Thursday, October 31, 2013

All Hallow's Eve (Poem)

All Hallow's Eve

Ghosts glance ghouls,
are witness invisible
to witches' weltering
in blue-blood boiled.

Vampires come calling.

Mummies multiply.
Black cats cast spells
and rowdy ravens rouse
the once dead sleeping.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

Happy Halloween!

Thursday's Three on Art

For today's Thursday's Three, I offer a  trio of insightful artist interviews.

✭ The recipient of Pakistan's President's National Pride of Honor award (2005), Shahzia Sikander tells Newsweek Pakistan that her "choices in life do not fit into any stereotypes." Read "Pakistan's Most Successful Artist Is Barely Known in Her Own Country", in which Sikander talks the absence of exhibitions of her work in Pakistan, her identity, her latest work in animation, and her interest in the "idea of transformation".

Sikander's "Sinxay: Narrative as Dissolution #2" (2008) was part of "Beyond Belief: 100 Years of the Spiritual in Modern Art (Highlights from SFMoMA)", which concluded October 27 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.

✭ "Every human being is beautiful but what attracts me most is the hair", painter Saeed Akhtar, also of Pakistan, confides to Momina Sibtain of The Express Tribune. Read "Saeed Akhtar: When Art and Passion Collide" to learn what Akhtar has to say about the importance of "knowing the anatomy properly", making portraits, and sharing the creative process.

✭ Beginning with "no ideas", American painter Leslie Bell uses his canvas "as a screen on which I can imagine random images, stories, and compositions. I'm looking for a place to start . . . it's a process of call-and-response." In addition to describing his mark-making, Bell speaks with Painter's Bread about his artistic challenges and interests and about his long experience as an arts educator.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wednesday Wonder: Manuscript-Making

Illuminated manuscripts are works of wonder. That we still have splendid examples of these hand-made objects is a testament to the craft behind their making, and to the durability of the materials used. 

The wonderful video below shows us how parchment was made and prepared in the Middle Ages and how scribes and artists carefully and laboriously wrote and illuminated the beautiful books.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Reading the News Where I'm Not (Poem)

Reading the News Where I'm Not

The same day rubber-band bracelets are banned
by P.S. 87 on the Upper West Side, a teen is accused
of shoplifting at Victoria's Secret. The cops find
remains of a fetus in her bag, period of gestation
unknown. Murder-milestone trend: It's going down.
Nobody murdered nobody last week. In other news,
the Court of Appeals takes up 16-ounce sugary drinks
rules — too late for the late Notorious B.I.G., too big
to have a street corner named for him. Not exactly
a role model for the neighborhoods used to taking
full-moon walks or learning in native tongues how
to play Foreign Language Hopscotch. New York City
Cares. It really does! How else to explain a Halloween
parade getting fully crowdsourced and Kickstarted?

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

This prose poem rounds up just some of a single morning's news in New York City. You can't make this stuff up! 

"Foreign Language Hopscotch", MobyLives, Melville House, October 18, 2013

"Schoool bans Rainbow Loom bracelets", New York Post, October 17, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Muse Asks Did You Know? (Halloween)

This post is another in an occasional series about poets and poems that aims to offer information you might not know. Today's items all relate to Halloween.

Did You Know . . . 

✦ The poem "Halloween" by Bard of Scotland Robert Burns (1759-1796) runs 252 lines; it has 28 stanzas and introduces readers to 20 narrative characters, none of whom bob for apples. In addition to witches, wizards, and fairies, the poem, written in Scots and English in 1785, includes a few practical spells, as well as Burns's own footnotes about traditions and practices. It's believed that Burns was inspired by a Halloween poem by John Mayne (1759-1836), which was published in November 1780. To hear a reading of "Halloween", go here.

✦ The English Romantic John Keats was born on Halloween in 1795. 

✦ Said to be a believer in the supernatural, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) wrote that "all houses wherein men have lived and died / Are haunted houses." Skeptical? Go here for a lesson plan for "Haunted Houses".

✦ The Science Fiction Poetry Association, founded in 1978, celebrates Halloween annually. Among the poets whose work you'll find at SFPA is Michael A. Arnzen, author of The Gorelets Omnibus: Collected Poems 2001-2011

✦ Vampires have caught the attention of poets as diverse as Lord Byron ("The Giaour"), Goethe ("The Bride of Corinth"), Rudyard Kipling ("The Vampire"), and Conrad Aiken ("The Vampire"), while ghosts have haunted the words of John Donne ("The Apparition"), Donald Justice "(Ode to a Dressmaker's Dummy"), Carolyn Forche ("Sequestered Writing"), and Rae Armantrout ("Unbidden").

✦ This year on Halloween, Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" will be performed every twenty minutes, between 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., inside the historic Rosson House in Phoenix, Arizona. (See image to right.) It's just one of a number of PoetFest events that aims to send a tingle down your spine and raise a hair or two.

✦ The Academy of American Poets has crafted its own Poetry Haunted House. Enter at your own risk and dare to come out with a few suggestions of your own for a chilling gathering of wordsmiths. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Thought for the Day

We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.
~ Jack Gilbert

Quoted from "Tear It Down" in Jack Gilbert's collection The Great Fires: Poems 1982-1992 (Knopf, 2001)

Jack Gilbert (1925-2012), American Poet

Jack Gilbert Profiles at The Academy of American Poets and Poetry Foundation

Chard deNiord, "An Interview with Jack Gilbert", Poetry Daily Prose Feature, 2011

Debbie Elliott, "Jack Gilbert: Notes from a Poet's Well-Observed Life", NPR, April 30, 2006

Sarah Fay, "Jack Gilbert", Interview for The Art of Poetry, No. 91, The Paris Review, Fall/Winter 2005

Jack Gilbert: Collected Poems (Knopf, 2012) Review by Dwight Garner at The New York Times, March 13, 2012

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday Short

Today's short is a rather unusual biographical introduction to the great Charles Dickens (1812-1870). It's part of the Horrible Histories Charles Dickens Song Series. I dare you not to laugh at some of the lines.

Joyce Carol Oates, "The Mystery of Charles Dickens", Review of Claire Tomalin's Charles Dickins: Life (Waterstone's Special Edition/Penguin, 2011), The New York Review of Books, August 16, 2012

Friday, October 25, 2013

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ Save the Date! November 8-10, Katzen Arts Center at American University, Washington, D.C., is hosting the Fourth Annual Feminist Art History Conference. The keynote will be given by scholar Patricia Simons, a University of Michigan professor and author, most recently, of The Sex of Men in Premodern Europe: A Cultural History (Cambridge University Press, 2011). Events include a Saturday luncheon at the Katzen and Sunday admission to a National Museum of Women in the Arts exhibition, "American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold's Paintings of the 1960s", which concludes November 10. The registration fee is $45; $25 for students.

✦ Launched this year, the journal HEArt Online features visual art as well as poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews. Its aspiration is to promote "the role of artists as human rights activists".

HEArt on Twitter

✦ The 9th Annual Artists of Rappahannock Studio & Gallery Tour takes place November 2-3, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The tour begins in at the Fire Hall in Little Washington, Virginia, where representative selections from studios and galleries are on view and maps and driving directions are available. I've done this tour several times and met some wonderful artists.

2013 Participating Studios and Galleries

Artists of Rappahannock on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ Nature figures prominently in the beautiful paintings, works on paper, and assemblages (see Notes on the State of Virginia and Lives of the Birds) of Suzanne Stryk, a Virginia artist who recently came to my attention. In the video below, Stryk talks about her exhibition earlier this year at Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, Virginia. Exceptional work!

✦ The Poetry Foundation in Chicago has mounted an exhibition celebrating the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson. The show, "Forever — is composed of Nows —", on view through November 30, features the work of contemporary artists Jen Bervin, Lesley Dill, and Spencer Finch and a copy of Dickinson's only surviving dress. See the wonderful video about the exhibition in which Jen Bervin and Marta Werner, the editors of The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems (New Directions, October 29, 2013), discuss the book and the artists talk about the inspiration that Dickinson remains.

Exciting News: The Emily Dickinson Archive, announced earlier this week, is live. Its objective is to "make high-resolution images of manuscripts of Dickinson's poetry and letters available in open access, along with transcriptions and annotations from historical and scholarly editions," according to a Harvard University Press post. Harvard Library joined Amherst College, Beinecke Library at Yale University, Berkman Center for the Internet and Society at Harvard, Boston Public Library, Digital Public Library of America, Emily Dickinson Lexicon at Brigham Young University, and Houghton Library at Harvard to create the online archive. Also collaborating in the initiative are the American Antiquarian Society, the Archives & Special Collections Library at Vassar College, the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, the Mortimer Rare Book Room at Smith College, and New York Public Library. As of this week, this tremendous resource offers a lexicon that can be used to find Dickinson poems and manuscript images that may be viewed by library collection or by first line, date, recipient, or edition.

Here's an introduction to the archive:

The Gorgeous Nothings (Granary Books, 2012), Limited Edition

The Dickinson Composites (Granary Books, 2010), Limited Edition

Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ Installation artist Diane Landry of Quebec, Canada, is exhibiting in "Diane Landry: The Cadence of All Things" at Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, North Carolina. On view is work created between 1992 and 2013. Inspired by nature, the artist uses in her constructions everyday objects, sound, light, and shadow. The show concludes January 12, 2014.

CAM on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Washington's Tacoma Art Museum is presenting through January 1, 2014, "Sitting for History: Exploring Self-Identity Through Portraiture". More than 60 works from the museum's collection are on view; included are portraits by Chuck Close, William Cumming, and Dorothy Dolph Jensen; Henry Inman's portrait Chief of the Foxes from the early 1800s and Catharine Critcher's Portrait of Star Road from the early 1900s; sculpture by Dan Webb; glass art by Walter Lieberman; and photography by Steve Davis and Mary Randlett. A drawing table and sketching materials will be available to visitors who want to try their own hand at portraiture.

Tacoma Art Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Continuing through January 26, 2014 at Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut is "Closer: The Graphic Art of Chuck Close". 

Opening December 14 is "Inside the Artist's Studio: Small Scale Views", which will feature studios created by painter and sculptor Joe Fig, abstract painter and printmaker Richard Haas, and photographer Lori Nix

Bruce Museum on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ "Promises of Freedom: Selections from the Arthur Primas Collection" is up at Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon, Michigan. On view are 75 paintings, prints, and sculpture by more than 30 significant African-American artists, including Charles Alston, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Hughie Lee-Smith, John Biggers, and Charles White. Works date from as early as 1802 to the contemporary period. The exhibition may be seen through November 7.

John Biggers, Upper Room, 1984
Arthur Primas Art Collection
© John T. Biggers Estate
Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Estate Represented by Michael Rosenfeld Gallery

Muskegon Museum on FaceBook 

✭ An exhibition of paintings by Israeli artist Tsibi Geva goes on view November 5 at American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. On Saturday, November 9, Geva will be on hand for a gallery talk. Geva's work is in the Donald Rothfeld Collection of Contemporary Israeli Art, selections from which were on view earlier this month. The collection was donated to the museum in 2011 ("AU Museum Receives Contemporary Israeli Art").

AU Arts on FaceBook and Twitter

Thursday, October 24, 2013

'The Flyway Project' of Robert Wilson

I know that if it's not controversial, then it doesn't have an edge,
and it's not very good art.
~ Artist Robert Wilson

For his commission by the Albuquerque Public Art Urban Enhancement program, Robert Wilson conceived The Flyway Project, which pays homage to both New Mexico's landscape and birds (specifically, the Sandhill cranes that fly over the area each year). Placed in 2011, the installation comprises 96 recycled Jetty Jacks* (16 rows of six) that angle from true north to true south; it is sited just off Coors Boulevard in Albuquerque.

In this interesting 21-minute video, Wilson, who has a medical degree, discusses his inspiration, conception, and construction of the sculpture:

Open Space Visitor Center: Land Art (You will find still photos of the sculpture at this link.)

Dan Mayfield, "Public Art Draws Fire", ABQJournal, August 8, 2010

* Jetty Jacks are steel beams that once were used to control flooding along the Rio Grande. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A.C. Grayling Writes on Friendship

. . . In general it would seem that the focal case
of friendship is the conscious, chosen, self-aware human
relationship that implies a rich network of factors about trust,
obligation, pleasure, and mutual concern.
~ A.C. Grayling*

Cover of Friendship 

Founder of New College of the Humanities, philosopher and prolific writer A.C. Grayling has written a new book, Friendship (Yale University Press, October 2013), that examines, among other topics, the idea and history of friendship, the traditions of friendship in literature, other arts, and philosophy, different kinds of friendships (including virtual or Internet friendships), the experience of friendship, how technology alters relationships and shifts the cultural meaning of friendship, and how friendship influences ethics.

The video that follows offers a short excerpt from an interview YUP conducted with Grayling on publication of the insightful, thought-provoking book, the first in the series "Vices and Virtues". 

Preview of Friendship

* Quoted from Excerpt of YUP Interview, "On Friendship: A Conversation with A.C. Grayling"

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gone Missing and Down Baby (Poems)

gone missing

a doll with big blue eyes
curls into you

asks what is gone

you think to answer
my dream

but her eyes      reading

hurt now


Down Baby

It's like this:

A truth sits at your table
slides to your tongue

eyes of your child
answer the question

other mothers just like you
repeat, need to know

to not feel so blue as you.
You want to be gone now

but the silence holds hurt
your soft voice muffled

foolishly small.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

These poems were inspired by "Lunch at Pizza Hut", by The Unknown Contributor, a post that appeared earlier this month at TweetSpeakPoetry, which is celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness Month with poetic and artistic looks into the experiences of those who live with Down syndrome. You'll want to see the beautiful artwork at "Michael's Colors" and pick up a copy of the new T.S. Poetry Press release Sun Shine Down, a memoir by Gillian Marchenko, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing (see Part 1 and Part 2).

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Muse: Poetry at the Folger

The 2013-2014 O.B. Hardison Poetry Series at Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., kicks off next Monday evening, October 28, with "Mortally Beautiful: C.K. Williams and Stanley Plumly". Michael Collier will introduce and moderate a conversation with the poets. Williams, who teaches in Princeton University's Creative Writing Program, most recently published Writers Writing Dying (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012); Plumley's latest collection is Orphan Hours (W.W. Norton, 2012). 

The remainder of the season is as follows:

The Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, Monday, November 18, Folger Elizabethan Theatre, 7:30 p.m. ~ Poet Joseph Harrison, who is the senior American editor at The Waywiser Press, co-sponsor of the evening, makes the introductions. The 2012 recipient is Shelley Puhak, whose Geuinevere in Baltimore, is to be published this fall by The Waywiser Press; Puhak will read with prize judge Charles Simic.

Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute, Monday, December 9, Folger Elizabethan Theatre, 7:30 p.m. ~ Peter Gizzi, poetry editor for The Nation and a professor at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, is scheduled to talk about Dickinson's legacy and to read from his own work. Gizzi's collections include From Threshold Songs (Wesleyan University Press, 2011).

Made in the USA, Thursday, February 27, 2014, Phillips Collection Auditorium, 6:30 p.m. ~ Poets Tina Chang, Poet Laureate of Brooklyn who most recently published the collection Of Gods and Strangers (Four Way, 2011), and Maurice Manning, author of The Gone and the Going Away (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013), read in response to artworks at The Phillips Collection, where the event will take place.

Making Your Own Map, Monday, March 24, 2014, Folger Elizabethan Theater, 7:30 p.m. ~ Identity, culture, and race are among the issues poets Joy Harjo and Evie Shockley explore in their work. Harjo's memoir Crazy Brave (W.W. Norton) was published in 2012. Shockley's latest is The New Black (Wesleyan Poetry Series, 2012).

The Literary Legacy of Seamus Heaney, Monday, April 7, 2014, Lutheran Church of the Reformation, Washington, D.C., 7:30 p.m. ~ The great Seamus Heaney, winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature, was to have read from his work; because of his death this past August, the original program has been changed (the date and time of place remain the same, howeer). Heaney wrote more than 30 books of prose, poetry, and translations, including Human Chain (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011). The celebration of Heaney's life in poetry will include a reading of his work. Details are pending.

Obituary for Seamus Heaney, The New York Times

Folger Board Reading, Monday, May 5, 2014, Folger Elizabethan Theatre, 7:30 p.m. ~ Scottish Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, the first woman appointed to the position, the author, most recently of Rapture (Faber & Faber, 2013) and The Bees (Faber & Faber, 2013), will appear. Duffy also is scheduled to read at a benefit dinner in a private home on May 4 (contact the Folger for details).

All events are $15.00, except for the reading by Seamus Heaney, which costs $25.00 per person; season subscriptions are available.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Time has its way (Poem)

Photo Credit: Claudia Gregoire
© Claudia Gregoire
Courtesy Abbey of the Arts

Time has its way

of pulling you backward
pressing you forward.
You have to resist

the season's yin and yang
be content to let the current be
beneath you.

The moment you yield
always softens your landing.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem responds to today's "Invitation to Poetry" at Abbey of the Arts. The theme is "Softening and Yielding". 

All are encouraged to participate. Guidelines are provided at the link.

Thought for the Day

Mistakes can't be erased but they move you
from your present position.
~ Richard Diebenkorn, Artist

Quoted from Richard Diebenkorn's "Notes to myself on beginning a painting", which appeared as wall text in the exhibition "Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years". The quote is No. 7. All 10 are listed in The Art of Richard Diebenkorn, edited by Jane Livingston with essays by John Elderfeld and Ruth E. Fine (University of California Press, 1997). They are readily found on the Web.

Richard Diebenkorn, 1922 - 1993

Richard Diebenkorn at San Francisco Museum of Art (You'll find here a variety of multimedia.)

Michael Kimmelman, "Richard Diebenkorn, Lyrical Painter, Dies at 71", Obituary, The New York Times, March 31, 1993

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Saturday Short

Can't wait for that delivery by parcel post? In the future, you might want to try Flirtey, a type of drone whose commercial applications are taking flight. Take a look:

Flirtey Zookal flight from The PR Group on Vimeo.

Emily Keeler, "You Dropped a Book on Me: Drones to Deliver Textbooks", Los Angeles Times, October 15, 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

New York City-based photographer-filmmaker Edwin J. Torres is an artist who should be on everyone's watch list.

✦ The MoMA has a Tumblr for teens.

✦ Glass artist Paul Housberg has completed beautiful projects for a wide range of corporate, health care, hospitality service, residential, and civic and public clients. I've especially enjoyed taking a look at his inspired and meditative work for hospitals and related medical facilities. (My thanks to Looking at Glass, where I first saw a post about Housberg's Water Walk installation for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston.)

✦ Paint and canvas become beautiful sculpture in the hands of Jason Hallman and Stephen Stum of Stallman Studio, Seattle, Washington. Also see the pair's reverse glass paintings and a portfolio of abstract work they've titled Scraped and Uncovered. (My thanks to Ann Martin at All Things Paper, where Hallman's and Stum's work was spotlighted earlier this year.)

Stallman Studio Gallery on FaceBook

✦ My new Artist Watch feature at Escape Into Life showcases the marvelous paintings of Pam Hawkes.

✦ Today's video spotlights painter Peri Schwartz. Read her HuffPost interview here. Additional videos and a gallery of Schwartz's paintings and works on paper may be viewed on the artist's Website. Schwartz will have solo exhibitions next year in Boston, Chicago, and London. Her work is in dozens of public and private collections.

Exhibitions Here and There

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, is presenting through December 15 "Genji's World in Japanese Woodblock Prints". "Genji" is the story of fictional poet, politician, and lover Prince Genji and Japan's imperial court; written by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady of the court, it is considered by many to be the world's first modern novel. The exhibition comprises some 57 woodblock prints by leading 18th and 19th Century Japanese artists. The works are drawn from the collection of Scripps College's Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, which organized the show, and from a collection of Genji prints owned by Jack and Paulette Lantz. 

A fully illustrated, 256-page book by Dr. Andreas Marks accompanies the exhibition. To order, go here. (The book, the cover of which is shown above, also is available through Amazon and other booksellers.)

Additional information about "Genji's World" may be found in this press release.

The exhibition will travel to Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach, Florida, where it may be seen from March 11, 2014, until May 18, 2014.

FLLAC on FaceBook

✭ Marguerite Matisse Duthuit, only daughter of Henri Matisse, is the subject of more than 50 prints, drawings, sculptures, and paintings on view at Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland. Drawn from BMA's huge Matisse collection and from other museum holdings and private collection, the special exhibition, "Matisse's Marguerite: Model Daughter", continues through January 19, 2014. Marguerite, who died in 1982, figured in Matisse's art for more than 45 years.

BMA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ "Femfolio", an exhibition of prints by Emma Amos, Eleanor Antin, Joyce Kozloff, Faith Ringgold, Miriam Schapiro, Carolee Schneemann, Nancy Spero, June Wayne, and other women important to the feminist art movement of the 1970s continues at Delaware Art Museum. Donated to the museum in 2010, the prints comprise a portfolio of work of 20 artists that was published in 2006-2007 by Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. The exhibition remains on view through January 12, 2014.

Emma Amos, Identity, 2006
Digital Print with Hand Lithography
12" x 12"
Delaware Art Museum
Gift of Danielle Rice in Memory of Anne d'Harnoncourt and Sylvia Sleigh, 2010
© Emma Amos/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Delaware Art Museum on FaceBookTwitter, and YouTube

✭ The Abstract Expressionist painter Adolph Gottlieb took up sculpture in the late 1960s; his venture into the medium lasted for perhaps 18 months before he moved on to other challenges. The University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, has placed a dozen of Gottlieb's rarely seen aluminum and bronze final works on exhibit, offering viewers insights into the artist's exploration of his ideas about form, color, and space and informing his two-dimensional compositions. Also included in the exhibition  are a number of major paintings and several monotypes from the period 1964-1974, as well as small maquettes (study models) and templates that Gottlieb used in fabricating his sculptures. The show continues through January 5, 2014. 

Adolph Gottlieb, Petaloid, 1968
Painted Steel
15-58/" x 15-1/2" x 6"
© Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

UMMA on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Notable Exhibits Abroad

✭ Here's a brief introduction to the exhibition "Van Gogh at work", comprising more than 200 artworks, including paintings, works on paper, correspondence, and personal effects (the only surviving palette, sketchbooks, paint tubes). The show is on view through January 12, 2014, at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Van Gogh Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

Also of interest is Van Gogh at Work, published in August by Yale University Press.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Shigeru Ban's Paper Shelters

What is permanent? What is temporary? Even a building
made of paper can be permanent as long as people love it.
~ Shigeru Ban

In the simplest of cardboard tubes, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban saw a solution to providing temporary housing in disaster-struck countries. Listen as he describes how he hit upon his idea, as far back as 1986, to create low-cost emergency shelters of paper, which are both water- and fire-proofed.

See more of Ban's unusual and beautiful paper tube structures. Among his extraordinary disaster-relief projects are the shelters he has built for Rwandan refugees and survivors of catastrophic events in Japan, Taiwan, China, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Turkey, India, and Sri Lanka. One of his designs, Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral in New Zealand, is still standing after 10 years.

Ban, who is the recipient of many awards for this designs, including the Architectural Institute of Japan Prize, teaches at Kyoto University of Art and Design.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Robert Indiana in the Studio

I'm a sign painter.
~ Robert Indiana

Artist Robert Indiana, perhaps most well-known for his LOVE sculptures, is the subject of "In the Studio with Robert Indiana" from Blouin ArtInfo. What a wonderful look inside this artist's Vinalhaven, Maine, home and studio.

The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, opened "Robert Indiana: Beyond Love" on September 26. The retrospective, which will be on view until January 5, 2014, includes more than 75 works, including paintings, collages, prints, and sculptures from the years 1955 - 2004. The show will travel to McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas, in February 2014. A catalogue is available.

Robert Indiana at Paul Kasmin Gallery, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Markowicz Fine ArtMoMA, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Anny Shaw, "Artist Interview: Robert Indiana", The Art Newspaper, Online Feature, October 4, 2013

Anny Shaw, "End to Indiana's 35-Year Wait", The Art Newspaper, Issue 244, March 2013

David Ebony, "The Perennial Optimist: Robert Indiana", Art in America

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Prop (Poem)

In Single Frame
September 18, 1977
NASA JPL Image P-19891


What she held
close no longer

rests within her
enfolded arms.

Moonlight burns
out, too, he'd said.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

SAVE THE DATE: 'Falling for Poetry'

turn your reflection
from lake to mountain — pure gold
will fall to your feet
~ Maureen Doallas

Photo Courtesy of Susan Etole
© Susan Etole
Used With Permission
Please Do Not Copy

Capitol Arts Network


Sunday, October 27, 2013
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

12276 Wilkins Avenue
Rockville, Maryland 20852

COME CELEBRATE Capitol Arts Network's inaugural poetry reading with Paulette Beete, Maureen Doallas, and Yahia Lababidi and enjoy light refreshments and spirited conversation in CAN's lovely gallery space. Books will be available for purchase and signing following the readings.

Paulette Beete has published poems, fiction, and nonfiction in such journals as Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Callaloo, CaKe, Crab Orchard Review, Fickle Muses, Josephine QuarterlyProvincetown Arts, and Rhino, and in the anthologies Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, D.C. (Plan B Press, 2009) and Saints of Hysteria.  She has published two poetry chapbooks: Voice Lessons (Plan B Press, 2011) and Blues for a Pretty Girl (Finishing Line Press, 2005). (Read Paulette's poetry at Escape Into Life.)

Maureen E. Doallas is the author of Neruda's Memoirs: Poems (T.S. Poetry Press, 2011). Her work has appeared in Every Day Poems, Escape into LifeThe Found Poetry Review (special issue celebrating David Foster Wallace), and The Victorian Violet Press & Journal; the anthologies Open to Interpretation: Water's Edge (Open to Interpretation, 2011) and Oil and Water... and Other Things That Don't Mix (LL-Publications, 2010); Felder Rushing's book Bottle trees (St. Lynn's Press, 2013); and at Poets for Living Waters, VerseWrights, the sad red earth, Red Lion Square, and TweetSpeakPoetry. Maureen also has contributed to the Tupelo Press's "The Million-Line Poem". An Artist Watch editor for Escape Into Life, Maureen writes daily at her blog Writing Without Paper. (Read Maureen's poem at The Found Poetry Review.)

Yahia Lababidi is a Pushcart-nominated poet whose work has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. The Egyptian-American thinker is the well-received author of Signposts to Elsewhere (Jane Street Press, 2008), a collection of aphorisms; Trial by Ink: From Nietzsche to Belly-dancing (Common Ground Publishing, 2010), a book of essays; Fever Dreams (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2011), poetry; The Artist as Mystic (Onesuch Press, 2012), lyric conversations between aphorists Yahia Lababidi and Alex Stein; and, most recently, Barely There: Short Poems (Wipf and Stock, 2013). (Read an interview with Yahia and two of his poems at Bazaar Magazine. Yahia also spoke recently with NPR; listen to "An Artist's Story of the Arab Spring".)

The poets can be found on FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites.

Crisis Chronicles Press

Finishing Line Press

Jane Street Press


Onesuch Press

Open to Interpretation

Plan B Press

St. Lynn's Press

T.S. Poetry Press

Wipf and Stock

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Muse: Texas's Poet Laureate

. . . My work in all settings has been about opening doors, 
particularly for people who feel their experiences are not
the "stuff of literature". All human experience is vital
to know and understand. . . .
~ Rosemary Catacalos*

Rosemary Catacalos is the current Poet Laureate of Texas. Dean Young of Austin will succeed her in 2014.

This post presents information about Catacalos. A post about Dean Young is planned for November 18.

Background about the creation of the honorary position, which has no obligations or requirements, is in the June 21, 2010, "Monday Muse: Texas's Poet Laureate".

*  * * * * 
. . . [P]oems show different perspectives
and ways of understanding in the world and help us
negotiate that with grace.
~ Rosemary Catacalos**

Rosemary Catacalos of San Antonio, Texas, published her first full-length collection, Again for the First Time (Tooth of Time Books, Santa Fe) in 1984; that book, considered a strongly feminist work, was awarded the Texas Institute of Letters poetry prize. She also is the author of the letterpress chapbook As Long As It Takes (Iguana Press, 1984).

Wings Press of San Antonio has issued a 30th anniversary edition of Again for the First Time (October 2013) and a limited-edition, hand-bound chapbook, Begin Here

Folklore, myths, and history as well as family life, human emotions and relationships, community, time, memory, loss, and beauty figure prominently in Catacalos's poems. Her subjects also encompass racism, death, war, sense of place (specifically, the landscape of San Antonio) and perspectives on multiculturalism and borders. Critics remark on her clear language, precise imagery, creative use of allusion, and skill in balancing the universal with the deeply personal. Her lyricism is noteworthy.

Here are the opening lines of "Homesteaders", from Again for the First Time. Take note of how uncluttered, how economic, her lines are:

They came for the water,
came to its sleeping place
here in the bed of an old sea,
the dream of the water. . . .

The full poem has an almost hypnotic effect, as if chanted.

The following lines from "La Casa", also in Again for the First Time, give an idea of how beautifully — and without dressed-up language — Catacalos creates an image:

[. . .]
Our mothers are inside
All the mothers are inside,
Lighting candles, swaying
Back and fourth on their knees,
Begging The Virgin's forgiveness
For having reeled us out
on such very weak string. [. . . .]

And, finally, these lines from the lovely, lyrical  "Morning Geography" (dedicated to poet Naomi Shihab Nye) reveals deft use of enjambment and firm control over subject:

Suppose the flower rioting on my desk, its wild, shouting
yellow streaked with red and ruffled as an agitated bird,

suppose this flower, large as my hand, could be pulled apart
and the sweetness wrung out the way we did honeysuckle so long

ago, rhyming summer nights with fireflies: This drop of honey
for courage, this drop of honey for love, this drop for anything

you are dreaming of. . . Last night I dreamed a woman I love [. . . .]

Poems by Catacalos have been published in high school and college textbooks and in a range of literary periodicals, including The Bloomsbury ReviewParnassus: Poetry in Review, The Progress, Provincetown ArtsSouthwest Review, and The Texas Observer.

Catacalos's work also has been anthologized in, among other publications, Risk, Courage, and Women: Contemporary Voices in Prose and Poetry (University of North Texas Press, 2007), San Antonio in Color (Trinity University Press, 2004),  Best American Poetry (Scribner, 1996, 2003), Chicana Without Apology (Routledge, 2003), Texas in Poetry 2 (Texas Christian University Press, 2002),  Inheritance of Light: Contemporary Poetry (University of North Texas Press, 1996), Daughters of the Fifth Sun: A Collection of Latina Fiction and Poetry (Riverhead Books, 1995), In Other Words: Literature by Latinas of the United States (Arte Publico Press, Houston, 1994), and Crossing the River: Poets of the Western United States (Permanent Press, 1987). One of her poems, "Crocheted Bag", appears in She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems (Voice, 2011), edited by Caroline Kennedy. 

In addition to Pushcart Prize nominations, Catacalos's honors include a Dobie-Paisano writing fellowship (Texas Institute of Letters/University of Texas, 1985) and National Endowment for the Arts grants. She was a Wallace Stegner Creative Writing Fellow (1989-1991) at Stanford University during a lengthy period (1989-2003) in California, where she also directed The Poetry Center/American Poetry Archives at San Francisco State University. In addition, Catacalos was a visiting scholar at Stanford's Institute for Research on Women and Gender. She directed for nearly a decade the nonprofit Gemini Ink, a San Antonio literary center.

A recipient of Macondo Foundation's Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award (2008), Catacalos, who is of Mexican and Greek descent and the first Chicana/Latina to be named  Poet Laureate of Texas, is featured in the award-winning documentary The Children of the Revolucion.

As Poet Laureate, Catacalos has been "stress[ing] the inseparability of literature and literacy", she told San Antonio Express-News, adding that "literacy is absolutely reinforced by creative thought." 


Photo Credit: Rosemary Catacalos by Michael Mehl/Fotoseptiembre USA via Wings Press

All Poetry Excerpts © Rosemary Catacalos

* Quoted in Bryce Milligan Interview at SA Arts, September 2013

** Quoted in Steve Bennet Interview Reprinted at Wings Press

Texas House Resolution 1536, April 26, 2013 (Announcement of 2014 Arts Appointments)

Texas House Resolution 1537, April 29, 2013 (Announcement of 2013 Arts Appointments)

Steve Bennett, "Rosemary Catacalos Named Texas State Poet Laureate", The Fine Print Blog, My San Antonio (San Antonio Express-News), April 19, 2013

Rosemary Catacalos Profiles at BookRagsTexas Commission on the ArtsWings Press

Rosemary Catacalos Poems: "David Talamatez on the Last Day of Second Grade" at Wings Press (Also at Texas Book Lover Blog); "Homesteaders" at Shambhala Sun; "Katakalos", "The History of Abuse, a Language Poem", "Keeping the Vigil", and "A Vision of La Llorna", in In Other Words: Literature by Latinas of the United States at GoogleBooks; "Morning Geography" at Xican@Poetry Daily

Again for the First Time at GoogleBooks

Carolina Astrain, "Poet Laureate Praises UHV's Literary Diversity", Victoria Advocate, September 19, 2013 (Video of Catacalos Reading from Again for the First Time)

Steve Bennett Interview with Rosemary Catacalos, Reprinted at Wings Press (The interview follows a video on the page.) See "Negotiating Culture Borders Through Poetry", San Antonio Express-News, May 23, 2013.

Roberto Bonazzi, "Mythical Poetry from the Texas Poet Laureate", San Antonio Express News, September 22, 2013

Bryce Milligan, "Rosemary Catacalos: Creative of the Month", Interview, SA Arts, September 2013

Wings Press on FaceBook

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Thought for the Day

My life is full of mistakes. They're like pebbles
that make a good road.
~ Beatrice Wood

Beatrice Wood (1893-1998), American Artist, Studio Potter, Author of I Shock Myself: The Autobiography of Beatrice Wood (Chronicle Books, 2006)

"Beatrice Wood, 105, Potter and Mama of Dada, Is Dead", Obituary for Beatrice Wood by Roberta Smith for The New York Times, March 14, 1998

Profiles of Beatrice Wood at Frank Lloyd Gallery and Women's International Center

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday Short

Today's Saturday Short features a performance by the wonderful singer-songwriter and mandolinist Chris Thile of Punch Brothers. Thile is playing the last movement of Bach's Sonata #1 in G Minor. He made the recording at Rockwood Hall in New York City for PBS NewsHour.

Chris Tile on FaceBook and MySpace

Chris Tile on Nonesuch Records (Listen to tracks from Thile's album of Bach sonatas and partitas here and on iTunes. Vol. 1 released August 6, 2013. It's terrific.)