Today's edition treats you to a map of the Milky Way, links to a fascinating story about sculptor Isamu Noguchi's experience as an interned Japanese American, opportunities to join a new online reading club or donate to WaterAid just by viewing pages each day, poets' often extraordinary responses to the oil crisis in the Gulf, and a behind-the-scene looks at a mummy undergoing CT scanning. Aren't you glad you stopped by?
✭ The Eye Level, a Smithsonian arts-related blog, recently published the feature "Gaman and The Story of Isamu Noguchi". The article describes how sculptor Isamu Noguchi came to be interned at Poston, a concentration camp on an Indian reservation in Arizona where Japanese Americans were sent during World War II. The article includes an image of Noguchi's "Bust of Ginger Rogers", which the artist made while interned for seven months. It also includes a link to this fascinating transcript from a 1973 oral history interview with Noguchi that is in the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art. Be sure also to visit The Noguchi Museum.
✭ Ever think you'd see a map of the Milky Way that resembles subway routes? This one by Samuel Arbesman of Harvard Medical School uses as his template the coloring and format of London's Tube, intended, he says, to help us become more aware of our galaxy.
✭ If you don't think you get out enough, PEN American Center, the U.S. branch of the oldest international literary and human rights organization in the world, has launched an online reading group, PEN Reads. The intention is to bring together readers and writers to discuss literature relevant to PEN's mission. The inaugural title is The Hour of the Star (New Directions, 1992) by Clarice Lispector, who has been called the "Brazilian James Joyce".
✭ Some 884 million people in the world lack access to safe water, according to WHO/UNICEF. Want to help raise money for WaterAid? Go to ShareYourLove; a donation is made for every 10 images viewed.
✭ The BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico continues to draw the attention of artists and writers the world over. Poets for Living Waters is "a poetry action" in response to the catastrophe. Each day the site features one or more works by such respected poets as Kazim Ali, Grace Cavalieri, Lyle Daggett, Fady Joudah, Philip Metres, Alicia Ostriker, Ron Silliman, Tess Taylor, and Franz Wright. The "open mic" sections, presented alphabetically, offer the work of new and emerging poets. I'm honored to be included.
✭ The first video below, "Caring for an Ancient Book", shows us how conservators at the Brooklyn Museum are cleaning, repairing, and preparing for analysis a 25-foot-long book of the dead; it also gives us a rare close-up view of ancient papyrus. The second video, "Under the Wrappings", shows the CT scanning of the Mummy of Hor, which revealed something unexpected. Go here to watch a video of the long-term Egyptian installation at the museum, which opened May 10.