Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Muse: Winter-Spring Lannan Readings

Tuesday, February 10, begins the final series of readings in the 2014-15 series of Lannan Readings at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. All of the events are free and open to the public, and all take place at 8:00 p.m., on campus in the Copley Formal Lounge (37th & O Sts., N.W.).

Today's post spotlights the readings, which will continue into April. 

✭ Nairobi-born Okwiri Oduor appears on February 10. Winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing (2014), for her story "My Father's Head", which appears in Feast, Famine and Potluck (Short Story Day Africa, 2014), Oduor teaches creative writing to young girls who attend her alma mater in Kenya. Currently, the writer, a MacDowell Colony Fellow (2014), is working on a full-length novel. She is the author of a novella The Dream Chasers.

Okwiri Oduor on FaceBook

✭ On February 24, poet, novelist, translator, critic, and scholar Ammiel Alcalay will be joined on the podium by poet and writer Fanny Howe.

Alcalay is the author of a little history (re:public/UpSet Press, 2013), Islanders (City Lights, 2010), Scrapmetal (Factory School, 2007), and After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 1993), in addition to other books.

Read Ammiel Alcalay's poem "Order".

"Ammiel Alcalay on Amiri Baraka" at Upset Press

Poet and novelist Howe has published more than 20 books of prose and poetry, most recently the collection Second Childhood (Graywolf Press, July 2014). Recipient of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize (2009), Howe also has been awarded fellowships from Bunting Institute, MacDowell Colony, and National Endowment for the Arts. Howe is a Visiting Lecturer in Literary Arts at Brown University.

Read Fanny Howe's poems "The Hut" and "Veteran".

Fanny Howe at Penn Sound

March 17 will bring together poets Peter Gizzi and Michael Palmer.

Gizzi is the recipient of a Lavan Younger Poets Award (19940 from the Academy of American Poets and, more recently, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, among other honors; he was the 2011 Judith E. Wilson Visiting Fellow in Poetry at Cambridge University. He published this year In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems 1987-2011 (Wesleyan). His most recent chapbook is In the Air (Manor House, 2013), with artwork by Richard Kraft.

A collaborator with visual artists and composers, Palmer published his first poetry collection, Blake's Newton (Black Sparrow Press, now Black Sparrow Books) in the early 1970s. His awards include a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation (1989) and the 2001 Shelley Memorial Award (Poetry Society of America).

Peter Gizzi Resources Online

Read Michael Palmer's poem "Stone".

✭ Closing out the season on April 21 is Ethiopian-born Dinaw Mengestu. The recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant (2012), a "5 Under 35" Award from the National Book Foundation (2007), and a fiction fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts (2006), Mengestu has written three novels: All Our Names (Knopf, 2014 ), How to Read the Air  (Riverhead Trade, 2010; Reprint 2011), and The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (Riverhead Books, 2008; Reprint 2008). The latter is the winner of a Guardian First Book Award.

Dinaw Mengestu at The New Yorker

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thought for the Day

How is it that fear can also burnish the world?
~ Ellen Bass

Quoted from "Their Naked Petals" in Ellen Bass, Like a Beggar (Copper Canyon Press, 2014)

Ellen Bass, Poet, Nonfiction Writer, Poetry and Creative Writing Teacher

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saturday Short

I have found a connection between drawing and sculpting.
I build with line on paper and pull lines
out of the wood when sculpting. . . .
~ David Knopp, Artistic Statement

Today's short, from Maryland Public Television, offers a brief look at the unusual and beautiful abstract furniture and sculptures created by David Knopp. In the video, Knopp discusses his materials (plywood laminate), his tools, and his artistic process. Knopp, based in Baltimore, Maryland, begins with photographs, which become drawings that he then "interprets" (with the aid of 3-D design software) into fluid wood forms.

Browse Knopp's online portfolio. Knopp was a finalist for a NICHE award in 20l1 and is a past winner (2012) of a Baker Artist Award.

David Knopp on FaceBook

David Knopp Blog

Art Loft 301's "David Knopp, Plywood Artist" (2014) also may be viewed on YouTube.

