This is the official blog of Northern Arizona slam poet Christopher Fox Graham. Begun in 2002, and transferred to blogspot in 2006, FoxTheBlog has recorded more than 670,000 hits since 2009. This blog cover's Graham's poetry, the Arizona poetry slam community and offers tips for slam poets from sources around the Internet. Read CFG's full biography here. Looking for just that one poem? You know the one ... click here to find it.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

"These are the forgeries of jealous" performed by Ayesha Dharker

 
Ayesha Dharker plays Titania, the queen of the fairies in "A Midsummer Night’s Dream." Titania has quarrelled with Oberon, king of the fairies. As the pair have control over the weather, their argument leads to a vision of nature’s chaos.

from "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," spoken by Titania, Queen of the Fairies

BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

These are the forgeries of jealousy:
And never, since the middle summer's spring,
Met we on hill, in dale, forest or mead,
By paved fountain or by rushy brook,
Or in the beached margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
But with thy brawls thou hast disturb'd our sport.
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea
Contagious fogs; which falling in the land
Have every pelting river made so proud
That they have overborne their continents:
The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat, and the green corn
Hath rotted ere his youth attain'd a beard;
The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
And crows are fatted with the murrion flock;
The nine men's morris is fill'd up with mud,
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green
For lack of tread are undistinguishable:
The human mortals want their winter here;
No night is now with hymn or carol blest:
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound:
And thorough this distemperature we see
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Far in the fresh lap of the crimson rose,
And on old Hiems' thin and icy crown
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set: the spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter, change
Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which:
And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissension;
We are their parents and original. 

Friday, May 6, 2022

Sedona Poetry Slam hosts final slam of season Saturday, May 14, at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre


The Sedona Poetry Slam has reached the final slam of the season before the summer break Saturday, May 14. Performance poets will bring high-energy, competitive spoken word to the Mary D. Fisher Theatre starting at 7:30 p.m.

If you have told your friends you were going to attend a poetry slam this year, but haven't yet, this is your last chance to see what you've been anticipating.

A poetry slam is like a series of high-energy, three-minute one-person plays, judged by the audience. Anyone can sign up to compete in the slam for the $75 grand prize and $25 second-place prize. To compete in the slam, poets will need three original poems, each lasting no longer than three minutes. No props, costumes nor musical accompaniment are permitted. The poets are judged Olympics-style by five members of the audience selected at random at the beginning of the slam.


Slam poetry is an art form that allows written page poets to share their work alongside theatrical performers, hip-hop artists and lyricists. Poets come from as far away as Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff, competing against adult poets from Sedona and Cottonwood, college poets from Northern Arizona University and youth poets from Sedona Red Rock High School. All types of poetry are welcome on the stage, from street-wise hip-hop and narrative performance poems, to political rants and introspective confessionals. Any poem is a "slam" poem if performed in a competition. All poets get three minutes per round to entertain and inspire the audience with their creativity.

Mary D. Fisher Theatre is located at 2030 W. SR 89A, Suite A-3, in West Sedona. Tickets are $12. For tickets, call 282-1177 or visit SedonaFilmFestival.org.

The Sedona Poetry Slam will return for its 14th season the fall.


The prize money is funded in part by a donation from Verde Valley poetry supporters Jeanne and Jim Freeland.

Email foxthepoet@yahoo.com to sign up early to compete or by the Friday before the slam or at the door the day of the slam. Poets who want to compete should purchase a ticket in case the roster is filled before they arrive.

For more information, visit sedonafilmfestival.com or foxthepoet.blogspot.com.


What is Poetry Slam?

Founded at the Green Mill Tavern in Chicago in 1984 by Marc Smith, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport designed to get people who would otherwise never go to a poetry reading excited about the art form when it becomes a high-energy competition. Poetry slams are judged by five randomly chosen members of the audience who assign numerical value to individual poets' contents and performances.


Poetry slam has become an international artistic sport, with more than 100 major poetry slams in the United States, Canada, Australia and Western Europe. Slam poets have opened at the Winter Olympics, performed at the White House and at the United Nations General Assembly and were featured on "Russell Simmons' Def Poets" on HBO.

Sedona has sent four-poet teams to represent the city at the National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C., Boston, Cambridge, Mass., Oakland, Calif., Decatur, Ga., Denver and Chicago. 

Friday, April 15, 2022

"You call me misbeliever" performed by Konstantinos Kavakiotis

 
Konstantinos Kavakiotis speaks Shylock’s lines from "The Merchant of Venice," Act I, Scene 3, in which the moneylender responds to a request for a loan by reminding his adversary, Antonio, of the times he has insulted him and explains to one of his clients why racism is not good for business.
 
"The Other Solos" are a series of Shakespeare monologues that deal with issues of identity, migration, power and exile, performed by actors whose mother tongue is not English. This project was developed in response to recent world events and the increasing sentiment against migration in the media and Western society.

from "The Merchant of Venice," spoken by Shylock

BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Signior Antonio, many a time and oft
In the Rialto you have rated me
About my moneys and my usances:
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug, 
For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe. 
You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, 
And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,
And all for use of that which is mine own.
Well then, it now appears you need my help:
Go to, then; you come to me, and you say
'Shylock, we would have moneys:' you say so;
You, that did void your rheum upon my beard
And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur
Over your threshold: moneys is your suit
What should I say to you? Should I not say
'Hath a dog money? is it possible
A cur can lend three thousand ducats?' Or
Shall I bend low and in a bondman's key,
With bated breath and whispering humbleness, Say this; 
'Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last;
You spurn'd me such a day; another time
You call'd me dog; and for these courtesies
I'll lend you thus much moneys'?

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Langston Hughes recites "The Weary Blues"

Poet Langston Hughes recites his poem, "The Weary Blues" (1925) to jazz accompaniment with the Doug Parker Band on the CBUT (CBC Vancouver) program "The 7 O'Clock Show" in 1958. 
Host Bob Quintrell introduces the performance.

"The Weary Blues"


BY LANGSTON HUGHES

Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
I heard a Negro play.
Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
He did a lazy sway. . . .
He did a lazy sway. . . .
To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.
With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
O Blues!
Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
Sweet Blues!
Coming from a black man’s soul.
O Blues!
In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan—
“Ain’t got nobody in all this world,
Ain’t got nobody but ma self.
I’s gwine to quit ma frownin’
And put ma troubles on the shelf.”

Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
He played a few chords then he sang some more—
“I got the Weary Blues
And I can’t be satisfied.
Got the Weary Blues
And can’t be satisfied—
I ain’t happy no mo’
And I wish that I had died.”
And far into the night he crooned that tune.
The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singer stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that’s dead.

from The Collected Works of Langston Hughes.


Friday, March 18, 2022

Spoken word artists invited to compete at Sedona Poetry Slam on Saturday, April 23

The penultimate installment of a series is often one the best, and that will be the case as the Sedona Poetry Slam returns for its penultimate slam of the season Saturday, April 23.

Performance poets will bring high-energy, competitive spoken word to the Mary D. Fisher Theatre starting at 7:30 p.m. 

A poetry slam is like a series of high-energy, three-minute one-person plays, judged by the audience. 

Anyone Can Compete

Anyone can sign up to compete in the slam for the $75 grand prize and $25 second-place prize. To compete in the slam, poets will need three original poems, each lasting no longer than three minutes. No props, costumes nor musical accompaniment are permitted. The poets are judged Olympics-style by five members of the audience selected at random at the beginning of the slam.

Slam poetry is an art form that allows written page poets to share their work alongside theatrical performers, hip-hop artists and lyricists. Poets come from as far away as Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff, competing against adult poets from Sedona and Cottonwood, college poets from Northern Arizona University and youth poets from Sedona Red Rock High School. All types of poetry are welcome on the stage, from street-wise hip-hop and narrative performance poems, to political rants and introspective confessionals. Any poem is a "slam" poem if performed in a competition. All poets get three minutes per round to entertain and inspire the audience with their creativity.

Mary D. Fisher Theatre is located at 2030 W. SR 89A, Suite A-3, in West Sedona. Tickets are $12. For tickets, call 282-1177 or visit SedonaFilmFestival.org.

The final poetry slam of the season will be held Saturday, May 14.

The prize money is funded in part by a donation from Verde Valley poetry supporters Jeanne and Jim Freeland.

Email foxthepoet@yahoo.com to sign up early to compete or by the Friday before the slam or at the door the day of the slam. Poets who want to compete should purchase a ticket in case the roster is filled before they arrive. 

For more information, visit sedonafilmfestival.com or foxthepoet.blogspot.com.

What is Poetry Slam? 

Founded at the Green Mill Tavern in Chicago in 1984 by Marc Smith, poetry slam is a competitive artistic sport designed to get people who would otherwise never go to a poetry reading excited about the art form when it becomes a high-energy competition. Poetry slams are judged by five randomly chosen members of the audience who assign numerical value to individual poets' contents and performances.

Poetry slam has become an international artistic sport, with more than 100 major poetry slams in the United States, Canada, Australia and Western Europe. Slam poets have opened at the Winter Olympics, performed at the White House and at the United Nations General Assembly and were featured on "Russell Simmon's Def Poets" on HBO.

Sedona has sent four-poet teams to represent the city at the National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C., Boston, Cambridge, Mass., Oakland, Calif., Decatur, Ga., Denver and Chicago.




Tuesday, March 15, 2022

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" performed by Damien Lewis


Damian Lewis performs Antony’s lines from Act III, Scene 2 of Julius Caesar. Marc Antony has been granted permission to speak at Caesar’s funeral so long as he does not implicate the conspirators in his death, but he skillfully turns the crowd against them.

from "Julius Caesar," spoken by Marc Antony

BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest–
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men–
Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Artemis Leia Aurora Claire River Song Éowyn Fox Graham's House Crest

 This is the official House Crest of our daughter, Artemis Leia Aurora Claire River Song Éowyn Fox Graham:


All nine of her names are represented:

Artemis:

Artemis ("Ἄρτεμις" in Greek) is the Greek goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, wild animals, the Moon and chastity.

Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities, and her temple at Ephesus was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Various conflicting accounts are given in Classical Greek mythology regarding the birth of Artemis and Apollo, her twin brother. However, in terms of parentage, all accounts agree that she was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and that she was the twin sister of Apollo. 

In some sources, she is born at the same time as Apollo, in others, earlier or later.

"Leto bore Apollo and Artemis, delighting in arrows,
Both of lovely shape like none of the heavenly gods,
As she joined in love to the Aegis-bearing ruler."
— Hesiod, Theogony, lines 918–920 (written in the 7th century BCE)

Artemis, the goddess of forests and hills, was worshipped throughout ancient Greece. Her best known cults were on her birthplace island of Delos, in Attica at Brauron and Mounikhia near Piraeus, and in Sparta. She was often depicted in paintings and statues in a forest setting, carrying a bow and arrows and accompanied by a hind.

The ancient Spartans used to sacrifice to her as one of their patron goddesses before starting a new military campaign.

According to one of the Homeric Hymns to Artemis, she had a golden bow and arrows, as her epithet was Khryselakatos ("she of the golden shaft") and Iokheira ("showered by arrows"). The arrows of Artemis could also bring sudden death and disease to girls and women. Artemis got her bow and arrow for the first time from the Cyclopes, as the one she asked from her father. The bow of Artemis also became the witness of Callisto's oath of her virginity.

Deer were the only animals held sacred to Artemis herself. On seeing a deer larger than a bull with horns shining, she fell in love with these creatures and held them sacred. Deer were also the first animals she captured. She caught five golden horned deer and harnessed them to her chariot. The third labour of Heracles, commanded by Eurystheus, consisted of catching the Cerynitian Hind alive. Heracles begged Artemis for forgiveness and promised to return it alive. Artemis forgave him but targeted Eurystheus for her wrath.

Epithets
  • As Aeginaea, she was worshipped in Sparta; the name means either huntress of chamois, or the wielder of the javelin (αἰγανέα).
  • In Sparta, Artemis Lygodesma was worshipped. This epithet means "willow-bound" from the Greek lygos and desmos. The willow tree appears in several ancient Greek myths and rituals. According to Pausanias, a statue of Artemis was found by the brothers Astrabacus and Alopecus under a bush of willows, by which it was surrounded in such a manner that it stood upright.
  • As Artemis Orthia (Ὀρθία, "upright") and was common to the four villages originally constituting Sparta: Limnai, in which it is situated, Pitana, Kynosoura, and Mesoa.
  • In Athens she was worshipped under the epithet Aristo ("the best").
  • Also in Athens, she was worshipped as Aristoboule, "the best adviser".
  • As Artemis Isora also known as Isoria or Issoria, in the temple at the Issorium near lounge of the Crotani (the body of troops named the Pitanatae) near Pitane, Sparta. Pausanias mentions that although the locals refer to her as Artemis Isora, he says "They surname her also Lady of the Lake, though she is not really Artemis hut Britomartis of Crete."
  • She was worshipped at Naupactus as Aetole; in her temple in that town, there was a statue of white marble representing her throwing a javelin. This "Aetolian Artemis" would not have been introduced at Naupactus, anciently a place of Ozolian Locris, until it was awarded to the Aetolians by Philip II of Macedon. Strabo records another precinct of "Aetolian Artemos" at the head of the Adriatic. As Agoraea she was the protector of the agora.
  • As Agrotera, she was especially associated as the patron goddess of hunters. In Athens Artemis was often associated with the local Aeginian goddess, Aphaea. As Potnia Theron, she was the patron of wild animals; Homer used this title. As Kourotrophos, she was the nurse of youths. As Locheia, she was the goddess of childbirth and midwives.
  • She was sometimes known as Cynthia, from her birthplace on Mount Cynthus on Delos, or Amarynthia from a festival in her honor originally held at Amarynthus in Euboea.
  • She was sometimes identified by the name Phoebe, the feminine form of her brother Apollo's solar epithet Phoebus.
  • Alphaea, Alpheaea, or Alpheiusa (Gr. Ἀλφαῖα, Ἀλφεαία, or Ἀλφειοῦσα) was an epithet that Artemis derived from the river god Alpheius, who was said to have been in love with her. It was under this name that she was worshipped at Letrini in Elis and in Ortygia. Artemis Alphaea was associated with the wearing of masks, largely because of the legend that while fleeing the advances of Alpheius, she and her nymphs escaped him by covering their faces.
  • As Artemis Anaitis, the 'Persian Artemis' was identified with Anahita. As Apanchomene, she was worshipped as a hanged goddess.
  • She was also worshiped as Artemis Tauropolos, variously interpreted as "worshipped at Tauris", "pulled by a yoke of bulls", or "hunting bull goddess". A statue of Artemis "Tauropolos" in her temple at Brauron in Attica was supposed to have been brought from the Taurians by Iphigenia. Tauropolia was also a festival of Artemis in Athens. There was a Tauropolion, a temple in a temenos sacred to Artemis Tauropolos, in the north Aegean island of Doliche (Ikaria). There is a Temple to Artemis Tauropolos located on the eastern shore of Attica, in the modern town of Artemida (Loutsa). An aspect of the Taurian Artemis was also worshipped as Aricina.
  • At Castabala in Cilicia there was a sanctuary of Artemis Perasia. Strabo wrote that: "some tell us over and over the same story of Orestes and Tauropolos, asserting that she was called Perasian because she was brought from the other side."
  • Pausanias at the Description of Greece writes that near Pyrrhichus, there was a sanctuary of Artemis called Astrateias, with an image of the goddess said to have been dedicated by the Amazons. He also wrote that at Pheneus there was a sanctuary of Artemis, which the legend said that it was founded by Odysseus when he lost his mares and when he traversed Greece in search of them, he found them on this site. For this the goddess was called Heurippa), meaning horse finder.
  • One of the epithets of Artemis was Chitone. Ancient writers believed that the epithet derived from the chiton that the goddess was wearing as a huntress or from the clothes in which newborn infants were dressed being sacred to her or from the Attic village of Chitone.[84] Syracusans had a dance sacred to the Chitone Artemis. At the Miletus there was a sanctuary of Artemis Chitone and was one of the oldest sanctuaries in the city.
  • The epithet Leucophryne, derived from the city of Leucophrys. At the Magnesia on the Maeander there was a sanctuary dedicated to her. In addition, the sons of Themistocles dedicated a statue to her at the Acropolis of Athens, because Themistocles had once ruled the Magnesia. Bathycles of Magnesia dedicated a statue of her at Amyclae.

Artemis Program and the Orion Spacecraft

As Odysseus and Artemis grow up, they'll watch the Artemis program, whose primary goal is to return humans to the Moon, specifically the lunar south pole, by 2025. It has 11 launches planned between 2022 and 2033 with Artemis III landing two people on the Moon in 2025.

The Artemis Program will launch the Orion spacecraft to the moon, thus linking Artemis Leia Aurora Claire River Song Éowyn Fox Graham to her twin brother Odysseus Luke Saturn Langston Lee Calvin Orion Fox Graham.

Artemis I Mission Patch

The Artemis program began in December 2017 as the reorganization and continuation of successive efforts to revitalize the U.S. space program since 2009. Its stated short-term goal is landing the first woman on the Moon; mid-term objectives include establishing an international expedition team and a sustainable human presence on the Moon. Long-term objectives are laying the foundations for the extraction of lunar resources, and eventually, make crewed missions to Mars and beyond feasible
The Orion Spacecraft in the Artemis I mission





Artemis as an archer, mid-draw, mid-leap with a bow doubling as a crescent moon, with a hind accompanying her:

Leia:

Princess Leia Skywalker Organa Solo, from Star Wars, is a Force-sensitive political and military leader who served in the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Imperial Era and the New Republic and Resistance in the subsequent New Republic Era, portrayed in films by Carrie Fisher. Introduced in the original "Star Wars" film in 1977, Leia is princess of the planet Alderaan, a member of the Imperial Senate and an agent of the Rebel Alliance. She thwarts Sith lord Darth Vader -- later revealed to be her father, the fallen Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker -- and helps bring about the destruction of the Empire's cataclysmic superweapon, the Death Star. In "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980), Leia commands the Rebel base on Hoth, evades Vader as she falls in love with the smuggler Han Solo. In "Return of the Jedi" (1983), Leia helps in the operation to rescue Han from the crime lord Jabba the Hutt and is revealed to be Vader's daughter and the twin sister of Luke Skywalker. She and Solo lead the ground forces on the forest moon of Endor to shut down the shield generator protecting the second Death Star under construction so the Rebel navy could strike its power core and destroy it.

Born in 19 BBY as Leia Amidala Skywalker, she was the biological offspring of the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and Senator Padmé Amidala of Naboo. Her birth occurred on Polis Massa, an obscure planetoid deep in the Outer Rim, in the aftermath of the Clone Wars, which saw the Jedi Order purged and the Galactic Republic reorganized into the Galactic Empire.  The Skywalker twins were born there and given names by their mother Padmé Amidala, former Queen and later Senator of Naboo, before she died, depicted in "Revenge of the Sith."

With her mother's death in childbirth and her father's fall to the dark side of the Force, Leia and her twin brother Luke Skywalker were separated to keep them hidden from the Sith Lords Darth Sidious and Darth Vader. As the adopted daughter of a politician, Leia Organa eventually succeeded Bail by representing their homeworld in the Imperial Senate, though secretly she supported the Rebellion. During the Galactic Civil War, however, Alderaan was destroyed along with its inhabitants and the royal family by the Empire's DS-1 Death Star Mobile Battle Station, causing Organa to openly fight the New Order as a leader of the Rebel Alliance.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Endor, Organa married the Corellian smuggler Han Solo and learned the Jedi arts as her brother's apprentice until giving birth to her son, Ben Solo, on the day of the Empire's capitulation in 5 ABY. 

Luke training Leia lightsaber combat on Ajan Kloss

Following the Battle of Endor, Luke trained his sister as a first Jedi apprentice on Ajan Kloss, but Leia ended her training after the birth of her son and seeing his death as a result of finishing her knighthood.


Her personal and political life suffered in the years that followed, with Ben turning to the dark side like his grandfather before him, adopting the persona of Kylo Ren, and the Galactic Senate sidelining Organa's career. Adopting the military rank of general, she led the Resistance during the Cold War and sought to make amends with Ben. Despite her efforts, the First Order succeeded in destroying the New Republic, and Organa's husband died at the hand of their estranged son in 34 ABY. Organa continued to lead the Resistance during the war against the First Order, all the while training Rey—a Force-sensitive scavenger from Jakku—as a Jedi.

As her health declined, Organa used her remaining strength to reach her son, calling him back to the light side of the Force. Following her death on Ajan Kloss in 35 ABY, the Resistance defeated the forces of the reborn Darth Sidious's Sith Eternal on Exegol, and inspired an uprising against the First Order across the galaxy. The heir to three inheritances, Leia Skywalker Organa Solo's legacy passed on to the Jedi Rey Skywalker, the military leader Poe Dameron of the Resistance, and Ben Solo, her only son, who ultimately returned to the light and sacrificed himself for Rey.

Like her brother, Leia was trained as a Jedi Knight, as seen in "The Rise of Skywalker" and had her own lightsaber:

Leia's lightsaber appears in Artemis Leia Aurora Claire River Song Éowyn Fox Graham's crest in the same location and same length as Luke Skywalker's lightsaber in Odysseus Luke Langston Lee Calvin Orion Fox Graham's crest because they are twins.

Aurora:

An aurora, also known as the polar lights or aurora polaris, is a natural light display in Earth's sky, predominantly seen in high-latitude regions around the Arctic and Antarctic.

Auroras display dynamic patterns of brilliant lights that appear as curtains, rays, spirals, or dynamic flickers covering the entire sky.

Auroras are the result of disturbances in the magnetosphere caused by solar wind. These disturbances alter the trajectories of charged particles in the magnetospheric plasma. These particles, mainly electrons and protons, precipitate into the upper thermosphere and exosphere. The resulting ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents emit light of varying colour and complexity. The form of the aurora, occurring within bands around both polar regions, is also dependent on the amount of acceleration imparted to the precipitating particles.

Most of the planets in the Solar System, some natural satellites, brown dwarfs, and even comets also host auroras.

A full understanding of the physical processes which lead to different types of auroras is still incomplete, but the basic cause involves the interaction of the solar wind with Earth's magnetosphere. The varying intensity of the solar wind produces effects of different magnitudes but includes one or more of the following physical scenarios.

  1. A quiescent solar wind flowing past Earth's magnetosphere steadily interacts with it and can both inject solar wind particles directly onto the geomagnetic field lines that are 'open', as opposed to being 'closed' in the opposite hemisphere, and provide diffusion through the bow shock. It can also cause particles already trapped in the radiation belts to precipitate into the atmosphere. Once particles are lost to the atmosphere from the radiation belts, under quiet conditions, new ones replace them only slowly, and the loss-cone becomes depleted. In the magnetotail, however, particle trajectories seem constantly to reshuffle, probably when the particles cross the very weak magnetic field near the equator. As a result, the flow of electrons in that region is nearly the same in all directions ("isotropic") and assures a steady supply of leaking electrons. The leakage of electrons does not leave the tail positively charged, because each leaked electron lost to the atmosphere is replaced by a low energy electron drawn upward from the ionosphere. Such replacement of "hot" electrons by "cold" ones is in complete accord with the second law of thermodynamics. The complete process, which also generates an electric ring current around Earth, is uncertain.
  2. Geomagnetic disturbance from an enhanced solar wind causes distortions of the magnetotail ("magnetic substorms"). These 'substorms' tend to occur after prolonged spells (on the order of hours) during which the interplanetary magnetic field has had an appreciable southward component. This leads to a higher rate of interconnection between its field lines and those of Earth. As a result, the solar wind moves magnetic flux (tubes of magnetic field lines, 'locked' together with their resident plasma) from the day side of Earth to the magnetotail, widening the obstacle it presents to the solar wind flow and constricting the tail on the night-side. Ultimately some tail plasma can separate ("magnetic reconnection"); some blobs ("plasmoids") are squeezed downstream and are carried away with the solar wind; others are squeezed toward Earth where their motion feeds strong outbursts of auroras, mainly around midnight ("unloading process"). A geomagnetic storm resulting from greater interaction adds many more particles to the plasma trapped around Earth, also producing enhancement of the "ring current". Occasionally the resulting modification of Earth's magnetic field can be so strong that it produces auroras visible at middle latitudes, on field lines much closer to the equator than those of the auroral zone.
  3. Acceleration of auroral charged particles invariably accompanies a magnetospheric disturbance that causes an aurora. This mechanism, which is believed to predominantly arise from strong electric fields along the magnetic field or wave-particle interactions, raises the velocity of a particle in the direction of the guiding magnetic field. The pitch angle is thereby decreased and increases the chance of it being precipitated into the atmosphere. Both electromagnetic and electrostatic waves, produced at the time of greater geomagnetic disturbances, make a significant contribution to the energizing processes that sustain an aurora. Particle acceleration provides a complex intermediate process for transferring energy from the solar wind indirectly into the atmosphere.

The details of these phenomena are not fully understood. However, it is clear that the prime source of auroral particles is the solar wind feeding the magnetosphere, the reservoir containing the radiation zones and temporarily magnetically-trapped particles confined by the geomagnetic field, coupled with particle acceleration processes.

Both Jupiter and Saturn have magnetic fields that are stronger than Earth's (Jupiter's equatorial field strength is 4.3 Gauss, compared to 0.3 Gauss for Earth), and both have extensive radiation belts. Auroras have been observed on both gas planets, most clearly using the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Cassini and Galileo spacecraft, as well as on Uranus and Neptune.

Claire:

I met Claire Pearson at 8:35 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, in Sedona and she has become one of our dearest friends. Aside from being on several Flagstaff Poetry Slam Teams with me, we've had her babysat Athena and she read a poem at our wedding:


“Wedding Poem”

by Claire Pearson

friends! family! honored guests! ne’er do wells and those here to settle any outstanding bets (it's me, i probably owe somebody money about all of this)!

welcome and rejoice!

for we are gathered here beneath the twin-trunked wedding tree because the inevitable march of time has been kind enough to deem it so, and there’s no other place i’d rather be than here with all of you

we are here for one reason and one reason alone, to celebrate the ritual union of the fairy queen and the eternal bachelor,

a mythic marriage foretold only in legend, daydream, fever dream, napkin poem, tarot cards, and coffee grounds etc etc until today!

today, we rejoice for the whiskey binge is purely ceremonial and there will be no witches showing up to curse the firstborn,
because we invited the whole town on the internet!!
and there is no sad crying allowed!
only happy tears, like if i came over there, bottled up your tear and froze them, they’d look super pretty under a microscope.

today we are gathered to witness the Grand Duet’s opening melody of the Magnum Opus between
she who first appeared in The Dream
wreathed in a cloud of coconut scented moonlight,
wearing a crown of piano keys and citrine
lucky lucky, how the arrow from your heartstring bow flies True, dear Archer

and he who could have grown an entire peach orchard with the amount of paper used as the backbone of thousand love poems used to prophecize this meeting,
who urged the water within him to rise to meet her

and thank goodness you rose to the occasion,
cause people like this don’t show up every blue moon
and you would have to be the Dumbest Man Alive not to recognize the pillar of light before you.

fact

so we are here to celebrate the realization of The Dream
where the love of your life loves you back and the up-close kind of ache that comes with the longing- dissipates, like a specter in the sunlight
joy is the only thing living in this heart anymore
there’s no more time to walk romance ghosts, may they move on in peace

newlyweds!
may you always have lunchbox love notes to line your pockets and never, ever forget them at work

may red chrysanthemums and white heather bloom in the peach pits of your dimples as an eternal twinkling blush, like you two are the only people on earth in on the juiciest secret
like “yeah, we’ve seen each other naked long enough to have a baby.
and that baby is gonna go on to save the world someday.
so yeah, you’re welcome, universe”

may the coffee be hot, the whiskey cold, the basil fresh, and there be enough rest for all three of you

and may you never forget that laura is so far out of your league that you aren’t even playing the same game. like, laura is playing professional soccer and you play wii tennis.
so like, remember that you’re too good for him and you are a shining gem of a woman.

so on behalf of all of us,
fox,
don’t mess this up

you both have touched upon something holy
carry it with you
always 

I was interviewed Pearson by a student at Northern Arizona University in October 2014. These were my answers.

1) How long have you know Claire Pearson?

A few hours short of 14 months. I met Claire Pearson at 8:35 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, at 34°51'56.5"N 111°47'42.2"W, beneath the light in a parking lot whereupon we spoke for the better part of two hours about our views of poetry, poetic theory, the ghosts of dead men and the lack of good coffee shops catering to the 18 to 21 crowd in Sedona.

2) How have you seen her grow?

In the time I have known her, she has grown approximately 1/6th of an inch, if measured from heel to crown, ignoring variations in stance, pose and bouffant. Based on these observations, I expect that if her rate of growth is logarithmic, she will grow at most an inch by the time she is of legal drinking age, although I suspect she will still be carded until at least age 30 due to her height and unusually large neotenic eyes, although if her rate of growth is linear, by the time she is 100 years old, she will be 11.57 inches taller.

When I first met Claire Pearson, she was a veteran and the de facto captain of the Sedona youth poetry slam team, Young Voices Be Heard, and had competed at several Brave New Voices regionals.
As a Brave New Voices veteran, she knew as coaches many of the national and regional slam poets that I knew as peers.

Although loosely affiliated, Brave New Voices and Poetry Slam Inc. are two separate nonprofit poetry slam organizations. Many “adult” slam poets who have an affinity to mentoring young people crossover from the PSI scene to coach local youth teams in their home cities, while many others leave the PSI scene altogether to coach BNV teams exclusively. As structured in relation to PSI, BNV sees itself as the minor league of PSI, grooming young talent who “graduate” into the big leagues of PSI.
As a high school graduate but not yet 19 years old when I met her, Pearson was effectively at the peak of her growth in BNV and was about to age out of eligibility. She was looking to continue slamming as an adult and I provided the means to introduce her into Northern Arizona’s PSI scene.
Coming into the adult scene already with years of writing and slamming experience behind her, Pearson was able to skip passed the angst-ridden and derivative poetry that many first-year adult slam poets create before they find their voice.

Pearson had already found her voice as a heavily metaphoric, narrative poet with confessional and quasi-romantic tendencies by the time I was introduced to her work. Through slamming against college students and adults twice and three times her age, she has made her work edgier and more accessible to general audiences while still maintaining her metaphoric imagery.

Pearson has learned how to write from a feminine perspective in a competitive linguistic sport that is all too often dominated by the male gaze. She has also been able to exorcise many of those ghosts of dead men, whom she still holds dear but which no longer dictate what and how she writes exclusively. Most importantly, she has moved from being a confident though sometimes timid poet to being to hold her own in slams against national poets, some of whom have toured professionally or competed on the finals stage at the Individual World Poetry Slam.

3) How can you tell she loves slamming and poetry?

Pearson is open to criticism of her work as well as offering criticism of others, not just in the surface of performance flubs or cliché lines, but in the root and structure of the poems and performances. After a slam, we can discuss the atmosphere of the room or why a poem did or didn’t work given the particulars of the audience and the poems, showing that she is not just waiting to read but is critically listening to the work on the stage and how it is presented.

Pearson makes the trip from Sedona to slam in Flagstaff weekly or at least attend the slams as a spectator. She earned a slot on the FlagSlam National Poetry Slam Team in her first year, an accomplishment very few poets have been able to achieve as it usually takes several years to work up the skill and talent to win a slot.

Pearson attends slams outside her home city, which is also something many young poets, especially those in a relatively isolated city like Flagstaff, do not do. In part, she has a network of friends in the poetry scene which makes traveling less intimidating and more of an adventure, but she also has learned how to adapt her work to audiences of differing demographics rather than repeating poems by rote in hopes that they stick with audiences regardless of location. She doesn’t slam just to win, like many poets do without understanding the “why”, nor does she slam just to vent, but rather uses to the experience in whole and in part to develop herself as an artist. That dedication to grow artistically is why audience members who see her week after week are willing to reward her effort, even if as a Sedona émigré she is outside the clique engendered by the somewhat insular Flagstaff poetry scene.

4) What makes her stand out from other slammers and poets?

Pearson offers a voice unique to Flagstaff as a veteran poet. Due to the transitory nature of college students at Northern Arizona University, the Flagstaff poetry scene does not grow like a typical non-college art scene does. Poetry scenes in large cities have poets who spend years or decades in their scene, serving as mentors and growing into icons to either cherish, challenge or learn from, but few NAU graduates remain in Flagstaff, thus taking what they’ve learned and developed to other scenes away after only a few years. In essence, it’s hard to develop a slam family legacy in Flagstaff. While some poets bloom early and develop their voice quickly, most poets take several years to become who they are meant to, and by then, just as they’re reaching their first artistic peak, they’re ready to move on to communities that can support their careers.

Many first year rookies write what they think they should, which is why many poems sound familiar or similar, regardless of the poets’ backgrounds or personal histories.

With those growth years already behind her, Pearson is able to hone her craft and show many of the poets her age or older what they can become once they have half a decade of writing under their belt. As such, Pearson is a sort of a poetic oracle, showing the path other poets can walk should they pursue our art form with the same sort of tenacity she does.

This is Claire Pearson's House Crest:

appears on the lower right:

River Song:

You might have thought this was two names, River and Song, but that's Artemis' first trick.

River Song is the third incarnation of Melody Pond, a "child of the TARDIS" and the wife of Doctor Who, specifically of their 11th and 12th incarnations, although she also had encounters with their 10th and 13th incarnations, as well as earlier incarnations whose memories were later redacted.
Melody Pond/River Song was portrayed by Sydney Wade in her first incarnation, Nina Toussaint-White in her second and as Alex Kingston in her third and final incarnation.

Melody Pond/River Song was mostly human, with some Time Lord DNA, and was conceived by her parents, Amy Pond and Rory Williams, aboard the TARDIS as it travelled through the Time Vortex. She was then raised and conditioned by the Silence, who used her unique DNA to transform her into the first of several Proto-Time Lords, granting her great strength, a deep understanding of the complex principles of time and space, and the ability to regenerate. She loved the Doctor dearly, and shared a long-lasting relationship with them.

River was one of the very few people who knew the Doctor's true name.

River Song (Alex Kingston) and the 10th Doctor Who (David Tennent)

Melody Pond was stolen from her parents as a newborn baby by Madame Kovarian, to become a weapon of the Silence in their crusade against the Doctor. After a later regeneration, she killed the 11th Doctor, but then broke her mental conditioning to give her remaining regenerations to revive him, after learning that River Song was who she would become.

River Song (Alex Kingston) giving up her regeneration powers to revive the 11th Doctor Who (Matt Smith)
The Doctor and her parents left her to make her own way in the universe. With no connection to her family or the Silence, River became an archaeologist, ostensibly to track the Doctor through time. She crossed the Doctor's path on several occasions, across many of their incarnations, and generally with the result that she was meeting them at progressively earlier points in their own time stream. Hoping to avoid temporal paradoxes, the 11th Doctor gave her a diary to keep track of their meetings and to prevent her from revealing "spoilers" to him about his own future.

Again forced by the Silence, she made a second attempt on the 11th Doctor's life, which led to their eventual marriage. 
River Song (Alex Kingston) and the 11th Doctor Who (Matt Smith)


Though actually unsuccessful, she was convicted of his murder and spent many years in Stormcage Containment Facility for it — to convince the universe and the Silence that her husband actually was dead. This confinement was made more bearable by escaping frequently to go out on dates with the Doctor. She was eventually pardoned, due to the Doctor deleting any evidence of his existence, and became a Professor of Archaeology.

River Song (Alex Kingston) spent a night with her husband, the 12th Doctor Who (Peter Capalbi), at the Singing Towers of Darillium. Due to the fact that they lived reversed timelines, it was his last night with her. One "night" on Darillium lasts 24 years, so it was long visit.

After a final adventure with the 12th Doctor, which ended with them spending a 24-year-long night at the Singing Towers of Darillium, she died saving the 10th Doctor, Donna Noble, Strackman Lux and the 4,022 people saved in the computer system in the Lux Foundation Library in the 51st century. 

The 10th Doctor saved her consciousness digitally to the Library's computer system CAL.

River returned to Demons Run shortly after the conclusion of the Battle of Demons Run, mere minutes after Kovarian had fled with her as an infant. As the Doctor angrily confronted her on her refusal to help in the battle, River pointed out how his own actions had led to the events of the battle due to making people so afraid of him. As the Doctor demanded to know her real identity, River showed the Doctor his old cot and the prayer leaf inside it, cluing him in to her parentage and true nature.

As the Doctor raced off to locate baby Melody, Amy demanded answers from River. In response, River showed her parents the prayer leaf upon which the name "Melody Pond" became "River Song" in the language of the Gamma Forests and explained that she was their daughter: The people of the Gamma Forest didn't have a word for "Pond", because "the only water in the forest is the river."

As Amy and Rory read the leaf, the TARDIS translation circuits made the writing change to read "River Song". River was Amy and Rory's daughter.

Amelia "Amy" Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) discover River Song (Alex Kingston) is their grown-up daughter Melody Pond after the Battle of Demon's Run.

River Song's interactions are very confusing one due to the fact Doctor Who encountered River Song as he moved forward through time and she moved backwards:
I mean, really confusing if you want to know all the details (start at "A Good Man Goes to War" in the bottom right)

River Song kept a diary of her adventures with the Doctor. The cover was TARDIS blue and resembled the exterior of the Doctor's TARDIS. Since the diary was written from River's point of view, she didn't let the Doctor read it, teasingly saying "spoilers!" and often putting her finger on her lips.

River Song's diary with a bookmark of her oft-repeated warning to the Doctor "Spoilers!" appears at the bottom.

Éowyn:

In "The Lord of the Rings," Éowyn of Rohan is known as the White Lady of  Rohan, Shieldmaiden of Rohan, Lady of the Shield-arm, Lady of Ithilien and Lady of Emyn Arnen.

Éowyn means "horse lover" in Anglo-Saxon, the language J.R.R. Tolkien used to represent Rohirric. Éowyn was the second child of Éomund and Théodwyn, youngest sister of her brother Éomer. She was the neice of King Théoden of Rohan through their mother, who was the king's sister. Her father was slain and her mother died of illness in TA 3002.

When Denethor II, steward of Gondor, urgently called for Théoden's aid against Mordor, Éowyn begged to be allowed to ride to battle but Théoden refused.

In bitterness, she disguised herself as a man, under the alias Dernhelm, and rode to Minas Tirith on her horse Windfola. She took Meriadoc Brandybuck along because he likewise wanted to follow his friends to battle, but had been refused by Théoden. Because Éowyn weighed less than a man of similar height, Windfola was able to bear both her and Merry.

During the Battle of the Pelennor Fields [March 15, TA 3019], she fought in Théoden's escort; when he and his company were attacked by the Witch-king of Angmar, lord of the Nazgûl, she and Merry were the only riders who did not flee. 

As Théoden lay mortally wounded, she challenged the Witch-King, who boasted that "no living man may hinder me."

In answer, she removed her helmet, exposing her long blond hair, and declared, "No living man am I! You look upon a woman! Éowyn I am, Éomund's daughter. Begone if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him!"

In a rage, the Witch-king attacked her, but she cleaved the head off his Fell Beast.

The Witch-king shattered her shield with a blow of his mace, breaking her arm, but stumbled when Merry stabbed his leg from behind with a Barrow-blade of Westernesse make. Éowyn stabbed her sword through the Witch-king's head, killing him, and thus fulfilling Glorfindel's prophecy a thousand years earlier at the Battle of Fornost that "not by the hand of man" would the Witch-king fall.

The film version of "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" has a shorter interaction.
  • Éowyn: I will kill you if you touch him!
  • Witch King: Do not come between the Nazgul and his prey.
  • [Taking Eowyn by the throat] You fool. No man can kill me. Die now.
  • [Merry stabs the Witch King from behind; the Witch King shrieks and falls to his knees. Éowyn rises and pulls off her helm, her hair falls down over her shoulder]
  • Éowyn: I am no man.
  • [She thrusts her sword into the Witch King's helm and twists; he shrieks and implodes]

The interaction between Éowyn and the Witch-king of Angmar has parallels to William Shakespeare's "Macbeth." In the play, the title character MacBeth, Thane of Cawdor, believes he is invincible because the three Witch Sisters have prophesied that "no man of woman born" will defeat him. Macduff, however, finds a loophole in this prophecy by declaring that he was "from his mother's womb untimely ripped," which is usually interpreted to mean that he was delivered by Caesarean section.

Éowyn and Merry, likewise, exploit a loophole in Glorfindel's prophecy, since she was a woman and Merry was a hobbit. Similar to Shakespeare's character Macbeth, the Witch-king was likely made overconfident by the prophecy, and unsettled by Éowyn's announcement that it did not apply to her.

The crest of Rohan:

Fox Graham:

For obvious reasons. Not much to add to this one, other than Fox Graham is my middle and last name. Athena and Odysseus' last names are also "Fox Graham"

The House Crest Motto:

"Fear Nothing But a Cage"

Artemis' motto comes from "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" from a conversation between Aragon the Ranger and future king of Gondor and Éowyn, shieldmaide of Rohan and neice to King Théoden after Aragon sees her practicing with with sword.
  • Aragorn: You have some skill with a blade.
  • Éowyn: The women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them. I fear neither death nor pain.
  • Aragorn: What do you fear, my lady?
  • Éowyn: A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.
  • Aragorn: You are a daughter of kings, a shield maiden of Rohan. I do not think that will be your fate.
Appears here:

Odysseus Luke Saturn Langston Lee Calvin Orion Fox Graham's House Crest

  This is the official House Crest of our son, Odysseus Luke Saturn Langston Lee Calvin Orion Fox Graham:

All nine of his names are represented:

Odysseus:

Odysseus ("Ἄρτεμις" in Greek) is a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the "Odyssey," which depicts his 10-year journey home after the events of the "Iliad" in which he also plays a major role.

Odysseus ("Ἄρτεμις" in Greek) is a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the "Odyssey," which depicts his 10-year journey home after the events of the "Iliad" in which he also plays a major role.

Odysseus was the husband of Penelope, father of Telemachus and Acusilaus, renowned for his intellectual brilliance, guile, and versatility, and is thus known by the epithet Odysseus the Cunning. Odysseus was the son of Laërtes, king of the Cephallenians, and Anticlea, the daughter of Autolycus and Amphithea. Laertes was also an Argonaut and a participant in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. According to Homer and Pausanias Autolycus was the son of Hermes, the divine trickster and messenger of the gods.

Odysseus also plays a role in other works in that same epic cycle, the Epikos Kyklos, a collection of ancient Greek epic poems, composed in dactylic hexameter and related to the story of the Trojan War, including:
  • Stasinus' "Cypria," depicting the events leading up to the Trojan War and the first nine years of the conflict, especially the Judgement of Paris
  • Arctinus' "Aethiopis," depicting the arrival of the Trojan allies, Penthesileia the Amazon and Memnon and their deaths at Achilles' hands in revenge for the death of Antilochus as well as Achilles' own death
  • The so-called "Little Iliad" by Lesches, showing events after Achilles' death, including the building of the Trojan Horse and the Awarding of the Arms to Odysseus
  • the Iliu Persis, or "Sack of Troy," by Arctnus, describing the Trojans' reaction to the Trojan Horse, the sack of the city, the deaths of key Trojans and the subsequent punishment of the Greeks by Athena for sacriledge during the sacking.
  • The Nostoi, or "returns," in which Agias or Eumelus describe the return home of the Greek force and the events contingent upon their arrival, concluding with the returns of Kings Agamemnon and Menelaus 
  • "The Telegony," by Eugammon, that tells an alternate ending for Odysseus, wherein he is killed somewhat accidently by his son by Circe, Telegonus, partially fulfilling Tiresias' prophecy in Odyssey 11 that death would come to Odysseus "out of the sea," i.e., from the poison of a stingray on the tip of a spear crafted by Hephaestus, but which contradicts the prophecy of Tiresias, who predicted the Odyssey 11 that a "gentle death" would come to Odysseus "in sleek old age." It's also weird in that after Odysseus' death, Telegonus marries Penelope, Odysseus' widow and Telemachus' mother while Odysseus and Penelope's son Telemachus marries  Circe, who is Telegonus' mother and Odysseus' ex-lover. Only two lines of the poem's original text survive.
The majority of sources for Odysseus' pre-war exploits — principally the mythographers Pseudo-Apollodorus and Hyginus — postdate Homer by many centuries. Two stories in particular are well known:

When Helen of Troy is abducted, Menelaus calls upon the other suitors to honor their oaths and help him to retrieve her, an attempt that leads to the Trojan War. Odysseus tries to avoid it by feigning lunacy, as an oracle had prophesied a long-delayed return home for him if he went. He hooks a donkey and an ox to his plow (as they have different stride lengths, hindering the efficiency of the plow) and (some modern sources add) starts sowing his fields with salt. Palamedes, at the behest of Menelaus' brother Agamemnon, seeks to disprove Odysseus' madness and places Telemachus, Odysseus' infant son, in front of the plow. Odysseus veers the plow away from his son, thus exposing his stratagem.

Odysseus holds a grudge against Palamedes during the war for dragging him away from his home.

Odysseus and other envoys of Agamemnon travel to Scyros to recruit Achilles because of a prophecy that Troy could not be taken without him. By most accounts, Thetis, Achilles' mother, disguises the youth as a woman to hide him from the recruiters because an oracle had predicted that Achilles would either live a long uneventful life or achieve everlasting glory while dying young. Odysseus cleverly discovers which among the women before him is Achilles when the youth is the only one of them to show interest in examining the weapons hidden among an array of adornment gifts for the daughters of their host. Odysseus arranges further for the sounding of a battle horn, which prompts Achilles to clutch a weapon and show his trained disposition. With his disguise foiled, he is exposed and joins Agamemnon's call to arms among the Hellenes.

"The Iliad"

The story covered in Homer's “The Iliad” begins nearly 10 years into the siege of Troy (aka Ilium, hence "Iliad" meaning "epic of Ilium") by the Greek forces, led by Agamemnon, King of Mycenae.

Homer is believed to have written the Iliad and the Odyssey around 850 BCE —  if he existed (Homer might have been a fabricated name to which various the oral stories were attributed) — about the siege 400 years prior, i.e., in the 12th century BCE, around the era of the Late Bronze Age collapse before the Greek Dark Ages.

The Troy in question is archaeologically Troy VI or VIIa, as Troy was built or rebuilt at the same location 10 times between 3,600 BCE and 85 BCE.
The Greeks are quarrelling about whether or not to return Chryseis, a Trojan captive of King Agamemnon, to her father, Chryses, a priest of Apollo.  Agamemnon wins the argument and refuses to give her up and threatens to ransom the girl to her father. In turn, Chryses pleads Apollo to help him, so the offended god plagues the Greek camp with a pestilence.

