Thursday, January 31, 2013

Looking for Tony Smith

Sculptor, painter, and architect Tony Smith made scores of small- and large-scale sculptures before his death in 1980 at age 68. Currently, there is no complete and easily accessible digital inventory of Smith's outdoor works and their locations. As I first mentioned in a September 21, 2012, post, the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art - North America and the Tony Smith Estate, represented by Matthew Marks Gallery, want your help in documenting, via Wikipedia and Flickr, every outdoor sculpture Smith created. 

To date, a list of some 100 outdoor sculptures has been created online but it is not considered definitive. Consequently, additional calls to enlist the public's help have gone out to try to ensure the success of the Tony Smith Wiki Project. In addition to documentation about the location of any of Smith's outdoor artworks, the project is seeking images, researched and first-hand histories and assessments of the sculptures (here's an example), and bibliographic articles. The necessary details for participating in the crowd-sourced project, as well as resources (for example, Tony Smith Outdoor Sculptures on Flickr) to facilitate the public's efforts, are found here on Wikipedia. 

As an incentive to promote participation, a commemorative t-shirt, featuring an image of Smith's black-finished Marriage on the front and the INCCA-NA logo in black-and-white, has been designed (see image) as a give-away. Because the project is part of an ongoing centennial celebration (Smith would have been 100 on September 23, 2012), the edition is limited to 100 and will be distributed on a first-come first-served basis to project participants who create an article about a Smith artwork and leave a note about it on the Wikipedia Talk Page for Richard McCoy, who helped create the Wiki project. 

This video (12:10 minutes) from NJN Public Television documents an effort to bring one of Smith's sculptures to South Orange, New Jersey (see link below) and offers a brief introduction to the artist:

INCCA-NA Press Release on TOny Smith Wiki Project (pdf)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Standing Guard

. . . I was struck that [El Velador] was a mirror of the violence
and the socioeconomic realities in which such violence flourishes.
~ Natalia Almada, Interview, BOMB Magazine*

The cemetery of El Velador — "The Night Watchman" — in Culiacan, capital of Mexico's northern state of Sinaloa, is the final resting place of some of the country's most notorious drug lords. The graves of the dead, many opulent beyond belief, their number increasing with the still-climbing number of deaths from the ongoing drug war in the country, are the subject of director Natalia Almada's extraordinary and important documentary El Velador (Altamura Films, 2011), the trailer for which is embedded below. In the approximately 60-minute film, Alamada, whose own family is from Sinaloa, accompanies a guard named Martin on his nightly rounds to watch over the grandiose mausoleums, documents construction and care of elaborate tombs, and shows us how "ordinary existence persists [amid violence]. . . and quietly defies the dead."

This excerpt from this thought-provoking film (other clips may be viewed here) shows workers constructing some of the elaborate crypts (equipped with heat, electricity, and running water):

It is estimated that more than 60,000 lives have been lost since 2006, when Mexico's former president Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels. (Search Google using the simple phrase "Mexico drug war" and more than 39 million hits will be returned, a telling statistic on this entrenched armed conflict between rival cartels killing each other and the Mexican government forces tasked to eliminate them.) The violence has continued since the 2012 election of Enrique Pena Nieto. Crushing the illegal drug trade has profound implications for the United States to which most of the drugs flow. 

El Velador on FaceBook

The documentary, which had its premiere in June 2012 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, was broadcast nationally for the first time in September and has been screened widely, is available through Icarus Films

Almada is a 2012 MacArthur Fellow, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, a 2010 USA Artist,  a 2011 Alpert Award recipient, and a 2008 Guggenheim Fellow. In 2009 she was awarded the Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award. Her other films include The Other SideEl General, and All Water Has Perfect Memory.

* Read Almada's enlightening 2011 interview with BOMB Magazine here. Noteworthy is her statement, "The imagination can sometimes be more powerful than a photograph. To suggest and to evoke rather than to illustrate is a way to engage and commit the viewer." Her film does not depict violence, a decision she explains beautifully: "If we reduce the idea of violence to the horrific acts that we see in the press, then we fail to understand the deeper systematic violence. All we see is the atrocity. We no longer see the humanity of the victim or the perpetrator, nor the violence that is inflicted on the community that lives within this context. . . ."

Natalia Almada's TED San Miguel Talk

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Eating Right (Poem)

Eating Right

Indulge in plump grapes,
one for every month

and each for every stroke
of the clock at midnight.

It's how the Spanish tell
their new New Year is

going to be sweet or sour.
Set your Austrian table

with little marzipan pigs
corralled in fine Bavarian

china. Secret silvered scales
of a single carp in a German

wallet and, please, don't
forget to convert your euros

to dollars. Suck Soba noodles
into your Chinese mouth,

unbroken, and a long, long life
imagine. In America, fill pots

with 365 black-eyed peas,
white beans Grandma calls

pennies with a pupil's eye
that'll swell to help you watch

how much you spend. Cook
them good till they're good

and hoppin'. Tuck in sides
of greenbacks — mustard,

turnip, collard, chard
no difference makes, all be

the color of hope — thick
stewed tomatoes for health,

and wedges of cornbread golden
-browned. Got rice? Season it

with a bit of pork and top it
with a spoon of southern chow

-chow to spice up what's boiled,
baked, and smoked. End sweet.

Your treat: Italian almond cake
shaped to snake. Take but a bite

to shed the past you'll leave
behind. But don't count on this

eating right for life for luck
and riches. Grandma always says

full bellies of beans get soft;
success don't wait to find you.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Muse: Poetry Matters

I've read many collections of poetry in the last six months, a number of which I'm re-reading or keeping close to hand instead of moving to my over-burdened shelves. Below are eight titles that have given and continue to give me particular pleasure and that I recommend if you're in search of words that matter, take you deep, or just make you wonder at how much can be said in so few words.

✭ Amanda Auchter, The Wishing Tomb (Perugia Press, 2012) — See my review here.

✭ Jonathan Galassi, Left-Handed (Knopf, 2012) — Some of Galassi's honest and refined poems can rend the heart; "Ours" in this collection is one of the best examples of the power of a single word.

✭ Matthea Harvey, Of Lamb (McSweeney's Books, 2011) — Poet Rae Armantrout described Harvey's poems, which are accompanied by images of marvelous paintings by Amy Jean Porter, as "like a Valentine's Day chocolate with one drop of arsenic." The collection makes for a wonderfully charming tale that I've read, delightedly, several times.

✭ Rebecca Lindenberg, Love, An Index (McSweeney's Books, 2012) — To read this elegiac collection with the knowledge that the poems are dedicated to another poet, Craig Arnold, who vanished while traveling in Japan in 2009, is to understand Lindenberg's fierce sense of loss and also the depth of her love. Through her words she reclaims the meaning of her relationship with Arnold and ultimately, I think, celebrates hope. Her "Aubade", appearing toward the close of the collection, is especially lovely.

✭ Marge Piercy, The Hunger Moon: New and Selected Poems, 1980-2010 (Knopf, 2012) — This collection offers a wonderful way to get reacquainted with Marge Piercy, a poet I first read in the early 1970s and have continued to read over many years. Piercy's voice remains for me one of the finest among contemporary poets.

✭ Adrienne Rich, Later Poems: Selected and New, 1971-2012 (W.W. Norton, 2013) — Rich herself made the selections for this volume before her death. While I'm most drawn to her earlier work in this collection, I find in her more recent poems plenty of evidence of that passionate voice that for many of us in the 1970s and 1980s could and did stand in for our own.

✭ Christian Wiman, Every Riven Thing: Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010) — I've read this collection at least three times, and have shared a number of these moving poems with others. Wiman's work is superbly crafted. It speaks to what's deep, what matters, what's worth holding onto. (A side note: For those who might not know, Wiman is leaving Poetry magazine June 30 to join the faculty at Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School. His nonfiction My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer is to be published in April. Read ISM press release.)

✭ Kevin Young and Michael S. Glaser, Eds., The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 (BOA Editions, 2012) — This is, for me, an indispensable compilation of Clifton's work. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Spinning Serge Gainsbourg (Poem)

Spinning Serge Gainsbourg

It's all there
in record after record —

the voice hunched
in the back of that

French throat, burning
from the ever-present

Gitanes. He lit more
than one Bardot on fire

with the chanson of his
ardent eyes, pools black

as the vinyl his fans sung to
while the Vatican censored

the dirty old man's love
songs. That body of his

evidence of who and what
he loved is still there,

on the rue de Verneuil,
the pianos long gone

but the way it was then
more than just stories

of a franc note torched on tv
or a Ford Motor catalogue

studied for phrases
for some romantic melody.

Framed gold albums
stack up against photos

of Marilyn and Deneuve,
Marianne and Juliette,

and even the star himself
in the morgue in '91.

Charlotte's got it all now,
the tomato juice in the fridge,

opened bottles of wine,
medals, toy monkeys, ashtrays,

puppet dolls and tapes,
his toothbrush, the blackout

curtains, the covered-up
graffiti. The house is a lair, his

downtime there given to Elvis
and Ray Charles, Dylan, jazz,

Cole Porter, Noel Coward,
Je t'aime . . . moi non plus

and Love on the Beat
and dried flowers on his bed

the day his heart stopped —
untouched, a museum

in waiting. Charlotte spins
Serge in love never made.

All the French do.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem is my response to today's photo prompt at Magpie Tales. Go here to see the image, drop a link to your own ekphrastic poem or piece of flash fiction, or to read other writers' inspired contributions. 

Serge Gainsbourg's house in Paris remains as it was the day he died, everything but the pianos in place.

Thought for the Day

. . . Touch is our first language
and often, our last . . . .
~ from "The tao of touch" by Marge Piercy

Piercy is one of my favorite poets. Her poem from which the two lines above are taken is included in the wonderful compilation The Hunger Moon: New and Selected Poems, 1980 -2010 (Knopf, 2012). Many poems by Piercy have appeared at The Writer's Almanac and Monthly Review, among other online periodicals and journals.

Marge Piercy Website

Marge Piercy Profiles at Academy of American Poets, Jewish Women's ArchiveThe Poetry Foundation

Marge Piercy on FaceBook

Friday, January 25, 2013

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ You'll want to visit illustrator Wendy MacNaughton's Website more than once. Her portfolio is full of wonderful visuals. Recently, MacNaughton collaborated with Maria Popova of the marvelous Brainpickings to spotlight Susan Sontag's reflections on art.

✦ Hope, desire, and yearning for freedom are expressed in Iranian artist Hojat Amani's series of angels (inkjet prints on canvas). Read an interview with the artist here.

✦ Commissioned by Houston's Menil Collection for its "Progress of Love" exhibit, British-Nigerian filmmaker and video artist Zina Saro-Wiwa conceived, produced, and directed Eaten by the Heart, which seeks to answer the question, 'How do Africans kiss?" The fascinating result:

Siji Jabbar, "African Art of Kissing", Guardian Africa Network, The Guardian, December 3, 2012

Zina Saro-Wiwa on FaceBook

Saro-Wiwa is the founder of multimedia company AfricaLab. Also see her documentary Transition.

✦ Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animals | Zodiac Heads is on view at Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C., through February 24. Ai talks about his work in the video below. Also on view is "Ai Weiwei: According to What?", also running through February 24.

Hirshhorn Museum on FaceBookTwitter, and YouTube

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ "Collected Stories: Books by Laurie Anderson" continues through February 3 at the University of Washington's Henry Art Gallery's Test Site. The exhibition includes some 40 years of early to recent work, some rare, highlighting performance artist and musician Anderson's interests in storytelling, drawing, and technology. Anderson worked with the curators in making the selections, which range in format from handmade and traditionally bound works on paper to audio and electronic. See images at the link.

Henry Art Gallery on FaceBook and Twitter

Henry Art Gallery Blog Hankblog

✭ Running through March 3 at Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, is "Bill Viola: Liber Insularum", primarily comprising works since Viola's 1997 retrospective at Whitney Museum. Among the works on view are Reflecting Pool, Surrender, The Quintet of the Astonished, Unspoken, Observance, Catherine's Room, Four Hands, Three Women, Ancestors, The Raft, and Ascension. If you're in the city during the exhibition, make time to visit. I've seen a number of exhibitions of Viola's work; he is not to be missed. 

Bill Viola at James Cohan Gallery

MoCA North Miami on FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, and Vimeo

✭ Art restorer Mark Leonard, currently chief conservator at Dallas Museum of Art, has produced 11 paintings that respond to John Constable's cloud studies. Installed at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, "Reflections on Constable's Cloud Studies" continues through March 10.

Mark Leonard Paintings and Drawings

Daniel Grant, "Conservator Restored", Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2012

Yale Center for British Art on FaceBook and YouTube

✭ In West Palm Beach, Florida, Norton Museum of Art is showing "Sylvia Plimack Mangold: Landscape and Trees" as part of its program RAW - Recognition of Art by Women. The exhibition, continuing through March 3, includes paintings, drawings, and prints.

Sylvia Plimack Mangold, The Maple Tree (Summer), 2011
Oil on Linen, 20" x 36"
Photo Credit: Joerg Lohse Courtesy Alexander & Bonin, New York

John Yau, "Why There Are Great Artists", Hyperallergic, March 31, 2012

Norton Museum of Art on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ The exhibition "Enoc Perez: Utopia" is on view through February 10 at Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Included are Perez's compelling paintings of the Marina Towers in Chicago (from 2011-2012) and a commissioned painting, a huge diptych of D.C.'s Watergate (image here). Of architecture, his subject matter (he also paints still lifes and nudes), Perez, who was born in Puerto Rico and makes his home in New York City, has said, ". . . I see buildings as metaphors. . . To paint architecture is to paint ideas. It is to paint an abstract reflection of current society." (See: Lindsey M. Roberts, "'Utopia': In Enoc Perez's Paintings of Buildings, One Can See the Utopian Vision of the Architects", Architect, November 26, 2012.)

Enoc Perez, Marina Towers, Chicago, January 2012
Oil on Canvas, 110" x 90"
Courtesy of Artist and Acquavella Galleries, New York
© Enoc Perez

"Artist to Know: Enoc Perez", Robb Report, November 28, 2012

ArtNews Review of Enoc Perez at Faggionato Fine Arts, London, 2012

Alexander Wolf, "The Rule Breaker: Enoc Perez Picks Up a Paintbrush", Studio Visit, Modern Painters/ArtInfo, Summer 2010

Corcoran Gallery on FaceBook, Twitter, and Vimeo

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Theo Jansen Documentary

I first wrote about Theo Jansen in June 2011 and then followed up in 2012 with a post about an animation inspired by Jansen's invented life forms, called "Strandbeests". Since then, a Canadian collective, Salazar, has produced and directed for Red Bull Media House the short documentary that follows. If this is your first introduction to the fascinating Dutch artist and engineer, be prepared to be awed by his kinetic sculptures.

Theo Jansen from Salazar on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ginny Ruffner: Not So Still

I like to be aware of everything.
Creativity comes from awareness.
~ Artist Ginny Ruffner*

Renowned glass artist Ginny Ruffner of Seattle, Washington, is a model both of reinvention and inspiration. More than two decades ago, Ruffner was in a three-car accident that left her in a coma for five weeks. Even after she rallied, she was not expected to walk or talk again. Though she was hospitalized five months and had to use a wheelchair for five years, Ruffner beat the odds against her — she says the "bull-headed part" of her was "not damaged" — and returned to her artmaking (she paints, draws, and sculpts also) with the help of an artistic team. 

Ruffner, born in 1952 in Atlanta, Georgia, is the subject of the full-length documentary A Not So Still Life from director Karen Stanton and producer Tom Gorai. The film traces Ruffner's life beginning with her childhood in South Carolina and concluding with her reclamation of her highly creative artistic career. 

. . . art is made from inside you. It's the most truly human thing
you can do. It's interesting how you create your reality by what
you believe. If you believe it's real, it is real. . . .

Here's a sneak peek at the award-winning 84-minute documentary, which includes interviews with Tom Robbins, Graham Nash, and Dale Chihuly:

In a video interview here, Rufffner speaks about her accident and remarkable life and artistry.

Work by Ruffner is in many public collections worldwide, including those of Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (New York), Corning Museum of Glass (New York), Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art (Japan), Kunstmuseum (Germany), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Seattle Art Museum (Washington), and Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, D.C.).

A Not So Still Life on FaceBook 

A Not So Still Life DVD

Ginny Ruffner at Maurine Littleton Gallery, Washington, D.C. (You'll find images of current work here.)

* Quoted from "Seattle Artist Ginny Ruffner's Garden Is a Party", Seattle Times Newspaper, December 3, 2011

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

An Arithmetic of Loss (Poem)

An Arithmetic of Loss

Losing your mother,
she said, is more terrifying than arithmetic.

When you're middle-aged and bad
at numbers, all you think of is

the subtraction of what you love,
the addition of grief that multiplies

like all the goodbyes you must say
in the places she filled.

Well-meaning people tell you
it's five stages you go through and then

you get over it
but you know, when you're lost it's best

to stay where you are,
and never try to be whole again.

Some days you count jars
of unbranded peanut butter on her shelves;

the dime-store romances devoured
like unwrapped candies; Pantone chips

for walls of the piano room imagined
at her last Vida Seniors apartment; the bars

of two-for-one scented soaps
you gag on still; dangly rose-shaped clip-on

earrings you can't wear
because you got pierced at thirteen

and costume jewelry is so not your thing.
You go around her house, totting up

all her items put aside for Good-Will,
closing yellow silk drapes, reminding yourself

there is no sum of words for the broken
-hearted, nothing that can equal

what you alone can keep in the light.

2013 © Maureen E. Doallas

This poem was inspired by a quote in a late 2012 Guernica magazine interview with writer Sandra Cisneros, who said, "I think one of the great primordial fears we have once we become conscious of our aloneness as children is the fear of losing our mother. We have that from the moment we realize we can lose her just in the supermarket. As a child, it was more terrifying than arithmetic. When I lost my father, I though I learned about grief and transition. However, nobody tells you what's it's like to lose your mother. They don't tell you that you're going to feel like an orphan at whatever age you are as an adult. . . ." 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Muse: Wisconsin's New Poet Laureate

. . . [Poetry is] one of those things that's just too important
to be left to experts.
~ Max Garland

Max Garland has succeeded Bruce Dethlefsen as Wisconsin's 2013-2014 Poet Laureate. He was selected by the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission, now overseen by the Wisconsin Academy of  Sciences, Arts & Letters. (See note below at Wisconsin Academy link.) As did Dethlefsen, Garland will serve a two-year term (January 1, 2013 - December 31, 2014). 

During his tenure, Garland, who has declared that he thinks poetry is fun, said his aim as Poet Laureate will be to "reach out to those who may feel alienated from the world of poetry (or art), and yet have deeply felt experiences to record and honor. . . ." Of particular interest, he said, is "promoting the connection between poetry and place, and urging young, as well as young-at-heart writers, to write of the places they know and explore their relationships with those places in poetry."* 

My post on Dethlefsen and my post on Marilyn L. Taylor, who preceded Dethlefsen in the job, include information about the unpaid position while it was a state position, as well as additional resources to complement those below. 

*  * * * *

. . . [P]oetry offers a place where we (young and old,
experienced or just beginning) can still draw upon the power
of honest and thoughtful words to more deeply express
who we are, who we might become and what connects us as human beings.**

Max Garland, who spent a decade as a mail carrier in western Kentucky and currently is an English professor at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, has published two collections of poetry: The Postal Confessions (University of Massachusettts Press, 1994), awarded a Juniper Prize for Poetry and an Outstanding Achievement Award from Wisconsin Library Association, and Hunger Wide as Heaven*** (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2006), which won the Cleveland State Poetry Center Open Competition. Garland's chapbook Apparition (Parallel Press) was published in 1999. In addition to teaching and writing, Garland plays in the band Eggplant Heroes, based in Eau Claire.

Garland's poetry ranges over such subjects as religious faith (he cites the King James version of the Bible as an early and sustained literary influence), memory and redemption, time's passage, mortality and loss, childhood and family life, the world and Cold War politics, romantic love, loss of innocence, and connection to place (Garland grew up in Paducah, Kentucky). Work, too, figures among influences on his poems (see, for example, "Early Work" in Hunger Wide as Heaven or "The Postal Confessions" in The Postal Confessions); according to a biographical statement in an anthology of Kentucky poets (see link in Resources), Garland not only has been a mail carrier; he also has worked as a grocery store clerk, janitor, termite inspector, paper deliverer, and pizza cook, among other jobs.

. . . what appeals to me about poetry [is] that is allows for individual
 expression, and yet through imagery, metaphor, music and intuitive
 extension, it also allows us to connect to others, living and dead,
 and possibly  yet to be born.  And a good poem is never obsolete. 
Also, poetry, at its best, breeds empathy, 
and we need more of that.****

While one can describe Garland as plain-spoken — his poems are notable for their clarity, accessibility, and images of life as lived — a deep strain of lyricism also runs through his work, along with humor and an intuitive sense of rhythm. Here are a lines from several poems that give a sense of Garland's marvelous descriptive powers, assured tone, controlled cadence, and sure hand at selecting words for their music:

The days break their backs on the wide brown water.
You can see the warped spine of the river
between the girders of the Brookport Bridge.
Blue-gray stitch of a heron. Gull-flight below
and the scare of its shadow on the current. . . . 
~ from "Springfield" in Hunger Wide as Heaven: Poems

That's the moon come down to drink,
that apparition on the water. Or
it's the milk of human kindness 
slinking like an eel. . . . 
~ from "Apparition" in Apparition

They've just cleaned the Creation of Man,
God's beard newly whitened, blown
back in a turbulent cloud
as he reached for the left hand
of Adam, his first mistake,. . .

They're working backwards through time,
the way Michelangelo painted the world:
first the flood, then the fall, then Eve
lured from the dreaming Adam, . . . .
~ from "Revisiting the Sistine Chapel"

It was Sunday, 1957, and the parking lot
of the Episcopal Church
was the best time a tail-fin ever had. . . .
~ from "Requiem for a Boom Town"
in What Comes Down to Us (Anthology of Kentucky Poets)

Sometimes I wake up with my hillbilly voice.
I don't know why. Maybe a dream took me back.
The catalpas wilting in the heat.
The dust-devils walking the dry field.
Maybe the river was trying to shine
through the silt and accumulated years.
But when my head cleared and sleep ended,
there was only the twang of home left over,
like stubble in a milo field. . . .
~ from "An Oral History of  the English Language" in The Postal Confessions

Poems, as well as stories and essays, by Garland have been published in numerous literary periodicals, including Chicago Review, Crazy Horse, Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and ProseGeorgia Review, Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, and Prairie Schooner, and have been featured at A Writer's Almanac (National Public Radio). His work has been anthologized in I Know Some Things (Faber and Faber), The Most Wonderful Books (Milkweed Editions),  Best American Short Stories 1995 (Houghton Mifflin Co.), and Billy Collins's anthology Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, among others.

Garland's honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry, a James Michener/Copernicus Society of America Fiction Fellowship, a Bush Artist Fellowship (the Artist Fellows program no longer exists; see Bush Foundation's Bush Fellowship Program), and two literary fellowships, one in poetry and one in fiction, from Wisconsin Arts Board. Other awards include a poetry fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, a poetry fellowship from Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission, a Tara Award for Short Fiction, and a 2004 Arts and Letters Poetry Prize.


* Quoted from Wisconsin Academy Press Statement (Also see Loeffler article below.)

* * Quoted from UW-Eau Claire Press Release, January 3, 2013

* * * Also available at Amazon.

**** Quoted from Marie Loeffler interview; see link below.)

Max Garland Photo Credit: Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters

All Poetry Excerpts © Max Garland

Tom Giffey, "Eau Clairian Named New Wisconsin Poet Laureate", Volume One, January 3, 2013

Jim Higgins, "Eau Claire's Max Garland Is State's New Poet Laureate", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online, January 3, 2013

Marie Loeffler, "Max Garland Charts His Course as Wisconsin's New Poet Laureate", Interview, The Daily Page, January 3, 2013

Max Garland Profiles at University of Wisconsin

UW-Eau Claire Press Release on Garland's Appointment as Poet Laureate

UW-Eau Claire Press Release on Garland's Receipt of Bush Artist Fellowship in 1999

Interview with Max Garland at Absentia - Willaim Stobb (miPOradio Podcast)

Max Garland Poetry Online: "Upon Receiving a Letter About the Shrubbery" and "Mega-Foods", Both at Verse Wisconsin Online; "You Miss It" at Poetry Daily; "Because You Left Me a Handful of Daffodils" at The Writer's Almanac (Text and Video); "Apparition" at Parallel Press; "Revisiting the Sistine Chapel", "The Postal Confessions", "Fedoras", "County Night", "Cappuccino at the Marconi Hotel in Venice", and "Mirror", All at Poetry Magazine; "At the Opening of an Exhibition" at Bridge Poetry Series (Also see individual book titles below.)

Apparition in The Literature Collection (Digital UW Library)

Arts Wisconsin on FaceBook

Cleveland State University Poetry Center

Encore: More of Parallel Press Poets, Chapbook (Parallel Press, 2006  ) on GoogleBooks includes Garland's poem "Homer".

Hunger Wide as Heaven on GoogleBooks

Review of Hunger Wide as Heaven at Rambles, November 2006

Michener Center for Writers, University of Texas-Austin

The Postal Confessions at GoogleBooks

Parallel Press (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

University of Massachusetts Press

What Comes Down to Us: 25 Contemporary Kentucky Poets (University Press of Kentucky, 2009) on GoogleBooks (This anthology, beginning at page 145, includes Garland's poems "Hold on Me", "Requiem for a Boom Town", and "For a Johnson County Snowfall", as well as a biographical summary.)

Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters (Note: The nonprofit Wisconsin Academy assumed responsibility for the laureate program in 2011 after the state, citing budgetary concerns, cut the program's tiny annual funding, which amounted to $2,000 for travel expenses. (See this post from Verse Wisconsin.) Garland will receive a $2,000 travel reimbursement allowance and be given an annual week-long residency at Shake Rag Alley, School of Arts and Crafts, Mineral Point.)

Wisconsin Arts Board Artist Fellowship Awards

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fingerplay (Poem)


We work our fingers by remote
control, leaving the thumb

free — to press or not.

The moment connection seems lost,
nine muscles controlled by three nerves

make a sure but natural motion to oppose.
We grasp and hold, to feel

just one tiny pulse on its own.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem responds to today's photo prompt of a hand in a hand at Tess Kincaid's Magpie Tales. Go here to read others' responses to the prompt or to leave a link to your own contribution of poetry or flash fiction.

Thought for the Day

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day
is the rest we take between two deep breaths,
or the turning inwards in prayer 
for five short minutes.
~ Etty Hillesum

Etty Hillesum, 1914-1943

Etty Hillesum Quotations

Robert Ellsberg, "Etty Hillesum: Mystic of the Holocaust", Essay at

Friday, January 18, 2013

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Lebanon-born Huguette Caland (b. 1931), who lives in Venice, California, is a renowned painter and sculptor.  Since first taking up a brush at age 16, Caland has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad. Her paintings, comprising acrylic and pen on canvas, and her mixed media work are exceptional for their color, evocative quilt-like or embroidered design (the paintings have the appearance of tapestry or fabric), and visual intricacy; they seem to explode off the canvas. Her work on linen is gorgeous and richly associative. Her abstracted figurative sculptures invite numerous looks. Caland is the subject of a retrospective this month in Beirut. (My thanks to Art of the Mid East, where I first learned of Caland's work.)

Anne-Marie O'Connor, "Her Magical World", LA Times, June 19, 2003 (To describe Caland's life as "interesting" — she is the only daughter of the first president of Lebanon — would be a great understatement.) Also see Joanne Warfield's article "Byzantium in Venice: A Visit with Hugette Caland".

In this 2009 video, Caland talks about her approach to her work and life while giving a tour of her home:

✦ The Historical Publications section of Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (part of the Smithsonian Institutions), features more than 25 titles about the museum's collections. Published between 1978 and 1987, the documents are free online. Also available are more than 50 titles dating from 1896 to 1968, including past museum exhibitions. A sampling of titles indicates a wide range of subjects, from embroidered samplers and buttons in the collections to theatre designs, architectural drawings, and rare books.

✦ Japanese artist Keita Sagaki likes to scribble and doodle. You'll need to step up close to see what he makes of the relationship of whole to parts. (My thanks to Paper Darts for the link.)

✦ Abstract photography of UK-based Mitch Payne is a highlight of Visual Exploration of the Periodic Table Families.

Mitch Payne Blog

✦ There's much to praise in the work of award-winning freelance illustrator and graphic designer Allegra Lockstadt. I especially like Lockstadt's Hand Gestures, part of her wonderful Posture Perfect series of drawings whose source is women in the fashion industry. See more of Lockstadt's work in the Featured Artist section of Paper Darts (November 2012).

Yeah Okay Sure, Lockstadt's Drawing/Process Blog

Allegra Lockstadt on Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter

✦ Fans of Alberto Giacometti: Take note of the recently launched Giacometti Foundation Website.

Giacometti Foundation on FaceBook and Twitter

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ The 15th Annual Postcards From the Edge, hosted by Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York City, takes place January 25-27 (the preview party is January 25). Celebrating and benefiting Visual AIDS's 25th Anniversary, the event offers for $85 each, first-come first-served, any of more than 1,500 postcard-size artworks, all displayed anonymously. Each 4"x6" painting, drawing, photo, print, or mixed media work is original; each participating artist has been allowed to submit just one entry. 

✭ A two-person exhibition combining film installation and photographs by Los Angeles-Based Sharon Lockhart (b. 1964) with a selection of scores, drawings, and textiles by Israeli dance composer and artist Noa Eshkol (1924-2007) remains on view through March 24 at The Jewish Museum, New York City. "Sharon Lockhart | Noa Eshkol" showcases Lockhart's five-channel installation Five Dances and Nine Carpets by Noa Eshkol (see the installation shots at the link.) For the piece, Lockhart filmed seven dancers performing five compositions by Eshkol, who created a notation system for describing nearly every perceptible movement of the body; each of the compositions is set against a selection of Eshkol's textiles. (Read the Exhibition Overview in the press release.)

Exhibition Catalogue Cover

On February 28 at 6:30 p.m., at The Jewish Museum, Lockhart will discuss the exhibition with Hunter College art history professor and Hunter College Galleries curator Katy Siegel. Tickets are required.

The exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. 

In this interesting video, Lockhart talks about the exhibition and Eshkol's notation system and art:

Holly Myers, "Art review: 'Sharon Lockhart | Noa Eshkol' at LACMA is respectful", Los Angeles Times, June 15, 2012

Elad Samorzik, "Bringing dance to life", Haaretz Daily Newspaper, December 14, 2011

"The Films of Sharon Lockhart" at The Seventh Art (2010)

The Jewish Museum on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ In Washington, D.C., the National Gallery of Art is presenting on the Upper Level of the East Building through February 17 "Modern Lab: The Box as Form, Structure, and Container". The exhibition examines the box as material object and in relationship to optical devices, architecture, and death.

NGA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Opening January 28 at Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery, University of Maryland/Baltimore, is "Persian Visions: Contemporary Photography from Iran". Showcasing 20 of Iran's most accomplished and well-known photographers, the exhibition, which runs through March 24, includes 58 images and two video works on the subject of family, history, place, mortality, language, and memory. A checklist of artists and their work is here; see a selection of images here. Press about the show, which has been touring since 2009 and will continue on to the University of Southern Maine Art Galleries (September 26 - December 8, 2013), Schingoethe Museum at Aurora University in Illinois (January 8, 2014), and Richard E. Peeler Art Center at DePauw University (March 20, 2014), is here.

Save the Date!

The terrific artist Terry Dixon, whom I interviewed last year (Parts 1, 2, 3), is among artists and filmmakers exhibiting in "Convergence: Jazz, Films, and the Visual Arts", opening February 14 at The David C. Driskell Center, University of Maryland, and running through May 31. The exhibition features 65 works that depict or are influenced by jazz culture and music. Approximately 60 of the artworks come from the center's own collections; five films are from the American Jazz Museum's John Baker Film Collection. A two-day conference, February 14 and 15, "Jazz: A Dialogue in the Performance and Visual Arts" will be presented in conjunction with the show.

David C. Driskell Center on FaceBook

Terry Dixon on FaceBook and Twitter

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Moved To Talk (Poem)

Moved To Talk

      after Audre Lorde

Do not carry your voice
to your grave. Your silence

will not protect us, will not
ease the dreams we have

of the worst that happens
when words fail to get through.

Do not let your tongue be
held, cut out, left to wither

from disuse for truth. Allow it
to cross the man-made lines

in Iran, in Syria, in Afghanistan
that keep you still, not noticed.

Share it because your life cannot
begin until you say the word

first. Say it in faith that it will pass
through a valley and be heard

on a mountain top in Haiti. Practice
its honored syllables of disruption

in Cairo's biggest square, risk it
to call back the disappeared

in Argentina, to cradle in loving
arms the children trafficked

in the streets of our own downtowns.

When you dress to go to dinner
next week at the People's House,

don't worry how you'll look
when you tip the glass to toast.

Stand and be moved from silence.
Name the unnamed your self.

Offer a vision of a woman unafraid,
heading to the front of the bus,

marching in Washington, New York,
and San Francisco, sending candles

on a wave to Japan. Let them know you
won't take another catcall in India,

have vowed to undo the laws
of these United States that fail

to leave us children unsilenced.
Dare to paint your nails lavender;

show your face not plain. Dare to
say you have a say in what happens

to your body, to every body —
of your mother, your daughter,

your sisters everywhere. Raise
and fold your hands in the gesture

of namaste. Inspect your bruises,
address the clarity of your pain,

but never let them cover your mouth.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem is inspired by my recent re-reading of Audre Lorde's "The Transformation of Silence Into Language and Action", a speech presented December 28, 1977, to the Modern Language Association's Lesbian and Literature Panel, Chicago, Illinois. (See Lesbian Herstory Archives Digital Collection for a sound recording.) The speech was first published in Sinister Wisdom 6 (1978) and The Cancer Journals (© 1980, 1997 by Audre Lorde and Aunt Lute Books). "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action" also is available in Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde (Crossing Press, 1984, 2007) on GoogleBooks.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday Wonder: Uli Westphal's 'Mutatoes'

Berlin-based artist Uli Westphal is fascinated by our perceptions of what is natural and unnatural, and conceived of The Mutato Project as a way to "document, preserve, and promote the last remainders of agricultural plasticity", that is, "the way fruits, roots, and vegetables can actually look (and taste)". His Mutato-Archive is a collection of "non-standard" fruits, roots, and vegetables that we don't see in our grocery stores, where supposedly "natural" produce has been reduced, Westphal explains, to "a highly designed, monotonous product." In the video below, Westphal talks about his project, begun in 2006, and shows examples from his Mutato-Archive. 

To date, Westphal has documented more than 150 mutatoes. To support his work, he sells offset prints of his finds. His presentations are photographed beautifully. He's also pulled together a collection of links to articles, books, documentaries, and Websites that are concerned with agriculture and food production.

See more of Westphal's projects here.

My thanks to Alimentum Journal, where I first saw Westphal's thoughtfully conceived and articulated work.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Beat Work (Poem)

Beat Work

A good cop never wants
to be taking

a code 7 at the scene,
needs his eye

for detail, a body
to put a finger on.

No house mouse,
a good cop wants to collar,

be a closer, stake out
truth from lie.

The right tactical
gear to ram

a bolted door, a warrant
to search and seize

keep a good cop in the bag,
not chasing lost time.

A good cop learns to know
a stalker's MO,

track a snitch's mate
and motive, probe

a person of interest
with a history

and time to give
up a statement.

Even when things go
sideways, a good cop

never goes down
not knowing where

the bright blue line's
been drawn.

© 2012, 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

The TweetSpeakPoetry blog launched a series in October called "Poetry at Work". I decided to have some fun with the theme and to try to write about a job I'd never had, using, if possible, the occupation's lingo. "Beat Cop" was my first effort, and today, which is the first Poetry At Work Day, I dedicate the poem to police officers everywhere.

There are plenty of online dictionaries you can use to find terms peculiar to certain kinds of occupations or work but any creativity in using it is up to you. What job will you choose to celebrate today? Share a link to your own post the Comments section below.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Muse: Alabama's Poet Laureate

Develop good work habits. When I worked
at the [Birmingham] Post-Herald, if I had an idea
for a poem or a play, I'd rush home after 
my workday and work on it.
~ Andrew Glaze, Alabama Poet Laureate*

Nashville-born but Birmingham-raised Andrew Glaze was named on November 6, 2012, to be Alabama's eleventh Poet Laureate. His four-year appointment began this month. At his commissioning, Glaze said, "Many people have asked me what a poet laureate is. Well, I am a normal man who wears glasses and uses hearing aids. I hope to learn what a poet laureate is." He then added, "I must mention two things. One: Most poetry is awful. Two: Most teachers don't appreciate poetry enough to teach it."**

Information about the honorary state position and related resources are found in my post about Sue Brannan Walker, whom Glaze succeeds.

* * * * *
I tend to write what to me is in the ear.
I find I use a lot of odd words. Try to find
surprising ways of putting things together.
~ Andrew Glaze***

Andrew Glaze, now in his '90s, has published eight volumes of poetry and two collections of selected works. His first book Damned Ugly Children: Poems (Trident Press) was published in 1966, when he was in his mid-40s; widely lauded, the collection was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and also was included on the American Library Association's Notable Books List. His Remembering Thunder (NewSouth) was issued in 2002.

Some other collections, most available through resellers, are Greatest Hits: 1964-2004 (Pudding House Press, 2005); Someone Will Go on Owing: Selected Poems 1966-1992 (Black Belt Press, 1998), winner of the 1998 SEBA Book of the Year Award for poetry; and I Am the Jefferson County Courthouse and Other Poems (Thunder City Press, 1981), a Best Small Press Title. Glaze, in addition, has published translations, including Masque of Surgery: Poems and Translations from the Spanish (Menard Press, 1974).

Called a "sort of everyman poet" with "unusual talent", the Harvard-educated Glaze also has written plays and is at work on a novel Moody's Trip (an excerpt from which appeared in Birmingham Arts Journal). Glaze worked for a number of years in the South as a court reporter, witnessing the hatred and violence of the Ku Klux Klan toward African Americans and civil rights demonstrators, activities that became subjects of some of his exceptional poetry.

Glaze's highly accessible, lyrical poems, typically written in free verse, are marked by a deep intuition about and understanding of the human condition, especially in the context of his life in the South and, later, in New York City and Miami, Florida. His themes range over love, family, marriage, death, politics, city life, and artistic life. 

Just a few quotations from his poems are needed to give a sense of the often surprising, frequently stunning use to which he puts language: "Hope is a catch in the trap of feathers. . . // . . . Soon enough we're trapped in our running, / By what we call happiness, / The girdling hedge of desperation. . . ." ("Trap of Feathers"); "Someone has built at dirigible in my parlor. / What on earth has happened to the boarders?. . . . ("Zeppelin"); ". . . A tunic of dark wood crawls on the island breast / Up where a lowering purple mountain rides, / God of desire; . . ." ("Antigua"); "To a generation raised on Bonaparte / Beethoven's actual appearance / Raised doubts. . . ." ("Ludwig Rellstab's Visit to Beethoven").

Glaze has published poems in numerous literary journals and periodicals, including, most recently, Birmingham Arts Journal, Florida Journal for Literary and Fine Arts, New RiverNew York Quarterly, and Trails & Timberline Quarterly. His work also appears in many anthologies, including Working the Dirt (NewSouth Books, 2003), The New Yorker Book of Poems; Selected by the Editors of the New Yorker (William Morrow & Co., 1994), Alabama Poets: A Contemporary Anthology (Livingston University Press, 1990), and Best Loved Poems (Merit Publishers, 1980). An essay by Glaze about life in Alabama appears in The Remembered Gate: Memoirs by Alabama Writers (Deep South Books, 2003).

Over his long career, Glaze has received a number of awards, including a Bruce Rossley Literary Award (2000), a Hackney Literary Award in Poetry from Birmingham-Southern College, and an ABA Online Award (1998). Poetry magazine presented Glaze with its Eunice Tietjens Award in 1951. 


All Poetry Excerpts © Andrew Glaze

* Quoted from "92-Year-Old Writer Named Alabama's Poet Laureate on Monday in Montgomery",, November 6, 2012

** Quoted from News Release, Alabama Writers' Forum

*** Quoted from "Alabama's New Poet Laureate Says Words Inspire Him",, November 16, 2012 (A video of Glaze's commissioning is available at the link; scroll to the end. The video also is available on YouTube.)

Andrew Glaze Poetry Online: "Trap of Feathers" at Birmingham Arts Journal (see page 23 in the pdf); "Henry Buck" at Poetry Since 1912 (Poetry Magazine);  "Hello—Goodbye" on Tumblr; "earl", "Doubleknit Socks", "Zeppelin",  "What's That You Say Cesar?", and "Alleluia" from Greatest Hits at GoogleBooks;  "Marine Biology", "Three Songs About One Thing", and "Antigua" from Poetry Magazine (May 1950), All at Poetry Foundation; "The Big Eye" and "Henry Buck" from Poetry Magazine (August 1951), Both at Poetry Foundation; "Ludwig Rellstab's Visit to Beethoven" from Poetry Magazine (January 1954), at Poetry Foundation; "A Cut of Copernicus" from Poetry Magazine (February 1956), at Poetry Foundation; "Boomfoolery" from Light: A Quarterly of Light Verse (pdf; Summer 2005); "Skip and Hop" at PoetryBay 

Poems by Glaze in The New Yorker: "Night Walk to a Country Theatre", "September", "Fantasy Street", "Eyes of the Heart", "Ho Farragut!", and "The Outlanders", Accessible via Subscription

Andrew Glaze Papers 1948-1964 at Wisconsin Historical Society, Poems and Related Papers at Harvard University Library

Alabama Department of Archives and History

Alabama State Council on the Arts

Alabama State Poetry Society

The Alabama Writers' Conclave (See the section titled "Visit Our Poet Laureate".)

NewSouth Books (See "Andrew Glaze Named Eleventh Alabama Poet Laureate", November 7, 2012, and the video of the reception honoring the poet.)

In this video, Glaze reads his epic poem "I Am the Jefferson County Courthouse".

Also see Andrew Glaze reading "Earl", "Generations", "A Journey", and "Book Burial". 

Andrew Glaze Podcact at WNYC Archives (1978)

Andrew Glaze on FaceBook

Note: My post on new Wisconsin Poet Laureate Max Garland will appear on January 21.