Saturday, April 30, 2016

Saturday Short

You can't wear poetry out....
It can time-travel.
~ Lynda Barry

Concluding National Poetry Month, Saturday Short features novelist, cartoonist, illustrator, playwright  Lynda Barry on poetry—how it smells, how to write it, how to read it, how to remember it. She's great!

My thanks to Poetry Foundation for the video.

Friday, April 29, 2016

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Earlier this month, CBS News visited San Antonio Museum of Art to talk about "Corita Kent and the Language of Pop", an exhibition of approximately 145 artworks by artist, educator, and Roman Catholic nun Corita Kent (1918-1986). On view through May 8, the exhibition was organized by Harvard Art Museums.

CBS News Feature (Print)

StoryCorps and Corita Kent

Corita Art Center, Los Angeles (FaceBook)

✦ Painter Brooke Rothshank, who has illustrated three books, creates masterful tiny works. This summer she'll be teaching at Penland School of Crafts, which recently exhibited a show of her watercolor miniatures. Her session, "Painting: Small & Often", will begin June 26 and conclude July 8. (For information, see Drawing and Painting Workshops at Penland.) 

Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, Millville, New Jersey, has issued a call for artists in all media to apply for the Festival of Fine Craft, scheduled for October 1-2. Applications and deposits are due May 15; notification is June 1.

✦ The Manhattan Graphics Center, New York City, is offering an advanced printmakers class, "Collagraph and Mixed Media". Limited to eight students, the class will run from May 5 to June 2. The instructor is Robin Dintiman. View the list of other spring classes.

✦ Wood engraver Steven Lee-Davis, who apprenticed with Barry Moser, will be teaching "Wood Engraving: Well-Crafted Illustration", July 17-23, at Wells Book Arts Center, Aurora, New York. The class is part of a two-week Summer Institute. Read about Wells Book Arts Summer Institute (pdf). Registration is open currently.

✦ Today's video from Art21 features Sarah Sze talking about her 2015 work Measuring Stick by which she sought to measure time and space via moving image.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art continues "The Secret Life of Textiles: Plant Fibers" through July 31. The exhibition is the first in a series of three installations examining the uses, respectively, of plant, animal, and synthetic fibers. Linen, hemp, ramie, and cotton are looked at in depth in this show. Tickets are required.

Met Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Maine's Portland Museum of Art is presenting rarely seen drawings, prints, watercolors, and photographs in "Masterworks on Paper: Highlights from the Portland Museum of Art". On view through June 5, the show features approximately 100 works by such artists as Chuck Close, Edward Hopper, Yvonne Jacquette, Roy Lichtenstein, Glenn Ligon, and Edward Manet. This is the first in the PMA's multi-year "Your Museum, Reimagined" project.

Explore the PMA's Collection.

The museum has issued its first collection catalogue, The Collection: Highlights from the Portland Museum of Art, that includes information about and images of several works in the show.

PMA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ The Museum of American Glass, part of Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, Millville, New Jersey, is presenting "Raising Cane" through May 15. The exhibition explores how glass cane techniques (e.g., reticello, murrhine, latticino, milleflore) are used in contemporary art glass. Featured artists include Rick and Valerie Beck, Dave and Patti Hegland, Michael Hunter, Michael Maddy and Rina Fehrensen, Ralph Mossman and Mary Mullaney, Milissa Montini, David Pathen, Ken Schneidereit, Josh Simpson, Jeremy Sinkus, and Robert Wiener.

Wheaton Arts on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ A monumental site-specific installation by Daniel Arsham, on view in "The Future Was Then", can be seen through July 24 at SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia. The exhibit also features Arsham's large installation Wall Excavation with which viewers may engage.

SCAD Museum of Art on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ On view at the University of Florida's Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, Florida, is "Framing Nature: The Living World in Art". The show, which includes more than 100 drawings, prints, paintings, photographs, and sculptures, is organized thematically: "Inspiration", "Discovery", "Power", and "Refuge". Artists whose work is featured include Milton Avery, Elizabeth Blackwell, Jamini Roy, Sebastiao Salgado, Toshiko Takaezu, Maggy Taylor, and Edward Weston. A guide is available for families visiting the exhibition. A gallery talk, "Scientific Illustration: Aesthetics and Abstraction", is planned for June 12 at 3:00 p.m.

Harn Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ The Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York City, has mounted "Robert Motherwell: The Art of Collage". On view through May 21, the exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

Read Gregory Gilbert's article "Robert Motherwell at 100: Gregory Gilbert Reflects On the Artist's Centenary", Book Review, The Art Newspaper, April 2, 2016

Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) at The Art Story, Guggenheim MuseumPaul Kasmin Gallery, Museum of Modern Art, PBS (American Masters)

Paul Kasmin Gallery on FaceBook, Twitter, and Tumblr

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thursday's Three on Art and Poetry

Today, Thursday's Three presents a trio of upcoming art-and-poetry-related exhibitions.

✭ Coming in May is "Vintage Poetry Center Posters", a joint exhibition of  the University of Arizona Poetry Center and the Poetry Foundation. (Check the exhibition link above for dates.)

The show, at the foundation's Chicago headquarters, features a selection of silkscreened publicity posters created by University of Arizona students in the 1960s and 1970s as publicity for center readings. Among the poets for whom the now rare posters were created: Ai, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Duncan, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Denise Levertov, Gary Snyder, May Swenson. This is the first time the posters are being shown outside Tucson, according to the Poetry Foundation.

Also, UA's Poetry Center and School of Art are presenting from May 2 to May 27 in the Jeremy Ingalls Gallery the "UA Student Contests Broadside Exhibition".

Poetry Center on FaceBook

✭ In July, multidisciplinary artist Neha Vedpathak presents her "site-responsive" installation at the Poetry Foundation's Chicago headquarters. Vedpathak crafted her work using a pushpin in a process known as "plucking", which involved the repetitive, labor-intensive separation of fibers of Japanese handmade paper. 

For more about Vedpathak's technique, read "Plucking a Path from Painting to Sculpture" at Chicago Artists Resource. A video shows how she plucks.

✭ New York City's Poets House opens "Irish Poetry of the Twentieth Century: An Exhibition of Rare Books and Papers from Emory University" on May 4. The show will run through June 4.

Poets House on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lucien Stryk's 'Memo to the Builder' & 'You Must Change Your Life'

Today's video features work by the late poet and translator Lucien Stryk (1924-2013): "Memo to the Builder" and "You Must Change Your Life". The first is read by Suzanne Stryk and the second by the poet. 

Both poems can be found in And Still Birds Sing: New and Collected Poems (Swallow/Ohio University Press, 1998). The text also is at Red Eft Editions' Poetry and Painting blog.

The paintings in the video are by Suzanne Stryk, Lucien Stryk's daughter-in-law. Suzanne's work was featured in my Artist Watch column at Escape Into Life on January 21, 2016.

My thanks to Red Eft Editions, curated by Dan and Suzanne Stryk. Dan Stryk is himself a poet who has published more than a half-dozen collections, most recently Dimming Radiance: Poems and Prose Parables (Wind Publications, 2008) and Solace of the Aging Mare (Mid-America Press, 2008). His poems have appeared in numerous literary periodicals, including AGNI Online, Antioch Review, AscentThe Cafe ReviewHarvard Review Online, The Missouri ReviewNew England ReviewOxford AmericanPloughshares, Poetry, Shenandoah, and Terrain.

Dan's and Suzanne's lovely collaborations as well as guest features are posted to their blog.

Lucien Stryk at Connotation Press, Northern Illinois University, Poetry FoundationWikipedia (See the feature on Lucien Stryrk on Poetry Poetry; audio is included.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bird Lands (Poem)

Today's poem is from Neruda's Memoirs: Poems (T.S. Poetry Press, 2011).

Bird Lands

Sleep shakes out into Morgenland
— land of morning —

stubby doves break the fast of silence
with kwurr-kwurr and woo-coos,

sift the grass for themes to nourish
lilting songs to fill the cracks of dawn

and beat off blue-jacketed jays'
rockfest of distractions.

Magnolias blossom in Abenland
— land of afternoon —

its mood rising to the velvety blue-black
of ravens' shimmery long-lined backs.

Storms are coming, the sparrows
suddenly massing, tufted heads tucked in

close to wait out the cloud-clash,
the plaint of rain on fevered blades gone brown.

Soon the all-clear, borne on a live-wire streak
of dew-nipped wings, the sharp bead of eyes

thrilling to feed in the Land der Nacht
— land of night —

the hoot of echoes in a clearing
just below the upraised roof of the sky

become a decrescendo of swooping owls
taking up their night's watch

of stars splitting the dark like gone-mad cells
making work of new life.

© 2011-2016 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday Muse: New Maine State Poet Laureate

It's a great platform to be an advocate for writing.
~ Stuart Kestenbaum*

Stuart Kestenbaum has been appointed to the position of Maine Poet Laureate. The fifth poet to occupy the post, Kestenbaum succeeds Wesley McNair. His appointment is for five years.

For information on the honorary, unpaid post and additional related resources, see my profile of Betsy Sholl.

As Maine's state poet, Kestenbaum, who often gives readings and lectures on creativity and craft, aims to re-establish a Maine poetry festival and to celebrate the literary legacy of the state. He is quoted in a Blue Hill Peninsula Chamber of Commerce article as saying, "I'm so honored and grateful to have been selected. . . I hope to make connections between writers and other creative disciplines and to celebrate poetry's power to transform us—poet and reader alike—in unexpected ways."

* * * * *
Poetry makes people nervous, until they're engaged
in it. That's when they realize it's what they needed to hear.*

Former director of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, writer and cultural project consultant Stuart Kestenbaum is the author of four poetry collections: Only Now (2014), Prayers and Run-on Sentences (2007), and House of Thanksgiving (2003), all three from Deerbrook Editions. He also is the author of Pilgrimage (Coyote Love Press, 1990), available through some resellers. Kestenbaum contributed the introduction to the 1985 anthology In High School I Believed That Poetry Existed Only to Make Me Feel Stupid, published by the Maine Department of Educational and Cultural Services.

Kestenbaum, a Deer Isle  resident, also is the author of The View from Here: Craft, Community, and the Creative Process (Brynmorgen Press, 2012) and editor of a collection of essays, Technology and the Hand: A Studio-based Symposium (Haystack Mountain, 2002); he is a co-author of Vision & Legacy: Celebrating the Architecture of Haystack (Brynmorgen Press, 2011).

Stuart Kestenbaum writes the kind of poems I love to read,
heartfelt responses to the privilege of having been given a life.
No hidden agendas here, no theories to espouse, nothing but
life, pure life, set down with craft and love.
~ Ted Kooser**

Some subjects that run throughout Kestenbaum's elegantly written poetry, which can be humorous and often is deeply meditative, are time and its passage, memories, mortality, the natural world, and sense of place.

Following are excerpts from three poems:

The moment you slide into the back seat of the taxi
you know life is measured, the dollars

on the meter already, and then every quarter mile,
half mile, every extended wait bumper-to-bumper

adding to the fare. [. . .]
~ from "The Metered Life" in House of Thanksgiving

when the day falls out of the sky
it is as surprised as I am to see
all this sunrise splashing at my face. [. . .]
~ from "Winter Morning Prayer" in A Deep Blue Amen

When I wake I am still carrying the night with me,
the trembling wind we are awash in, and the wind
outside howls or does what the wind does, which is
not howl but knit trees and leaves together [. . . .]
~ from "Prayer I Should Have Prayed Last Night" in
Prayers & Run-on Sentences

Kestenbaum's poems have been read at The Writer's Almanac (see links in Resources below) and have appeared in numerous literary publications and magazines, including Beloit Poetry Journal, Maine The MagazineNortheast Corridor,  PersimmonSoul-LitSun magazine, Tikkun, and Verse Daily.

Among the anthologies that include Kestenbaum's poems are Maine in Four Seasons: 20 Poets Celebrate the Turning Year (Down East Books, 2010), edited by Wesley McNair; The Maine Poets (Down East Books, 2003), edited by Wesley McNair; Good Poems for Hard Times (Penguin Books, 2005), selected by Garrison Keillor; Take Heart (Down East Books), edited by Wesley McNair; and Collection of Poems (Four Annual Terry Plunkett Maine Poetry Festival, University of Maine-Augusta, 2006).

Among Kestenbaum's honors are a Distinguished Educator Award from James Renwick Alliance (2008) and Honorary Member of the Council (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts), the latter awarded in March 2016 at the council's annual conference. Kestenbaum also is an Honorary Fellow of American Craft Council. In 2016, he was a visiting writer at Alfred Ceramics, where he presented a talk about creativity, making, the writing process, and his own work. In 2015, he was named one of "50 Mainers Boldly Leading Our State" by Maine The Magazine.

Kestenbaum's wife is visual artist Susan Webster. (View some of Webster's and Kestenbaum's collaborations. Also see Kestenbaum's limited-edition collaboration with papermaker Amanda Degener and calligrapher Jan Owen, A Deep Blue Amen, 2013; this also may be viewed at Cave PaperAbecedarian Gallery, and Vamp & Tramp Booksellers. The artist's book was inspired by and contains Kestenbaum's poems. In addition, see Kestenbaum's collaboration, Water Prayers (2010), with Nancy Manter; edition size, 30.)


Photo Credit: Deerbrook Editions

All Poetry Excerpts © Stuart Kestenbaum

* Quoted from Bob Keyes's article (See link below.)

** Ted Kooser's opinion of Kestenbaum's poetry is quoted widely, including in Maine Arts Commission's news release; Letitia Baldwin's article "Stu Kestenbaum Named Maine Poet Laureate", Ellsworth American, March 24, 2016; and Penn State News, October 5, 2015.

"Meet Maine's Fifth State Poet Laureate", Maine Arts Commission, March 23, 2016

"Maine's New Poet Laureate" at Deerbrook Editions

Bob Keyes, "Stuart Kestenbaum Named Maine's New Poet Laureate", Portland Press Herald, March 25, 2016

Stuart Kestenbaum Profiles Online: Find Maine Writers, Maine Home + DesignPoetry Foundation,

Stuart Kestenbaum Poems Online: "Prayer in the Strip Mall, Bangor, Maine" and "Only Time", Both at Portland Press Herald; "Prayer for the Dead" at American Life in Poetry; "Prayer for Joy" and "Prayer for the Dead", Both at Poetry Foundation; "Psalm", "Starting the Subaru at Five Below", "April Prayer", "A Cold Rain the Day Before Spring", "Prayer for What is Lost", "In Praise of Hands", and "Harmony", All at The Writer's Almanac (Audio Available); "I Am Fishing for God" at Verse Daily; "Hermit's Dream" at The Penland Sketchbook; "Prayer for Joy" at FaceBook (2015 Reading at Penland); "April Prayer" at A Year of Being Here; "In Praise of Hands" at Soul-Lit: A Journal of Spiritual Poetry; "Psalm" at Wyoming Arts Council; "Open Window" at Maine The Magazine; "Prayer for What is Lost" at Ride Dance Write; "Starting the Subaru at Five Below" in Good Poems for Hard Times on GoogleBooks; "Prayer I Should Have Prayed Last Night" at Persimmon; "Harmony" at Words for the Year; "I Am Fishing for God" at Beloit Poetry Journal (pdf); "Post Office Box" at Heidi's Table; "Prayer for Joy" At Scrappy Cat Blog; "Mr. Fix-It" at The New Maine Times; "Prayer in a Strip Mall, Bangor, Maine" at Crystal Bridges Blog; "Leaving Home: Route 2 from Maine to Vermont" at Maine Home + Design; "The Metered Life" and "House of Prayer", Both at Rimon Berkshires Resource Center for Jewish Spirituality (High Holiday Poetry and Prayers); "Poem for Joy" at The JournalVerse; "Spring Prayer" at Dancing Crow Yoga; "April Prayer" at Long Looking LLC; "Psalm" at A Year of Reading Blog; "Prayer for Joy", "The Light", "Essence", "April Prayer", "Mr Fix-It", and "Starting the Subaru at Five Below" (all pdf), All at Maine Writers in Take Heart Archive; "Prayer for Joy" at NewPages; "Prayer for the Dead" at Plaza Jewish Community Chapel; "A Cold Rain the Day Before Spring" at Favorite Poems Anthology on Tumblr; "Laughter" at The New Maine Times

List of Poems in Sun Magazine

Kestenbaum's poem "Prayer for the Dead" was written for his brother Howard Kestenbaum, who died in the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Kestenbaum's poem "In Praise of Hands" is a broadside created in 2008 in an edition of 100 by Carolee Campbell.

Kestenbaum's poem "Grief Arrives" appears in Jan Owen's artist book Requiem (2009).

The McNair anthologies, Take Heart: Poems from Maine (2013) and Take Heart: More Poems from Maine (2016), are at Amazon. Kestenbaum's poems appear in various editions. The books are available from Down East Books.

Stuart Kestenbaum, "Moving On and Staying Still", The Craft School Experience, June 11, 2015

Bob Keyes, "Author Q&A: Maine Poet Stuart Kestenbaum Expresses Optimism and Awareness in 'Only Now'", Portland Press Herald, April 13, 2014

A good writing quote from Kestenbaum at the Visit Maine site: "Spending time with people who work with physical materials and figure thing out, I began to see words as a material, too, and understand that any kind of creating is a relationship between the maker and the material. Editing is working with those materials, building a structure. If I make a mistake, it doesn't mean I have to crumple up the paper. I can learn to listen to the words and continue the shaping."

"On Stuart Kestenbaum's Only Now", The Line Break, June 22, 2014

Jennifer Rooks, Interview with Stuart Kestenbaum, "Why We Make Things: A Maine Craftsman's Journey", Maine Public Radio, May 20, 2015 (Audio Available)

Kristen Andresen, "Finding a Poet in a Haystack", Bangor Daily News, July 21, 2003 (Google Newspapers)

Video: "Stuart Kestenbaum Reads at Penland" on YouTube (2015)

Video: "Paul Trowbridge Watercolors, Stuart Kestenbaum Poem" on YouTube (2012)

Stuart Kestenbaum on FaceBook

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Thought for the Day

No one living a snowed-in life
can sleep without a blindfold. [. . .]
~ Terrance Hayes

Quoted from Terrance Hayes's poem "Snow for Wallace Stevens" in Lighthead (Penguin Books, Penguin Poets Series, 2010 )

Hayes's most recent collection is How to Be Drawn (Penguin Books, 2015), which was a finalist in 2015 for a National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award. Lighthead won the 2010 National Book Award for Poetry.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saturday Short

Today's short is the trailer for NOVA's "Can Alzheimer's Be Stopped?", a look at current efforts to identify what causes Alzheimer's disease and what is needed to find a cure.

The film, which was broadcast on PBS on April 13, is available as a DVD.

Alzheimer's Association

Also see "Could Virus -Like Proteins Be Causing Alzheimer's?"

Read Greg O'Brien's feature, "I'm Documenting My Own Alzheimer's Disease While I Still Can", The Washington Post, April 13, 2016.

NOVAonline on FaceBook

Friday, April 22, 2016

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ New York City-based freelance photographer Robert Clark, who was an award-winning shooter for National Geographic, has published a book of marvels: Feathers: Displays of Brilliant Plumage (Chronicle Books, April 2, 2016). View a selection of feather images from the book on Clark's Website. Clark's other books include Evolution, Friday Night Lights, First Down Houston, and Cell Phone.

Cover Image

Clark offers for purchase a selection of signed ink jet prints from his Feathers series. Among them is his book's cover image.

Robert Clark on Tumblr and Twitter

✦ View a remarkable series of  cut paper sculptures of athletes by Raya Sader Bujana (Barcelona, Spain) at All Things Paper blog, curated by my friend, paper artist Ann Martin.

✦ Yesterday's Artist Watch column at Escape Into Life featured the haunting cyanotype photographs of Lucy Capehart. Be sure to read Lucy's Artist Statement about the images. Here's one image from the post:

Lucy Capehart, My Mother's Shirtwaist Dress
Cyanotype on Paper, 52" x 40"
© Lucy Capehart
Used With Permission

✦ Save the Dates! The "Communicating the Museum" conference in Berlin is scheduled for July 13-15. Its other dates: November 15-17, Quebec; and March 2017, Paris.

✦ South African photographer Gideon Mendel is the first recipient of a new arts prize, the Pollock Prize for Creativity. The award will be given yearly. Read the press release from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.

✦ Today's video features artworks by Kerry James Marshall that were shown in an exhibition of his work at the National Gallery of Art in 2013. (See the roundup below for news of a new exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.)

Related Marshall Content at NGA

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ Painter and MacArthur "Genius" Kerry James Marshall is the subject of a retrospective, "Mastry", opening tomorrow at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibition, which will continue through September 25, showcases paintings made over the last 35 years. Accompanying the show is a 320-page monograph with essays by the curators and Marshall himself. The exhibition will travel to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, in October, and to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in March 2017. Fourteen images may be viewed at the exhibition link above.

Cover Art for Mastry Monograph

In related programming, Marshall will give a talk on April 23 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (As of the end of March, rhe talk was sold out.)

Read Sam Worley's feature, "This Modern Master Spent His Life Bringing Black Faces to Classic Art", Arts & Culture in Chicago Magazine, April 2016. (The article is complemented by a number of images of Marshall's work.)

MCA Chicago on FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, and Instagram

✭ The Cincinnati Art Museum continues through May 8 "The Etching Revival from Daubigny to Twachtman". Included in the exhibition, which examines the etching process and includes a wood etching press from the early 1900s as well as plates and tools to create etchings, are works by Charles-Francois Daubigny, Camille Corot, Jean-Francoise Millet, and James McNeil Whistler, as well as practitioners with ties to Cincinnati, including Mary Louise McLaughlin, Henry Farny, Lewis Henry Meakin, and John Twachtman. More than 100 monochromatic prints are on view.

Download The Etching Revival Guide (pdf), which includes an explanation of etching terms.   

CAM on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ In a survey of 20 works, 2003 to the present, Dallas Museum of Art explores a decade of sculptural innovations — in practice, style, and materials —by British artist Rebecca Warren. The exhibition, "Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling", continues through July 17. View images at the exhibition link.

DMA is the first museum in the United States to commission a sculpture from Warren: Pas des Deux (Plaza Monument), sited on the museum's newly opened Eagle Family Plaza.

DMA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Washington, D.C.'s National Gallery of Art is presenting through May 15 "Louise Bourgeois: No Exit". An exploration of Bourgeois's ties to the surrealists and existentialists, the exhibition of 21 of the artist's drawings, prints, and sculptures also includes an unbound book, He Disappeared into Complete Silence (1947), which contains nine engravings and nine parables; the marble sculpture Germinal (1967), and M is for Mother (1998), a drawing.

NGA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ In "This Place", on view through June 5, Brooklyn Museum of Art examines through the eyes of 12 international photographers Israel and the West Bank as place and as metaphor. The show presents more 600 images, taken between 2009 and 2012, by Frederic Brenner, Wendy Ewald, Martin Kollar, Josef Koudelka, Jungjin Lee, Gilles Peress, Fazal Sheikh, Stephen Shore, Rosalind Fox Solomon, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall, and Nick Waplington.

View a selection of images at the exhibition link above. Visit the "This Place" Website.

Gallery tours are scheduled for April 24 and 28; a talk with Wendy Ewald, "Three Perspectives", takes place with Luc Sante on May 1; and a two-part film series, Wherever You Go and Red Leaves, is offered June 5.

An illustrated catalogue  is available.

Catalogue Cover Art

Brooklyn Museum on FaceBook and Tumblr

Thursday, April 21, 2016

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Lucy Capehart, My Father's Jacket
Cyanotype on Paper
26" x 40"
Copyright © Lucy Capehart


Join me today at Escape Into Life, where I'm showcasing in Artist Watch a selection of cyanotypes* by Lucy Capehart.

A photographer and museum professional, Lucy lives and works in Portland, Oregon. Her work is in a number of photographic collections and has appeared on the covers of books and CDs.

Today's Artist Watch feature includes eight images of Lucy's cyanotypes, her Artist Statement, which relates the poignant back story about the images; a brief biography, and social media sites.


* The Getty has prepared and made available online an informative brochure about cyanotypes (pdf) that includes historical background, information about the process, and visual characteristics.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Megan Willome's 'The Joy of Poetry'

Poetry [is] like a fingerling potato, growing quietly
in a dark space. Dig it up, saute it in a little olive
oil, give it a chance.
~ Megan Willome, The Joy of Poetry

Cover Art by Pai-Shi Lee

In his poem "Love's Last"*, Christian Wiman writes, "Love's last urgency is earth / and grief is all gravity". This couplet resounded as I read Megan Willome's newly published The Joy of Poetry (T.S. Poetry Press), a hybrid book that is both a memoir and an accounting of the kinds of love that abide and are sustained, sometimes with great effort. Not the least of these is Willome's love of poetry and her often intentional practice of it: the ways it grounds her, brings laughter, instructs her, accompanies her over years-long periods interrupted by the usual activities of life that join past to present.

Anchoring The Joy of Poetry is Willome's story of her relationship with her mother, Merry Nell Drummond, who lived for more than two decades with the cancer that eventually took her life. Willome's grief is all gravity — it is this memoir portion of the book that Willome skillfully threads through each chapter, keeping the narrative focused but never mired in unnecessary explication or detail, or the too-personal.

But this book is no downer.

Perhaps paradoxically, grief also gives Willome reason to relate her palpable sense of loss to a pronounced sense of joy — joy that comes with remembering how, because of Merry Nell, Willome became a published poet at age 13 and, some 30 years after, is still reading, writing, and collecting poems: practicing poetry for the joy of it. To this reader, it is no surprise that Willome credits her experience with and of poetry to "literally chang[ing] my attitude" and saving her life. She herself asserts these facts early on, even as she acknowledges that "most people, even most writers, aren't like me. A lot are. . . afraid of poetry." Helping others get over that fear is another path to joy.

Navigating within each chapter the transitions from personal and frequently poignant anecdotes to reflections on particular poems or her own or others' ideas about poetry is tricky. Willome manages them not only by situating poems and poetry experiences solidly within the framework of her memoir, which remains the core of The Joy of Poetry, but also by leavening heart-felt pain with well-placed humor and by addressing readers in a voice that is inviting and encouraging. Hers is not an academic approach to poetry but a life approach, and one that is expansive. For all her exposure to and knowledge of poetry (the chapters' subtitles serve both as cues and clues), Willome writes in so down-to-earth a manner that anyone who picks up the book can't help but admire how deeply she's integrated poetry in her life. And what readers (parents or teachers) cannot appreciate her including in a poetry discussion references to the mouse-poet "Frederick" from Leo Lionni's book of the same title? (This delighted me!)

Whatever their lierary background may be, readers also are apt to come across at least a few familiar names (Dana Gioia, Luci Shaw, Ann Patchett) and new names— all serendipitous finds. I did. I was unfamiliar with a number of the poets Willome quotes: Katherine E. McGhee, Helena Nelson, Kim Dower, Karla Kuskin, Kathleen Jamie. Willome's selection and inclusion of these writers diversify and broaden the poetry landscape, giving us voices we otherwise might never have heard.

Willome, as well, offers some suggestions for how to approach poetry and make poetry reading and writing a habit; these appear throughout the book and, helpfully, also are collected in separately in a section titled "How to Keep, Save & Make Your Life with Poems". (Teachers, take note.)

One of the author's best ideas is to become someone's "poetry buddy"; Willome's was a person admittedly "askeerd" [afraid] of poetry who ended up reading and sharing four months of thoughts about Kevin Young's Book of Hours. Other excellent recommendations are to "do a poetry dare", either alone or as part of a larger community devoted to expanding poetry awareness and appreciation generally; keep a notebook of brief thoughts about the poems one reads, at whatever pace (the notebook also could be used to copy out poems, helping one to better understand how poems are written); and create a scrapbook of poems just because you like a poet's style, vocabulary, or insights. The latter might comprise one's initial and subsequent efforts at poetry writing, funny poems clipped from magazines, poems of consolation, special-occasion poems, poems of remembrance, or, as in Willome's case, any poems that you just want to keep by your side, for any reason or no reason at all — you don't have to answer the question, "Why?" The many poems the author includes in The Joy of Poetry could be among the first you decide to safe-keep.

Willome's The Joy of Poetry is part of T.S. Poetry Press's "Masters in Fine Living Series", which is conceived as a holistic approach to "living deeply, richly" by showing us how to mine the possibilities opened to us through reading, writing, playing, learning, and growing. It is available in e-book and print editions, as all titles in the series are.

* "Love's Last" in Christian Wiman, Once in the West: Poems (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014), p. 48

NOTE: The book club at Tweetspeak Poetry has selected The Joy of Poetry for its next discussion, beginning May 4. The very able LW Lindquist will act as leader and guide. Anyone may join in. For details, see "Book Club Announcement: The Joy of Poetry Begins May 4".

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Spring Thaw (Poem)

Today's poem is from Neruda's Memoirs: Poems (T.S. Poetry, 2011).

Spring Thaw

Heads up:

tiny shoots

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Monday Muse: New Oregon Poet Laureate

The power of language in poetry, song, story and legacy
has kept Oregon's communities vibrant. The literature of this
land is the sound of multiple hearts and the breath of many
listened to. . . It is an honor to be Oregon's poet to serve
our state's communities. . . and reflect upon their strength.
~ Elizabeth Woody*

Native American Elizabeth Woody, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (Navajo), is Oregon's eighth Poet Laureate. Successor to Peter Sears, Woody officially takes up her two-year post on April 27.

For information about the history and responsibilities of the position, see my post about Lawson Fusao Inada (2006-2010). Described as a vivid storyteller, Woody, a lecturer and educator, will give up to 20 poetry readings throughout the state during her term of service.

* * * *  *

And it is through my own story and stories of my family 
and my circle of people that I become whole. . . From
each telling we . . . become strengthened, released from
a sense of isolation. We [feed] ourselves with these stories.**

Elizabeth Woody is a poet, fiction writer, essayist, and visual artist. Her poetry collections are Luminaries of the Humble (University of Arizona Press, Sun Tracks Series, 1994), Seven Hands, Seven Hearts: Prose and Poetry (Eighth Mountain Press, 1994), which includes illustrations by Jaune Quick-to-See; and her debut book Hand into Stone (Contact II Publications, 1988; out of print), awarded the American Book Award in 1990. (The latter, with new prose and poetry, was reprinted as Seven Hands, Seven Hearts.)

A spoken word CD, Conversion: root, stone, flesh and water (2004), features Woody's more recent, unpublished poems. (See Woody's Hanksville Storytellers page for information.)

Woody contributed the introduction to E.K. Caldwell's Dreaming the Dawn: Conversations with Native Artists and Activists (University of Nebraska Press, 1999). She is co-author of Harry Fonseca Earth Wind and Fire (Wheelright Museum of the American Indian, 1996; out of print). With Gloria Bird, Woody co-authored the introduction to Dancing on the Rim of the World (University of Arizona Press, 1990).

Among the books Woody has illustrated is Sherman Alexi's Old Shirts and New Skins (American Indian Studies, 1993; see GoogleBooks). She exhibits her artwork regionally and nationally.

Place, both specific and regional, is central to Woody's poetry, as is family. In Luminaries of the Humble, Woody draws on her experiences in the Pacific Northwest, her understanding of the natural environment, misinterpretations of Native culture, contemporary issues such as domestic violence and alcoholism, homelessness and crime, and personal history, including her development as a poet. Reviewer Judy Elsley describes Woody as a practitioner of "ethnopoetics, writing a bridge of sympathy and understanding between her own people and the non-native American reader."

Following are excerpts from two of Woody's poems:

[. . .]
Inside taste is a dark definition of light.
The drum is the garment for speech.
Intoxicated on the breath. No breath on collapsing.
Breath in explosion.
Hands roll away like aspen leaves, all color,
still, only captured light. [. . .]
~ from "Horizon" (Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2002)

Sister, asleep for three days, I notice small broken
glass sparkling near your bedroom door at home,
placed there by the cat. The glass matches your beads
and wills you back to the movement of thread and
needles. [. . .]
~ from "Coma" (Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2002)

A number of Woody's poems, including "Coma" and "Flight", are in Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies (Vol. 23, No. 2, 2002; see excerpts above) and three, "Girlfriends", "Perfidy", and "Straight and Clear", can be found in Ploughshares (Spring 1994). Woody's poem "Cedar and Salmon" is included in Readings in the Poetry Garden (West Hollywood Lannan, 1994), along with several poems by Sherman Alexie.

Woody's poetry as well as essays appear in many anthologies, including Reinventing the Enemy's Language: Contemporary Native Women's Writings of North America (W.W. Norton, 1998), edited by Gloria Bird and Joy Harjo; Speaking for the Generations: Native Writers on Writing (University of Arizona Press, 1997), edited by Simon J. Ortiz; Returning the Gift: Poetry and Prose from the First North American Native Writers' Festival (University of Arizona Press, 1994), and Songs from This Earth on Turtle's Back: Contemporary American Indian Poetry (The Greenfield Review Press, 1983). (View anthologies list.) An interview with Woody is included in Norma C. Wilson's The Nature of Native American Poetry (University of New Mexico Press, 2000).

Among the honors that Woody has received are the William Stafford Memorial Award for Poetry (Pacific Northwest Bookseller's Association, 1995), a "Medicine Pathways for the Future" fellowship from the Kellogg Foundation (via American Indian Ambassadors Program of Americans for Indian Opportunity, 1993), and a J.T. Stewart Award and Fellowship (Hedgebrook, 1997). In addition, she was awarded a residency by San Francisco's Intersection for the Arts (1997). A finalist for a 1995 Oregon Book Award, Woody has been a featured poet at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. She is a founding member of Northwest Native American Writers Association and a member of the board of the women's writing retreat Soapstone.


Photo Credit: Oregon Humanities and Oregon Cultural Trust

Poetry Excerpts © Elizabeth Woody

* Quoted from "Governor Brown Names Elizabeth Woody Oregon's Eighth Poet Laureate", News Release, Office of the Governor/Oregon Cultural Trust, March 24, 2016

** Quoted from Seven Hands, Seven Hearts

"Elizabeth Woody Named Oregon Poet Laureate", Oregon Humanities, March 24, 2016

Matthew Korfhage, "Elizabeth Woody Named Eighth Poet Laureate of Oregon", Willamette Week, March 24, 2016

Elizabeth Woody Profiles Online: Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest (University of Washington), Hanksville Storytellers, Native American Authors, Native Nations Institute, Oregon Poetric VoicesThe Poetry FoundationWikipedia (Also see Craig A. Doherty's and Katherine M. Doherty's Plateau Indians in the Twentieth Century on GoogleBooks.)

Elizabeth Woody Poetry Online: "The Sister", "Old Person", and "Mirror", All at University of Arizona Press; "Girlfriends", "Home and the Homeless", "Illumination", and "My Brother", All at Poetry Foundation; "Conversion" and "Translation of Blood Quantum", Both at Hanksville Storytellers; "Coma" and "Flight" at Project Muse; "Old Person" at Poetry Society of America; "Horizon" (Excerpt) at Project Muse; "Home and the Homeless", "Deer Dancer" , "Hawk Man", "The Veil", "The Girlfriends", "Be Careful or You Might Burn", "Maria, at Quarter to Eight in the Morning", "The Signals from Sleep", "Three Measures of Alcohol", "Recovery", "Waterways Endeavor to Translate Silence from Currents", "Wish-xam", "Warm Springs River", "The Invisible Dress", "The English in the Daughter of a Wasco/Sahaptin Woman, Spoken in the Absence of Her Mother's True Language", Complete or Excerpts, All in Luminaries of the Humble at GoogleBooks 

Read Elizabeth Woody's poems "Flight", "Walk" (excerpt), and "June in Red Willow and Cottonwoods" in Tea and Bannock Stories: First Nations Community of Poetic Voices, Simon Fraser University (pdf).

Listen to Woody's readings from Mountain Writers Series (2010) and Summer Fishtrap (1990) at Oregon Poetic Voices.

Pdf of Seven Hands, Seven Hearts

Luminaries of the Humble on GoogleBooks

Elizabeth Woody Prose Online: "Recalling Celilo" at Salmon Nation

Judy Elsley, Review of Luminaries of the Humble, Weber Studies, Weber State University

Elizabeth Woody on FaceBook

Video: Portland State MFA - Elizabeth Woody on YouTube (2011) (The video was made by William Stafford's son Kim Stafford.)

In the video below from Mimbres Fever Productions, Woody reads from Luminaries of the Humble and Seven Hands, Seven Hearts: