Thursday, July 31, 2014

New Artist Watch Feature at EIL

Pamela H. Viola, Paper Doll, Pigment Prints, 2013
20" x 20"
© Pamela H. Viola

In my second Artist Watch feature this month, I have the great pleasure to introduce to my and Escape Into Life readers the terrific, award-winning work of photographer and mixed-media artist Pamela H. Viola

A resident of the Washington, D.C., area, Pam, who recently returned from a trip to India that has generated many new images, is represented in many public, private, and corporate art collections, including those of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Hyatt Hotels, CBS Television, American Chemistry Council, and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Currently, Viola is part of "The Nation's River" exhibit at the Gateway Gallery at Dulles International Airport. Trained informally in a range of artistic disciplines, from painting to printmaking, Viola demonstrates an intuitive feel for the inspired image. Her career includes 15 years in the film industry, where she worked alongside such directors as Ridley Scott and Barry Sonnenfeld. 

Viola is represented by Hisaoka Gallery at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, Washington, D.C.

In today's Artist Watch at EIL, you will find a selection of images of Viola's pigment prints, including the image above, an Artist Statement, more detailed biographical information, and additional links.

a small work a day, Viola's Blog

Pamela Viola on FaceBook, Twitter, and Google+

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Interview with Ariel Malka Part 2

I think designers should start coding and creating their own tools
to overcome the limiting metaphors imposed by 
mainstream authoring software.
~ Ariel Malka

Please join me today at TweetSpeak Poetry, where you will find Part 2 of my interview with freelance software designer and programmer Ariel Malka

In today's post, the deep-thinking Malka, who is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, talks with me about the literary texts he wants to explore in digital space, his research and development initiatives, and some prospective long-range implications of his interactive work. He also shares some biographic information about the man behind the software code.

Read Part 1.

Read Part 2.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Once I found it in nature (Cento)

Once I found it in nature

beyond morning glories,
all caught up in the cornstalks.

The oily water on the river mirrored the red sky
indifferent to all that it lacks:

a swaying creeper outside a half-open window
seeking after that sweet golden clime

in a dream,
in the yellow of sunflowers
fantastically far from real.

To what do we owe this
forgetting not to kiss?

The easy eye of the sun, now
blessed by our own.


This is a cento; its lines or parts of lines are, in order, from the following:

Frank Steele "Sunflower"
Mary Oliver "Morning Glories"
Allen Ginsberg "Sunflower Sutra"
Meghan O'Rourke "Inventing a Horse"
Fernando Pessoa "The Book of Disquiet"
William Blake "Ah! Sun-Flower"
Dale Sprowl "Aqua Vita"
David Allen Evans "Girl Riding a Horse in a Field of Sunflowers"
Dale Sprowl "Aqua Vita"
Graham Foust "From a Finished Basement"
Graham Foust "From a Finished Basement"
Aracelis Girmey "St. Elizabeth"
Allen Ginsberg "Sunflower Sutra"

Capitalization and punctuation are my own.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Muse: Mahmoud Darwish Film

The Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) is the subject of a new documentary, Write Down, I Am an Arab, by Ibtisam Mara'ana Menuhin. The film premiered this past May at Doc Aviv, a Tel Aviv film festival. Recipient of an Audience Award, it had its world premiere in Toronto, Canada, at HocDocs.

According to its Website, the film — its title is taken from Darwish's poem of the same name (see text link below) — "unearth[s] the story behind the man who became the mouthpiece of the Palestinian people" and includes information about the poet's love affair with Tamar Ben-Ami, an Israeli Jew with whom Darwish corresponded; Ben-Ami kept Darwish's letters secret for years. Darwish's own voice is heard in the film in a reading of his extraordinary poem "Identity Card" and in a 1996 interview; other interviews and archival footage are included.

Here is the official trailer (also available on Vimeo):

Poems from the documentary: "Rita and the rifle", "Identity Card (Write down, I am an arab)", and "I long for my mother's bread". Additional poems (in English translation) are at Festival Internacional de Poesia de Medellin and Big Bridge

(My thanks to World Literature Today, where I first learned of the film.)

Khaled Mattawa, Mahmoud Darwish: The Poet's Art and His Nation (Syracuse University Press, 2014) Mattawa's book is a highly informed and insightful examination of Darwish and his development as a poet. His interpretations of specific poems and their context are especially valuable.

