Thursday, April 30, 2015

Art. . . Did You Know?

Today begins a column about art and artists, bringing to light information you might not know. To appear periodically, it is similar to my "Monday Muse Did You Know" posts about poets and poetry.

Did You Know. . . 

✦ New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art has the right to charge an admissions fee, according to the State Supreme Court's decision of February 5, 2015.

✦ If you're planning a visit to an art museum, you might want to check the museum's visitor security and policies section first or, better, just leave your "selfie stick" at home. The camera/phone mounts are prohibited in Smithsonian museums and galleries (read the news release), Seattle Art Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas Museum of Art, Austin's Blanton Museum of Art, Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, and New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, among other art institutions in the United States. Just to be fair, note that on the other side of the backlash against selfies is Art in Island museum, Manila, The Philippines, whose official approach to interactivity encourages climbing on, touching, and playing with the art. (Read "There's an Entire Museum for #ArtSelfies in the Philippines" at The Creators Project.

✦ It's possible to be too popular! A new limit has been imposed on the number of visitors allowed into China's Forbidden City each day. The tourist cap is now approximately 80,000 a day. 

Watch the Smithsonian Channel's China's Forbidden City.

Richard Wilson Online is a new, and free, Website that offers commentary and other information about more than 1,000 works by the artist (c 1713 - 1782), including paintings, drawings, and prints. In addition, the site documents Wilson collections, themes and media, and exhibitions and includes biographies, bibliographical resources, and a glossary. It can be navigated in a number of ways and is searchable. The online catalogue raisonne, a model of its kind, is funded by Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London; its managing curator-compiler is Dr. Paul Spencer-Longhurst, senior research fellow at Mellon Centre. 

✦ The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., has the largest public collection of portraits (text list) by Elaine de Kooning. The collection includes portraits of Ornette Coleman, Merce Cunningham, John F. Kennedy, and Harold Rosenberg. The museum's retrospective exhibition "Elaine de Kooning: Portraits" opened March 13 and continues through January 10, 2016. Check the museum's blog Face to Face for posts about the artist's life and work and its Tumblr site for posts with the hashtaag #MeetEdk.

NPG on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ Danish painter, poet, filmmaker, and sculptor Per Kirkeby (b. 1938), whose work I first saw in 2012 at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., has stopped painting, because a brain hemorrhage and thrombosis suffered in 2009 prevents Kirkeby from seeing colors normally. Read "Kirkeby: 'I have given up trying to be a painter.'" in Politiken, January 30, 2015 (the original article in Danish).

Watch Louisiana Channel's fascinating interview with Kirkeby, "Per Kirkeby: We Build Upon Ruins" (it has English subtitles):

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

New Interview Up at TweetSpeak Poetry

[Note, Added August 17, 2016: The poetry performance film noted below as BE●HOLD has been renamed. It is now called After: A Poetry Film. Also, a trailer has been released. See the FaceBook page below.]

You will find me today at the TweetSpeak Poetry blog, where the first segment of my three-part interview with poet and filmmaker Janet R. Kirchheimer is posted.

I am privileged to have had the opportunity to talk in depth with Janet about her experiences as the child of a Holocaust survivor; her decision to become a poet and filmmaker; her exhibition with photographer Aliza Augustine that integrates poetry and photographs taken at Holocaust-related sites ("How to Spot One of Us: A Collaborative Exhibition" continues through May 18 at Kean University's Human Rights Institute Gallery, Union, New Jersey), and her in-production, cinematic performance film BE•HOLD.

A New York City resident, Janet is a Teaching Fellow at CLAL and the author of the poetry collection How to Spot One of Us (CLAL - National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, 2007). Janet generously provided both family photographs and stills from BE•HOLD, as well as some of her poems (read "The Photograph" below), to complement our interview and this introduction.

The Photograph

by Janet R. Kirchheimer

My mother, four years old, blond curls,
wearing a smocked dress, in a field of goldenrod,
her doll on her lap and her dog at her side.

Two years later, the girl in the photograph
would be backed up against a wall at school,
by kids in her class, for refusing to say "Heil Hitler,"

and they would throw rocks, beat her up, call her Jude,
her dress would be torn, and her parents
would have to find a way to get her out of Germany.

She would be sent to an orphanage in Amsterdam,
and they would wait two years for their visas
to America. I want to ask the girl what

would have become of her if her parents hadn't
found a way out? Would she have survived?
Would she have been experimented on like her cousin Hanni

who returned home after the war and rarely
left her room, or would she,
like another cousin, Bertl, have tried to cross the Pyrenees

into Spain and never be heard from again? What if Hitler had never come
to power, would she and her parents still have come to America?
Would she have met my father, and who would

she have married if she had stayed in Germany, and
who would she have become and what would have become
of me? I cannot let go of it.

(Copyright © Janet R. Kirchheimer. Used with permission.)


Part 1, "Holocaust Poems: Interview with Poet and Filmmaker Janet R. Kirchheimer", April 29, 2015

Part 2, May 6, 2015

Part 3, May 13, 2015

After: A Poetry Film (formerly, BE•HOLD) on FaceBook

Aliza Augustine Photography: Website and FaceBook

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Poet Fanny Howe's Films

Below is a presentation of three shorts by poet Fanny Howe in collaboration with Sheila Gallagher, John Gianvito, and Maceo Senna. The screening of Brigid of Murroe (2014), What Nobody Saw (1979/2015), and Be Again (1999/2015) took place at the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University in conjunction with Howe's 2014-2015 WPR Creative Fellowship. Howe introduces each film.

The video is just over an hour long. It is worth your time to watch.

Fanny Howe has won a number of poetry and other prizes, including the Woodberry Poetry Room Creative Fellowship, the Ruth Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. Among her more than 20 books are essays, novels, and short stories.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Muse: Introduction to Imtiaz Dharker

So why do you write poetry?
I have no choice.
~ Imtiaz Dharker*

Poet Imtiaz Dharker was born in Lahore, Pakistan; spent part of her growing-up years in Scotland,  where she attended university in Glasgow; and has lived in Bombay. Currently, she makes her home in India, London, and Wales. Given her background, it is no surprise that her cultural experiences are reflected in her poems, whose subjects include not only childhood and family, place and home, but also transitions, dislocation and exile, violence, religious conflict, loss and grief, relationships, women's struggles, and choices and their consequences.

Dharker's poetry collections include Over the Moon (Bloodaxe Books, 2014), Leaving Fingerprints (Bloodaxe, 2009), The Terrorist At My Table (Penguin/India and Bloodaxe, 2006), I Speak for the Devil (Penguin/India and Bloodaxe, 2001), and Postcards from god (Viking Penguin, 1994). Her debut collection, Purdah and Other Poems (Oxford University Press 1989; available from resellers) was reprinted with Postcards from god by Bloodaxe in 1997. Several of her collections are available as e-books. 

Poems by Dharker also are found in a number of anthologies, including Furies: A Poetry Anthology of Women Warriors (Kindle, 2014), The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century British and Irish Women's Poetry (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Aqa Anthology: Moon on the Ties: Conflict & Relationships (Literature Guide for GCSE; Trans-Atlantic Publications, 2010), and Fire in the Soul: 100 Poems for Human Rights (New Internationalist, 2009)

Read 16 of Dharker's poems at her Website. Text of some of her poems also is found at Poetry International.

The poet, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the recipient of a 2014 Queen's Gold Medal, also is an artist; her beautifully made, haunting ink drawings have been reproduced in her poetry collections and exhibited in India as well as New York, London, and Hong Kong. In addition, Dharer makes documentary films in India.

Listen as Dharker reads two poems: the well-known "Blessing", from Postcards from god, and "They'll say, 'She must be from another country'", from I Speak for the Devil :

Imtiaz Dharker from Neil Astley on Vimeo.

The filming of the above reading took place in London.

In Person: 30 Poets, DVD-book (Pamela Robertson-Pearce)

Mark Brown, "Imtiaz Dharker Awarded Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry", The Guardian (Books), December 17, 2014

* Helen Bowell, "Interview with Imtiaz Dharker, Poet and Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award Judge", YM: New Work in Poetry, July 28, 2011

Imtiaz Dharker on Twitter and Vimeo

Dharker also performs her poetry in "Poetry Under the Stars" at YouTube.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Thought for the Day

Grief requires memory.
~ Donna Vorreyer

Quoted from the last line of Donna Vorreyer's poem "Lament" in her wonderful collection  A House of Many Windows (Sundress Publications, 2013).

Donna Vorreyer on FaceBook and Twitter

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday Short

Today's short is the trailer for the Terrance Malick documentary The Seventh Fire, which premiered this past February at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival as part of the NATIVe Program. Filmed on White Earth Reservation in Minnesota and directed by Jack Pettibone Riccobono, it follows the lives of two Native gang members and the effects of their choices and lifestyles on themselves and their Ojibwe community. Fractured Atlas in New York was a fiscal sponsor of the documentary.

Friday, April 24, 2015

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Dutch photographer Jacqueline Hassink has published a new book, Jacqueline Hassink: View, Kyoto (Hatje Cantz), a multipart series for which Hassink photographed, between 2004 and 2014, Japanese gardens and Kyoto's Buddhist temples to examine the "undefined" boundaries between public (exterior) and private (interior) spaces. What results are "living sculptures" that transform from season to season and with shifts in spatial arrangements. The text is by Hassink. Some of her photographs from the series may be viewed online at the Website for Benrubi Gallery, New York City.

Cover Art for View, Kyoto

Jacqueline Hassink at Amador Gallery

✦ Book art sculpture and hand-cut paper art are just two examples of how Veska Abad, of Nice, France, uses paper. Visit Etsy to see the latest creations, which are very affordable.

Abadova Paper Art on FaceBook

✦ The x-ray color photography of Jim Wehtje is all about the image. Wehtje has been making x-ray photos for nearly two decades, and almost anything, from tulips, to toys, to animals, catches his eye. (My thanks to Spencer Byles for the introduction to Wehtje's work.)

✦ Photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto is designing his own art complex, which is scheduled to open in Sagami Bay, in eastern Japan, in 2017. Read "Hiroshi Sugimoto Creates His Own Museum" at Phaidon News.

✦ Abstraction and "observed imagery" (representation) figure in the work of Julian Kreimer, whether he's on location or in his studio in Brooklyn. Kreimer, who teaches painting at SUNY, recently had a solo show in San Diego at Lux Art Institute, where he also was Resident Artist. Take a look at his newest paintings.

Lux Art Institute Profile and Works

Julian Kreimer on Tumblr

✦ Today's video introduces Berlin-based Ryoichi Kurokawa whose installations comprising integrated audio and visuals have been receiving significant attention. In the video, Kurokawa discusses how he uses technology to create his artworks. Kurokawa most recently had a solo exhibition at Espacio Fundacion Telefonica in Lima/Peru, where he presented an audiovisual concert.

Visit his Website to view his work.

My thanks to Sedition, where I first saw Kurokawa's  syn_mod-1, syn_mod.2, and syn_mod.3. See Kurokawa's Waterfalls at My Modern Met.

Works of Ryoichi Kurokawa on FaceBook

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ Spring shows have opened at American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, D.C.: "Yes! Glue: A Half-Century of Collage by Bruce and Jean Conner", "Transcription of Blue: Guy Goldstein", "Remembrances of Voices Past" (V. Ramesh), and "Drawings: Walter Kravitz". All continue through May 24. Another noteworthy show, "Stone, Silence and Speech: Sculptures by Sy Gresser", opens April 25 and runs through May 24. Gresser (1926-2014) originally was a poet who became a sculptor of stone and wood

Bruce Conner (1933-2008) at Kohn Gallery; Jean Conner at Gallery Paule Anglim

Video Interview with Sy Gresser

AU Arts/Katzen Arts Center on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ The International Print Center New York continues its group show "True Monotypes" through May 30. Part of its 15th Anniversary celebrations, the IPC exhibition includes monotypes by emerging and established artists, including Romare Bearden, Cecily Brown, Mary Frank, Jasper Johns, Sue Heatley (image below), Maya Lin, Susan RothenbergPhilip Taaffe, William Weege, Christopher Wool, and Lisa Yuskavage (see complete list). 

Sue Heatley, Dahlia Moonlight, 2014
Monotype, Linocut, Gouache, Collage
22-7/8" x 18-1/8"
© 2004-2015 Sue Heatley

Anne Canfield of Philadelphia is part of a two-person show, continuing through May 9, at Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York City. Canfield's work in the exhibition comprises a new series of small oil paintings (the largest is 14" square). See Canfield's narrative-filled interiors and landscapes at her Website. The artist exhibiting with Canfield is Hiro Sakaguchi, who paints, draws, and sculpts. Both artists put plenty of whimsy on display.

Exhibition Page for Canfield and Sakaguchi

Nancy Margolis Gallery on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ If you're planning to be in Atlanta, be sure to drop by Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, which is presenting through May 16 "Maren Hassinger . . . Dreaming". The solo exhibition features sculpture, videos, and installations dating from 1986 to the present. The installations are made of shredded newspapers, plastic bags, leaves, and other unconventional art materials. Hassinger is director of Rinehart School of Sculpture, Maryland Institute and College of Art. Read the museum's exhibition brochure at Issuu.

"Maren Hassinger by Mary Jones", Interview, BOMB Magazine, February 23, 2015

Maren Hassinger on FaceBook

Spelman College Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Opening May 20 at The California Museum of Art, Sacramento, is "Crossing Cultures: Belle Yang, A Story of Immigration". The exhibition, which will continue through August 12, presents 25 paintings and 8 illustrations by Yang, a Chinese-American who was born in Taiwan, came to America at age 7, and currently is based in California. The show also features the documentary My Name is Belle (Ava Motion Picture Productions, 2008). Yang's work encompasses traditional Chinese painting, traditional ink painting, and folk art; she is the author of children's books and a graphic novelist.

"Crossing Cultures" will travel to Juniata College Museum of Art, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania (November 22, 2015 - February 6, 2016), and Saginaw Art Museum, Saginaw, Michigan (March 11, 2016 - June 5, 2016). A number of exhibition images are available at International Arts & Artists; also see the checklist.

CMA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What Artists Collect

The video below, shot by David Clack for Time Out London, is a sneak peek at several artists' personal collections, which are featured in the ticketed "Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector", on view at Barbican Centre in London through May 25.

The first major exhibition of such private collections in the United Kingdom, "Magnificent Obsessions" showcases objects lived with, kept hidden, or put away in storage by 14 internationally known artists, including Edmund de Waal, the late Sol LeWitt, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Pae White

A selection of images is available at the exhibition link above. Fascinating!

"Magnificent Obsessions" App (Free) (The app features interviews with the artists and the exhibition's curators.)

Barbican on FaceBook and Twitter

Related and Of Interest: Seth Apter at The Altered Page blog is featuring a series titled "Living with Art".

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New Interview at TweetSpeak Poetry

WordSurge® Logo
Used With Permission

You'll find me today at TweetSpeak Poetry, which has posted my interview with Jordan Ackerman, one of the creative geniuses behind WordSurge®—The Smart Dictionary, a new Website tool that promises an interactive experience in word discovery and exploration.

In my interview, Ackerman, a 2011 graduate of New York University, talks about the creative inspiration for and challenges in creating the newly launched product; why he thinks WordSurge® will appeal to poets and other writers, songsmiths, hip-hop artists, and anyone else who loves words, definitions, rhymes, and everything related to spoken and written words; what makes the product different from all other online dictionaries; and what he hopes to learn from prospective "WordSurgeons", that is, users, during the product's current Beta testing phase.

Join me for "Not Your Father's Dictionary: A Word-Discovery Tool for Tomorrow" at TweetSpeak Poetry.

WordSurge® on FaceBook

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Until the End of Heaven: A Cento

Until the End of Heaven: A Cento

Before the oceans unfolded from the skies,
still hot so breath takes breath away,
making us gasp and point,
they've signed away the lives of their families.

Does it make you feel better?
I have no illusion.
Sometimes a voice survives.
Where the middle-aged are forced off with their bags,

there are things which must be accounted for.
But this thought, this thought, is not any thought:
At morning there are flowers to cut the heart
promised to another—

Something it takes the dreamer a long time to notice.
And for the thought that one might suffer greatly,
we hadn't burnished our stones with a ram's horn
until the end of heaven.

The title of this cento comes from Adonis's poem "Remembering the First Century" in The Pages of Day and Night.

The sources of the lines are as follows:

1 Jean-Paul Pecqueur's "The Void" in The Imaginations: A Poetry Chapbook
2 Jake Adam York's "At Money" in A Murmuration of Starlings
3 Barbara Crooker's "Looking for the Comet Halley" from Looking for the Comet Halley in Selected Poems
4 Jeannine Hall Gailey's "They Do Not Need Rescue" in The Robot Scientist's Daughter

5 Jillian Weise's "Poem for His Ex" in The Book of Goodbyes
6 Christian Wiman's "My Stop Is Grand" in Once in the West
7 Kelly Cherry's "A Voice Survives" in The Life and Death of Poetry
8 Donna Vorreyer's "The Leaving Behind" in a house of many windows

9   Natasha Trethewey's "Native Guard" in Native Guard
10 Vijay Seshadri's "Personal Essay" in 3 Sections
11  Ezra Pound's "Poem by the Bridge at Ten-Shin" in Selected Poems of Ezra Pound 
12  Louise Gluck's "The Burning Heart in Vita Nova

13  Jane Hirshfield's "Building and Earthquake" in Come Thief
14  Taha Muhammad Ali's "Twigs" in So What
15  Mahmoud Darwish's "The Hoopoe" in If I Were Another
16  Adonis's "Remembering the First Century" in The Pages of Day and Night

Punctuation and capitalization are mostly my own.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Muse: New Kansas Poet Laureate

I think we're all grateful when we encounter
language that's equal to life's richness
and complexity. Poetry can provide that.*
~ Eric McHenry

The new Poet Laureate of Kansas is Eric McHenry. He succeeds Wyatt Townley, who occupied the position from 2013 to 2015. McHenry, whose appointment was announced April 16, 2015, will serve until 2017.

The laureateship, which is not compensated, is coordinated by the Kansas Humanities Commission. As the state's official poet, McHenry will participate in public readings, presentations, and discussions of poetry in communities across Kansas. An assistant professor of English at  Washburn University, McHenry has years of teaching experience, not only in college classrooms but also in K-12 teacher workshops, libraries, adolescent service agencies, and local authors' groups, venues that will well-equip him during his tenure at Kansas's fifth Poet Laureate.

Following the commission's announcement, McHenry told a KCUR interviewer, "I'd like to show Kansans poems that can shake them up, change their perception of the world or make them glad someone puts words in that order."**

* * * * *
The poems that I write rhyme and scan.
That's not because I think poets should write
that way. It's just that the poets who have written the poems I
would most like to have written—Robert Frost and Elizabeth Bishop
and Philip Larkin—have written that way.***

A Topeka, Kansas, native, Eric McHenry is the author of two collections of poetry: Mommy Daddy Evan Sage (Waywiser Press, 2011), for children, and  his debut book Potscrubber Lullabies (Waywiser Press, 2006), which was awarded a Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He plans to publish a third collection, Odd Evening (Waywiser Press) in 2016.

McHenry also is the editor of Peggy of the Flint Hills (The Woodley Press, 2012), a memoir by Topeka newspaper columnist Zula Bennington Greene. (McHenry was a journalist before switching to a career in education.) In addition, McHenry has translated poems by Jorge Luis Borges.

McHenry's poems are marked by their formal structures, humor, wordplay, traditional meters, and rhymes—all characteristics noted early in his career, when he received the prestigious Tufts prize.

Below are excerpts from two of McHenry's poems:

Derivative graffiti crawls
up the overpass like ivy—
abstract names on concrete stanchions.
To the south, symbolic walls:
NO OUTLET signs along the levee,
idle river, idle tracks,
bypass, bluffside and the backs
of Potwin's late Victorian mansions,
flush like book spines on a shelf.
Drunk on your late-Victorian porch
you promised me that if elected
you'd have the river redirected
down Fourth Street, to make Potwin search
North Topeka for itself. [. . .]
~ from "Figurative North Topeka"

This is no way to live: as though more light
were wanted here, a winded sun has come
through the east window like a stumblebum
to order things. This is no way to fight
disorder: sticks of furniture that seem
to have been broken up and brushpiled prior
to now; the ceiling falls upon the fire
with nothing, with its one obtruding beam.
No one has stayed to watch these things abet
their breaking down. [. . .]
~ from "Living Room"

McHenry has published poems in numerous literary magazines and periodicals, including Agni, American Literary Review, Bat City ReviewCincinnati Review, The Guardian, Gulf CoastHarvard Review, New Republic, Poet LorePoetry DailyPoetry International, Poetry NorthwestSlate, TerrainTopeka magazine, and Yale Review. His poetry reviews, essays, and creative nonfiction have appeared in AgniThe AtlanticBoston GlobeColumbia magazine, McSweeney's, Modern American PoetryThe New York Times Book ReviewSalon, and Slate.

In addition to the 2007 Tufts Discovery Award for his debut poetry collection, McHenry has received the 2010 Theodore Roethke Prize, awarded by Poetry Northwest for poems in the Fall/Winter 2010-2011 issue, and seven Pushcart Prize nominations for poetry. In 1999 he and photographer Gary Logan received from Agni The Philip Guston Prize for "Witness, Building, Living Room, and Collision" (see Agni Awards).


Photo Credit: Kansas Humanities Council

All Poetry Excerpts © Eric McHenry

* Quoted from "Eric McHenry Named Poet Laureate of Kansas", News Release, Kansas Humanities Council, April 16, 2015 (Announcements drawn from the news release also appeared in the Topeka Capital Journal, The Republic, and Lawrence Journal World.)

** Quoted from C. J. Janovy, "Three Rules for Poets, From the New Laureate of Kansas (Plus: Leonard Nimoy)", KCUR, April 16, 2015 

*** Quoted from UW Today Article by Nancy Wick, February 15, 2007 (Full Citation Below)

Eric McHenry Poems Online: "Apparent", "Deathbed Confession", and "The Gil Carter Correspondence", All at Kansas Humanities Council; "Figurative North Topeka" and "The Incumbent", Both at Slate (Audio Available); "How to Steal the Laptop of Your Childhood Nemesis" at Slate; "Borrowing Milky-White for the St. Paul's Student Production of Into the Woods" at Slate; "Potscrubber Lullabies" and "Bird Plays to a Cow", Both at Waywiser Press; "Rebuilding Year" at Your Place (Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library Online); "Figurative North Topeka", "Rebuilding Year", "Vanguard", and "Hypermart", All at Kansas Poets; "The Pass-Through" at Terrain; "The Song of Stationary Nathan" at Salamander Magazine; "The Worst" at Seattle Poetry Chain 17; "Deathbed Confession" at Poetry Northwest; "Living Room" at Agni Online

McHenry's poems "Rebuilding Year" and "Vanguard" also appear at Denise Low Postings, a blog.  "Potscrubber Lullabies" and "Bird Plays to a Cow", with audio, also are at The Bridge of Dreams. McHenry's translation of a Jorge Luis Borges poem, "For a Version of I Ching", is at Clarity.

Toby Clements, "Mommy Daddy Evan Sage by Eric McHenry: Review", The Telegraph, October 18, 2011

Douglas Basford, Review of Eric McHenry's Potscrubber Lullabies, Unsplendid; An Online Journal of Poetry in Received and Nonce Forms

Miranda Ericsson, "An Interview with Topeka Poet Eric McHenry", Your Place (Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library Online), November 14, 2013

Bill Blankenship, "Poet Rhymes Darndest Things His Kids Said", The Capital-Journal Online, December 2, 2011

Susan Seligson, "When the Darndest Things Are the Stuff of Poetry", Bostonia, Fall 2011

Kansas Humanities Council on FaceBook and Twitter

Theodore Roethke Prize, Poetry Northwest

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Thought for the Day

. . . if we're choosing to write in verse, we have to
consider what it is the line gives us. It gives us
formal concerns. Taking risks with form can lead
to the most rewarding poems.
~ Gerry LaFemina

Quoted from Gerry La Femina, "Poetry & Risk", Coal Hill Review, March 13, 2015

Gerry LaFemina, Poet, Fiction Writer Professor, Punk Rocker

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday Short

Today's short, set in feudal Japan, is Nekko (Roots), a fairy tale about growing up. It combines live action and animation.

The film, with English subtitles, was directed by Mishka Kornai. The story and its genesis are described at its Kickstarter page.

Nekko on FaceBook

Friday, April 17, 2015

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Gorgeous images of cherry blossoms in Japanese art are reproduced in Cherry Blossoms (Skira Rizzoli, March 3, 2015), written by senior curator James T. Ulak of the Sackler-Freer Galleries and museum writer Howard S. Kaplan; the introduction is by the museum's director Julian Raby. The images are drawn from the museum's collections of gilded screens, woodblock prints, and ink on silks. Featured are renderings by Hiroshige and Hokusai. 

Cover Art

✦ Check out the new Getty360 site.

✦ Fifty artists, including Isobel Currie, Pamela Campagna, Erica Gray, and Helen Weston, are profiled in 3D Mixed Media Textile Art, the first 3D book compiled by the online magazine TextileArtist. It can be purchased for Kindle or as a pdf, or downloaded to iBooks. Here's a preview:

The Sixty Two Group of Textile Artists

✦ In March, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, celebrating the occasion of the painter's birthday, co-hosted with Rizzoli Publications a conversation with poets Bill Berkson, Larry Fagin, Ron Padgett, Allison Power, Jenni Quilter, Carter Ratcliff, and Anne Waldman. The hour-and-15-minute talk, titled "New York School Painters & Potes: Neon in Daylight", was videotaped and made available on the foundation's Website. One of the poets, Allison Power, works at Rizzoli and edited the book New York School Painters & Poets: Neon in Daylight (2014).

Joan Mitchell Foundation on FaceBook

✦ Included in Taschen's 100 Illustrators, Austria-based artist and illustrator Alice Wellinger has won numerous awards for her work, which takes as its subjects daily life struggles, childhood memories, family relationships, love, and more. Wellinger's illustrations and paintings are surreal and provocative, some even haunting. One look is not enough.

"Self-Portrait" in 100 Illustrators

Alice Wellinger on FaceBook

✦ Fans of surrealism will want to know about Zymbol Magazine: The Magazine of Symbolism & Surrealism. Founded in 2012, Zymbol is an international, independent, nonprofit magazine of art and literature. Recent issues featured artwork by Andrew Abbott, Carrie Ann Baade, Morgan Grasham, and Mette Norrie.

Zymbol on FaceBook and Twitter

Zymbol Blog

✦ In today's video, a private art conservator talks about the work done for the Asia Society exhibition "Buddhist Art of Myanmar", which includes stone, bronze, and wood sculptures; paintings, and lacquer ritual implements. The exhibition continues through May 10.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ Belgian artist Michael Borremans is exhibiting 50 paintings, 40 drawings, and five films in "Michael Borremans: As sweet as it gets" at Dallas Museum of Art. The show, which runs through July 5, is the first survey of Borremans's art from the last 15 years. Drawn from private and public collections, it includes both well-known and rarely exhibited works. See a selection of images. Additional images are available at David Zwirner.

DMA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Work by renowned photographer Gordon Parks (1912-2006) is featured in "Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott" at Museum of Fine Arts Boston through September 13. The photographs, owned by The Gordon Parks Foundation, are part of a series Parks made when he returned in 1950 to his hometown in Kansas. A slideshow intended as an online preview is available at the exhibition page, as is a video talk with the curator. View archive at The Gordon Parks Foundation Website.

Published in conjunction with the show is Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott (Steidl), which focuses on Parks's photo-essay about school segregation; intended for Life, the text and photographs were never printed in the magazine. 

Publication Cover Art

On April 27, the museum kicks off the course "Looking Together: Art by African Americans".
MFA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Continuing through June 21 at The Cleveland Museum of Art is "Floral Delight: Textiles from Islamic Lands", showcasing 15 botanical-themed textiles drawn from the museum's collection.

CMA on FaceBook

CMA Blog

Exhibitions Upcoming

✭ An installation of cardboard and ink by New York-based painter Tom Burckhardt opens May 6 at Tennessee's Knoxville Museum of Art. As described by the museum, the installation "takes the form of a mythical modern artist's studio, complete with hundreds of tools, paint brushes, and other supplies". The installation, titled "Tom Burckhardt: Full Stop", will be on view through August 7.

Full Stop at Tom Burckhardt's Website (Images and Link to Interview)

KMA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Opening April 24 at Maine's Portland Museum of Art is "Rose Marasco: index", an exhibition of Marasco's photographs of Maine's Grange Halls, her home (from her wonderful series Domestic Objects), and her images in and around the city of Portland. Images of a selection of photographs are at the exhibition link above. More than four decades of work is represented in the show, which is the photographer's first retrospective. The exhibition will continue through December 6.

PMA on FaceBook and Twitter

Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Jennifer Davis, Hideaway, 2013
Acrylic and Graphite, 12" x 16"
© Jennifer Davis


I'm so pleased to present the delightful work of Minnesota-based painter Jennifer Davis in my new Artist Watch feature at Escape Into Life.

Well-represented in group and solo exhibitions at numerous galleries, arts institutions, and museums, including Soo Visual Arts Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; The DeVos Art Museum, Marquette, Wisconsin; and Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, Boone, North Carolina, Davis is a visual storyteller who populates her canvases with people, animals, trees, and objects that acquire both surreal and dark characteristics. Davis also displays a marvelous sense of humor.

Today's Artist Watch post showcases eight images of Davis's paintings, including several painted earlier this year, provides her Artist Statement and a brief biography, and lists a number of sites, including her personal Website, blog, and Etsy shop, where Davis is active in social media.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Music as Inspiration: Tomas Transtromer

Below is a lovely video that features the late Tomas Transtromer, awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2011, at home in Stockholm. As Transtromer plays, his 1962 poem "Allegro" (from The Half-Finished Heaven, translated by Robert Bly) is recited in Swedish, with English subtitles.

The video, poem text, and additional information about the poet and the occasion that prompted him to play the music are available at Louisiana Channel.

Tomas Transtromer Website

Tomas Transtromer died March 26, 2015. Read his New York Times obituary.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Icarus Myth Retold (Poem)

The Icarus Myth Retold

     The real world doesn't take flight
        the way dreams do....
           ~ from "The Real World" by Wislawa Szymborska in Map:
             Collected and Last Poems


We cannot sum their numbers
of breaths, though we hear
his to the end. We can gather
no last words, row by row,
back to front. He says nothing

to explain what reporters lead
with. Who dreamed this path
of flight that no one ascends.
His youthful claim was to soar
so high, this Icarus who chose

instead to ignore the command
to pull up. The fact of steel
wings is not how they burn too
close to sun, so low to touch
sea, but how unforgiving they are

in the clefts of French mountains.


Half-way round the world
we learn in real time what
black boxes hold clues to:
direction and lift and speed,

engine temperature, pressure
in the cabin, flap settings—
modern flight data not needed
for an ancient myth. What fails is

not technology, Daedalus warned.


There was no escape.
Icarus's mind was a cloudless
vision at some thirty-eight
thousand feet and cruising.

When the elder stepped
away from the controls—
needing to—gravity shifted
without the counterweight

of the younger's conscience
to not take the plane
down. Where granite would
not yield, as mass and energy

conspired in final descent,
he, behind that locked door,
continued reducing the distance
calculated for greatest impact.

© 2015 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem is dedicated to the tragic loss of Germanwings flight 9525.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Muse on Early Poems of Barbara Crooker

Cover Art

My introduction to Barbara Crooker's poetry was her beautiful collection Gold (Cascade Books/Wipf and Stock, 2013), which addressed, movingly, twin themes of death and grief. When Barbara Crooker: Selected Poems (FutureCycle Press, 2015) appeared this past January, I purchased a copy of the newly published book, which contains 102 poems. I have not written before now about Selected Poems because I have found myself returning often to the poems, especially to those from the chapbook The White Poems, each time admiring how Crooker so early on identified and began drawing deep inspiration from what have become signature subjects: nature, love, family and home life, friendship, illness, death and loss, time and the transience of all things. 

The Selected Poems comprises work from 10 chapbooks*, dating from 1983 and including two prize winners: Ordinary Life (2001), which won the Byline Chapbook Prize, and Impressionism (2004), awarded a Grayson Books Chapbook Award. (Only a single poem has been selected from the latter.  I wish there had been more.) In addition, Selected Poems includes 22 previously uncollected poems, dating from 1989 to 2005, which have appeared in various journals. What is noteworthy is how all the poems, coming as they do from different chapbooks written years apart, cohere around Crooker's universal themes and, in their entirety, present so unified a vision of Crooker's world—a place not without sorrow engendered by tragic circumstance, but also vividly, unforgettably beautiful. It is the beauty Crooker observes and documents that makes the sadness in some of the poems bearable. It is beauty that gives Crooker herself reason to believe her life, all life, is blessed.

To read through the Selected Poems is to move repeatedly through metaphorical seasons of life. That constant cycling is evident even in the poems' titles: "Form & Void", "Winter Light", "Auguries", "Fever", "Persistence", "Recipe for Grief", "Coming in from the Cold", "1992: Faith", "1993: Hope", "The Year Winter Never Came", "Bright Star", "Saying Good-Bye".  

Crooker celebrates "ordinary" life—those days "when nothing happened, / the children went off to school / remembering their books, lunches, gloves. [. . .]" ("Ordinary Life")—and those times when "[w]hat we love and water, / bless with the sprinkler's silver spray, / does not necessarily thrive. [. . .]" ("Gardening in a Dry Year"). Abroad in Paris, as memory has it, she is "disappointed" to find the city "so full of Americans" but nevertheless manages to revel in "a sweet moment" she has found, declaiming how

I loved you so completely,
when I die, I want our ashes to mingle; bury us in earth,
plant a rose bush, let it grow thorny, tangled,
and covered in blooms; I want there to be no
separation between my skin and yours. 
~ from "At the Cimitiere de Montmartre"

For every poem adorned in "small flowers [that] open in our hearts" ("January Thaw") or embellished with "leaves [that] come back, on every tree and bush, millions / and millions of small green hands applauding your return" ("For a Friend Lying in Intensive Care Waiting for Her White Blood Cells to Rejuvenate After a Bone Marrow Transplant"), there is another that speaks to reality's contrasting hardships: a worn-out mother of a disabled child who can only dream to "drive clear to the Pacific and never come back" ("The Mother of a Handicapped Child Dreams of Respite"); a woman who, day after day, "lugs the full pail down to the first floor, / heaves it in the washer, makes it spin its offal load. [. . .]" ("The Last Woman in America to Wash Diapers"); a friend in whom "stubborn cells multiply and divide, / an evil arithmetic, the clock ticking away" ("And Then, The Mastectomy").

Always, always, however, comes this acknowledgment to welcome perspective: however long is spent "shoveling in the dark" ("Shoveling at Night"), "[. . .] the rest of our lives will go on, / [. . . .]" ("Letter to Judy"). Even if "[e]verywhere, the silence of all the folded wings" ("All Souls' Day") is all that can be heard, and "your heart constricts to a fist of ice" ("Sorrow Puts on Her Blue Dress"), it remains possible, Crooker maintains, that "[o]ne day, you may learn how to love / the world again and all its breakable beauty" ("Sorrow Puts on Her Blue Dress").

As her evocative imagery underscores, Crooker is a poet profoundly engaged in the experience of living, aware that "[. . .] as dark as it gets on this planet," we still can be so moved by what is around us that all we can do is stand "[. . .] open-mouthed, reading the white-hot / star-spelled stories as if for the first time" ("Worlds End").

Numbering among the earliest examples of her oeuvre, Crooker's Selected Poems show her to be sure of voice, consistent in diction, skillful in using enjambment and creating striking sustained metaphors, accomplished in deploying throughout her free verse her enchantment with words' musical sounds (assonance, consonance, alliteration), and firmly in control of the rhythms of her lines. This is work that illumines a long, clear path to the rewards of the later poetry.

If, as I did, you introduced yourself to Crooker through a more recent collection, go back now and read these earlier Selected Poems. Notice the interplay of the lines' energy, a speeding up and slowing-down; pay attention to the way the poet holds the lines, lengthened and shortened, in balance, how she develops her Monet and Cezanne colors in every picture she makes of words, how she intuits the sound that insists that each poem "[. . .] in spite of itself, burns to be written," so that it

surfaces like the ripples our paddles make
as they dip in the water, spreading in circles
and growing, a quiver of notes
in the throat of the pines.
~ "Looking for Loons" 

* The 10 chapbooks are, in order of appearance in Selected Poems: Ordinary Life (2001), Writing Home (1983), Starting from Zero (1987), Looking for the Comet Halley (1987), The Lost Children (1989), Obbligato (1991), In the Late Summer Garden (1998), Paris (2002), Impressionism (2004), and The White Poems (2001). Some of these may be found only via resellers.

The recipient of numerous poetry prizes, residencies, and fellowships, Barbara Crooker has published, in addition to Gold and Barbara Crooker: Selected Poems, the collections Small Rain (Virtual Artists Collective, 2014), More (C&R Press, 2010), Line Dance (Word Press, 2008), and Radiance (Word Press, 2005). Her poems, which to date number at more than 1,000, have appeared in many literary magazines and periodicals, including The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Denver Quarterly, The Green Mountains Review, RattleSmartish Pace, Superstition ReviewThe Tampa Review, Verse Daily, and Verse-Virtual. Crooker has provided on her Website links to a generous selection of her work online and links to her books.

Barbara Crooker on FaceBook

C&R Press

Cascade Books (Wipf and Stock Publishers)

FutureCycle Press

Virtual Artists Collective