Friday, January 23, 2015

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ It seems there is always room for another art-related site on the Web. One of the more recent is The Artist Next Level (TANL), which describes its objectives as "inspire[ing] you to thrive and succeed in your art career through our free podcasts, webinars, seminars, social groups, [and] personal/virtual coaching and offer technology to create a scalable business. . . ." Take a look for yourself. The platform was created by Chicago visual artist and entrepreneur Sergio Gomez, psychologist Yanina Gomez, Ph.D., and 33 Contemporary Gallery. Easily navigated, the site also contains a Resources page and a link to Sergio Gomez Art Blog. Interviews and other features are planned.

TANL on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✦ In late December 2014, George Eastman House officially launched its completed Photographic Process Videos project, which can be viewed in entirety on YouTube. The project comprises 12 videos: Before Photography, The Daguerreotype, Talbot's Processes, The Cyanotype, The Collodion, The Albumen Print, The Platinum Print, The Pigment Processes, The Woodburytype, The Gelatin Silver Process, Color Photography, and Digital Photography. The series is a terrific resource. Here's the program on the gelatin silver process:

✦ Contemporary London-based sculptor Anish Kapoor will be showing work at Versailles this year, from June through October. Kapoor's will be a solo exhibition at the 17th Century palace outside Paris.

✦ Here's a stellar contemporary textile/mixed-media artist I recently found online: Gizella K Warburton. Visit her gallery to view examples of her work, which are composed of cloth, papers, yarns, strings, paint, charcoal, or weathered wood, among other materials. Warburton, who lives and works in Leicestershire, East Midlands, United Kingdom, takes commissions and conducts workshops. Warburton last showed her work at the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea. Read an interview with Warburton at TextileArtist.

Gizella K Warburton on FaceBook and Axisweb

✦ Today's feature video introduces sculptor and installation artist Soo Sunny Park. Park talks about her piece, Unwoven Light, a 2013 installation at Rice Gallery. 

(My thanks to Hand/Eye magazine for the video link.)

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ A selection of artists' diaries is on view through February 28 in the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery at Donald W. Reynolds Center, Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C. Featured among the diary entries are occasional poems and sketches. Karl and Marion Zerbe, John Storrs, Olive Rush, Joseph Cornell, Oscar Bluemner, and Abraham Rattner number among the artists whose diaries are showcased in "A Day in the Life: Artists' Diaries from the Archives of American Art". (Images and additional information are available at the exhibition link. Also see Tumblr. Read the AAA blogpost "The Artist's Diary in Contemporary Practice", the first in a series of posts by artists, curators, and writers.)

Archives of American Art on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Paintings by Argentinian Raul Diaz remain on view through February 28  in the exhibition "Journey" at Jerald Melberg Gallery, Charlotte, North Carolina. Diaz's art comprises works on paper (watercolor and pencil, oil crayon and graphite), sculptures, and paintings or carvings on wood or wood panels, as well as mixed media on wood panels. His use of color gives his work an appearance of delicacy or dreaminess, imbuing the paintings with atmosphere, and the expressive figures or objects he includes lend them mystery. He calls painting, which he says he's "connected to all day" while secluded in his studio overlooking the mountains, a form of autobiography.

In the video below, filmed in Argentina, the self-taught Diaz demonstrates and talks about his work and artistic process:

A 2002 monograph, Raul Diaz, including 100 color plates, is available from Jerald Melberg.

Jerald Melberg Gallery on FaceBook

✭ A solo show of seven new narrative-style works by ceramic sculptor Jason Walker, a Northwest artist represented by Ferrin Contemporary, continues through March 1 at Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, Washington. Titled "Jason Walker: On the River, Down the Road", the exhibition is site-specific, comprising an installation of painted porcelains, primarily in the form of animals in surrealistic settings, that "offers an incisive comment on the indelible impact of humanity upon the natural landscape." View a selection of exhibition images. A color catalogue, including an interview with the artist, is available through Ferrin Contemporary.

Cover of Exhibition Catalogue

Bellevue Arts Museum on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Celebrating its 90th anniversary, Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas, is showing selections from its permanent collection of more than 3,000 works. On view through March 14 in "Masters of the Mulvane" are artworks by Rembrandt, Goya, Whistler, Tiffany, Picasso, Dali, Rauschenberg, and Max Beckman, Gordon Parks, Miriam Shapiro, and Juane Quick-to-See Smith.

✭ Opened January 5, "Whistler and the British Etching Revival" at Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma, runs through April 5. Drawn from the museum's permanent collection, the exhibition presents prints by James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), Whistler's brother-in-law, who was both an artist and print collector, and several artists of the next generation. The show also demonstrates the medium of etching (an etching needle is on display) and examines practices that have ensured the etching's continuing appeal. 

Philbrook Museum on FaceBook and Twitter  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thursday's Three on Art

Today's Thursday's Three column spotlights a trio of recently published art books, all from Yale University Press.

✭ In Sculpture 1600-2000 (Art and Architecture of Ireland), editor Paula Murphy of University College Dublin offers a survey of four centuries (from early Middle Ages to end of 20th Century) of Irish sculpture. She includes biographies of artists, analytical assessments, and thematic essays. Six hundred color illustrations are featured.

Cover Image

✭ Drawing on the collection of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Four Centuries of Quilts (October 28, 2014), by Linda Baumgarten and Kimberly Smith Ivey, examine the evolution of quilting styles and trends and their relationship to social, political, and economic issues of the art objects' time. The book includes more than 300 color images.

Cover Image

A related exhibition, "A Celebration of American Quilts", is ongoing (through June 2016) at Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.

Mohandas K. Gandhi's ethics of nonviolence are explored through a visual arts lens in Experiments with Truth: Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence (December 23, 2014), edited by Josef Helfensein and Joseph N. Newland, both at The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas. Work discussed encompasses images of Gandhi iconography, photojournalism, and paintings and artworks in other media, both past and contemporary; sacred texts and correspondence also are featured.

Cover Image

A related exhibition of the same name, featuring approximately 130 objects, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, rare books, and films, is at The Menil Collection; it continues through February 1.

M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Monday Muse: Finding Poetry in Prison

. . . In prison, you can't dream . . . 
But we dared to dream, and to dream a lot.
~ Cristina Domenech

In the wonderful TEDx video below, Cristina Domenech talks about her experience of teaching poetry to men incarcerated in an Argentinian prison. Poetry exists even in a prison, Domenech says she told the men, who soon learned that with the language they could not be denied, "they could make the walls invisible, that they could make the windows yell, and that we could hide inside the shadows."

Through her writing workshop, Domenech stresses, the prisoners were able to enjoy "a moment of extraordinary freedom", of dignity as human beings: "Poetry . . . sews up the wounds of exclusion. It opens doors. Poetry works as a mirror. It creates a mirror, which is the poem. They recognize themselves, they look at themselves in the poem and write from who they are, and are from what they write." 

Proof of the truth of Domenech's words is the appearance at the conclusion of the talk of prisoner Martin Bustamante, who was granted temporary release to read a poem he wrote in Domenech's class. As Bustamante relates, "for me, poetry and literature have changed my life."

The talk is in Spanish with English subtitles. (Read the transcript.)


Last year, I read Richard Shelton's excellent memoir, Crossing the Yard: Thirty Years as a Prison Volunteer (University of Arizona Press, 2007), about teaching poetry in Arizona's prisons. It is an enlightening, inspiring, and enraging read on the horrors of prison life, the sparking of creative spirit, and the possibility of redemption through art.

I also recommend former North Carolina poet laureate Joseph Bathanti's collection Concertina, which I reviewed in December 2013.

PEN has operated a prison writing program since 1971 and makes available a Handbook for Writers in Prison.

Among other resources to note are the American Prison Writing Archive at Digital Humanities Initiative, Hero's Journey Prison Writing Program in Seattle, Washington, The Prison Arts Coalition, The Prison Creative Arts Project at University of Michigan, and Writers in Prison Foundation. There are thousands of other groups throughout the United States and abroad. Many, many books and periodical articles on the subject have been published.

Ceramic 'Relief Tapestries' of George Mason

Light, shadow, texture and relief, and the primacy 
of gravity continue to capture my attention. 
Increasingly, I want my work to sit still.
~ George Mason, Artist's Statement

In the video below, by Devin Altobello, ceramic sculptor George Mason, a co-founder of Maine's Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, talks eloquently about his artwork. His gorgeous, wonderfully textured "relief tapestries" are wall-size, free-standing pieced-panels; his materials, in addition to clay, include plaster, pigment, casein paint, layered paper-cuts, and encaustic.

A three-time winner of "Artists Fellowships" from the National Endowment for the Arts, Mason has completed public commissions for Atlanta's Federal Reserve Bank, the New York Public School System's "Percent for Art" initiative, and Maine Art Commission's own "Percent for Art" program. Most recently, he taught at University of Colorado at Boulder. (Read Mason's resume.)

The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine at the University of Maine, Augusta, included Mason's sculptures in its exhibition "The Dilemma of Memory: Maine Artists and the Holocaust"* this past fall.

Mason maintains a studio in Nobleboro, Maine (Damariscotta Mills), and welcomes visitors.

Also see "Step by Step, Artist's Process", another excellent video in which Mason describes his creative and physical work processes. Note how beautifully his work complements the spaces for which Mason creates. I particularly appreciate that he creates with the intention of producing an opportunity for "an utterly fresh response"** that calls out to people to touch his work.

* Britta Konau, "Art Current: The Dilemma of Memory", Free Press Online, November 19, 2014

* Lisa Kristoff, "Artistic Experiments and Chamber Music", Boothbay Register, December 8, 2014

(My thanks to Watershed Center for the video link.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

29:56 (Poem)


a child lies
unblanketed, untendered
two seconds—
and he went down
so many minutes before
the EMTs arrive
yellow tape is unfurled
and the car that brought death pulls away
a sister, 14, inside

© 2015 Maureen E. Doallas

On Wednesday, January 7, 2015, I watched a 29:56-minute-long video released by the City of Cleveland, Ohio, as part of more extensive surveillance footage of a park where, on November 22, 2014, the 12-year-old child Tamir Rice, playing with a fake BB gun, was shot and killed by a police officer. The child was shot twice, twice within two seconds of the officer's arrival on the scene.

Watching the video, I was horror-struck by the length of time that elapsed between the shooting and the arrival of emergency medical assistance, and also by the tackling of another child, a 14-year-old later identified as Tamir Rice's sister, who was hand-cuffed and placed in the back of the police car. From that position, she watched as her brother lay on the ground, unattended; at a later point still, she saw his body removed. We do not see her release from police custody. As is stated in the article accompanying the video, when Tamir Rice's mother tried to come to the sister's aid and asked that she be released, the police gave her the untenable option to either stay with her daughter or go to the hospital; she choose to do the latter.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Muse: Ohio Establishes State Poet Post

A new law, Amended Substitute Senate Bill 84, establishes the position of Ohio Poet Laureate, making the state the forty-fifth with an official state poet.

Signed by Governor John Kasich on December 19, 2014, the law (Ohio Revised Code, Sec. 3379.12) stipulates that selection of the state poet is to be made by the governor from a slate of at least three candidates recommended by the Ohio Arts Council. The council, tasked with establishing qualifications for the position, as well as guidelines for the nomination and selection process, is to submit its recommendations to the governor at least 90 days before the position's term begins.

Each appointment is for two years. The term of the state's first Poet Laureate is to begin on January 1, 2016.

The governor has discretion to reappoint the incumbent to a subsequent term or terms. 

If an incumbent dies, resigns, or otherwise vacates or is unable to complete the term of office, the governor may, at the art council's recommendation, appoint another individual to fulfill the unexpired portion. The council has 60 days from the time a vacancy occurs to make its recommendation.

No provision is made for a monetary stipend to support the Poet Laureate's work.

The law is effective 90 days after being signed.

Note: A Monday Muse profile of the inaugural Poet Laureate will be posted following the individual's appointment.


"Ohio to Get Poet Laureate Under Bill Kasich Signed", 21 News Now, December 21, 2014

"Kasich Signs 40 Bills", Governor's Office, December 19, 2014

Bill Summary at LegiScan

Kristen Mitchell, "Bill Would Give Ohio Its Own Poet Laureate", The Columbus Dispatch, August 4, 2014
Ohio Poetry Association on FaceBook

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Thought for the Day

You do not bring the ocean to a river.
~ Tapiwa Mugabe

Quoted from Tapiwa Mugabe's poem "You Are Oceanic".

Mugabe's debut collection of poetry is Zimbabwe, available through Etsy.

Tapiwa Mugabe on Tumblr and Twitter