Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday Muse: 'Falling Lessons' (Motionpoem)

One of the consistently excellent sources of videopoems is Motionpoems, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit, co-founded by poet and visual artist Todd Boss. Motionpoems works with publishers and literary organizations to produce new poetry films annually. For Season 6, Motionpoems partnered with VIDA: Women in Literary Arts to create an all-female-poets lineup.

Released for Season 6, Falling Lessons: Erasure One is inspired by a poem by Beth Copeland; it is one of a series of three poems that Copeland "erased" to relate the gradual loss of her father to Alzheimer's. The filmmaker is Anh Vu. The sensitive and moving short film was featured last month on PBS NewsHour. (At the PBS link is a recording of Copeland reading her poem.)

Copeland is the author of Transcendental Telemarketer (BlazeVox, 2012) and Traveling Through Glass (Bright Hill Press, 2000).

Read Claire Hellar's informative interview with the poet.

Text of Poem

Beth Copeland on FaceBook

Motionpoems on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vimeo

VIDA on FaceBook and Twitter

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Thought for the Day

. . . Alone, we live in our bodies as a question
rather than a statement.
~ David Whyte

Quoted from David Whyte's "Alone" in Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment, and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words (Many Rivers Press, 2015) (This is a splendid book.)

David Whyte, Poet, Author, Philosopher, Lecturer

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Saturday Short

Today's short is a teaser for an in-production documentary, OBIT (Green Fuse Films), and The New York Times writer-reporters who prepare obits. The film received its world premiere this year at the Tribeca Film Festival.

I look forward to seeing the completed feature-length film by Vanessa Gould. Like many, whether or not they admit to it, I'm fascinated by obit-writing, by what gets in and what's kept out of a public announcement of a person's death. The writing is not so easy as one might think.

OBIT on FaceBook

Friday, May 20, 2016

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize exhibition is scheduled from June 10 to July 31 at the South Australian Museum. Following that, the exhibition will appear at the National Archives of Australia.

South Australian Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and Vimeo

✦ If you like kinetic sculptures, look to Anthony Howe of Orcas Island, Washington. He's made an art of using wind power to propel his sculptures, which he first designs on his computer. In The Creator Project video below, Howe speaks about his work and how he creates it.

✦ The Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation has published Frank Stella Prints: A Catalogue Raisonne. Written by Rick Axsom, the 432-page book is available from Artbook/DAP. It was released in conjunction with the exhibition "Frank Stella Prints: A Retrospective" at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, concluding May 22. See the Artbook page for ordering and for additional information about the book's contents.

Cover Art

✦ Mosaic artists will enjoy this 1886 catalogue from Belcher Mosaic Glass Co. of New York. (My thanks to Public Domain Review.)

✦ Visit the Art Genome Project, which maps artworks, architecture, and design objects across history.

✦ Below is the trailer for Packed in the Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Wilkinson, by Jane Anderson. 

Exhibitions Here and There: Washington, D.C., Edition

✭ Washington, D.C.'s Sackler Gallery continues through July 24 "Painting with Words: Gentleman Artists of the Ming Dynasty". The exhibition brings together works from the Wu School, a group admired for its interpretations of the "Three Perfections", poetry, painting, and calligraphy, which were deemed during the Ming dynasty (1369-1644), to be the "ultimate expressions of Chinese literati culture". View exhibition images (pdf).

Freer-Sackler on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Five photographs by British artist Tom Hunter are on view in "Tom Hunter: Life and Death in Hackney" at the National Gallery of Art. Hackney is an increasingly gentrifying borough of London, and home to Hunter. From Hunter's series Life and Death in Hackney, the NGA installation comprises images from iconic Victorian paintings that Hunter has reworked in contemporary settings.

View images of 10 photographs from the series posted on Hunter's Website.

Tom Hunter on FaceBook and Twitter

NGA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ The Smithsonian American Art Museum is presenting through July 31 "No Mountains in the Way: Photographs from the Kansas Documentary Survey, 1974", which was part of a series of photo survey projects undertaken in the 1970s by the National Endowment for the Arts and reminiscent of the Great Depression photographs of 1935-1944. For the Kansas survey, artists Jim Enyeart, Terry Evans, and Larry Schwarm traveled throughout the state, each with an assigned theme: buildings (Enyeart), people (Evans), and landscapes (Schwarm). Drawing on the results of this important documentation initiative, the exhibition features 63 vintage prints from the survey of 120 photographs, all of which are in the SAAM's permanent collection.

SAAM on FaceBookTwitter, and YouTube

Eye Level, SAAM Blog

✭ Earlier this week, the National Museum of Women in the Arts opened "Priya Pereira: Contemporary Artist Books from India". The show presents 10 of Pereira's artist books, through which she explores Indian culture, time, creative structures of language, use of type, and hand-drawn imagery. Originally trained as a graphic designer, Pereira has published work under the imprint Pixie Bks for the last 22 years. The exhibition is on view through November 18.

Priya Pereira at Artist's Books (Images of and descriptive information about six of Pereira's artist books can be found here.)

Read a feature article about Pereira at The Hindu (2013).

NMWA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Broad Strokes, NMWA Blog

✭ Portraits of showman P.T. Barnum, inventor Samuel Morse, musician Teresa Carreno, and clergyman Henry Ward Beecher are among 20 photographs by Mathew Brady, the famous 19th Century American photographer, currently on view in "Lincoln's Contemporaries" at the National Portrait Gallery.

See the NPG's Website Mathew Brady's Portraits.

NPG on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Face to Face, NPG Blog

Thursday, May 19, 2016

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Amy Pleasant, Sisters Likely, 2016
From the Series A Woman's Work
Acrylic on Canvas, 24" x 30"
Copyright © Amy Pleasant
Used With Permission


I am delighted today to feature Seattle-based painter Amy Pleasant in my new Artist Watch column at Escape Into Life.

An award-winning, nationally exhibited artist who also has had a solo show in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Amy is known primarily as a figurative and abstract painter. Drawing deeply on her belief that art is a fundamental form of personal expression that can aid in fostering individual and collective change, Amy explores in her work autobiographical experiences, family relationships, generational transitions, time's passage, and memory and remembrance. 

In addition to painting, Amy also writes prose and poetry. (Read "Artist Takes Long Journey to Healing", her debut post at The Huffington Post.) Following is an ekphrastic poem Amy wrote for the artwork that appears above:

Sisters Likely

One person on the planet, a mirror of experience, yet opposites,
a lifetime of push, pull,
push away.
A vacillating pendulum moved not by gravity,
but by a tab kept of parental slights and petty jealousies.
then. . . 
an expansion of the world; a bigger, exciting, lonelier space,
sisters; confidants, defenders, a soft place among strangers.
then. . .
a shrinking of the world; witnessing parents taking their leave,
eventually we all become orphans,
last ones standing;

Showcased at Artist Watch are eight images from three of Amy's series: A Woman's Work, Shift: Journey to Abstraction, and Time and Memory. Also included are Amy's Artist Statement and a brief biography, as well as links to Amy's Website and social media sites and to her upcoming exhibition "TERRIBLE BEAUTY: under the canopy" at Gallery 110 in Seattle.

Note: My two-part interview with Amy will appear here at Writing Without Paper on June 1 and June 2.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wednesday Artist: Derek Jarman & 'Blue'

Recently I had occasion to watch the dramatic Blue (1993), the last of a dozen films made by Derek Jarman (1942-1994), an English director who died of AIDS. In English, with English subtitles, the 75-minute film, set in its entirety as words against a blue frame, was inspired by the famous Yves Klein painting, IKB 79 (1959), which Jarman saw at Tate Gallery in London. Jarman began making the film as he was losing his eyesight, as various subtitles reference, and his medication had the effect of rendering in blue what he was still able to see.

The subtitles are voiced by Tilda Swinton and other actors, and sometimes by Jarman as well, and include a mix of poetry and prose that describes, interprets, and reflects on the color "blue". To this viewer, the film is provocative, mesmerizing, brooding, grief-filled, joyous, foreboding, and, ultimately, a highly personal and creative coming to terms with both life and death. 

