Wandering in Woodacre – 14 April 2021

Contemporary British Art – Anna McNeil: Part I of II.

Below – “Whisper”; “After Noon”; “Woods”; Untitled; “Ponytail”; “Deep Waters.”

This Date in Intellectual/Cultural History: Died 14 April 1964 – Rachel Carson, an influential marine biologist, conservationist, author of “Silent Spring” and “The Sea Around Us,” and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Rachel Carson:

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
“It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself.”
“In nature nothing exists alone.”
“But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.”
“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”
“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”
“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later year…the alienation from the sources of our strength.”
“The winds, the sea, and the moving tides are what they are. If there is wonder and beauty and majesty in them, science will discover these qualities… If there is poetry in my book about the sea, it is not because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write truthfully about the sea and leave out the poetry.”
“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”
“For the sense of smell, almost more than any other, has the power to recall memories and it’s a pity we use it so little.”
“Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is… we cannot expect things to be much better in this world… We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity.”
“One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew i would never see it again?’”

Contemporary British Art – Anna McNeil: Part II of II.

Below – “girl with cat”; “Luna”; “Into the Blue”; “springtime”; On the River”: Untitled.

A Poem for Today

“This Year I Mean To Be An Elephant”
by Wendy Xu

I don’t know if you understand me when
I say hopefully there is a future and we
are both allowed in it. I mean last year it
was OK just to be flattened by our ideas.
I sat in so many rooms and eventually felt
interesting and not like a chair. Do you
feel like a straight line? I worry about how
I don’t. I worry that when I turn on
the radio this morning it sounds just like
I expect. I am thinking about kicking what
I expect in the shin. Last year I forgot
whole people until having lunch again
with those people. Last year I forgot really
embarrassing secrets like how I am allergic
to regular soap. Cue all different kinds
of light and what music makes you feel
not dead. Last night I dreamt about sand.

Below – Kristin Hart: “Remembering” (photograph)

Contemporary American Art – Therese Mulgrew

Below – “Beatrice”; “Coco”; “Teah II”; “Self Portrait”; “Leah and Sean”; “Robin.”


A Poem for Today

“Calmly We Walk through This April’s Day”
by Delmore Schwartz

Calmly we walk through this April’s day,
Metropolitan poetry here and there,
In the park sit pauper and ‘rentier’,
The screaming children, the motor-car
Fugitive about us, running away,
Between the worker and the millionaire
Number provides all distances,
It is Nineteen Thirty-Seven now,
Many great dears are taken away,
What will become of you and me
(This is the school in which we learn …)
Besides the photo and the memory?
(… that time is the fire in which we burn.)

(This is the school in which we learn …)
What is the self amid this blaze?
What am I now that I was then
Which I shall suffer and act again,
The theodicy I wrote in my high school days
Restored all life from infancy,
The children shouting are bright as they run
(This is the school in which they learn …)
Ravished entirely in their passing play!
(… that time is the fire in which they burn.)

Avid its rush, that reeling blaze!
Where is my father and Eleanor?
Not where are they now, dead seven years,
But what they were then?
No more? No more?
From Nineteen-Fourteen to the present day,
Bert Spira and Rhoda consume, consume
Not where they are now (where are they now?)
But what they were then, both beautiful;

Each minute bursts in the burning room,
The great globe reels in the solar fire,
Spinning the trivial and unique away.
(How all things flash! How all things flare!)
What am I now that I was then?
May memory restore again and again
The smallest color of the smallest day:
Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.

Below – Jonathan Stone: “time is the fire”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 13 April 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 13 April 1860 – James Ensor, a Belgian painter and printmaker.

Below – “The Rower”; “Still Life with Chinoiseries”; “Woman With Turned-up Nose”; “Meadow Flowers”; “Afternoon in Ostend.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 13 April 2006 – Muriel Spark, an award-winning British novelist, short story writer, poet, essayist, and author of “The Public Image.”

Some quotes from the work of Muriel Spark:

“Being in love is something like poetry. Certainly, you can analyze and expound its various senses and intentions, but there is always something left over, mysteriously hovering between music and meaning.”
“It is well, when in difficulties, to say never a word, neither black nor white. Speech is silver but silence is golden.”
“If I had my life to live over again, I would form the habit of nightly composing myself to thoughts of death. I would practice, as it were, the remembrance of death. There is not another practice which so intensifies life. Death, when it approaches, ought not to take one by surprise. It should be part of the full expectancy of life.”
“If you choose the sort of life which has no conventional pattern you have to try to make an art of it, or it is a mess.”
“I never trust the airlines from those countries where the pilots believe in the afterlife. You are safer when they don’t.”
“Being over seventy is like being engaged in a war. All our friends are going or gone and we survive amongst the dead and dying as on a battlefield.”


This Date in Art History: Born 13 April 1924 – John T. Biggers, an American painter.

Below – “Shotgun, Third Ward #1”; “The Return”; “Four Seasons”; “Slice of Cotton Harvest”; “The Upper Room.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 13 April 1909 – Eudora Welty, an American short story write, novelist, author of “The Optimist’s Daughter,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Eudora Welty:

“It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass. Yet regardless of where they come from, I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them — with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself. Still illiterate, I was ready for them, committed to all the reading I could give them .”
“Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it’s an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole.”
“We are the breakers of our own hearts”
“A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.”
“I am a writer who came from a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.”
“Through travel I first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it.”
“One place understood helps us understand all places better”
“She read Dickens in the same spirit she would have eloped with him.”
“It is our inward journey that leads us through time – forward or back, seldom in a straight line, most often spiraling. Each of us is moving, changing, with respect to others. As we discover, we remember; remembering, we discover; and most intensely do we experience this when our separate journeys converge. Our living experience at those meeting points is one of the charged dramatic fields of fiction. ”
“My continuing passion is to part a curtain, that invisible veil of indifference that falls between us and that blinds us to each other’s presence, each other’s wonder, each other’s human plight.”
“Never think you’ve seen the last of anything.”

This Date in Art History: Died 13 April 1956 – Emil Nolde, a German-Danish painter and printmaker.

Below – “Flower Garden (without figure)”; “Berglandschaft”; “Young Family”; “Blauer Tag am Meer”; “Portrait of a Young Woman with Dark Hair”; “Akte, zwei Frauen blass (vor dunklem Grund mit Blumen).”


This Date in Literary History: Born 13 April 1906 – Samuel Beckett, an Irish novelist, playwright, short story writer, poet, translator, author of “Waiting for Godot,” and recipient of the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Samuel Beckett:

“You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that.”
“We are all born mad. Some remain so.”
“Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
“My mistakes are my life.”
“The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh.”
“Memories are killing. So you must not think of certain things, of those that are dear to you, or rather you must think of them, for if you don’t there is the danger of finding them, in your mind, little by little.”
“If there is one question I dread, to which I have never been able to invent a satisfactory reply, it is the question what am I doing.”
But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late!
“The creation of the world did not take place once and for all time, but takes place every day.”

This Date in Art History: Died 13 April 1978 – Jack Chambers, a Canadian painter whose work was influenced by photorealism.

Below – “Lunch”; “Sunday Morning No. 2”; “Olga and Mary Visiting”; “401 Towards London No. 1”; “Lombard Avenue”; “Diego Reading.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 13 April 1939 – Seamus Heaney, an Irish poet, playwright, and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature.

“Follower”
by Seamus Heaney

My father worked with a horse-plough,
His shoulders globed like a full sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.
The horses strained at his clicking tongue.

An expert. He would set the wing
And fit the bright steel-pointed sock.
The sod rolled over without breaking.
At the headrig, with a single pluck

Of reins, the sweating team turned round
And back into the land. His eye
Narrowed and angled at the ground,
Mapping the furrow exactly.

I stumbled in his hobnailed wake,
Fell sometimes on the polished sod;
Sometimes he rode me on his back
Dipping and rising to his plod.

I wanted to grow up and plough,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm.
All I ever did was follow
In his broad shadow round the farm.

I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,
Yapping always. But today
It is my father who keeps stumbling
Behind me, and will not go away

Below – Keith Capon: “Golden Days”

Contemporary American Art – Adam Engle

Below – “Room in Brooklyn 1932”; “Boats on the coast”; “First Station”; “Corner Saloon in New York”; ‘Yellow House”; “Impasto Forest.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 13 April 1912 – Takuboku Ishikawa, a Japanese poet.

Tanka
By Takuboku Ishikawa

Lying on the dune sand
this day I recall
remotely
the anguish of my first love

Below – Kosta Pittas: “Sea of Love” (photograph)

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Wandering in Woodacre – 12 April 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 12 April 1885 – Robert Delaunay, a French painter.

Below – “Paysage au disque”; “Nature morte au vase de fleurs”; “Carousel of Pigs”; “Tour Eiffel”; “La Ville de Paris”; “Autoportrait.”

A Poem for Today

“For My Young Friends Who Art Afraid”
by William Stafford

There is a country to cross you will
find in the corner of your eye, in
the quick slip of your foot – air far
down, a snap that might have caught.
And maybe for you, for me, a high, passing
voice that finds its way by being
afraid. That country is there, for us,
carried as it is crossed. What you fear
will not go away: it will take you into
yourself and bless you and keep you.
That’s the world, and we all live there.

Contemporary French Art – Isabelle Joubert

Below (collage) – “Sky above me, earth below me”; “Ginko girl”; “Foret 2”; “Floral stripes”; “Green forest”; “Deep breath.”

A Poem for Today

“Dictionaries”
by Anna Kamienska

How many poems sleep in dictionaries
buried like needles in hay
How many poets not yet born
rolled in tight webs of anger
How many tender confessions there
How many insults
How many falsehoods

And what unexplored
uninhabited
deserts of silences

Below- (artist unknown) – “The Great Wave of Dictionary”

Contemporary American Art – Bart Soutendijk

Below (wire sculptures) – “Howling Coyote #73”; “Counting Grains of Sand #1057”; “Daffodils #7007”; “Mirror, Mirror #1063”; “C’est la Vie #1508”; “Seated Nude #7023.”

A Poem for Today

“Tonight I Can Write”
by Pablo Neruda

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, ‘The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.’

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another’s. She will be another’s. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

Contemporary Italian Art – Marcella Casu

Below – “move on”; “we want the moon!”; “bagnetto?”; “i giorni di echo”; “double”; “left to right.”

A Poem for Today

“After Graduate School”
by Valencia Robin

Needless to say I support
the forsythia’s war
against the dull colored
houses, the beagle
deciphering the infinitely
complicated universe
at the bottom of a fence
post. I should
be gussying up
my resume, I should be
dusting off my
protestant work ethic,
not walking around the
neighborhood loving
the peonies
and the lilac bushes, not
heading up Shamrock
and spotting Lucia coming
down the train tracks.
Lucia
who just sold her first story
and whose rent is going
up,
too, Lucia who says she’s
moving to South
America to save money,
Lucia, cute twenty-
something I wish
wasn’t walking down
train tracks
alone. I tell her about my
niece teaching in
China, about the
waiter
who built a tiny house in
Hawaii, how he saved
up, how
he had to call the house a
garage to get a building
permit.
Someone’s practicing the
trumpet, someone’s
frying bacon
and once again the wisteria
across the street is
trying to take over
the nation. Which could
use a nice invasion, old
growth trees
and sea turtles, every kind
of bird marching
on Washington. If I had
something in my
refrigerator,
if my house didn’t look like
the woman who lives
there
forgot to water the plants,
I’d invite Lucia home,
enjoy another hour of not
thinking about not
having a job,
about not having a mother
to move back in with.
I could pick Lucia’s brain
about our circadian
rhythms,
about this space between
sunrise and sunset,
ask if she’s ever managed
to get inside it, the air,
the sky ethereal as all get
out—‘so close’
and no ladder in sight.

Below – Simon McCheung: “All In Her World” (photograph)


Contemporary German Art – Johanna Bath

Below – “future, right ahead”; “note”; “tile”; “watching you watching me”; “dreamweavers”; “distillation of something beautiful (sunflower).”


A Poem for Today

“Superbly Situated”
by Robert Hershon

you politely ask me not to die and i promise not to
right from the beginning—a relationship based on
good sense and thoughtfulness in little things

i would like to be loved for such simple attainments
as breathing regularly and not falling down too often
or because my eyes are brown or my father left-handed

and to be on the safe side i wouldn’t mind if somehow
i became entangled in your perception of admirable objects
so you might say to yourself: i have recently noticed

how superbly situated the empire state building is
how it looms up suddenly behind cemeteries and rivers
so far away you could touch it—therefore i love you

part of me fears that some moron is already plotting
to tear down the empire state building and replace it
with a block of staten island mother/daughter houses

just as part of me fears that if you love me for my cleanliness
i will grow filthy if you admire my elegant clothes
i’ll start wearing shirts with sailboats on them

but i have decided to become a public beach an opera house
a regularly scheduled flight—something that can’t help being
in the right place at the right time—come take your seat

we’ll raise the curtain fill the house start the engines
fly off into the sunrise, the spire of the empire state
the last sight on the horizon as the earth begins to curve

Below – Gordon R Johnston: “Empire Morning, NYC” (iPad Drawing)

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Wandering in Woodacre – 11 April 2021

This Date in Art History: Died 11 April 1958 – Konstantin Yuon, a Russian painter.

Below – “Soft goods”; “The blue bush”; “Spring sunny day”; “Tverskoy Boulevard”; “Portrait of Klavdiya Yuon, the artist’s wife”; “Self-portrait.”

This Date in Literary/Scientific History: Died 11 April 1987 – Primo Levi, an Italian chemist, short story writer, essayist, poet, novelist, Holocaust survivor, and author of “Survivor in Auschwitz” and “The Periodic Table.”

Some quotes from the work of Primo Levi:

“Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.”
“Auschwitz is outside of us, but it is all around us, in the air. The plague has died away, but the infection still lingers and it would be foolish to deny it. Rejection of human solidarity, obtuse and cynical indifference to the suffering of others, abdication of the intellect and of moral sense to the principle of authority, and above all, at the root of everything, a sweeping tide of cowardice, a colossal cowardice which masks itself as warring virtue, love of country and faith in an idea.”
“Those who deny Auschwitz would be ready to remake it.”
“The sea’s only gifts are harsh blows and, occasionally, the chance to feel strong. Now, I don’t know much about the sea, but I do know that that’s the way it is here. And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once, to find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions, facing blind, deaf stone alone, with nothing to help you but your own hands and your own head.”
“A country is considered the more civilised the more the wisdom and efficiency of its laws hinder a weak man from becoming too weak and a powerful one too powerful.”
“We must be listened to: above and beyond our personal experience, we have collectively witnessed a fundamental unexpected event, fundamental precisely because unexpected, not foreseen by anyone. It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say. It can happen, and it can happen everywhere.”
“I am constantly amazed by man’s inhumanity to man.”

This Date in Art History: Born 11 April1887 – Jamini Roy, an Indian painter.

Below – “Manasa (The Snake Goddess)”; “Two cats holding a large prawn”; “Boating”; “Mother and Child”; Untitled (Pujarin); Untitled (Krishna and Cows).

This Date in Literary History: Born 11 April 1903 – Misuzu Kaneko, a Japanese poet: Part I of II.

“Snow Pile”
by Misuzu Kaneko

Snow on top
must feel chilly,
the cold moonlight piercing it.

Snow on the bottom
must feel burdened
by the hundreds who tread on it.

Snow in the middle
must feel lonely
with neither earth nor sky to look at.

Below – Nadia Attura: “Cold” (photograph)

Contemporary American Art – Caroline Liu

Below – “Collective Effervescence”; “I’m in love with a ghost”; “We Are Water”; “The Land Sings To Me”; “Ghosts Are A Lot Harder To See”; “Raspberry Beret.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 11 April 1903 – Misuzu Kaneko, a Japanese poet: Part II of II.

“Stars and Dandelions”
by Misuzu Kaneko

Deep in the blue sky,
like pebbles at the bottom of the sea,
lie the stars unseen in daylight
until night comes.
You can’t see them, but they are there.
Unseen things are still there.

The withered, seedless dandelions
hidden in the cracks of the roof tile
wait silently for spring,
their strong roots unseen.
You can’t see them, but they are there.
Unseen things are still there.

Below – Mila Vlasova: “Lightness”


Contemporary American Art – Mark Kielkucki: Part I of II.

Below – “Night Gathering #7”; ‘Night Gathering #8”; “Night Fair XIII”; “Night Gathering #6”; “Night Gathering #5”; “Mirror.”

A Poem for Today

“The Witch’s Life”
by Anne Sexton

When I was a child
there was an old woman in our neighborhood whom we called The Witch.
All day she peered from her second story
window
from behind the wrinkled curtains
and sometimes she would open the window
and yell: Get out of my life!
She had hair like kelp
and a voice like a boulder.

I think of her sometimes now
and wonder if I am becoming her.
My shoes turn up like a jester’s.
Clumps of my hair, as I write this,
curl up individually like toes.
I am shoveling the children out,
scoop after scoop.
Only my books anoint me,
and a few friends,
those who reach into my veins.
Maybe I am becoming a hermit,
opening the door for only
a few special animals?
Maybe my skull is too crowded
and it has no opening through which
to feed it soup?
Maybe I have plugged up my sockets
to keep the gods in?
Maybe, although my heart
is a kitten of butter,
I am blowing it up like a zeppelin.
Yes. It is the witch’s life,
climbing the primordial climb,
a dream within a dream,
then sitting here
holding a basket of fire.

Below – Emilie Mori: “The Witch” (photograph)


Contemporary American Art – Mark Kielkucki: Part II of II.

Below – “Night Fair X”; “Night Fair VIII”; “Night Fair II”; “Night Gathering #2”; “Landscape with Figures No. 5”; “Troost Park No. 5.”


A Poem for Today

“The Dogs at Live Oak Beach, Santa Cruz”
by Alicia Ostriker

As if there could be a world
Of absolute innocence
In which we forget ourselves

The owners throw sticks
And half-bald tennis balls
Toward the surf
And the happy dogs leap after them
As if catapulted—

Black dogs, tan dogs,
Tubes of glorious muscle—

Pursuing pleasure
More than obedience
They race, skid to a halt in the wet sand,
Sometimes they’ll plunge straight into
The foaming breakers

Like diving birds, letting the green turbulence
Toss them, until they snap and sink

Teeth into floating wood
Then bound back to their owners
Shining wet, with passionate speed
For nothing,
For absolutely nothing but joy.

Below – Fedor Mukhin: “Dogs on the Beach”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 10 April 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 10 April 1916 – Lee Jung-seob, a Korean painter.

Below – “White Ox”; “Children in the Seashore”; Untitled; “Two Children”; “Children in Spring”; “People Reading the Newspaper, Number 84.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 10 April 1966 – Evelyn Waugh, an award-winning English novelist, biographer, travel writer, essayist, memoirist, and critic. Waugh is best known for being the author of “Brideshead Revisited,” but his Diaries and Letters make for edifying reading. I also recommend his travel writing, especially “When the Going Was Good.”

Some quotes from the work of Evelyn Waugh:

“Perhaps all our loves are merely hints and symbols; vagabond-language scrawled on gate-posts and paving-stones along the weary road that others have tramped before us; perhaps you and I are types and this sadness which sometimes falls between us springs from disappointment in our search, each straining through and beyond the other, snatching a glimpse now and then of the shadow which turns the corner always a pace or two ahead of us.”
“Sometimes, I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there’s no room for the present at all.”
“I should like to bury something precious in every place where I’ve been happy and then, when I’m old and ugly and miserable, I could come back and dig it up and remember.”
“If you asked me now who I am, the only answer I could give with any certainty would be my name. For the rest: my loves, my hates, down even to my deepest desires, I can no longer say whether these emotions are my own, or stolen from those I once so desperately wished to be.”
“The trouble with modern education is you never know how ignorant people are. With anyone over fifty you can be fairly confident what’s been taught and what’s been left out. But these young people have such an intelligent, knowledgeable surface, and then the crust suddenly breaks and you look down into depths of confusion you didn’t know existed.”
“But I was in search of love in those days, and I went full of curiosity and the faint, unrecognized apprehension that here, at last, I should find that low door in the wall, which others, I knew, had found before me, which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden, which was somewhere, not overlooked by any window, in the heart of that grey city.”
“I did not know it was possible to be so miserable and live but I am told that this is a common experience.”
“Beer commercials are so patriotic: Made the American Way. What does that have to do with America? Is that what America stands for? Feeling sluggish and urinating frequently?”
“To know and love one other human being is the root of all wisdom.”
“I felt that I was leaving part of myself behind, and that wherever I went afterwards I should feel the lack of it, and search for it hopelessly, as ghosts are said to do, frequenting the spots where they buried material treasures without which they cannot pay their way to the nether world.”


This Date in Art History: Died 10 April 1975 – Walker Evans; in the words of one writer, Evans “was an American photographer and photojournalist best known for his work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) documenting the effects of the Great Depression.”

Below – Tenant Farmer’s Wife, Alabama; Roadside stand near Birmingham, Alabama; Frame house. Charleston, South Carolina; Corrugated Tin Facade; Corner of a Coal Miner’s Home, Virginia; Boarding House Porch, Birmingham, Alabama.

This Date in Literary History: Born 10 April 1942 – Stuart Dybek, an award-winning American novelist, short story writer, poet, and author of “The Coast of Chicago”: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Stuart Dybek:

“The public library is where place and possibility meet.”
“Our plans for the future made us laugh and feel close, but those same plans somehow made anything more than temporary between us seem impossible. It was the first time I’d ever had the feeling of missing someone I was still with.”
“Love, it’s such a night, laced with running water, irreparable, riddled with a million leaks. A night shaped like a shadow thrown by your absence. Every crack trickles, every overhang drips. The screech of nighthawks has been replaced by the splash of rain. The rain falls from the height of streetlights. Each drop contains its own shattering blue bulb.”
“The sound of dogs howling from the next homestead over. But the space between our houses grows while I sleep. The forest around me deepens. The trees fall in love and multiply. The snow an intoxicant. I pray the pines don’t get bolder, that they don’t grow organs and hands.”
“‘I had this sudden awareness,’ she continues, ‘of how the moments of our lives go out of existence before we’re conscious of having lived them. It’s only a relatively few moments that we get to keep and carry with us for the rest of our lives. Those moments are our lives. Or maybe it’s more like those moments are the dots in what we call our lives, or the lines we draw between them, connecting them into imaginary pictures of ourselves.’”

Contemporary French Art – Delphine Rocher: Part I of II.

Below – “Les values”; “Herbes folles”; “Frederic. So far so good”; “Cordoue, Andalousie”; “Bus Stop, San Francisco”; “So far, so good, Death Valley II.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 10 April 1942 – Stuart Dybek, an award-winning American novelist, short story writer, poet, and author of “The Coast of Chicago”: Part II of II.
“Curtains”
by Stuart Dybek

Sometimes they are the only thing beautiful
about a hotel.
Like transients,
come winter they have a way of disappearing,
disguised as dirty light,
limp beside a puttied pane.
Then some April afternoon
a roomer jacks a window open,
a breeze intrudes,
resuscitates memory,
and suddenly they want to fly,
while men,
looking up from the street,
are deceived a moment
into thinking
a girl in an upper story
is waving.

Below – Eleonora Pecorella: “At the window” (photograph)


Contemporary French Art – Delphine Rocher: Part II of II.

Below – “Jusqu’ici tout va bien, Arizona”; “Oceans 2”; “Vous qui passez sans la voir…III”; “Lake Powell Dream”; “The dog, Death Valley”; “Madame reve.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 10 April 1941 – Paul Theroux, an award-winning novelist, short story writer, travel writer, and author of “The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia,” “The Old Patagonian Express: By Train Through The Americas,” and “The Mosquito Coast.”

Some quotes from the work of Paul Theroux:

“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.”
“The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human: the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger, to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown.”
“You go away for a long time and return a different person – you never come all the way back.”
“I think most serious and omnivorous readers are alike- intense in their dedication to the word, quiet-minded, but relieved and eagerly talkative when they meet other readers and kindred spirits.”
“The measure of civilized behavior is compassion.”
“Luxury is the enemy of observation, a costly indulgence that induces such a good feeling that you notice nothing. Luxury spoils and infantilizes you and prevents you from knowing the world. That is its purpose, the reason why luxury cruises and great hotels are full of fatheads who, when they express an opinion, seem as though they are from another planet. It was also my experience that one of the worst aspects of travelling with wealthy people, apart from the fact that the rich never listen, is that they constantly groused about the high cost of living – indeed, the rich usually complained of being poor.”
“‘Connection’ is the triumphal cry these days. Connection has made people arrogant, impatient, hasty, and presumptuous. …I don’t doubt that instant communication has been good for business, even for the publishing business, but it has done nothing for literature, and might even have harmed it. In many ways connection has been disastrous. We have confused information (of which there is too much) with ideas (of which there are too few). I found out much more about the world and myself by being unconnected.”
“Ever since childhood, when I lived within earshot of the Boston and Maine, I have seldom heard a train go by and not wished I was on it.”

Contemporary Spanish Art – Oscar Alvarez

Below – “perfect blue day”; “C-58”; “Walks through the sky…blue”; “Red dress”;“w-beach 4”; “Disconnected 5.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 10 April 2009 – Deborah Digges, an award-winning American poet and memoirist.

“Rough Music”
by Deborah Digges

This is how it’s done.
The villagers surround the house,
beat pots and pans, beat shovels to drain spouts,
crowbars to shutters, rakes
raining rake tines on corrugated washtubs, or wire
whips, or pitchforks, or horseshoes.
At first they keep their distance
as if to wake you like blackbirds, though the birds
have long since fled, flown deep into the field.
And for a while you lie still, you stand it,
even smile up at your crimes
accompanying, each one, the sunrise stuttering across the ceiling
like the sounds within the sounds,
like lightning inside thrum-tink, woman-in-wood-shoes-fall-
down-wooden-stairs, like wrong-wrong inside rung-rung,
brick-smacking-brick housing ice-breaking-ice-
breaking-glass . . .
I mention this since this is what my dreams
are lately, rough music,
as if all the boys to women I have been, the muses, ghost-
girls and the shadows of the ancestors
circled my bed in their cheap accoutrements
and banged my silver spoons on iron skillets, moor
rock on moor rock, thrust yardsticks into the fans.
Though I wake and dress and try
to go about my day,
room to room to room they follow me.
By evening, believe me, I’d give back everything,
throw open my closets, pull out my drawers spilling my hoard
of dance cards, full for the afterlife,
but my ears are bleeding.
I’m trapped in the bell tower during wind,
or I’m the wind itself against the furious, unmetered,
anarchical applause of leaves late autumns
in the topmost branches.
Now the orchestra at once throws down its instruments.
The doors in the house of God tear off their hinges—
I’m the child’s fist drumming its mother’s back,
rock that hits the skull that silences the martyr,
or I’m the martyr’s tongue cut out, fire inside fire,
clapper back to ore, ore into the mountain.
I’m gone, glad, empty, good
riddance, some shoulder to the sea, the likeness
of a wing, or the horizon, merely, that weird mirage, stone-
skipping moon, the night filled up with crows.
I clap my hands.
They scatter, scatter, fistful after
fistful of sand on water, desert for desert, far from here.

Below – John-henry Bartlett: “Specters of the Past” (photograph)

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Wandering in Woodacre – 9 April 2021

This Date in Art History: Died 9 April 1963 – Xul Solar, an Argentinian painter.

Below – “Painting with manuscript”; “Dragon”; “Entierro”; “Fiordo”; “Barrio.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 9 April 2015 – Ivan Doig, an award-winning American novelist, essayist, memoirist, and author of “This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind.”

Some quotes from the work of Ivan Doig:

“Childhood is the one story that stands by itself in every soul.”
“The spaces between stars are where the work of the universe is done.”
“Life is mostly freehand.”
“Even when it stands vacant the past is never empty”.”
“We count by years, but we live by days.”
“Life is wide. There’s room to take a new run at it.”
“For as long as there are men and women, some things in life will best be done arm in arm, and strolling in a flower garden is one.”


Contemporary Russian Art – Мадина Саманджия

Below – “Rush”; “Waiting”; “‘Seascape”; “Family idyll”; “Soul Flight”; “Peon.”


This Date in Intellectual History: Born 9 April 1967 – Sam Harris, an award-winning American writer, philosopher, neuroscientist, podcast host, and author of “The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason,” “Letter to a Christian Nation,” “The Moral Landscape: How Science Could Determine Human Values,” and “Lying.”

Some quotes from the work of Sam Harris:

“In fact, ‘atheism’ is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a ‘non-astrologer’ or a ‘non-alchemist.’ We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.”
“Consider it: every person you have ever met, every person will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?”
“We have a choice. We have two options as human beings. We have a choice between conversation and war. That’s it. Conversation and violence. And faith is a conversation stopper.”
“If someone doesn’t value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?”
“If you think that it would be impossible to improve upon the Ten Commandments as a statement of morality, you really owe it to yourself to read some other scriptures. Once again, we need look no further than the Jains: Mahavira, the Jain patriarch, surpassed the morality of the Bible with a single sentence: ‘Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being.’ Imagine how different our world might be if the Bible contained this as its central precept. Christians have abused, oppressed, enslaved, insulted, tormented, tortured, and killed people in the name of God for centuries, on the basis of a theologically defensible reading of the Bible.”
“Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes like this, or he doesn’t care to, or he doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil, or imaginary. Take your pick, and choose wisely.
The only sense to make of tragedies like this is that terrible things can happen to perfectly innocent people. This understanding inspires compassion.
Religious faith, on the other hand, erodes compassion. Thoughts like, ‘this might be all part of God’s plan,’ or ‘there are no accidents in life,’ or ‘everyone on some level gets what he or she deserves’ – these ideas are not only stupid, they are extraordinarily callous. They are nothing more than a childish refusal to connect with the suffering of other human beings. It is time to grow up and let our hearts break at moments like this.”
“It is time that we admitted that faith is nothing more than the license religious people give one another to keep believing when reasons fail.”
“What I’m asking you to entertain is that there is nothing we need to believe on insufficient evidence in order to have deeply ethical and spiritual lives.”
“It is time we admitted, from kings and presidents on down, that there is no evidence that any of our books was authored by the Creator of the universe. The Bible, it seems certain, was the work of sand-strewn men and women who thought the earth was flat and for whom a wheelbarrow would have been a breathtaking example of emerging technology. To rely on such a document as the basis for our worldview-however heroic the efforts of redactors- is to repudiate two thousand years of civilizing insights that the human mind has only just begun to inscribe upon itself through secular politics and scientific culture. We will see that the greatest problem confronting civilization is not merely religious extremism: rather, it is the larger set of cultural and intellectual accommodations we have made to faith itself.”
“What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance . . . Ask yourself: how has ‘elitism’ become a bad word in American politics? There is simply no other walk of life in which extraordinary talent and rigorous training are denigrated. We want elite pilots to fly our planes, elite troops to undertake our most critical missions, elite athletes to represent us in competition and elite scientists to devote the most productive years of their lives to curing our diseases. And yet, when it comes time to vest people with even greater responsibilities, we consider it a virtue to shun any and all standards of excellence. When it comes to choosing the people whose thoughts and actions will decide the fates of millions, then we suddenly want someone just like us, someone fit to have a beer with, someone down-to-earth—in fact, almost anyone, provided that he or she doesn’t seem too intelligent or well educated.”
“Lying is, almost by definition, a refusal to cooperate with others. It condenses a lack of trust and trustworthiness into a single act. It is both a failure of understanding and an unwillingness to be understood. To lie is to recoil from relationship.”
“Man is manifestly not the measure of all things. This universe is shot through with mystery. The very fact of its being, and of our own, is a mystery absolute, and the only miracle worthy of the name.”


Contemporary American Art – Jonathan McAfee

Below – “Lonesome Cowboy Bill”; “Used To Be”; “Urban Cowboys”; “Desert Wind”; “Lost in The World pt. 1”; “Love Remember Me.”


A Poem for Today

“Greetings My Dear Ghost”
by Mary Ruefle

One thing life has taught me
is that even dolls have bad days,
days when the wind presents its challenges,
you open your mouth, it gets full of grit,
cars are mangled, people are injured,
the Four Noble Truths sealed in a capsule
and sent into space, snowballs
hurled over a few daffodils startle
the piano keys out of their sleep.
Morning, I have just come from there,
they throw big pieces of it down with a smash.
When my doll refuses to speak I say Go, go
where the high, blinding, stately magnificence
of reality is being taught, but not even
a wandering little drift of unidentified sound
comes from her mouth, her face is haunted
in a bloodcurdling way, but that is her way,
her way of saying
‘How sweetly human, the April air.’

Below – Peter Zelei: “Bad Dreams I” (photograph)


Contemporary British Art – Melinda Matyas

Below – “Wind of Change”; “I’ve shaken off the dust of the lands”; “Rising sun, kingdom of lead”; “Under the blue sky alone I celebrate”; “Moroccan teacup”; “Circle”; “Sowing seeds in the dark.”

A Poem for Today

“Spring Thaw”
by Gordon Gilsdorf

Most things
die reluctantly,
clinging
to the life
they know,

like snow
trying to hold
the land
far beyond
the middle
of March.

How can it know
that April
will not have
violets without warm rains

and that
surrender
is the only way
to inherit
the earth?

Below – Ginny Lieberman: “Spring Thaw”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 8 April 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 8 April 1867 – Allen Butler Talcott, an American landscape painter.

Below – “Path Through the Woods”; “Evening”; “The Bright Light of Autumn”; “River Island”; “Return of the Redwing”; “Lyme Meadow.”

This Date in Art History: Born 8 April 1871 – Clarence Hudson White, a pioneering American photographer. In the words of one writer, “He became friends with Alfred Stieglitz and helped advance the cause of photography as a true art form.”

Below – “The Bubble”; “The Ring Toss”; “The Sea (Rose Pastor Stokes, Caritas Island, Connecticut)”; “The Orchard”; “Spring – A Triptych”; “Torso” (jointly created with Stieglitz).


This Date in Literary History: Born 8 April 1886 – Margaret Ayer Barnes, an American playwright, novelist, short story writer, author of “Years of Grace,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Margaret Ayer Barnes:

“The trouble with education is that we always read everything when we’re too young to know what it means. And the trouble with life is that we’re always too busy to re-read it later.”
“All wars are crusades, or we’re made to feel they are. That’s just what’s so wicked about them. We’re made to feel – not think – and people can’t think when they feel.”
“Character comes before scholarship.”
“There’s nothing in all the world as much fun as talk. When you’re talking, that is, with the right person.”
“The martial spirit is never dead. It sleeps through fortunate generations, but it wakes up very quickly to the toot of a fife. There’s that roistering spirit in men which leads them to think a good fight is a lark – until they’ve been in one. And the impulse to fight for your own incarnation of an ideal.”
“Character is the best security.”

This Date in Art History: Died 8 April 1973 – Pablo Picasso, a Spanish painter and sculptor.

Below – “Guernica”; “The Old Guitarist”; “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”; “Absinthe Drinker”; “Three Musicians”; “Boy with a Pipe”; “Don Quixote.”


A Poem for Today

“The Penitent”
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I had a little Sorrow,
Born of a little Sin,
I found a room all damp with gloom
And shut us all within;
And, “Little Sorrow, weep,” said I,
“And, Little Sin, pray God to die,
And I upon the floor will lie
And think how bad I’ve been!”

Alas for pious planning–
It mattered not a whit!
As far as gloom went in that room,
The lamp might have been lit!
My little Sorrow would not weep,
My little Sin would go to sleep–
To save my soul I could not keep
My graceless mind on it!

So I got up in anger,
And took a book I had,
And put a ribbon on my my hair
To please a passing lad,
And, “One thing there’s no getting by–
I’ve been a wicked girl,” said I:      ”
But if I can’t be sorry, why,
I might as well be glad!“

Below – Oscar Posada: “Wicked Woman”


This Date in Art History: Born 8 April 1943 – Chris Orr, an English painter, illustrator, lithographer, etcher, and silkscreen artist.

Below – “Nature Yet Remembers”; “Those Shadowy Recollections”; “Half Hidden From The Eye”; “A Strange Hollow Echo”; “All of Your Nothings”; “Be Content With Silence.”

A Poem for Today

“Rain”
by Don Paterson

I love all films that start with rain:
rain, braiding a windowpane
or darkening a hung-out dress
or streaming down her upturned face;

one big thundering downpour
right through the empty script and score
before the act, before the blame,
before the lens pulls through the frame

to where the woman sits alone
beside a silent telephone
or the dress lies ruined on the grass
or the girl walks off the overpass,

and all things flow out from that source
along their fatal watercourse.
However bad or overlong
such a film can do no wrong,

so when his native twang shows through
or when the boom dips into view
or when her speech starts to betray
its adaptation from the play,

I think to when we opened cold
on a starlit gutter, running gold
with the neon drugstore sign
and I’d read into its blazing line:

‘forget the ink, the milk, the blood—

all was washed clean with the flood

we rose up from the falling waters

the fallen rain’s own sons and daughters
and none of this, none of this matters.’

Below – Carla Raadsveld: “All together now’


This Date in Art History: Born 8 April 1944 – Odd Nerdrum, a Norwegian painter and illustrator.

Below – “Dawn”; “Return of the Sun”; “The Cloud”; “Woman’s Back”; “Portrait of a Young Girl”; Untitled.


A Poem for Today

“The Good Life”
by Mark Stand

You stand at the window.
There is a glass cloud in the shape of a heart.
There are the wind’s sighs that are like caves in your speech.
You are the ghost in the tree outside.

The street is quiet.
The weather, like tomorrow, like your life,
is partially here, partially up in the air.
There is nothing that you can do.

The good life gives no warning.
It weathers the climates of despair
and appears, on foot, unrecognized, offering nothing,
and you are there.

Below – Alyona Kravchenko: “In The Room II”

Contemporary British Art – Eunjung Seo

Below – “I can hear the sea”; “Into the Light”; “Come back to me”; “Emma”; “Blue”; “Playing Out”; “Portrait of Lee YoungAe.”

A Poem for Today

“To Say A Third”
by Ingeborg Bachmann

And so I have chosen
death, confessing everything
to him, telling it all
to him, this crazy
death, which I can’t
imagine, which I quickly
bring to pass, but
never can imagine, I’ve
told him everything.

The death I have told
is as bitter as thirty
tablets, high as the leap
from a window, and
I say to him when we’re
alone, he’s as high
as a leap is high, he
is short as the sleep
is short until he
takes away my anxious sleep,
I say to this
third one,
I say: show me
your mouth and eye
show me how it was,
show it to me again,
show me,
I say:
Once more, and
here I am.

Below – Ransom and Mitchell: “Ophelia II” (photograph)

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Wandering in Woodacre – 7 April 2021

This Date in Art History: Died 7 April 1938 – Suzanne Valadon, a French painter and the first woman painter admitted to the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts.

Below – “The Blue Room”; “La rose au miroir”; “Madame au petit chien”; “The Abandoned”; “Casting the Net”; “The Joy of Life.”

This Date in Movie History: Born 7 April. 1939 – Francis Ford Coppola, an award-winning American film director, producer, and screenwriter. Coppola is responsible for three of the greatest films in the history of cinema: “The Godfather,” “The Godfather: Part II,” and “Apocalypse Now.”

Some quotes from Francis Ford Coppola:

“The things you get fired for when you’re young are the same things that you get lifetime achievement awards for when you’re old.”
“You have to really be courageous about your instincts and your ideas. Otherwise you’ll just knuckle under, and things that might have been memorable will be lost.”
“Although knowledge of structure is helpful, real creativity comes from leaps of faith in which you jump to something illogical. But those leaps form the memorable moments in movies and plays.”
“The whole reason one wants to do lower budget films is because the lower the budget, the bigger the ideas, the bigger the themes, the more interesting the art.”
“Drinking wine is just a part of life, like eating food.”
“Most directors have one masterpiece by which they are known. Kurosawa has at least eight or nine.”


Contemporary Nigerian Art – Damola Ayegbayo

Below – “Purpose of existence”; “Care giver”; “The girl with a pearl earring”; “Isolation 2”; “Culture I”; “Culture II.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 7 April 1931 – Donald Barthelme, an American short story writer, novelist, author of “Snow White,” and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Donald Barthelme:

“There was no particular point at which I stopped being promising.”
“The aim of literature … is the creation of a strange object covered with fur which breaks your heart.”
“There is no moment that exceeds in beauty that moment when one looks at a woman and finds that she is looking at you in the same way that you are looking at her. The moment in which she bestows that look that says, ‘Proceed with your evil plan, sumbitch.’”
“How can you be alienated without first having been connected?”
“The privileged classes can afford psychoanalysis and whiskey. Whereas all we get is sermons and sour wine. This is manifestly unfair. I protest, silently.”
“I believe that because I had obtained a wife who was made up of wife-signs (beauty, charm, softness, perfume, cookery) I had found love.”
“Goals incapable of attainment have driven many a man to despair, but despair is easier to get to than that — one need merely look out of the window, for example.”


Contemporary Dutch Art -Nynke Kuipers

Below – “Hungry birds II”; “Moss forest”; “The robin in the birch”; “Ice in the forest”; “Heron”; “Cranes”; “Scarlet ibis.”

A Poem for Today

Haiku
by Mizuta Masahide

Barn’s burnt down–
now
I can see the moon.

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Wandering in Woodacre – 6 April 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 6 April 1826 – Gustave Moreau, a French painter of mythological figures.

Below – “Oedipus and the Sphinx”; “Venus Rising from the Sea”; “Perseus and Andromeda”; “La chimere”; “Europa and the Bull”; “Orpheus.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 6 April 2012 – Reed Whittemore, an American poet and critic.

“Thoughts of the California Desert”
by Reed Whittemore

Under palm trees, oranges, olives and pears
The indolent desert slouches, half an eye closed
And half an eye out for men of affairs whose cares
Keep them from keeping their gaudy gardens hosed.

Slouches and yawns, that clown.  Leaves in disdain
Gaseous dragons their nauseous knights to nettle.
Flips his tail coyly, rolls over, says he would fain
Die a dry death.  Haw! browning a petal.

Has it too good, too good.  Is vastly diverted
Watching his merchants and bankers stumble out doors.
Parries their blows, says he loves, loves to be squirted
As at him they fiercely empty their reservoirs.

Sleeps a great deal, drinks deep, drinks deep and makes hay,
Thinking he’ll swallow the bankers and all one day.

Below – Kevin Lynch: “El Mirage 2, Mojave Desert, California” (photograph)

This Date in Art History: Born 6 April 1857 – Arthur Wesley Dow, an American painter, printmaker, and photographer.

Below – “Crater Lake”; “View of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada”; “The Clam House” (woodblock print); “Landscape”; “Moonrise” (woodblock print); “Ipswich Landscape” (woodblock print).

This Date in Literary/Cultural History: Born 6 April 1931 – Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert), an American spiritual teacher, psychologist, and author of “Be Here Now.”

Some quotes from the work of Ram Dass:

“We’re all just walking each other home.”
“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”
“I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion–and where it isn’t, that’s where my work lies.”
“In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.”
“The heart surrenders everything to the moment. The mind judges and holds back.”
“As long as you have certain desires about how it ought to be you can’t see how it is.”
“Everything changes once we identify with being the witness to the story, instead of the actor in it.”
“Let’s trade in all our judging for appreciating. Let’s lay down our righteousness and just be together.”
“The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It can’t be organized or regulated. It isn’t true that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth.”
“Be here now.”

Contemporary American Art – Howard Newman

Below – “Brooklyn Heights Brownstones”; “Coney Island in Oil”; “Main Beach, East Hampton”; “Mountain Landscape”; “Peaceful Pasture”; “Stream In The Forest.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 6 April 1935 – Edwin Arlington Robinson, an American Poet, playwright, and three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

“The House on the Hill”
by Edwin Arlington Robinson

They are all gone away,
The House is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.

Through broken walls and gray
The winds blow bleak and shrill:
They are all gone away.

Nor is there one to-day
To speak them good or ill:
There is nothing more to say.

Why is it then we stray
Around the sunken sill?
They are all gone away,

And our poor fancy-play
For them is wasted skill:
There is nothing more to say.

There is ruin and decay
In the House on the Hill:
They are all gone away,
There is nothing more to say.

Below – Leslie Dannenberg: “This Old Abandoned House #2”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 5 April 2021

This Date in Art History: Died 5 April 1906 – Eastman Johnson, an American painter.

Below – “The Nantucket School of Philosophy”; “Ruth”; “The Girl I Left Behind Me”; “Winter, Portrait of a Child”; “Not at Home (An Interior of the Artist’s House)”; “The Old Stagecoach.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 5 April 2005 – Saul Bellow, a Canadian-American novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, author of “The Adventures of Augie March” and “Humboldt’s Gift,” recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, three-time recipient of the National Book Award for Fiction, and recipient of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Saul Bellow:

“A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”
“People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.”
“Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.”
“Boredom is the conviction that you can’t change … the shriek of unused capacities.”
“Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.”
“You can spend the entire second half of your life recovering from the mistakes of the first half.”
“People don’t realize how much they are in the grip of ideas. We live among ideas much more than we live in nature.”
“She was what we used to call a suicide blonde– dyed by her own hand.”

This Date in Art History: Died 5 April 1950 – Hiroshi Yoshida, a Japanese painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Kumoi Cherry Trees”; “Glittering Sea”; “Spring in a Hot Spring”; “Bamboo Grove”; “View from Komagatake”; “Sailing Boats.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 5 April 2017 – Makoto Ooka, an award-winning Japanese poet and literary critic.

“The Tale of a Star #1”
by Makoto Ooka

A star is
an infinitely
and slowly
collapsing
being

My favorite star
scrawls graffiti
all over the sky and
never bothers to
read them back

Now there’s someone
I can take off my hat to!

This Date in Art History: Died 5 April 1950 – Hiroshi Yoshida, a Japanese painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Climbing Snow Valley”; “Edo Castle”; “Carp in a Pond”; “The Fuji New Grand Hotel”; “The Cherry tree in Kawagoe”; “Atami Hot Spring.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 5 April 1997 – Allen Ginsberg, an American poet, author of “Howl,” and recipient of the National Book Award for poetry.

“A Supermarket in California”
by Allen Ginsberg

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.

Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?


This Date in Art History:Died 5 April 1958 – Asgrimur Jonsson, an Icelandic landscape painter.

Below – “Strúttur and Eiríksjökull, Iceland”; “Landscape, Iceland”; “Landscape, Iceland”; “Icelandic Landscape”; “View of Mount Strutur from Husafell with the glacier Eriksjokull in the background”; “Scenery from Husafell, Iceland.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 5 April 2014 – Peter Matthiessen, an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, author of “The Snow Leopard,” and three-time recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Peter Matthiessen:

“The secret of the mountain is that the mountains simply exist, as I do myself: the mountains exist simply, which I do not. The mountains have no ‘meaning,’ they are meaning; the mountains are. The sun is round. I ring with life, and the mountains ring, and when I can hear it, there is a ringing that we share. I understand all this, not in my mind but in my heart, knowing how meaningless it is to try to capture what cannot be expressed, knowing that mere words will remain when I read it all again, another day.”
“When we are mired in the relative world, never lifting our gaze to the mystery, our life is stunted, incomplete; we are filled with yearning for that paradise that is lost when, as young children, we replace it with words and ideas and abstractions – such as merit, such as past, present, and future – our direct, spontaneous experience of the thing itself, in the beauty and precision of this present moment.”
“The concept of conservation is a far truer sign of civilization than that spoilation of a continent which we once confused with progress.”
“The sun is roaring, it fills to bursting each crystal of snow. I flush with feeling, moved beyond my comprehension, and once again, the warm tears freeze upon my face. These rocks and mountains, all this matter, the snow itself, the air- the earth is ringing. All is moving, full of power, full of light.”
“There’s an elegiac quality in watching [American wilderness] go, because it’s our own myth, the American frontier, that’s deteriorating before our eyes. I feel a deep sorrow that my kids will never get to see what I’ve seen, and their kids will see nothing; there’s a deep sadness whenever I look at nature now.”
“And as the wary dogs skirt past, we nod, grimace, and resume our paths to separate destinies and graves.”
“I grow into these mountains like a moss. I am bewitched. The blinding snow peaks and the clarion air, the sound of earth and heaven in the silence, the requiem birds, the mythic beasts, the flags, great horns, and old carved stones, the silver ice in the black river, the Kang, the Crystal Mountain. Also, I love the common miracles-the murmur of my friends at evening, the clay fires of smudgy juniper, the coarse dull food, the hardship and simplicity, the contentment of doing one thing at a time… gradually my mind has cleared itself, and wind and sun pour through my head, as through a bell. Though we talk little here, I am never lonely; I am returned into myself. In another life-this isn’t what I know, but how I feel- these mountains were my home; there is a rising of forgotten knowledge, like a spring from hidden aquifers under the earth. To glimpse one’s own true nature is a kind of homegoing, to a place East of the Sun, West of the Moon- the homegoing that needs no home, like that waterfall on the supper Suli Gad that turns to mist before touching the earth and rises once again to the sky.”
“Zen has been called the ‘religion before religion,’ which is to say that anyone can practice, including those committed to another faith. And that phrase evokes that natural religion of our early childhood, when heaven and a splendorous earth were one. But soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions and abstractions. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines, and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, at the bottom of each breath, there is a hollow place filled with longing. We become seekers without knowing that we seek, and at first, we long for something “greater” than ourselves, something apart and far away. It is not a return to childhood, for childhood is not a truly enlightened state. Yet to seek one’s own true nature is ‘a way to lead you to your long lost home.’ To practice Zen means to realize one’s existence moment after moment, rather than letting life unravel in regret of the past and daydreaming of the future. To ‘rest in the present’ is a state of magical simplicity…out of the emptiness can come a true insight into our natural harmony all creation. To travel this path, one need not be a ‘Zen Buddhist’, which is only another idea to be discarded like ‘enlightenment,’ and like ‘the Buddha’ and like ‘God’.”
“Indicating his twisted legs without a trace of self-pity or bitterness, as if they belonged to all of us, he casts his arms wide to the sky and the snow mountains, the high sun and dancing sheep, and cries, ’Of course I am happy here! It’s wonderful! Especially when I have no choice!’ In its wholehearted acceptance of what is;I feel as if he had struck me in the chest. Butter tea and wind pictures, the Crystal Mountain, and blue sheep dancing on the snow-it’s quite enough!
Have you seen the snow leopard?
No! Isn’t that wonderful?”


Contemporary Indian Art – Shabana Godhrawala

Below – “The Library”; “The Chandelier”; “The Wall Of Flowers”; “The Kitchen”; “The Room”; “Tranquil.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 5 April 1904 – Richard Eberhart, an American poet and recipient of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

“The Eclipse”
by Richard Eberhart

I stood out in the open cold
To see the essence of the eclipse
Which was its perfect darkness.

I stood in the cold on the porch
And could not think of anything so perfect
As mans hope of light in the face of darkness.

Below – Allison Bagg: “Total Eclipse Of The House” (photograph)

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