January Offerings – Part XV: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

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Nobel Laureate: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr., American clergyman, activist, humanitarian, civil rights leader,
and recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, who was born 15 January 1929.
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American Art – Part I of III: Patrick Lee

In the words of one writer, “It is Lee’s masterful draftsmanship which conveys his understanding of his subjects and the core issue of masculinity. Each image is hand drawn without Photoshop or digital assistance. Akin to a sculptor, the artist invests each facial pore and hair with microscopic detail so the image resonates as a complete emotional picture; an internal and external illumination. In the lineage of Chuck Close and Manet’s realism, Lee forges a contemporary investigation of class and gender roles. His conceptual drawings are compelling mirrors of our societal desire for alpha – heroic strength and control. Yet his subjects are not ideal figures for they embody other human traits such as pride, anger, or pain. As complex portraits, Lee’s images expose the illusion of ‘maleness’ as acquired, not necessarily inherent; external gender characteristics as ever changing and adaptable according to need; a game of adaption and replication to an end.”
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From the Music Archives – Part I of II: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

15 January 1895 – The definitive version of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Swan Lake” premieres in St. Petersburg.

A favorite of mine since boyhood:

Born 15 January 1858 – Giovanni Segantini, an Italian painter known for his pastoral landscapes of the Alps.

Below (left to right) – “Midday in the Alps”; “Alpine Landscape”; “Return from the Woods”; “Vanitas”; “Life”; “Self-Portrait.”
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From the Music Archives – Part II of II: George Harrison

15 January 1971 – George Harrison releases “My Sweet Lord.”

In the words of one writer, “Philip de Rooij was born in January of 1976 in Arnhem, The Netherlands. He spent his youth in Zutphen, an old city near the river IJssel. By spending much time at that river, he developed his sense for nature, organic forms and space.
After two degrees in trade training and a technical math degree, he moved to Amsterdam. There he studied Structural Engineering at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, his goal was to become an architect. After he had been working as a broker in real estate, he started working in the internet business. Here Philip was the creative brain behind all of the photographs and picture material. After the company he worked for went bankrupt, he was at a crucial phase in his life. His overpowering feelings to create, were feelings he could not hold back any longer.”
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Ukranian painter Yury Salko (born 1964) is a graduate of the State Grekov Art College in Odessa.
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15 January 1985 – The Bollingen Prize for poetry is awarded to John Ashbery (shared with Fred Chappell).

“The Picture of Little J. A. in a Prospect of Flowers”

He was spoilt from childhood
by the future, which he mastered
rather early and apparently
without great difficulty.
…….BORIS PASTERNAK

I
Darkness falls like a wet sponge
And Dick gives Genevieve a swift punch
In the pajamas. “Aroint thee, witch.”
Her tongue from previous ecstasy
Releases thoughts like little hats.

“He clap’d me first during the eclipse.
Afterwards I noted his manner
Much altered. But he sending
At that time certain handsome jewels
I durst not seem to take offence.”

In a far recess of summer
Monks are playing soccer.

II
So far is goodness a mere memory
Or naming of recent scenes of badness
That even these lives, children,
You may pass through to be blessed,
So fair does each invent his virtue.

And coming from a white world, music
Will sparkle at the lips of many who are
Beloved. Then these, as dirty handmaidens
To some transparent witch, will dream
Of a white hero’s subtle wooing,
And time shall force a gift on each.

That beggar to whom you gave no cent
Striped the night with his strange descant.

III
Yet I cannot escape the picture
Of my small self in that bank of flowers:
My head among the blazing phlox
Seemed a pale and gigantic fungus.
I had a hard stare, accepting

Everything, taking nothing,
As though the rolled-up future might stink
As loud as stood the sick moment
The shutter clicked. Though I was wrong,
Still, as the loveliest feelings

Must soon find words, and these, yes,
Displace them, so I am not wrong
In calling this comic version of myself
The true one. For as change is horror,
Virtue is really stubbornness

And only in the light of lost words
Can we imagine our rewards.
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In the words of one writer, “Bruce Adams is best known as a conceptually based figurative painter who references various (often historical) painting styles. In exploring the act of painting, Adams peels back the layers of meaning inherent in making and viewing art.
Formally trained in art education at Buffalo State College, Adams considers his true education to be his involvement in Western New York’s contemporary art scene, starting in the nineteen-eighties as director/curator of a small storefront gallery called peopleart bflo, and then with Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center as an Artist Advisory Committee co-founder, long-time board member, and board president.”
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15 January 1985 – The Bollingen Prize for poetry is awarded to Fred Chappell (shared with John Ashbery).

“Narcissus and Echo”

Shall the water not remember ‘Ember’
my hand’s slow gesture, tracing above ‘of’
its mirror my half-imaginary ‘airy’
portrait? My only belonging ‘longing’;
is my beauty, which I take ‘ache’
away and then return, as love ‘of’
teasing playfully the one being ‘unbeing.’
whose gratitude I treasure ‘Is your’
moves me. I live apart ‘heart’
from myself, yet cannot ‘not’
live apart. In the water’s tone, ‘stone?’
that brilliant silence, a flower ‘Hour,’
whispers my name with such slight ‘light’:
moment, it seems filament of air, ‘fare’
the world becomes cloudswell. ‘well.’

Below – “Echo and Narcissus,” by John William Waterhouse.
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The paintings of Spanish artist Alejandra Caballero (born 1974) have won many awards.
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“Growing up human is uniquely a matter of social relations rather than biology. What we learn from connections within the family takes the place of instincts that program the behavior of animals; which raises the question, how good are these connections?” – Elizabeth Janeway, American author, social critic, feminist, and author of “The Walsh Girls,” who died 15 January 2005.

A few quotes from the work of Elizabeth Janeway:

“Like their personal lives, women’s history is fragmented, interrupted; a shadow history of human beings whose existence has been shaped by the efforts and the demands of others.”
“As long as mixed grills and combination salads are popular, anthologies will undoubtedly continue in favor.”
“The Goddamn human race deserves itself, and as far as I’m concerned it can have it.”
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Bulgarian painter Stefan Yanev (born 1952) is a graduate of the National Art Academy in Sofia. He specializes in depicting decaying houses in urban settings throughout Europe.
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“Question everything. Every stripe, every star, every word spoken. Everything.” – Ernest J. Gaines, American writer and recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction (for “A Lesson Before Dying”), who was born 15 January 1933.

Some quotes from the work of Ernest J. Gaines:

“Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands? ”
“I want you to show them the difference between what they think you are and what you can be.”
“I have no more to say except this: We must live with our own conscience.”
“Nietzsche said without music, life would be a mistake. To me, without books, life would be a mistake.”
“There will always be men struggling to change, and there will always be those who are controlled by the past.”
“Everything’s been said, but it needs saying again.”
“We’ve only been living in these ghettos for seventy-five years or so, but the other three hundred years — I think this is worth writing about. I think we’ve made tremendous sacrifices, we’ve shown tremendous strength. In the ghetto you see a lot of frustration; you see very little strength.”
“I don’t care what a man is. I mean, a great artist is like a great doctor. I don’t care how racist he is. If he can show me how to operate on a heart so that I can cure a brother, or cure someone else, I don’t give a damn what the man thinks; he has taught me something. And that is valuable to me. And that is valuable to others and man as a whole.”
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German painter Eckart Hahn (born 1971) studied Photography at Johannes Guttenberg School in Stuttgart (1990-1991), the History of Art at Eberhardt Karl University in Tubingen (1991-1993), and Graphic Design at Johannes Guttenberg School in Stuttgart (1995-1998).
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A Poem for Today

“Litany,”
By Billy Collins

‘You are the bread and the knife,

The crystal goblet and the wine…’
-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.
However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.
It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.
And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.
It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.
I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.
I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and–somehow–the wine.
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In the words of one art historian, British painter Christian Furr “became the youngest artist to have ever officially painted Queen Elizabeth II, when in 1995 – at the age of twenty eight – he was invited by the Queen to paint her portrait at Buckingham Palace.”
Christian Furr lives and works in London.
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A Second Poem for Today

“I Don’t Have a Pill for That,”
By Deborah Landau

It scares me to watch
a woman hobble along
the sidewalk, hunched adagio

leaning on —
there’s so much fear
I could draw you a diagram

of the great reduction
all of us will soon
be way-back-when.

The wedding is over.
Summer is over.
Life please explain.

This book is nearly halfway read.
I don’t have a pill for that,
the doctor said.

Below – “Stroll,” by Peggi Habets.
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“For the Climbers,”
By Kevin Craft

Among the many lives you’ll never lead,
consider that of the wolverine, for whom avalanche
is opportunity, who makes a festival
of frozen marrow from the femur of an elk,
who wears the crooked North Star like an amulet

of teeth. In the game of which animal
would you return as, today I’m thinking
snowshoe hare, a scuffle in the underbrush,
one giant leap. You never see them
coming and going, only the crosshairs

of their having passed, ascending the ridge, lost
or not lost in succession forests giving way
to open meadow where deep snow
lingers and finally relents, uncovering
acres of lily — glacier yellow, avalanche

white — daylight restaking its earthly claim.
Every season swallows someone — 
Granite Mountain with its blunderbuss
gullies, Tatoosh a lash on the tongue,
those climbers caught if not unawares

then perfectly hapless, not thinking of riding
that snowstorm to the summit, not thinking
wolverine fever in the shivering blood,
not thinking steelhead cutthroat rainbow
or the languid river that will carry them out.

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American Art – Part III of III: Lea Colie Wight

In the words of one writer, “Lea Colie Wight was born in Philadelphia, Pa in 1951. She earned a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1974. In 2003 Lea discovered Studio Incamminati, a small intensive Atelier founded in Philadelphia by world-renowned artist Nelson Shanks and entered as a student. Lea flourished in the environment of rigorous study under the attention of Nelson Shanks and the other top realist painters instructing at the school. In 2005 Lea was invited to join the teaching staff rising to become one of the lead teachers at that school. Lea periodically serves as teaching assistant to Nelson Shanks at the Art Students League on New York and has served as lead instructor for various Studio Incamminati workshops.
Lea maintains a studio in Manasquan, New Jersey as well as at Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia.”
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The Sea – Part I of V: Conrad Aiken

“The House Of Dust: Part 01: 08: The white fog creeps from the cold sea over the city”

The white fog creeps from the cold sea over the city,
Over the pale grey tumbled towers,—
And settles among the roofs, the pale grey walls.
Along damp sinuous streets it crawls,
Curls like a dream among the motionless trees
And seems to freeze.

The fog slips ghostlike into a thousand rooms,
Whirls over sleeping faces,
Spins in an atomy dance round misty street lamps;
And blows in cloudy waves over open spaces . . .

And one from his high window, looking down,
Peers at the cloud-white town,
And thinks its island towers are like a dream . . .
It seems an enormous sleeper, within whose brain
Laborious shadows revolve and break and gleam.

“December Fog,” by John Zander.

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The Sea – Part II of V: John Steinbeck

“Time is more complex near the sea than in any other place, for in addition to the circling of the sun and the turning of the seasons, the waves beat out the passage of time on the rocks and the tides rise and fall as a great clepsydra.” – “Tortilla Flat”

Below – “Corona Del Mar California,” by Alice Leggett.
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The Sea – Part III of V: Werner Herzog

“At the press conference for the film (“The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser”) he (Bruno Schleinstein, an actor who worked in three of Herzog’s films) impressed everyone with his complete sincerity and innocence. He said he had come to see the sea for the first time and marveled at how clean it was. Someone told him that, in fact, it wasn’t. ‘When the world is emptied of human beings,’ he said, ‘it will become so again.’”
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The Sea – Part IV of V: Jacques Cousteau

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
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The Sea – Part V of V: Andre Gide

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
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