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Mood Board: Bill Greene talks Triceratops, Sci Fi, and 40 Years at Falvey

This week’s Mood Board features Falvey Memorial Library staff member Bill Greene. Bill’s varied spectrum of interests and skills makes him one awesomely multifaceted person! Read on to learn more about Bill, dinosaurs, science fiction, and to follow some links to great books and resources.


BILL MOODBOARD

Hi, Bill! So I saw on Facebook that you had a major work anniversary recently. How many years have you been here now?

40. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?

What is your earliest Falvey memory?

Actually, it wasn’t much of a memory, but it was my first day here. I was a student. Way back—I can tell you the date! I was a student. I knew it was gonna be a life-changing thing, y’know. The date was May 7, 1968. It was a Wednesday, and I was working in acquisitions. I was working with books in print. I was checking the orders to make sure they were correct. The whole first day was really strange, because the previous day, I had known nothing about working in a library. But then my mother said to me “[one of our neighbors] called, and she wanted to know if you’d like to work at Villanova’s library. “ So I said, “Yeah, why not?” I just could’ve said, you know, “Nah, forget it, I don’t wanna do that” and that would’ve totally changed my life. But I said yes. Next day, I was in there, that quick. It just grew from there, it wasn’t planned.

And forty years later, look at you!

Yeah, still here!

What are the first three words that come to mind when you think of Falvey Memorial Library?

Fun. Novel.* People.

*”I was considering, I still am, writing a novel with this place as the background. With so many experiences, I have plenty to pick from.”

Read any periodicals, magazines, journals?

I read Discover Magazine, because mainly, it’s science, which I am interested in. It’s science, but they write it so I can understand it. Once in a while I read Scientific American… and I wonder, why did I bother reading this? I didn’t get anything out of it. They’re too technical, I think, in some cases. Discover is a good magazine, especially if you find an article on something you care about.

Smithsonian-Triceratops-skull-cast-0002a

via Wikimedia Commons

What’s your favorite dinosaur?

My favorite dinosaur is Triceratops. Do you have any idea what Triceratops looks like?

 I do!

Very good! I figured you would. He’s one of the more common ones, the three horn face, that’s what it stands for in Latin, I guess. I couldn’t tell you why I like him. My favorite dinosaur is not Tyrannosaurus Rex because that’s who everybody’s favorite dinosaur is. [Triceratops] is always defending himself against Tyrannosaurus Rex, supposedly.

I can’t even pronounce my favorite.

Yeah, what is it?

 I think it’s… Parasaurolophus?

Parasaurolophus, you like him? He’s cool! Thinking about this question [of my favorite dinosaur], he came up. Parasaurolophus is the one with the horn. He’s the one they’re thinking, recently, in the past five years or so, they’re figuring, the reason for the horn? All of the duck-billed dinosaurs, which she is one of, went around making noises and the different noises they made could tell each one what individual was from his group, what species it was from. The air went through the horn, and made all kinds of honking noises.

That would be so neat to hear!

Wouldn’t it? A herd of ‘em?

Kubla_Khan_titlepage

via Wikimedia Commons

Current favorite poet? Any poet you’ve read, new or old, that makes you think “yeah, them!”

One that pops to mind is Coleridge. “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” “Kubla Khan.” When I was reading him, he hit me right away.

What is your information routine? How do you get news and info?

Most of my news I probably get from TV. I don’t get any papers, because they all come to the library. I don’t have time from it, for one thing. Yeah, the news. Channel 6 is what I usually have on.

Do you visit any websites on a regular basis?

Amazon. Goodreads.

What are you going to do after this interview?

Probably going to continue work. A lot of the things I do, I have to wait for someone to bring it to me, like the mail, and the stuff from UPS, and the stuff that’s over in Garey waiting to come over to be scanned. But chances are pretty good that I’ll probably go down and start scanning stuff. Lot of books to scan, articles.

Can I mention something you haven’t asked me? I’m a big science fiction person.

Great! When did you discover you love science fiction?

I was around 12, give or take a year. I think the first book I read was R is for Rocket by Ray Bradbury, short story collection. And I read the whole book, and I kept thinking – this is just my state of mind at the time, you know, I’m 11 or 12 – I’m thinking, “gee, these are good stories, he writes them so well and they’re good, but they all end badly! I don’t like that, they all end badly!” And now I’m coming from a different perspective, being as old as I am; they do end badly, but you know, they’re really cool stories. I wish I had written them. It doesn’t bother me quite as much, and I can see why he did it the way he did it. ‘Cause it would’ve been a stupid story if it didn’t have a bad ending.

What is your favorite Bradbury work?

Fahrenheit 451, of course.

Any other favorite science fiction authors besides Bradbury?

Alfred BesterTheodore Sturgeon. Any of the best [science fiction] novels are written back in the fifties, I think, because now science fiction just can be anything. How do you define science fiction anymore? There is a definition for it, but a lot of the science fiction today is really on the edge. There’s no science in it! So what if it takes place on Mars? There’s no science in it.

I just read a book called The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber. The thing that makes it different is it’s a combination of science fiction and romance, and I’m thinking, I can’t think of any books, good books, like that. I would highly recommend it.

Thanks for chatting with me, Bill!


Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.


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Burns Night Supper: Celebrating the Poet and the Haggis

What follows is a two-part article: part one is about Robert Burns, Scotland’s favorite poet, and part two is about The Haggis Project. 

Robert Burns: The Poet

bard robert burnsBurns is widely considered Scotland’s national poet and was at the forefront of the Romantic Movement. Burns wrote poetry in both Scots, a form of Gaelic spoken in Scotland, and English. In addition to his Romantic poetry, Burns was known for his political and civil commentary, and for writing and collecting folk songs.

Burns Night is a celebration of the life and work of Robert Burns, and is held on 25 January each year (Burns’ birthday). One of the traditions of Burns night is to have a Burns Supper, involving traditional Scottish dishes and poetry recitations. The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA has information and videos for how to organize your own Burns night, which can be found here.

They also offer these “Top Tips” for a successful Burns Supper:

  • For dinner, serve haggis with neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes). Before eating, recite two poems by Robert Burns: the Selkirk Grace and ‘Address to a Haggis.’
  • After dinner, two humourous toasts are made over a dram of whisky. ‘The “Toast to the Lassies” is given by a male guest to the women present. In the “Reply to the Laddies,” a female guest responds humourously to the earlier toast.
  • End the evening with Burns’ best known song ‘Auld Lang Syne.’

Robert Burns: The Haggis Project

In search of the main ingredients for a Burns Night Supper, and looking forward to a road trip, I invited my sister, Michele, to join me for a leisurely drive to Berks County. We had great weather and bantered on about what would come to be known as The Haggis Project (or That Which Shall Not Be Named).

bechtelsville signAfter passing through the village of Bechtelsville, which took a few seconds, we wound our way through hills and trees as the sun created shadowed landscapes.

It was beautiful, even in winter. We could just as easily have been in the hills of Scotland. When we arrived, we found the Manieri Meats office and main building located next to the Manieri family home. Across the street was a picturesque barn and behind the main building was a small waterfall.

manieri barnThe Manieri family has been in business for four generations beginning with the first generation in Abruzzi, Italy. Stephen, Gwen, and their adult daughter, Lorena, were very open about all aspects of their business. A USDA agent, also very friendly, was on site the whole time. The Manieri’s only take advance orders by phone and don’t have a storefront for walk-in business.

manieri officeVisiting this small, family-owned operation in Bechtelsville was like seeing old friends. The office probably hasn’t changed much since Elmo Manieri started the business and the whole family seems to be on a first-name basis with their customers. We waited while another customer oversaw the handling of his order, ensuring that everything was done according to Dhabihah methods, and conforming to halal as dictated by the Muslim faith.

Bobbie sheep

We named the sheep Bobbie.

Now it was our turn. Lorena brought out my order of sheep stomach, heart, liver, and tongue. I’ll spare you the gory details. Luckily, I had brought along a cooler and we stopped for ice on the way back. When I got home, I wrapped the offal in Ziploc bags and stowed it in the fridge. I had researched many recipes, read the history of Robert “Bobbie” Burns, visited websites on the history of haggis, and watched videos of other people making haggis, but nothing prepared me for the awful truth of handling sheep offal.

My favorite video featured Chef Jochen Kern at the Berjaya University College of Hospitality, which ends with an authentic Scots recitation of Robert Burn’s Address to a Haggis. After all was said and done, I decided to loosely follow Alton Brown’s recipe with hints from other recipes when I thought it made sense or looked interesting. Little did I know that his parting words, “if you serve it at all,” would haunt me for days.

Finding the other non-sheep ingredients wasn’t too difficult, but the only store to sell mace (the spice) was the Bhavani food market in Exton, Pa. Most authentic recipes call for sheep lungs, however, the sale of them is banned in the United States.

The first step requires soaking the sheep stomach in heavily salted water overnight. Use a large plastic container with a tight-fitting lid and several tablespoons of kosher salt. The next day I rinsed the stomach several times with white vinegar and water.

Ingredients:

1 sheep stomach (Feel free to substitute with sausage casing. Really. I’m completely serious.)

1 sheep liver

1 sheep heart

1 sheep tongue

½ lb. steel cut oats, toasted

3 medium yellow onions, minced

½ lb. beef kidney suet (found at Wegman’s in meat freezer section)

1 tsp. mace (found at Bhavani food market)

½ tsp. each of dried herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage)

1 ½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. nutmeg (freshly ground if you have it)

Optional: Beef stock

After you have soaked the sheep stomach overnight, start cooking the sheep offal in the largest stock pot you own. Fill the pot with water, or beef stock, add some kosher salt, and cook at a slow simmer for 2 hours. Save the strained broth; you’ll need it later.

bowl of haggis mixWhile the offal is simmering, start chopping the onions, measure the spices into small bowls, mince the suet, and toast the oats on a large baking sheet. Once the offal is finished simmering, remove it and let it cool. Most recipes instruct one to mince the offal, and one site advised using a meat grinder (who has a meat grinder at home?), but one site, to which I am eternally grateful, suggests using a food processor. It works beautifully, breaking down the meat into more of a sausage texture.

Using the largest bowl you own, combine all of the above ingredients, including the meat and about 2 cups of the broth you saved and, using your hands, mash it all together until it holds together a bit.

Stuff the filling into the sheep stomach leaving enough space to either tie the stomach closed or stitch it closed with a chef’s needle and string. For the first time in my life, I used latex kitchen gloves. It was the only way I could bring myself to handle the sheep stomach.

haggis cutUsing the same large stock pot, add fresh water or beef stock and simmer the haggis for 3 hours. Be prepared for an odor that will be reluctant to leave your nostrils. I even started a homemade potpourri on the stove. Truthfully, that only made matters worse.

Serve the haggis with neeps and tatties (mashed turnips and potatoes). I know that Robert Burns and others toast the haggis with a dram of whiskey, but I toasted mine with a glass of Elderberry Black Ale. Bagpipes and drums are optional.

haggis serving

In closing, and in all honesty, I tasted the haggis and will probably never eat it again. My son-in-law, Mike, loved it. He’s right up there with Andrew Zimmern when it comes to food.

Further Reading:

www.RobertBurns.Org is also a great source for Burns information, and they too have a set of instructions for a Burns Supper.

The Poetry Foundation

Book- Burns : poems

Book – A Burns companion

Robert Burns: The Poet and and Further Reading written by Sarah Wingo, Team Leader of Humanities II Liaison Team & Subject Librarian for English Literature and Theatre.

Robert Burns: The Haggis Project written by Luisa Cywinski, writer on Communication & Service Promotion Team and team leader, Access Services.

 


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Faculty member and playwright Michael Hollinger’s new play, Under the Skin, to premiere

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Fans of Villanova Theatre may be interested to know that faculty member and playwright Michael Hollinger’s new play, Under the Skin, will be premiering this month at the Arden Theatre Company. Directed by Terrence J. Nolen, Under The Skin will run January 15, 2015 – March 15, 2015.
 
The Arden Theatre Company has a long history of partnership with Hollinger and has been host to the world premiere of eight of his works: Under the Skin, Opus, Ghost-Writer, Tooth and Claw, Red Herring, Tiny Island, Incorruptible and An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf.
 
Villanova theatre goers will be familiar with Hollinger’s work most recently from fall 2013’s production of Red Herring.
 
Tickets for Under the Skin can be purchased from the Arden Theatre Company’s website
 
Please see this article for details on Under the Skin and Hollinger’s relationship with the Arden Theatre Company. 

SarahArticle by Sarah Wingo, team leader- Humanities II, subject librarian for English, literature and theatre.


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Librarian Voices: #WoolFreeWinter

Alex Williams

Alexander Williams is the research support librarian for the social sciences and liaison to the communications, sociology, and criminal justice departments. 


#WoolFreeWinter

Sheep

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Winter is coming. No, seriously. I’m not just quoting the motto of House Stark from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Winter is really coming and, to many of us, that means getting out the wool blankets, scouring online stores for the most fashionable wool clothing, and getting ready for the holiday shopping season. However, many of us perhaps aren’t aware that the wool industry is an inhumane one and that buying wool directly contributes to the suffering of sheep. Please join me and millions around the globe by participating in #WoolFreeWinter (warning: some viewers may find the content upsetting).

Q: What is #WoolFreeWinter?

A: As first reported by NBC, eyewitness investigations into the wool industry led by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) revealed the horrific conditions under which sheep are raised and sheared in the United States and Australia, the world’s biggest wool exporter. As a result of this international exposé, PETA initiated the campaign #WoolFreeWinter to educate the public about this cruel industry and to raise awareness about ethical alternatives to wool before the winter season.

Q: But don’t sheep need to be shorn?

A: Unlike wild sheep, which naturally shed their wool, domesticated sheep have been bred for increased wool growth and do need to be shorn. While this industry sounds humane theoretically, it is, in reality, a nightmare.

Undercover investigators found that sheep were killed, mutilated, stomped upon and brutally beaten during the shearing process. These acts occur because shearers are paid by volume, not by the hour.

An experienced shearer can “handle” more than 350 sheep a day over a four week period. Shearing sheep as quickly as possible for profit inevitably leads to a disregard for their wellbeing.

A sheep’s skin is quite wrinkly because it is maximized for wool growth, but it also collects moisture making it prone to infection. Flies are attracted to this moisture and lay eggs in the folds of skin (flystrike), leaving fly larvae (maggots) to nest and then eat the sheep alive. In the wool industry, a barbaric operation called “mulesing” is performed to prevent this condition, during which strips of flesh are cut from a lamb’s back and buttocks to create scar tissue that won’t collect moisture. However, this procedure is not always effective. Mulesing, in addition to castration, dehorning, and tail docking, is often performed without anesthetics, and infections from these mutilations can lead to a slow and agonizing death. Once sheep cease to produce quality wool, they are then shipped worldwide in overcrowded, multilevel ships to slaughterhouses without concern for their welfare.

Q: What can I do?

A: The best thing you can do is to not buy wool products. Check clothing labels and, if an item includes wool, put it back on the shelf. Wool may also be listed as mohair, pashmina, shahtoosh, or cashmere, but any kind of wool amounts to animal suffering.

If this information shocks you, you can help save the lives of animals everywhere from the horrors of the fur, leather, angora and down feather industries, too.

Q: Is there such a thing as “humane wool?”

A: While PETA states that “there is no such thing as humane wool,” wool suppliers have taken significant steps to establish more humane wool practices since PETA’s initial investigations into the industry, which caused widespread protest and millions of dollars in company losses. If you would still prefer wool clothing, be sure to enquire of the retailer whether their products are ethically sourced. The Merino Company, (http://www.merinocompany.com/index.asp), New Merino (http://newmerino.com.au/wp/brand-owners/mulesing/), and Plevna Downs (http://www.plevnadowns.com.au/index.htm) are three companies that pride themselves on supplying non-mulesed wool to numerous brands and retailers. Humane companies like these usually undergo auditing, on-site veterinarian evaluations, and something called a traceability, traceback, or “Sheep to Shelf” system, so that one can identify the growers (or even the individual sheep themselves!) who produced the wool. It might also be worth investigating smaller farms, societies, and organizations in your area that shear sheep as a heartfelt hobby and create only small amounts of wool products for limited distribution.

Q: What are the alternatives to wool?

Alternatives to wool include cotton, cotton flannel, hemp, bamboo, polyester fleece and other cruelty-free fibers. Two other options include Tencel, a new durable and biodegradable substitute, and Polartec Wind Pro, which is made from recycled plastic bottles and offers four times the wind resistance of wool. Check out PETA’s cruelty-free shopping guide for revealing information about the fashion industry and ethical alternatives to animal products.

By choosing an alternative, you will not only directly help the lives of sheep but also avoid the common problems with wool: prone to retaining unpleasant odors, open to moth and mildew damage, not very durable, expensive, difficult to clean, able to shrink and stain easily, very itchy and/or can cause allergies.

Do more for these gentle and intelligent beings that share many characteristics with us. Spread the word by sharing on Facebook and Twitter and ignite change this #WoolFreeWinter.

 

Online Resources

Schecter, A. (2014, July 19). PETA: There’s no such thing as humane wool. NBC News. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/peta-theres-no-such-thing-humane-wool-n151326

Withnall, A. (2014, July 10). US and Australia wool industries exposed in shocking undercover footage captured by animal rights group. The Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-and-australian-wool-industries-exposed-in-shocking-undercover-footage-captured-by-animal-rights-groups-9597552.html

PETA. (2014). The wool industry. Retrieved from http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/wool-industry/

PETA. (2014). Inside the wool industry (with bibliographic references). Retrieved from http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/animals-used-clothing-factsheets/inside-wool-industry/

PETA. (2014). International Expose: Sheep killed, punched, stomped on, and cut for wool. Retrieved from http://investigations.peta.org/australia-us-wool/

Galbraith, F. (2009). Died in the wool (with bibliographic references). Retrieved from http://www.thebigcoverup.org.uk/wool/

 

Animal Rights @ Falvey

Aaltola, E. (2012). Animal suffering: Philosophy and culture. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cohen, C., & Regan, T. (2001). The animal rights debate. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Garner, R. (2013). A theory of justice for animals: Animal rights in a nonideal world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gruen, L. (2011). Ethics and animals: An introduction. Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Linzey, A., & Clarke, P. A. B. (2004). Animal rights: A historical anthology. New York: Columbia University Press.

Regan, T. (2003). Animal rights, human wrongs: An introduction to moral philosophy. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Rowlands, M. (2009). Animal rights: Moral theory and practice (2nd rev. ed.). Houndmills, Basingstoke ; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Waldau, P. (2011). Animal rights: What everyone needs to know. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.


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Falvey Memorial Library 2014 Year in Review

2014 was a busy year for Falvey Memorial Library. We acknowledged successes, welcomed new faculty and nationally acclaimed authors, waxed nostalgic over Choose Your Own Adventure books, said goodbye to old friends and even opened a 3D ‘automatic virtual environment’ – the first CAVE ever situated in a library setting with reserved time for public access.  The following is a sample of our year in pictures. Enjoy!

Falvey Memorial Library 2014

Falvey Memorial Library 2014

2014-02-14 16.06.01

Who can forget “Spring” Semester of 2014…

...a wintry winter...

…a wintry winter…

...that eventually thawed.

…that eventually thawed.

A very busy event season gave patrons lots of choices!

A very busy event season gave patrons lots of choices!

Poets, scholars, politicians...

Poets, scholars, politicians…

Shakespeare turned 400...

Shakespeare turned 450…

Wilbur the Pig took on Oedipus...

Wilbur the Pig took on Oedipus…

Peeps took over the study rooms...

…Peeps took over the study rooms…

...and we celebrated Smart Money Week.

…and we celebrated Smart Money Week.

We offered tips...

We offered tips…

Help and smiles...

Help and smiles from now retired Donna Chadderton

...and opportunities to "Choose Your Own Adventure" at VU Pop II, which celebrated Interactive Fiction.

…and opportunities to “Choose Your Own Adventure” at VU Pop II, which celebrated Interactive Fiction.

We said goodbye to some old friends...

We said goodbye to some retiring old friends…Mimi DeLenge, Sue Connor and Marie R.,

Librarian Kimberley Bugg (off to pursue a PhD!)

Librarian Kimberley Bugg, (off to pursue a PhD!)

Kelly Forst and Corey Arnold

Graduate Assistants Kelly Forst and Corey Arnold

Susan Markley

and Librarian Susan Markley, who retired after 35 years of service to the University.

...and miss dear ones, like Jim Fox.

And we miss dear ones, like former Access Service ace and proud Villanova alumni Jim Fox, who passed away this year.

And we celebrated our Falvey Scholars

And we celebrated our Falvey Scholars, including

Noor F. Shaik

Noor F. Shaik

Student and community poets at our annual Open Mic Poetry exhibition

…and student and community poets at our annual Open Mic Poetry exhibition.

The Class of 2014 moved on...

The Class of 2014 moved on…

..and the CAVE began to move in

..and the CAVE began to move in

Along with improvements to Falvey Hall side patio

Along with improvements to Falvey Hall side patio

Continued progress on the daCortona masterpiece

Continued progress on the daCortona masterpiece

..and kudos for Dave Uspal, here celebrating his FACULTAS award with fellow tech team members, Dave Lacy and Chris Hallberg.

..and kudos for Dave Uspal, here celebrating his FACULTAS award with fellow tech team members, Dave Lacy and Chris Hallberg.

Before we knew it, summer was over and we were welcoming the Class of 2018!

Before we knew it, summer was over and we were welcoming the Class of 2018…

New Faculty Reception

New Faculty Reception

Multicultural Student Reception

Teresa A. Nance, PhD, Assistant Vice President, Multicultural Affairs Associate Professor at the annual Multicultural Student Reception in the Holy Grounds lounge, and

New interim director, Robert DeVos, PhD

and the Library’s new interim director, Robert DeVos, PhD.

Fall brought a new ACS display, a collaboration between First Year Experience Librarian Robert LeBlanc and ACS program faculty mentor Gregory Hoskins, PhD

Fall brought a new ACS display, a collaboration between First Year Experience Librarian Robert LeBlanc and ACS program faculty mentor Gregory Hoskins, PhD,

multiple WWI centennial exhibits, including Home Before the Leaves - wwionline.org - a collaboration between our Digital Library and other Great War scholars

multiple WWI centennial exhibits, including Home Before the Leaves – wwionline.org – a collaboration between our Digital Library and other Great War scholars,

A visit from Wes Moore, author of the One Book Villanova 2014-15 selection, The Other Wes Moore

A visit from Wes Moore, author of the One Book Villanova 2014-15 selection, The Other Wes Moore,

...and the opening of the CAVE facility.

…and the opening of the CAVE facility.

As fall semester rolled on

As fall semester rolled on

We reminded students to text a librarian,

We reminded students to text a librarian,

...ask questions!...

…ask questions!…

..and NOT get their pretzels in a twist over finals!!

..and NOT get their pretzels in a twist over finals!!

We said congrats to Access Services' Bill Greene for his 40th Year Service Anniversary (here he's getting a congrats kiss from Ann Stango!)

We said congrats to Access Services’ Bill Greene for his 40th Year Service Anniversary (here he’s getting a congrats kiss from Ann Stango!)

Business librarian and USC rep Linda Hauck made a beautiful contribution to the Villanova Holiday Bazaar (thanks, Linda!),

Business librarian and USC rep Linda Hauck made a beautiful contribution to the Villanova Holiday Bazaar (thanks, Linda!),

...and we decorated a tree!

…and we decorated a tree!

As 2014 rocks on into 2015, we want to thank all of the Villanova Community for a wonderful year. As Edith Lovejoy Pierce once said, "the book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."

As 2014 rocks on into 2015, we want to thank all of the Villanova Community for a wonderful year. As Edith Lovejoy Pierce once said, “the book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” Let’s all embrace this new, blessed opportunity to get it right.


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Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 25

ADVENT DAY 25

1 Day Till Christmas

“Trust” by Gerald Dierkes
Read by Gerald Dierkes
Submitted by Gerald Dierkes

Gerald Dierkes is an information services specialist, and one of three Falvey staff members to submit one of their own poems for the Advent calendar.

With this final post I would like to thank everyone who has followed along with our Advent calendar as we made our way towards Christmas, my colleagues for contributing their favorite poems, especially my colleagues who bravely shared their own beautiful work with us, and our graduate assistant Michelle for working with me to get each one of these posts up on our blog.

I hope you enjoy our final poem, written and read by Gerald Dierkes, a reflection on trust.

Trust

Joseph, Mary’s husband, did you feel shocked
to learn of Mary’s unplanned pregnancy?
_____________________________Betrayed
by her apparent infidelity
so soon after your commitment to each other?
_____________________________Confused
by Mary’s joy in anticipating her child’s birth?
_____________________________Overwhelmed
by her implausible explanation?
_____________________________Love
as you protected her from legal consequences
of her alleged adultery?
_____________________________Duty
as you accepted responsibility for her child?
_____________________-_______Judged
by your neighbors in your small community?
_____________________________Puzzled
by God’s plan?
_____Why didn’t God arrange things differently?

When Caesar Augustus’ decree forced you to
leave your home in Galilee,
journey to Bethlehem, and
cause Mary to travel in the ninth month of her pregnancy and
give birth away from her home, away from her family, did you ask,
_____Why didn’t God time things differently?

When you sought shelter at an inn for your obviously pregnant wife
—and were refused—
did you think, What gives, God? I’m trying to follow your will, aren’t I?
You persevered, though, finding a shelter for animals in which Mary could give birth,
without her mother, without a midwife, with only you at her side.
Mary did give birth, and God’s Son was born into our world.
_____Why didn’t God plan things differently?

Mere days later, the angel again directed you to change your plans,
this time fleeing to Egypt for an unspecified length of time,
causing your father, Jacob, and Mary’s mother, Ann, to wait years before seeing their grandson.
_____Why didn’t God do things differently?

Did you expect God’s will to be predictable, logical (by human standards), and non-challenging?
Did you ever pause, in your struggle to trust God, to consider how much He trusts you?


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Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 24

ADVENT DAY 24

2 Days Till Christmas

“Fra Moses And The Flowers” by Eleanor C. Donnelly
Read by Sarah Wingo
Submitted by Laura Bang

Laura Bang is Falvey’s Digital and Special Collections Curatorial Assistant, and she is found this wonderful historical poem to share. This poem comes from page 2 of the first issue of The Villanova Monthly, from January 1893. The Villanova Monthly was the first student newspaper, running from 1893-1897. Returning after a hiatus in 1916, the paper was renamed The Villanovan.

The poem itself is by Eleanor C. Donnelly (1838-1917), a local Philadelphia Catholic poet. Falvey has digitized the Eleanor C. Donnelly Papers from the American Catholic Historical Society, which can be viewed in our Digital Library.

Dec 23rd FraMosesAndTheFlowers

 

 


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Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 23

ADVENT DAY23

3 Days Till Christmas

little tree, by: E.E. Cummings
Read by Alan Davis Drake
Submitted by Melanie Wood

Melanie Wood is Falvey’s Academic Integration Technical Specialist. This poem is, to me, a simple and sweet reminder to take notice of and appreciate the beauty of the little things in life.


 

little tree, by: E.E. Cummings

 

little tree

little silent Christmas tree

you are so little

you are more like a flower

 

who found you in the green forest

and were you very sorry to come away?

see i will comfort you

because you smell so sweetly

 

i will kiss your cool bark

and hug you safe and tight

just as your mother would,

only don’t be afraid

 

look the spangles

that sleep all the year in a dark box

dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,

the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

 

put up your little arms

and i’ll give them all to you to hold

every finger shall have its ring

and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy

 

then when you’re quite dressed

you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see

and how they’ll stare!

oh but you’ll be very proud

 

and my little sister and i will take hands

and looking up at our beautiful tree

we’ll dance and sing

“Noel Noel”


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Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 22

ADVENT DAY 22

4 Days Until Christmas

“Approaching God,” “Eternal Encounter,” and “Life Cycles” by William L. Greene, Jr.
Read by William L. Greene, Jr. (Approaching GodEternal Encounter, Life Cycles)
Submitted by William L. Greene, Jr.

William L. Greene, Jr., or Bill as we know him, is an Access Services Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library and he submitted several of his own poems for our advent calendar.

 

Approaching God

Eternal Encounter

Life Cycles


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Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 21

ADVENT DAY 21

5 Days Till Christmas

This Is Just To Say, by William Carlos Williams
Read by Matthew Macfadyen
Submitted by Rebecca Whidden

Becky Whidden is an Access Services Specialist at Falvey. She shared the video for this poem with me when she heard about the poetry Advent calendar. I love this little poem and the video that Becky found to go with it. The poem itself is lacking in punctuation or rhyme, which makes it fairly ambiguous and open to the reader’s interpretation, which makes it a favorite among high school English teachers who in my experience have used it as a springboard for discussing meaning and interpretation in poetry. In some ways a Rorschach test with words.

At face value the poem is extremely simple, evoking the banal domestic image of a note left out on a table. However upon reading it, I personally can’t help but feel the sensual nature of the poem. The intimacy of a private note meant only to be shared between two people; the word choice “plums,” ‘icebox,” “forgive,” “delicious,” “sweet” something about the way these words feel when when spoken carries a richness that arouses the senses in complex and beautiful ways.


This Is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold


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Last Modified: December 20, 2014