Below is Part 1 of Blue; the remaining parts on YouTube are listed after it. (Originally in 35mm, the film was transferred to digital media.) Simon Fisher Turner contributed the soundtrack, which includes choral singing, clock-ticking, chimes, gongs, and work by a range of composers, from Erik Satie to Brian Eno. (An interesting post on the conception and making of the film is the article "Simon Fisher Turner on Derek Jarman's Blue" at The Quietus (February 18, 2014).)

Blue Part 2

Blue Part 3

Blue Part 4

Blue Part 5

Blue Part 6

Blue Part 7

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Cold Can Be Beautiful (Poem)

Cold Can Be Beautiful

Baby, slice wedges
of snow for pillows;

I'll frost the covers
of our soft, fluffy bed

with roses the color
of meringue.

Let your eye wander
over this storied white

landscape; be patient!
We can weather-watch

alone forever, or catalog
that sweet, tender unrest

of yours in steamy words
and phrases that warm

my tattooed ears. Tracking
your breaths, that litany

of murmurs composed
for delicate skin fragrant

as June, I curl into your
sweet hollows, ask if

every night in this cold
can be beautiful.

2016 © Maureen E. Doallas

This found poem is inspired by a TweetSpeak Poetry post, "Top 10 Pillow Poems", a roundup by LW Lindquist for "Poem on Your Pillow Day" (May 3, 2016).

Monday, May 16, 2016

Monday Muse Asks, Did You Know?

Today's post is another in an occasional series that features poetry-related items you might have missed.

Did You Know. . .

✦ Stephen Owen of Harvard has translated into English The Poetry of Du Fu (De Gruyter, Library of Chinese Humanities, December 2015), comprising 1,400 extant poems. The translation project took Owen, now 69, nearly 10 years to produce. The collection is 2,962 pages and requires 6 volumes totaling 9 pounds. An e-book edition (pdf) is available.

Read Jill Radsken's article, "Translating Nine Pounds of Poetry", Harvard Gazette, April 11, 2016. At the link are several audio recordings.

✦ You can create Dadaist poetry at Sauntering Verse. Read about the artistic and literary movement at The Art Story. (My thanks to Poetry's Don Share for the link.) 

✦ Explaining why he writes free verse instead of metrical verse, former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser told The Writer's Almanac Bookshelf, "When I was young I subscribed to the idea that poetry was made up of elevated language. . . Now I believe that poems are most effective with readers when they sound like everyday speech." Read Kooser's interview posted during the now-concluded National Poetry Month. (Interviews with other poets are at National Poetry Month 2016.)

✦ The "Poem of the Last Judgment", published in 1446, is among the first poems to have come off Johannes Gutenberg's printing press. This and other interesting facts about the printing press and its invention and applications are at Idea Finder.

✦ According to Kevin J. Hayes's A History of Virginia Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2015), the first poem printed in Virginia (my home state) was poet and attorney John Markland's "Typographia: An Ode, on Printing" (1730).

A History of Virginia Literature on GoogleBooks

✦ There's a place online to recommend poets. The Website is called Poet Tips. Its creator, Robert Peake, describes it as "a bit like Pandora or Spotify for poetry, allowing you to find new poets based on your tastes." Peake launched the site March 28; read his post "Poet Tips Has Hatched".

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Thought for the Day

. . . So the true power of the human being is not
in giving an answer; the real power is in posing questions.
~ Adonis

Quoted from Jonathan Guyer's interview with Adonis at The New York Review of Books Daily: "'Now the Writing Starts': An Interview with Adonis", April 16, 2016

Adonis, Syrian-born Lebanese Poet, Literary Critic, Translator, Theorist

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Saturday Short

The much beloved Nora Ephron, who died in 2012, was a screenwriter, director, novelist, and more. Her life and work are the subject of the documentary Everything Is Copy (HBO Documentaries, 2015), the trailer for which is embedded below. The 89-minute film, screened last year at the 53rd New York Film Festival, is by Ephron's son, Jacob Bernstein, a New York Times writer. The co-director is Nick Hooker.

The film premiered on HBO and in select theatres on March 21, 2016.