Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!


jrlewis's picture

Sequence Singe








braid around

ample please us




tree frogs 

and true toads 

jrlewis's picture

Lifting the Branch

My tree

tells me I have got you, apple.

Now hand to branch 

to yes, take my trunk.

Yell oh,

here, like hair like feathers like leaves!

Will the rustling leaves

of the swaying tree

say, no yell, oh?

Adam’s apple, 

state the roots, stay the trunk,

and lunging branch.  


out into orchard, think of the leaves.  

Yes give us a trunk and another trunk.  


loves its apple

so yellow, yell oh!

We yell over and over oh,

before falling from the branch.  


loves the leaves.

So the tree

is asking touch my trunk.

Tough the bark of the trunk,

still it will yell oh!

Telling, poem ate tree. 

Tender it is; the branch

never leaves



is alive with trunk.  


between orange and green and yell oh!

Growing to branch.

This is what it’s like making love with a tree.

Ah the apple.  Ah the leaves.  

Ah the trunk.  Ah the branch.  

Yell oh!  Ah, says the tree.

jrlewis's picture

Feminist Sting

What felt wrong last night, was the need to explain my fear, 

to justify my fear, 

to force my fear onto you?

Into you,

I want to pour,

to open, to offer only good things.  

But sometimes the asymmetry hurts.

jrlewis's picture

Found Introduction

The great St Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, 

the dome radially symmetrical,

each quadrant meets

one of the four spandrels.

Below the dome,

spandrels tapering triangular spaces.   

Two rounded arches at right angles are

byproducts of mounting a dome.  

Spandrel, a design fitted into its space, 

sits in the parts flanked 

by the heavenly.

Below a man,

representing one of the four biblical rivers 





pours water 

from a pitcher in the narrowing space.

Below his feet

is elaborate.  That we to view it

as sense of the surrounding

necessary spandrels. 

They a space which the mosaicists worked.

They set the symmetry

such abound.  

We do not impose our biological biases upon them, 

a series.

Ann Dixon's picture

Trouble Running Our Netlogo Models / Java Applets?

Java has upgraded its security, so for some PC browsers, you will need to take steps to run our Playground's Netlogo models (Java applets), such as

  • The World of Langton's Ant: What is "purpose" and "purposeful" behavior and does one imply the other?
    an experiment with models, requires Java capable browser

  • Thinking About Segregation and Integration: Why do people cluster with others with similar characteristics?
    an experiment with models, optional: Java capable browser. Now upgraded to NetLogo 6 and we recommend downloading NetLogo and running the model on local machines. Links for downloads are provided with the experiment.

  • Seeing More Than Your Eye Does: Does your brain make up stories? A "blindspot" experiment.

1) update Java to the most recent release (you may have already does that step)

2) add our site to the Java exceptions list. Instructions for doing this are here:

The quick summary:

  • Start menu -> Java -> Configure Java,
  • Security tab,
  • Edit site list,
  • Add
  • Enter:  as one of the exceptions
  • Save
Samantha Plate's picture

What Is Play? (rewrite)

Samantha Plate

Play In The City


What Is Play? (Re-Write)

We seemed to have taken a wrong turn somewhere. Walking down the streets of Philadelphia, my group and I were in search of mosaics. At an intersection we randomly chose to go right, hoping this would take us the correct way. It did not. The street soon hit a dead end. While trying to decide where to go next, the sound of laughing children caught my attention. We were right near a playground full of children who had just gotten out of school. Wanting to follow our course assignment of “play in the city” we decided to go in and join all the children having fun on the jungle gym.  

What is play? This is a question that many individuals have tried to answer. Theorists, psychologists, and scientists are always trying to pin “play” down and give it a strict definition. Play can be specified as simple play, critical play, and deep play- all of which have been important to our studies of play in the city and all of which have very flexible and overlapping definitions. As a child plays it seems so simple and natural, but it is actually very complex. Play in itself defies definition- it is playful. Play sets all the rules and breaks them too. There are so many ways to describe this essential part of life.

Samantha Plate's picture

Sontag and writing organically

It seems that Sontag's point was that we should experience things for what they are. She doesn't want us the try and pull content from them, but rather to hear, see, and feel. This relates to the tool of writing organically following what you are curious about. By ignoring how the content might be "meant" to be interpreted we can instead look at what seems important to us and from there we can write about that, as it appears to us.

My assignment for Play in the City II would be to go view a work of art, or a performance, or listen to a live piece of music or a book reading and write a stream of consciousness. There would be no analytical goal, you should just write what you are thinking, feeling, seeing, hearing as it happens. From there you can follow what you are curious about and examine it more closely in your essay. This follows the idea that we talked about in class that we should use Sontag's practice to experience, but our tools to analyze and write.

Samantha Plate's picture

How Should We View Art?

Samantha Plate

Play In The City

Mark Lord


How Should We View Art?

            In my viewing of The Postman at The Barnes Foundation, I experienced two different ways in which to experience the painting. After writing my paper, learning more about the history, and participating in class discussion, I have begun to question those two techniques. More importantly, I began to question which method was better. Is the experience of viewing art, and learning, through feeling and emotional connection better than through analyzing the details?

My automatic reaction to The Postman led me to view the painting through feeling. I made an emotional connection with the painting and I let it speak to me. I did not try to think about certain things, nor did I try to become thoughtless. The thoughts that ran through my head contained a range of emotions and resulted in the urge to cry. I felt like I truly saw the real beauty in the painting, and without any outside influence. I was aware of the experience I was having in a way not unlike deep play. Surely this was the best possible way to view a piece of art, the best way to learn.

Samantha Plate's picture

A new outlook

Knowledge about the Barnes Foundation's history has changed my outlook on the new Barnes Foundation and the art within its walls. I have a high respect for Albert Barnes that I didn't have before. He spent his life collecting all of these amazing pieces of art so that he could protect them. He didn't care about their worth. He cared about the works for the pieces of art that they were. He wanted to guard them from the people of the art world that cared more about their monetary value than there inherent worth. It makes me very happy to know that there are people that really do care about these works and wanted to give the most common citizens access to them. And importantly, he didn't just wants to see the art, he wanted us to learn from it. I feel like I tried my best to do this during my viewing of The Postman. I'm still figuring out how I want to improve my essay, but these are some thoughts I had after class on Thursday.

Samantha Plate's picture

The Postman

Samantha Plate

Play In The City

Mark Lord


The Postman

            I have never really had an emotional connection to a painting before. I found the notion of crying simply because of a painting ridiculous. How could a simple canvas inspire do much emotion? At the Barnes Foundation I learned exactly this.

            As soon as I saw one of the famous Postman paintings, off in a corner, neglected by the crowded room, I was drawn to him. Having gone round in the wrong order, this was the last room that I had left to visit, and I still hadn’t decided what work of art I wanted to view for half an hour. As I made my way over his eyes drew me in. The brilliant light blue contrasted with the rich royal blue of his uniform and hat. They seemed to have a gleam in them, like he was on the verge of tears. As I stared into those eyes I found my own eyes watering too. This surprised me. What was making me so emotional? It could have been influenced by the emotional day I was having outside of the Barnes, the Postman did not look like my granddad, but I found my mind wandering to him and the funeral that was taking place on the other side of the world. Even so it was very strange to me that I had to suppress the urge to cry in the middle of Room 2 of the Barnes Foundation.

Syndicate content