Monday, April 26, 2010

Poetry Sings!

I think "Leave your sleep" has all the hallmarks of a brilliant project by Natalie Merchant, who is a musical artist I very much enjoy.

Several years ago, maybe 7ish?, there was a book published called Poetry Speaks, which had a broad selection of audio recordings of famous poetry read by the poets themselves. It was a fun way to experience poetry--certainly more varied than hearing myself read them (in my own head).

But Natalie Merchant adds a whole new dimension...multiple dimensions in fact to the first selecting a set of poems based on a theme just like an anthology of short stories (in this case on the theme of childhood/motherhood) and then putting the poems to music and singing what I guess could be called "songetry".

It is a mashup of musical and vocal composition (always present to some degree in singing) which adds tone and color that fleshes out a poetical anthology. Poems of course already have a rhythm and measure and character--but it has always lacked a dimension. Hearing the poems set to music is like going to watch a play performed, when one is accustomed to only reading the play on paper.

I've always understood that poetry (good poetry at least) takes fantastic skill to produce, but by and large its never really grabbed me the way other art forms do. While the content of poems is incredibly varied, the artform itself seems somehow constrained. This project of Natalie Merchant really opens up the artform.

It is a brilliant concept and hopefully Merchant keeps going and other artists find ways to build out the path Merchant has begun to explore.

Friday, April 16, 2010

10 days in December

So there have been a couple good headlines about solar in recent days. Two caught my eye in particular.

US grid tied PV grows 38% in 2009-- this is great news (especially given the god-awful economy in general in 2009), with a bottom line that the US installed 481 MW of new PV in 2009. California lead the country with about 46% of that.

but then I saw this:

Germany installed 3.8 GW of PV in 2009--with 1.46 GW installed in December alone!!!

Germany installed more PV in ten days in December than all the PV the US installed last year.

Keep in mind that Germany gets less sunlight than we do (except possibly in Alaska) and that December is winter in Germany, typically the slow season for installing solar.


That proves the power of the FIT!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Chicago Clean Power Coalition Event April 13th 2010

If you are interested in reducing pollution from coal burning plants in Chicago please come to an event on April 13th. There is going to be a press conference at 10am on the 2nd floor of City Hall--and the coalition wants to gather as many supporters as possible. Even a few extra people will make a difference.

I just learned about this earlier in the week and think the coalition is taking exactly the right steps! (I've copied information about the coalition below in case you are not already familiar with them.) You can join the group on Facebook, by tying in "Chicago Clean Power" or clicking here:!/group.php?v=info&ref=mf&gid=108629589167236

The Chicago Clean Power Coalition is a growing coalition of individuals and organizations campaigning to create a sustainable and clean energy economy for metropolitan Chicago.

The goals of the Clean Power Campaign are to:

* Reduce emissions from Fisk and Crawford generating stations, Chicago’s two coal-fired power plants (specifically particulate matter and CO2).

* Support increased renewable energy installations and energy efficiency in buildings citywide.

* Advocate for green job development and training programs to install renewables, retrofit buildings to be more energy efficient, and manufacture components for clean energy technologies.

You can join the Coalition at

or Just check us out at