Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

Choice is good, and today's new edition of Saturday Sharing lets you choose from an eclectic compilation of links for your browsing pleasure.

✦ The Poetry Foundation has now made accessible online every issue of Poetry magazine since 1912. The Archive is searchable by poet, poem, and keyword. This is a tremendous resource!

✦ The next time you think about tossing that plastic liter-bottle of soda in the recycling bin, consider what this family in Argentina did with theirs: They built La Casa de Botellas — The House of Bottles — entirely from common household cast-offs. The structure and all furnishings are crafted from plastic bottles, aluminum cans, Tetra Pax boxboard, and other recyclabes. The family's daughter enjoys as her playhouse a scale-downed version of the main house. 

✦ Did you miss Earth Day 2011? It's never to late to Go Green. This Arts for the Earth campaign  describes ongoing, achievable goals for museums and art venues and environment-based arts education for school and after-school programs. Some innovative activities you might want to incorporate in your plans for observing next year's Earth Day: Women and the Green Economy™ (WAGE) and The Canopy Project.

✦ This is for all my friends in New York City and for anyone else who likes what can be done with technology.

Conductor: from Alexander Chen on Vimeo.

Here are the details about Alexander Chen's Conductor. The visuals are based on Massimo Vignelli's 1972 diagram of the New York City Subway map.

See the feature in full-screen:

"Notes From Underground", WNYC Interview with Alexander Chen, March 28, 2011 (My thanks to PBS News Hour Art Beat for this link.)

Alexander Chen's Blog

Alexander Chen on Vimeo and Twitter

✦ Britain's Tate Museum is making available online selections from its archives: Archive Journeys. Among the selections to date are a behind-the-scenes look at Tate's first 100 years; the Bloomsbury Archive, which includes a collection of photographs of the Bloomsbury Group by Vanessa Bell; and the Reise Archive, containing art historian and critic Barbara Reise's insights into the art scene of London 1966-1978. Archive Journeys is a marvelous resource. (My thanks to the Smithsonian's The Bigger Picture blog for this link.)

✦ Ever wonder what might have happened if Moses had used social media? Watch this fun video to find out. (My thanks to 92Y Online blog, where I first saw this featured.)

Friday, April 29, 2011

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✭ Former NASA employee, artist, and architect Kurt Wenner creates marvelous 3-D illusions on pavement, using a unique geometry he devised and perfected over several decades. Go here to see a 21-image slideshow that will leave you stunned and delighted. A gallery of his work, created all over the world, also may be downloaded here. Look for Wenner's new book Asphalt Renaissance: The Pavement Art and 3-D Illusions of Kurt Wenner (Sterling Signature), scheduled for release this August.

In this video, Wenner creates in chalk "Ceres' Banquet":

More of Wenner's videos are found here and on YouTube.

✭ At Greymatters you'll find the arresting abstract expressionist paintings of Denver-based  Karen Roehl and Carol Browning, and the "poured" paintings of multi-media artist Theresa Anderson. Each is enormously talented and deserves more than a casual look. 

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ In McLean, Virginia, McLean Project for the Arts is presenting the work of three artists through June 4: "Trace of a Moving Point: Works by Fiona Ross", "Unseen Extracts, McLean: Photographs by Bill Prosser", and "Point of Origin: New Works by Kristin Reiber Harris".

Fiona Ross, of Richmond, Virginia, produces stylized depictions of landscapes and figures through intricate line work.  Bill Prosser, based in McLean, focuses his eye on landscapes and interiors; his black-and-white images are finely composed, often graphical in orientation. Inspired by nature, Kristin Reiber Harris creates large-scale, layered geometric drawings and woodcuts that reveal the influences of Buddhist and Islamic art and philosophy. Her woodcuts are especially lovely.

Kristin Reiber Harris, Dogwood Stone Circle
Mixed Media on Paper, 43" x 52"
© Kristin Reiber Harris

✭ In collaboration with the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts, will be exhibiting "Juan Downey: The Invisible Architect", May 5 - July 12; the opening reception is May 4. The show is the first U.S. museum survey of Downey, who was born in Chile, educated in Chile and France, and lived for much of his career in New York City. He died in 1993. He was a fellow at MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies in 1973 and 1975, and received numerous other grants and awards. The show features foundational early work, including Downey's two major works Video Trans Americas and The Thinking Eye (El Ojo Pensante), a series produced for public television. Downey's work is found in museum collections around the world. An illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition, which will travel to Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, Arizona, in September, and to Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, in February 2012.

Juan Downey, Video Trans Americas
Oil on Wood, 1973
Photo Credit: Harry Shunk 

Profile of Juan Downey on Electronic Arts Intermix

Freddi Miller, "Juan Downey: 'The Thinking Eye' (1974-1989)", Revolver Santiago Magazine, May 13,2010

✭ Washington, D.C.'s Old Print Gallery is showing through June 4 "Prima Materia: Vernal Matrix Woodcuts and Monotypes by Susan Goldman".  In Homer, the Prima Materia is a metaphor for Earth's womb; in Goldman's prints, the metaphor is represented by the amphora (see image below). Gallery notes describe "a truly dynamic collection" that exhibits "a beautiful interplay of vibrant color and patterns derived from nature." Go here to see a selection of work from the show. Note the female silhouette in these wonderful layered prints. Take time to visit Goldman's site, where many more images of her very fine work may be viewed.

Susan Goldman, Enchanted Summer, 2008
Monotype With Woodcut
© Susan Goldman

The Old Print Gallery on FaceBook

The Old Print Gallery Blog

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Poet James Richardson

Being a poet is about the kinds of thinking and feeling,
the drifting and reading and gazing that poets do. . . .
~ James Richardson

With the April 6 announcement that contemporary poet James Richardson had won the $50,000 Jackson Poetry Prize, bestowed by Poets & Writers on an American poet of "exceptional talent who deserves wider recognition", I did a bit of research to uncover a few of Richardson's poems and to learn a bit more about him. 

One of Richardson's poems I found, and especially like, is "Northwest Passage":

That faint line in the dark
might be the shore
of some heretofore unknown
small hour.

This fir-scent on the wind
must be the forests
of the rumored month
between July and August.
© James Richardson

These concise eight lines seem straightforward-enough, until we take up those images: "the shore / ... of some hour" and "the forests / of the rumored month / between July and August." What does "the shore of some hour" look like, and how will we know when we've reached it? What of that "rumored month"? Who knows about it? Why is it replete with forests? How do you get there? And then there's the contrast of that "might be" with "must be" — the first so open to possibility, the other so determinedly conclusive. There is also the thought-provoking matter of the title, of its history and what it recalls to us about seeking and finding, and, ultimately, what we accept of what we see or what we think we know or have found. It's amazing how quickly complicated the reading of this poem can become when we strip it to its barest.

Here's another tiny poem, "Room Temperature", that shows Richardson's mastery of the short form:

That coffee you forgot to drink,
this light, eight minutes from the sun,
words I thought for a second
the hottest ever written.
© James Richardson

This is a lovely, witty play of words.

Richardson, who teaches beginning and advanced poetry workshops at Princeton, is the author of By the Numbers: Poems and Aphorisms (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), a National Book Award finalist that Publishers Weekly selected as "Book of the Year", and Interglacial: New and Selected Poems & Aphorisms (Ausable Press*, 2004), which offers some wonderful poems. Among his other collections are Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays (Ausable Press, 2001; available from Copper Canyon) and How Things Are (Carnegie-Mellon Press, 2000).

The recipient of numerous other awards and fellowships, Richardson has been published frequently in The New Yorker, as well as in the Paris Review, Narrative, PleiadesVersedailyPoetry Daily, and Slate, and in numerous anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2011.

* Copper Canyon Press acquired Ausable Press in 2009. Ausable's titles remain in print under Copper Canyon's auspices.

Some other poems by Richardson that can be found online are: "In Shakespeare" (this poem also appears here, at The Best American Poetry blog), "My Godzilla", "Subject, Verb, Object", "Postmortem Georgic", "End of Summer", "Still Life With Moving Figure" (audio of Richardson reading is poem also is available); "The Worst Team Money Could Buy"; "Northwest Passage"; "How to Read Music"; "Another End of the World" (audio also available); "The God Who"; "Evening Prayer"; "Spellbound"; "Shore Town, Winter"; "Epilogue in Snow".

"44 Aphorisms", Princeton Independent

Interglacial on GoogleBooks

Vectors on GoogleBooks

The Best American Poetry 2010 on GoogleBooks

Richardson Reading in 2010 from Vectors: Video (Go to 8.32 minutes.)

Poetry @ Princeton (Profile of James Richardson)

Interview with James Richardson at National Book Foundation

Interview with James Richardson at BlogTalkRadio

Review of By the Numbers in Coldfront

"Poet as Aphorist", Review of By the Numbers in Cabbage Rabbit Review of Books and Music, March 15, 2011

Review of Interglacial in The New Hampshire Review

The Literary Review: James Richardso "Even More Aphorisms"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

In Song for Love Gone Deeper (Poem)

In Song for Love Gone Deeper

You carry
blues off a beat, out
of synch, still
tied, labored
in song for love gone deeper
in your wintered eyes.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

I offer this poem for The High Calling's Random Acts of Poetry, which this week is seeking poems about mothers, grandmothers, motherhood, or son- or daughter-hood for Mother's Day. The deadline for submissions is Friday, April 29. Go here for more information about posting your contribution to the T.S. Poetry Press page on FaceBook.

Wednesday Wonder: Paul Smith's Typewriter Art

Paul Smith (1921-2007), as his biography notes, was a remarkable person. Denied a formal education because of severe cerebral palsy, which also limited his ability to speak, Smith became an artist. . . with the help of a manual typewriter. Unable to use both hands at the same time, needing to use one to hold down the other as it pressed the typewriter keys, Smith created images based on several letters and an assortment of ASCII characters: @  #  $  % ^  &  * (  )  - . He's been called "The Father of ASCII Art" and also "ASCII Art's Grandfather".

Refining techniques he developed over some 70 years, Smith made hundreds of typewriter pictures,  each taking several months to create, all full of shadings, colors, textures. His subjects ranged from Americana, animal portraits, and seascapes,  to trains, Christian art, portraits of American presidents, and World War II. Look at any of the artworks here; if you did not know otherwise, you might remark on the skillful use Smith made of his fine drawing pencils, pastels, or charcoal. 

Although Smith's originals remain largely in the hands of those to whom he presented his gifts, copies were maintained and have become Smith's gift to all of us. 


Time-lapse Demo of Stages in Making a Portrait by Typewriter

Flickr Photostream of Smith's Typewriter Art

Other artists who use typewriters in their work, though without the challenges imposed by an incurable neurological disorder, include Keira Rathbone.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Consequence (Poem)


You don't fish.
      It isn't the river

calling you away.
      You're not moved

by the rhythms
      or rhymes of poets,

their metaphors giving
      no cover for truths too

late exposed.
      You don't eye her

as before you eyed
      the full sum of all

the parts, the making
      up and the going on

before the next time
      becomes the next time.

Still, spring breaks
      out in your heart

like magic, your lips
      holding silent but in place

the words put down
      on paper: how you fell

for what's come and gone,
      then come close again.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

I offer this poem for the One Shot Wednesday event at One Stop Poetry, which each week invites poets to share, read, and comment on each other's work. Be sure to visit the site late Tuesday afternoon and every Wednesday for links to the many contributors' poems. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Muse: Robert Lee Brewer's 'Enter'

Robert Lee Brewer recently published a limited-edition chapbook, Enter. The collection's title is apt: What happens when we enter into relationships (as here we enter into the relationship of readers and poet) is the thematic thread that ties the poems together. It is the poet's relationships to those most important, if not always closest, to him — his father, his children, his loves (including his wife) — that are at the heart of the 21 poems that comprise the chapbook.

The "father" figures especially in Brewer's work here and, by the poet's own admission, the relationship is "complicated". We get a first glimpse in the first poem, "Solving the world's problems", in which the son appears at odds with the father, who, midway through the poem, comes across as a kind of bogey-man: "Father turned into a dream filled / with fire and a horrible laugh. I / burned into a cloud of smoke." Absence is felt. Eventually, there's rupture — "Father became a phone call and then / silence." — until, ultimately, understanding, however uneasy, wins out: "I worried what I might // transform into next. I worried / what I might already be. Then, / I forgave father." Later, in the poem "Father's shoes"*, the portrait fills out with a tender detailing of the father's spark of recollections of his own father, the leavings again and again, the absences that, no matter how long or for what reason, end with the usual "Pretending / nothing was wrong, not / a damn thing missing. . . ." The last poem, "My Father", uses beautifully the metaphor of magnets to explain what is inexplicable: the bond of son to father and the son's received wisdom of needing to "try anything / they could to hold everyone together forever." 

There's a palpable sense of what's missing from the relationship(s) but feeling isn't allowed to get in the way of the telling. In "The world will worry for you", for example, we expect no varnishing when the poet says directly, "Forget speaking in code; forget / telling it slant; here is what happened:. . ." Or in "Of summer", where the poet again speaks directly, urging, "Place your mask on the counter / and write me a letter without the words / "Dear" or "Sincerely". . . ." The pain is complicating.

One of the poems I most like is "We woke up and fell asleep", which addresses what it's like to be "born every morning with or without the ones we love". There's joy underlying the acknowledgment that even when two people go in opposite directions they can still meet in a place where it's possible to say I love you. I also like Brewer's "I think the world is a pin cushion":

There's a space between everyday matters,
that makes someone feel every day matters,
a breath or sigh in the darkness. We surround
our time with excuses and distractions, bind
those we love with commitments when we should be
splashing around in dark puddles while the rain
covers us in nothing more than what it is.

Other poems in the chapbook Brewer categorizes as "poems of the world", or "political statement poems"; they include "Watching the ice melt", "Cold water", and "One day we looked for the snow".  That last poem especially conveys honestly a weariness, if not utter boredom, with the issues of our time, the end-stopped lines underscoring the ennui and lack of enthusiasm for doing anything about our problems: ". . . we mourned // the loss and watched / on our televisions, / the slow chaos unfolding / an inch at a time. / We watched; / we mourned; / we ate ice cream." It's all just too familiar.

It was not until I read the 21 poems several times that I saw their degree of depth. Employing language that is largely unadorned, Brewer manages to do what all good poets do, what he himself maintains should be the primary purpose of poems: to communicate with the world. That world need comprise only a single reader who can "enter" into the conversation and get the meaning to render the effort successful.

Brewer, poetry columnist for Writer's Digest and editor of the Writer's Digest's resources Poet's Market and Writer's Market, has published poems in Barn Owl Review, OCHO, MiPOesias, and other print and online literary magazines. He posts regularly at his popular Poetic Asides blog and at the My Name Is Not Bob blog.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Brewer's chapbook, write to him directly at robertleebrewer[at]gmail[dot]com.

* To read the poem "Father's shoes" from Enter, go here.

Robert Lee Brewer on FaceBook and Twitter

Robert Lee Brewer on Escape Into Life

"3 Questions for Robert Lee Brewer" at Miriam's Well, January 29, 2011

Poet's Market 2011

2011 Writer's Market

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Persistence (Poem)

Photo Credit: Greg Laychak
© Greg Laychak Used With Permission


What's of grey's
no matter. Behind
doors I dream
how life goes
rappelling, ascending, no
flat-lined horizons.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas


I offer this poem, in Shadorma form, for today's Picture Prompt Challenge at One Stop Poetry. Today's One Shoot Sunday feature is an interview with photographer Greg Laychak. Go here to read the interview and then scroll down for directions for participating in the poetry or flash fiction challenge.

Resurrexit (Poem)


Emptied tomb
of three lilies, blooms
risen son
wounds repaired
we in faith our hope renewed
this our love rejoined.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

My other Easter poems: "Tenebrae" and "Paschal Candle", "What Lifts From Darkness", "Nard".

Thought for the Day

. . . the most important thing is the dark space inside.*
~ Toshiko Takaezu


* Quoted in the chapter "Life Touchstones" (p. 41) in  The Art of Toshiko Takaezu: In the Language of Silence, Peter Held, Editor; The University of North Carolina Press, March 2011. This is a beautiful scholarly analysis of Takaezu's masterful ceramics. The monograph includes a foreword by the internationally known textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen, as well as essays by Paul J. Smith, director emeritus, American Craft Museum (now, Museum of Arts and Design), New York City. There are 164 color illustrations.

Toshiko Takaezu died March 9, 2011. See the last item in Saturday Sharing for a video interview with this great artist and additional links.

"Peter Held: Remembering Toshiko Takaezu (1922-2011)", UNC Press Blog, March 15, 2011

Carol Rigolot, "Famed Artist and Former Visual Arts Professor Toshiko Takaezu Dies", Princeton Arts News, March 10, 2011

New York Times Obituary

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tenebrae and Paschal Candle (Poems)


pured pitch, the heart beat
ebbing, stilled,
our earth's quake,
one candle to foreshadow
from death the rising.

Paschal Candle

through night, fire kindles
one white light
our light joins
in his presence, our voices
releasing to song.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

Other Easter poems: "What Lifts From Darkness" and "Nard".

Photo Credit: Gennadiy via

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

Have you ever thought of walking out of your job and walking on to something more meaningful? Today's edition of Saturday Sharing introduces you to two women, Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze, who talked with people all over the world, starting in Mexico, and then documented in their new book how a change of beliefs about what can be done and how creates solutions to what before seemed insoluble.

✭ Ever wish for a suggestion box for the future of technology? Check out the Internet Wishlist, which describes itself as "a collection of ideas for apps and Websites  [that] people are wishing for." (My thanks to On Being blog where I first saw this link.) To contribute your own wish, just post your own app- or Website-related idea on Twitter with the hashtag #theiwl; be warned, however, that only the most innovative and forward-looking ideas are shared.

Internet Wishlist on Twitter

Broken Pencil, based in Toronto, Canada, is both a Website and a print magazine that publishes four times a year. It's devoted exclusively to "underground" culture and the independent arts. In addition to reviewing books, videos, and artworks from the indie marketplace, it reprints articles from the alternative press and also features original fiction, commentary, and interviews.

Broken Pencil on FaceBook and Twitter

Margaret Wheatley, whose book Perseverance I reviewed here, has published with Deborah Frieze a new book: Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey Into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now (Barrett-Koehler Publishers, April 2011). Wheatley and Frieze traveled to seven communities around the world, including Columbus, Ohio, and Johannesburg, South Africa, "to meet people who have walked out of limiting beliefs and assumptions and walked on to create healthy and resilient communities." What they learned they share in their book.

The story behind the project and what it means to the authors, the people and places visited, and WOWO-related events across the country can be found here.

Wheatley and Frieze describe the origins of WOWO in this video:

Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze from Deborah Frieze on Vimeo.

Walk Out Walk On on FaceBook

Walk Out Walk On Bestseller Campaign

Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze on Vimeo

Deborah Frieze, president of The Berkana Institute, on Twitter

Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative features correspondence, journals, critical prose, and transcripts of lectures or other talks of New American Poets. This "extra poetic work" is uncovered in archival research, edited by scholars and students at The Graduate Center, and published as a series of chapbooks by the Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Series I, including selections from collected letters of Amiri Baraka and Edward Dorn, and the correspondence of Kenneth Koch and Frank O'Hara, was published in 2010; Series II will appear this spring and offer Robert Duncan's Olson Memorial Lecture #4 and selections from Muriel Rukeyser's Spanish Civil War archive. The chapbooks are available by subscription at various price levels (from $20 Student to $500 Sponsor, with the Basic just $25); go here for ordering information.

✭ In 2007, Tom Shadyac, director of The Nutty Professor and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, among other films, had a serious bike accident. He survived as did his interest in film-making but what did not was his desire to continue earning millions of dollars. He traded it all in for life in a  trailer park in Malibu and conceived of a project that resulted in his documentary I Am, released in February. The film features Desmond Tutu, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Coleman Barks, and other well-known men and women from the fields of science, philosophy, academia, and faith and of each of them Shadyac asks just two questions: What's wrong with our world? What can we do about it? Here's the trailer:

I Am on FaceBook and Twitter

Friday, April 22, 2011

What Lifts From Darkness (Poem)

Matthias Grunewald, Isenheim Altarpiece, c. 1512-1516
Musee d'Unterlinden, Colmar, France

What Lifts From Darkness

in hardness the nails
glanced tips bent
strong to hold.
At his feet Mary bracing
what lifts from darkness.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

Also see my poem "Nard", posted earlier this week.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Poetry Contest and Give-Away

In honor of National Poetry Month, I'm offering a new edition (January 2011) of John O'Donohue's poems, Echoes of Memory, to the first person who can name the poets who are the subjects of the clues and the titles of the films about the poets. For question #4, please name each of the poets, because if you know one you will know the other. Only one of the films is not relatively recent.

You must answer all the questions correctly and in order to win. 


1. This poet's wife was misdiagnosed as insane and eventually committed to an asylum. He never divorced her.

2. This poet was an alcoholic whose wife became fast friends with his childhood sweetheart. He died in a New York City hospital.

3. She mourned this poet for six years after his death from tuberculosis.

4. Both poets, they met at a party, their attraction instantaneous.

5. The oldest of 12 children, she had by age 12 written her first epic poem: four books of rhyming couplets.

6. Many people have never read a word by this poet, though they "know" his name. He was a founding member of a major literary movement, a champion of civil rights, a photographer, a songwriter, a teacher.

Please leave your answers, in the same order as the questions, in the comments section. The deadline is April 30. I'll announce the winner on Monday, May 2. Please be sure to spell out an e-mail address if you cannot be reached through your blog.

Have fun!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday Wonder: The Impossible Is Possible

[T]hat was the first time I've drawn anything
for seven years. I feel like I've been held under water
and someone finally reached down and pulled my head up
so I could breathe.
~ TEMPT1, August 2009

TEMPT1 (his real name is Tony Quan) is a Los Angeles-based graffiti artist who has ALS (he was diagnosed in 2003). As is the experience of a friend of mine with ALS, TEMPT is paralyzed and, until recently, could only communicate one letter at a time, one blink of the eyes at a time, because his insurance would not pay for the kind of device that, for example, Stephen Hawkings, who also has ALS, uses to communicate. His mind, fully intact, is "locked in" the body he cannot move. He has not lost his talent for drawing, only the means to create his art. . . until Mick Ebeling, his friend, got inspired.

Design and branding expert Mick Ebeling is the founder and CEO of New York- and Los Angeles-based The Ebeling Group, a creative think tank and international production company that represents leading design and directing collectives. (TEG's clients have included the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain, Sony Pictures, and Sundance Film Festival.) Ebeling is also the founder of The Not Impossible Foundation, which, formed on the fly and with money out of the group's own pockets, found a way for TEMPT1 to draw again. He and a team of programmers, hackers, inventors, and other artists created EyeWriter, a low-cost, design-it-yourself eye-tracking device that can be built using the team's free open-source code and locally obtained materials, including a pair of sun glasses from the drugstore. How Ebeling and his team came to be introduced to TEMPT1 and develop EyeWriter for him is the subject of today's video (it's just under 8 minutes in length). It's an inspiring story of how an "ordinary problem of an extraordinary person" finds a solution.

TEMPT1's work, by the way, is included in "Art in the Streets", which opened April 17 in Los Angeles at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

If you see something that isn't possible, make it possible.
~ Mick Ebeling

Video Link:

EyeWriter was named by Time magazine as one of The 50 Best Inventions of 2010.

I included an item about the EyeWriter project in my April 10, 2010, Saturday Sharing column. You'll find in the post a video that highlights what The Ebeling Group and other project collaborators are doing to make it possible for artists, writers, and others paralyzed by ALS or other neuro-degenerative diseases or spinal cord injuries to draw, write, and communicate using only their eyes. The development team has worked with engineers in Mumbai, India, to develop from parts obtained locally a variation of their original EyeWriter design: MumbaiWriter. (Learn more about MumbaiWriter here.)

In May 2010, EyeWriter received the first Future Everything Award for innovation in art, society, technology. In March of the same year, the project won the Prix Ars Electronica - Winner Interactive Art _ Golden Nicas and Grant. The latter is one of the most prestigious awards for creativity in the field of digital media.

Mick Ebeling on FaceBook

The Ebeling Group on FaceBook, Twitter, and Vimeo

The Not Impossible Foundation on FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, and Vimeo
Future Everything (Manchester, United Kingdom) on FaceBook 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Seeds of Dissent: Poem for Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds, 2010
© Ai Weiwei
Photocredit: Tate Photography

Seeds of Dissent 
Poem for Ai Weiwei 

Ai Weiwei,
your sunflower seeds
massed, ripened,
ruptured pods,
showering our words for yours,
your voice gone missing.


You behind
their firewall, silenced
bits and bytes,
don't forget
your father, his tongue too charged
with a poet's crime.

He, seeing,
learned how artists' hands
turning dirt,
splitting rock,
break scribbling odes to a child
wishing him at home.


You shared seeds,
turned your face to wind,
in China,
made of painted porcelain
new unquiet tongues.


sunflowers wither.
Lu Qing waits,
jasmine branch
stripped bare. Set an example,
Ai said, and he did.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas


". . . an individual has to set an example in society. Your own acts or behaviour tell the world who you are and at the same time what kind of society you think it should be." ~ Ai Weiwei

Lu Qing is Ai Weiwei's wife.

Ai Weiwei's father, Ai Qing (1910-1996) was a poet who was imprisoned for six years and, while exiled for 20, was forced to clean public toilets.

To learn more about Ai Weiwei's installation Sunflower Seeds at Tate Modern until May 2, go here. Take time to view this excellent video with Ai Weiwei, who demonstrates how the installation was made and what it means (you may also view the video here). The sunflower is deeply symbolic in China.

My earlier post about Ai Weiwei is here.

See Ben Davis, "Ai Weiwei Faces Strange New Accusations in China as Supporters Rally in Hong Kong: The Latest Developments", ArtInfo, April 11, 2011.

Ai Weiwei is one of three artists who created site-specific installations for an exhibition, "The Divine Comedy", at Harvard. His installation ("Untitled", 2011) is a memorial to the schoolchildren who died in the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan; it consists of 5,335 school backpacks, each identical, each representing a child's life lost (unnecessarily, because school buildings were so poorly constructed, the result of graft and corruption), and a continuously looping sound piece, "Remembrance", in which each child's name is said aloud. A related project, "My Time Is Your Surroundings", organized by metaLAB (at) Harvard, calls for Twitter responses to the artist's work or continued detention. Every response using the hastag #mtys is projected live next to Ai Weiwei's installation, which is on view until May 17, 2011. Go here for more information about participating in @aiww One-to-Many with Ai Weiwei. 

* * * * *

I offer this series, in the Shadorma form (six lines in 3-5-3-3-7-5 syllables, respectively), for  this week's One Shot Wednesday event at One Stop Poetry, which each week invites poets to share, read, and comment on each other's work. Be sure to visit the site late Tuesday afternoon and every Wednesday for links to the many contributors' poems.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Nard (Poem)


take towel
a bowl warm water
bend and wash
from hands grace
not pardon only blessing
the least to honor

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday Muse: QuakeBook for Japan

I want to compile a book of quake experiences
and publish it like within a week and donate
all profits to Red Cross We have the technology.
~ March 17, 2011 Tweet

Many people saying what's the deadline. Do people ask
quake survivors when they'd like to be rescued?
The answer is now baby, NOW #QuakeBook
~ March 20, 2011, Tweet from @ourmaninabiko

The just-launched e-book 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake, dubbed #QuakeBook after its Twitter hashtag, is Twitter-sourced, the result of a tweet by Our Man in Abiko (@ourmaninabiko), a British resident of Japan who felt helpless to help those caught up in the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami of March 11. What he did know how to do was edit and, after tweeting what he wanted to do — create a record of what happened and raise relief money for the Japanese Red Cross Society — he had several hundred editors, writers, designers, and translators volunteering their services to make a book of witness and testimony. One hundred percent of sales go to the JRCS. The book is available now for Amazon's Kindle and as a downloadable app for computer (Windows PC, Mac) or mobile device (iPhone, Blackberry).

The contents of 2:46 (the title denotes the exact time of the earthquake), created in less than two weeks, comprise essays, artwork, and photographs submitted by 85 contributors from around the world. There's a piece from Yoko Ono, stories from journalists on location, work specifically created for the book by former Yomiuri Shinbun reporter Jake Adelstein, science fiction writer William Gibson, and novelist Barry Eisler (he wrote the Foreword), plus recollections from people in Japan who experienced first-hand the horrors of the quake and the tsunami that followed. 

This video tells the story of QuakeBook's conception and creation:

The book is being translated into Japanese, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Greek, and Chinese and a second edition is in the works, according to information on the QuakeBook blog. I also learned in an exchange of e-mails with Joseph Tame, who provides tech support to the project, that an online archive of original and subsequent contributions is being considered. (To keep up to date on developments, follow on FaceBook, Twitter, or the blog, all linked below.)

"Help Japan" Digital Print (All proceeds from poster sales are donated for relief aid for Japan. Sales already have reached more than $15,000.)

QuakeBook Blog (There is a lot of interesting background information here.)

QuakeBook on FaceBookTwitter, Flickr, and LinkedIn

Logo Design by @marikuisato

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day Breaks Barred (Poem)

James Rainsford
© James Rainsford Used With Permission

Day Breaks Barred

Day breaks barred
light concealing schemes
stenciled dreams
fevered words
cold tongues silencing voices
tendered to spring's swell.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

I offer this poem, in the Shadorma form comprising six lines of 3-5-3-3-7-5 syllables, respectively, for today's One Shoot Sunday event at One Stop Poetry. You'll find here a selection of five photographs by James Rainsford and instructions for participating in the Picture Prompt Challenge. Poetry and flash fiction may be contributed.

Another of my poems using the Shadorma form is here.

For another One Stop feature with James Rainsford, go here.

Thought for the Day

The longest silence is the most pertinent question
most pertinently put. Emphatically silent. 
The most important question, whose answers concern
 us more than any, are never put in any other way.
~ Henry David Thoreau, January 4, 1851, Journal Entry*


Henry David Thoreau at American Transcendentalism Web

Profile in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The Thoreau Reader

The Thoreau Society

Friends of Walden Pond

Life With Principle: Thoreau's Voice in Our Time

* The Journal of Henry D. Thoreau in Fourteen Volumes Bound as Two, Volumes I-VII, 1837 - October, 1855 on GoogleBooks

A Year in Thoreau's Journal 1851 on GoogleBooks

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

Today's edition of Saturday Sharing encourages you not to give up on Reluctant Habits, highlights all-things-poetry at O, Miami in Florida, sends you to Musopen for music, tells you what you'll get with a click at the Smithsonian, shows you what First Book can do for children, and offers access to a U.S.-based poet's blog about Japan.

✦ At the site Reluctant Habits you're as likely find 3,000-word essays on books as "long-form conversations" with artists and writers. Currently featured is "The Modern Library Reading Challenge" in which Reluctant Habit's managing editor is determined to read the top 100 novels (according to the Modern Library of America), starting at number 100 and working backward, and to write at least 1,000 words per title read. So far, so good. How long will it take? Would you believe "several years"? Of note is The Bat Segundo Show, described as "a cultural and literary podcast that involves very thorough long-form interviews with contemporary authors and other assorted artists. Standard questions. . . are avoided, whenever possible." Tune in. T.C. Boyle is among those who have made recent appearances.

✦ The O, Miami poetry festival was launched this month with the goal of ensuring that every person in Miami-Dade County, Florida, "encounters" a poem in April, which is National Poetry Month. The festival includes traditional poetry readings and poetry-in-public-places projects, the first-ever Miami Poet Census, poetry lesson plans for schools, poem drops, creation of poetry tags, multi-lingual radio spots of poems, and displays of poems in public libraries, and will culminate with a four-day series of readings at New World Symphony Hall on Miami Beach. The festival is being documented — artist David Reinfurt is responsible for active digital documentation of daily events and projects — and the record will be housed at the University of Miami's Richter Library. The site is available in English and Spanish and has the backing of a number of sponsors, including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Michael's Genuine Food and Drink kicked off festivities with a poem by Campbell McGrath, a MacArthur "genius grant" recipient: "Ode to the Mother Tongue". To see images of the work in the restaurant's main dining area, go here. The restaurant's blogpost about the work is here.

✦ Devoted to improving access and exposure to music, Musopen creates free and educational materials, including recordings, sheet music, and textbooks, all without copyright restrictions. Search the music offerings by composer, performer, instrument, period, or form; or look for sheet music by composer, instrument, period, or form. Check the music catalog for all the ways to obtain music from Musopen; included is a streaming random selection of music live via Musopen Radio. Musopen, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, operates out of Palo Alto, California.

Musopen on Twitter

Musopen Blog

✦ At click! photography changes everything, you'll find a collection of original essays, stories, and images that document the uses and effects of photography in our culture and lives. Organized by the Smithsonian Photography Initiative, which is now part of the Smithsonian Archives, click! is divided into seven themed sections: Who We Are, What We Do, What We See, Where We Go, What We Want, and What We Remember. This extraordinary resource also includes an Image Index and a teachers' section with lesson plans. A video introduction to the site is on the main page.

✦ Washington, D.C.-based First Book provides new books and reading materials to children in need, and to date has distributed through existing networks of community programs, organizations, and schools more than 80 million free or low-cost books in thousands of locations. Committed to ending illiteracy, First Book, which has more than 90 publishing partners as well as corporate and nonprofit/government partners, also serves children of low-income families in Canada.

The Story of First Book from First Book on Vimeo.

First Book on FaceBookTwitter, and YouTube

Book MarkFirst Book Blog

✦ Alan Botsford, editor of the bilingual journal Poetry Kanto, is based in Kamakura, Japan, and has created the blog freedom in harmony in which he provides witness to events in Japan since the earthquake. Botsford's Website is mamaist. You'll find there several examples of his poetry, an essay on Whitman, and other publications, including Botsford's 2010 Walt Whitman of Cosmic Folklore: Dialogues Essays Poems (Sage Hill Press). Botsford teaches at Kanto Gakuin University in Japan. (My thanks to Denise at New Pages for the heads up on Botsford's blog.)

✦ I'm delighted to note that yesterday, my poetry collection Neruda's Memoirs: Poems received a wonderful review by Peggy Rosenthal of ImageJournal.

Friday, April 15, 2011

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ Last week, Vermont's Brattleboro Museum & Art Center opened "Wherever You Are Is the Center of the World", an exhibition of artwork by Hari Kirin and Susan Quaglia Brown. The show, on view through July 3, is unusual because the artists used satellite imagery to create their paintings, which they call maps. Using a computer, a template divided into 21 numbered and stationary locations and 19 changing sites, plus the rolling of  dice, Kirin and Brown "charted" on their canvases "chance" locations intended to represent where our e-mail, news stories, and hyperlinks take us in our virtual world. The artists' eight  6-foot by 6-foot oil paintings, representing 320 different sites identified via Google, are fascinating.

Website for Wherever You Are Is the Center of the World (This site explains the artists' project, includes images and text for each painting, provides an exhibition schedule and artist biographies, and the artists' concept for their interactive project, which, Kirin and Brown explain, "illustrates how the internet technology can enhance human imagination and understanding".)

Artists' Description of Template and Chance Operations

BMAC on FaceBook

✭ The Corning Museum of Glass is showing through January 29, 2012, "Masters of Studio Glass: Toots Zynsky". Thousands of individual glass threads — filets de verre — go into the making of many of Zynsky's extraordinary glass vessels, examples of which are drawn from CMG's permanent collection for this show. In the video interview below, she demonstrates how she works to create what she calls "free form choreography". She says she often listens to music while working, and that the music "translates into color for me".

Images of Toots Zynsky's Vessels

Transcript of 2007 Podcast with Toots Zynsky (To listen to the podcast, go here and scroll to end.)

✭ In West Palm Beach, Florida, Norton Museum of Art is presenting through July 17 "From A to Z: 26 Great Photographs from the Norton Collection". Drawn from the museum's holdings of more than 3,000 photographs, the exhibit includes work by such 20th Century and 21st Century artists as Ansel Adams, Valerie Belin, Edward Weston, Thomas Demand, and Graciela Iturbide. The exhibition photographs are alphabetically arranged, based on the first letter of the artist's last name. 

Norton Museum of Art on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube 

✭ A fiber show, "The Mysterious Content of Softness", is on view at Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, Washington, through June 26. The exhibition brings together 11 national and international fiber artists whose knitted, loom-weaved, and crochet works demonstrate "the transformative power of fiber and its connection to the human body". 

Featured artists are Diem Chau, Lauren DiCioccio, Angela Ellsworth, James Gobel, Angela Hennessy, Rock Hushka, Lisa Kellner, Miller & Shellabarger, Lacey Jane Roberts, Jeremy Sanders, and Nathan Vincent. (Take some time to view the images on these artists' sites. There is some wonderful work to be seen. I find Chau's work especially appealing.)

Image Above at Right: Diem Chau, Legacy, 2010, Porcelain Plate, Organza and Thread, © Diem Chau 

Rosemary Ponnekanti, "TAM's Rock Hushka Bleeds on His Art at Bellevue Art Museum", The News Tribune, February 7, 2011 

BAM on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Portland, Oregon's Museum of Contemporary Craft features Laurie Herrick in "Weaving Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow", on view through July 30.  This is a retrospective traveling exhibition of Herrick's weavings from the 1940s until her death in 1995. As part of the show, five Artists-in-Residence — Pam Patrie (April 5-16), Mackenzie Frere (May 3-14), Christy Matson (May 24-June 4), Elizabeth Whalen (June 21 - July 2), and Deborah Valoma (July 5-16) — are creating their personal responses to Herrick's patterns and adding them to the exhibition.

Image Above to Left: Laurie Herrick, Crater, 1969; Wool; 56" x 28"; Collection of Museum of Contemporary Craft. Photo Credit: Dan Kvitka.

Images of Laurie Herrick's Weavings on Flickr

Bob Hicks, "Weaver Laurie Herrick at Museum of Contemporary Craft (Review)", The Oregonian, March 25, 2011

Museum of Contemporary Craft on FaceBook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube

This Oregon Public Broadcasting program accompanies curator Namita Gupta Wiggers on a "First Look: Laurie Herrick Exhibition", March 22, 2011: