Monday, January 26, 2015

Turkey Photo Album

Finally (finally!) got all my photos from last summer organized, edited, and uploaded. And it only took me six months, ha ha. This latest album is for my trip into Turkey for the second time, in the summer of 2014 (I also went in 2013). Turkey is just amazing, and I had a blast, as usual! Included here are photos from Izmir, Sirince, Ephesus, Cappadocia, a hot air balloon cruise, and Antalya.

Link to the public Flickr album, here:

Fire her up! Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey. July, 2014.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Video Poems

Just found this great site, Moving Poems: The best poetry videos on the web. Check 'em out--there are pages and pages of work by a variety of poets. Here's one below, by Rachel Eliza Griffiths, from the 2011 Mule & Pear (I actually got this from You Tube, as I can't figure out how to post individual vids from Moving Poems):

Awesome, huh? I've got to get back in there and watch more, once my internet connection speeds up (major issues, of late!). Cheers, Lauren

Friday, January 9, 2015

Hamlet in Shanghai

I keep forgetting to mention this year's class field trip to Shanghai to see Hamlet. Same as the past two years, when we did King Lear, and Macbeth, students studied the play for the month before the performance. Characters were drawn, scenes were acted out, film clips were watched, essays were written, and there was much in-depth discussion. The students were so excited to see their first live play, and to travel to Shanghai, and they were not disappointed! TNT Theatre Britain put on a great show, as usual, though they did have to cut some things, as the entire play, acted out from soup to nuts, is over four hours long. Gone was the Fortinbras subplot (understandable for a cut, but still, I was bummed--I think it adds an extra interesting layer to the story). Also, the presentation of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern was fabulously hilarious, and Ophelia's mad scene was stunning. We all enjoyed it so much. Here's a photo of us on the staircase at the Lyceum Theater that night:

Definitely a fun time, every year, and I'm so glad I can get the kids excited about Shakespeare--indeed, to even READ an entire play! This spring, TNT Theatre Britain is putting on The Merchant of Venice, which I've been teaching every spring semester for the past four years. I'd love to take the kids to that, too, but eh, maybe I'll just go and enjoy that one myself. Yeah, that sounds good. 

Donation Day

Yesterday, after organizing and boxing up all of the donations to the Orphanage Clothing Drive, the students and myself delivered everything to the Jiangyin Children's Welfare Home. We had a lot of donations (including about 20 brand new winter coats from an anonymous donor!), but were somehow able to stuff it all into ten boxes, and get it loaded and dropped off downtown.

Imagine our surprise when the local news station showed up to interview us for the nightly news! . Luckily, one of my students was able to act as translator. I haven't seen the broadcast--I don't think I even receive that channel on my TV--but will post it if ever found. 

Anyway, it was a good day. The coordinator of the orphanage was happy (as I'm sure the kids will be), the students were happy, and I'm happy that we could all work together to make even a small difference. Many thanks to all the donors, to Celia Cheung and Xu Hailong for help in coordinating everything, and to my students for all their work! Here are some photos:

At the Jiangyin Children's Welfare Home with all the donations.

With my student, Kyara, being interviewed for the nightly news.

Organizing some of the donations.

All boxed up and ready to go!

Our chariot/delivery bus, lol.

In front of the school before we left to deliver the donations.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Orphanage Volunteer Program Article

The article on my junior class Orphanage Volunteer Program is now up on the school's website, with student writings about the experience. Also included is information about our December 2014 Orphanage Clothing Drive. We've gotten a LOT of donations, so far, and expect to deliver all the items at the beginning of the new year. I'm so proud of the students, not only for their compassion, but their efforts to make a difference! Here's the link to the article:

Orphanage Volunteer Program at Nanjing Senior High School:

Morocco Photo Album

Finally getting around to organizing and editing the rest of my travel photos from 2014. I'm trying to finish them all by the end of the year this time. Included in the Morocco album: Essaouira; Marrakech; Fez; Chefchaouen; Tangier; a side trip across the Strait of Gibraltar to Tarifa, Spain; and Casablanca. Also, some photos of the Beat Generation/literary hot spots I hit up in Tangier. And yes, I went on a camel trek. It was just amazing! Here's the link to the photo album: 

Morocoo Flickr Album:

Now, on to finish up all the Turkey photos. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 6, 2014


The eyes always get you, those faces staring
from supermarket posters, the missing children
plucked off streets, vanished into forced labor,
begging gangs, prostitution; some maimed,
some recovered, some gone forever.  Once,

on a train to Shenzhen, a teen boy, dressed in rags,
one eye, half his chin missing, entered our carriage,
hushing the chatter, singing like an angel for coins,
and I mean like Bocelli, or Pavarotti, our car filled
with ear-melting Italian opera, rocking and swaying

through the Chinese countryside, the closest we,
in our economy class hard seats, would ever get
to La Scala, or the Bolshoi, if we even knew what
those were, and the boy finished to utter silence,
our open jaws and wet cheeks, his good eye

scanning the crowd,  and for one second it rested
on me, this otherworldly eye, this eye of the stricken
universe, and I am ashamed, but I looked away, as
did the others, ruffling their newspapers, pretending
it never happened, in that uneasy air, before the boy

moved on to the next car and beyond, to be lost
among the billions. No one spoke, all of us
aware of the sticky business of childhood in Asia,
knowing that the eye had seared itself into us;
an open wound that would fester within for years.

~ Lauren Tivey

*This poem originally appeared in the debut issue of The Verse (August, 2013), which is now defunct. Editor Dan Navarrete wrote of the poem, "A call to take action, excellent depiction of the reality surrounding impoverished youth in China. Truly a piece that sinks into our hearts and refuses to let go, just like the imagery". Sorry to say The Verse didn't last, and the website's now gone. I was lucky to find a copy of this, hidden in my email files, as I'd lost the original in the expansion drive crash, and the only other copy was on the website which closed.