Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Clyfford Still Gets His Own Museum

. . . [Still's] is a kind of pure painting, and the effort
 and the paintings that were created reached a really high level,
 in a certain sense almost effortlessly, and with a kind
 of originality that you can't duplicate. . . .
~ Artist Frank Stella

For those who might have missed the news, the Clyfford Still Museum opened in Denver, Colorado, November 18. The 28,500-square-foot museum, now home to more than 90 percent of the artist's life work — some 2,400 artworks, including more than 800 paintings and 1,500 works on paper created between 1920 and 1980 — is devoted exclusively to Still's work, a rigid condition imposed by Still in his will, in addition to the requirement that none of the works ever "be sold, given, or exchanged" but "retained. . . in perpetuity for exhibition and study". No other artist's work may ever be exhibited alongside Still's own.

Here is a video preview about the museum first shown at 5280 magazine:

Clyfford Still Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and Flickr

Still (1904-1980) also is the subject of a new one-hour documentary by Amie Knox and Chad Herschberger: Still* (A bar K Productions/Milkhaus). (The documentary premiered at Starz Denver Film Festival on November 10 and aired on Rocky Mountain PBS on November 14.) Following is a preview of the documentary, which includes commentary by artist Frank Stella:

* The documentary earlier had the title Clyfford Still: A Life in Paintings.

A great many words about Still and his work have been published in the run-up to and following the opening of the museum. A list of what I consider among the best of the posts follows:

Deborah Barlow, "Still On His Own Terms (But Not Mine)", Slow Muse, November 19, 2011 

Judith H. Dobrzynski, "Still's Stalwart", The Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2011

Tyler Green, Parts I, "Clyfford Still: A Cantankerous Painter"; II, "Clyfford Still: The Birth of AbEx?" and III, "Clyfford Still: Beware the Commissars", Modern Art Notes, ArtInfo, October 2011

Carol Kino, "Abstract Expressionist Made Whole", The New York Times, November 17, 2011

Peter Plagens, "Still the One", ArtNet, September 15, 2011

Also Of Interest

Christopher Knight, "Art Review: Denver's Clyfford Still Museum", Los Angeles Times, November 20, 2011

Clyfford Still Profile at The Art Story (Be sure to check the links in the side bar.)

Clyfford Still: Paintings, 1944-1960 at GoogleBooks (This book is available through resellers at  Amazon.)

"Denver Opens a New Home to Clyfford Still" (with Photo Essay), News Hour Art Beat, November 17, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ana's Story (Poem)

Ana Mendieta, Silueta Works in Mexico, 1973-77
Color Photograph, 19-3/8" x 26-9/16"

Ana's Story

She made me change her light bulbs.
      She was afraid of heights. . . would never go near windows.
           ~ Carolee Schneeman on "Where is Ana Mendieta?"

Her contour
bloodied pavement not
yet rubbed clean,
its cold stains
a gritty premonition
of violence timed

not to birth,
unscripted, not carved
in soft lime
stone visage,
no trinity of ficus
branches looped secure.


Smudged crimson,
a Cuban Eve, her
life's primal
shape earth's own,
till her Carl, his anger pitched,
gave her up to sky.


Carl Andre, husband,
spent three years
on his own
dull story:
Ana went out the window
but not by his hands.

pounds she was; Carl not
twice more: more.
The room mess,
the scratches, and No, no, no
heard but never proved.


When she fell
thirty-four stories,
her age just
how could she know we'd lament
her body's swoop down,

stuck between her legs,
bare arms spread
out and wide,
her pigment branding concrete
without resistance?


She laid down
for us her handprints,
burning one
cement gash
into another; each smear
impressed, reduced; less

sign Ana was here.
Let's be frank:
one air jump;
Ana supine, cut close, she
has no surrogate.


Ancient marks
like hers point us back:
or cave man's
sacrificial rite? How red
did red flow for Carl?

When she raised
her hands, palms up, out
by her head,
did Ana
draw first the blood on Carl's nose,
scratch fresh his forearms?


She, naked,
from the window plunged.
Done, it's done.
What murder?
Simple proof makes dumb to eyes
witnessing no crime.


Who defends
her body absent,
rues her gone?
Which stranger's
reproach bids her check her fear
of heights in blood work?


Death makes art
of Ana's demise,
rests in tracks
in brown wounds,
in siluetas washed out
with red tide to sea.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

Artist Ana Mendieta was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1948 and died in 1985, in a fall from the thirty-fourth-floor window of a New York City apartment she shared with her husband, the sculptor Carl Andre. Andre subsequently was arrested and charged with second-degree murder; three years later, the prosecution's case bungled, Andre was acquitted. It is not known whether Mendieta was pushed, jumped, or accidentally fell from the window.

"Where is Ana Mendieta? Donde esta Ana Mendieta? 25 Years Later: A Symposium" is the subject of this article, "The Case of Ana Mendieta", in Art in America, October 12, 2010, which, with others about Ana Mendieta, inspired my poem. 

Of Related Interest

Alistair Rider, Carl Andre: Things in Their Elements (Phaidon, 2011)

Robert Katz, Naked by the Window: The Fatal Marriage of Carl Andre and Ana Mendieta (Atlanta Monthly Press, 1990)

Randy Kennedy, "For Carl Andre, Less Is Still Less", The New York Times, July 14, 2011

Interestingly, Andre also is a poet.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Muse: 2012 Texas Poet Laureate

Life-long Texan Jan Epton Seale has been appointed 2012 Poet Laureate of Texas, succeeding David M. Parsons (2011) and Karl K. Morton (2010). She will serve, as stipulated by law, for one year. Her year begins officially on May 27, 2012. The position has no requirements. Seale has indicated in interviews that she plans to travel the state making presentations, encouraging arts participation, collaborating with other Texas State Artists, and giving readings. 

Background about the state Poet Laureate position is included in my June 2010 post on Morton.

* * * * *
. . . it's not exactly a close runner-up with World Peace 
but, surprisingly, it's one of the things that has been so
 enduring that it might be seen as a cultural mainstay
 against chaos and insanity.
~ Jan Epton Seale
(Responding to a Question of Where Poetry Fits In*)

McAllen, Texas, resident Jan Epton Seale is a poet, award-winning short fiction writer, essayist, children's book author, and playwright. Her most recent collections of poetry are Nape (Ink Brush Press, 2011), The Wonder Is: New and Selected Poems 1974-2004 (Panther Creek Press, 2005; 2nd Ed., Ink Brush Press, Fall 2011), and Valley Ark: Life Along the Rio (The Knowing Press, 2005), a collection of 50 poems by Seale and photographs of flora and fauna of the lower Rio Grande Valley by Ansen Seale.

Seale's earlier collections of poetry, including The Yin of It (Pecan Grove Press, 2000), a chapbook, Sharing the House (out of print; RiverSedge Poetry Series, University of Texas-Pan American Press, 1982), and Bonds (University of Texas-Pan American Press, 1981), are available through their publishers or various used book dealers or re-sellers.  She also is a co-editor of Texas Poets in Concert: A Quartet (Texas Poets Series, University of North Texas Press, 2000).

We often think of poetry as just words. It's actually a way of being,
a way of looking at the world. A poet is a philosopher.
The manifestation of that are the words.**

Themes and subjects common to Seale's poetry include family, women's lives, aging and the wisdom of elders, spirituality, culture, the environment/natural world, creativity, and humor. She is admired for her sharp observations, honesty, and accessibility.

Among her poems I have read, this one is a favorite, revealing her wit, clarity, understanding of women's issues, and ability to tell a story through poetry:

She had to leave her deer
in the underground parking,
check her bow at the door.
Her turn came before she could
put the touch on a woman in labor
or advise a virgin or two.
How did she want to pay? Pay?
Her father had influence.
She donned her gown right over left
and left over nothing.
After they took off her armband,
they asked the date of her period.
She said Pre-history to Golden Age.
The plexiglass flattened
her breast like a discus.
"Ouch!" she said in Greek.
"Hold your breath, miss."
Finished, Lady Wild Things
dropped her toga to one shoulder,
fetched her bow and quiver,
exited in long strides.
her little dog waited
by the elevator.
~ "Diana the Huntress Goes for her Mammogram"

Seale's work has been published in numerous literary journals, magazines, and newspapers, among them Artworld QuarterlyBlue Mesa Review, Chicago TribuneDescant, Iron Horse Literary ReviewKalliopeNative Soil, New Mexico Humanities Review, Newsday, Prairie PoetryTexas Monthly, Texas Poetry CalendarThe Chicago TribuneThe Yale Review, Your Daily Poem, and Writer's Digest, and has been anthologized widely. It also has been broadcast on National Public Radio's "Theme and Variations" program.

In addition to a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry, Seale has received awards from the Poetry Society of Texas (Kathryn Morris Memorial Award, 1970) and New York Poetry Forum (Bill Burke Award and Dolly Sprunk Memorial Award, 1976 and 1977), and has been a Texas Artist-in-Education. She also has served on arts panels for the Texas Commission on the Arts, Texas Institute of Letters (she is a member), and Humanities Texas (Speakers' Bureau+).

Former South Texas editor of the quarterly Texas Books in Review, Seale also was founding editor of RiverSedge, a literary journal. She has taught English and creative writing at the university level, and currently conducts local, state, and national workshops in creative and memoir writing. She is a 2011 juror for ARTLines: An Ekphrastic Poetry Competition, organized by Public Poetry in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.


All poetry excerpts © Jan Epton Seale

* Quoted in Your Poem Daily Interview, October 2011 Poet of the Month

** Quoted in Chris Ardis, "Jan Seale: A Lifetime of Poetry", Your Valley Voice, June 14, 2011

+ Seale's presentations include "Passing the Light: How Elderwisdom Shapes the Future of Families", described here.

Texas House Resolution No. 59 (Legislative Appointment to Poet Laureate Position)

Jan Seale's Poems Online: "Believing Is Seeing", "Braving the Atlantic", "Big Bird Comes to the Valley in 1976", "Diana the Huntress Goes for her Mammogram", "Southern Anomalies" and "How the Grandmother of the World Will Entertain Herself", All at Jan Seale; "In the Guest House", "How the Grandmother of the World Will Entertain Herself", "Diana the Huntress Goes for her Mammogram", "Riff", "Matins, Still Dark", "Bookmark", and "Crone Texture", All at Amersand Poetry Journal (Sol Magazine Projects); "Stretch" at Electica; "Touring a Well-Seasoned Woman" at Pecan Grove Press; "Dealing in Futures" at Poet on Poetry; "The Valley of Flocks" at Your Valley Voice; "Getting in Touch with Mother", "I Cut Open a Papaya, My Husband Reads His UFO Journal", "The Makeup Poem", "We Are Summer", and "The Golden Rain Tree", All at Your Daily Poem. Seale's poem "A Collared Peccary by any other name", from Valley Ark, appears in Javelinas by Jane Manaster (Texas Tech University Press) [see GoogleBooks]. Seale's "The Makeup Poem" appeared in the anthology I Am Becoming the Women I've Wanted (Papier-Mache Press, 1994). The poem "Diana the Huntress Goes for her Mammogram" was published in the anthology Inheritance of Light: Contemporary Poetry (University of North Texas Press, 1996).

Profiles of Jan Seale: Travis M. Whitehead, "Valleyite Jan Seale Named Texas Poet Laureate", Brownsville Herald, May 17, 2011; and "Texas Poet Laureate Has Kind Words for Craft", The Monitor, May 18, 2011

Interviews with Jan Seale: Poet on Poetry (Poet of the Week), Story Circle Book Reviews, and Your Daily Poem (October 2011)

Linda Kornasky Review of The Wonder Is in Journal of Texas Women Writers, Vol. 1.1, Spring 2009 (pdf)

Jan Seale on FaceBook

Description of Position in The Handbook of Texas Online at Texas State Historical Association 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Urge You to Abandon Caution (Poem)

Photo Credit: © Christine Donnier-Valentin
Courtesy of Magpie Tales

I Urge You to Abandon Caution

The caution sign's been put down,
a yellow solid line keeping you

on your side and I on mine,
my back, now uncushioned, bare

against the wall scrubbed clean for once
of all the others' slights. I've read

our fortunes between the cracks
of sulfurous stone, watched you try

to fill deep cavities from which lies
grow and calcify. From tufted pockets

the secrets you braided, ornamented, 
spill out, staining the fabric I'd Scotch

-guarded so carefully, forgetting how
unsteady our seating had been. 

The edging's come loose but one thread
among many still holds. Step back 

into the frame. I'll offer a hand. You 
pull. Be quiet. Hold tight.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem is my response to the picture prompt posted today at Magpie Tales. Join in by writing your own poem or short vignette, using as inspiration the photo provided, then go here to add your link and read the other participants' contributions.

Thought for the Day

Not all art has to be useful to an audience. A part of it
should be out of love of the art form, of wanting to express
a feeling regardless of the external outcome. If I'm writing
to be useful, that's different from writing to explore my
feelings and experience. . . I have to dedicate myself
 to one intention or the other.


* Quoted in Fear.Less, "Patti Digh: Say What You Must", October 13, 2011 (This is an excellent essay.)

Patti Digh, Co-Founder of The Circle Project, Motivational Speaker, Author of Life Is a Verb (skirt!, 2008), Creative Is a Verb (skirt!, 2010), Four-Word Self-Help: Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives (skirt!, 2010), and What I Wish for You: Simple Wisdom for a Happy Life (skirt!, 2011).

Patti Digh Blog, 37 Days

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

Today's somewhat international edition takes you to Paris for sweets, to Canada for poetry, and all over the world for an assortment of geeky day trips. When you tire of all that travel, sit back for a game of kerning or explore the offerings at ArtFacts.

✦ Ah, Paris. From authentic bistros, to wine bars, to chic shopping, to flea markets, to the perfect pain au chocolate, you'll find many things Paris at The Little Bookroom. Just browsing the French offerings here is guaranteed to make you want to hop the next and fastest plane to the City of Lights. And if your tastes run warmer toward Italy, United Kingdom, New York, California, or elsewhere, you'll find some of the best guidebooks, notecards, journals, and art- and culture-related travel information for those locales with just a click. Bon voyage!

Slideshow for Susan Hochbaum's Pastry Paris: In Paris, Everything Looks Like Dessert (Little Bookroom, October 2011)

✦ Distributing the space between letters to make text readable is called kerning. Now there's a game site, Kern Type, where you can test your own kerning skills against a typographer's. This is educational and fun!

Of related interest: "How to Kern Type Perfectly" at Typecast

✦ Beautiful editions of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction are available through the Canadian literary press Biblioasis. You'll also find there an international translation series and a series of short fiction chapbooks.  Stop in at the Website and have a look around.

Biblioasis on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ Looking for places to visit while on the road? Don't limit yourself to the usual sites on the Web. Dr. Ben Goldacre and Jo Brodie love nerdy day trips and now you can, too. At Nerdy Day Trips, you can experience the delights of whole- and half-day trips to abandoned nuclear bunkers, nature spots, roads left to go nowhere, chalk pits, factories, historic locations, sea forts, and a long list of other destinations around the world (but especially in the United Kingdom) for which a crowd-sourced searchable Nerdmap (Google map) exists. Got a nerdy day trip of your own? Register and stick in a push pin. New destinations are added frequently. (My thanks for this link are owed to a tweet from Brainpickings.)

Nerdy Day Trips on FaceBook and Twitter

Nerdy Day Trips Blog

✦ The library as we used to know it may be becoming a thing of the past but research hasn't. And where there's information, there's opportunity, especially through the Web. Communities of users still exist for academic, corporate, military, public, K-12 schools, and even newspaper archival libraries. If you're in one of these communities and looking for ways to help your library transform itself so you can get your research done, check out the tools and content available through ProQuest, which has an extraordinary range of aggregated databases, and then go have a talk with your librarian.  

Art Facts comprises a huge searchable database of "insider information" about modern, contemporary, and emerging artists, artworks, art galleries and museums, and art fairs and exhibitions around the world. It also provides a column of art-related news daily. The site is available in English, German, Spanish, French, and Italian.

Art Facts on Twitter

✦ A video treat from Ji Lee, FaceBook creative director: Words as Image:

Ji Lee, author of Word as Image (Perigee Trade, October 2011)

Friday, November 25, 2011

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ The late photographer Thomas Vorce (he died in August of this year) left behind an extraordinary collection of images. He lived in New Mexico for three decades, and, as he said in his Artist Statement, found the light there "like no other place in the world." Browsing his stark but wonderfully elegant Santa Fe Suites is evidence of how skillfully and artistically Vorce used that light, as well as form and shadow, in his marvelous photography. (Note: Images are available for purchase.)

Vorce also was a poet and some of his poetry is available in the section of his Website titled "words".

Musings of Thomas Vorce (Tumblr Site)

Thomas Vorce at Santa Fe World

Page at Dedicated to Vorce (You'll find here a moving video with Vorce, made this past spring, as well as a video of Vorce's photographs.)

✦ Artist Jasmine Targett received some great buzz on her exhibition of The Similarity of Parallel Worlds, which features hand-blown sandblasted glass domes with videos. The installation at Craft Victoria, part of the "Making Sense" exhibit on view last month at Australia's Monash University, beautifully represents what happens when an artist collaborates with a solar scientist and a cell biologist.

Jasmine Targett's Bubbling Up at Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Projects

Wendy Zukerman, "Dazzling Glass Art Reveals Hidden Crises on Earth", NewScientist, October 12, 2011

✦ Do take a look at the range of multidisciplinary work by the collaborative design practice Superflux. The projects range from "Song of the Machine", a new form of prosthetic technology, optoelectronics, created to enhance vision and "tune into" streams of information, to "Design for Climate Change", to "Ark-Inc", a "conceptual container" for climate change and other environmental projects, to "Designs for Gestural Interactions". The group is especially drawn to investigating the implications of emerging technologies for daily life.

Superflux on FaceBook and Vimeo

Superflux Blog

✦ New York City artist Seth Apter, who blogs at The Altered Page, recently spoke with Lesley Riley on Art and Soul Radio about his passion for art, his use of social media, his collaborations with other artists, and his forthcoming book The Pulse of Mixed Media: Secrets and Passions of 100 Artists Revealed (North Light Books), which will be available in March and may be pre-ordered. Listen to Seth's informative 45-minute podcast here.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ In Toronto, the George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art continues through January 8, 2012, "The Tsar's Cabinet: Two Hundred Years of Russian Decorative Arts Under the Romanovs". Objects in the exhibition range from porcelain dinner services and glassware, to enamel and decorated eggs, with many grouped by tsar to illustrate social and political trends of the regime. The show travels to the Sonoma County Museum, Sonoma, California, in February. Its other stops in 2012 include Edmonton, Canada's Royal Alberta Museum, Jacksonville, Florida's Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, and the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, Santa Ana, California. 

✭ The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., is showing through January 2 "Made in Chicago: The Koffler Collection", a show of 25 paintings, sculpture, and works on paper from 1960 to 1980 by Chicago artists Don Baum, Bill BenwayRoger Brown, Leon Golub, Theodore Halkin, Peter Holbrook, Miyoko ItoVera Klement, Ellen Lanyon, Jim Nutt, Ed Paschke, Barry Tinsley, and Ray Yoshida. All works are from the S.W. and B.M. Koffler Foundation collection, which was donated to the SAAM.

Ray Yoshida, Partial Evidences II, 1973
Acrylic on Canvas, 49-3/4" x 45-7/8"
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of S.W. and B.M. Koffler Foundation

"Spotlight on Chicago: Don Baum", at Eye Level (SAAM Blog), October 12, 2011

✭ The contemporary Adah Rose Gallery, Kensington, Maryland, is exhibiting the work of Thierry Guillemin and Amanda Horowitz through December 18. The French-born Guillemin, who showed at the 2007 Florence Biennale, offers abstract landscapes, while Maryland native Horowitz explores in photographed paintings on glass and hand-felted organic sculptures the themes of "Navigation" and "Density for Dim Light". 

Images of Work by Thierry Guillemin

Images of Work by Amanda Horowitz

Adah Rose Gallery Blog

✭ Canada's Koffler Centre of the Arts, in Toronto, is presenting through December 4 "Spin Off: Contemporary Art Circling the Mandala", a multimedia exhibition featuring the work of an international group of artists, including Aya Ben Ron, Mircea Cantor, Vandana Jain, Gary James Joynes, Melissa Shiff, and Jennifer Zackin.

Gary James Joynes, Ouroboros 
Chromogenic Color Print 

Koffler Centre of the Arts on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Local painter Anne Marchand is one of a baker's dozen of artists appearing in "Splash" at Porter Contemporary in the Chelsea district of New York City. Continuing through December 3, the group show in various media (including photography, wood, watercolors, acrylics, oil, ceramics) focuses on the artists' ideas about color and how color manifests itself in their art. The other featured artists are Antonas Adomaitis, Jennie Barrese, Tegan Brozyna, Sergey Dikovsky, Daina Falk, Jihay Kang, Lori Larusso, Andrew Maglathlin, Orfey Mindov, Judith Mullen, Aoife O'Donnell, and Roy Wiemann. (Try to take a few minutes to browse the work behind the links. There's some wonderful work to be seen.)

Porter Contemporary on FaceBook and Twitter

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Poem for Thanksgiving at Escape Into Life

I'm honored to be among the poets asked to contribute to a special Thanksgiving feature, "Poems of Thanks and Praise", at Escape Into Life. Accompanying the poems are the beautiful artworks of Christy Lee Rogers. A special thanks to Kathleen Kirk for the wonderful presentation.

You'll find my poem "We're Used to Giving" published here for the first time at EIL. It's a privilege for me to share space with the three other esteemed contributors: poets Susan Rich, Richard Jones, and Robert Lee Brewer.

* * *

I'm also pleased to announce that a new poem of mine, "Illustrating Cell Division", has been accepted for Water's Edge, forthcoming in early 2012 from Open to Interpretation, which sponsors juried book competitions of photography, poetry, and prose. A new competition, "Intimate Landscape", is open now for submissions.

In addition, earlier this year artist Annell Livingston asked to include my poem "EarthBound" in her in-progress artist's book, Dress Maid. I am delighted to participate in her project. Be sure to take a moment to browse Annell's site; her artwork is wonderful!

I am grateful for these affirmations of my writing, to my new and loyal readers, and to friends and family who enrich my life.

May the bounty of Thanksgiving be yours to share! 

The Wampanoag ~ 'We Still Live Here'

We're the people who met the Pilgrims.
We still live here.

Think back to pre- or elementary school and try to recall what you learned about what came to be described as the "First Thanksgiving" in America. Chances are you might recall some details about the Pilgrims: their clothing, their difficult journey to the New World on the Mayflower, their arrival at Cape Cod in Massachusetts, the feast of food they shared with "the Indians" who later had cause to regret having helped ensure the Pilgrims' survival. What do you remember about "the Indians" on Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard? Can you even name them? If you've ever been on the islands, do you recognize that the place names on signs are Wampanoag words?

The Wampanoag, who still live on their native lands in southeastern Massachusetts, are all but forgotten, except as "the people who met the Pilgrims". For probably 150 years, no one has even spoken the Wampanoag language as a first language. Sometime in the mid-1990s, however, a remarkable effort was undertaken to begin to reclaim the language that had no living speakers—and thus the cultural heritage and history of the Wampanoag. It was impelled by Jessie Little Doe Baird, a Wampanoag social worker, who had had a recurring vision or dream in which she was addressed in a then incomprehensible language that, she eventually came to realize, was the Algonquian language of her ancestors. 

The story of how Little Doe Baird, who earned a masters in linguistics from MIT and is a 2010 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation grant, and members of the Mashpee, Aquinnah, Assonet, and Herring Pond Wampanaog communities discovered hundreds of documents written in their "lost language" and initiated the Wopanaak Language Reclamation Project is the subject of the award-winning documentary We Still Live Here, produced and directed by Anne Makepeace of Makepeace Productions. Here's the official trailer, followed by a short video MacArthur Foundation interview with Little Doe about the language reclamation project:

Screening Information (November Listings by State Here)

Some of this important project's successes, which include creation of a dictionary with more than 11,000 words, are detailed here. A child, a seventh generation Wampanoag, is learning Wapanaak as her first language.

The documentary is available to order.

Also Of Interest

American Indian Film Institute

Cultural Survival Website

Native American Heritage Month

National Museum of the American Indian

Of Plymouth Plantation, Electronic Version of Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation 1606-1646

PBS NewsHour Report, "'We Still Live Here' Details Effort to Restore Wampanoag Language", November 10, 2011

Plimoth Plantation 

Plimoth-on-Web: The 'First Thanksgiving': Facts and Fancies

PlumTV Interview with Anne Makepeace (This interview, just 2:30 minutes long, also is worth viewing.)

Telegraph 21 Video Interview with Jessie Little Doe Baird (In this excellent interview, Little Doe Baird speaks about her decision to pursue a degree in linguistics at MIT.)

We Still Live Here on FaceBook and Twitter

Please also see today's post "A Melancholy Thanksgiving" by my friend Jay Adler at the sad red earth. It provides context for my own post.

My thanks to the PBS News Hour Art Beat program from which I first learned about We Still Live Here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fighting Weeds (Poem)

Fighting Weeds

We sow wheat.
We pull weeds.

But think about this:
What if wheat grew

like weeds?
Not in its rows

carefully spaced
and belabored

but wildly,
without purpose

we can name;
not wanted

in its place
but sought out

to be uprooted.
Could we tell

wheat's difference then
from weeds?

Would we cultivate
a taste for it,

or go at it,
threshing out of hand?

Would it, too, resist
our tugs or once on

our tongues focus
what we hunger for?

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Muse: 2011 Texas Poet Laureate

David M. Parsons has been serving as the 2011 Poet Laureate of Texas since May 27 of this year, when his appointment was announced officially in Austin. His one-year term ends in May 2012. Parsons, who was Poet Laureate for Montgomery County, Texas, in 2005 (a position he held for five years) and twice a finalist for state Poet Laureate, will be succeeded by Jan Epton Seale (my profile of Seale will appear next week, November 28, in Monday Muse). 

For background on the state position, see this post on Karla K. Morton who, in addition to being 2010 state poet, won the international 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Award in poetry for her collection Karla K. Morton: New and Selected Poems (Texas Christian University Press, September 2010).

* * * * *

David M. Parsons, who studied poetry with Stanley Plumly, Edward Hirsch, and Robert Pinsky, among other eminent poets, is the author of three poetry collections: Feathering Deep (Texas Review Press/Texas A&M University Press Consortium, August 2011), Color of Mourning (Texas Review Press/Texas A&M University Press, 2007), and Editing Sky (Texas Review Press, 1999), which won the 1999 Texas Review Poetry Prize and was a 2000 Finalist for a Violet Crown Book Award.

Readers will find in Parsons's poetry a deep sense of place and a concern with memory and time, and what triggers remembrance of experience (see both his second collection Color of Mourning and his third Feathering Deep). The landscape he roams in his poetry is both physical and intellectual (see title poem below) but the language he uses is, not surprisingly for a poet from Texas, matter-of-fact. Reviewers of his work unfailingly call it intimate, moving, and accessible. Of Editing Sky, Stanley Plumly said, "At their best, Parsons's poems make a kind of country city music of the language of this longing." Edward Hirsch wrote that Parson "writes with a rugged and forthright honesty, with an open-hearted freshness, with the true voice of feeling."*

Note in this lovely poem how Parsons uses the single color yellow to create vivid imagery and build skillfully to his final line:

She awakened to Texas summer bright
in her eyes, throwing on a new yellow
robe, she dragged her body into the kitchen
to make coffee which she dug from a deep
yellow decanter. Awareness steeps  through
the heart beating perks, her eyes fall on the child's 
drawing that was stuck on the refrigerator door,
a yellow duck swimming on deep dark
water under another bloody sun brimming
with amber iris—Iris, goddess of the rainbow,
adding to the litany of golden messeners, all
bringing to her mind the dress, the yellow
dress that she had given to her niece
for her fifth birthday, the sweet lemon
yellow dress that the child delighted in so
that today she was to be buried in it—the sanctuary
of the summer kitchen felt unusually cold
as she cracked a single egg, spilling
carefully the delicate yoke onto melting butter
thinking, yellow—yellow—
yellow should not feel like this.
~ "Color of Mourning"

In this video, Parsons reads his poem "Feathering Deep" from his third collection (text follows):

I believe it to be
unlike any other

the manner in which
it carries us in
upon its own silence

the way an idea drifts
into the grey divide
where we find ourselves

in that sacred state—easing
quietly into the dark duende
to unconscious understanding

a lone canoe at night—blades
paddling deep—smoothly
and deftly feathering

that largest of bodies

~ "Feathering Deep"

Parsons's work has appeared in Descant, Gulf Coast, Louisiana Literature, Numinous MagazineSouthwestern American Literature ("Editing Sky" appeared in the Spring 1998 issue),  Texas Poetry Review (see Spring/Summer 2009 issue), The Texas Review, and other literary journals and magazines and anthologies, including Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer's Disease (Kent State University Press).

Honors include a National Endowment for the Humanities Dante Fellowship, the French-American Legation Poetry Prize, and, in 2006, the Baskerville Publisher's Prize, as well as writing awards from the Lone Star College System. 

A former Marine and business owner, Parsons teaches creative writing and kinesiology at Lone Star College/Montgomery and poetry workshops. He founded and co-directs the Montgomery County Literary Arts Council's Writers in Performance Series. He is a member of The Texas Institute of Letters and the Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers.


* Quoted at Texas A&M University Consortium Press Page for Editing Sky

All Poetry Excerpts © David M. Parsons

Texas House Concurrent Resolution 165 (Announcement of Designation as Poet Laureate)

David Parsons Poetry Online: "Inscaping the Storm" at Numinous; "They", "Color of Mourning", "Still Life", "Lake Lady Dancing on the Hill", "Memories of Camp Mathews in Finnish Rhapsody", and "Orange Country April 29, 2005", All at Sol Magazine Projects (pdf); "Night Hawk" at Descant

David Parsons, Audio Recording for Poets Corner at Taping for the Blind (28:01 minutes)

Maggie Galehouse, "Meet Dave Parsons, 2011 Texas Poet Laureate", Houston Chronicle, May 10, 2011 (

Writers' League of Texas (Violet Crown Book Award)

David M. Parsons on LinkedIn

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wrinkles (Poem)


Pay no mind to the wrinkles.
It's the give of starched sheet

you'll want to notice, like that knot
in the small of the back you have

to smooth out again and again.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem is offered in response to today's prompt at Magpie Tales.

Thought for the Day

During one's lifetime, who does not live on an island?
~ Su Shi


Su Shi (Su Dongpo), 1037-1101, Song Dynasty Poet, Artist, Calligrapher, Pharmacologist, Statesman

Su Shi Poems

List of Works Available in English

Calligraphy by Su Shi

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

Today, you have a choice of enriching experiences, from listening to Bach to enjoying animated videos of Billy Collins's poetry, from selecting a free lecture from Open Yale Courses to learning just how Venice works. Enjoy!

✦ Who doesn't like a little Bach playing gently in the background? Magnatune offers free Bach podcasts for your listening pleasure. Check out the menu to the left of the Bach listings for podcasts of many other kinds of music.

✦ You'll find at Billy Collins Action Poetry animations of the poetry of former United States Poet Laureate Billy Collins

✦ Looking for free podcasts? This series, Seminars About Long Term Thinking (SALT), produced by The Long Now Foundation and hosted by Stewart Brand, brings you such diverse speakers as musician Brian Eno, anthropologist Jared Diamond, futurist, author, and inventor Ray Kurzweil, and geneticist Craig Venter. There are more than 100 podcasts to choose from.

✦ For those wanting something a bit more poetic, try Houghton Mifflin's poetry podcasts, The Poetic Voice, also free via iTunes.

✦ There's no reason you can't be a life-long learner, especially when Open Yale Courses is just a click away. No registration is required and, best of all, the lectures — available in video, audio, and text transcript formats — and course materials are free.

✦ Enjoy this 17-minute video, How Venice Works, and then visit Venice Backstage to learn more.

Venice Backstage. How does Venice work? from Insula spa on Vimeo.

Friday, November 18, 2011

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Baltimore printer Erin Wallace runs Friends with Benefits, a collaborative printmaking project. The group's first release is "Piles", comprising seven artists' interpretation on the theme of piles. Participants are Andrew Neyer, Sam Alden, Jen Mussari, John Chae, Jordan Bernier, Alyssa Nassner, and Luke Pearson. Each of the 100 hand-editioned sets of eight 5"x7" letterpress prints, collected in a folded cardboard holder, is $60. All are charming and, at that price, offer a great start to a print collection of your own.

✦ A marvelous example of an arts and education partnership: Three years ago, with support from the Appalachian Community Fund, the Beehive Design Collective, Machias, Maine, and grassroots organizers in Appalachia joined together to fight the destructive practice known as mountain top removal coal mining. As part of "The True Cost of Coal" project, the group's volunteer illustrators and educators undertook a Graphic Campaign to produce a folding poster depicting mountain top removal coal mining (see below) and a narrative booklet, available in English and Spanish. The group conducts workshops and "picture lectures" across the United States (booking information is here). 

✦ The public art project "At What Cost" is intended to bring attention to the worldwide crisis in human trafficking and labor abuse of children and adults. Sponsored in part by the International Labour Organization and focusing on abusive practices in production of goods and provision of services, it tells, in photographs and recordings, the stories of 10 individuals forced to work in abusive conditions in such industries as agriculture, mining, seafood production, domestic services, textile fabrication, and sexual services.  

Art Works Projects (Art and Design for Human Rights) is the organization behind the project.

Niko Koppel, "The True Price, With a Hidden Cost", The New York Times Lens Blog, October 12, 2011

✦ Don't miss this online presentation of Salvador Dali illustrations for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ This year is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), and New York's Asia Society (one of my favorite museums) is exhibiting through December 31 more than 60 paintings by the Indian poet, artist, and thinker. If you can't see the show in person, don't miss the dedicated Website for the exhibition, "Rabindranath Tagore: The Last Harvest", which includes information about Tagore, who, without formal instruction, began drawing and painting at age 63, and guides you through the show, section by section: The Beginning, Beyond the Pages, Discovery of Rhythm, and Faces of the World. A compilation of books and online sources (the latter are hyperlinked) also is provided.

A catalogue, The Last Harvest: Paintings of Rabindranath Tagore (Mapin, September 2011) accompanies the show.

Rabindranath Tagore, Untitled (Portrait of a woman with veil), 1934
Colored Ink and Opaque White on Silk
35-5/8" x 23-13/16"

Here's a video preview of the show:

A related video presents a talk by Harvard University professor Sugata Bose on Tagore's literary, artistic, and political legacies.

Asia Society on FaceBookTwitter, and YouTube

Asia Society Blog, re:Asia

✭ Showing through March 3, 2012, at the membership library Boston Athenaeum is "Artists' Books: Books by Artists", drawn from Boston Athenaeum's own collection. On view are works by Ryoko Adachi, Harriet Bart, Xu Bing, Laura Davidson, Stephen Dupont, Iliazd, Russell Maret, Christopher Wilde, and more than two dozen others. 

Slideshow of Featured Books (You may also see selections here. Click on to enlarge and obtain information.)

✭ In Hartford, Connecticut, The Wadsworth Atheneum presents "Patti Smith: Camera Solo" through February 19. Included in the exhibition are 70 photographs, a multi-media installation, and a video work. The show marks the first exhibition of Smith's photography in the United States.

"Camera Solo: See Patti Smith's Photos of Rimbaud's Spoon, Mapplethorpe's Slippers, and Other Obscure Arts Relics", ArtInfo, October 20, 2011

Wadsworth Atheneum on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Seventy-one color and black-and-white photographs by Madeleine de Sinety are on view through December 31 at Portland (Maine) Museum of Art. The exhibition of the Rangeley, Maine, resident's photography is the fourth in a series featuring living artists from Maine and elsewhere.

PMA on FaceBook and Twitter 

✭ Oregon's Portland Art Museum has mounted "APEX: Adam Sorensen", a show of the Portland artist's landscapes that the museum describes as "harbingers of environmental degradation" that "embrace a pop-culture aesthetic, but are influenced by 19th- and 19th-century Japanese woodblock prints." The show continues through January 1.

Adam Sorensen at PDX (There is a large, representative selection of Sorensen's images at this gallery site. You'll find a video here.)

PMA on FaceBook and Twitter

Thursday, November 17, 2011

There's Something About Autumn (Poem)

There's something about autumn

that makes me want to strip away
        the hard-back shells of major poets,

shore up the papered spines of still
        emerging but minor wordsmiths,

rearrange all my bookshelves just so
        enough Donald Hall can come within

a hand's reach of Jane Kenyon, not
        separated by well-worn Donald Justice,

nor placed, so wrongly, after Kooser —
        he's a Ted, too, like Hughes.

I mean to ask Billy Collins to leave
        a little more space for the dead poets

I haven't picked up in years, for unread
        Aiken to let me give him another chance,

and Elizabeth Bishop to jump back in
        line near the front, after way too long

among a lot of dull, outdated school
        books. Could it have been those titles,

Geography III and North and South,
        that got her misplaced from the start?

Brodsky I need close to Auden (he
        helped him with a job at U Michigan,

you know), and Kay Ryan I'll urge pub
        one more collection so I have a couple

of those "Paired Things" to read once
        I've dusted off Dickinson's riddles to make

my way over a few dark dashes. Far
        from Sexton's dusky voice, I'll veer left

of center, to hear again echoes of Ginsberg
        keeping his self-revealing Beat, next sweep

right to study spare William Carlos Williams
        breaking long lines into many variable feet.

In the middle, I swear I'll keep my Lowell
        whose Life Studies, I must confess, bear no

resemblance to my own, and work in some
        Nemerov — his sister Diane became Arbus

and took pictures he didn't like and wouldn't
        call art — before Pinsky who wears his "Shirt"

proudly. Frost I'll persuade to hover near; he's
        reliable, the one we can count on to show us

traditional form. Of others, I will tell you this:
        I want only Ruth Stone to reveal What Love

Comes To, and Darwish to translate the deep
        sound of "A Canaanite Rock in the Deep Sea"

and Neruda to sing me a canto, show me his
        twenty ways of being, where there is no I

nor you, when every when is always for
        -ever, and never, as Merwin took just three lines

to say, like an absence running through me,
        beyond color-bled words, between covers soft.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

I used as a prompt for this poem Phillip Lopate's line "There is something about autumn that makes me want to rearrange my bookshelves:..." I first read the sentence here and, after writing the poem, traced its origin to an essay by Lopate in The Hopkins Review.

Titles of poets' collections are italicized; titles of individual poems are within quotation marks. The last lines of the poem are meant to recall e.e. cummings and also W.S. Merwin's extraordinary three-line poem "Separation": "Your absence has gone through me/ Like thread through a needle. / Everything I do is stitched with its color."

The poets mentioned, in order, are: Donald Hall, Jane Kenyon (she was Hall's wife until her death in 1995), Donald Justice, Ted Kooser, Ted Hughes, Billy Collins, Conrad Aiken, Elizabeth Bishop, Joseph Brodsky, W.H. Auden, Kay Ryan, Emily Dickinson, Anne Sexton, Allen Ginsberg, William Carlos Williams, Robert Lowell, Howard Nemerov, Robert Pinsky, Ruth Stone, Mahmoud Darwish, Pablo Neruda, and W.S. Merwin. All of these poets are somewhere on my shelves or reading tables.