August Poem: August Moon, by Emma Lazarus

photo of full moon

Photo by Peter de Vink on

Courtesy of poem, here’s an August poem by Emma Lazarus, the poet most famous for “The New Colossus.” “The New Colossus” is the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty. In “August Moon,” different people find different meaning in the full moon in August. This year the full moon is on August 15th – what will you see?

August Moon

Look! the round-cheeked moon floats high,
In the glowing August sky,
Quenching all her neighbor stars,
Save the steady flame of Mars.
White as silver shines the sea,
Far-off sails like phantoms be,
Gliding o’er that lake of light,
Vanishing in nether night.
Heavy hangs the tasseled corn,
Sighing for the cordial morn;
But the marshy-meadows bare,
Love this spectral-lighted air,
Drink the dews and lift their song,
Chirp of crickets all night long;
Earth and sea enchanted lie
‘Neath that moon-usurped sky.

To the faces of our friends
Unfamiliar traits she lends-
Quaint, white witch, who looketh down
With a glamour all her own.
Hushed are laughter, jest, and speech,
Mute and heedless each of each,
In the glory wan we sit,
Visions vague before us flit;
Side by side, yet worlds apart,
Heart becometh strange to heart.

Slowly in a moved voice, then,
Ralph, the artist spake again-
‘Does not that weird orb unroll
Scenes phantasmal to your soul?
As I gaze thereon, I swear,
Peopled grows the vacant air,
Fables, myths alone are real,
White-clad sylph-like figures steal
‘Twixt the bushes, o’er the lawn,
Goddess, nymph, undine, and faun.
Yonder, see the Willis dance,
Faces pale with stony glance;
They are maids who died unwed,
And they quit their gloomy bed,
Hungry still for human pleasure,
Here to trip a moonlit measure.
Near the shore the mermaids play,
Floating on the cool, white spray,
Leaping from the glittering surf
To the dark and fragrant turf,
Where the frolic trolls, and elves
Daintily disport themselves.
All the shapes by poet’s brain,
Fashioned, live for me again,
In this spiritual light,
Less than day, yet more than night.
What a world! a waking dream,
All things other than they seem,
Borrowing a finer grace,
From yon golden globe in space;
Touched with wild, romantic glory,
Foliage fresh and billows hoary,
Hollows bathed in yellow haze,
Hills distinct and fields of maize,
Ancient legends come to mind.
Who would marvel should he find,
In the copse or nigh the spring,
Summer fairies gamboling
Where the honey-bees do suck,
Mab and Ariel and Puck?
Ah! no modern mortal sees
Creatures delicate as these.
All the simple faith has gone
Which their world was builded on.
Now the moonbeams coldly glance
On no gardens of romance;
To prosaic senses dull,
Baldur’s dead, the Beautiful,
Hark, the cry rings overhead,
‘Universal Pan is dead!”
‘Requiescant!’ Claude’s grave tone
Thrilled us strangely. ‘I am one
Who would not restore that Past,
Beauty will immortal last,
Though the beautiful must die-
This the ages verify.
And had Pan deserved the name
Which his votaries misclaim,
He were living with us yet.
I behold, without regret,
Beauty in new forms recast,
Truth emerging from the vast,
Bright and orbed, like yonder sphere,
Making the obscure air clear.
He shall be of bards the king,
Who, in worthy verse, shall sing
All the conquests of the hour,
Stealing no fictitious power
From the classic types outworn,
But his rhythmic line adorn
With the marvels of the real.
He the baseless feud shall heal
That estrangeth wide apart
Science from her sister Art.
Hold! look through this glass for me?
Artist, tell me what you see?’
‘I!’ cried Ralph. ‘I see in place
Of Astarte’s silver face,
Or veiled Isis’ radiant robe,
Nothing but a rugged globe
Seamed with awful rents and scars.
And below no longer Mars,
Fierce, flame-crested god of war,
But a lurid, flickering star,
Fashioned like our mother earth,
Vexed, belike, with death and birth.’

Rapt in dreamy thought the while,
With a sphinx-like shadowy smile,
Poet Florio sat, but now
Spake in deep-voiced accents slow,
More as one who probes his mind,
Than for us-‘Who seeks, shall find-
Widening knowledge surely brings
Vaster themes to him who sings.
Was veiled Isis more sublime
Than yon frozen fruit of Time,
Hanging in the naked sky?
Death’s domain-for worlds too die.
Lo! the heavens like a scroll
Stand revealed before my soul;
And the hieroglyphs are suns-
Changeless change the law that runs
Through the flame-inscribed page,
World on world and age on age,
Balls of ice and orbs of fire,
What abides when these expire?
Through slow cycles they revolve,
Yet at last like clouds dissolve.
Jove, Osiris, Brahma pass,
Races wither like the grass.
Must not mortals be as gods
To embrace such periods?
Yet at Nature’s heart remains
One who waxes not nor wanes.
And our crowning glory still
Is to have conceived his will.’

Between the Lines Book Club: Discussion Questions for Persepolis

between the lines book club logoWelcome to Between the Lines Book Club! This month we will be discussing Persepolis in this space and in person at Arden Dimick Library on August 24, 2019 at 10:30AM. Please join us!

Here are the discussion questions for this book – they are from Buffalo Library and Random House Books.

The New York Times hails Persepolis as “the latest and one of the most delectable examples of a booming postmodern genre: autobiography by comic book.” Why did Satrapi chose this format in which to tell her story? What does the visual aspect add that a conventional memoir lacks? In what way does the presentation of this book (a story told in black & white pictures) add to the narrative of the story?

In an Associated Press interview, Satrapi said, “The only thing I hope is that people will read my book and see that this abstract thing, this Axis of Evil, is made up of individuals with lives and hopes.” And in her introduction to Persepolis, she explains that she wrote this book to show that Iran is not only a country of “fundamentalism, fanaticism, and terrorism.” How does Satrapi go about challenging this myth? 

Describe the writer’s voice. Is it appealing? Which aspects of Marji’s character do you identify with or like the most, the least? Did your reaction to the little girl affect your reading experience?

How did the revolution exert power and influence over so many people, including many educated and middle class people like Satrapi’s parents? Why did so many people leave after the revolution? Why do you think Marji’s parents send her off to Austria while they stay in Tehran? Why don’t they leave/escape as well?

“Every situation has an opportunity for laughs.” (p. 97) Give some examples of how the ordinary citizens of Iran enjoyed life despite the oppressive regime. What made you laugh? How does Satrapi add comic relief? How are these scenes relevant to the story as a whole?

What kinds of captivity and freedom does the author explore in Persepolis? What stifles or prevents people from being completely free? How do they circumvent and defy the rules imposed on them and attempt to live ordinary lives despite revolution and war? Give some examples of their small acts of rebellion.

“In spite of everything, kids were trying to look hip, even under risk of arrest.” (p. 112) How did they do this? What do you think you would have done had you been a child in this environment? What acts of rebellion did you do as a teen? In what ways is Satrapi just a normal kid?

What is the role of women in the story? Compare and contrast the various women: Marji, her mother, her grandmother, her school teachers, the maid, the neighbors, the guardians of the revolution.

Discuss the role and importance of religion in Persepolis. How does religion define certain characters in the book, and affect the way they interact with each other? Is the author making a social commentary on religion, and in particular on fundamentalism? What do you think Satrapi is saying about religion’s effect on the individual and society?

In what ways is Persepolis both telling a story and commenting on the importance of stories in our lives? What does the book suggest about how stories shape and give meaning to our experience? Discuss some of the stories in Persepolis—Uncle Anoosh’s story, her grandfather’s story, Niloufar’s story.

What is Satrapi suggesting about the relationship between past and present, and between national and personal history? What role does her family history, and the stories of her relatives, play in shaping Marji?

From the beginning, it is clear that Marjane has a unique relationship with her parents and grandmother. How do they influence her and her relationship with the changing Iranian society?

What changes do the new fundamentalist government make in Iran? Her family enjoys having parties and drinking–what precautions do they take, and why do they continue despite the danger of being found out? Why do people seek to keep their regular routines even in dangerous times?

Even when she is very young, Marjane is outspoken at all times. How does this help her and hurt her in the new Iran? What decision does it lead her parents to make?

Did reading this change your feelings about graphic novels? Would you ever read another one?


Between the Lines Book Club: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

between the lines book club logoThis month’s book club features Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi. This graphic autobiography tells the story of Satrapi’s coming of age during the and after the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The book has won multiple awards and is considered a groundbreaking memoir. It is part of a wave of literary graphic novels and memoirs including Maus, by Art Spiegelman, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, and Watchmen by Alan Moore.


We will be discussing Persepolis  in this space and in person at Arden Dimick Library on August 24, 2019 at 10:30AM. Please join us!



And we’re back!

Eleven steals wafflesBack from San Diego Comic-Con.

Back from New-Fest-Con.

Back from Between the Lines Book Club at Arden Dimick Library and Dorothy Parker Book Chat at Central Library.

This month is much write the words. Words is good. Must word lots.



Between the Lines Book Club: A Few Facts About Edith Wharton

between the lines book club logoOur book this month is The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton. We will be discussing the book in person on July 27, 2019 at Arden Dimick Library, at 10:30AM.

Here are a few facts about Edith Wharton:

She loved dogs.

She had a horrible relationship with her mother.

She grew up in the atmosphere of Age of Innocence. Her family inspired the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses”

She lived from 1862 – 1937.

Though deeply conservative, she ran with the fast set of artists after WWI.

Unlike other Americans, she stayed in Paris through WWI and did war work.

She was a decorator and designer.

She was not allowed to read novels until after she married. Her marriage, to a banker, was an unhappy one and they divorced in 1913.

She died of a stroke at the age of 75.

Between the Lines Book Club: Age of Innocence Discussion Questions

between the lines book club logoOur book this month is The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton. We will be discussing the book in person on July 27, 2019 at Arden Dimick Library, at 10:30AM.

Here is a selection of the discussion questions we’ll be looking  at:

  1. What do you make of Newland Archer? Is he a hero, a victim, or something in between?

2. Did Newland really love either May or Ellen? Could he have been happy with Ellen? Is he the main character?

3. How might the story be different if told form the point of view of Ellen or May?

4. What does Newland see in May at the beginning of the novel? What does he see in Ellen? What does each woman represent for him? What does each woman see in Newland?

5. Some critics have described May as one of the greatest villains of American literature. Is she?

6. Some have called this a story of identity. Would you agree? What does it say about identity? How might this be a story about belonging?

7. Wharton’s title was an allusion to a painting of a five year old girl. What light does this cast on Wharton’s view of the world she was chronicling? Do you think the title is ironic? In what sense is “innocence” used, and is it always a desirable state?

8. Upon its publication, The Age of Innocence became an immediate sensation. Why do you think that is? Is it still relevant?

"Age of Innocence" by Sir Joshua Reynolds (painting of little girl)

“Age of Innocence” by Sir Joshua Reynolds