Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

This month wraps up with Sunday Soup, Gwarlingo, and Chick History. And if that's not enough, Saturday Sharing shows you where to discover butterflies and get in a clean shot at the "serif".

✦ The unique Sunday Soup network funds creative projects by selling community meals at an affordable price. All income from a meal is given as a grant to support a project for which a grant application has been accepted. The food-based micro-granting network operates in cities around the United States, in Canada, and abroad. The Website includes information on how to Start Your Own grassroots grant-making program.

✦ View and learn about butterflies at Spot a Butterfly, a site of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

NMNH on FaceBookTwitter, and YouTube

NMNH Blog, Unearthed

✦ This site proved popular when I tweeted it several weeks ago. Bet you cannot shoot just one at "I Shot the Serif". (My thanks to The New Yorker's PageTurner for the link.)

✦ At Gwarlingo you can expect to find the unusual and the inventive in visual art, music, writing, film, and performance. The site, which is browsable by subject (creative process, images, creative spaces, Sunday poem, words, sounds, spaces, design, performance, resources) and includes a bookstore, encourages creatives to connect, explore, and share their ideas. 

✦ Women get their due at Chick History, the goal of which is "to find new and interesting ways to tell the stories of women's roles and contributions to history", especially those that have been overlooked, watered-down, or edited out. You'll find on the site a still-lengthening Chick List (helpful for locating profiles), a weekly Women's History digest, and Civil War diaries, among other items about women's achievements and contributions.

Chick History on FaceBook and Twitter

Friday, June 29, 2012

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ At Installator: Wrapit-Tapeit-Walkit-Placeit you get behind-the-scenes looks at exhibitions being installed. (My thanks to The Bigger Picture blog for the link to the Tumblr site.)

✦ Traveling to New York City this summer. Follow this ArtInfo guide to find fun and engaging public art.

✦ Check out this online directory created to complement the exhibition "Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974" at Geffen Contemporary. The interactive tool maps the exhibition's key artworks with the help of GoogleMaps.

✦ The microWave project is a conduit between artists and groups or businesses interested in providing space for temporary pop-up or "micro" galleries. The concern's primary focus is site-specific installation art in alternative venues. Check the projects section for examples of exhibitions in the Huntington Mall in Barboursville, West Virginia, and at a hotel in historic Alexandria, Virginia.

✦ The Smithsonian Museum of American Art has acquired Bret Price's Hublot, a gift of museum patron Jim Dicke. Visit the museum's Luce Center to see the artwork (its name means "porthole") in the third-floor sculpture gallery.

Bret Price, Hublot, 2005
Painted Steel with Chromed Aluminum Base
27-1/8" x 23-1/2" x 6-1/4"
Gift of James F. Dicke Family in Honor of George Gurney

Also in SAAM's collection: Price's Al Dente (2005).

"New Acquisitions: Bret Price's Hublot", Eye Level, May 29, 2012

SAAM on FaceBook, Twitter, ArtBabble, and YouTube

✦ Here's KCET's ARTBOUND program "Jackrabbit Homestead: Artists, Off-Roaders, and the American Dream Writ Miniature":

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

The video is accompanied by this article, as well as additional images.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, in Virginia Beach, is showing paintings by Norfolk-based Rashidi Barrett, who also is a musician known as DJ Cornbread. Barrett's own music accompanies the artwork. The exhibition may be viewed through August 19.

Rashidi Barrett, St. Armstrong, 2012
Acrylics, Ink, Spraypaint on Canvas
© Rashidi Barrett

Rashidi Barrett Blog

VMoCA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ In Richmond, Virginia, the "Maharaja: The Splendors of India's Great Kings" continues at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition, on view through August 19, covers the early 18th Century to mid-20th Century and features more than 200 objects set within social and historical contexts.

VMFA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Approximately 70 paintings, drawings, and letters of Portland, Maine's Mildred Burrage (1890-1983), an impressionist painter, are on view through July 15 at the Portland Museum of Art. The exhibition, "From Portland to Paris: Mildred Burrage's Years in France", concentrates on the years 1909-1914, when Burrage was abroad and exposed to modern European movements.

Mildred Burrage, A November Day: Brittany, 1912
Oil on Canvas, 31-7/8" x 25-1/2"
Gift of the Artist
Photo Credit: Melville McLean

Of interest are Daniel Kany's review for The Portland Press Herald, "Maine's Burrage Held Her Own with the Heavyweights of Her Era" (April 29, 2012), and this ArtDaily feature.

Here's a video preview of the exhibition:

PMA on FaceBook and Twitter

Note to Save the Date: In September, the PMA will open Winslow Homer Studio, newly restored, and the related exhibition "Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer and Maine". Details about the studio are here.

✭ Work by expatriate German dadaist George Grosz is on exhibit in Dallas at the Dallas Museum of Art. The show, "Flower of the Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas", on view through August 19, features 20 works from a series of paintings, Impressions of Dallas, of the Dallas landscape, economy, and society; the work was commissioned in 1952 for Harris & Co. department store's 65th anniversary.  Historic photographs of the city accompany the show, as does the museum's first e-catalogue, which reproduces Grosz's series in its entirety and includes images of other paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints by the artist.

George Grosz, Dallas Broadway, 1952
Watercolor on Paper
DMA Foundation for the Arts Collection
Anonymous Gift in Memory of Leon A. Harris

Exhibition Reviews in The Washington Post (May 18, 2012) and at Glasstire (May 24, 2012)

DMA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

DMA Blog, Uncrated (See the post on George Grosz in Dallas.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Illustrator Allen Say

. . . What drives me is . . . to give shape to my dreams
— the old business of making myths — 
the fundamental force of art. . . .

. . . Memory is the most important asset to an artist.
What we call imagination is rearrangement 
of memory. You cannot imagine without memory.
~ Allen Say, Interview with The Oregonian

Japan-born Allen Say (b. 1937) was apprenticed to a sign painter, studied architecture, and worked in commercial photography before ultimately dedicating himself to writing and illustrating books for children. Among his many books are The Boy of the Three-Year Nap, a re-telling by Dianne Snyder of a Japanese folktale and the recipient of both a Caldecott Honor Award (1989) and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award; Grandfather's Journey, a Caldecott Medal winner (1994); and the autobiographical Drawing from Memory, published in 2011. Say credits his artistic career to studies with cartoon artist Noro Shinpei whom Say describes as his sensei or "master".

Recently, Say, who was honored in 2000-2001 with a retrospective at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, was the subject of this Oregon Art Beat profile:

Here's a slideshow of some of Say's wonderful watercolor illustrations:

Say lives in Portland, Oregon.

Book List

Essay, "My Father", by Yuriko Say (Say's Daughter) at the Independent Bookseller Heritage Source

Houghton Mifflin Books Author Profile of Allen Say

Library of Congress Webcasts with Allen Say, National Book Festival, 2011, 2002 (Transcripts  are available at the links.)

Paper Tigers Interview with Allen Say

YouTube Video of Allen Say at 2011 National Book Festival

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Todd Boss Poem, In Motion

For the conclusion of this month's "Trees" theme at TweetSpeakPoetry, I offer this animation of the Todd Boss poem "The Trees—They Were Once Good Men" from Yellowrocket (W.W. Norton, 2010; hardcover, 2008). The video artist is Emma Burghardt; the composer is Debra Barsha.

Text of Poem

MotionPoems on FaceBook and Twitter

Todd Boss on FaceBook

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

An Apple's Use (Poem)

An Apple's Use 

. . . I doubt whether Sigmund Freud. . . could have analyzed
how Turing chose to bite Snow White's apple. . . .
~ Andrew Hodges, "My Oration", June 23, 1998

Turing's tongue tasted
of the apple found bedside

on his table. Half-eaten,
his was not the tainted fruit

of knowledge nor an Eve's folly
but the necessary sweetness

to deliver the poison for his
slumbering forever. His brain,

the coroner said, smelled
of bitter almonds: no accident,

and the verdict uncomputable.
His was a short life he coded

in the dark, its ending darker,
no complex encryption needed.

The cyanide consumed, he
took a last bite certain he would

crack no more German enigmas,
build no new machines to seed

the next streak of the artificial
intelligence of our networked future.

© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas

The brilliant British mathematician and philosopher Alan Turing committed suicide in 1954. His death was a tragic end for the founder of computer science.  

Turing is the subject of "Codebreaker — Alan Turing's Life and Legacy", an exhibition at London's Science Museum that celebrates the centenary of Turing's birth (June 23, 1912). The exhibition, which continues through July 31, showcases, among other artefacts, the pilot ACE computer for which Turing wrote the specification in 1945; a German Enigma codebreaking machine; and a bomb-aiming mechanical computer used in World War II.

This video introduces the exhibition's subject:

Alan Turing Website (Maintained by Andrew Hodges, Author of Alan Turing: the Engima The Centenary Edition)

Maev Kennedy, "Alan Turing: The Short, Brilliant Life and Tragic Death of an Enigma", The Guardian, June 20, 2012

Graham Moore, "Alan Turing: A Multitude of Lives in Fiction", BBC, June 23, 2012 (See the series of BBC posts on Turing, listed at the end of this article.)

"Gordon Brown: I'm Proud to Say Sorry to a Real War Hero", The Telegraph, September 10, 2009

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Muse Asks Did You Know?

This is the second in an occasional series presenting something about poets, poems, or poetry that you might not know.

Did You Know. . . 

You've heard the phrase "Excuse my dust"? It takes on new meaning in the story of the final resting place of the ashes of Dorothy Parker: the "Dorothy Parker Memorial Garden", located in Baltimore, Maryland, in the office park occupied by NAACP. The interment, more than a decade after Parker's death from a heart attack in 1967, involves Martin Luther King and Lillian Hellman, among others. (Here's another story about those ashes.)

In 1873, Paul Verlaine shot Arthur Rimbaud in Rimbaud's left hand. The reason? Apparently, while the two poets were traveling together (Rimbaud was Verlaine's protege and love interest), Rimbaud made known his wish to return to Paris, much to Verlaine's ire. Verlaine thereafter spent time in a Belgian prison.

Maya Angelou described as "challenging and daring" her effort to craft two-sentence greetings for a line of Hallmark cards. USA Today carried the story in 2002. The poet and memoirist was the second author to sign with the company. The first? Jan Karon

Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote "Mary Had  a Little Lamb", asked Edgar Allan Poe to submit an article for the magazine she edited, and was turned down. In his handwritten letter, Poe, author of the famous poem "The Raven", protested that it "would be injurious to me, and an insult" to Hale to submit "a crude or hastily written article". Poe's letter sold at auction recently for $164,000, reported the Chicago Tribune.

Thomas Hardy's ashes are buried in the Poets' Corner at Westminster Abbey but his heart is at Stinsford in Dorset, the final resting place of his parents and of his beloved first wife Emma.

✦ The title for Lorraine Hansberry's play A Raisin in the Sun comes from a line in Langston Hughes's poem "Harlem".

✦ "Computer Poet" Edmund Skellings, who is Poet Laureate of Florida, is a technology pioneer who was awarded a United States patent for "a computer teaching system based upon the functional use of color on a cathode ray tube." Skellings created the first "recordbook" in 1960, according to his Website.

Guinness World Records will not consider claims for "longest" or "shortest" poem.

✦ Fear or the hatred of poetry is known as metrophobia. The phobia is listed in the Probert Encyclopedia of Medicine.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tough Guy (Poem)

Photo of Orson Welles Provided by Tess Kincaid at Magpie Tales

Tough Guy

Look down at your own
dark reflection in the glass

and take the measure
of your thick lower lip

set tight to hold your jaw
like stone against the words

you loosed in a too-soon
whisper. Your neck cowers

in the folds of your cotton
shirt, the always perfect knot

of your tie suddenly disrupted
by a stray popped button. Ask

how much sweat it would take
to raise your head high once

more, to recalibrate the angry
tilt of your hat's heavy brim

pulled just low enough to keep
your eyes from seeing into

your walled-off yet ticking
heart. Your left hand's swelled.

Tell me: What pain has it
inflicted that your fingers cannot

straighten except in shadow's
light? Imagine you, talking back,

the hidden face responding to
the pleading tones of self-forgiveness.

© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem is my response to today's photo prompt at Magpie Tales. Go here to leave a link to your inspired writing and to read other poets' contributions. 

Thought for the Day

Art is everywhere,
except it has to pass through a creative mind.
~ Louise Nevelson

Louise Nevelson, 1899-1988

Louise Nevelson Foundation

Excerpt from Louise Nevelson: Awareness in the Fourth Dimension, Film by Dale Schierholt:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

Today's edition of Saturday Sharing offers links to pictures, pictures, and more pictures. You won't be able to see them all in a day!

✦ The digital archive The Hemingway Papers showcases the writer's reportage in the 1920s for the Toronto Star. Complementing Hemingway's columns are the historical annotations of William McGeary.

(My thanks for the link go to The Bigger Picture blog of Smithsonian Institution Archives.)

✦ Be prepared to spend a lot of time at 50 Watts if you enjoy book-related art and design. The well-organized blog is the brainchild of Will Schofield, who has a very fine eye for the exceptional, the unusual, and the fabulous. Check out the Image Archive for a look at random images that the discerning Schofield has collected and featured. The link list is impressive, too.

50 Watts on FaceBook and Twitter

(My thanks to Michigan Quarterly Review for this link.)

✦ More than 870,000 images have been collected for the New York City Municipal Archives Online Gallery; additional content is added regularly. Use of the digital archive is free, and many of the images are available to license. The gallery is an amazing resource.

✦ Inspired by Carleton Watkins, Michael Shindler is the founder of Photobooth, what Shindler calls "the world's only tintype and Polaroid portrait studio". The San Francisco-based studio and gallery holds a monthly"portfolio night" and other events and workshops.

Photobooth on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ Patterns you'll find across design, fashion, illustration, marketing, print, type, textiles, the Web, and on the street are the subject of Pattern Pulp, curated by Shayna Kulik, an art director and brand strategist who specializes in design, social media, and trend forecasting.

✦ Everyone has an opinion about YouTube but how often does the word "intelligent" come to mind? OpenCulture offers a list of Intelligent YouTube Channels, although no guarantee on how smart any one them will make you. Take your pick. The list is in alphabetical order and annotated.

✦ What do these words — "a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness" — bring to mind? If your first thought was wine, think again, or listen to the answer here:

(My thanks for the link go to The Bigger Picture blog of Smithsonian Institution Archives and Swiss Miss.)

Friday, June 22, 2012

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Become art-saavy by owning the books ArtInfo recommends: Part I and Part II. I have a number of these in my bookcase; how many are on your shelves?

✦ The desks of artists, curators and museum directors, art critics and writers, as well as dealers are photographed for the prize-winning project "Desks as Portraits: An Inside Look at the DC Art World" by E. Brady Robinson. What gets your vote for most creative space? Cleanest desktop? Most wanted space? (My thanks to The Phillips Collection's Experiment Station blog for the link.) 

✦ The marvelous artist Hung Liu was the subject in late May of this excellent interview at the ArtWorks blog of the National Endowment for the Arts.

✦ This time-lapse video shows the creation by Motoi Yamamoto of Labyrinth on site earlier this year at Bellevue Arts Museum. The artist used ordinary table salt to create the installation, part of BAM's "Making Mends" exhibition. See more of Yamamoto's "SALT" series.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ In Washington, D.C., the American University Museum at the Katzen has opened its summer shows, which include "Patrick Graham: Thirty Years—The Silence Becomes the Painting"; "The Constant Artist"; and "Mexico: Expected/Unexpected". All three exhibitions are on view through August 12.

Graham, considered Ireland's most influential contemporary artist, describes his work as "[a] looking-in, rather than a lived experience... a self contained art."

Included in "The Constant Artist", for which a gallery talk is scheduled for July 7, are works by Paul Feinberg, Lisa Montag Brotman, the late Manon Cleary, Rebecca Davenport, Fred Folsom, Clark V. Fox, Sam Gilliam, Tom Green, Margarida Kendall Hull, and Joseph White. Selected Images

Selections from the collection of Isabel and Agustin Coppel are included in "Mexico". Represented in that collection are such artists as Ana Mendieta, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Ed Ruscha. Selected Images

AU at the Katzen on FaceBook and Twitter

Art at the Katzen Blog

✭ In New York City, Poets House is exhibiting until October 6 "Founding Friendships: Celebrating the Legacies of Elizabeth Kray and Stanley Kunitz". The show features artworks by leading post-war artists alongside archival material by major poets. 

The free exhibition has two parts. One is "A Poet's Circle", showcasing work by Robert Motherwell, Philip Guston, Jack Tworkov, Saul Steinberg, and Chaim Gross, among other artists who are closely associated with Stanley Kunitz, who twice served as U.S. Poet Laureate. The other is "Bettisima: Treasures from the Elizabeth Kray Archives", which places on view for the first time letters from e.e. cummings, W.H. Auden, and others.

Poets House on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ More than 50 quilts made between 1910 and the 1970s are showcased in Bellevue Arts Museum's "Bold Expressions: African American Quilts from the Collection of Corrine Riley". The exhibition, on view through October 7, examines construction technique and quilting. The quilts included in the show are made from flour sacks, blue jeans, work clothes, and remnants, among other materials.

Flag Quilt, Mississippi, 1970s
Cotton Blends, 82" x 72"
Collection of Corinne Riley
Photo: Anthony Scoggins

San Diego's Mingei International Museum, where the exhibition appeared last year, published a softcover catalogue of the same title, with text by Riley and Roger Ricco and 53 color plates.

BAM on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Painter and sculptor James Havard will be showing at Zane Bennett Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, from June 29 until August 10. His exhibition, titled "Staying Ahead of the Beast", will include examples of Havard's abstract illusionist paintings, archival boxes, and sculptures. Images

Notable Exhibits Abroad

✭ In the United Kingdom, the London Transport Museum is exhibiting through October 28 posters, designs, and cartographic artwork, including historic materials, such as bus and railway maps printed in the early 1900s, and purely decorative transport maps, in "Mind the Map: Inspiring Art, Design and Cartography".  Artists whose work is represented in the show include Simon Patterson, Stephen Walter, Susan Stockwell, and Agnes Potevin-Navarre. Accompanying the show is the book London Underground Maps: Inspiring Art, Design and Cartography (Lund Humphries). Among planned exhibition-related events is a panel discussion on October 16 with Stephen Walter.

Selection of Exhibition Images at The Guardian

LTM on FaceBook and Twitter

LTM Blog

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lynette Wallworth's Coral: Rekindling Venus

Coral reefs have engaged the attention of Australian artist Lynette Wallworth for years, resulting in the creation of her film Coral: Rekindling Venus, which premiered earlier this month at the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, marking both World Environment Day (June 5 this year) and the rare astronomical event in which Venus transited the sun (this occurred June 5-6). Read this article, which details what inspired Wallworth to undertake what she describes as a "call to action" on behalf of  coral and the potential for destruction posed by climate change, then watch the trailer below. Be sure to take a look at the fascinating research section at the film's Website, which includes information about coral bleaching and an interactive real-time data visualization that tracks at-risk reefs.

Coral Rekindling Venue on FaceBook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Rekindling Venus

NASA: 2012 Transit of Venus (Dedicated Website)

Rekindling Venus - Augmented Reality on Vimeo

"Rise", Song by Antony on Vimeo (Donations from downloading the song help with coral reef conservation planning and management.)

Sun-Earth Day on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Wonder: Sydney Light Show

Germany's Urbanscreen design collective created this installation light project for the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Part of the "Vivid Sydney" light and music festival in New South Wales, the production makes it appear that the opera house's "sails" have collapsed.

The festival ended June 11.

Urbanscreen on FaceBook and Vimeo

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Southern Dream Catcher (Poem)

Southern Dream Catcher

The bare broken branches hold up
their bayou lure, the haint blues

and the witch's cobalt ball the traps
of the southern dream catcher.

On a night the moon shuts tight
its quartered eye, white wisps writhe

like snakes inside colored bottles
balanced on welcoming arms.

Morning's shine on the crape myrtle
stills our breath-denying fear.

© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas

For those interested in bottle trees, go here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Muse: Vermont's Poet Laureate

. . . it's often a matter of learning to trust yourself,
you know, that what you've observed and what you've rendered
and what you've said is adequate, that it doesn't need to be
expounded upon so that the reader will get it.
~ Sydney Lea, on writing with restraint* 

The successor of Ruth Stone, Sydney Lea began his term as seventh Poet Laureate of Vermont in November 2011. In recommending Lea for appointment, the Vermont Arts Council cited the poet's virtuosity and "dramatic intensity, narrative momentum, and musicality".**

Lea maintains an active schedule of poetry readings around the state.

Information about the four-year position and related resources can be found in my post about Stone.

* * * * *
. . . the supposed constraints of form—meter, rhyme,
regular stanza and so forth—are really the opposite
of constraining: that is, my attention to such apparently
 mechanical matters enables me to quit worrying for a while
 about where a poem is going, what it is meant to be. 
Formal obligations are in fact a gateway into a sort of playfulness
 in my writing; I can just lose myself among the possibilities
 of language for a spell. . . .***

Founder of the New England Review, which he edited until 1989, Sydney Lea, Ph.D., has published not only poetry but also nonfiction, a novel, and essays. Lea's poetry collections include, most recently, Six Sundays Toward a Seventh: Spiritual Poems (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2012), Young of the Year (Four Way Books, 2011), and Ghost Pain: Poems (Sarabande Books, 2005). His Hunting the Whole Way Home (Lyons Press, 2002) includes both essays and poems. Among Lea's other volumes of poetry are Pursuit of a Wound: Poems (University of Illinois Press, 2000), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and  To the Bone: New and Selected Poems (University of Illinois Press, 1996), awarded The Poets' Prize. An eleventh collection,  I Was Thinking of Beauty, is to be published by Four Way Books in 2013. 

Lea co-edited, with Robert Pack and Jay Parini, The Bread Loaf Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry (Middlebury, 1985), which was awarded an English Speaking Union Best Book Award. 

Lea, a lyrical, formalist poet who also writes in free verse, draws inspiration from his surroundings, producing in his work what the Vermont Arts Council has described as "extraordinarily evocative descriptions of northern New England's landscapes, animal and plant life, and the seasonal panorama."** His subjects range over rural life, friendship, loss, youth, aging, the passing of generations, illness, death, redemption, memory, weather, places, music, sports.

While subtly complex, Lea's finely crafted poems are accessible, erudite without seeming high-brow, and not without humor. His poems tend to be long, as do the lengths of his lines, which are dense with detail and memorable images. His narrative and prose poems bear the qualities of the best story-tellers, their conversational tone reeling you in. Lea's a keen observer of place and of people, giving particular attention to down-and-out and what and how people suffer. Poet and essayist Fleda Brown has called Lea "our generation's Edwin Arlington Robinson."

Here are a few lines to give you a sense of Lea's voice and talent at setting a scene, evoking a mood, and creating striking image:

[. . .] First love meant hot vinyl
all through one summer. They crooned
along with that Platters tune

they treasured, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes."
Long drought, but they felt exalted by sighs:[. . .]
~ from "Slow Burn"

It comes in sharp, a smell like the James River's foam.
It remembers azalea, willow, the sway
Of laurel, or camellia's pink-smoked buds drawing open
like a women's hands with moonlight in his dark room. [. . .]
~ from "Canary Weather"

A highly successful writer, Lea is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Fulbright Fellowship (1992), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1987), and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship (1985). He has published poems, essays, criticism, and stories in Agni Online, BloodrootGreen Mountains ReviewImage JournalKenyon Review, Mid-American ReviewPoetryThe New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Georgia ReviewThe New Republic, The Ohio ReviewRiver Teeth Journal, Shenandoah, Verse Daily, and many, many other literary periodicals, as well as in more than three dozen anthologies.

Over more than four decades, Lea has taught at many higher education institutions, including Dartmouth College (from which he retired in 2011), Yale University, Middlebury College, Wesleyan University, and Vermont College. 


All Poetry Quotations © Sydney Lea

* Quoted from "A Conversation with Poet Sydney Lea", Iron Horse Literary Review, September 22, 2011

** Vermont Arts Council Announcement of Sydney Lea's Appointment as Poet Laureate

*** Author Interview with Sydney Lea at Sarabande Books, July 2009 (This is a particularly insightful interview in which Lea talks about poetic form, poems as stories, openness to subject, faith, and inspiration.) 

"Gov. Shumlin Appoints Sydney Lea as the New Vermont Poet Laureate", Governor Office, September 9, 2011

Sydney Lea Profiles at Image Journal (Artist-of-the-Month, July 2007), Poetry Foundation, Poets & Writers, and Vermont College of Fine Arts

Sydney Lea Poetry Online: "To a Young Father", "Milton's Satan", "Gate and Beggar", and "Abattoir Time", All in Sampler Section of Sydney Lea Website; "Beautiful Miles", "Over Brogno", "The Blainville Testament", and "Wedding Anniversary", All at Poetry Foundation; "Fathomless" at How a Poem Happens; "Slow Burn" and "Winter Poet", Both at Agni Online; "I Was Thinking of Beauty" and "To a Young Father", Both at Vermont Public Radio; "Barnet Hill Brook" at The Rabbit Room; "Peaceable Kingdom" and "Recession", Both in The Atlantic; "Six Lies About Nature, Ending with a Soul-Tune Line" and "Evening Walks as the School Year Starts", Both at Fleda Brown; "I Was Thinking of Beauty" at Verse Daily; "Tranfigurations", "Eye on the sparrow", "Grace", and "Dispute with Thomas Hardy", All at The Christian Century; "Mudtime in the County", "Canary Weather", "From Another Shore", and "Vermont: August Fever", All at The Virginia Quarterly Review; "Forever" at Numero Cinq; "Rat Rink" and "The 1950s" (Rough Draft with Sydney Lea) at Splash of Red; "Wherever You Live", "Maya", "My Time Machine", and "The 21st Century", All at Splash of Red; "Some Locals" at Ascent; "Children, Singing" at The Atlantic Monthly (Audio Included); "Young of the Year" at Poetry Daily; "Evening Walk as the School Year Starts" and "Recession", Both at Academy of American Poets; "Hunter's Sabbath: Hippocratic" at The Writer's Almanac; "Snowdust" (Audio Recording of Lea Reading); "The Feud" at Poetrynet; "Garnett and Leon in December" at Valley News; "Never" at The Journal; "Bent Tree, Straight Shadow" at Harvard Review Online; "Ghost Pain" at Image Journal; "Wonder: Red Beans and Ricely" at Enskyment

Sydney Lea, "Let Ideas Emerge from Poetry, Not Poetry from the Idea", Burlington Free Press, February 24, 2012 (Of particular note is Lea's statement, ". . . I place great emphasis on the intellect in verse. . . But I stress too that intellectual control of a poem is something to apply after the materials have been allowed to float to the surface. . . Even though "ideas" inevitably emerge from one's poetry, in my view they must not determine it.")

Sydney Lea, "Poetry a Call to See the Nuance in Life", Burlington Free Press, January 1, 2012

Sydney Lea, "Unskunked: An Essay", Numero Cinq, March 13, 2012 (In this wonderful essay, Lea writes about narrative poetry-writing and other delights.)

Jill P. Baumgaertner, "Hints of Redemption", Review of Ghost Pain, Religion Online

Fleda Brown, "Sydney Lea", Michigan Writers on the Air: Commentaries on Poetry, March 2011

Warren Johnston, "Sydney Lea: Taking Stock at 68", Valley News, May 27, 2011 (This is an excellent article.)

Jane Lindholm, "New Vt. Poet Laureate To Promote Poetry Statewide", Vermont Public Radio, September 29, 2011 (Audio)

Sally Pollak, "In Frost's Footsteps: Vermont Poet Laureate Sydney Lea", Burlington Free Press, October 9, 2011

Tom Slayton, "Sydney Lea's Poetry", Vermont Public Radio, April 12, 2012 (Both the audio and a transcript of the interview are provided here.)

Hunting the Whole Way Home at GoogleBooks (Preview Pages)

Pursuit of a Wound: Poems at GoogleBooks (Preview Pages)

Edwin Arlington Robinson

Sydney Lea Reads, New England Review Vermont Reading Series, November 10, 2011:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Water, Earth, Sky (Poem)

M.C. Escher, Puddle, 1952
Woodcut in Black, Green, and Brown
Printed from Three Blocks

Water, Earth, Sky

Let's be realistic and just admit
we see at least three things

differently. You fear traveling
the road unpaved, sullied soles

treading opposite my own set
direction. I pray to a round-faced

moon sky-jumping Corsican pines
turned upside down in the arc

of the last fevered night carved
out before morning's sharper light.

You liken a puddle a thing easy
to ford; I say be careful, the shallow

can be so deceiving. You mirror
what tracks to every imprinted clue.

I risk what's unseen from the edge,
open up only after the fall begins.

© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem is my response to today's photo prompt at Magpie Tales. Anyone may participate. Go here to drop your link and to read other contributors' poems.

Thought for the Day

. . . Writing a poem is like knotting a fish net.
You can make the net, but you have to wait
until later to see if it has caught a fish.*
~ Kay Ryan, U.S. Poet Laureate 2008-2010

* Quoted from Kay Ryan Interview at The Paris Review, The Art of Poetry No. 94, Winter 2008

Kay Ryan Poems at The New York Times 

Dana Gioia, "Discovering Kay Ryan" (Essays)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

Explorers and the curious will enjoy today's finds, which include the Royal Society of London's online picture library and a showcase of Greco-Roman archival materials. 

✦ The online exhibits, videos, articles, and other Web-only features of San Francisco's explOratorium museum will delight the just-plain curious and you explorer-types. 

explOratorium on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✦ Tufts University's Perseus Digital Library showcases history, literature, and culture of the Greco-Roman world. Among the online resources are primary and secondary sources for studies of ancient Greece and Rome and an Art & Archaeology Artifact Browser, primary and secondary sources in early modern English literature, humanist and Renaissance Italian poetry in Latin, Germanic materials, and Arabic-language documents

✦ The archival digital collection Who Speaks for the Negro?, related to Robert Penn Warren's 1965 book of the same title, comprises recordings of interviews and print materials including letters, periodicals, and other media; the latter appear on the Vanderbilt University site both as images of original documents and as searchable re-transcribed documents. Included are interviews with James Baldwin, Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, Andrew Young, and many other civil rights leaders and activists discussing the civil rights movement, education, discrimination, and a wide range of related topics. The materials come from collections of original documents at the University of Kentucky and Yale University Libraries.

✦ A cautionary note should precede your first visit to the online picture library of the Royal Society of London, the world's oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. You can get caught up in the wonder there! The archive contains digital images of paintings, photographs, drawings, and prints in the Royal Society collections. Detailed descriptions and information about provenance accompany the images. A marvelous academic resource, the archive is freely available to anyone. Start out by browsing the themed galleries.

The Repository, Royal Society Blog (You'll want to follow this blog, which is full of curios.)

Royal Society on FaceBookTwitter, and YouTube

(My thanks to Paris Review Daily for the Picture Library link.)

✦ The United Kingdom's largest online bookseller, The Book Depository, has created a map that allows you to see, in real time, who is purchasing what books where in the world.

✦ My thanks for the video below go to Art Works, the NEA arts blog. Titled "Signals" (2011), the film depicts graphical clusters representing the signals exchanged among networked proteins in a cancer cell as the proteins change over time. Credit for the fascinating time-lapse video goes to Casey Reas and Ben Fry. According to the film's Vimeo page, the image has been "translated" into a mural for a building on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus.

See more from Casey Reas, an artist and professor in design media arts at UCLA, here. Reas is co-founder with Ben Fry of Processing, an open-source programming language, development environment, and online community used by artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyiss to create images, animations, and "interactions"; its objective is to promote software literacy in the visual arts. The Processing site is worth exploring.

Friday, June 15, 2012

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ The paintings and drawings of Anne Harris are remarkable, beautiful in their exquisitely painted ugliness. Carl Belz has described them as "compelling" for the stories they tell, ". . . each one different, . . . reflecting a facet of the self within, the modern self ever questing on its own to know its ever-evolving identity."

✦ Pop artist Andy Warhol, Surrealist Rene Magritte, Finland-born ceramist Maija Grotell, Ghanaian sculptor Vincent Akwete Kofi, and American painter Robert Henri are among the deceased artists, musicians, and authors whose names are now officially attached to Mercury impact craters. Go here for the International Astronomical Union's approved list. To see an image of the Warhol crater, go here.

✦ A new international award for emerging photographers, Rudin Prize (named for New York City real estate developer Lewis Rudin), was announced by the Norton Museum of Art in May. The first award, which carries a $20,000 cash prize and a solo exhibition at the museum, is to be awarded this December. More about the annual award and the nominating panel, which includes conceptual artist John Baldessari and photographer Graciela Iturbide, is here (pdf).

Norton Museum of Art on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ The barter network OurGoods describes itself as "a community of artists, designers, and cultural producers who want to barter skills, spaces, and objects." On its site, you'll find featured projects and barter stories, as well as event listings.

A Blade of Grass awards unrestricted grants to artists who live and work in the New York City Metropolitan Area, have demonstrated financial need, and create work that complements the organization's mission. In July, the group will post guidelines for grants to New York City-based public charities. Check the Grants section of the nonprofit's Website for details.

A Blade of Grass on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ Put some unforgettable color in your day when you view Guggen' Dizzy, a wonderful series by Mia Wen Hsuan Liu, who used 60,000 admission tickets, colored masking tape, a motor, and plywood to craft her delightful creations. (My thanks to Ann at All Things Paper for the link. Also see this feature article about Liu that Ann mentioned.)

✦ The video below, with William Wegman, was produced for The Morgan Library & Museum's recent exhibition "In  the Company of Animals", which looked at how artists, writers, and composers use or have used animals to think about and create art.

"In the Company of Animals" Online (You'll find here a selection of images and additional video.)

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ Two paintings by Clyfford Still, 1949-A-No. 1 (1949) and PH-1033 (1976), and an untitled canvas by Joan Mitchell (c. 1960) are on view at the Norton Museum of Art through September 2. Also on view until this fall: "Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey", featuring more than 170 works, including pen-and-ink illustrations, preparatory sketches, unpublished drawings, and ephemera.

Norton Museum of Art on FaceBook and Twitter

Note: Still's 1949-A-No. 1 (1949) sold for $61.7 million at Sotheby's on November 9, 2011. See "Still Painting Fetches $61.7 Million as Protesters Cry 'Shame'", Bloomberg, November 10, 2011. Images of that painting and of Still's PH-1033 (1976) accompany the article.

Milwaukee Art Museum recreates Belle Epoque Paris with "Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec & His Contemporaries", on view through September 9. More than 100 French posters from 19th Century Paris, including some banned by censors, are included in the exhibition, which is accompanied by a catalogue and complemented with gallery talks. Also featured are rare preparatory drawings, as well as watercolors, maquettes, and proofs revealing the process from conception to final execution. Visit the dedicated exhibition Website for artist biographies, a dictionary of French terms, an image gallery, and a brief history of French Milwaukee. The show will travel to Dallas Museum of Art this fall.

Jules Cheret, Folies-Bergere: Loie Fuller, 1897
Color Lithograph
Collection of Jim and Sue Wiechmann
Photo Credit: John R. Glembin

Milwaukee Art Museum on FaceBookTwitter, and YouTube

MAM Blog, Under the Wings

✭ More than 100 artworks by more than 60 artists from throughout Canada are featured in "Oh, Canada" at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, in North Adams. On view through April 1, 2013, the exhibition is the largest survey of contemporary Canadian art ever mounted outside the country and includes a number of commissions. A huge full-color catalogue accompanies the show.

MASS MoCA on FaceBook and Twitter


✭ San Diego's Museum of Contemporary Art is presenting through December 1 British filmmaker and installation artist Isaac Julien's nine-screen video installation Ten Thousand Waves. The film, which took four years to make and was inspired by the 2004 Morecambe Bay Tragedy, was filmed on location in China. A catalogue is available.

Julien, a Mellon Visiting Artist at Columbia University's School of the Arts, discusses his work in this video, filmed during the 2011 World Leaders Forum.

MCASD on FaceBook, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube


Save the Date

The 8th Annual Art in Odd Places Festival is scheduled for October 5-15 in New York City.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Haiti in Maggie Steber's Eyes

. . . The people themselves, they live these moments of beauty.
Maybe it's an audacious idea to think that beauty can exist 
in places like [Haiti] but in fact it does. . . Just because we can't
see [beauty in Haiti] doesn't mean it doesn't exist,
and in Haiti, it exists in ways that we will never ever see
 and never understand. . . .
~Maggie Steber

For more than two decades, the much-honored, award-winning documentary photographer Maggie Steber has filmed in Haiti, concentrating her camera not only on Haiti's suffering and the evidence of the island nation's considerable socio-political problems but also on what she calls "the moments described by the beauty of the Haitian people". 

In the Audacity of Beauty, her 20:41-minute film below, Steber documents — and movingly articulates for us — some of the vibrancy, joy, and pride she sees in Haitians' daily lives. While photographing in the countryside, Steber says, she found "exquisite beauty" in the smallest moments. Two years after the devastating 2010 earthquake, she relates, she still has "great hope for Haiti, and that's what the Audacity of Beauty is about, hope, and the ability of the people to describe themselves."

David Gonzalex, "Quietly Finding Haiti's Audacious Beauty", Lens Blog, The New York Times, May 25, 2012