Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Introduction to Jaroslav Malina

Today's post provides an introduction to Jaroslav Malina: Master of Dramatic Space, a documentary on renowned stage designer Jaroslav Malina from Dutch filmmaker Hans van Seventer. The 41-minute film, which examines Malina's life and career in theatre and, in particular, the obstacles and pressures and lack of personal and artistic freedoms under nazism and communism, was named Best International Short Documentary at the 2011 Garden State Film Festival.

Malina, born in 1937 in Prague, in the former Czechoslovakia, is known for "action design", an approach to theatre production that takes into consideration the creation and use of sets, costumes, and lighting as well as actors' performance text. Malina has designed more than 450 sets and costumes for theatre, film, and television. His set designs, paintings (showing influences of constructivism, the French style of abstraction known as tachisme, and Art Brut), graphics, and posters have been shown in more than two dozen solo exhibitions. His work is in several museums in the United States, including Theatre Research Institute at The Ohio State University and Museum of Performance & Design (Performing Arts Library & Museum) in San Francisco, California.

The trailer also is available on Vimeo.

The documentary (some details are here) is available on DVD.

My thanks to Artist on Film for the link to the documentary's trailer.

Jaroslav Malina Collection and Czech Theatre Collection at Ohio State University Libraries

Michael Grossberg, "Set apart: Vibrant works, models from theatrical designer offer 'intellectual and visual feast'", The Columbus Dispatch, December 13, 2009 (More than 100 of Malina's paintings and designs were exhibited at OSU's Urban Arts Space.)

Joe Brandesky, Ed., Czech Theatre Design in the Twentieth Century: Metaphor and Irony Revisited (University of Iowa Press, 2007) on GoogleBooks

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Turnkey Construction (Poem)

Turnkey Construction

So many stones broken —
yet we build the house,

a beginning muscled
into shape. To cleave

at night under that
single roof, we agree to

leave open more windows,
air the difference between

this fact and that truth.
One of us prefers high walls

to open spaces. One of us
still resists coming clean.

Who holds the turnkey?

© 2014 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Muse: 'Life of a Poet' Series

On Wednesday, April 23, the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress will hold the second conversation in its 2014 series "The Life of a Poet". The event will be a discussion between The Washington Post's Ron Charles and Edward Hirsch. The interview will take place at 7:00 p.m. at Hill Center, at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C. Hill Center co-sponsors the series with the LOC. Reservations are required for the talk (seating is limited to 100), which is free and open to anyone.

Edward Hirsch is the author, most recently, of The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (Knopf, reprint, 2011), Special Orders: Poems (Knopf, 2009), and On Love: Poems (Knopf, 2008). In addition to other published volumes of poetry, Hirsch has written How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry (Mariner Books, 2000) and Poet's Choice (Mariner Books, 2007), a collection gathered from his Washington Post Book World columns of the same title. Charles once edited the column.

The remainder of "The Life of a Poet" series, scheduled this fall and also moderated by Charles, will present:

Mary Szybist, Wednesday, September 17. Szybist, associate professor of English at Lewis & Clark College, is the winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry, for Incarnadine (Graywolf Press). Read an interview with Szybist at National Book Foundation; see a Webcast of Szybist's 2009 Witter Bynner Fellowship reading.

August Kleinzahler, Tuesday, November 4. A 2008 National Books Critics Circle Award winner, for Sleeping It Off in Rapid City (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009), Kleinzahler has published 11 poetry collections, including, most recently, The Hotel Oneira: Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013).

The first event in the program, held February 6, was a conversation with Carl Phillips, who has written a dozen poetry collections, among them, Silverchest (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013) and Double Shadow (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012), awarded  a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His The Rest of Love (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) was a 2004 National Book Award finalist. The talk was videotaped and is available on YouTube: "Hill Center Poetry Series: The Life of a Poet - A Conversation with Carl Phillips" (1:00:27 minutes).

Some other noteworthy resources are:

✭ The Poetry of America Website, where you'll find two features: "Poetry of American Identity", a collection of recordings in which poets read and talk about a poem of choice; and "Poetry of American History", comprising essays and interviews. 

Participating in the former are poets Fanny Howe, Naomi Shihab Nye, Tony Hoagland, J.D. McClatchy, Nikky Finney, Amy Gerstler, Gerald Stern, Marilyn Chin, Laura Kasischke, Arthur Sze, Sharon Olds, Rhina P. Espaillat, Dana Gioia, Alicia Ostriker, Charles Harper Webb, Edward Hirsch, Rae Armantrout, Charles Bernstein, and Marilyn Nelson.

The latter features the late Maxine Kumin, Donald Hall, Ted Kooser, and David Lehman.

Interview Series, featuring conversations with contemporary writers and poets Cynthia Y. Levinson, Paisley Rekdal, Karen Russell, Aracellis Girmay, Justin Torres, and Joshua Beckman.

Library of Congress on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Hill Center on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Thought for the Day

. . . Ultimately, literature is nothing but carpentry.
~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Quoted from Peter H. Stone Interview, "The Art of Fiction No. 69, Gabriel Garcia Marquez", The Paris Review, No. 82, Winter 1981

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Columbian Novelist, Recipient of Nobel Prize in Literature (1982)

"Words of Wisdom from Gabriel Garcia Marquez", Huffington Post, March 6, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Short

Today's beautiful short is A Solitary World (PBS Digital Studios), inspired by works by H.G. Wells (1866-1946). Director and producer James W. Griffiths, a 2014 BAFTA winner (for Room 8), adapted text from Wells's The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The First Men in the Moon, In the Days of the Comet, and The World Set Free. Narration is by Terry Burns. The score is by the remarkably talented Lennert Busch.

Soundtrack for A Solitary World at iTunes

H.G. Wells Society

Friday, April 11, 2014

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Celebrate Slow Art Day tomorrow, April 12. A list of venues is found at the link.

✦ I first saw the gorgeous work of Danish ceramist Jane Reumert at Art Is a Way. Her porcelains, some salt-glazed and comprising a mix of porcelain clay and fibre glass, are unforgettable. See a selection of images at Nationalmuseum (Stockholm), Strandstraede Keramik, LaCoste Gallery, and An Eclectic Eccentric blog. Reumert's pieces are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nationalmuseum, Palmer Museum of Art, and other public and private institutions.

✦ Take a few minutes to view the ink jet prints of Samantha Salzinger. Imaginatively, she creates her works from large-scale dioramas; as she explains in her Artist Statement, "The process involves constructing tabletop models out of modest materials, such as Styrofoam, plaster, and dirt. The camera is then carefully placed to manipulate the composition and mood of the resulting photograph." I'm particularly taken with her series Catastrophes and Outer Space. Her Untitled 7 in New Work is a keeper, too. (My thanks to Kristin Berkey-Abbott for the link to Salzinger's Website.)

✦ In the online archives of Crown Point Press at Magical-Secrets, a site devoted to the creative process, numerous videos are available of artists talking about artmaking and printmaking. Links to biographies of press artists are found on the same page: Crown Point Press Artists

✦ The video below is from The Phillips Collection, where visitors may view through May 4 Jean Meisel's 50-65 Horizon Line, an installation for the museum's wonderful, ongoing Intersections project. Listen as Meisel, who lives and works in the Washington, D.C., area, discusses her piece, which comprises more than 50 small watercolors of horizon lines.

The Phillips Collection on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ In the video below, Ellen Gallagher talks with Art21 about her paper cutouts. Last year, Gallagher exhibited in "Ellen Gallagherr: Don't Axe Me" at New York City's New Museum. She has solo shows this year at Hauser & Wirth in London and at Hause der Kunst in Munich.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ New York City's Swiss Institute/Contemporary Art is presenting through May 11 the work of Swiss artist Heidi Bucher (1926-1993). Included are a selection of Bucher's significant works, among them, Herrenzimmer (1977-1979), Grande Albergo Brissago (Eingangsportal) (1987), and Jetze Fliesst das Wasser aus der Vase (1986); screenings of audiovisual documentation, such as images of the wearable sculpture Bodyshells (see video) and archival materials on view for the first time. The exhibition is the first in the United States in more than four decades. Images can be found at the exhibition link and in the article cited below.

Isabelle Doal, "Heidi Bucher's Mummified Homes", Cool Hunting, September 26, 2013

Swiss Institute/Contemporary Art New York on FaceBook 

✭ Continuing through June 15 at Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts: "The Stories We Tell: Works by Tommy Simpson, Michelle Holzapfel and Binh Pho". This is a multimedia exhibition that showcases furniture, vessels, sculpture, painted reliefs, ceramics, and textile designs by the three internationally known artists whose works convey thematic narratives involving nature, history, and whimsy.

Fuller Craft Museum on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Engravings of Captain James Cook's voyages to the Pacific Islands and South America are on view through July 13 in "Terrestrial Paradises: Imagery from The Voyages of Captain James Cook" at Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida. The engravings are from George William Anderson's A New Authentic and Complete Account of Voyages Round the World (1874-1786).

Lowe Art Museum on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ "Mother Earth, Father Sky: Textiles from the Navajo World", at Missouri's Saint Louis Art Museum, presents 14 historic and contemporary textiles — blankets, serapes, saddleblankets, sandpainting weavings  — including a new acquisition by D.Y. Begay and loans from the Museum of Native American History in Bentonville, Arkansas. The exhibition runs through June 22.

See Begay's process at her Website.

SLAM on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ More than 150 works from the National Museum of Korea and public and private collections may be seen through May 26 at Philadelphia Museum of Art (a trailer for the exhibition is below). "Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392-1910" showcases painted screens, scrolls, calligraphy, costumes, furnishings, ritual ware, illustrated books, photographs, metalwork, and accessories. The exhibition is organized around five themes that offer insights into the royal court's role in establishing art and culture in Korea, the taste for simplicity, hierarchies and social distinctions of class and gender, ancestral worship, rise and suppression of Buddhism, and encounters with Western civilization. An illustrated scholarly catalogue accompanies the exhibition, which will travel to Los Angeles County Museum of Art on June 29 and to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on November 2.

PMA on FaceBook and Twitter

Thursday, April 10, 2014

L.L. Barkat's 'Love, Etc.'

Love, Etc. by L.L. Barkat

Writer and poet L.L. Barkat is blessed with a talent for metaphor, an eye for the spare image that can shimmer like a polished gem, and a sensuous and lyrical voice — gifts she uses beautifully, even profoundly, in her focused new collection of poetry, Love, Etc. (T.S. Poetry Press, March 17, 2014). 

With an enviable economy of words — a trademark — Barkat shows and never, or almost never, tells. For her, love is a fully lived experience — replete with the "Etc." that is by turns playful, suggestive of what could be, mysterious, wistful, carnal, eternal. It is bound complexly in romance, family, and friendship; colored as much by humor and laughter as by hurt and loss. It arises in the still watchfulness of a parent beside a child's bed "on breath-thin nights" ("Ours"); in the long empty space between an open and a closed parenthesis ("Meet Me in a Minimalist Poem Where We Can Wear") — a clever riposte to academy poets and a marvelous metaphor for what always can be left unsaid; in the lines of the hands ("Whispered"); in the acceptance of "a hot kiss of clove and cinnamon" ("Choice"); in the shattering of a glass bangle ("Rabia's Confession") or the sleep that comes before and after ("Fantasy").

No one poem can stand for a single definition of "love", and that is the point. Love needs space, it needs time, it needs (sometimes) an "open mouth" and a "full spoon" of soup ("Spanish Recipe"). It wants a delicate and knowing touch, sure and never forced diction, inspiration and imagination. Above all, it wants the "proof" of a poem, which Barkat delivers in this collection in as many ways as her "untie[d] tongue" and "tiger-eyed" glances can provide. 


I love them, you know.
All your little beaded words.
The tiger-eyed ones, the Italian
red glass (with the foil inside).
I love the way you line them up,
as on a golden thread. The onyx,
the abalone, even the dark brown
wood ones all carved and oblong.
I keep them in a velvet-throated box,
and when I am alone, I put my fingers
all through their crystal chattering.

Read Love, Etc. all at once, section-by-section, one poem a day, before you say goodnight; but read and return to it often. It rewards and gives back by settling in deep.

And come Valentine's Day, don't forget to tuck a copy of Love, Etc., under the pillow of your lover. You won't need any other words than those in this slim, red-covered volume. It will make its own spark and leave it up to you keep the fire burning.

L.L. Barkat is the author of six books, including the poetry collection InsideOut (International Arts Movement, 2009), the experimental fiction and poetry titled The Novelist: A Novella (T.S. Poetry Press, 2012), and Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing (T.S. Poetry Press, 2011). Barkat's poems have appeared at VerseWrights, Best American Poetry, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Every Day Poems. The managing editor of TweetSpeak Poetry, Barkat also is a staff writer for The Curator magazine.

Love, Etc. is available in paperback and as an e-book for Kindle and Nook.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

John Siddique's 'Whirlpool'

I'm pleased to share this recently released videopoem by John Siddique: "Whirlpool". Filmed in Hedben Bridge, England, "Whirlpool" is written and spoken by Siddique. The poem appears in the Spring 2014 issue of The Interpreter's House.

John Siddique Website

John Siddique on FaceBook and Twitter

Black Coffee & A Glass of Water, John Siddique's Blog

Other Writing Without Paper Posts on John Siddique:

Monday Muse: John Siddique Reads Liu Xiaobo (December 12, 2011)

Monday Muse on the 'One Hundred' Poems (August 15, 2011)

Monday Muse Reads 'Full Blood' (August 1, 2011)

Monday Muse: John Siddique's 'Recital' (April 11, 2011)

Two Video Poems of John Siddique (December 29, 2010)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dogwood and Flowering Judas (Poem)

Dogwood and Flowering Judas

Youth is drunk with sense of touch, 
gives not a thought to vanities 

and ambitions supple and impudent. 

The heart of an old man shuttles
with confusions of age and memory

— of whispers fathered by passion
rekindled in the dark, of warm hands

driven to caressing when craving has
not reached closer conclusion.

Dreaming is the profit of sleep dispensed
with, the atoms of attention fractured

and divided into tears of forgiveness
made wonders of rain.

Too soon a word blistered in salt
springs terror of refusal, cunning

contrived to dull the head now weak
at the sight of dogwood — beauty the sign

of a tree of feathers white as snow,
the flowering Judas poking at the door.

© 2014 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem is from a manuscript-in-progress, tentatively titled "The Found Poems of T.S. Eliot"; the individual words are all found in the text of Eliot's poem "Gerontion".

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Muse Asks Did You Know

Today's post is another in an occasional series offering something about poets and poetry, or writing more generally, that you might not know.

Did You Know. . . 

✦ The late poet Maxine Kumin (1925-2014) was one of the first two women hired by the Department of English at Tufts University, where she was an instructor and, later, lecturer in English. State poet of New Hampshire from 1989 to 1994 and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1981 to 1982, Kumin also resigned from the Academy of American Poets' Board of Chancellors, pointing out that there were too few women and minorities in positions of leadership. Of her Radcliffe writing instructor Wallace Stegner, Kumin admitted being "turned off" to poetry after Stegner said to her, "Say it with flowers but for God's sake don't write poems about it." (2002 Atlantic Interview) She added that she forgave Stegner his blunder.

Maxine Kumin Profiles at Modern American PoetryPoetry Foundation

The Incredible Sestina Anthology (Write Bloody Publishing, 2013) took 10 years to produce, according to its editor Daniel Nester, and is the world's first all-sestina anthology. (I have a copy of the anthology and recommend it. Just don't try to read it straight-through.)

Nora Brooks, "A Dream of a Common Poetry: Daniel Nester with David Lehman at The New School Poetry Forum", Best American Poetry Blog, February 11, 2014

✦ John Reed has used rather uncommon readers of his sonnets: pornstars, Webcam models, and, most recently, avatars. You'll find videos of the avatar readers at the link below.

John Reed, "3 Sonnets from the 22nd Century", Electric Literature Blog, February 11, 2014

✦ Ball State University is offering in its creative writing program a course titled Literary Citizenship. (My thanks to NewPages blog for the link.)

Literary Citizenship on Twitter

✦ Moleskin knows not every poet sticks to old-school pen and paper or hard-cover pocket notebooks. For the digital poets among us,  the company offers both a smartphone cover and a tablet/iPad-compatible cover that combine with blank notebook pages. Write on!

✦ The volume titled Best Poems of Stevie Smith (New Directions) was published in December 2013. The English poet and novelist (1902-1971) has been described as a "cartoon-drawing, school-girl-dress-wearing, near doggeral-spouting" poet who "ranks among the silliest...." No need to say more.

David Orr, "How Far Can You Press a Poet?", Believer Magazine, April 2005

Hear Stevie Smith reciting her poem "Not Waving (But Drowning)" in this video.