because she is a student.

Committed as any star ASIST member,
she was born once upon a far September.

Often, though, she may Rant,
steer you wrong she shan’t.

Her name it is Christina,
her mind as sharp as concertina.

Tis the birthday of a Pikas
so let us all make a bit of a wee fuss.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Christina! I couldn’t help myself. ;-)


Writing this reminded me that I had done this once before; that is, wrote a birthday poem and posted it here.  I also see I swore never to post my “poetry” here again. Ah well, not exactly a lie, I guess.

And technically, that previous post includes two poems as did the birthday card in which they originally appeared. The 2nd was called *”On the use of ‘beauty’”.  And, yes, that asterick implies that it was a “footnote.”

whatever will shall be

adamantly heedless was she
of warning given on a moon full night
venturing forth shall I be

faerie-cursed changeling, forest bound tight
enraged he was when lily she picked
the stars they blazed in all their might

passion engulfed the simple maid
burning like an ember bright
the sun across the sky was splayed

“your essence, i feel it right
the world it whispers to me
deep from within your smile”

pregnant with possibility
locked together tight
things simple were not meant to be

bravely she faced her plight
as deny he did his need
what shall come from such a night?

whatever will shall be
“having held you till morning light
for ever shall I your Margaret be”


Written the evening of 22 September 2008 at Crane Alley, Urbana, IL

Loosely based on the Tam Lin stories

Tam Lin at Wikipedia

Website devoted to Tam Lin

It is time to take another road, on which she does not smile

I have remarked here before about how little poetry I have read in my life.  Most of it has been in the last few years, and most of that in the last year.

I wrote a couple of poems when I was an adolescent and/or teenager—when I use the word “poem” to refer to my own efforts I am using that word loosely—and I have written a few this year. Most of those written lately have been posted here but at least one has not but was given to its dedicatee. [Oops, reminded of the haiku, so two not here.]

I am currently reading Invitation to Poetry: The Pleasures of Studying Poetry and Poetics by Steinman (see below) and am about halfway through it. I get much of it but then some of it is escaping me. Not sure how much work I will put into “formal” poetics but I think that it is important to me as a powerful use of language, particularly one most aspects of which escapes linguistic science.

My most recent muse has gone her fleeting way, although leaving a permanent mark. Nonetheless, there are always things to try and put into words, powerful things like depression, for one, that generally escape more prosaic language.  Thus, I may be posting a few more poems here, assuming I keep at it.

Feel free to skip them. I certainly am not claiming that they are any good. But perhaps they will be valuable to me as another way to use language, and to learn how language works.

I have no doubt that over the years I have read a few other poems and even perhaps books of poetry. I may well have read one or two other small ones this summer that I forgot to record. I certainly know I sampled a few score poems from a dozen or so books this summer that are not on this list. Anyway, here is the list of poetry books that I know I have read [in the order read]:

Jewel. 1998. A Night Without Armor: Poems. 1st ed. New York: HarperCollins.

Paglia, Camille. 2006. Break, Blow, Burn. 1st ed. New York: Vintage Books.

Stone, Ruth. 2002. In the Next Galaxy. Port Townsend, Wash: Copper Canyon Press.

Neruda, Pablo. 1993. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. Penguin twentieth-century classics. New York, N.Y., U.S.A: Penguin Books.

Steinman, Lisa Malinowski. 2008. Invitation to Poetry: The Pleasures of Studying Poetry and Poetics. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.

My commentary on Paglia is in my Books Read in 2007 post. Haven’t commented on any of the others, although Stone is listed in my post about books read (mostly) in the 1st half of this year and I remember quite enjoying much of it. There was one poem in it I particularly liked entitled “Love.”

I enjoyed much in the Neruda and was recently able to buy myself a brand-new copy of this out of print paperback for $2.50 + $3.50 in shipping. One could complain about the higher cost of shipping than the book but I won’t as $6 for an out of print book in perfect shape is a steal. This is the same edition as I borrowed from a friend this summer and I wanted this one as it has the poems in Spanish and English on facing pages. I did not read all of the poems in Spanish but I did try translating the titles on my own before looking at the English versions, and when I found a particularly lovely turn of phrase in English I made sure to see how it was in Spanish.

For instance:

White bee, even when you are gone you buzz in my soul
You live again in time, slender and silent.

Ah you who are silent!

Abeja blanca, ausente, aún zumbas en mi alma.
Revives en el tiempo, delgado y silenciosa.

Ah silenciosa!

VIII “Abeja Blanca” / “White Bee”

Or:

Longing that sliced my breast into pieces,
it is time to take another road, on which she does not
smile.

Ansiedad que partiste mi pecho a cuchillazos,
es hora de seguir otro camino, donde ella no sonría.

XI “Casi Fuera Del Cielo” / “Almost Out Of The Sky”

This summers (public) poems:

No matter how far I proceed down this road with poetry, I have no doubt that my primary love of, and exposure to, poetry will be through song lyrcis. And in that regard I have “read” many thousands.

And on that note …

“es hora de seguir otro camino, donde ella no sonría.”

Too Late

Sickness returns. Classic film unbalances.
Life enduringly pushes hard. Small needs
go unanswered. And then the blackness rushes
in; crushing; rational, yet so unsound.
Struggling for connection only to be
denied. Definition finally learnt.
State of grace; clarity attained.  Too
late.

Where is the guy who runs this blog?

That is a complicated question for which I have very little that I can or will say directly.

WordPress upgraded

I did just upgrade WordPress to the newest version so if anyone is still reading this feel free to click through to the blog proper and see if you see anything amiss. Thanks.

Some reasons for being quiet

Recently someone gave me and this humble little blog some very high praise in a different venue. While I appreciate/d it greatly I do not feel that I have in any way merited such praise in a very long time.

I have so many things to write about but find that I cannot. I have tried to do so for a couple of these topics, and loving friends have provided suggestions on how to tackle some of them. Good advice even, which I attempted to take. But I am currently not up to the task.

I am on the market for a job and have said far too much in this space already about too much of my life. There are issues about our profession that are quickly destroying me and it seems that our profession finds discussion of such issues to be unprofessional.

Issues in cataloging and an analogy

I have a draft post on this topic in relation to issues in cataloging but am simply unable to say anything that many would find acceptable. In it I made an analogy to current issues in cataloging and the running of the Vietnam War by the Americans.

The juxtaposition of current discussions, mostly higher-level, about things like RDA and other major issues in the arena of cataloging and the complete lack of discussions of what I see as the important issues “on the ground” in cataloging departments and facing individual catalogers across the field are much like the discussions within the military services and government agencies running the war in Vietnam.

All frank, honest, and real discussion of the issues facing those on the ground were deemed “unprofessional.” Commanders and senior NCOs quickly discovered how to play the game of “reality-based” reporting and discussion.

Now my analogy quickly breaks down because it’s not like many of us are losing our lives due to this forced “professionalism” in our field. But I know for a fact that it is causing far more angst, fear, and burnout than should be happening.  Highly capable and dedicated people are being affected in extremely damaging ways.

I recently read and wrote a review of:

Budd, John. 2008. Self-Examination: The Present and Future of Librarianship. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.

Budd presents dialectical methodology as a means to overcome the different epistemological positions within librarianship. He also clearly demonstrates that “service to clientele, [professional] judgment, and education [for the profession] are moral undertakings” (p. 251). We must consider what our moral principles will be, and what moral responsibilities they imply for us as reflective professionals. Discourse—open, honest, and frank—is the only means by which to do this.

But this is exactly what we do not have. It is what has been deemed unprofessional because someone’s feeling might be hurt, someone or some place might be made to look bad, because we only discuss success whether it is real, imagined or projected.

As to what I think about this situation … it is (long past) time for me to shut the heck up.

How I became a librarian

Christina tagged me for this a while ago and I did start working on a draft post to answer it. But I am unhappy with it and it has gotten too long anyway without actually answering the question. Perhaps that is because there really isn’t an answer. At best it explains how I got into the cataloging and metadata arena but not how I got into librarianship itself.

The other answer which I strove not to give in my more official response is that I am not a librarian; at least not as many (most?) who hold the professional credentials would accept. Although I have worked in academic libraries for 10 years now, and I earned my MS in May 2006, I have never held a professional position. Thus, in the minds of many I am not a librarian.

Of course, in the minds of even more (as in the general population) I have been a librarian for 10 years now. There is even a well-known dictionary definition to suport that statement. I shall not cite it as that would make me a scoundrel, though. Let’s just say that I have had several people get mad at me for my denying to be a librarian when they are full well aware of the more formal definition we apply to ourselves, and this was before I even came to library school.

I have had professional-level responsibilities of varying kinds in all of my jobs in academic libraries, whether it was as a student worker, student supervisor, staff member, or my assorted graduate assistantships and hourly positions while in library school.

There may be some news on the horizon soon but until then I do not want to offend any professionals in the field and thus can only claim that I cannot answer the question as I have never yet been a librarian.

Maybe I’ll get a chance to apply this label to myself before I decide I have no desire to do so. Not because I do not want to be a librarian—I do, but then I also apply a different definition than any I apparently espoused here—but because so much about the actual lived, non-reflective, practice of so many in the mainstream of our profession—those with the power to tell others of us what passes for “professionalism”—are, in my opinion, failing us badly.

Hopefully no one is still wondering why I am being so quiet here

I had several other things to comment on but I am losing focus and they, too, are things that are probably just better to let be.

I have been home all day [Friday] because I have been feeling crappy all week and have not been getting any better. Until things get really bad there is no sense in trying to go to the doctor. I am currently working as an academic hourly and thus have no benefits. I am not totally in the dark for health care as I am able to use the VA over in Danville. But I see no reason to try and figure out that system and make a 45-minute drive each way for a low-grade bug of some kind that probably cannot even be identified.

I wrote this yesterday during the day and have sat on it since. I re-read it several times trying to decide if I was going to post it. Perhaps I should just trash it and move on. But I feel as if I no longer have anywhere to move on to. I am prevented from discussing the things that are most professionally relevant to me and, as far as I am concerned, should be to many others.

Bottom line: I am immensely dedicated and care deeply about many of the issues facing our field. I want to contribute to moving us intelligently forward into the 21st century. But the truth is I am floundering badly and do not know what to do about it.

So I guess folks should not expect to hear much from me here for a while. I have no idea what to write since I am unable to write about that which I care most deeply about.

Need roommate for ASIS&T 2008 in Columbus

Is anyone looking for a roommate for ASIS&T 2008 in Columbus, OH this October?

I am a reasonably quiet, non-smoking, male, old enough not to be partying late into the night.

Sharing a room is pretty much a necessity since I’m still a student, work for hourly pay and the entire cost of the conference is on me. Seeing as I’m on a panel I kind of have to go. ;-)

Early bird registration ends this coming Friday, Sep. 12th., although room reservations at the conference hotel have a little longer for the conference rate.

Haven’t decided if I am coming for any preconferences or not yet but I will be arriving Saturday at some point so will need a room Saturday night through and including (probably) Wednesday night.

If you need or desire a roommate please contact me at mark [dot] r {dot} lindner (@) gmail [dot] com.  Much appreciated.