Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Take It Down (Poem)

Take It Down

It will take a snip.
Go to one corner
and cut. Begin

with a red thread
and pull—gently.
First, you want to

take it apart slowly,
one long red thread
by one red thread,

calling out loud
a letter of every
name—nine more

now. Rough cloth,
it may not yield
with your next tug.

Find the thread
that holds it all
together, the heart

of a story that repeats
in our homes, our
schools, our capitals

of two-sided streets,
our separate entrances,
our safest houses

of gospel. Every
stitch made you will
want to weaken.

Hear the tear?
Now pull the cross
from its center,

the meeting place
of a long rope,
a stack of white robes,

welts on the bruised
backs, field reports
to the FBI. So many

threads of connection
to break. The deniers
are among us, still.

But the thread will give.

© 2015 Maureen E. Doallas

Other poems in this series: "State of Affairs", "You there, on that screen", and "Crisis of Faith".

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Muse: Summer Writing Workshops

If you're a writer who can use a summer workshop or two or want or need an introduction to publishing professionals, you'll find below a half-dozen possibilities.

✦ There's still time (the deadline is July 3) to register for day participation in the 19th Annual West Virginia University Writers' Workshop, which is July 16-19 in Morgantown. Workshop faculty include director and author Mark Brazaitis, novelist Paula McLain, poet Erin Murphy, and classical ballet teacher and writer Renee K. Nicholson. Sessions during the workshop cover fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. There's even a separate workshop for high school students who are interested in a writing career. The fees and a schedule, as well as other information, is available online.

WVa Writers Workshop on FaceBook

✦ The Wyly Theatre in Dallas, Texas, is the setting for the wide-ranging DFW Writer's Conference, July 24-26. The registration deadline is July 24; late registration also is possible. The DFW Writers Workshop sponsors the event, which includes a session for agent pitches. Check the Website for classes, keynote speakers, vendors, and other information.

DFW Writers Workshop on FaceBook

✦ The 44th Annual Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators is July 31 through August 3 in Los Angeles, California. The conference features agents, editors, art directors, established writers, and industry publishers; see the faculty bios online. Opportunities are available for one-on-one manuscript and portfolio critiques. SCBWI members receive a registration discount.

SCBWI on FaceBook

✦ You can escape the summer heat by registering for the 53rd Annual Cape Cod Writers Center Conference, to be held August 6-9 in Hyannis, Massachusetts. The conference, sponsored by Cape Cod Writers Center and titled "Inspired Storytelling by the Sea", includes writing sessions in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and memoir, as well as screenwriting. Topics range from self-publishing, to romance writing, to writing for television and film, to promoting ebooks, to getting an agent. See the conference brochure (pdf) for information about keynote speakers (they include Marge Piercy), daily sessions, descriptions about one-, two-, and three-day courses and intensives, and faculty.

Cape Cod Writers Center on FaceBook

✦ Established and aspiring authors and screenwriters can meet or network with agents, editors, producers, writing instructors, and other writing and publishing professionals at the 46th Annual Willamette Writers Conference. Scheduled to run from August 7 through August 9 in Portland, Oregon, the conference offers more than 80 workshops, panels, and presentations. Complete conference information, including an interactive schedule, faculty bios, and registration options, is available on the conference Website.

Willamette Writers on FaceBook

✦ Fiction writers have their own annual conference, the Mid-Atlantic Fiction Writers Institute, scheduled this year for August 7 through August 9 at Hagerstown Community College in Maryland. (The conference formerly was known as the Nora Roberts Writing Institute.) The three-day writing retreat includes a special offering at the same time: Hub City Teen Writers Institute. The MAFWI offers panel discussions on such topics as social media promotion, self-publishing, and publisher-author relationships, sessions on writing dialogue, creating characters, and writing thrillers, and networking activities. Complete registration and conference information is available online.

MAFWI on FaceBook

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Thought for the Day

But progress is never individual.
~ Marge Piercy

Quoted from "Hope is a long, slow thing" in Made in Detroit: Poems (Knopf, 2015)

Marge Piercy, Novelist, Poet, Memorist

Marge Piercy on FaceBook

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday Short

Today's short, Transforming, directed by Mizuki Kawano and produced by Yuna Takayama for Taiyo Kikaku Co., Ltd., is all about nail art. . . and what happens when it comes to life.

According to notes accompanying the video, once animation data were created from a series of designs, the data were printed as 3D artificial nails (521 in all), using a full-color 3D printer; the nails were repeatedly attached, filmed frame-by-frame, and then replaced, until the animation was completed. No computer graphics were used. Watch "Making of 'Transforming'".


Transforming on Tumblr and FaceBook

Friday, June 26, 2015

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Artist India Flint describes herself as a "botanical alchemist & string twiner" and "the original discoverer of the eucalyptus ecoprint". An installation artist who prints, paints, draws, writes, and sculpts, Flint works with leaves, discarded materials, cloth, paper, stones, and bones, creating beautiful, unusual objects for the wall and the body. I'm especially drawn to what Flint calls her "marks on paper". (See her blog prophet of bloom.)

India Flint on FaceBook 

✦ Representational painter Erin Anderson paints oil directly on copper sheets then etches it away, enveloping her primarily female figures in flowing lines or designs. A semi-finalist in the 2015 BP Portrait Award Competition, Anderson is exhibiting through July 3 in "Contemporary Figuration" at Abend Gallery in Denver, Colorado.

Erin Anderson on FaceBook

✦ The National Gallery of Art's excellent Gauguin: Maker of Myth, a 30-minute video narrated by Willem Dafoe and with Alfred Molina speaking as Gaugin, was uploaded earlier this year and is available to view online. It also is available on iTunes and as a DVD.

✦ Toronto's Cybele Young creates tiny, intricate sculptures from exquisite Japanese papers. Some new work can be seen on the artist's Website and in the exhibition "Some Changes Were Made", through July 17 at Forum Gallery in New York City. When she's not busy making art, Young writes and illustrates picture books. Watch a selection of her time-lapse films and read an interview.

Cybele Young on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ See the watercolors of Lourdes Sanchez, a New York painter, at Sears Peyton Gallery. I especially like her delicate-looking flowers, created in watercolors and ink.

✦ Below you'll find a quick preview of an exhibition of watercolors by British painter and designer Eric Ravilious (1903-1942) at Dulwich Picture Gallery, London. The artist is introduced by curator James Russell, a specialist in the artist's work. The exhibition continues through August 31.

Dulwich Picture Gallery on FaceBook

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ Opening June 28 at Washington, D.C.'s National Gallery of Art, "Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter's Eye" presents a selection of work created between 1875 and 1882, including the paintings The Floor Scrapers, Paris Street, Rainy Day, Man at His Bath, and Nude on a Couch. The first major show of Caillebotte's work in two decades, the exhibition is organized thematically, showcasing depictions of interior life, portraits, still lifes, street views, and river scenes. Continuing at NGA through October 4, the show travels to Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, where it will run from November 8, 2015, through February 14, 2016. A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue (image below), co-published by NGA and University of Chicago Press (UCP page for catalogue), is available.

Catalogue Cover Art

NGA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Robert Motherwell, who died in 1991. To celebrate, Jerald Melberg Gallery, Charlotte, North Carolina, is presenting a centenary exhibition, which opens June 27 and continues through August 29. See the gallery's Motherwell page for selections of works on paper and prints by the artist. In recognition of the centenary, the Dedalus Foundation is giving priority in 2015 to the Motherwell Legacy Program, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art is presenting through July 26 "Robert Motherwell: Lyric Suite". Work by Motherwell, a painter and printmaker who also was an editor, writer, and teacher, can be seen in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum, and Tate Britain, among other institutions. 

David Slovic's two- and three-dimensional works of manipulated masking  tape (see images) are on view through November 15 at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts. A group exhibition of Philadelphia-area artists Margo Allman, Charles Burwell, and Antonio Puri, titled "Layering Constructs", may be viewed through September 7. The latter is presented jointly with Delaware Art Museum (view a selection of images).

DCCA on FaceBook and Twitter

Delaware Art Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ "Nathaniel Stern: Giverny of the Midwest", a selection of "performative prints" by Nathaniel Stern, is on view through September 6 at the Museum of Wisconsin Art. To make his images, Stern uses a scanner and a computer and immerses his body in a lily pond. The artist will give a talk about his inspirations and computer-based creative process on July 30 at 6:30 p.m.

In the video below, Stern explains "Rippling Images", which he makes underwater (see final prints):

See Stern's "architectural" installation Giverny Remediated at his Website.

MOWA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ In Oregon, work by Betty LaDuke may be seen in "APEX" through July 19 at Portland Art Museum. Presented in the show are new works as well as paintings from LaDuke's 65-year retrospective that took place in June 2013 at Schneider Museum of Art at Southern Oregon University. (An article about LaDuke and her work for the latter is online at OPB.)

LaDuke is the author of Africa: Women's Art, Women's Lives (Africa World Press, 1997) and other books, including the forthcoming Bountiful Harvest: From Land to Table (White Cloud Press, October 2015).

Betty LaDuke at Hanson Howard Gallery: Bio and Images

Watch "Celebrating Life ~ The Art of Betty LaDuke":

Portland Museum of Art on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Thursday, June 25, 2015

State of Affairs (Poem)

State of Affairs

We don't have Bed-Ins
in this country anymore.

Lennon's gone, and Iraq without
Saddam is our latest Vietnam.

Instead of Agent Orange, there's
chlorine gas in the barrel bombs,

and drones get named Raven,
Dragon Eye, Tarantula Hawk,

as if all the animals were doing
the world's killing. Millennials run

off to join ISIS; a kosher grocery
on the outskirts of Paris is laid waste.

Serbia declares, We will not close
up and live in Auschwitz, because

Hungary decides to put up a fence
to keep the illegal migrants out.

Not even the Mediterranean Sea is
dangerous enough to stop the boats

that carry the thousands that flee
the countries that traffic in crime.

Here at home, we test our children
more than the cars we buy and drive,

dispute global warming and climate
change while the Arctic ice melts,

ban books on controversial issues
and let hide out the priests who use

the bodies of boys for their pleasure.
We believe in civil and human rights

then twist hands when cops choke
the breath out of a 350-pound man

or take down and put a knee in
the back of a teen in a bikini. Now

that we've gotten past Columbine,
Sandy Hook, Aurora, watched

Baltimore burn, coined a hashtag
#BlackLivesMatter, nine blacks

praying and studying the Bible are
shot dead—and a Confederate flag

still flies high over their state capitol.
Race is a deep fault line in America,

Hillary says. It's history! Tomorrow
the Facebook crowd already will have

moved on, set up their grills, signed
their Hallmark cards for Father's Day.

© June 20, 1015 Maureen E. Doallas

When I wrote this poem, the Confederate flag, symbol of hatred, repression, and oppression, had become the issue of the day. South Carolina's governor has called for the flag to be taken down, though it flies still, even as murdered state senator Clementa Pinckney, pastor of Mother Emanuel, lies in state in the capitol building; Alabama's governor has ordered removal of Confederate banners, and Virginia's governor has announced plans to phase out the symbol on state license plates. Some retailers (Walmart, Amazon, Sears, eBay) have vowed to stop selling Confederate flag merchandise. Our National Park Service also has issued a voluntary request to stop sales of flags and related products by its partners and affiliates. Let's be clear: This is the least that can be done. All these actions are politically expedient. Ban the flag, lower it forever, put it in a history museum, stop making and selling items that bear that despicable symbol—but don't claim any of these steps will dispel the hatred and racism that reside in too many American hearts. And don't just move on. We all have a lot of work to do. 

As the late Jake Adam York wrote in his poem "Vigil" in Murder Ballads (Elixir Press, 2005):

[. . .] Let the crucible door open like a mouth
and speak its bloom of light, molten and new.

Let me stand in its halo. Let me stand
as it pours out its stream of suns.

Let me gather and hold it like a brother.
And let it burn.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

You there, on that screen (Poem)

You there, on that screen,

go debate that business
of rights and guns, as if

you have cause to slide
into a chair in the basement

of that church where you
don't belong, are welcomed

anyway, then have your say

and stand and aim and fire
over and over and over

because you claim a right
to breathe that you denied

those nine good black lives.

I watched the guard behind
you, to your right — he looked

your age, if that — how he bit
his lips once and then once

again as the family members
stood, shivered, and forgave

you, and I say: I feel smaller.

Your eyes dart, your lips don't
move. There is nothing wet

on your face, and yet you breathe.

© 2015 Maureen E. Doallas

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Crisis of Faith (Poem)

Crisis of Faith

     for the Nine Killed in Charleston, S.C.
         17 June 2015

The killer enters
a prayer circle.

I will not write
his name here.

He sits, waiting
the hour's end.

The six women,
the three men

pray together,
study together,

try to understand
the Good Word.

No good word
from the killer,

rising, shouting,
aiming, shooting

reloading, shooting
shooting, reloading

shooting, shooting
reloading, shooting

reloading, reloading
shooting, shooting, shooting:

Tywanza Sanders, 26
Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, 41
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45
Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49
Cynthia Hurd, 54
Myra Thompson, 59
Ethel Lee Lance, 70
Daniel L. Simmons, 74
Susie Jackson, 87

I cannot write
His name here.

2015 © Maureen E. Doallas


Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church ("Mother Emanuel")

Church Website

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Muse: New Florida Poet Laureate

. . . I like poetry that is accessible—I don't mean greeting-card verse
poetry, but clear poetry, which is hard to write.*
~ Peter Meinke

Peter Meinke is Florida's new Poet Laureate. Florida's governor announced the appointment of the state's fourth incumbent June 15.

The first Poet Laureate of St. Petersburg, Florida, where he has been a resident since 1966 (he was born in Brooklyn, New York), Meinke succeeds the late Edmund Skellings, who served from 1980 until his death in 2012. Meinke's term begins officially June 26. He is only the fourth poet to serve; in addition to Skellings, Franklin N. Wood and Vivian Laramore Rader held the position. As of July 1, 2014, Skellings and Wood were each designated a State Poet Laureate Emeritus; Laramore Rader was designated State Poet Laureate Emerita.

Formerly a life-time appointment, the position now is for four years, the result of a 2014 legislative revision (2014 Florida Statutes, Title XVIII, Chapter 263, Section 2863). It is honorary and unpaid. The only specific requirements of the Poet  Laureate are to "[engage] in outreach and mentoring for the benefit of schools and communities throughout the state and [to perform] readings of his of her own poetry, as requested."

Meinke is active on the poetry-reading circuit and told one interviewer that in addition to reading in many libraries and schools, as well as writers' conferences and literary festivals, he's held workshops in homeless shelters. CBS Tampa named Meinke one of the "Best Local Poets in Tampa Bay".

* * * * *
. . . any style that is handled with flare and authority
is fine by me. I like clarity and intelligence. . . .**

Peter Meinke is the author of 18 poetry collections and chapbooks. Among his most recent poetry books are Lucky Bones (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series, 2014),  The Contracted World: New & More Selected Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series, 2006), and Zinc Fingers: Poems A to Z (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series, 2000). Some of his other titles, which remain in print, are Scars (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series, 1996) and Liquid Paper: New and Selected Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series, 1991). Meinke's debut collection, which is still in print, is The Night Train and the Golden Bird (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series 1977).

Meinke's chapbooks include the 35th Anniversary Edition of Lines from Neuchatel (University of Tampa Press, 2009) and Greatest Hits, 1964-2000.

In addition to poetry, Meinke writes fiction, including short stories and children's books, and nonfiction. The latter include The Shape of Poetry: A Practical Guide to Writing and Reading Poems (University of Tampa Press, New/Rev. Ed., 2012), Truth and Affection: The 'Poet's Notebook' Columns from Creative Loafing (University of Tampa Press, 2013), and the still-in-print Howard Nemerov — American Writers 70: University of Minnesota Pamplets on American Writers (University of Minnesota Press, Minnesota Archive Editions, 1968). Note: Brief descriptions of all of Meinke's titles are available, with hyperlinks, in the Books section of the poet's Website. Also see the About page.

Nature, family, and daily life figure frequently as subjects in Meinke's poetry, along with politics and anything else that catches his attention. Among the variety of traditional forms Meinke uses are sonnets, villanelles, and pantoums. Meinke's poems are lyrical; many are humorous. His most recent work typically has no punctuation. In an interview with Anita Malhotra, Meinke characterized his poems this way: "They vary widely, but there's always some humor lurking nearby. It's basically a dark view of the world, but a reasonably cheerful take on it. Politics is in there, and anti-war poems, though I try not to sound like I'm preaching. There are lots of poems about family. . . I'm not a flashy poet, and more of a neighborhood poet than a state or Southern poet." He also told Malhotra that he does "a lot of rewriting", primarily for sound.

The following are excerpts from several of Meinke's poems:

The visible world is full of elephant tusks
the music of a silent god
the upward thrust & curve of
natural power, which we grid down
into dice and key, earring and toothpick
to capture the spirit of elephant. [. . .]
~ from "Elephant Tusks" in Trying to Surprise God (1981), page 32

In the morning, in December
they lean like flares over our brick pathway,
vessels of brilliant energy,
their bright explosions enclosed by the frailest membrane:
they tremble with their holy repressions. [. . .]
~ from "Azaleas" in Trying to Surprise God (1981), pages 21-22

Poems and other work by Meinke have appeared in American Poetry MonthlyThe Antioch Review, Atlanta ReviewThe Atlantic, Eckerd Review, The Georgia Review, Greensboro Review, KalliopeLightning Key Review, The Literary ReviewLos Angeles Times, Michigan Quarterly ReviewThe New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Quarterly, PlumePoetryPoetry Daily, Tampa Review, Tar River Poetry, Tennessee QuarterlyVirginia Quarterly Review, and scores of other literary periodicals and journals.

Meinke's short story "The Ponoes" is anthologized in The Flannery O'Connor Award: Selected Stories (University of Georgia Press, 1993), edited by Charles East. (Note: The story can be found in a selection from the anthology at GoogleBooks.) Other work is found in The Best of The Atlantic: A Treasury of Short Stories (Atlantic Monthly, 1988).

Among the honors accorded Meinke are a Lifetime Achievement Award in Letters from SunLitFestival (2015), a Fulbright Fellowship (1978-1979), two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships (1989, 1974), three Poetry Society of America prizes, two O'Henry Awards, an Olivet Prize, a Paumanok Poetry Award, an Award of Excellence from Southeastern Library Association (2009), a PEN Award (1984), a Southeast Booksellers Association Award for "Best Book of Poetry of the Year" (2001), and a Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction (1986), awarded for his debut collection of short stories The Piano Tuner (University of Georgia Press, 1994). The latter also received the LSU/Southern Review Award (1986). His chapbook Campocorto won the 1995 Sow's Ear Chapbook Competition (competition winners page). YellowJacket Press has named a chapbook contest after him.

Meinke is professor emeritus of Eckerd College (the college established The Peter Meinke Endowed Professorship in Creative Writing), and as a visiting writer or poet- or writer-in-residence has taught at numerous higher education institutions in the United States and abroad. He has been director of The Writing Workshop at Eckerd College and taught in the college's annual Writers in Paradise Writers Conference.

Artist Jeanne Clark Meinke, Meinke's wife, illustrates many of the poet's books. She has published a collection of drawings, Lines from Wildwood Lane (University of Tampa Press, 2010).


Photo Credit: Jeanne Meinke

All Poetry Excerpts © Peter Meinke

* Quoted from Jeff Kunerth Feature Article (See link below.)

** Quoted from Lissette Vega Interview (See link below.)

"Peter Meinke Named Florida's Poet Laureate", Tampa Bay Newswire, June 16, 2015

Jon Wilson, "St. Pete Resident Named Florida Poet Laureate", Tampa Bay Reporter, June 16, 2015

Janelle Irwin, "Longtime Eckerd College Professor Named Florida Poet Laureate", SaintPeters Blog, June 16, 2015

Colette Bancroft, "St. Petersburg's Peter Meinke Named Poet Laureate of Florida", Tampa Bay Times, June 15, 2015

David Warner, "Peter Meinke Named Florida Poet Laureate", Creative Loafing Tampa, June 15, 2015

Peter Meinke Poetry Online: "Lines from Neuchatel" (pdf) and "Easter in Neuchatel", Both at Peter Meinke Website; "What Wild-Eyed Murderer" and "The First Marriage", Both at Academy of American Poets; "Everything We Do" and "Uncle Jim", Both at The Writer's Almanac; "Supermarket" and "Atomic Pantoum", Both at Journal of Ideology, ISUS (pdf); "Night Watch on the Chesapeake" and "The Pin", Both at Virginia Quarterly Review Online; "Liquid Paper" at Los Angeles Times; "Skipping Stones" at Poetry Daily; "Apples", "Atomic Pantoum", "Azaleas", "Elephant Tusks", "Exodus with Children", "J", "M3", "Marine Forecast", "Mazzaroli's Cannon", "Playing Badminton: Sunday Afternoon 1968", "The Artist", "The Dead Tree", and "The Gift of the Magi", All at The Poetry Foundation; "The Poet, Trying to Surprise God" at Tampa Bay Newswire; "Cassandra in the Library", "Generalsis I (I-III)", "Habemus Papam", "Ars Longa, Vita Brevis", and "Habeus Corpus", All at University of Pittsburgh Press Page (pdf); "Carina", "Fern", "Ode to Our Checkbooks", and "Dream Analysis", All at Connotation Press Online; "Heartworld" at Lightning Key Review; "The First Marriage", "The Secret Code", and "Liquid Paper", All at Geocities Archive; "Uncle Jim" at Arthur Magazine; "Old Houses" and "Epitaph" at The Two Keys Press; "The Heart's Location" and "Advice for Our Son", "The Chattaway", "Lassing Park", and "Learning Italian" All at ArtsMania; "A Fable: The Floss-Silk Tree and the Philodendron" at Plume; "Advice to My Son" at Your Daily Poem

The poems "First Marriage" and "Advice to My Son" are found most frequently on the Internet.

Eckerd College, "Peter Meinke to be Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award", ThinkOutside News Center, March 3, 2015

Colette Bancroft, "St. Petersburgh Gets Its First Poet Laureate: Peter Meinke", Tampa Bay Times, May 13, 2009 Note: Helen Pruitt Wallace has been appointed to the three-year post, beginning January 1, 2016.

Patricia Lieb, "Peter Meike: The Man and the Works", Geocities Archive

Jeff Kunerth, "Peter Meinke — The Soul of a Poet", Orlando Sentinel, June 9, 1986

Peter Meinke, "My Favorite Childhood Book", YouTube Video (2014) Note: There are a number of other recorded readings at YouTube, including a reading at Georgia State University (2007). See the sidebar for additional titles. Meinke also can be seen and heard reciting poetry in the video titled "The Florida Poets Project: Peter Meinke" at Vimeo.

Peter Meinke on FaceBook

Peter Meinke Poetry Prize on FaceBook (YellowJacket Press)

Dr. Gregory Byrd, "Form and Function: An Interview with Poets Peter Meinke and Denise Duhamel", Sandbox News (St. Petersburg College), February 6, 2013

Anita Malhotra, "Interview with Peter Meinke", ArtsMania, March 31, 2012 (This is an excellent interview, covering a lot of ground, from Meinke's childhood experience of poetry, to Twitter poetry, to inspiration for poems, to teaching poetry, to the role of the poet in society today.)

James Plath, "An Interview with Peter Meinke", Clockwatch Review, July 1990

Lissette Vega, "Peter Meinke: An American Poet" (Interview), WordSmitten

Ian Vogt, Review of Lucky Bones at Coal Hill Review, December 2014

Dennis Daly, Review of Lucky Bones at Fox Chase Review Blog, November 2014

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Thought for the Day

It is our function as artists to make the spectator see
the world our way—not his way.
~ Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottleib

Quoted from Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb, Letter of June 7, 1943, to The New York Times (Published June 13, 1943); Rothko, Writings on Art, 36.

Adolph Gottleib (1903-1974) at Adolph & Esther Gottlieb FoundationThe Art Story, MoMA

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Saturday Short

Film Poster

Below you'll find the trailer for the 2015 award-winning, beautifully filmed documentary Los Reyes del Pueblo que No Existe (Kings of Nowhere), the first feature-length work from Mexican filmmaker Betzabe Garcia. (English subtitles are provided.)

The documentary is the story of three families in northwestern Mexico whose village is partially underwater. Out of loneliness and fear, the residents refuse to leave, living each day as it comes.

Read an interview with the director. Betzabe Garcia says "the courage and drive" of the people of San Marcos, in Sinaloa state, which was flooded when Picachos dam was constructed beginning in 2006, inspired her to make the film, and she cautions that the people "don't see themselves as victims".

My thanks to The Curator magazine, which posted a review of the documentary.

Los Reyes on FaceBook and Twitter

Of Interest: Sergio Solache's "Mexico Villages Vanish Under Flood of Dams" (November 12, 2009)

Friday, June 19, 2015

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Published this spring, New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic 1919-1933 (Prestel Publishing, 2015) spotlights 150 works by more than four dozen artists, including Otto Dix, George Grosz, Max Beckmann, and August Sander, as well as essays examining the politics of the New Objectivity style and its relationship to Expressionism and other international art movements of the time. Containing 300 color illustrations, the book is by Stephanie Barron and Sabine Eckmann.

Catalogue Cover Art

✦ New print editions by Robert Pruitt, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Osmeivy Ortega, and Hayal Pozanti are available at Tamarind Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Lithographs by 15 artists from Botswana also are on offer. An exhibition of the new releases continues through August 1, 2016.

Tamarind Institute on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✦ I first came across mention of British artist Emily Jo Gibbs on FaceBook and clicked over to her Website, where I learned she's internationally known for her textiles and metal work. Her hand-embroidered portraits, nature-inspired still lifes, and silk, silver, and willow vessels are beautifully made. Gibbs works on commission and also teaches her craft.

The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its wonderful "Intersections" projects with "Intersections @5". The series has presented 21 artists' work since its beginning in 2009. The anniversary show, on view through October 25, features the contemporary site-specific works of Intersections artists acquired by the museum to date; some artworks were in past installations.

The Phillips Collection on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night helps explain "turbulent flow":

✦ Below is an interview with Suzanne Lecht, who moved to Hanoi two decades ago and helped establish an international market for post-war Vietnam's contemporary art. (My thanks to PBS NewsHour for the video and link.) The country has undergone a  remarkable social, cultural, and economic transformation, as the video shows.

Lecht's space is Art Vietnam Gallery.  Browse the gallery's catalogue of art.

Art Vietnam Gallery on FaceBook

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ The exhibition "Painting on Paper: American Watercolors at Princeton" opens June 27 at Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, New Jersey. Drawn from the museum's own holdings and loans, the show, which continues through August 30, comprises 90 objects, some rarely available to see, including work by Edward Hopper, John James Audubon, Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Jacob Lawrence, and Andrew Wyeth. While subjects, styles, and technical properties of the artworks vary widely, the selections "afford special ways of understanding the nuanced output of many of the nation's greatest artists," says museum director James Steward.

Princeton University Art Museum on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ An exhibition of William Johnston's color images of the extraordinary, profoundly moving choreographer and dancer-performer Eiko Otake, of the renowned duo Eiko & Koma, continues on view at Pleiades Gallery, Durham, North Carolina. The exhibition, "A Body in Fukushima", can be seen through July 25. Eiko is a solo artist at this year's American Dance Festival; her performance is titled A Body in Places (2014). Johnson's still photos are of Eiko in Fukushima, Japan, which was irradiated during a devastating earthquake and tsunami. Other sites showing Johnston's photographs are Reynolds Industries Theatre and Durham Arts Council's Allenton and Semans galleries. The exhibition was on view earlier this year at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, and Wesleyan University Center for the Fine Arts, Middletown, Connecticut.

Watch Eiko's "A Body in Fukushima: Momouchi Summer" and "A Body in Fukushima: Winter 2014". A selection of still images may be seen at each link.

Eiko & Koma on Vimeo

✭ New York City's Michael Rosenfeld Art is presenting through August 7 "It's Never Just Black or White", bringing together mixed media, paintings, sculpture, and works on paper by an A-to-Z list of artists, including Robert Arneson, Romare Bearden, Lee Bontecou, Morris Graves, Jacob Lawrence, Louise Nevelson, Betye Saar, Leonore Tawny, Alma Thomas, and Abraham Walkowitz. Browse online a selection of 70 images

Michael Rosenfeld Art on Twitter

✭ "Chuck Close Photographs" may be seen through July 26 at Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill (Long Island), New York. With 90 images, dating from 1964 to today, the comprehensive survey includes Close's black-and-white portraits, small daguerreotypes, studio maquettes, holograms, Woodburytypes, and monumental composite Polaroids.

Tonight, June 19, the museum is showing the excellent 116-minute Chuck Close documentary (2007), the last documentary made by late producer-director Marion Cajori (1950-2006).

A fully illustrated catalogue, Chuck Close Photographer  (Prestel, 2014), by Colin Westerbeck and museum director Terrie Sultan, is available.

Catalogue Cover

Parrish Art Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and Vimeo

✭ Paintings from the 1970s by Porfirio DiDonna (1942-1986) of Brooklyn, New York, are on view through July 31 at Elizabeth Harris Gallery in New York City. The focus of the exhibition, offered in cooperation with the DiDonna Estate and Nielsen Gallery in Boston, is on DiDonna's grids, which the gallery describes as "mysterious", "meditative", "the marks of [a] unique performance." See images of DiDonna artworks at DiDonna Estate's Website.

A catalogue with an essay by John Yau is available. (Contact the gallery for information).

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Maysey Craddock, shadow and light, 2014
Gouache and Thread on Found Paper
33" x 48.25"
Copyright © Maysey Craddock


Today, you'll find me once again at Escape Into Life, where I've posted a new Artist Watch feature. I'm delighted to spotlight the work of Maysey Craddock.

Drawn to and inspired by Alabama's Gulf Coast, which she has been visiting all her life, Maysey explores in her nature-inspired landscapes the themes of impermanence, ruin, memory, and entropy and, in particular, what happens when humans and nature intersect. She captures in her art a sometimes startling mix of the resolute and the ever-changing.

You'll find in the Artist Watch feature eight of Maysey's paintings, all on found paper, an Artist Statement, a brief biography, and a hyperlinked list of representative galleries that carry the artist's internationally exhibited work.

Maysey Craddock on FaceBook

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wednesday Wonder: 100 Years to Build a Library

For Oslo, Norway, Scottish artist Katie Paterson conceived and has initiated Future Library (Framtidsbiblioteket), which will not come to fruition for 100 years. Her concept: Plant 1,000 trees in Nordmarka, a forest north of Oslo, to be used to create paper for a series of books to be printed in 100 years. 

Each year, one writer is to be commissioned to contribute a text, and every text is to be held in trust, unpublished and unread, in a room designed by the artist, until 2114. The first writer who contributed to the initiative is Margaret Atwood. Read "Margaret Atwood - The First Writer to Contribute to Future Library" (pdf).

A limited-edition artwork, comprising a certificate entitling buyers to one complete set of the published texts, is  to be offered. 

Below is a video with Katie Paterson, who discusses her project, which raises many questions in light of technology advances, resource use and needs, climate change, vocational aspirations, and cultural and socioeconomic considerations.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Lucille Clifton Reading

Lucille Clifton (1936-2010) gives a reading of her delightful poem "homage to my hips", from her collection Good Woman (1987).

The video is from Bill Moyers's "Poets in Performance" project; Moyer's interview with Lucille Clifton is part of his "Sounds of Poetry" series.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday Muse: 'Raising Lilly Ledbetter'

I exist / To raise my writing hand up in a fist /
So all our herstory won't fade in the mist.
Bonnie J. Morris, "Women's Studies Professors Get No Respect"

Cover of Raising Lilly Ledbetter

One of the delights of anthologies is their inclusion not only of familiar voices but also of voices emerging or not known. In Lost Horse Press's recently published volume Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace*, we have 120 established, emerging, and new voices, each representing through poetry women's experience of and in the workplace. Among them are a number that many will recognize instantly, as I did: Rita Dove, Dorianne Laux, Nikky Finney, Sandra Beasley, Natasha Trethewey, Linda Hogan, Luisa A. Igloria, Kathleen Flenniken, Martha Silano, Cathie Park Hong, Kim Addonizio, Shaindel Beers, Ellen Bass, Denise Duhamel, Camille T. Dungy, Lucia Perillo. Others, including Takako Aria, Lois Red Elk, Lam Thi My Da, Rosebud Ben-Oni, and Vandanna Khanna, belong to those not so well-known to me, or at all—women who nonetheless give greater perspective, depth, and bread to the collection.

Edited by Carolyne Wright, M.L. Lyons, and Eugenia Toledo, this welcome collection first and foremost pays tribute to Lilly Ledbetter, whose fearlessness in pursuing an end to wage discrimination was the catalyst for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (Public Law 111-2), legislation that President Barack Obama signed into law on January 29, 2009, at the start of his Administration. Ledbetter contributes at the beginning of the anthology a statement acknowledging not only her personal struggles to be compensated fairly for her work but also the struggles of so many other women—indeed all those raising their own voices in this volume—to whom equal pay, benefits, promotions, power, and respect have been and continue to be denied. Carolyne Wright presents, in "Seventy-Seven Cents to the Dollar: A Working Introduction" to Raising Lilly Ledbetter, a well-written summary of Ledbetter's long court case, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and its meaning for women throughout the United States. She also describes her inspiration for and her own and her colleagues' persistence in following through to publication a generous assemblage of writing that is as culturally, socio-economically, and geographically representative as it is diverse in the occupations at issue. As Wright notes in her introduction, "This anthology deals with work from the perspective of all that is 'Not on Our Resumes'. . . ." 

Raising Lilly Ledbetter is remarkably comprehensive, presenting poems that, Wright points out, concern "the direct treatment of the actions of work, and how those actions influence and shape the internal and external lives of the women performing these jobs—how the tedium, terror, and temptations of the workspace have called forth the voices of women. . . [who] even if they are now employed in better-paid, higher-status occupations, . . . can understand from experience the non-privileged working of many women. . . ." 

More than 60 distinct, skilled and unskilled, low- and high-level occupations, jobs desirable and not—from secretary to sex worker, from domestic to wait staff, from factory piece worker to fragrance model, from postal clerk to deckhand, from lawyer to politician, from nurse to teacher, from construction laborer to scientist—are addressed. The editors' selections, most in free verse and few more than a half- or full page in length, include poems about immigrants' job experiences as well as work experiences of women of color and of Native Americans; persona poems written in the voice of sculptor Camille Claudel, painter Artemisia Gentileschi, or others in the arts; poems about largely unknown figures— for example, Caroline Lucretia Herschel, discover of eight comets, and Lord Byron's daughter Augusta Ada Byron King, a mathematician credited with creating the first computer program—who, to quote from Mary Alexander Agner's "Ordinary Women Scientists", "don't make the history books" even though they "make change with every breath"; poems that look backward, paying homage to women who "came of age in World War II", such as Andrena Zawinski's "Rosie Times"; poems that are humorous as well as lyrical. These are poems to share, read aloud, learn from, exclaim over, and teach.

The range of the poems in subject, approach, and tone is noteworthy. What woman ever "seated in a circle of powerful men" cannot identify with Stacy K. Vargas's description of feeling "[l]ike an electron trapped in an unstable orbit". Or fail to comprehend the message of Susan Cormier, who shares in "Three Keys" this well-studied workplace lesson: "Years ago, my first real boss taught me two things: One: Listen to the boss. Two: Listen to your head and heart. In case of discrepancy, do what is right." Or not acknowledge wishing she could "go out into the parking lot / and scream" if, as Leslea Newman writes in her poem "Adjustment 1—Shifting Piles", her frustrating job requires nothing more from her than that she "make files / for the pile that had no files / and put them into a new file pile."

Regardless of how well-established they are in their particular field of endeavor (not all the writers are poets by vocation), all the contributors share these aims: to bear witness by speaking up and speaking out, to be not just seen but also heard and appreciated for their vast talents, and, as Dorothy Alexander states in her poem "Honest Work", to be "absolved of the sin of being female."

The anthology, which includes informative and satisfying biographical notes on each contributor, is organized in six, thematically unifying sections: Entering the Workforce, The Dust of Everyday Life, Arts & Sciences, Corporate Identities, Why It Almost Never Ends, and Consciousness Raising.

Aptly, the collection concludes with Arlene I. Mandell's "Consciousness Raising Revisited: West Coast Version", in which Mandell asks and then answers the resonant if rhetorical question, 

[. . .] Who says women can't change the world? Of course we can!
It's just taking a hell of a lot longer than we expected. 


* Raising Lilly Ledbetter is part of the Human Rights Series at Lost Horse Press.

The cover currently shown on the collection at Amazon differs from the cover of the book I have; my copy shows an image of Lilly Ledbetter (it can be seen at the link immediately above). In addition, the publisher is listed as University of Washington Press. See UWP's page for the anthology. UWP is the distributor for Raising Lilly Ledbetter. Lost Horse Press announced May 12, 2015, that it received a grant from the Idaho Community Foundation's Bonner County Endowment Fund for Human Rights to support publication of the poetry anthology.

Lost Horse Press on FaceBook