At the warrior-hero Achilles orders, the Greek soldiers force Agamemnon to return Chryseis in order to appease Apollo and end the pestilence. But, when Agamemnon eventually reluctantly agrees to give her back, he takes in her stead Briseis, Achilles‘s own war-prize concubine. Feeling dishonored, Achilles wrathfully withdraws both himself and his Myrmidon warriors from the Trojan War.

Testing the loyalty of the remaining Greeks, Agamemnon pretends to order them to abandon the war, but Odysseus encourages the Greeks to pursue the fight. During a brief truce in the hostilities between the Trojan and Greek troops, Paris and Menelaus meet in single combat over Helen, while she and old King Priam of Troy watch from the city walls. Despite the goddess Aphrodite’s intervention on behalf of the over-matched Paris, Menelaus wins. After the fight is over, the goddess Athena who favors the Greeks provokes the Trojans to break the truce, and another battle begins.

During the new fight, the Greek hero Diomedes, strengthened by Athena, obliterates the Trojans before him. However, in his blind arrogance and blood-lust, he strikes and injures Aphrodite. Meanwhile, in the Trojan castle, despite the misgivings of his wife, Andromache, the Trojan hero, Hector, son of King Priam, challenges the Greek warrior-hero Ajax to single combat, and is almost overcome in battle. Throughout everything, in the background, the various gods and goddesses (particularly Hera, Athena, Apollo and Poseidon) continue to argue among themselves and to manipulate and intervene in the war, despite Zeus’ specific orders to not do so.

Achilles steadfastly refuses to give in to pleas for help from Agamemnon, Odysseus, Ajax, Phoenix and Nestor, declining the offered honors and riches; even Agamemnon‘s belated offer to return Briseis to him.

In the meantime, Diomedes and Odysseus sneak into the Trojan camp and wreak havoc. But, with Achilles and his warriors out of battle, the tide appears to begin to turn in favor of the Trojans. Agamemnon is injured in the battle and, despite Ajax‘s efforts, Hector successfully breaches the fortified Greek camp, wounding Odysseus and Diomedes in the process, and threatens to set the Greek ships on fire.

Trying to rectify the situation, Patroclus convinced his friend and lover, Achilles, to dress in Achilles‘ own armor and lead the Myrmidons against the Trojans. The first two times Patroclus launches against the Trojans, he is successful, killing Sarpedon (son of Zeus who participated in the war).

Intoxicated by his success, Patroclus forgets Achilles‘ warning to be careful, and pursues the fleeing Trojans to the walls of Troy. He would have taken the city were it not for the actions of Apollo. 

The god of music and the sun, is the first one to strike Patroclus. After that first blow and in the heat of the battle, Hector also finds the disguised Patroclus and, thinking him to be Achilles, fights and (with Apollo’s help) kills him. Menelaus and the Greeks manage to recover Patroclus’s corpse before Hector can inflict more damage.

Distraught at the death of his companion, Achilles then reconciles with Agamemnon and rejoins the battle, destroying all the Trojans before him in his fury. As the 10-year war reaches its climax, even the gods join in the battle and the earth shakes with the clamor of the combat.
"Hector and Achilles" is a 1923-1926 oil on canvas by Sascha Schneider

Dressed in new armor fashioned specially for him by Hephaestus, Achilles takes revenge for his friend Patroclus by slaying Hector in single combat, but then defiles and desecrates the Trojan prince’s corpse for several days.
"The Triumph of Achilles" fresco by Franz von Matsch

Now, at last, Patroclus’ funeral can be celebrated in what Achilles sees as a fitting manner. Hector‘s father, King Priam, emboldened by his grief and aided by Hermes, recovers Hector‘s corpse from Achilles, and “The Iliad” ends with Hector‘s funeral during a 12-day truce granted by Achilles.

After the Iliad

The Trojan War has not yet ended at the close of the Iliad. Homer's audience would have been familiar with the struggle's conclusion, and the potency of much of Homer's irony and foreboding depends on this familiarity. What follows is a synopsis of some of the most important events that happen after the Iliad ends.

The Death of Achilles

In the final books of the Iliad, Achilles refers frequently to his imminent death, about which his mother, Thetis, has warned him. After the end of the poem, at Hector's funeral feast, Achilles sights the beautiful Polyxena, the daughter of Priam and hence a princess of Troy. Taken with her beauty, Achilles falls in love with her. Hoping to marry her, he agrees to use his influence with the Achaean army to bring about an end to the war. But when he travels to the temple of Apollo to negotiate the peace, Paris shoots him in the heel—the only vulnerable part of his body—with a poisoned arrow. In other versions of the story, the wound occurs in the midst of battle.

Achilles' Armor and the Death of Ajax

After Achilles' death, Ajax (Achilles' cousin and next in line for the title of Greatest Greek Warrior) and Odysseus go and recover his body. Thetis instructs the Achaeans to bequeath Achilles' magnificent armor, forged by the god Hephaestus, to the most worthy hero. Both Ajax and Odysseus covet the armor; when it is awarded to Odysseus, Ajax commits suicide out of humiliation.

The Palladium and the Arrows of Heracles

By the time of Achilles' and Ajax's deaths, Troy's defenses have been bolstered by the arrival of a new coalition of allies, including the Ethiopians and the Amazons. 
Achilles killed Penthesilea, the queen of the Amazons, before his death, but the Trojans continue to repel the Achaean assault. The gods relay to the Achaeans that they must perform a number of tasks in order to win the war: they must recover the arrows of Heracles, steal a statue of Athena called the Palladium from the temple in Troy, and perform various other challenges. Largely owing to the skill and courage of Odysseus and Diomedes, the Achaeans accomplish the tasks, and the Achaean archer Philoctetes later uses the arrows of Heracles to kill Paris. Despite this setback, Troy continues to hold against the Achaeans.

The Fall and Sack of Troy

The Achaean commanders are nearly ready to give up; nothing can penetrate the massive walls of Troy. But before they lose heart, Odysseus concocts a plan that will allow them to bypass the walls of the city completely. The Achaeans build a massive, hollow, wooden horse, large enough to hold a contingent of warriors inside. 

Odysseus and a group of soldiers hide in the horse, while the rest of the Achaeans burn their camps and sail away from Troy, waiting in their ships behind a nearby island.


The next morning, the Trojans peer down from the ramparts of their wall and discover the gigantic, mysterious horse. They also discover a lone Achaean soldier named Sinon, whom they take prisoner. As instructed by Odysseus, Sinon tells the Trojans that the Achaeans have incurred the wrath of Athena for the theft of the Palladium. They have left Sinon as a sacrifice to the goddess and constructed the horse as a gift to soothe her temper. Sinon explains that the Achaeans left the horse before the Trojan gates in the hopes that the Trojans would destroy it and thereby earn the wrath of Athena.

Believing Sinon's story, the Trojans wheel the massive horse into the city as a tribute to Athena. That night, Odysseus and his men slip out of the horse, kill the Trojan guards, and fling open the gates of Troy to the Achaean army, which has meanwhile approached the city again. Having at last penetrated the wall, the Achaeans massacre the citizens of Troy, plunder the city's riches, and burn the buildings to the ground. All of the Trojan men are killed except for a small group led by Aeneas, who escapes. Helen, whose loyalties have shifted back to the Achaeans since Paris's death, returns to Menelaus, and the Achaeans at last set sail for home.

After the War

The fates of many of the Iliad's heroes after the war occupy an important space in Greek mythology. Odysseus, as foretold, spends ten years trying to return to Ithaca, and his adventures form the subject of Homer's other great epic, the Odyssey. Helen and Menelaus have a long and dangerous voyage back to their home in Sparta, with a long stay in Egypt. 
In the Odyssey, Telemachus travels to Sparta in search of his father, Odysseus, and finds Helen and Menelaus celebrating the marriage of their daughter, Hermione. 
Agamemnon, who has taken Priam's daughter Cassandra as a slave, returns home to his wife, Clytemnestra, and his kingdom, Mycenae. Ever since Agamemnon's sacrifice of Iphigeneia at the altar of Athena, however, Clytemnestra has nurtured a vast resentment toward her husband. She has taken a man named Aegisthus as her lover, and upon Agamemnon's return, the lovers murder Agamemnon in his bath and kill Cassandra as well. 
This story is the subject of Aeschylus's play Agamemnon. 
Meanwhile, Aeneas, the only great Trojan warrior to survive the fall of Troy, wanders for many years, searching for a new home for his surviving fellow citizens. His adventures are recounted in Virgil's epic Aeneid.

"The Odyssey"

Ten years after the Fall of Troy, and 20 years after the Greek hero Odysseus first set out from his home in Ithaca to fight with the other Greeks against the Trojans, Odysseus’ son Telemachus and his wife Penelope are beset with over a hundred suitors who are trying to persuade Penelope that her husband is dead and that she should marry one of them.

Encouraged by the goddess Athena (Odysseus’ protector), Telemachus sets out to look for his father, visiting some of Odysseus’ erstwhile companions such as Nestor, the king of Pylos; Menelaus, the king of Sparta; and Helen, whose abduction prompted the Trojan War. They receive him sumptuously and recount the ending of the Trojan War, including the story of the wooden horse. Menelaus tells Telemachus that he has heard that Odysseus is being held captive by the nymph Calypso.

The scene then changes to Calypso’s island Ogygia, thought to be modern-day Gozo in the Maltese archipelago, where Odysseus has spent seven years in captivity. 

Calypso is finally persuaded to release him by Hermes and Zeus, but Odysseus’ makeshift boat is wrecked by his nemesis Poseidon, and he swims ashore onto an island.

He is found by the young Nausicaa and her handmaidens and is made welcome by King Alcinous and Queen Arete of the Phaeacians, and begins to tell the amazing story of his return from Troy.
“Odysseus and Nausicaa” by Pieter Lastman

Odysseus tells how he and his twelve ships were driven off course by storms, and how they visited the lethargic Lotus-Eaters with their memory-erasing food, before being captured by the giant one-eyed cyclops Polyphemus (Poseidon’s son), only escaping after he blinded the giant with a wooden stake.
"Odysseus And Polyphemus" is a painting by Arnold Bocklin

Despite the help of Aeolus, King of the Winds, Odysseus and his crew were blown off course again just as home was almost in sight. They narrowly escaped from the cannibal Laestrygones, only to encounter the witch-goddess Circe soon after. Circe turned half of his men into swine, but Odysseus had been pre-warned by Hermes and made resistant to Circe’s magic.

After a year of feasting and drinking on Circe’s island, the Greeks again set off, reaching the western edge of the world. Odysseus made a sacrifice to the dead and summoned the spirit of the old prophet Tiresias to advise him, as well as the spirits of several other famous men and women and that of his own mother, who had died of grief at his long absence and who gave him disturbing news of the situation in his own household.
"Ulysses and the Sirens" is an 1891 oil on canvas by John William Waterhouse

Advised once more by Circe on the remaining stages of their journey, they skirted the land of the Sirens, passed between the many-headed monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis, and, blithely ignoring the warnings of Tiresias and Circe, hunted down the sacred cattle of the sun god Helios.
Scylla and Charybdis

For this sacrilege, they were punished by a shipwreck in which all but Odysseus himself drowned. He was washed ashore on Calypso’s island, where she compelled him to remain as her lover.

By this point, Homer's flashback reaches the present and the remainder of the story is told straightforwardly in chronological order.
Any maps of the Odyssey are estimates at best considering it took place in 1250 BCE, but this is a fun one.

Having listened with rapt attention to his story, the Phaeacians agree to help Odysseus get home, and they finally deliver him one night to a hidden harbor on his home island of Ithaca. 
"Athena Appearing to Odysseus to Reveal the Island of Ithaca" by Giuseppe Bottani

Disguised as a wandering beggar and telling a fictitious tale of himself, Odysseus learns from a local swineherd how things stand in his household. Through Athena’s machinations, he meets up with his own son, Telemachus, just returning from Sparta, and they agree together that the insolent and increasingly impatient suitors must be killed. With more help from Athena, an archery competition is arranged by Penelope for the suitors, which the disguised Odysseus easily wins, and he then promptly slaughters all the other suitors.
Odysseus slays the suitors

Only now does Odysseus reveal and prove his true identity to his wife and to his old father, Laertes. 

Despite the fact that Odysseus has effectively killed two generations of the men of Ithaca (the shipwrecked sailors and the executed suitors), Athena intervenes one last time and finally Ithaca is at peace once more.

The Trojan horse, designed by Odysseus, is depicted here:

Luke:

Luke Skywalker was a Tatooine farmboy who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever known. 

Luke Skywalker, a Force-sensitive human male, was a legendary Jedi Master who fought in the Galactic Civil War during the reign of the Galactic Empire. Along with his companions, Princess Leia Organa and General Han Solo, Skywalker served as a revolutionary on the side of the Alliance to Restore the Republic—an organization committed to the downfall of the Galactic Empire and the restoration of democracy. Following the war, Skywalker became a living legend, and was remembered as one of the greatest Jedi in galactic history.

The son of Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and Naboo Queen and Senator Padmé Amidala, Luke Skywalker was born along with his twin sister, Leia, in 19 BBY. As a result of Amidala's death and Anakin's fall to the dark side of the Force, the Skywalker children were separated and sent into hiding, with Leia adopted by the royal family of Alderaan while Luke was raised by his relatives on Tatooine. Longing for a life of adventure and purpose, Skywalker joined the Rebellion and began learning the ways of the Force under the guidance of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, whose first apprentice was Luke's own father. 

During the Battle of Yavin in 0 BBY, Skywalker saved the Alliance from annihilation by destroying the Empire's planet-killing superweapon, the Death Star. He continued his training in the years that followed, determined to become a Jedi Knight like his father before him, and found a new mentor in Grand Master Yoda. 

While trying to rescue his friends on a gas mining station on Bespin, he confronted Darth Vader, whom he learned was in fact his father, Anakin Skywalker. In the fight, he lost his lightsaber as his hand was severed.

After his master's death on Dagobah, Skywalker built a new lightsaber.
Skywalker participated in the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY, during which he confronted the Sith Lord Darth Vader. With Luke's help, Anakin returned to the light side of the Force by killing Galactic Emperor Sheev Palpatine aka Sith Lord Darth Sidious at the cost of his own life, fulfilling his destiny as the Chosen One.

Following the Battle of Endor, Skywalker trained his sister as a first Jedi apprentice on Ajan Kloss, but Leia ended her training after the birth of her son and seeing his death as a result of finishing her knighthood.

With the Sith's destruction and the subsequent capitulation of the Empire in 5 ABY, Luke Skywalker traveled across the galaxy, searching for knowledge that would aid him in rebuilding the Jedi Order.

Luke training Leia lightsaber combat on Ajan Kloss

One of his apprentices was his sister's son, Ben Solo, who inherited the Skywalker bloodline's raw strength and potential for limitless power. As master and padawan, Skywalker traveled with his nephew and battle the knights of Ren, studied lost Jedi lore, and gathered others to expand their new order's ranks. In 28 ABY, Skywalker, glimpsing the darkness in his padawan, briefly contemplated murdering him, causing Solo to fall to the dark side like Vader before him and destroy his nascent order. The loss of his nephew haunted Skywalker for the rest of his life. In addition, the destruction of his temple and murder of all his students convinced him that the time had come for the Jedi to end. He therefore sought exile on the distant world of Ahch-To, having elected to live out his remaining days as a hermit despite the galaxy's pleas for help during the rise of the First Order.

His solitude was interrupted in 34 ABY, shortly after the fall of the New Republic, resulting in a chain of events that led Skywalker to play one last, momentous role in the conflict between light and darkness. Although he passed away into the Force, his legend would spread throughout the galaxy, rekindling a spark of hope in the enemies of the First Order. Before his death, Skywalker declared that the Jedi Order would not die with him, having trained a final apprentice: the Jakku scavenger known as Rey.

In 35 ABY, Skywalker's spirit communed with Rey during the final days of the war. The Jedi apprentice had exiled herself to Ahch-To, following in Skywalker's example. However, Skywalker urged Rey to confront her grandfather, the resurrected Darth Sidious. Believing he had been wrong, Skywalker told Rey that a Jedi's destiny was to confront fear. Following the Emperor's destruction, the spirits of Skywalker and his sister watched over Rey as she buried their lightsabers in Skywalker's childhood home on Tatooine and adopted the Skywalker name as her own to honor their legacy.

Luke Skywalker's second lightsaber appears in Odysseus Luke Langston Lee Calvin Orion Fox Graham's crest in the same location and same length as Leia Skywalker Organa Solo's lightsaber in Artemis Leia Aurora Claire River Song Éowyn Fox Graham's crest because they are twins.

Saturn: 

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System, after Jupiter. It is a gas giant with an average radius of about nine and a half times that of Earth. It only has one-eighth the average density of Earth; however, with its larger volume, Saturn is over 95 times more massive.

Saturn is a gas giant composed predominantly of hydrogen and helium. It lacks a definite surface, though it may have a solid core. Saturn's interior is most likely composed of a core of iron–nickel and rock (silicon and oxygen compounds). Its core is surrounded by a deep layer of metallic hydrogen, an intermediate layer of liquid hydrogen and liquid helium, and finally, a gaseous outer layer. Saturn has a pale yellow hue due to ammonia crystals in its upper atmosphere. An electrical current within the metallic hydrogen layer is thought to give rise to Saturn's planetary magnetic field, which is weaker than Earth's, but which has a magnetic moment 580 times that of Earth due to Saturn's larger size. Saturn's magnetic field strength is around one-twentieth of Jupiter's. The outer atmosphere is generally bland and lacking in contrast, although long-lived features can appear. Wind speeds on Saturn can reach 1,800 km/h (1,100 mph; 500 m/s), higher than on Jupiter but not as high as on Neptune.

Saturn's rotation causes it to have the shape of an oblate spheroid; that is, it is flattened at the poles and bulges at its equator. Its equatorial and polar radii differ by almost 10%: 60,268 km versus 54,364 km. Saturn has an Aphelion of 1,514.50 million km (10.1238 AU) and a Perihelion of 1,352.55 million km (9.0412 AU).


Saturn has a hot interior, reaching 11,700 °C at its core, and radiates 2.5 times more energy into space than it receives from the Sun. Jupiter's thermal energy is generated by the Kelvin–Helmholtz mechanism of slow gravitational compression, but such a process alone may not be sufficient to explain heat production for Saturn, because it is less massive.

A persisting hexagonal wave pattern around the north polar vortex in the atmosphere at about 78°N was first noted in the Voyager images. The sides of the hexagon are each about 14,500 km (9,000 mi) long, longer than the diameter of the Earth. The entire structure rotates with a period of 10h 39m 24s (the same period as that of the planet's radio emissions) which is assumed to be equal to the period of rotation of Saturn's interior. The hexagonal feature does not shift in longitude like the other clouds in the visible atmosphere. The pattern's origin is a matter of much speculation. Most scientists think it is a standing wave pattern in the atmosphere. Polygonal shapes have been replicated in the laboratory through differential rotation of fluids.


The rings of Saturn are the most extensive ring system of any planet in the Solar System. They consist of countless small particles, ranging in size from micrometers to meters, that orbit around Saturn. The ring particles are made almost entirely of water ice, with a trace component of rocky material. There is still no consensus as to their mechanism of formation. Although theoretical models indicated that the rings were likely to have formed early in the Solar System's history, newer data from Cassini suggested they formed relatively late.

Although reflection from the rings increases Saturn's brightness, they are not visible from Earth with unaided vision. In 1610, the year after Galileo Galilei turned a telescope to the sky, he became the first person to observe Saturn's rings, though he could not see them well enough to discern their true nature.

The dense main rings extend from 7,000 km (4,300 mi) to 80,000 km (50,000 mi) away from Saturn's equator, whose radius is 60,300 km (37,500 mi). Although the largest gaps in the rings, such as the Cassini Division and Encke Gap, can be seen from Earth, the Voyager spacecraft discovered that the rings have an intricate structure of thousands of thin gaps and ringlets. This structure is thought to arise, in several different ways, from the gravitational pull of Saturn's many moons. Some gaps are cleared out by the passage of tiny moonlets such as Pan, many more of which may yet be discovered, and some ringlets seem to be maintained by the gravitational effects of small shepherd satellites (similar to Prometheus and Pandora's maintenance of the F ring). Data from the Cassini space probe indicate that the rings of Saturn possess their own atmosphere, independent of that of the planet itself. 

There are two main theories regarding the origin of Saturn's inner rings. One theory, originally proposed by Édouard Roche in the 19th century, is that the rings were once a moon of Saturn (named Veritas, after a Roman goddess who hid in a well) whose orbit decayed until it came close enough to be ripped apart by tidal forces (see Roche limit). A variation on this theory is that this moon disintegrated after being struck by a large comet or asteroid. The second theory is that the rings were never part of a moon, but are instead left over from the original nebular material from which Saturn formed.


A more traditional version of the disrupted-moon theory is that the rings are composed of debris from a moon 400 to 600 km in diameter, slightly larger than Mimas. The last time there were collisions large enough to be likely to disrupt a moon that large was during the Late Heavy Bombardment some four billion years ago.

Saturn has 53 known moons with an additional 29 moons awaiting confirmation of their discovery—that is a total of 82 moons. One moon, Titan, comprises more than 96% of the mass in orbit around the planet. The six other planemo (ellipsoidal) moons constitute roughly 4% of the mass, and the remaining 75 small moons, together with the rings, comprise only 0.04%
The major moons of Saturn


Saturn was named for a god in Roman religion and a character in Roman mythology. He was described as a god of generation, dissolution, plenty, wealth, agriculture, periodic renewal and liberation. Saturn's mythological reign was depicted as a Golden Age of plenty and peace. After the Roman conquest of Greece, he was conflated with the Greek Titan Cronus. Saturn's consort was his sister Ops, with whom he fathered Jupiter (Zeus), Neptune (Poseidon), Pluto (Hades), Juno (Hera), Ceres (Demeter) and Vesta (Hestia).

Langston:

James Mercer Langston Hughes, (Feb. 1, 1902, Joplin, Mo.—May 22, 1967, New York, N.Y.) was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, the flowering of black intellectual, literary, and artistic life that took place in the 1920s in a number of American cities, particularly Harlem. A major poet, Hughes also wrote novels, short stories, essays, and plays. He sought to honestly portray the joys and hardships of working-class black lives, avoiding both sentimental idealization and negative stereotypes. 

While it was long believed that Hughes was born in 1902, new research released in 2018 indicated that he might have been born the previous year. His parents separated soon after his birth, and he was raised by his mother and grandmother.

After his grandmother’s death, he and his mother moved to half a dozen cities before reaching Cleveland, where they settled. He wrote the poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” the summer after his graduation from high school in Cleveland; it was published in The Crisis in 1921 and brought him considerable attention. 

"The Negro Speaks of Rivers"

I’ve Known Rivers:
I’ve Known Rivers Ancient as the World
And Older than the Flow of Human Blood
through Human Veins
My Soul has Grown Deep like the Rivers
I Bathed in the Euphrates
when Dawns were Young
I Built my Hut Near the Congo
and it Lulled Me to Sleep
I Looked Upon the Nile and
Raised the Pyramids Above It
I Heard the Singing of the Mississippi
When Abe Lincoln Went Down to New Orleans
And I’ve Seen its Muddy Bosom
Turn All Golden in the Sunset
I’ve Known Rivers:
Ancient Dusky Rivers
My Soul has Grown Deep like the Rivers

After attending Columbia University in New York City in 1921 and 1922, he explored Harlem, forming a permanent attachment to what he called the “great dark city,” and worked as a steward on a freighter bound for Africa. Back in New York City from seafaring and sojourning in Europe, he met in 1924 the writers Arna Bontemps and Carl Van Vechten, with whom he would have lifelong influential friendships. Hughes won an Opportunity magazine poetry prize in 1925. That same year, Van Vechten introduced Hughes’s poetry to the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, who accepted the collection that Knopf would publish as The Weary Blues in 1926.

While working as a busboy in a hotel in Washington, D.C., in late 1925, Hughes put three of his own poems beside the plate of Vachel Lindsay in the dining room. The next day, newspapers around the country reported that Lindsay, among the most popular white poets of the day, had “discovered” an African American busboy poet, which earned Hughes broader notice. Hughes received a scholarship to, and began attending, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in early 1926. That same year, he received the Witter Bynner Undergraduate Poetry Award, and he published “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” in The Nation, a manifesto in which he called for a confident, uniquely black literature:

"We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, it doesn’t matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too. The tom-tom cries and the tom-tom laughs. If colored people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure doesn’t matter either."

By the time Hughes received his degree in 1929, he had helped launch the influential magazine Fire!!, in 1926, and he had also published a second collection of poetry, "Fine Clothes to the Jew" (1927), which was criticized by some for its title and for its frankness, though Hughes himself felt that it represented another step forward in his writing.

A few months after Hughes’s graduation, "Not Without Laughter" (1930), his first prose volume, had a cordial reception. In the 1930s he turned his poetry more forcefully toward racial justice and political radicalism. He traveled in the American South in 1931 and decried the Scottsboro case; he then traveled widely in the Soviet Union, Haiti, Japan, and elsewhere and served as a newspaper correspondent (1937) during the Spanish Civil War. He published a collection of short stories, "The Ways of White" Folks (1934), and became deeply involved in theatre. His play "Mulatto," adapted from one of his short stories, premiered on Broadway in 1935, and productions of several other plays followed in the late 1930s. He also founded theatre companies in Harlem in 1937 and Los Angeles in 1939. In 1940, Hughes published "The Big Sea," his autobiography up to age 28. A second volume of autobiography, "I Wonder As I Wander," was published in 1956.

Hughes, more than any other black poet or writer, recorded faithfully the nuances of black life and its frustrations. In Hughes’s own words, his poetry is about "workers, roustabouts, and singers, and job hunters on Lenox Avenue in New York, or Seventh Street in Washington or South State in Chicago — people up today and down tomorrow, working this week and fired the next, beaten and baffled, but determined not to be wholly beaten, buying furniture on the installment plan, filling the house with roomers to help pay the rent, hoping to get a new suit for Easter — and pawning that suit before the Fourth of July."

Hughes documented African American literature and culture in works such as "A Pictorial History of the Negro in America" (1956) and the anthologies "The Poetry of the Negro" (1949) and "The Book of Negro Folklore" (1958; with Bontemps). He continued to write numerous works for the stage, including the lyrics for Street Scene, an opera with music by Kurt Weill that premiered in 1947. "Black Nativity" (1961; film 2013) is a gospel play that uses Hughes’s poetry, along with gospel standards and scriptural passages, to retell the story of the birth of Jesus. It was an international success, and performances of the work — often diverging substantially from the original — became a Christmas tradition in many Black churches and cultural centres. He also wrote poetry until his death; The Panther and the Lash, published posthumously in 1967, reflected and engaged with the Black Power movement and, specifically, the Black Panther Party, which was founded the previous year.

Among his other writings, Hughes translated the poetry of Federico García Lorca and Gabriela Mistral. He was also widely known for his comic character Jesse B. Semple, familiarly called Simple, who appeared in Hughes’s columns in the Chicago Defender and the New York Post and later in book form and on the stage. The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, edited by Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel, appeared in 1994. Some of his political exchanges were collected as "Letters from Langston: From the Harlem Renaissance to the Red Scare and Beyond" (2016).

Langston Hughes and Sylvia Redfield, our twins' great-grandmother

Hughes was my grandmother's favorite. Sylvia Rebie Redfield (Dec. 14, 1925 - July 28, 2021) is Odysseus and Artemis' great-grandmother (and my maternal grandmother). She had an English degree, like me, but from Bucknell University. She said no one would expect that Hughes was her favorite given that she was a "little white girl growing up in the segregated South," but she said Hughes' work spoke to her. She said she once her heard Hughes read in Atlanta (he taught at Atlanta University starting in 1947). 

A month before she died in 2021, she gave me her hand-annotated "The Selected Poems of Langston Hughes," which she had re-read many times (she had bookmarks at "Sunday Morning Prophesy" "Freedom Train" and "I, Too").

This was a Hughes poem not in the book that grandma included in her own handwriting:


The Cosmogram

In 1921, when the poet Langston Hughes was just 19, his poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” was published. Seventy years later, on what would have been his 89th birthday, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture held a ceremony around the public art installation made in his honor. His ashes were buried in a small vessel beneath the polished terrazzo floor.

The installation, named Rivers, is in the Langston Hughes lobby of the Schomburg Center, a part of the New York Public Library system.

Inspired by Hughes’ poem, the artist Houston Conwill made the memorial to honor Hughes and Arturo A. Schomburg, the library’s namesake. The cosmogram quotes lines from the poem: The final line — ”My soul has grown deep like the rivers” — is in the circle’s center.

Lines flowing through the piece connect the places Hughes and Schomberg were born — Missouri and Puerto Rico — with Harlem. The lines and signs are meant to be a tribute to African ritual ground markings, “weaving a web of connections between people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, the past and the present,” the library says.

The lower half of Odysseus' crest is a river entering the sea, referencing Hughes' poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" with the Schomburg Center's Cosmogram on a bluff above the river's mouth.

Lee: 

Lee is the middle name of Laura's father and Artemis and Odysseus' grandfather Terry Lee Lynn.

Terry is a Apollo Space Program and Moon enthusiast. One the first things we bonded over when Laura introduced us was my poems about space. After our first dinner, I sent him a recording I made July 20, 2012, on the 43rd anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing when photojournalist Tom Hood and I were invited by Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff to cover a speech by astronaut Neil Armstrong related to the unveiling of the first images recorded by the Discovery Channel Telescope. Terry was 19, just shy of 20, when Armstrong landed.

The recording of Neil Armstrong's speech has some funny lines and beautiful imagery:

“Almost a half-century ago, some astronomers designed an experiment. The idea was deceptively simple: Compute the distance between the Earth and the moon based on the time it would take for a beam of light to travel up to a mirror located on the surface of the moon and to reflect it back to Earth.”
“I wasn’t one of the scientists on this project — I was sort of technician. My job in the experiment was to install the mirror."

“It may not be obvious why anyone would want to measure the distance to the Sea of Tranquility within 11 inches, but we had to have some way of confirming our mileage for our expense account.”
“The mirrors are expected to be busy for many years to come, which gives me enormous satisfaction as a technician on the project.” 

“From the Sea of Tranquility, the Earth hung above me 23 degrees west of the zenith, a turquoise pendant against a black velvet sky.”
“The home of the human species is not inherently restricted to Earth alone. The universe around us is our challenge and our destiny.”

“Thanks to everyone here for being a part in this civilization.”



Neil Armstrong on the moon
It turned out to be Armstrong's last public speech [and second-to-last interview; his last being with an Italian radio station] gave before his death a month later on Aug. 25, 2012.

The video to which he referred at another speech in Australia in 2011:

Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong also left behind an American Flag, a plaque, an olive branch-shaped gold pin, messages from 73 world leaders, a patch from the Apollo 1 mission that, during a training exercise, combusted and killed three American astronauts, and medals in honor of two of the first Soviet astronauts who had died in flight.

Digitally remastered footage of the 1969 Apollo 11 moonwalk:

The video highlights of the three-hour moonwalk include a clearer picture of Neil Armstrong's descent down the stairs of the lunar module, which was taken from the Parkes Radio Observatory and the Honeysuckle Creek tracking station outside Canberra on 21 July 1969 (Australian time).
Buzz Aldrin on the moon

The long-forgotten video footage was uncovered during a decade-long search for the original recordings of the moonwalk, and involved lengthy detective work and clandestine meetings, says astronomer and telescope operator John Sarkissian from the CSIRO at Parkes, who headed up the search.

Like her grandfather, Athena also loves the moon, which I discussed in a poem:

"Hi, Moon" 

By Christopher Fox Graham 

She says “hi, moon,”
like they are old friends.

With every day I spend with her
I wonder if they are

She knows where the moon is in the sky when I do not,
and I have been walking on this earth
compass in hand,
for 40 times her life

The Apollo 11 Plaque left on the lander on the moon
I rarely get lost

yet, she seems to know
where her old friend is
every time we see him

She says hi to the stars
reaches up like she can touch them

I want to explain to her
the distance
of light years

How the balls of fire we see in the sky
are millions of years older than us
And even in our fastest ship
We will never reach them in our lifetime

I want to explain these things her
but she's not old enough to understand the words

And I wonder

if she's right

Because, truthfully,
I do not know the length of a light year

I have read it in books
been told by wiser men and women than me

And I believe them

because that is what we must do
to survive this world:
believe those who study these things
so we can go about our day
living

So I wonder if she's right

If I reach out my hand and say “hi, star”
with the same enthusiasm that she does

Will I hear them speak back?

When they reach through the night sky
when no one else is looking
shake hands with me,
Touch my fingers to theirs?
Say,
“It has been some time since we've spoken.
How are you?
We are doing fine
up here in the night
watching you down there
learning to learn
learning how things grow
feeling how things feel
what gravity is
what knees are

I wonder
if she their ambassador to us
or just another traveler

right now, it doesn't matter
because she's waving hello to the moon again

and I can't prove it
but I swear I saw him wave back

Given Terry's love for the moon and the Apollo mission, we thought adding the lander would be the best way to symbolize "Lee" in Odysseus' name:

Calvin: 

Calvin, named after theologian John Calvin [July 10, 1509, Noyon, Picardy, France-May 27, 1564, Geneva, Republic of Geneva], is the main protagonist of Bill Waterson's comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes," which ran from Nov. 18, 1985, to Dec. 31, 1995. He is highly intelligent, though without any self-discipline or concentration, a 6-year-old boy with a vivid imagination and a habit of getting into trouble and adventure. Because he is perpetually 6 years old, he was born from 1979 to 1989, depending on when the strip was drawn. The comic centers around Calvin's life, his troubles, and his adventures, with Hobbes alongside him as his companion. 

Calvin is characterized by his imagination, philosophy, extensive vocabulary, social awkwardness, and mischievous behavior. Calvin is ill-behaved most of the time. He challenges authority, complains at length and does not see past his own needs and desires. At home, he frequently challenges his parents' authority and complains about the rules he is made to observe. 

Calvin and/or his alter egos appeared in almost every strip of the series ever printed and published, however, there are several strips he does not appear in, those being where his parents — wo are never named — or other side characters reflect on Calvin or recent events (such as Calvin's home being broken into, or Calvin's snowmen). 

  • Spaceman Spiff is the most prominent of Calvin's many alter egos. He is a space explorer who often does battle with aliens, either on foot or in space.
    Spaceman Spiff, "interplanetary explorer extraordinaire," explores the outermost reaches of the universe "by popular request" in a red flying saucer with a bubble canopy. Despite his title as an explorer, he frequently engages in conflict with aliens, sometimes with seemingly far-reaching implications.
    The galaxy in which Spiff travels is a cruel place where Spiff is shot down or captured by ferocious and disgusting aliens (Some aliens, such as the Hideous Blob, do not appear hostile). In reality, these aliens are often people such as Calvin's mother and father or Miss Wormwood.
    Frequently, Spaceman Spiff becomes stranded on an unexplored planet due to alien attacks or merely unexplained malfunctions. Most of these planets seem devoid of advanced civilization, and often have hostile environments or alien predators. Spiff rarely lands on a planet without crashing or experiencing some technological malfunction.
  • Stupendous Man is one of Calvin's many alter egos and an attempted superhero by Calvin. Calvin puts on a red mask and cape which his mom made him, and pretends that other people (mostly the women in his life that he hates) are villains or monsters. When things begin to tilt away from his favor, he takes off the costume, and becomes "mild-mannered millionaire playboy Calvin" (a reference to Bruce Wayne, the secret identity of Batman and Clark Kent, the secret identity of Superman) once more.
    Stupendous Man is Calvin's second most-frequently employed alter ego, even though, according to Calvin, Stupendous Man has only won "moral victories" and not physical ones. He usually gets in trouble.  Stupendous Man is also Calvin's most powerful alter ego, achieving such feats as flying a telescope lens into the atmosphere and turning time back a day. However, these powers are largely wasted, either on supervillains that Stupendous Man cannot defeat or on ultimately futile plans such as getting mild-mannered Calvin another day out of school.
  • Tracer Bullet is a rarely-seen, though recurring, character in Calvin and Hobbes. He is one of Calvin's most prominent alter-egos. A private investigator based on any number of film noir and detective novel clichés, he makes his first appearance in a story arc in which Calvin gets a bowl haircut courtesy of Hobbes. When Calvin was forced to wear a hat to cover his bad haircut, the alter-ego was born, and he would appear in a total of three story arcs.
    His rate is $50 a day plus expenses. However, in his first introduction he claims business is poor, as he has "an office on 49th Street and a nasty relationship with multiple collection agencies". Tracer Bullet is a skilled marksman, and also claims "if business were as good as my aim, I would be on Easy Street."
    Bill Watterson is quoted as saying:
    "Tracer Bullet stories are extremely time-consuming to write, so I don't attempt them often. I'm not at all familiar with film noir or detective novels, so these are just spoofs on the clichés of the genre. Cartoonists don't use black much anymore (the eye, being lazy, is attracted to empty white space, especially when the panels are so small), and we miss some dramatic possibilities that way."
    While Tracer Bullet's narration usually dominated the individual strips he appeared in, his monologues tended to only provide exposition or reflection on previous action. The actual storyline generally would progress through comments by Calvin or any associated characters, almost always in panels featuring the real world of Calvin, not the imagined world of Tracer Bullet.
Hobbes, named for philosopher Thomas Hobbes [April 5, 1588, Westport, Wiltshire, England-Dec. 4, 1679, Derbyshire, England] is the deuteragonist of the comics. He is Calvin's stuffed tiger and best friend, who, from Calvin's perspective, is a live tiger and real as anyone else in the strip. Calvin is very cynical and usually gets annoyed with Hobbes. The interplay between the two title characters, and the question of whether Hobbes was real or not (Watterson said yes, but only Calvin can see that he's alive) is what gave the strip its unique personality that remained mostly untouched during its decade-long run.

As Spaceman Spiff, Calvin appears careening out of the orbit of Saturn:

Orion:

Orion is a prominent constellation located on the celestial equator and visible throughout the world. It is one of the most conspicuous and recognizable constellations in the night sky. It is named after Orion, a hunter in Greek mythology. Orion's seven brightest stars form a distinctive hourglass-shaped asterism in the night sky. Four stars—Rigel, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, and Saiph — form a large roughly rectangular shape, at the center of which lies the three stars of Orion's Belt — Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka. Descending from the "belt" is a smaller line of three stars, Orion's Sword, the middle of which is in fact not a star but the Orion Nebula, also known as the hunter's sword.
Many of the stars are luminous hot blue supergiants, with the stars of the belt and sword forming the Orion OB1 Association.

Main Stars

  • Betelgeuse, Alpha Orionis (α Orionis, 624 light years away, apparent magnitude 0.42), is a massive M-type red supergiant star nearing the end of its life. It is the second brightest star in Orion, and is a semiregular variable star. It serves as the "right shoulder" of the hunter it represents (assuming that he is facing the observer). It is generally the eleventh brightest star in the night sky, but this has varied between being the tenth brightest to the 23rd brightest by the end of 2019. The end of its life is expected to result in a supernova explosion that will be highly visible from Earth, possibly outshining the Earth's moon and being visible during the day. This is most likely to occur within the next 100,000 years.
  • Rigel, also known as Beta Orionis (β Orionis, 772 light years away, apparent magnitude 0.18), is a B-type blue supergiant that is the sixth brightest star in the night sky. Similar to Betelgeuse, Rigel is fusing heavy elements in its core and will pass its supergiant stage soon (on an astronomical timescale), either collapsing in the case of a supernova or shedding its outer layers and turning into a white dwarf. It serves as the left foot of Orion, the hunter.
  • Bellatrix is designated Gamma Orionis (β Orionis, 772 light years away, apparent magnitude 0.18) by Johann Bayer. It is the twenty-seventh brightest star in the night sky. Bellatrix is considered a B-type blue giant, though it is too small to explode in a supernova. Bellatrix's luminosity is derived from its high temperature rather than a large radius. Bellatrix marks Orion's left shoulder and it means the "female warrior", and is sometimes known colloquially as the "Amazon Star". It is the closest major star in Orion at only 244.6 light years.
  • Saiph is designated Kappa Orionis  (κ Orionis, 650 light years away, apparent magnitude 2.07) by Bayer, and serves as Orion's right foot. It is of a similar distance and size to Rigel, but appears much fainter. It means the "sword of the giant"
  • Meissa is designated Lambda Orionis (λ Orionis, 1,042 light years away, apparent magnitude 3.47), forms Orion's head, and is a multiple star with a combined apparent magnitude of 3.33. Its name means the "shining one".

Orion's Belt

  • Mintaka is designated Delta Orionis (δ Orionis, 916 light years away, apparent magnitude 2.2), despite being the faintest of the three stars in Orion's Belt. Its name means "the belt". It is a multiple star system, composed of a large B-type blue giant and a more massive O-type main-sequence star. The Mintaka system constitutes an eclipsing binary variable star, where the eclipse of one star over the other creates a dip in brightness. Mintaka is the westernmost of the three stars of Orion's Belt, as well as the northernmost.
  • Alnilam is designated Epsilon Orionis  (ε Orionis, 1,344 light years away, apparent magnitude 1.69) and is named for the Arabic phrase meaning "string of pearls". It is the middle and brightest of the three stars of Orion's Belt. Alnilam is a B-type blue supergiant; despite being nearly twice as far from the Sun as the other two belt stars, its luminosity makes it nearly equal in magnitude. Alnilam is losing mass quickly, a consequence of its size. It is the farthest major star in Orion at 1,344 light years.
  • Alnitak, meaning "the girdle", is designated Zeta Orionis (ζ Orionis, 800 light years away, apparent magnitude 1.88), and is the easternmost star in Orion's Belt. It is a triple star system, with the primary star being a hot blue supergiant and the brightest class O star in the night sky.

Barnard's Loop (catalogue designation Sh 2-276) is an emission nebula in the constellation of Orion. It is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex which also contains the dark Horsehead and bright Orion nebulae: The big red bow on the left. The stars within the Orion Nebula are believed to be responsible for ionizing the loop. The loop extends over about 600 arcminutes as seen from Earth, covering much of Orion. It is well seen in long-exposure photographs, although observers under very dark skies may be able to see it with the naked eye.




Orion faces off with Taurus, and followed by his hunting dog Canis Major, who is chasing Lepus the Hare. 

Orion and the Pleiades 

Beyond Taurus, if tracing Orion's belt through Aldebaran to the Pleiades Star Cluster (Messier 45).


In Greek mythology, the Pleiades were the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas. He was forced to hold up the sky for eternity, and was therefore unable to protect his daughters. To save the sisters from the hunter Orion, Zeus transformed them into stars. But the story says one sister fell in love with a mortal and went into hiding, which is why we only see six stars.
Similar “lost Pleiad” stories are found in European, African, Asian, Indonesian, American Indian and Aboriginal Australian cultures. Many cultures regard the cluster as having seven stars, but acknowledge only six are normally visible, and then have a story to explain why the seventh is invisible.
Aboriginal Australian stories seem to be much, much older than European contact and there was little contact between most Australian Aboriginal cultures and the rest of the world for at least 50,000 years. Barnaby Norris and Ray Norris, professors with the Western Sydney University's School of Science suggest that because modern humans are descended from people who began migrating from Africa to the far corners of the globe about 100,000 years ago that these stories may predate that migration.

Artemis Program and the Orion Spacecraft

As Odysseus and Artemis grow up, they'll watch the Artemis program, whose primary goal is to return humans to the Moon, specifically the lunar south pole, by 2025. It has 11 launches planned between 2022 and 2033 with Artemis III landing two people on the Moon in 2025.

The Artemis Program will launch the Orion spacecraft to the moon, thus linking Artemis Leia Aurora Claire River Song Éowyn Fox Graham to her twin brother Odysseus Luke Saturn Langston Lee Calvin Orion Fox Graham.

Artemis I Mission Patch

The Artemis program began in December 2017 as the reorganization and continuation of successive efforts to revitalize the U.S. space program since 2009. Its stated short-term goal is landing the first woman on the Moon; mid-term objectives include establishing an international expedition team and a sustainable human presence on the Moon. Long-term objectives are laying the foundations for the extraction of lunar resources, and eventually, make crewed missions to Mars and beyond feasible
The Orion Spacecraft in the Artemis I mission





Odysseus Fox Graham and his sister Athena Fox Graham

The Orion constellation in his crest also connect Odysseus Luke Saturn Langston Lee Calvin Orion Fox Graham to his older sister, Athena Zelda Nebula Skye Sylvia Diana Fox Graham, as it relates to her name "Nebula." Her crest shows the Horsehead Nebula (officially called Barnard 33between the figures of Athena and Diana.
The Horsehead Nebula can be found a short distance from Alnitak, to the lower left of the three stars in Orion's belt.
In infrared, the Horsehead Nebula looks far different. Astronomers used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in 2013 to photograph the iconic Horsehead Nebula in a new, infrared light to mark the 23rd anniversary of the famous observatory's launch aboard the space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990.

Looking like an apparition rising from whitecaps of interstellar foam, the iconic Horsehead Nebula has graced astronomy books ever since its discovery more than a century ago. The nebula is a favorite target for amateur and professional astronomers. It is shadowy in optical light. It appears transparent and ethereal when seen at infrared wavelengths. The rich tapestry of the Horsehead Nebula pops out against the backdrop of Milky Way stars and distant galaxies that easily are visible in infrared light.
This video zooms into part of the sky in the constellation of Orion (The Hunter), showing the new infrared Hubble observations of the Horsehead Nebula (otherwise known as Barnard 33). The video ends on a 3D fly-through of the nebula.

The video continues with a scientific visualisation of a flight into the infrared Horsehead. The computer graphics model is intended to be scientifically reasonable, but not fully accurate. 

This new infrared image has been released to celebrate 23 years of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The data in this video come from Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3, supplemented by ground-based observations from the European Southern Observatory's Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA).

The Orion constellation appears here in Odysseus Luke Saturn Langston Lee Calvin Orion Fox Graham's House Crest, between Saturn and the Trojan horse of Odysseus:


Fox Graham:

For obvious reasons. Not much to add to this one, other than Fox Graham is my middle and last name. Athena and Artemis' last names are also "Fox Graham"

The House Crest Motto:

"Let's Go Exploring"

Odysseus' motto comes from the final strip of "Calvin and Hobbes" on Dec. 31, 1995


Appears here: