A reproduction of Thomas Hart Benton’s 1947 mural “Achelous and Hercules” – true to the 22-foot-long, more than five-foot high dimensions of the original – now graces the first floor of the Central Library. On permanent display outside the Genevieve Guldner Gallery, it returns an image that famously adorned the old Harzfeld’s Department Store just a few blocks away.
The Kansas City community lost an iconic writer this past week. Charles W. Gusewelle died Tuesday, November 15th at age 83. He wrote for The Kansas City Star for six decades. A few years ago, Gusewelle took part in the Library’s Dial-A-Story program. He recorded a child’s version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. We are positing this encore reading of in celebration of Charles Gusewelle’s life.
There are three poets who really break the mold, and set the stage for the modern poetry of the 20th century – these are Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman in America, and Gerard Manley Hopkins in Britain.
First, we updated our website. Next, we began implementing a new tagging system for library materials. And now we are changing our online catalog system.
The catalog allows you to search our materials, place holds on items, and interact with your account. The system will allow you to interact with our library staff more easily, create themed lists, review books, and share your recommendations within the library community.
The Kansas City Public Library will begin temporarily closing its branches in early November 2016 to upgrade its checkout system. The staggered closures will allow staffers to install new Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags on books and other materials available to patrons. The process will last into early 2017.
Basho is famous as a composer of haiku. Some even suggest he invented the form, though he did not. One of his most famous works is Oku No Hosomichi (trans. as The Narrow Road to the Interior). This work is considered one of the masterpieces of classical Japanese literature. In form, the work is an haibun, a mixture of prose and haiku. It is an impressionistic journal of a journey Basho made, mostly on foot, in the Spring of 1689. Over the course of 156 days, he traversed about 1500 miles. At the conclusion of his journey from Edo (Tokyo) to the north, and back again, he spent five years refining and completing the work for publication. There are people who go to Japan to retrace Basho’s steps. Given the great changes from Japan of 1689 to Japan in the 21st century, this is impossible in any real sense. In any event, we are not Basho and cannot replicate what happened to him over 400 years ago. But we can appreciate his own depiction of that experience. It is unclear whether Basho attained enlightenment, but, in his haiku, and his other verse, he does aim at the annihilation of subject and object that is key to enlightenment. Haiku is all about the distilling of experience to its essence and somehow summoning the moment that led to an “aha!” moment.
The library contains this work, together with some of Basho’s other haibu and selected haiku, in The Essential Basho, trans. By Sam Hamill.