The Legacy of Mahmoud Darwish: A Conference (2009), Center for Near Eastern Studies, UCLA

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Thought for the Day

            Your exact errors make a music
            that nobody hears.
            . . . you live on a world where stumbling
            always leads home. . . .
            ~ Poet William Stafford

Quoted from "You and Art" in Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems William Stafford (Graywolf Press, 2014)

William Stafford, 1914-1993, Poetry Consultant for the Library of Congress (1971-1972), Oregon Poet Laureate (1975-1989), Author of More Than 60 Books

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday Short

Today's short is an animation by Ehsan Akbari of "Frog", a haiku by Basho.

My thanks to Silver Birch Press blog for the link.

Friday, July 25, 2014

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Born and raised in Switzerland and now a resident of Houston, Texas, paper cutter Catherine Winkler Rayroud astonishes. View images of her intricate and beautiful work, which has won numerous awards.

✦ The letters of Vincent van Gogh are now online.

✦ Watch a slideshow of 153 beautiful paintings by Sir George Clausen (1852-1944).

✦ Inspired by the sculptures of Elizabeth Catlett, jazz bassist Rufus Reid composed the five-movement suite Quite Pride, recorded and released by Motema Music this past February. 

Read Allison Keyes's interview with Reid, "How Do You Wring Sound from Sculpture? It Takes a 'Quiet Pride'", NPR, May 18, 2014.

✦ Fairy tales rendered in three dimensions are a specialty of Su Blackwell, who also crafts marvelous book sculptures from illustrated volumes of flowers and birds. Blackwell's set designs and installations delight. Read Blackwell's blog to stay informed about her latest creations and exhibitions.

✦ Carter Foster's catalogue Hopper Drawing (Whitney Museum of American Art, 2013) accompanied the first major museum show focused on the drawings and creative process of Edward Hopper. The exhibition appeared at the Whitney Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, and earlier this spring at Walker Art Center. 

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ Monastic bells, swords, drums, and other figurative pieces are on view in "CAUTION! Fragile. Irish Glass: Tradition in Transition", continuing through September 1 at Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington. Organized thematically (history, landscape, sound), the exhibition includes photography, oral histories, and collaborations. The exhibition has its origins in a 2010 visiting artist residency by Irish glass artist Roisin de Buitlear, whose work is featured along with that of other artists who also have had residencies at the museum: Irish master glass engraver Eamonn Hartley ("Meet the Artist" video), Waterford Crystal master craftsman Fred Curtis, and Greg Sullivan.

Here's a brief "Meet the Artist" video with de Buitlear:

Museum of Glass on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ West Virginia's Huntington Museum of Art is presenting through August 3 "North of Sixty: Canadian Inuit Prints", a selection of 40 prints from the collection of St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York. Offered in conjunction with "Excavations from the Vault" Herman Dean and the Hudson Bay" (continuing through August 24), the exhibition includes work by Pudlo Pudlat, Kenojuak Ashevak, Kananginak Pootoogook, and Kavavaow Mannomee. The prints offer a look both at Inuit life and culture in the Canadian Arctic.

HMOA on FaceBook

✭ On view through August 10 at Minneapolis Institute of Arts is "New Pictures 9: Rinko Kawauchi", a selection of photographs. Kawauchi's exhibition is her first museum show in the United States. Her books include, most recently, Gift (with Terri Weifenbach; IMA Books, 2014), Sheets (Kominek, 2013), and Light and Shadow and Illuminance, Ametsuchi, Seeing Shadow, both published in 2012. Watch a video in which the photographer talks about her work in the show.

MIA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭  Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University continues its celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant with "Carleton Watkins: The Stanford Albums", on view through August 17. The exhibition features 83 original large-format prints from three albums of Watkins's work: Photographs of the Yosemite Valley, Photographs of the Pacific Coast, and Photographs of the Columbia River and Oregon. Included in the show are cartographic visualizations created by Stanford's Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis and Bill Lane Center for the American West. A catalogue with 160 photographs accompanies the show.

Here's a preview of the exhibition: 

Cantor Arts Center on FaceBook and YouTube

✭ In Salem, Massachusetts, Peabody Essex Museum is presenting through September 1 "Turner & the Sea", a show of J.M.W. Turner's iconic seascapes. Included are more than 100 works (oils, watercolors, prints, sketches) spanning 50 years, from 1790s to mid-1800s. Works are organized in seven sections: Turner on Show, Charted Waters, 'M' for Marine, Contested Waters, Imagining the Sea, Making Waves, and Atlantic Crossings. A selection of images is available at the exhibition link.

Watch this preview:

Peabody Essex on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thursday's Three on Art

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, an event that is being commemorated all over the world. Today's Thursday's Three spotlights a trio of centennial exhibitions, current and future, in the United States.

✭ In Norfolk, Virginia, the MacArthur Memorial is observing the centennial with "Under the Rainbow: The 42nd 'Rainbow' Division in the Great War". The exhibition, which continues through September of this year, relates the story of one of the first National Guard units to reach the battlefields of France. Among items on view are the dog tag of poet Joyce Kilmer, killed in 1918 at the Battle of the Marne; German trench armor; and the uniform and equipment of the commander of the 151st Machine Gun Battalion, Lt. Col. Cooper Winn.

In November, the museum and research center will host a two-day symposium with an international group of authors and scholars. It also is producing a series of short films covering the global conflict. Its first is The Road to War, which may be seen on YouTube.

MacArthur Memorial on FaceBook

✭ On view at the National World War I Museum, Kansas City, Kansas, is "Over by Christmas: August-December 1914". Continuing through March 29, 2015, the exhibition on the first five months of the war features a 1914 Prussian flag, a lithograph by French artist Georges Scott, the uniform of a French colonial zouave infantryman, "The Road to Berlin" game, and a German cigar box for Christmas 1914.

The museum is continuing through September 14 "On the Brink: A Month That Changed the World", a special exhibition examining the assassination in Sarajevo of Austria's Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the events that unfolded subsequently. Items from nine countries, including the United States, are on view.

✭ The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts plans to mount "World War I and American Art", the first major exhibition examining American artists' responses to WWI; it will open in November 2016, to coincide with the centenary of United States involvement in the war, and continue through April 2017. Work by George Bellows, Marsden Hartley, Childe Hassam, Man Ray, Norman Rockwell, John Singer Sergeant, Edward Steichen, and others will be featured. A fully illustrated scholarly catalogue will accompany the show.

Hugh Henry Breckenridge, The Pestilence (formerly War), ca. 1918
Oil on Canvas, 65-3/16" x80-1/4"
Gift of the Artist 1928.10
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Numerous informative resources are found at these sites:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Interview with Curious Autodidact Ariel Malka

Reinventing the wheel is often necessary when you want
to create something original. . . .

I refuse to see a separating line between art
and technology. Learning to program is likely
only a matter of motivation.
~ Ariel Malka*

Please join me today at TweetSpeak Poetry blog for Part 1 of my two-part interview with the ever-inspired and inspiring Ariel Malka, whose work has been described as "a fantastic, multidimensional way to get out of the rut of single-perception thinking." A self-taught software designer and programmer of inordinate curiosity, Malka, who was born in France and is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, shows himself to be one of the most creative of off-hours creative coders now exploring the fascinating  realm of interactivity in digital space. 

In today's feature, Malka talks with me about his experiments in "Chronotext" and app-building. Next week, he discusses some of the literary texts that he wants to explore in digital space and his research and development initiatives, including mobile phone and tablet apps. He also shares some biographical information that shines a little light on the man behind the software code.

* Quotes are from my interview, which I conducted via e-mail.

Ariel Malka on Twitter

Malka and his innovative work have been the subject of a number of articles, including: Dafna Arad, "An App for Deciphering Ulysses", Haaretz, July 1, 2014; Dan Nosowitz, "Ulysses Is More Fun to Read as a Game", Fast Company, June 10, 2014; and "Ulysses App Lets You 'Literally Wrestle' with Joyce", The Guardian, June 11, 2014

He Liked Thick Word Soup at iTunes

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Syntax of Distancing (Poem)

Syntax of Distancing

Your hand over my mouth
betrays that rush of I ams

irrupting deep within this red
sore throat. A vocal landscape,

littered with its consonants
and vowels you will not make

your own, collapses, high ridge
of old amalgam fillings once

more no bridge to borderlands
between teeth and tongue.

On the map of my sharp jaw
bone you sketch dropped Rs,

flat As, no me. I let you stutter,
the percussive hisses of air

beyond our lips, a shushing syntax
of distancing, not one word said.

2014 © Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Muse: North Carolina Poet Laureate

I prepared last week the post that follows. It was based on my research into appointee Valerie Macon's background. On July 18, this past Friday, I learned that Macon had resigned because of the considerable dissent — some quite mean-spirited (see articles cited below) — that arose earlier about her prospective incumbency. In a letter to Governor Pat McCrory, Macon emphasized that she did "not want the negative attention that this appointment has generated to discourage or distract attention from the Office of the Poet Laureate." In closing, she urged everyone "to read and write poetry", adding that only "the joy of words and appreciation of self-expression" were needed. If and when an announcement is made of a new appointee, I will contribute an update. It is unfortunate that politics mixed so combustively with poetry, especially in a state that has produced many wonderful poets.

Succeeding Joseph Bathanti as North Carolina's Poet Laureate is Valerie Macon, whose appointment was announced July 11. Macon's appointment as the eighth state poet is for two years. She is the third woman to hold the job.

