A note from Caleb
Hello and happy April! Here in California we are hoping for April showers, though the May flowers would just be a bonus!
We are now a week removed from our last writing workshop of the winter session and officially looking ahead to our spring session of classes, beginning April 23rd. For more information on spring session sign-ups, scroll down to the classes and events section. In the meantime, please visit our Youtube channel and watch some of the terrific individual readings and playlists from the winter session, like Emma's from the Stone Soup workshop on Automatic Writing, below.
To kick off April, I want to provide a brief analysis of Music Lover by Selene Wong, the April issue's delightful cover image. Simply speaking, this painting is fun. The colors are vibrant, the subject is whimsical, and the slanted perspective of the piece highlights its jazzy, musical feel. The painting sets the tone for all of the issue's prose, poetry, and art, but perhaps for none better than Sevi Ann Stahl's rip-roaring poem "Roo's Song."
Reading the poem, and now sitting down to write about it, my mind is racing—like Roo, the poem's subject—with excitement. The poem's first line "The fur blurr enough slow to know it's her"—indeed the poem itself—is resemblant of the ecstatic energy of Lewis Carroll. Sevi could have easily opted for the grammatically correct "blurry" and gone on to write a good, maybe even great poem, but instead she takes a risk and elevates her poem to a masterpiece.
To begin, "blurr" is in and of itself playful—it is literally the effect of playing with language. "Blurr" also rhymes with its preceding word, "fur," as well as the final word of the line, "her," the effect of which is a whirlwind of rhyme that further connotes playfulness. Then, on top of creating an unusual rhyme structure, the chopped off syllable of "y" allows for a bounding rhythm to enter the poem. But what is truly brilliant is that all of of these complex formal choices work together to enact the simple content of the poem: a happy dog running through its neighborhood. I could go on about other delectable phrases in this poem, like "underbrush / or meadow of our yard," or "wishing of being a car," and attempt to contain their bursting energy long enough to analyze them, but to do so would take away from the poem's brilliance. Noiseless pleasure? No, this poem is so good, so coursing with the youthful juice of life that I want to "sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world" so that strangers may know the pleasure of "Roo's Song" by Sevi Ann Stahl.
For this weekend project I want you to do two things. First and foremost, I want you to enjoy yourselves. Be free! Run wild! Enjoy the beauty of nature that surrounds you. But, whatever you do, if you can, try and do it with a near reckless abandon; that is, do whatever it is you're doing for the sake of doing it, rather than as a means to an end. (In this case, try and forget that it's a part of the weekend project!) Then, when the weekend and the fun is over, try and recapture what you did and the feelings that came with it through a painting, a poem, a work of prose—anything!
Loudly from the rooftops of the world,
Fourth Annual Book Contest
Every year we recognize the top novel or poetry collection submitted to this contest. The first prize is for your book to be published by Stone Soup. Books by previous winners like Abhi Sukhdial, Tristan Hui, and Anya Geist, have garnered important national recognition. The deadline is Sunday, August 21, 2022 at midnight in your time zone. There is a $15 filing fee. The winning book will be published in September, 2023.
Highlights from the past week online
Don't miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at Stonesoup.com!
In a work of ekphrasis, Ella, 14, wrote a hauntingly beautiful story based on Van Gogh's Starry Night.
Check out Anirudh Parthasarathy's in-depth review/essay entitled "The Relevance of Fahrenheit 451!"
Classes & Events
Join us this spring as we are once again offering two writing classes—William Rubel's, Saturdays at 9 AM Pacific, and Conner Bassett's, Saturdays at 11 AM Pacific—as well as Book Club with Maya Mahony Saturday April 30 and Saturday May 28 at 9 AM Pacific. We're sorry not to offer a short form filmmaking class with Isidore Bethel this go-round, but hope to once again offer it in the future. In the meantime, please watch some of the amazing short films our students made in the fall session of 2020.
Young Inklings Studio Summer Camps
Please register for the Young Author's Studio Summer Camps offered by the Society of Young Inklings! A few members of the Stone Soup team—Book Club Facilitator Maya Mahony, Refugee Project Coordinator Laura Moran, and Caleb Berg—are all offering classes. Maya's class on Identity and Imagination takes place July 25-28 at 1-3 pm pacific time, Laura's class on the Anthropology of the Everyday on June 13-16 at 9 am pacific, and Caleb's class on Literature in Miniature on June 27-30 at 9 am pacific. More classes will go live as we get closer to summer, so make sure to look out for updates!
By Sevi Ann Stahl, 10 (Bend, OR)
The fur blurr enough slow to know it’s her
that a foot or maybe a wild ear
she turns the corner
ripping sod, leaving a heap to run through
as she comes leaping through the underbrush
or meadow of our yard
making sounds of happiness and wishing of being a car
to vroom down those highways of pavement,
tail spinning, she turns the next corner
leaping, becoming a bird for one fleeting moment
before landing with a plop on the ground
as she skids to a stop
finally over with her own song, Roo’s song,
of noiseless pleasure.
Stone Soup is published by Children’s Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization registered
in the United States of America, EIN: 23-7317498.
Stone Soup's advisors: Abby Austin, Mike Axelrod, Annabelle Baird, Jem Burch, Evelyn Chen, Juliet Fraser, Zoe Hall, Montanna Harling, Alicia & Joe Havilland, Lara Katz, Rebecca Kilroy, Christine Leishman, Julie Minnis, Jessica Opolko, Tara Prakash, Denise Prata, Logan Roberts, Emily Tarco, Rebecca Ramos Velasquez, Susan Wilky.