Sunday, September 30, 2012

Self-Made (Poem)


     . . . and then there is the person.

These fingers, thinned and silvered tines,
that thumb's thick thrust, one more dagger,
dimming eyes, unfilled but deep as a spoon,
bid cut to a knife, find matter.

© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem responds to today's prompt at Magpie Tales: Francesca Woodman's It Must Be Time for Lunch Now (1979).

The epigraph is taken from a note Woodman wrote on an early print: "There is the paper and then there is the person."

To participate in today's prompt or read other contributors' poems, go here.

Thought for the Day

In art there is no progress, only fluctuations of intensity.
~ Robert Hughes, 1938-2012


For a selection of "20 of the best" quotes by the late art critic, go here.

Adam Gopnik, "Postscript: Robert Hughes", The New Yorker, August 7, 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

Today's edition of Saturday Sharing sends you to an electronic tour guide to Smithsonian Institution museums, tells you where to go for The Straight Dope, introduces you to list-making at Book Riot, gives a hoot to bardowl's audiobook app, travels through a Ploughshares's series on literary boroughs, looks into date-inspired posts at The American Literary Blog, and leads you to a site that will stretch the boundaries of your knowledge.

✦  Friends coming to the Washington, D.C., area for the first time often include the Smithsonian Institution museums on their itinerary. Given the number of museums, a little advance planning can help make the visit more memorable. Where to start? Check the Smithsonian Tour Guide and Visitors App at iTunes.

✦ The site The Straight Dope aims to stamp out ignorance by providing need-to-know answers to your most pressing questions.

✦ The bardowl will stream audiobooks directly to your iPhone. Go here to see a video of how the app works, or here for a text and image tour. (My thanks to Paris Review Daily for the link.)

✦ Like lists? Book Riot, dedicated to all things about books and reading, offers a weekly round-up. Here's an example.

✦ The blog for the literary magazine Ploughshares is running a series called Literary Boroughs. The "little-known and well-known" literary communities explored to date include Washington, D.C.,(#11) Philadelphia (#7), Brooklyn (#5), and Berkeley, California (#9). The series continuess until the next AWP conference in Boston next year.

Ploughshares on FaceBook, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube

✦ Nineteenth Century American literature is the focus of Rob Velella's The American Literary Blog. Each post, according to Velella, a self-described literary nerd, is inspired by an anniversary (birthday, death, publication date, etc.). Velella has a particular affinity for obscure writers, and what he uncovers is often fascinating.

American Literary Blog on FaceBook and Twitter

Computer science tutorials and thousands of other educational videos are available through the nonprofit Khan Academy, whose mission is "providing a free wold-class education for anyone anywhere." All of the site's resources (there's a lot to explore online) are available free of charge. Content is available in more than 50 languages. Whether you're a student, a home-schooler, an education professional, a coach, a parent, or a life-long learner, you'll find something of interest, I'm sure. (Do you live in the D.C. area? Salman Khan, who founded the nonprofit, will be talking with the Smithsonian Institution's secretary Wayne Clough on October 2. Details on the interview and the signing of The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined, Khan's book, are here.)

Khan Academy on FaceBookTwitter, and YouTube

Khan Academy Blog

Friday, September 28, 2012

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ German artist Heike Weber uses strings of white silicone to create extraordinary installations that look like kilims; see a selection of images here, herehere and here (other images are listed under "Installations" on Weber's Website). The artworks were inspired by a visit to Turkey. Weber's "forest" paper cut-out also is wonderful.

✦ Visual artist and historian of photography Brenton Hamilton, Rockport, Maine, offers superb examples of what can be done with the 19th Century cyanotype process. Hamilton's work is featured in his book The Blue Poet Dreams.

✦ Landscapes, still lifes, figures, and abstractions are among the work of the late watercolorist and art teacher Susan Adams. I particularly like her watercolor and ink series and her poignant jazz series, a homage to the late jazz bassist-composer Mel Graves, who was Adams's husband. (My thanks to Susan Cornelis for bringing Adams's work to my attention.)

✦ Influential art critic Robert Hughes died in August. If you've never seen his Shock of the New (1981), go here for the first episode. (You'll find other episodes in the side bar.)

✦ A book version of the Smithsonian Institution's wonderful online project click! photography changes everything has been published jointly by Aperture and the Smithsonian. Featured in the book Photography Changes Everything are more than 300 images and nearly 100 text pieces (from the likes of John Baldessari, John Waters, Robert Adams, and Hugh Hefner) that explore the influences of photographic imagery.

✦ The nonprofit Silicon Valley Art Museum is devoted to presentation of online art exhibitions and online education in the arts. Be sure to check its comprehensive Resources for artists.

✦ In this video from Interview magazine, Alex Katz talks about how he became a painter. An exhibition of Katz's work, "Alex Katz: Give Me Tomorrow", which included paintings, collages, and cut-outs from the 1950s to the present, concluded earlier this month at Tate St. Ives. This TateShots interview at the artist's New York City studio, complemented the exhibition.

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ We're lucky Washingtonians! The exquisite costumes conceived in rag paper by Isabelle de Borchgrave are on exhibit in "Pret-a-Papier" at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens through December 30. The beautifully crafted artworks represent dress (for both men and women) dating to the late 17th to early 20th centuries.

Be sure to see Creations on de Borchgrave's Website, where you'll find many images of paper dresses and shoes, other paper objects (e.g., paper vases), paintings, pleated work, sculptures, design, and more.

Isabelle de Borchgrave on FaceBook and Twitter 

In this video, de Borchgrave works on a creation for the exhibition:

✭ Furniture, glass, ceramics, metalwork, and lighting dating from the 1920s to 1970s are on show in "Scandinavian Design", running through January 27, 2013, at Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Represented in the exhibition are designers, architects, and manufacturers from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, including Alvar Aalto, Poul Henningsen, Finn Juhl, Georg Jensen, Orrefors, and Timo Sarpaneva. Slideshow

MFAH on FaceBook, Twitter, and Vimeo

MFAH Blogs

✭ The New Orleans Museum of Art is presenting through December 2 "Photography, Sequence & Time", which looks at how meaning, narrative, and time intersect in photographic sequences from the 19th Century to the present.

NOMA on FaceBook, Twitter, and Pinterest

✭ In Phoenix, Arizona, the Heard Museum continues its exhibition of the work of  painter and sculptor Dan Namingha, sculptor Arlo Namingha (son), and conceptual artist Michael Namingha (Dan Namingha's youngest son, who focuses on digital ink-jet prints on canvas and paper): "Landscape, Form, and Light: Namingha Family".  The work of these acclaimed Hopi artists remains on view through January 27, 2013. Many of the objects on display are available for purchase at the museum's Berlin Gallery (contact the museum's shop).

This video presents a profile by Christine Vita of Dan Namingha:

Michael Namingha talks in this video about his creative influences.

Arlo Namingha's Clouds Installation at Albuquerque Museum of Art & History

Tricia Parker, "Entering the Fifth World: 'Namingha Family: Landscape, Form, and Light'", Phoenix New Times, April 26, 2012

Heard Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Berlin Gallery Blog

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The 'Poets of Protest' Series

. . . You experiment with the world through your poems.
. . . I've written lots of poems looking to understand myself. . . .
~ Hala Mohammad, Syrian Poet

She lives now in Paris, France, but the window through which she looks daily, says Syrian poet Hala Mohammad, who left her country to obtain treatment for breast cancer, is, as she wrote in her poem "This Fear", a window that "opens to alienation", fear, and the loneliness experienced because of exile. 

In the video below, "Hala Mohammad: Waiting for Spring", part of "Artscape: The Poets of Protest" series from Al Jazeera, Mohammad, who has published more than a half-dozen collections of poetry, talks about her life in Paris, her family, the ongoing political crisis in Syria, her artistic struggles, and why she believes poetry holds an answer to loss, despair, and, inevitably, change. Poetry, she explains, "really does leave an impression. . . A poem of love can have an effect, can help you feel beauty. . . Until now weapons are stronger than us. Maybe they are faster. . . But I think poetry will endure."

The Swallow

Oh, Swallow
As you depart our spring
slow down.
In the wood burner's exhaust pipe
as the firewood came inside,
you forgot your echo.

Oh, Swallow,
slow down.
With the feather in  the 
window, Swallow,

we adorned
the martyr's picture

and death flew out of the picture.

Slow down, Swallow.
The nest belongs
to whoever builds it.

An interview with Hala Mohammad about her documentary Journey Into Memory (2006) can be found at a blog of the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies.

Intimate, with often moving recitations of poetry, the "Poets of Protest" series includes profiles of five other poets from the Middle East: Ahmed Fouad Negm of Egypt ("Ahmed Fouad Negm: Writing a Revolution"), Yehia Jaber of Lebanon ("Yehia Jaber: Laughter is My Exit"), Manal Al-Sheikh of Iraq ("Manal Al Sheikh: Fire Won't Eat Me Up"), Mazen Maarouf, a Palestinian ("Mazen Maarouf: Hand Made"), and Al Khadra, who lives in the Algerian desert ("Al Khadra: Poet of the Desert").

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Image (Poem)


      for Emily Wierenga

Make what your mouth accepts enough
to be enough: break no more the grain
of rice in two, quarter no quarter of apple.

Once mirrored, your silhouette a pattern
cut without facets, your waist cinched
in your figure's own scrim, your heart
pressed newly small as Chinese feet.

Hope thin as fingers' bones stretched,
the girl dying to be the woman seen.
It took His body to become your bread.

© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas

Congratulations to Emily on the publication of Chasing Silhouettes: How to Help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder. Emily's blog is imperfect prose.

Chasing Silhouettes Website

Emily Wiergenga on FaceBook and Twitter

'Plunge': An Artist Envisions Climate Change

. . . Humanity can no longer simply think of existing
from generation to generation, but must ensure that the world
we leave behind is as good as, if not better than, the one we found.
~ Closing Statement, "What Next for Sustainable Development"

Think ahead 1,000 years in the future. Now try to imagine the great City of London under water. If you were asked to conceive of how climate change might have changed the world so many years from now, would a submerged London have occurred to you?

It did to British artist Michael Pinsky, who envisions the deleterious effects of climate change as Plunge.

Produced by Artsadmin and LIFT for Imagine 2020, an arts network supporting the use of artistic work to explore the causes and effects of climate change, Pinsky's conceptualization involves wrapping a string of low-energy blue LED lights around three monuments in central London — Duke of York Column, Paternoster Square Column, and Seven Dials Sundial Pillar — to demonstrate, simply and quite elegantly, one possible result of uncontrolled climate change: a Thames River that has steadily risen — 28 meters (91 feet, 10-3/8 inches) above current sea level, in Pinsky's scenario — until it has overtaken the capital.

Our ability to forecast such dramatic change as Pinsky envisions remains limited, although our imagination does not; and there is hardly consensus, scientific or otherwise, that climate change even exists. What data we do have, however, should give us pause and underscore the point Pinsky makes: Doing nothing is not an option.

How Might Sea Levels Affect You?Interactive Plunge Tool

The artists collective DARTER is working with Londoners to collect opinions on climate change and conceive of ways that art can help promote an awareness and understanding of climate change and its potentially catastrophic effects. (More about DARTER)

Climate Change at WWF Global (Ways to Help)

The Ecologist

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 

"When Sea Levels Attack": Data Visualization by David McCandless

World Wildlife Federation Global: Sea Level Rise

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Eggplant, Pepper, and Onion (Poem)

Eggplant, Pepper, and Onion

     after L.L. Barkat's 'Touch Stuff, Get Happy'

Apply heat,
and aubergine ripens

to the color of nightshade,
the India ink of eyes

spying large and watchful.
Split pepper,

and feel its sting
rise like desire unrelieved.

Peel a layer
from its heart, and red onion

makes a bowl
of tears the shape of spheres

we navigate,
concentric rings of life eternal,

earth-given form
we know to name and touch.

© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Muse: Poets Respond to Titian

More than a dozen poets from the United Kingdom have penned contributions for Metamorphosis: Poems Inspired by Titian, published this past June by National Gallery Co., which commissioned the poems for the National Gallery, London exhibition "Metamorphosis: Titan 2012". That exhibition concluded September 23.

The poets, selected by a panel headed by A.S. Byatt, were invited to respond to three of Titian's masterpieces — Diana and Callisto, Diana and Actaeon (cover image), and The Death of Actaeon, which themselves were inspired by Ovid's Metamorphoses

Among the poets are names both well-known and, perhaps, not so well-known to American readers: Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy, Seamus Heaney, Jo Shapcott, and Patience Agbabi, Wendy Cope, Lavinia Greenlaw, Tony Harrison, Frances Leviston, Sinead Morrissey, Don Paterson, Christopher Reid, George Szirtes, and Hugo Williams.

Each ekphrastic poem is illustrated with a full-color image of one of the Titian works.

Nicholas Penny, formerly senior curator of Sculpture at our National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and now director of the National Gallery, London, contributed the Introduction.

To see sample pages from the book, go here (pdf).

The book may be ordered through the National Gallery's online Shop Art.

In this video, curator Carol Plazzotta and poet Lavinia Greenlaw talk about "the painterly poet" Ovid and "the poetic painter" Titian:


Listen to Seamus Heaney read his poem "Actaeon"; in the video below, he talks about writing the poem:

Readings by Poets (The videos also are available at YouTube.)

Extracts from Ovid's Metamorphoses (Translations by Ted Hughes)

Exhibition-Related Resources

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thought for the Day

Everything unborn in us and in the world needs blessing.*
~ Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., Educator, Writer

* Quoted from Introduction to My Grandfather's Blessing: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging (Riverhead Books, 2000) (This is a wonderful book. I also recommend Remen's Kitchen Table Wisdom (Riverhead Books, 1997).)

"Listening Generously: The Healing Stories of Rachel Naomi Remen", Podcast and Interview at On Being, July 29, 2010

Excerpt with Rachel Naomi Remen from The Life Force: A Thinking Allowed (Video)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

This edition of Saturday Sharing is meant to inspire. You might want to start at Picturing Peace before heading to Nina Katchadourian's for Sorted Books, Words without Borders for Japanese fiction and poetry, or comics at Fantagraphics. Just don't miss the city made of type or Yi Zhou's beautiful short.  

✦ Here's a gallery of book spine poems, compiled earlier this year. Artist Nina Katchadourian has an ongoing project (it began in 1993), Sorted Books, that has produced some delightful results. Lots of fun!

✦ The online Words without Borders, whose July and August issues feature fiction and poetry from Japan, features graphic lit from around the world.

WWB on FaceBook and Twitter

Picturing Peace, a project of the City of Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support and the city's Downtown Improvement District, is a collaborative community engagement and photography project exploring issues of youth violence, peace and safety, and community support. A Picturing Peace Exhibit is touring county libraries this summer and fall. Go here to see how a dozen teens photographed their perspectives on pace and safety.

✦ Seattle, Washington, is home to one of the most influential publishers of comics: Fantagraphics Books. A sister site is The Comics Journal.

Fantagraphics on FaceBook, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube

✦ Marvel a little bit at Hong Seon Jang's Type City (2012), comprising letterpress on wood panel. 

✦ Today's video selection, Yijing3 - Love and Death, is from Yi Zhou, a multimedia artist who lives in Paris and Shanghai. The artist talks about the video here.

"Underworlds Rising", SPREAD Art Culture, March 11, 2012 (You'll find here Yi Zhou's fascinating 2009 video The Ear.)

Friday, September 21, 2012

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ The National Academies Press has published Convergence: The Art Collection of the National Academy of Sciences. This is the first publication to present a selection from the NAS collection, which includes paintings, prints, sculpture, and photography. Contributors of essays include E.O. Wilson and Lucy Lippard.

✦ Can you help? The North American branch of the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art is seeking the public's help in locating, documenting, and photographing Tony Smith sculptures. The 100th anniversary of Smith's birth is September 23. The INCCA's first Artist Research Project launched August 1.

Tony Smith WikiProject


INCCA on FaceBook 

✦ Wondering whether it's worth your time to download museum iPad apps? ArtInfo reviews 10 apps.

✦ Bamboo and rice paper kites are integral elements of Jacob Hashimoto's delightful installations. Here's a video of a recent exhibition (still photos) at Ronchini Gallery in London:

Nina Katchadourian's Finland's Longest Road (2000), a paper map fragment in a glass petri dish, is the length of the country's Highway E75. Her Seat Assignment, an ongoing series comprising photographs, video, and digital images, shows what improvisation can produce while trapped in-flight. Lots to explore on Katchadourian's well-organized Website. Work by Katchardourian currently is in the exhibition "united states: Artist's Projects", on view at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut. (Katchadourian's Monument to the Unelected can be seen at The Aldrich until mid-November.)

✦ There's still plenty of time to see "Monet's Garden" at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx; the exhibition continues through October 21. If you need a nudge to go, here's a brief introductory video with the exhibition's curator and Monet biographer Professor Paul Hayes Tucker:

Additional videos about the exhibition include Setting Up Monet's Garden, Installing Photographs of Giverny in the Ross Gallery, Monet's Garden in the Nolen Glasshouses, and Monet's Garden with Prof. Paul Hayes Tucker. In the latter (also on Vimeo), Tucker discusses Monet's life and work at Giverny.

Exhibitions Here and There

Nell Blaine (1922-1996) still lifes (oils, watercolors and pastels) are on view through October 13 at Tibor De Nagy Gallery, New York City. A selection of preview images from "A Glowing Order" begins here.

Tibor De Nagy on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ In Memphis, Tennessee, the Metal Museum continues through December 2 "Master Metalsmith: Eleanor Moty", who is credited for introducing photoetching into metalsmithing. Moty is the museum's Master Metalsmith for 2012.

Images of Moty's Work at Studio Jewelers, Wisconsin

"Eleanor Moty: Essential Elements", American Craft Magazine, January 31, 2011

Metal Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and Tumblr

✭ Still Point Art Gallery is presenting a new online exhibition "Elements of Art: Texture" through November 6, 2013. The image gallery begins here. The exhibition's "Artists of Distinction" include painter Linnea Heide, fine art photographer Patrick Linehan, and ceramist Jarred Pfeiffer.

✭ New York City's NoHo Gallery opens October 2 with a show of work by colorist Joy Saville, an artist who pieces cotton, linen, and silk in beautifully impressionistic fabric constructions. The exhibition "Still" will run through October 27. 

✭ A stellar group of artists, Rosemary Feit Covey, Nathaniel Donnett, Victor Ekpuk, GA Gardner, Laurel Hausler (one of my favorites), Mario Andres Robinson, and Vonn Sumner, is featured in "Works with Paper", on view at Morton Fine Art, Washington, D.C., through October 9.

Here's a video of Ekpuk at work:

Morton Fine Art on FaceBook and Twitter

Morton Fine Art Blog

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Looking at Miro

The artist does not live in bliss. He is sensitive to. . . the events 
which compel him to act. This is bound to happen. This is not an
intellectual attitude but a profound feeling, something like a cry
of joy which delivers you from anguish.
~ Joan Miro 

The National Gallery of Art's "Joan Miro: The Ladder of Escape" concluded in August. In addition to featuring approximately 120 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints from the celebrated artist's long career, the exhibition offered the video appearing below. It's a brief (19:18 minutes) but informative overview of the painter's life, artistic process, and styles.

Produced by NGA, the film looks specifically at the effects on Miro's career of the Spanish Civil War, the Franco regime and facism, and World War II. It includes original footage shot in Catalonia and Barcelona, archival footage and photos, and a selection of images of Miro's paintings and sculpture.

The video also is available at iTunes.

Joan Miro in NGA Collection

Exhibition Catalogue Joan Miro: The Ladder of Escape 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday Wonder: Alex Queral

. . . I'm celebrating the individual lost
 in the anonymous list of thousands
 of names that describe the size of the community. . . .
~ Alex Queral, Artist

Cuban-born, Philadelphia-based artist Alex Queral, who originally had a professional career as a jazz guitarist, painstakingly sculpts phonebooks, using an X-ACTO® knife, acrylic medium, and his imagination. Out of the masses of names he carves bas-relief portraits of people we all recognize, among them Georgia O'Keeffe (Flower Child), Frank Sinatra (Chairman of the Board), Albert Einstein (It's All Relative), David Bowie (The Man Who Feel to Earth), and Salvador Dali (Dali). Queral is represented  exclusively by Projects Gallery, which offers some of his one-of-a-kind work as photographic images. 

Queral's art has been on view at Philadelphia Airport and in other venues in the United States, and has been exhibited in Mexico, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The subject of dozens of articles, Queral's "phonebook heads" also are in Ripley's Believe It or Not collections.

Here's a brief video of Queral that shows some of Queral's work:

Audio Interview with Projects Gallery's Frank Hyder about Alex Queral (December 2010)

Alex Queral CV

Alex Queral on FaceBook

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

As If (Poem)

As If

     after Walt Pascoe's Raven Gets In

the same blue
could mirror

the morning
that stunned

us. As if wings
like blades

splitting air
could shape-shift

what ended

where we are.
As if looking up

we could know
whose voice

in that minute
before the breath

before would last
becomes only static.

As if what stills
still is this:

the smoke, that
fire, and after

the shimmering,
the calling,

the raven. . . rising.

© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas

I wrote this poem last Tuesday, on 9/11.

Go here to see the beautiful and inspiring paintings, drawings, and watercolors of my friend, the artist Walt Pascoe.

Listen to a recording:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Muse: New York's New State Poet

. . . I've grown up in love with the voices that have been singing
from this land: the gorgeous din: the poets who have spoken
and the poets to come.
~ Poet Marie Howe

Marie Howe was appointed in late August to serve as New York's tenth State Poet. Her term runs through 2014. She succeeds Jean Valentine, who served from 2008 to 2010, the subject of this post.

Information about the position of State Poet is found in my post about Valentine.

* * * * *
Poetry saved my life. . . 
It's an art that addresses the truth that we are living
and dying at the same time. . . .

. . . [It's] a way of experiencing life
so that everything can be contained in the human heart.
Nothing is excluded.

Marie Howe has published three collections of poetry: The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (W.W. Norton & Co., 2008; paperback, 2009), a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book PrizeWhat the Living Do (W.W. Norton, 1998; paperback, 1999), an elegy for her brother John who died from AIDS, named by Publishers Weekly one of the five best books of poetry published in 1997; and The Good Thief (Persea Books, 1988), winner of the 1987 Open Competition, National Poetry Series.

Howe also is co-editor (with Michael Klein) of In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic (Persea, 1995), an anthology of essays, memoirs, and letters. In addition, she is a contributor to The Writer's Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House (Tin House Books, 2009) and Crossing State Lines: An American Renga (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011), proceeds from sales of which benefit America: Now and Here.

The Rochester-born Howe, who was 30 when she began writing poetry "seriously", was mentored by the late Stanley Kunitz, New York's first State Poet and the 10th and 22nd U.S. Poet Laureate, who called her work "luminous, intense, eloquent". Howe's writing is lyrical, often deeply personal, yet also straightforward, encompassing the everyday, the broken, the ordinariness of life, the physical, experienced world. Broadly, her subjects and themes include family, relationships, motherhood, attachment, illness, loss, grief, joy and pain, living and dying, love, community, sin and redemption, time and its use, remembering, change and transformation.

While she has been tagged "metaphysical poet", Howe grounds her poems in details of domestic life: the kitchen sink "clogged for days" and "crusty dishes. . . piled up / waiting for the plumber I still haven't called" (from "What the Living Do"), driving "on bad ice, when it occurs to you / your car could spin, just before it slowly begins to spin" (from "Part of Eve's Discussion"), "the garbage trucks outside / already screeching and banging" (from "Prayer"), the copper beech  that "wore that yard like a dress, / with limbs low enough for me to enter it / and climb the crooked ladder to where / I could lean against the trunk and practice being alone" (from "The Copper Beech), the cocktail party where "someone. . . is skewering / a small hot dog with a toothpick" and  "the hostess emerges carrying a tray / and announcing a game of charades" (from "The Fourth Visit").

Note how, in just seven lines, she evokes setting, emotion, both the intimate and the ineffable:

The very best part was rowing out onto the small lake in a little boat:

James and I taking turns fishing, one fishing while the other rowed
the long sigh of the line through the air,

and the far plunk of the hood and sinker—
lily pads, yellow flowers

the dripping of the oars
and the knock and creak of  them moving in the rusty locks.
~ "Reunion" from What the Living Do

Poems by Howe have appeared in many print and online literary journals and periodicals, including The Agni Review, The American Poetry Review, The Atlantic, New England ReviewThe New YorkerThe Partisan Review, The Writer's Almanac, Harvard Review,  Ploughshares, and Poetry. Her essays and brief articles have appeared at O, Ploughshares, and elsewhere.

Howe is the recipient of fellowships or grants from the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College, Guggenheim Foundation, Massachusetts Artist Foundation, and National Endowment for the Arts. Her other awards include the Peter I.A. Lavan Younger Poet Prize (Academy of American Poets). She was the 13th Florie Gale Arons Visiting Poet, Newcomb College Institute of Tulane University (2011), and a resident at The MacDowell Colony (1987).

The poet teaches at the undergraduate and graduate levels at Columbia University, from which she received her master's degree, Sarah Lawrence College, and New York University.


Photo of Marie Howe by Marion Roth

All Poetry Excerpts © Marie Howe

Office of the Governor, "Governor Cuomo Announces State Poet and Author", Press Release, August 29, 2012

"Brighton Native Marie Howe Named State Poet", herRochester, August 31, 2012

"Cuomo Announces State Author Alison Lurie, Poet Marie Howe", Capitol Confidential, TimesUnion, August 29, 2012

Marie Howe, "The Hard-Times Companion", August 2009, and "Not To Look Away", August 2008, Essays, O, The Oprah Magazine

Interviews with Marie Howe at Agni Online (2008),  Fresh Air/NPR (October 2011), (Audio and Transcript), BOMBSite/BOMB Magazine (1997), Cerise Press, The Living Writers Show (mp3 download), University of Vermont (2011; Video)

Marie Howe Poems Online: "After the Movie", "Part of Eve's Discussion", and "What the Living Do", All at Marie Howe Website; "Prologue" at Blue Flower Arts; "After the Movie", "Part of Eve's Discussion", "The Moment", "What the Angels Left", and "What the Living Do", All at; "Apology", "Hurry", "Lullaby", "Practicing", "The Copper Beech", "The Fourth Visit", "The Gate" (Video), "What Belongs to Us", and "What the Angels Left", All at The Poetry Foundation; "How Some of It Happened" at A Little Poetry; "My Dead Friends", "Reunion", "The Game", "Marriage", and "Prayer", All at The Writer's Almanac (Audio Available); "How Many Times" at Poetry 180 at The Library of Congress; "The Star Market" at The New Yorker; "How Many Times", "Watching Television", and "The Last Time", All at The Poetry Center at Smith College; "What the Living Do" and "The Game", Both at The Atlantic Online; "After the Movie" on Tumblr; "What the Living Do" at Panhala; "Sorrow" at Stillgreen Tumblr; "My Mother's Body" at Our Guide for Growth; "What the Living Do" and "The Attic", Both at Ellen Bass The Human Line (Truth and Beauty Workshop); "After the Movie" at Poem-A-Day, Knopf Doubleday; "Prayer" at Poetry Dispatch & Other Notes from the Underground; "Annunciation" at Crashingly Beautiful and Slow Muse; "The Last Time" and "The Promise" at UMBC; "My Dead Friends" at Writing Salon Mistress Muses; "The Boy" at Read a Little Poetry; "The Moment", "Hurry", and "Prayer", All at Still Amazed; "Prayer", "What the Angels Left", and "What the Living Do", All at Open Salon; "Keeping Still" at poetry grrrl; "Buddy" at Doggerel; "the kiss" at you shall love your crooked neighbor; "Hurry" at American Life in Poetry

Video Recording by Howe of "The Gate" at Poetry Everywhere, PBS; Background Essay on Teachers' Domain

Video of Howe Reciting Her 10 Lines from Crossing State Lines

Averill Curdy, "Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?", Review of The Kingdom of Ordinary Time, Poetry Magazine, February 2009

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thought for the Day

. . . Our breaths: a kind of weather
we make between us, partly cloudy. . . .
~ Elizabeth Austen, "False Spring"*

The poem "False Spring" is in Austen's wonderful collection Every Dress a Decision (Blue Begonia Press, 2011).

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday Sharing (My Finds Are Yours)

Today's edition of Saturday Sharing features links for teens who want to Do Something; creatives willing to be part of a Makeshift Society; and poetry-lovers who want to rock and roll with Patti Smith. A video with Mark Nepo asks us all to consider "the art of putting things together".

✦ The organization Do Something is for teens experiencing a call to action. It offers grants and scholarships to youths who take on a cause to make a difference or are social action leaders in their communities. (My thanks to NewPages blog for the link.)

Do Somthing on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ The mission of San Francisco's newly launched Makeshift Society is to "support collaborative projects and community-building activities" using "a coworking space/clubhouse, innovative programing, and support for freelancers and small business owners." Classes and events, membership benefits, and information about the group's residency program are detailed online. (My thanks to DesignSponge blog for the link.)

Makeshift Society on FaceBook, Twitter, and Pinterest

✦ If you write and haven't been reading Full Stop, take a look. In addition to interviews and book reviews, you'll find fiction, essays, booklists, and a book club.

Full Stop on FaceBook, Twitter, and Tumblr

Full Stop Blog

✦ Thirteen episodes of Rabbit Light Movies: A Journal of Poemfilms, dated between 2007 and 2011, have been archived online. The list of poets who contributed to Rabbit Light Movies, which concluded in December 2011, is impressive. A more recent venture into poemfilms is The Volta.

Patti Smith fans will love this UbuWeb archive of the poet's readings from 1971, 1973, and 1974.

✦ In today's featured video, Mark Nepo, author, most recently, of Seven Thousand Ways to Listen: Staying Close to What Is Sacred, to be published in October, asks us to consider "the art of putting things together":

Mark Nepo - The Art of Putting Things Together from Sounds True on Vimeo.

Friday, September 14, 2012

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ One look at the handcut paper and acrylic koi of Australian Lisa Rodden will leave no doubt that this artist knows how to wield a pair of scissors. 

Gallery of Images of Cut Paper Works

✦ Graphic designer Andrew Gorkovenko uses tea to illustrate country of origin. He's also designed creative packaging for tea. See more of Gorkovenko's work here.

✦ Art and technology combine beautifully in the work of Los Angeles-based artist Guillermo Bert, who uses QR ("quick response") barcodes in his "Encoded Textiles" project to raise awareness about the culture and traditions of Chile's indigenous Mapuche. Bert has transcribed Mapuche stories, poems, and narratives into graphical QR codes, which then are made into woven tapestries. See Wired magazine's interesting article about Bert's project. A campaign to  fund Okapi Films' Coded Stories, which will document Bert's project and use his encoded artworks, was undertaken successfully on Kickstarter (the effort concluded in July); the filmmakers plan to wrap up production this fall. If you're in Pasadena, California late next month or this winter, plan to see "Guillermo Bert: Encoded Textiles" at the Pasadena Museum of California Art; the exhibition opens October 28.

Chol-Chol Foundation (The foundation is dedicated to ensuring fair trade of Mapuche fine arts, the promotion, education, and preservation of Mapuche culture, and resource development among Mapuche artisans.)

Coded Stories on FaceBook and Twitter

What are QR codes?

✦ Art can light up your life. If you're in New York City's Madison Square Park this fall you won't be able to miss Leo Villareal's Buckyball. The artist's large-scale installation, which comprises 180 LED tubes throughout which are programmable color pixels, will be on view beginning October 25. See it anytime through February of next year, and you'll come away glowing.

✦ Today's video, Tough Life Diary, is an engrossing 14:21-minute interview with artist Nancy Grossman, who talks frankly and insightfully about her life and art. The video, which includes family photos and archival film footage, accompanied at exhibition earlier this year of Grossman's work at Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College.

Nancy Grossman's Heads at MoMA PS1 (2011)

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ In "Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000", on view through November 5, the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, examines school architecture, clothing, playgrounds, toys and games, nurseries, furniture, political propaganda, books, and children's hospitals and safety equipment. The exhibition link above takes you to a dedicated, interactive site where you may explore, chronologically and in other ways, the design ideas, objects, and practices underlying a century's preoccupation with children's development and well-being. Lectures, gallery talks, symposia, film screenings, and other related events are scheduled during the exhibition.

Exhibition Blog and Tumblr

MoMA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ The Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, continues through October 21 the first solo museum exhibition in the United States of Dan Walsh's large-scale abstract canvases. "Dan Walsh: UnCommon Ground" showcases just eight paintings, all created for the site, and three limited-edition books Walsh designed and made by hand. Of the latter, Walsh has said, "A problem solved in a book might make it into a painting. On the other hand, the books are an outlet for my ideas that maybe don't belong in my paintings."

Press Release with Images

Dan Walsh at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York City, and Saatchi Gallery

Dan Walsh Interview with John Yau at The Brooklyn Rail (2010)

✭ In Savannah, Georgia, the Jepson Center, part of Telfair Museums, continues "Blown, Assembled and Cast", its celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Studio Glass Movement in America. On view through October 28 are approximately 30 pieces from the museum's studio glass collection, as well as works from several collectors. As the show's title indicates, the exhibition looks at the techniques of blowing, casting, and assembling glass, using as examples works by Dale Chihuly, Jose Chardiet, Stephen Dee Edwards, Jon Kuhn, David Levi, Dante Marioni, Charles Miner, and Bertil Vallien. On October 18, a talk is scheduled with glass artists Charles Miner and Therman Statom, who created in 2006 a custom-built glass house for the Jepson Center's interactive children's space, ArtZeum. On October 19, Statom will lead a glass sculpture workshop for high school students and, on October 29, local glass artist Jon Poirer, owner of Drayton Glass Works, will offer several brief glassblowing workshops. Contact the museum for details.

Telfair Museums on FaceBook, Twitter, and Vimeo

✭ To celebrate its centennial, New Orleans Museum of Art commissioned a site-specific mural by Nigeria-born Odili Donald Odita, now resident in Philadelphia. Titled "Forever", the mural is on view in the first floor elevator lobby through October 7, 2013. A brief video with the artist is here.

Odita at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York City, The Studio Museum in Harlem (2007-2008 Exhibit), and Escape Into Life

NOMA on FaceBook and Twitter

Save the Date

On October 12, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., opens "Fabulous! Portraits by Michele Mattei". The exhibition, which will be on view through January 6, 2013, will feature portraits of women who have devoted their lives to the arts. A celebrity photographer as well as a photojournalist, Mattei, according to her Website, also has co-written and co-prodouced a video, The Longest Holiday, on the joys of aging, and is the author of My Fair Ladies, images from which may be seen under the heading "project" here. Mattei's images of butterflies and flowers are extraordinary.

Michele Mattei Images at Lucy B. Campbell Fine Art, London, and Timothy Yarger Fine Art, Beverly Hills

NMWA on FaceBook and Twitter

Broad Strokes, NMWA Blog

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Celebrating 'Silent Spring' at 50

But most of all
I shall remember the Monarchs. . . .
~ Rachel Carson

The 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring is Thursday, September 27, and organizations across the United States and abroad are partnering on "Celebrating Silent Spring at 50". 

One of the partnering organizations is the nonprofit Borderbend Arts Collective, which is presenting "Silent Spring & Autumn 2012" as part of the Seventh Annual Chicago Calling Arts Festival. It is encouraging participation at all levels in each of our 50 states.

Contributions of poetry and other forms of writing, music and other audio recordings, video, and visual and multidisciplinary artwork are welcomed for the anniversary Website. If you would like to contribute directly, send an e-mail to: info[at]borderbend[dot]org and include in the subject line the words "Silent Spring/Chicago Calling".

It's not too late to do your part. Some ways you might help celebrate the anniversary of Carson's most important contribution to environmentalism are:

✦ Organize a Silent Spring reading or other related public event (poetry reading, concert) for September 27.

✦ Write a poem or a song or create a painting inspired by Silent Spring or some aspect of Rachel Carson's legacy and share it on your social media sites.

✦ Write a blog post about Rachel Carson's legacy or why her work inspires you.

✦ Organize an exhibition of artwork inspired by Rachel Carson's legacy.

✦ Have your book club read and discuss Silent Spring.

✦ Explore what your community, county, or state is doing to promote environmentally sound practices.

✦ Suggest your child's school mark the event with a brief talk by a local environmentalist or perhaps a parent involved in environmental initiatives, and with readings of children's books about Carson (e.g., A Clean Sea). Plan to include a hands-on educational event related to stewardship of our planet. Have the children create posters or other artwork that reflects what they have learned.

✦ Urge your local newspaper to publish feature articles about Rachel Carson, her advocacy and legacy,  and what remains to be done to sustain the environmental movement and clean up our planet.

✦ Urge your local library to mount a Silent Spring-related exhibition of Rachel Carson's books, which include, in addition to Silent Spring, The Sea  Around Us, The Edge of the Sea, The Sense of Wonder, and Under the Sea-Wind.

✦ Organize a walk or run to raise funds for a local environmental group and to raise awareness about the harmful effects of toxic chemicals.

✦ Sponsor a presentation by your local wildlife agency to educate the public about the costs of pollution and environmental degradation to animal and plant life.

✦ Make a donation to a national, state, or local organization charged with championing causes that protect the environment.

Related Resources

"2012 Rachel Carson Legacy Conference: Our Planet and Our Health — The Impact of Silent Spring After 50 Years", Chatham University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 26, 2012, 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

"Five Decades After Silent Spring", Commemorating 50th Anniversary of Publication of Silent Spring, Connecticut College, New London, October 18, 2012

Melissa Block and Robert Peterson, "Killing Off West Nile Virus: Bad for More Than Bugs?", NPR, August 17, 2012

Douglas Brinkley, "Rachel Carson and JFK, An Environmental Tag Team", Audubon Magazine, May/June 2012

Sandra Steingraber, "The Fracking of Rachel Carson Silent Spring's Lost Legacy, Told in 50 Parts", Orion Magazine, September/October 2012 (Audio Slideshow)

John Vidal, "A Great Silence Is Spreading Over the Natural World", The Guardian, September 3, 2012

Rachel Carson (1907-1964) Website

Silent Spring at 50 Blog