Information about the position, which is renewable at the governor's discretion, is found in my Monday Muse post of June 28, 2010, which profiles Cathy Bowers, Bathanti's predecessor. To read my profile of Bathanti, whose term concluded June 30, 2014, see my Monday Muse post of October 15, 2012.

The incumbent of the position, who normally undertakes a long-term project of value to the public, is described as the "ambassador of North Carolina literature." 

* * * * *

A  resident of North Carolina for more than three decades, Valerie Macon, a state disabilities examiner with the Department of Health and Human Services, is the author of two chapbooks of poetry: Sleeping Rough (Old Mountain Press, 2014) and Shelf Life (Old Mountain Press, 2011). According to the books'  sales pages at Old Mountain, the former is about homelessness and  the latter about life's joys and sorrows.

Valerie Macon received in 2014, 2013, and 2011 honorable mentions for her poems "Offering", "Detour", and "Soul Food", respectively, in North Carolina Poetry Society competitions for adults. (A link to "Detour" is included below.)


"Governor McCrory Appoints State Poet Laureate", Office of the Governor, July 11, 2014

Department of Cultural Resources, "Governor McCrory Appoints Valerie Macon Poet Laureate", July 14, 2014

Georgia Parke, "McCrory Taps Fuquay-Varina's Valerie Macon to Be NC's Next Poet Laureate", Charlotte Observer, July 13, 2014 (This and other early news articles about Macon's appointment read as virtually identical.)

Below is a wide sampling of the many news articles (more than 150), opinion pieces, and blog posts, in and outside North Carolina, that have addressed and fueled the controversy over Macon's appointment:

Alexandra Alter, "North Carolina's New Poet Laureate Bows Out", ArtsBeat Blog, The New York Times, July 18, 2014

Duncan McFadyen, "N.C. Gobernor Causes Controversy With Poet Laureate Appointment", NPR, July 17, 2014

"Uproar: Self-Published Poet Laureate in NC Resigns", WRAL, July 17, 2014

Martha Waggoner, "NC Poets Laureate Hope to Meet With Governor", WNCN, July 17, 2014 (Also see Waggoner's July 17 article at Minneapolis StarTribune.)

Katy Waldman, "People in North Carolina Are Really Upset About Their New Poet Laureate", Slate, July 17, 2014 (Update, July 18, 2014)

Collin Kelley, "Notes on a Scandal: North Carolina Poet Laureate Valerie Macon", Modern Confessional, July 17, 2014; Update

Ed Southern, "Valerie Macon Is North Carolina's New Poet Laureate", White Cross School: The Online Journal of the North Carolina Writers' Network, July 16, 2014

Martha Waggoner, "NC Gov Defends His Self-Published Poet Laureate", AP Big Story, July 16, 2014

Martha Waggoner, "NC Gov. Says He Will Review Poet Laureate Process", News Observer, July 16, 2014

Dane Huffman, "McCrory's Choice for NC Poet Laureate Irks Writers", NBC 26, July 16, 2014

Chris Vitiello, "Opinion: McCrory's Mean Joke, a Poet Laureate Who's Barely a Poet", Arts, Indy Week, July 16, 2014

Weston Williams, "A Self-Published Poet Laureate? North Carolina Pick Draws Controversy", The Christian Science Monitor, July 15, 2014

"Our View : No Need to Name an Official Poet", Your Daily Journal, July 14, 2014

David Menconi, "NC Poet Laureate Criteria Have 'Changed'", News Observer, July 15, 2014

David Menconi, "McCrory Picks Poet Laureate Without Input, Rankles Poetry Community", News Observer, July 14, 2014

Dannye Romine Powell, "McCrory Bypasses N.C. Poet Laureate Selection System", Reading Matters (Blog), July 13, 2014 (Also see: "Former Poets Laureate Take High Road on McCrory's Appointment", July 14, 2014; and "Poets Piqued Over Way Gov. McCrory Chose NC Laureate", Charlotte Observer, July 14, 2014. Powell also published an article in The Charlotte Observer on July 15.)

Valerie Macon Poetry Online: "Vegetarian Meat Lover" (Shelf Life) at Old Mountain Press; "Detour" (Sleeping Rough) at Old Mountain Press 

Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poets Series (FaceBook) This series falls under the aegis of the North Carolina Poetry Society. The program is named for poet Marie Gilbert and former state poet Fred Chappell (1972-2002).

North Carolina Arts Council and NCAC Poet Laureate Page (Information on the latter page has been revised since Macon's appointment.)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Thought for the Day

. . . To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, . . .
~  Wendell Berry

Quoted from Wendell Berry's Poem "To Know the Dark" in The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry (Counterpoint, 1999) The poem was published in 1970 in Berry's Farming: A Handbook.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday Short

Today's short is the trailer for The Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond Expectations, a documentary by filmmaker Hannah Jayanti about the creation and creators of the much-loved book by author Norton Juster and artist-illustrator Jules Feiffer. The documentary, which incorporates interviews, animation, and archival materials, premiered in New York City on October 6, 2013.

The Phantom Tollbooth Documentary on FaceBook and Tumblr

Adam Gopnik talks with Juster and Feiffer at The New Yorker Festival (video).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Robbie Porter, Teatime, Illustration

Please join me today at Escape Into Life, where I have posted a new Artist Watch feature.

I'm delighted to present the witty, charming, and award-winning illustrations of Edinburgh-born Robbie Porter, who claims he's almost as good now as his primary school friends were way back when. Currently working as a freelancer with an international clientele, Porter also is the author of a children's book, The Librarian's List. Porter, by the way, is just 29 years old. He promises to have a long and lucrative career.

At EIL, you'll find eight images of Porter's work, an Artist Statement, a brief and funny biographical statement, and links.

Robbie Porter on Twitter and Tumblr

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Introduction to Sound Artist Bora Yoon

Meet Korean-American composer, vocalist, and sound architect Bora Yoon. Classically trained on piano and violin, she is known for her innovative and experimental approach to music-making.

In the second video, below, watch Bora Yoon's performance at TED2014 (she is a TED Fellow this year). She uses, in addition to her own vocals, soundscapes created with found objects. 

Read an interview with Yoon at Tedblog.

Bora Yoon Website

Bora Yoon on FaceBookTwitter, and YouTube

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Magnolia (Poem)


Curve of sweet-cream skin
Milk-white of clouds unfolding
Southern summer shade

2014 © Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Muse: Virginia's New Poet Laureate

. . . Virginia is rich in poets, poets who deserve much
more recognition and more readers than they currently have.*
~ Ron Smith

The seventeenth Poet Laureate of Virginia is Ron Smith, who succeeds Sofia M. Starnes. Appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe, Smith will serve two years (through June 30, 2016) in the honorary post. His term began officially July 1.

In an interview with Richmond periodical Style Weekly, Smith identifies his duties as "encouraging and representing poetry." While expressing relief that a he "won't be called upon to write "The Charge of the Light Brigade", Smith nevertheless adds, "I wish my duties required me to write the 21st century equivalent of Tennyson's "Ulysses" or "The Lady of Shalott"." 

Information about the legislatively created position is included in my Monday Muse profile of Claudia Emerson (March 1, 2010). Kelly Cherry succeeded her. For my profile of Sofia M. Starnes, see the Monday Muse post of October 1, 2012. 

* * * * *
. . . I think . . . what poetry does relentlessly,
line after line, good poetry and great poetry—
it breaks down the barrier between the inner and the outer.
~ from 2003 Blackbird Interview

A Virginia resident since 1967, Ron Smith, who also is an essayist and critic, has published three poetry collections: Its Ghostly Workshop (Louisiana State University Press, 2013), Moon Road: Poems 1986-2005 (LSU Press, 2007), and Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery (University Presses of Florida, 1988). The latter, available through resellers, was runner-up for the National Poetry Series Open Competition and Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize.

Named in 2011 one of "Best Local Poets", Richmond's Style Weekly describes Smith as "a writer's writer with a keen intelligence and a former college athlete's innate understanding of physicality and the flesh."

Subjects addressed in Smith's poems include marriage and family, teaching, sports, travel and place (in particular, Italy, Greece, Israel), memory, cultural history, separation and alienation, pilgrimage and witness, doubt and wonder. The philosophical and the metaphysical are found alongside deeply honed personal observations and experiences. The ruminative and celebratory mix with the humorous. Literary and historical persons and events figure in Smith's work, especially in his most recent collection Its Ghostly Workshop, where his references — to Odysseus, Edgar Allen Poe, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Edward Teller, T.S. Eliot, Leni Riefenstahl, New York Yankees, and others — reflect Smith's erudition without pretentiousness. (Some of his work is parody.)

Clarity is a hallmark of Smith's poetry but note in the example following how Smith also gets us thinking on more than one level, leaves us with more than one meaning in a single line ("This is where we first learned to let go. // And our son is taking us again...."; it's not just about the son learning to drive).

We sit in back
where we can't be caught
in the nervous eye corner.
Four hands in her lap,
one knotting ball. My fingers 
have been numb for miles.

This is where we first learned to let go.

And our son is taking us again
along the spine of the Blue Ridge.
The Olds drifts to the solid line
white as a cloud, [. . . ]
~ from "Learner's Permit on Skyline Drive" in Moon Road

Poems by Smith have appeared nationally and internationally in such periodicals as AscentBlackbird, Georgia ReviewKansas Quarterly, The Kenyon Review, The Nation, New England Review, Plume, Poetry DailyPuerto del Sol, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, The Tampa Review, Verse, and Virginia Quarterly Review

Anthologies in which Smith's work appears include The Plume Anthology of Poetry 2013 (MadHat Press), Kentucky: Poets of Place (2012), Poets for Pound at Sala Capizucchi (University of New Orleans Press, 2011), Helen Vendler's Poems, Poets & Poetry: An Introduction & Anthology (3rd Ed., Bedford Books, 2010), Don't Leave Hungry: Fifty Years of Southern Poetry Review (University of Arkansas Press, 2009), Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets of Virginia (University of Virginia Press, 2003), and Georgia Voices (University of Georgia Press, 2000).

Among various awards Smith has received are the Theodore Roethke Prize from Poetry Northwest (1989), the Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize (2005), and the Guy Owen Award from Southern Poetry Review.  Smith's poem "The Teachers Pass the Popcorn" (in Moon Road; also anthologized in Helen Vendler's Poems, Poets, Poetry) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2000.

Smith also has been a Bread Loaf Scholar in Poetry, a Modern Poetry Association (now, The Poetry Foundation) Poets-in-Person Scholar, and a Roper Graduate Fellow. In addition, he is the recipient of a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Holder of degrees in English, philosophy, general humanities, and creative writing, Smith is writer-in-residence and George O. Squires Chair of Distinguished Teaching at St. Christopher's School, Richmond, where he has been a faculty member for more than 40 years. He is on boards of advisors for James River Writers and Poetry Society of Virginia.

An offensive guard while attending the University of Richmond on a football scholarship, Smith has been the poetry editor for Aethlon: The Journal of Sports Literature since 2009. (In his interview with Style Weekly about his appointment, Smith talks about the influence of sports on his work, noting, "I've never really separated sports from poetry. . . Sports can teach you precision. And perseverance. And how to turn pain into something useful, maybe even glorious. Most of the poetry I love is intensely physical. It makes you as aware of the body as of the mind.")


Photo Courtesy St. Christopher's School, Richmond, Virginia

All Poetry Quotations © Ron Smith

* Quoted from LSU Media, "LSU Press Author Ron Smith Named Virginia Poet Laureate", Press Release, July 2, 2014

St. Christopher's School, "Ron Smith Appointed Poet Laureate of Virginia", July 7, 2014

Brian McNeill, "Smith, Graduate of VCU Creative Writing MFA Program, Named Poet Laureate of Virginia", Virginia Commonwealth University Public Affairs Office, June 30, 20134

Ron Smith Poetry Online: "Come on In, Come On Along" at Ascent; "Campidoglio", "The Tomb of the Scipios", "Flashes", "Greece", and "Edward Teller's Leg", All at Blackbird; "Via Appia" at Poetry Daily; "Striking Out My Son in the Father-Son Game", "Leaving Forever", "Objectivity", and "In the Old City", All at Poet's Spotlight, Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda Website; "κάθαρσης" ("Catharsis") at Plume; "A Wizard in the Forum" and "Piazza G.G. Belli", Both at Connotations Press; "Brampton Road" and "Bronze Boxer", Both in Poetry Society of Virginia Newsletter (pdf, p. 3); "Poe's Last Words" from Its Ghostly Workshop on GoogleBooks; "Early Christianity: A Poem" and "Rome", Both at Plume; "Henry James and the Future of Photography" at VQR Online; "The Caravaggio Room" at Plume; "Brampton Road" at Southern Poetry Review (p. 53)

Brent Baldwin, "The Poet's Poet", Interview, Style Weekly (Richmond), July 8, 2014

Mary Finn, "An Interview with Ron Smith", Blackbird, January 15, 2003 (Parts I and II in Audio; Transcript) (This interview addresses in particular Smith's wide-ranging travels and the role of travel in his poetry and in literature generally.)

Ross Losapio, "Review: Its Ghostly Workshop, by Ron Smith", Blackbird, Vol. 13, No. 1, Spring 2014

Jessica Ronky Haddad, "Creation Story: Ron Smith, Poet", Style Weekly, June 26, 2002

Its Ghostly Workshop on GoogleBooks

Moon Road on GoogleBooks

Poetry Society of Virginia

Bedford Books

MadHat Press

LSU Press Its Ghostly Workshop Page

University of Arkansas Press

University of Georgia Press

University of New Orleans Press (Web Catalogue)

University of Virginia Press

Ron Smith on FaceBook

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Thought for the Day

Arts education, in our public schools — I wish I could foster
that. In my judgment, poetry and music are not ornamental
activities on the outskirts of human intelligence: 
They are at its core.
~ Poet Robert Pinsky

Quoted from "Robert Pinsky", Interview with Heidi Legg, The, March 18, 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saturday Short

The Sonnet Project, an initiative of the New York Shakespeare Exchange, uses New York City as the backdrop for performances of all of William Shakespeare's 154 sonnets. A different actor performs each poem. Each of the films, which may be seen at the project link and on YouTube, has its own director. 

The project is available as an app.

Below is the R. Jameson Smith's film for Sonnet 14 with Rochelle Slovin; the location is Far Rockaway, Queens. 

Text Analysis for Sonnet 14

The Sonnet Project on FaceBook and Twitter

Friday, July 11, 2014

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Seattle-based Melanie Masson describes her project Passage as "a survey of leading lines of the American landscape." Her photographs are beautiful visual essays of her global travels.

✦ Los Angeles artist Sonia Romero is a gifted cut paper artist who also has completed a number of wonderful public art projects. Currently, Romero's work (be sure to view her linocuts) can be seen at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, Mesa, Arizona, in "Fold, Paper, Scissors", on view through August 10. Romero's Bee Pile, a serigraph, is in the traveling exhibition "Estampas de la raza/Prints for the People: The Romo Collection", at North Carolina Museum of Art through July 27. Prints may be purchased through Romero's online store. (My thanks to Elsa Mora at Art Is a Way for the link to Romero's Website.)

Sonia Romero on FaceBook

✦ An effort is underway to regrow Vincent van Gogh's ear. Read "Ears to a new relic: it's a Van Gogh work to be worshipped".

✦ Once again until Labor Day (September 1), active duty military personnel and their families are entitled to free admissions at museums participating in the Blue Star Museums project, a collaboration between the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the United States Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America. The national program has been in effect since 2010.

✦ The "Cindy Sherman: Art Intelligence" app is available via iTunes. Described as image-rich, the app "puts the artist's art, life, and times at your fingertips." In addition to the artist's biography, the app provides a hyperlinked bibliography and curated lists of resources, books, films, music, and Websites.

✦ In the video below, artist Rina Baneerjee talks about her sculpture Soldier (2014). Banejee's exhibition "Disgust" recently was on view at LA Louver Gallery.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ On view at New York City's Morgan Library & Museum are nearly 100 first editions, manuscripts, revised galley proofs, and letters from the modern American literature collection of Carter Burden. Among the authors featured in the exhibition, "Gatsby to Garp: Modern Masterpieces from the Carter Burden Collection", are William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, Henry James, Toni Morrison, Gertrude Stein, Tennessee Williams, and Richard Wright. The show continues through September 7.

The Morgan on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Bard College's Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, is presenting "Amy Sillman: one lump or two", the artist's first museum survey, following her development from the mid-1990s to today. On view through September 21 are more than 90 pencil, ink, and gouache drawings, abstract paintings, 'zines, and animated films on iPhone. The show originated at ICA Boston.

A catalogue of the same title, published by Prestel, accompanies the exhibition. It can be purchased through the ICA Store or booksellers.

Catalogue Cover

✭ A selection of large-format oil stick on paper drawings, a large-format copperplate etching, and several recent sculptures, including rubber mask pieces, by Richard Dupont are featured in "Richard Dupont: Object Ritual" at Queens Museum at its satellite site, Bulova Corporate Center. One of the sculptures is Dupont's sold-cast 700-pound form, Cabinet (2012), based on a digital enlargement of the artist's own life mask and created over a 10-year period using found and recycled objects placed in a silicone mold eventually filled with archival resin. The exhibition continues through November 16.

Queens Museum on FaceBookTwitter, and Vimeo

✭ In Long Beach, California, the Museum of Latin American Art has mounted a show of work by Roberto Fabelo, known as Cuba's Daumier. The exhibition, "Fabelo's Anatomy", running through September 28, is the first solo museum presentation in the United States of Fabelo's surreal imagery, which is described as "a world of wonder" comprising "haunting and unusual creatures" that are "strangely beautiful."

MOLAA on FaceBook, Twitter, and Tumblr

LA Louver Gallery, Venice, California, is setting back the seasons with its exhibition "David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring", on view through August 29. 

David Hockney at LA Louver Gallery

LA Louver Blog

LA Louver Gallery on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Notable Exhibition Abroad

✭ "Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland", continuing through October, is occurring throughout the country, in such locations as Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Isle of Mull, and Kilmarnock. A full range of work, from collage, drawing, printmaking, photography, and sculpture, to film and video, installation, and performance, may be seen. More than 100 artists are participating. The Website provides information not only on exhibitions and their locations and participants but also free drop-in activities, all organized by month, location, and specific date. The Generation Timeline offers a decade-by-decade look at key artistic events.

Generation on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thursday's Three on Poetry and Literature

Today, Thursday's Three rounds up a trio of interesting calls for literary submissions.

✭ Silver Birch Press in Los Angeles has issued a number of interesting advance calls for submissions, among them calls for poetry, prose, paintings, drawings, photographs, and other work inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (1865). The press plans to publish an Alice in Wonderland Anthology to celebrate the 150th anniversary, on November 26, 2015, of Carroll's book. The submission deadline is October 1, 2014. The anthology will be released on January 27, 2015, in time for Carroll's 183rd birthday. Read the Call for Submissions for full details.

✭ Also from Silver Birch is this Call for Submissions for The Great Gatsby Anthology, the deadline for which is September 1, 2014. The anthology, to be released in April of 2015, will mark the 90th anniversary of the publication of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby (1925). Submissions may include poems, short stories, essays, creative nonfiction, shots plays or screenplays, and visual art. 

✭ A Call for Submissions for a special-focus issue on skin has been issued by The Chattahoochee Review. Submissions of "sophisticated" explorations of the theme are requested by August 1, 2014. Selections will be published in the double Fall/Winter 2014 issue.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Kara Walker on 'a Subtlety'

Earlier this year Jad Abumrad, creator and host of Radiolab, interviewed artist Kara Walker about her most recent large-scale public project, a Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, for CreativeTime. In the talk, recorded below, Walker discusses her inspirations, investigations into the history and meaning of sugar, and her artistic approach to her subject. Her installation, at the Domino Sugar refinery in Brooklyn, New York, closed July 6.

Note: The exhibition "Anything but Civil: Kara Walker's Vision of the Old South" is on view through August  10 at Saint Louis Art Museum.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cirrostratus (Poem)


a veil of ice
crystals crowns
the moon

a halo runs
round, sun
dog mocking

fields honeycombed
in golden curls
of new-turned earth

welcoming rain

© 2014 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Muse Lit Links

Today, Monday Muse brings together a selection of literary-related events, organizations, books, workshops, and other resources discovered on the Web.

✭ The annual Poets House Showcase at Poets House in New York City opened June 26 and continues through August 16. The exhibit, which is free, features new titles and related texts published in the United States by more than 650 independent, university, and commercial presses. On view are single-author poetry collections, poetry anthologies, chapbooks, biographies, critical studies, essay collections, CDs, and more. 

Poets House on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Litmore, a membership-based organization housed in a community arts center, describes itself as "a center of gravity" for literary endeavors in Baltimore, Maryland, and the holder of Baltimore's largest collection of small press poetry books and ephemera. In addition to the poetry library, containing more than 4,000 catalogued objects, Litmore conducts literary workshops and readings, serves as a multimedia performance space, and offers internships and short- and long-term studio and office space for writers and artists. This past June, Litmore launched a blog, Litmore Poetry Library.

Litmore on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ The New York Public Library has a digital publication, Point, that showcases photos, prints, maps, and other NYPL resources. All the editions are free and downloadable from iBooks. Current and past editions include Frankenstein, Making a Modern Monster (Volume 1, Edition 4) and Charles Dickens: A Key to His Characters (Volume 2, Edition 1). Plans are to make editions available in pdf and ePub formats.

✭ Pocket-size knowledge cards that will test your literary chops are available from the New York Public Library and Pomegranate Press. They include the titles Melodrama, Modernism & Myth: A Literature Quiz Deck, The Plot Thickens: A Literature Quiz Deck, and Unforgettable Characters: A Literature Quiz.

✭ McSweeney's offers a four-issue poetry subscription series that is among the most affordable you'll find. This year's subscription includes Carl Adamshick's Saint Friend.

✭ July 26, at the Bethesda, Maryland, Writer's Center, Jean Nordhaus, review editor for Poet Lore, will lead a workshop titled "The Critic's Eye: Reading and Writing about Poems". Part of the series "From the Editor's Desk: Poet Lore at The Writer's Center", the one-day, two-hour workshop will aim to help participants better understand what an editor looks for when considering a critical review for publication. 

Poet Lore is celebrating its 125th anniversary. Read Ron Charles's article in The Washington Post, "America's Oldest Poetry Journal Celebrates 125 Years of Great Verse".

The Writer's Center on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube