Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thought for the Day

Our listening creates a sanctuary
for the homeless parts within another person.
~ Rachel Naomi Remen

Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.

Remen, a psycho-oncologist, is the author of Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal (Riverhead Books, 1996), My Grandfather's Blessings (Riverhead Books, 2000), and The Little Book of Kitchen Table Wisdom (Riverhead Trade, 2007), all of which I have read and recommend. She also has written The Will to Live and Other Mysteries (Sounds True, 2001), available as an audiobook.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

Words are a preoccupation with this week's new edition of Saturday Sharing.

✦ A comprehensive digital archive of poetry readings, the sound archive Oregon Poetic Voices is a wonderful resource. The long list of Oregon poets whose work may be heard online affords many wonderful moments for your listening pleasure.

✦ If you missed my tweet on this, here's the demo for the Kindlegraph, technology that allows an e-book author to e-sign his or her book. This may be the cliched wave of the future but it doesn't do much for removing the growing barriers between writers and their readers.

✦ Utah State University's Western Literature Association has created Syllabus Exchange, a marvelous resource for teachers of western American literature and culture. Syllabi are organized as graduate, undergraduate, and introductory courses, by genre and subject, and by region and state. They're fun to browse, just to see what you might have missed in your own education.

✦ Indulge your interest in rare books at Between the Covers. As one of the taglines reads, "We're not just your usual bunch of book geeks." Need an example? The site features images of books that rotate in 3-D, so you may see front, back, and spine, and even zoom in.

✦ The weekly literary blog AboutAWord publishes original short essays by contemporary writers, including Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Annie Finch, Terrance Hayes, Douglas Kearney, and Matthew Zapruder. Next month the blog begins publishing "micro interviews" with writers.

✦ Writers, scientists, science editors, journalism and MFA students, and graduate, post-doctoral, and faculty researchers have formed NeuWrite as a forum for collaborative work and individual projects. Browse the lists of members and publications to get an idea of who's involved and what they're doing. The group, dedicated to public dissemination of science, is supported by Columbia University's Office of Graduate Affairs.

✦ The secular and fascinating Art Monastery Project is an international community of artists committed to monastic living as applied to the creative process; each member follows the path of an Art Monk in exploring how spirituality, creativity, and integrity combine to create a holistic way of life. The video below introduces the project, which came to my attention via  Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts, who recently was interviewed by the Nathan Rosquist, a monastery member, about her book The Artist's Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul With Monastic Wisdom. My thanks to Christine.

Friday, July 29, 2011

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Video artist Bill Viola is the recipient of the prestigious Japan Art Association's Praemium Imperiale award for painting (the ceremony for this lifetime achievement award is this October).  Currently, Viola is working on two altarpieces, or "video chapels", on the themes of Mary and the martyrs, commissioned by London's St. Paul's Cathedral and expected to be completed in 2012. The permanent work will comprise two 65-inch multi-screen video installations, with the screens mounted on hinged panels that can be closed during services.

Interviews with Bill Viola

June 2010 Post on Bill Viola

✦ Some 80 artists, designers, writers, musicians, performers, and other creatives in the United Kingdom have created a network known as InterfaceArtsGraduates. The collaborative group (its members are just a few years out of college) meets monthly to "pray and think through a biblical worldview for the arts and creative culture." The network's events include seminars and discussions on such topics as art and relationships and the intersection of art, faith, and professional practice.

InterfaceArtsGraduates Blog

✦ Recently, I stumbled upon the documentary Emile Norman: By His Own Design and, curious, took a moment to look up his work. Norman (1918-2009), a successful commercial artist in New York City in the 1940s and 1950s, was largely self-taught and deeply inspired by nature, crafting imaginative and intricate wood inlay panels and sculptures of animals using glass and composites, such as plastics and epoxy resin. He also worked in stone, bronze, and marble, as well as oils, and incorporated in his work leaves, shells, rocks, and other natural materials. His largest work, which he described as a "difficult commission", was for the California Masonic Memorial Temple in San Francisco (see video immediately below); he created a full-color model before beginning the work, each finished panel measuring 8'x6' and weighing approxiately 150 pounds. He was meticulous about its design and execution.

Watch the full episode. See more The Arts.

Calling his work "my reason for being here", Norman, who built by hand with his partner Brooks Clement an extraordinary home in California that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and Santa Lucia Mountains, had a gallery in Carmel. Many of his techniques and artworks were captured in still photos and on film. He was a marvelous artist.

See also: A Visit to Emile's, Working with Nature, Creation of a Mural (a commission for Bank of California [Union Bank] depicting San Francisco's history in wood inlay; this video is archival footage of the artist at work on the mural), A Closer Look (360-degree views of some of Norman's beautiful sculptures), and Inventing a Technique (he demonstrates his use of the "lost wax" technique and of epoxy, which he mixed with sawdust). Each of the videos is well worth your viewing time.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ In Maine, Portland Museum of Art is showing through October 10 "John Marin: Modernism at Midcentury", an exhibition of 54 works, including watercolors, sketches, and oil paintings from 1933 to 1953.

John Marin, Island (Ship's Stern), 1934
Watercolor on Paper
Private Collection, Courtesy Meredith Ward Fine Art, New York
© Estate of John Marin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Marin Collection at Colby College Museum of Art

PMA on FaceBook and Twitter

PMA Blog

✭ Native American weavings and jewelry from Ohio University's Kennedy Museum of Art are on show through October 30 at the Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, West Virginia. The exhibition features a selection of 40 weavings and approximately 45 jewelry pieces drawn from the Edwin L. and Ruth E. Kennedy Southwest Native American Collection, numbering more than 700 textiles and more than 2,400 jewelry items of Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni origin. The weavings and jewelry are both historic and contemporary.

HMA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum is presenting "Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910-1912", through August 21. An international loan, the exhibition of 16 paintings and 20 etchings and drypoints focuses exclusively on two highly productive years in the artists' careers. A catalogue accompanies the show. In addition, an iPad app, iCubist, has been created for the show, which will travel to Santa Barbara Museum of Art in September.

Kimbell Art Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, Flickr 

✭ In Santa Barbara, California, Santa Barbara Museum of Art has mounted "Ori Gersht: Lost in Time", on view through September 4. The first solo museum exhibition of the Israeli-born artist's work in the western United States, and accompanied by his first museum catalogue published here, the show brings together Gersht's trilogy of films (Pomegranate, Big Bang II, and Falling Bird) and related work based on European still lifes of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, in addition to two new series based on Japanese history. 

Ori Gersht at CRG Gallery For his show "Falling Petals" at CRG, Gersht produced Come and Go (2011), a c-print benefiting the Japan Earthquake and Relief Fund of the Japan Society. Available in a signed limited edition of 100, the print may be purchased through the gallery.)

Ori Gersht, Come and Go, 2011
C-type, 9-3/8" x 11-5/8"
© Ori Gersht
Image: CRG Gallery

SBMA on FaceBook and Twitter


Ori Gersht's "Pomegranate" on YouTube

"Meet the Artist: Ori Gersht", Smithsonian Magazine, February 25, 2009

✭ Work by Milwaukee's "first couple of painting", Ruth Grotenrath (1912-1988) and Schomer Lichtner (1905-2006) is on view until August 7 at Marquette University's Haggerty Museum of Art. See the slideshow here. Grotenrath is known for her still lifes; Lichtner, for his ballarinas and whimsical Wisconsin cows. Both artists were muralists involved in Federal Works Progress Administration art programs during the 1930s and 1940s. 

Images of Grotenrath's Work at Museum of Wisconsin Art

Images of Grotenrath's and Lichtner's Work at Elaine Erickson Gallery, Milwaukee

Images of Lichtner's Work at Delind Gallery, Milwaukee

Images of Lichtner's Work at Museum of Wisconsin Art

Haggerty Museum of Art on FaceBook and Twitter

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Maya Freelon Asante's 'Ubuntu'

Visual artist Maya Freelon Asante (b. 1982) comes from a family of artists (her father is an architect, her mother a jazz vocalist; her great-grandfather was a painter). A graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, she has exhibited internationally and is the recipient of fellowships and residencies around the world. 

I learned of Asante through the documentary below, which traces the inspiration for and creation and installation of her delightful work Ubuntu. The vividly colorful "tissue quilt" is both collage and sculpture; it was  selected for the State Department's Art in Embassies Program. Before finding its permanent home in Antananarvio, Madagascar, the artwork was exhibited in Maine, New York, North Carolina, and California, as well as Ghana and other nations.

Asante's "Rejoice and Be Glad in It" (2008), a tissue paper ink monoprint, was exhibited in Rome in 2010.

Work by Asante is included in the exhibition "Material Girls: Contemporary Black Women Artists" at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, on view until October 16. (Download "Material Girls" brochure.) Earlier this year Asante showed at Morton Fine Art, in Washington, D.C., in "Stories That Breathe" (images here).

Currently, Asante can be found during "open studio" days at the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower, a landmark in Baltimore, Maryland, where she occupies the C. Sylvia and Eddie C. Brown Studio. The studio is awarded at no cost to an emerging visual artist for two years.

Maya Freelon Asante Podcast on Tissue Paper Ink Monoprints and Sculptures (via NPR, 2006)

"Artist Spotlight: Maya Freelon Asante", in Arts & Design:in Color

"Color Muse: Maya Freelon Asante", in the audacity of color, September 13, 2010

"Our Common Bond", Artist Talk at Galerie Myrtis Fine Art, November 15, 2009 (In this video, Asante speaks about her work in the exhibit.) Images from her Galerie Myrtis show are here. A series of other short videos, including the artist talk and the documentary, is here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Wonder: Keira Rathbone's Typed Art

London-based artist Keira Rathbone makes us all wish we'd never thrown out those old non-self-correcting typewriters from our college days. Not only does Rathbone use vintage be-ribboned machines to produce her images, including portraits and landscapes; she also has gone so far as to equip them with sound to create sonic installations.

The owner of more than 30 typewriters, Rathbone sometimes spends as many as 90 hours to produce one of her inspired creations, some of which adorn wearables.

Rathbone currently has a show at Upsy Daisy Bakery, Hammersmith, London, until September 2.

Keira Rathbone on FaceBook

Wired Image Gallery of Rathbone's Typewriter Art

Wednesday Wonder: Paul Smith's Typewriter Art

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Memory of Stones, Reminders to Forget (Poem)

Memory of Stones, Reminders to Forget — A Sestina

A bed of dry sticks and umber stones
lacks comfort enough to make you forget
how your scraped, skinned palm always reads
in that other dream
where you run hard and long,
eager to measure the lifespan of fleeing birds.

In the time I've listened to sad black birds
scratch hollow songs into hollow stones,
I've rubbed both palms together, trying to remember how long
and how far we've come, our season to forget
behind us. What those ravens must dream
I imagine no other but I reads

in so quick a flash of silk-lined wing. What another reads
as passing quick, I foresee as the fateful muster of birds
seeking, seeking, as ever in my own dream
I look for signs, clues, and secrets below stones
newly turned and freed of hard clay. What I forget
is the length of a day pulled from memory, its long

trail pinned in the mind's recess. I long
for the blossom of lemon and orange, thin reeds
of yarrow, syringa twinned with thyme to forget
how emblems of sorrow on the breasts of birds
stand in for feelings. Pick through the broken stones
laid down before you and tell me your good night's dream.

A spell cast with a sprig of yew disturbs the dream
I had of you and me to replay our history long
pushed deep but slower still to recover from stones
set loose in summer storms. No pleasing lover reads
his palm the same a second time. Nor can birds
resist the rush to seek new heights; having fallen, they forget

the steepness of their climb toward clouds, they forget
how day slips its mood into night, how a broken wing fails a dream
seen lived in the eyes of so many other black birds,
every one and each unlike them. What message you would long
ago have spared to send is spent in haste, and I who read
the silence in the too-tight space count every stone.

Which of us would dream, the other, after, reads
in the leaves that have long lined the nests of bitter birds:
that memory of stones, these reminders to forget.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

This is my first effort to record myself:

 Audio Recording of Memory of Stones, Reminders to Forget by mdoallas

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Muse Reads 'Curses and Wishes'

You won't find florid imagery in Carl Adamshick's Curses and Wishes (Louisiana State University Press, 2011), winner of the 2010 Walt Whitman Award sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. Adamshick is a poet who strips down language to spin his pictures in few words along short but barbed lines.

Adamshick has a particular talent for striking first lines, hooks that drive you to keep reading to see where he's going to go; to wit:

It could have been a whale's heart
she towed in her wagon.
~ from "Compassion"

The field of her tongue
described ash in the treeline.
~ from "The book of Nelly Sachs"

We took your food and in a few days
you'll see we took your excrement.
~ from "Benevolence"

The poet's juxtapositions  — "I didn't want to give my body to war. / I saw news footage of a fly // in a dead man's mouth." (from "The emptiness") or "She was saying she and her mother picked blackberries / in a morning fog the day she moved away, [. . .] // I told her I had never been to a funeral." (from "Pelican") or "I clear the chessboard of pieces // and find religion" (from "Fluency") — don't allow you to be a half-attentive reader. The poet doesn't shout, though; he disarms with his simplicity and economy of easily flowing language, so much so that you find yourself re-reading the poem you just too quickly finished.

The poet's use of first- and familiar second-person voices gives the poems edge and immediacy, a "you are there" feeling that itself is a poetic hook. His effective use of enjambment leave his lines all the more pointed.

The "curses" pronounced in this collection account not only for what we can see literally — "his body as insects / lived on the continent of his flesh, / lived until he was bone" (from "The emptiness") — but also for what our dreams and "university of memory" ("Arithmetic") feed us to haunt us — "your death / strung [...] as a jewel on a silver chain" (from "Benevolence"); "[...] that chain / we feel every time we walk" (from "War as the cherry blossoms"). Fear, loss, death, grief, want, remembrance — all are here in Adamshick's poems. Being alive is the curse.

And the "wishes"? These are found in some stunningly lovely imagery: "[...] I am veins and breath, the entrance // and exit the world passes through." (from "The emptiness"); "I find my mother / curled in the shell of tradition, the gilded triangles // at her breast bone. I find her lost, // dreaming of light [...]" (from "Fluency"). Or these touching four lines, the entirety of a poem graced with deep feeling:

The broken stile is covered in leaves.
Once I sat there and felt
I was the snow
holding the family's footprints.
~ "The farm"

Adamshick's collection, his first book, numbers 27 poems. The final poem, "Out past the dead end sign", is the longest (13 pages), with its sections divided by a single, simple, initial-capped word: "And". It is a word giving full meaning to our need for connection.


Jeff Baker, "Portland poet Carl Adamshick wins $5,00 Walt Whitman Award", The Oregonian, April 15, 2010

Adamshick has published a chapbook, Backscatter, and poems in such esteemed literary periodicals as Beloit Poetry Journal, Rhino, Mid-American Review, The Missouri Review, Ars Poetica, The Cortland Review, American Poet, and The Harvard Review.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thought for the Day

. . . This moment of surprising yourself with your own words
[. . .] is at the heart of poetry as healer. 

Surprise is a kind of revelation, 
resurrection and rebirth — a creative, joyful,
luminous, physical experience of being disinterred from limitation.*
~ John Fox, Poetry Therapist

Creative "Righting" Center (Brooklyn, New York)

The National Association for Poetry Therapy (Port Washington, New York)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

This edition introduces you to paper artist Elod Beregszazi, the design-craft site handful of salt, and the moving animation work of Freek van Haagen of the Netherlands.

✦ The nonprofit United Poets Laureate International is the parent organization of the World Congress of Poets. Every two years, a WCP is held during which poets from around the world present scholarly papers about poetry, bestow or receive poetry honors, and "come together in friendship and celebration" to hear one another's poems. The WCP site includes a "Poetry Corner".

✦ You'll find clips of video portraits of contemporary European artists at Artist on Film. Non-English-language films are subtitled. The site offers films on painters, water colorists, graphic artists, sculptors, and theatre artists and also features clips of videos on various artistic techniques. I find the site's clips a useful introduction to artists (primarily from Holland) not typically shown in the United States, and a take-off point for researching the work of those I find of particular interest.

✦ The design studio POPUPOLOGY: into the fold specializes in paper-engineering. If as I do, you enjoy the art of paper-folding, you'll find some some marvelous examples online of the work of artist Elod Beregszasi: origamic architecture, concertina paper sculptures, kineticards, and "bookinvaders", or what Beregszasi calls his "interpretation of the humble bookmark". You'll also be able to download templates and view tutorials to learn how to construct your own paper art (see the section titled Workshop). (My thanks to Ann at All Things Paper for the introduction to this wonderful artist.)

Elod Beregszaszi on Flickr

✦ Check out Stanford Literary Lab for projects in digital and quantitative literary research.

✦ Modern design and contemporary fine craft are the focus of handful of salt, a wonderful site I discovered through my friend Nancie at MosaicArtNow (thank you, Nancie!). Be sure to look at the section with artist profiles.

✦ This short, "Broken", is by Freek van Haagen, who creates both traditional 2-D and 3-D computer animations:

Broken from Freek van Haagen on Vimeo.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Interview ~ A Sestina (Poem)

Lucian Freud, The Brigadier (Detail), 2003-2004
Oil on Canvas, 88" x 54-1/2"
As Exhibited at Correr Museum, 51st Venice Biennale, 2005
Image: © Andrea Merola/EPA

The Interview ~ A Sestina

He refused to call his interviewer by her name,
so she, taking his hint, dubbed him "The Brigadier".
Getting down to business, out of the spotlight's glare, she posed
her first question of this former husband
of Camilla Parker-Bowles, wondering (not aloud), "What gives
with the red cuffs, the bars of shimmery medals, the gold braids?"

Casting an exhausted glance to time past, he braids
the young upstart a story. He goes back to when his name
means more than cuckold, to a place his service gives
promise of honor praised. Now droopy-eyed, The Brigadier
purses his lip. "Once, before I became her husband,
I had a dream." She sees then how he might have posed

in more relaxing moments; how he, too, might have posed
the question of his worn-out officers, talked of how war braids
all men's stories into one, of what has to be done to husband
the sadness for a later breaking down. "Whom would you name
our greatest living hero?" she wants to know. Wearied, The Brigadier
unbuttons his jacket, the stark white of his tight shirt what gives

his face that damaged pasty look. "Ugh, that paunch. It gives
no sign of pride," she thinks. "I am old," he adds, but posed
to carry on, he waits to tuck into her next question. The Brigadier
admits to a glamorous, privileged life and just as quickly up-braids
himself. "Don't ask me to give you the name
I no longer speak!" It's obvious that business of being husband

to Camilla wipes him out. "What was it like, being a husband
to the one who stepped out with a prince?" Aggrieved, he gives
no hint beyond a forearm raised at imagining that name
re-joined to his. "I mean, it's all so 19th Century." Posed
against a dark backcloth, he tries to begin again, and braids
then splays his fingers. "With luck," she smiles, "The Brigadier

will give me a little something, just scathing enough." The Brigadier
has gone through this before. On to her, this once-husband
of no name pushes back in his chair. Stopped fingering his braids,
their gold gleaming against his stiff fleshy neck, he gives
no ground, not an inch, and sits silent until she recovers, has posed
her last question for the day. He never speaks her name.

A melancholy husband, he understood when she posed
to plead divorce. He gives not a whit for the ribbons, thick braids
like chains. She's reduced him to her pet name for him: The

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

Lucian Freud's figurative oil painting is of Andrew Parker-Bowles, OBE, formerly husband of Camilla Parker-Bowles, now Dutchess of Cornwall and wife of HRH Prince Charles, and a friend of Freud's

Freud, grandson of Sigmund Freud, died Wednesday, age 88.

Lucian Freud Portraits: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (Documentary)

Lucien Freud's The Brigadier (Illustrated in Unfinished State) at Acquavella Galleries

* * * * *

This poem is offered in response to L.L. Barket's invitation "Let's Talk in Pictures" posted today at TweetSpeakPoetry and for Claire Burge's PhotoPlay challenge at The High Calling. In keeping with  All Art Friday, I took a bit of license and used an image of an artwork as my prompt, imagining how "The Brigadier" might have responded to his out-of-sight interviewer.

Anyone may participate in the challenge. Just be sure to post your offering by Wednesday, July 27, and then add your link in the comments section of L.L.'s post.

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ This recent article in Wired Science, "The Cutting Edge Physics of Jackson Pollock", highlights fascinating research analyzing the physics, specifically fluid dynamics, in Pollock's art. In their study of Pollock's drip painting, the researchers even derived an equation for how the artist spread his paint. 

✦ Work by Chuck Close, Jasper Johns, Raymond Pettibon, James Rosenquist, Cindy Sherman, and other well-known artists is slated to be auctioned by Christie's in New York City on September 22. Christie's has waived its commission fees, and 100 percent of the auction sales will be donated by Artists for Haiti to support nonprofit aid organizations serving Haitians still suffering from the effects of the devastating 2010 earthquake. A preview exhibition will be held at David Zwirner on September 6-10. The artworks also will be on view at Christie's (20 Rockefeller Plaza) September 17 - 20. 

✦ David Zwirner's Second Annual Summer Pop-Up Bookstore is July 25 - August 5 at 533 West 19th Street, New York City. Rare and out-of-print books, signed artist catalogues, posters, and films are among the offerings.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ Maine's coast figures prominently in the beautifully shimmering paintings of Sarah Knock, a show of whose work opens August 4 at Greenhut Galleries in Portland, Maine. Knock's exhibition runs through August 27. 

Sarah Knock, Island Reflections, Oil on Canvas
16" x 26"
© Sarah Knock
Greenhut Galleries, Portland, Me.

Knock's Just Water was selected for the Portland Museum of Art's 2011 Biennial. Her work was among that of 46 other artists so honored and selected from more than 900 entries.

Greenhut Galleries on FaceBook

✭ Mark White's solo show "Oceans Twenty 11: New Paintings from the Coast" is on view at Mark White Fine Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, until August 8. White's paintings are patined engravings on copper, aluminum, and steel. Here's an example (note, even in the image [click to enlarge], the reflective light and sculptural qualities White achieves by working in metal):

Mark White, Reaching Sunset, 2011
Patined Engraving on Floated Aluminum
16" x 48"
© Mark White

Mark White Fine Art on FaceBook


✭ A retrospective of more than 200 paintings and drawings by LeConte Stewart (1891-1990) opened yesterday at Utah Museum of Fine Arts. The show, "Le Conte Stewart: Depression Era Art", is drawn from museum and private collections in the West and, according to the description, highlights the artist's examination of "thematic images of progress juxtaposed to the human consequences of economic upheaval". In a related exhibition that will be on view through January 16, 2012, Church History Museum, Salt Lake City, is presenting a survey of Stewart's landscapes on paper and paintings of rural Utah.  

For a video introduction to Stewart's art and rare footage of Stewart discussing his work, go here.


✭ In Richmond, Virginia, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts opens "Modern Masters: New Paintings by Sean Scully and John Walker" on July 23. In addition to monumental paintings by the two artists, including Scully's Cut Ground Red Blue and Walker's North Branch II, both promised gifts to the museum, the show, which runs through November 27, features a suite of 12 photographs by Scully and four additional recent paintings by Walker.

Image at Left: Sean Scully, Cut Ground Red Blue, 2009, Oil on Linen, 110" x 161-1/4", Promised Gift to Virginia Museum of Fine Arts by Pamela K. and William A. Royall Jr.

John Walker, North Branch II, 2009
Oil and Mud on Canvas, Triptych
84"x66"; 84"x84"; 84"x66"
Promised Gift to Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
by Pamela K. and William A. Royall Jr.

VMFA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube


Painter Sean Scully at Writing Without Paper

"Sean Scully: Wall of Light", Metropolitan Museum of Art (2006-2007)

✭ Continuing through August 28 at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is "Hiro Sakaguchi: No Particular Place to Go", featuring drawings, paintings, and sculpture of the emerging artist. 

Hiro Sakaguchi Additional Images

Hiro Sakaguchi on FaceBook

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Facts, New or Not

All out of Fourth of July sparklers? Perhaps this edition has a few scintillating facts to toss around during your summer barbecues.

✦ What do Margaret Mitchell, Albert Camus, Randall Jarrell, and David Halberstam have in common? Along with a number of other writers on this non-exhaustive list, they all came to untimely ends in motor vehicle accidents. 

✦ "Columbo", starring the late Peter Falk (he died in June), was one of the three most popular segments of NBC's Mystery Movie series from the 1970s. The other two? "McCloud" and "McMillan and Wife". 

✦  Publishing Perspectives, not wanting to give ground to Huffington Post's list of top 15 best-sellers of all time, came up with its own most-copies article. By its reckoning, among the top all-time 5 of the top 25 are Quotations from Chairman Mao, Chairman Mao's Poems, and Selected Articles of Mao Zedong (numbers 1, 3, and 5, respectively). Doing their own fact-checking, commenters on the Publishing Perspectives post took issue. It's too hot to argue; may we all just agree to disagree.

✦ Could your grill accommodate this? According to this UK BBQ site, in 1952 (notably, the year I was born), a fully grown crocodile that had consumed a springbok was cooked up on a 20-foot-long grill and served with a garnish of fresh mango. I've had alligator in Florida and kudu in South Africa. Do you suppose this might have tasted like chicken?

✦ According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 82 percent of all U.S. households owned a grill or smoker in 2009. This fact is not nearly so fun as the UK BBQ's (see above) but, grilling occasion aside, there are just not that many backyards, campsites, public parks, and tailgating venues here at home where you're likely to encounter crocodile.

✦ Inviting someone French to share a few smoked ribs before Labor Day?  Be a good host and learn to say, de barbe a queue ("whiskers to tail").

✦ Brisket will test your patience with the grill and send your guests to call one in from  Dominos. Taken from a cow's chest, an eight-pound cut of this meat will take you some 12 hours to grill, says Backyard Barbecue.

✦ Haven't the faintest idea how to grill? There's an app for that: Grill-It.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Musical Setting of 'A Boy and a Girl'

Poetry set to music can be sublime. Just listen to this composition by Eric Whitacre of "A Boy and a Girl" ("Los Novios") by the great Octavio Paz.

Equus (+SSA) by ericwhitacre

A videotaped performance of the piece is here.

A Boy and a Girl

Stretched out on the grass,
a boy and a girl.
Savoring their oranges,
giving their kisses like waves exchanging foam.

Stretched out on the beach,
a boy and agirl.
Savoring their limes,
giving their kisses like clouds exchanging foam.

Stretched out underground,
a boy and a girl.
Saying nothing, never kissing,
giving silence for silence.

~ Translation by Muriel Rukeyser


Eric Whitacre on FaceBook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Vimeo

Eric Whitacre Blog

"The Q&A: Eric Whitacre, Composer", The Economist, June 14, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July Storm (Poem)

July Storm

A warning's been given.

The silence holds what's soon to become
the tip-tap of hail in July, snickering wind —

you cannot outrace all it gathers
to put down, transformed, before you —

woolly clouds punched up
and daubing a once-picture-perfect sky.

Thunder, roiled, like the slams of balls
hitting pins and then being guttered,

and the swelling black-inked expanse lights
up above you, your gin of broken spokes

and shredding fabric leaving you too little
protected in elemental but unspecified conditions.

A month from now, maybe two, you'll notice
how green leaves twist browned undersides up,

their curling edges left brittle to the touch.
Like your own feelings of need after

a long drought, their thirst breaks
the quiet that always precedes the storm.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

I offer this poem for the final One Shot Wednesday event at One Stop Poetry, with my thanks to all, and to our host Pete especially, for pledging and fulfilling so great a commitment to creating a community around poetry.

Never But Once Such Sweetness (Poem)

Never But Once Such Sweetness

If you can imagine your garage
        filling with carbon dioxide

while you sit content in your car
        breathing in the mountain-fresh pine

-scented odor-eater your wife, too
        alert to your pipe tobacco, insists

you hang from the rear-view mirror,
        you will get the picture. You will

always keep the door to the outside
        open and take pains to light up on

your own time. You will consider
        asking your wife, now that she's showered

her skin loose of its clingy perfumed bathroom
        cleaners and laundry whiteners,

to put a fingertip of woolly white lavender
        behind each ear, inside the soft creases

where her arm bones join,
        along those tiny wrists you will raise

to your nose and then kiss ever
        so lightly she will barely have time

to resist your calloused hand
        as it slides to the small

of her back and gently moves her
        forward, out of harsh light, stopping

where the waxy yellow of a candle
        provides all the atmosphere

you will need this once to recall being
        that afternoon in the south of France

where you tested your senses
        against the reach of the galling sea

and the smells of bodies lotioned
        and turning with the freckled sun's changing

direction. You will remember, later,
        the hints of bright citrus and melons

as you sipped La Belle Vie and broke
        a long arm of warmed bread and spread

a clot of creamy churned butter
        and, later still, made much of the taste

of lips (their red like fresh strawberries),
        crushing quietly between teeth before

slipping along a tongue that never
        but once has known such sweetness.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem is inspired by a prompt, Marie-Elizabeth Mali's "Second Year of Marriage" from Steady, My Gaze (Tebot Bach, 2011), in the most recent issue of poet Diane Lockward's newsletter. The instructions were to "[w]rite down the names of some sensuous food items, ones with fabulous aromas. Write down some other items with strong, distinctive smells. Let one or more of these trigger a memory. Go back to another time and place. Is there another person in your present scene or in the past scene? Let this be a love poem, though it doesn't have to be a romantic love poem. Now see how you might pull your material into a draft that shifts back and forth between past and present. Try just free-writing at first. Give yourself 10 minutes. Shape your material into a poem, maybe eventually using two-line stanzas as Marie-Elizabeth has."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Muse: Louisiana's New Poet Laureate

Julie Kane officially became Louisiana's eleventh Poet Laureate on May 23, succeeding Darrell Bourque, profiled here in January. Details about the position, as well as state-specific poetry resources, are found in my earlier post.

During her two-year term (2011-2013), Kane will deliver an annual poetry reading, the position's only requirement, and travel the state to promote poetry.

* * * * *
. . . I look for bravura ice-dancing, for that exquisite
balancing act between tradition and the individual talent.*
~ Julie Kane on Judging Sonnets

Poet Julie Kane, Ph.D., a Louisiana resident for more than three decades, is the author, most recently, of Jazz Funeral (Story Line Press, 2009), a collection of sonnets awarded the 2009 Donald Justice Poetry Prize; and Rhythm & Booze (University of Illinois Press, 2003), selected for the National Poetry Series and a finalist for a 2005 Poets' Prize.  (It mostly comprises villanelles.) Her early publications include the chapbook The Bartender Poems (Greville Press, 1991), the chapbook Two Into One (Only Poetry Press, 1982), half of which comprised the work of poet Ruth Adatia, and Body and Soul** (Pirogue Publishing, 1987). Her fourth collection, No-Win Situations, comprising light verse, is in progress.  

Kane, associate editor of the Pearson-Longman Southern literature anthology, also is a nonfiction writer, essayist, and translator. She co-wrote, with Kiem Do, Counterpart: A South Vietnamese Naval Officer's War (Naval Institute Press, 1998), which was showcased by History Book Club in 1999. With Grace Bauer, she co-edited the anthology Umpteen Ways of Looking at a Possum: Critical and Creative Responses to Evverette Maddox (Xavier Review Press, 2006; audio here), a finalist for a 2007 book award in poetry from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.

In an essay about judging contemporary sonnets,  Kane wrote that she dislikes "[a]rchaic language, predictable rhymes, wrenched syntax, forced sentimentality, dullness" and favors "wit, wordplay, thought, craft, subtlety of sound effects, awareness of the past, attention to the present and the world we live in, originality, flair."*** Kane's admirers, while noting the absence of the former from her poetry, would be quick to point to the latter as being fully in evidence.  Kane works hard, she says in interviews, to craft "accessible" poetry. Indeed, her skillful, beautifully crafted formal poems display, as does her free verse, a sense of humor and a talent for using a colloquial voice.

In the following, Kane uses details about herself that become a joke on the poem's narrator:

What luck—an open bookstore up ahead
as rain lashed awnings over Royal Street,
and then to find the books were secondhand,
with one whole wall assigned to poetry;
and then, as if that wasn't luck enough,
to find, between Jarrell and Weldon Kees,
the blue-on-cream, familiar backbone of
my chapbook, out of print since '83—
its cover very slightly coffee-stained,
but aging (all in all) no worse than flesh
through all those cycles of the seasons since
its publication by a London press.
Then, out of luck, I read the name inside:
The man I  thought would love me till I died.
~ "Used Book" from Jazz Funeral

Here's an example of one of Kane's villanelles:

The summer we kissed across the bar,
I felt sixteen at thirty-six:
as if you were a movie star

I had a rush on from afar.
My chest was flat, my legs were sticks
the summer we kissed across the bar.

Balancing on the rail was hard.
Spilled beer made my elbows stick.
You could have been a movie star,

backlit, golden, lofting a jor
of juice or Bloody Mary mix
the summer we kissed across the bar.

Over the sink, the limes, as far
as you could lean, you leaned. I kissed
the movie screen, a movie star.

Drinks stayed empty. Ashtrays tarred.
The customers got mighty pissed
the summer we kissed across the bar.
Summer went by like a shooting star.
~ "Kissing the Bartender" from Rhythm & Booze

The recipient of a Fulbright scholarship (2002), Kane also has been awarded an Academy of American Poets prize, a Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner poetry award, and an Open Poetry Ltd. Sonnet Prize. She also has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poems have appeared in dozens of journals, including The Antioch Review, Prairie Schooner, The FormalistThe Southern Review, and Verse Daily, as well as in Poetry: A Pocket Anthology (5th Ed., Penguin, 2006), Voices of the American South (Pearson/Longman, 2004), and more than two dozen other anthologies.

Kane, professor of English in the Department of Language & Communication at Northwestern State University of Louisiana in Natchitoches, teaches creative writing and American poetry. She has been a George Bennett Fellow in Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy (the first woman so honored) and has twice held a New Orleans Writer-in-Residence at Tulane University.

* "On Contemporary Sonnets", 14 x 14, Issue 5, 2008

** This was Kane's first full-length poetry collection. Although out of print, it is available on Kindle.

*** While an undergraduate, Kane studied with A.R. Ammons, William Matthews, and Robert Morgan. She was briefly a graduate poetry student of Anne Sexton. Her doctoral dissertation is on the villanelle and its transition from musical genre to fixed poetic form. Kane is described as a practitioner of "New Formalism".

Julie Kane Profile at Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Julie Kane Louisiana Endowment for the Humannities Announcement of Appointment

Northwestern State University Announcement of Julie Kane's Appointment as Poet Laureate

Julie Kane's Blog

Julie Kane Poetry Online: "Particle Physics" at The Writer's Almanac; "Cardinal", "The Killing Field", "Particle Physics", and "Re-entry, Post-Katrina", All at Mezzo Cammin: An Online Journal of Formalist Poetry by Women; "Maraschino Cherries", "Egrets", "Kissing the Bartender", "Thirteen", "Reasons for Loving the Harmonica", "Dead Armadillo Song", "Love Poem for Jake and Ithaca", and "The Mermaid Story", All at The Hypertexts; "Used Book" (Winner, 2007 Open Poetry Ltd. International Sonnet Competition) in 14 x 14; "Gift Horse" at Connotations Press; "Learning Curve (What They Taught Me)" at poemeleon; "Connemara", "Prayer to Chaos", "Dead Armadillo Song", and "Thoughtball Villanelle", All at Louisiana Poetry Project; "Thirteen" at Famous Poems; "Family Dramas, Act One: The Glynn-Kanes", "Act Two: The Lynch-Spillanes", "Act Three: The Spillane-Kanes", "Act Four: The Cavan-Tyrones", All at Druken Boat; "Men Who Love Redheads" and "Birch Thoughts in Louisiana" in Southern Women's Review (pdf)

Julie Kane Light Verse Online: "Diva" at Umbrella Journal; "Unplanned Obsolescence" at Umbrella Journal; and "Sunday Morning", "Funday Morning", "The Emperor of Ice Cream's New Clothes", and "Anecdote of a Litterbug", All at Umbrella Journal 

Julie Kane Essays Online: "Poetry as Right-Hemispheric Language" in PsyArt, Online Journal for the Psychological Study of the Arts, May 3, 2007; "Getting Serious About Gail White's Light Verse" in Mezzo Cammin: An Online Journal of Formalist Poetry by Women; "The Myth of the Fixed-Form Villanelle", MLQ: Modern Language Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 4, December 2003 (subscription required)

Eve Abrams, Interview with and Reading by Julie Kane, WWNO Public Radio, June 22, 2011

Interview at Stratosphere, Forum of Able Muse Review, December 2000 (This post also includes a selection of poems: "The Mermaid Story", "Maraschino Cherries", "Dead Armadillo Song", "Kissing the Bartender", "Airport Bar", "The Maple Leaf Bar", "Particle Physics", "Re-entry, Post-Katrina", and "Used Book".)

Derek Alger, "Julie Kane", Interview, Pif Magazine, September 17, 2009

Dianne Blakely, "Notes on the State of Poetry, Part Three", Interview (see the brief  section subtitled "Nachitoches"), Swampland

Tegan Wendland, "Meet Louisiana's New Poet Laureate: Julie Kane", WRFK Baton Rouge, May 23, 2011 (The interview is available in audio and print.)

Kim Bridgford, " 'Her Kind' of Sonnet: A Review of Julie Kane's Jazz Funeral", Review, Mezzo Cammin, Vol. 4, Issue 1

Susan Larson, "Poet Julie Kane Imagines a Stirring 'Jazz Funeral'", Review, The Times-Picayune, July 22, 2009

Andi McKay, Jazz FuneralReviewFront Porch Journal, Issue 120

Mary Meriam, "Rhythm and Booze", Review, Rattle, July 5, 2009

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Spirit That Moves You (Poem)

Photo Credit: © Rosie Hardy
Used With Permission

The Spirit That Moves You

Scraping won't do
much to reveal

the smooth edge behind
the snowy picture

you've created.
We've all got something

to hide, all need to look
for ways to layer

the surface thick
and hard to get

through. The secret
to staying cool

isn't to shine
some big spotlight

on yourself —
that will only blind

you — but to motion
us close and look

straight in our eyes
and be ready

to give yourself up
to the spirit

that moves you
deep and deeper still.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem is offered for the final One Shoot Sunday event at One Stop Poetry, which today features  Chris Galford's interview with photographer Rosie Hardy and features a number of Hardy's images, including the one above.

I also offer my appreciation to Pete, Adam, Brian, Chris, Claudia, Gay, and Leslie, who for more than a year have given many devoted hours to creating a place for poets, photographers, and anyone who enjoys the arts to gather and share their talents.

Anyone may participate in today's poetry challenge.  Go here to read the interview and then scroll to the end of the page for instructions for linking your contribution to those of the rest of the One Stop community.

Thought for the Day

It is not easy to give closeness
and freedom, safety plus danger.
~ Florida Scott Maxwell

Florida Scott Maxwell (1883 - 1979), Playwright, Author, Psychologist, Suffragist

Florida Scott Maxwell, The Measure of My Days (Penguin Books, 2000)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

Today's new edition of Saturday Sharing has something for every kind of visual artist and literary type. You techies also will find at least two features of interest.

✦ Are you a poet or writer looking for inspiration? Be sure to check out Creative Writing Prompts for Writers. The site accepts submissions of visual art to serve as prompts.

✦ A wonderful source of poetry and fiction in translation, Calypso Editions is an artist-run cooperative press that publishes four books each year for which its only criterion is excellence. You may order directly from the site. Among its newest releases: Anna Swir, Building the Barricade and Other Poems, a bilingual collection in Polish and English, translated by Piotr Florzyk; and Of Gentle Wolves: An Anthology of Romanian Poetry, published in Romanian and English, translated by Martin Woodside. (My thanks to Susan Rich from whom I learned of this wonderful press.)

✦ If you're the kind of person who can never get enough Lewis Carroll, you'll enjoy visiting the site for  Everything Alice: The Wonderland Book of Makes. It's more than a craft and cookery book by Hannah Read-Baldrey and Christine Leech.

Everything Alice on Twitter 

✦ Use Recollection when you want to create and customize interactive maps, timelines, and tag clouds, or otherwise "experience" digital collections. The software platform draws on Web-based open standards and open-source tools that make it possible to collect and explore diverse collections of data.

✦ Founded in 2008, the Web journal TheStudioVisit introduces professional artists at work in their studios to communities of other artists, curators, writers, and supporters of visual arts. Its objective is to show and de-mystify the technical and intellectual processes of contemporary art-making, in all media, by going into artists' studios and discussing the artists' ideas, critiquing, and filming demonstrations. Contributors have visited artists in the District of Columbia and the states of Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington; and Latin America. TSV's "chief collaborator" is mixed-media artist, curator, and educator Isabel Manalo.

✦ Few people would admit to not being able to find anything to read; however, if you count yourself in that group, check out Byliner, which publishes in digital form original articles of 10,000 to 35,000 words. The articles range over culture, technology, politics, business, science, crime, adventure, sports, and just about any other subject of writing. The site also serves as social media function by connecting writers directly with their audiences. Writers with more than 10 Byliner-featured articles become candidates for writer directory pages.

Byliner on FaceBook and Twitter

Byliner Blog

✦ And here is something very cool: Historypin, created by We Are What We Do in partnership with Google and launched July 11. (Historypin also has a Smartphone app.)

Historypin on FaceBook and Twitter

Historypin Blog

Friday, July 15, 2011

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

Arts Journalism Competition

Earlier this week the National Endowment for the Arts and the Knight Foundation launched the Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge. The pilot competition, for projects in eight cities (Akron, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Macon, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Miami, Flordia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; San Jose/Silicon Valley, California; St. Paul, Minnesota), is seeking new models to cover community arts and produce quality cultural criticism. The competition will accept until August 18 applications from individuals, nonprofits, and businesses. Up to $100,000 per project is available ($20,000 to develop an idea and up to $80,000 for second-round implementation). Go here for more information and application materials.

All Art Friday Spotlight

Today's spotlight is on London-based artist Cornelia Parker and her creation of Folkestone Mermaid for this year's Folkestone Triennial in the United Kingdom. Parker's bronze sculpture is based on a living person, a 38-year-old mother of two.

Cornelia Parker at Frith Street Gallery

Adrian Searle at the Folkestone Triennial (Video)

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ Britain's Tate Modern is presenting "Cy Twombly: Cycles and Seasons:" through September 14. Including sculpture and paintings by Virginia-born Twombly (1928 - 2011), the exhibition is spread over 12 rooms at the museum, each giving emphasis to Twombly's influences, growth, and development as one of the world's great artists. 

Cy Twombly, Quattro Stagioni: Autunno, 1993-95
© Cy Twombly

Sample audio from the audioguide for the show is here.

Podcast and Transcript: Patricia Smith, Tate conservator of modern and contemporary paintings, on Quattro Stagioni.

Tate Modern on FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr

Dulwich Picture Gallery, Tacita Dean's Edwin Parker (2011), 16 mm film portrait

Gagosian Gallery Artist Page for Cy Twombly

New York Times Announcement of Twombly's Death, July 5, 2011

The Economist on Cy Twombly, "Hypnotic scribbles and abstract allusions", July 6, 2011

Preston Contemporary Art Center, Mesilla, New Mexico (south of Las Cruces), is showing through August 27 the visually stunning and complex quilts of textile artist Dan Olfe. Internationally exhibited, the California-based Olfe, who took up quilt-making in 1997, first creates his geometic and abstract designs on a computer and then directly prints them on cloth before quilting. He uses a Japanese sewing machine.

Image at Left: Dan Olfe, Free Fall #5, 2011, Digitally Printed and Machine-Quilted Textile, 57" x 45"; © Daniel B. Olfe

Exhibitions Catalog Xhibit (pdf)

Digital Art Quilts by Dan Olfe (Olfe's Website)

"Dan Olfe, Quiltmaker", San Diego Union, September 24, 2006

✭ In Washington, D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art offers through August 14 "Washington Color and Light", featuring work by artists associated with the Washington Color School and their contemporaries. Highlighting work from the 1950s through late 1970s, the exhibition includes monumental stripe paintings of Gene Davis, as well as paintings by Thomas Downing, Howard Mehring, Kenneth Noland, Paul Reed, the much-loved Sam Gilliam, and Alma Thomas. Also on show: sculpture by Rockne Krebs, Ed McGowin, and Anne Truitt. 

Gene Davis, Junkie's Curtain, 1967, 
Acrylic on Canvas, 115-5/8" x 219-1/8"
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Gift of the Artist
© Estate of Gene Davis, Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Corcoran also is showing a digital projection (see image below) by Charles Sandison, an installation in which computer-generated color-coded words are used to express emotions, states of being, and patterns of human behavior.

Charles Sandison, Rage, Love, Hope, and Despair, 2003
Computer-Generated Digital Projections
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Gift of Heather and Tony Podesta Collection
© Charles Sandison
Image: The Artist and Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris

Corcoran Gallery of Art on FaceBookTwitter, and Flickr

✭ At The Athenaeum, Alexandria, Virginia, you'll find "Drawing Analogies", featuring Victor Ekpuk's works on paper, inspired by Nsibidi, an ancient African system of writing using graphic signs and codes; Mindy Hirt's installation using a window frame for a drawing in space with string; Sarah Laing's compositions of ink and spray paint on Mylar; Beverly Ress's drawings; Fiona Ross's works in Sumi ink of Japanese rice paper; Renee van der Stelt's drawings in graphite on paper, based on cartographic diagrams of the globe and natural phenomena; and Alice Whealin's ink works on acetate. The show runs through August 28. An artist's reception will be held this coming Sunday, July 17, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Victor Ekpuk, Composition #.11, 2011
Pastel and Graphite on Paper, 50" x 50"
© Victor Ekpuk

✭ The Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton, Virginia, continues through July 31 its curated military art exhibition "Arts & Stripes". The show includes artwork of members of the Combat Paper Project, which I wrote about here in 2009.