American art – Part I of III: Jamie Vasta
American Muse – Part I of III: Hilda Doolittle
“At least I have the flowers of myself,
and my thoughts, no god
can take that;
I have the fervour of myself for a presence
and my own spirit for light;
and my spirit with its loss
though small against the black,
small against the formless rocks,
hell must break before I am lost;
before I am lost,
hell must open like a red rose
for the dead to pass.” – From “Eurydice,” by Hilda “H.D.” Doolittle, poet, novelist, memoirist, and author of “Sea Garden,” who was born 10 September 1886.
All Greece hates
the still eyes in the white face,
the lustre as of olives
where she stands,
and the white hands.
All Greece reviles
the wan face when she smiles,
hating it deeper still
when it grows wan and white,
remembering past enchantments
and past ills.
Greece sees, unmoved,
God’s daughter, born of love,
the beauty of cool feet
and slenderest knees,
could love indeed the maid,
only if she were laid,
white ash amid funereal cypresses.
Will you glimmer on the sea?
Will you fling your spear-head
On the shore?
What note shall we pitch?
We have a song,
On the bank we share our arrows—
The loosed string tells our note:
American Art – Part II of III: Joe Velez
American Muse – Part II of III: Georgia Douglas Johnson
“Rise with the hour for which you were made.” – Georgia Douglas Johnson, poet, playwright, member of the Harlem Renaissance, and author of “The Heart of a Woman,” who was born 10 September 1880.
And who shall separate the dust
What later we shall be:
Whose keen discerning eye will scan
And solve the mystery?
The high, the low, the rich, the poor,
The black, the white, the red,
And all the chromatique between,
Of whom shall it be said:
Here lies the dust of Africa;
Here are the sons of Rome;
Here lies the one unlabelled,
The world at large his home!
American Art – Part III of III: Sidney Goodman
According to one critic, “”Sidney Goodman is one of the preeminent contemporary American painters and draftsmen exploring the still fertile ground of art based on the human form. For over three decades the style that he has forged out of direct observation, creative imagination, and prolonged study of European and American masters has demonstrated the continuing vitality of figurative art. But Goodman’s embrace of metaphor and the metaphysical has set his brand of figuration markedly apart from that of other major artists of his generation. Goodman has developed an approach that is perhaps best understood as allegorical, albeit a thoroughly contemporary version of this traditional manner not tied to mythological or biblical texts, but instead lodged in modern urban and suburban subject matter. Because the visible world provides the stimulus for Goodman’s allusive inventions, the sometimes contradictory meanings of vision come into play: observation serves as the jumping-off point into a realm of visualization that often proves unsettling to familiar sight.”
American Muse – Part III of III: Amy Clampitt
“The music is a vibration in the brain rather than the ear. ” – Amy Clampitt, poet, writer, and author of “A Silence Opens: Poems, who died 10 September 1994.
First daylight on the bittersweet-hung
sleeping porch at high summer; dew
all over the lawn, sowing diamond-
the hired man’s shadow revolving
along the walk, a flash of milkpails
passing; no threat in sight, no hint
anywhere in the universe, of that
apathy at the meridian, the noon
of absolute boredom; flies
crooning black lullabies in the kitchen,
milk-soured crocks, cream separator
still unwashed; what is there to life
but chores and more chores, dishwater,
fatigue, unwanted children; nothing
to stir the longueur of afternoon
From the Music Archives: The Beatles
10 September 1966 – The Beatles’ “Revolver” album reaches number one
on American popular music charts and remains there for six weeks.
Here is one critic describing the artistry of Canadian painter John Hansen (born 1957): “For Hansen, sound craftsmanship applied in a proper theoretically grounded method is crucial as the effective means to express his reflections of life. Initially working from the imagination he creates the composition in his mind. Hansen then gathers reference materials by using a camera to record the image of the figure, and by documenting measurements along with small detail sketches. Hansen then sets to work in his preferred medium of oil.”
“Now the truth of the matter is that there are a lot of things people don’t understand. Take the Einstein theory. Take taxes. Take love. Do you understand them? Neither do I. But they exist. They happen.” – Dalton Trumbo, American screenwriter, novelist, and author of “Johnny Got His Gun,” who died 10 September 1976.
In the words of one historian, “As one of the Hollywood Ten, (Trumbo) refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1947 during the committee’s investigation of Communist influences in the motion picture industry. Trumbo won two Academy Awards while blacklisted; one was originally given to a front writer, and one was awarded to “Robert Rich”, Trumbo’s pseudonym.”
Some quotes from the work of Dalton Trumbo:
“Dishonesty in government is the business of every citizen. It is not enough to do your own job. There’s no particular virtue in that. Democracy isn’t a gift. It’s a responsibility.”
“The chief internal enemies of any state are those public officials who betray the trust imposed upon them by the people.”
“A good businessman never makes a contract unless he’s sure he can carry it through, yet every fool on earth is perfectly willing to sign a marriage contract without considering whether he can live up to it or not.”
“Democracy means that people can say what they want to. All the people. It means that they can vote as they wish. All the people. It means that they can worship God in any way they feel right, and that includes Christians and Jews and voodoo doctors as well.”
“The only interesting thing that can happen in a Swiss bedroom is suffocation by feather mattress.”
“We’ll free every slave in every town and region. Can anybody get a bigger army than that?”
A Poem for Today
“Odysseus to Telemachus”
By Joseph Brodsky
My dear Telemachus,
The Trojan War
is over now; I don’t recall who won it.
The Greeks, no doubt, for only they would leave
so many dead so far from their own homeland.
But still, my homeward way has proved too long.
While we were wasting time there, old Poseidon,
it almost seems, stretched and extended space.
I don’t know where I am or what this place
can be. It would appear some filthy island,
with bushes, buildings, and great grunting pigs.
A garden choked with weeds; some queen or other.
Grass and huge stones . . . Telemachus, my son!
To a wanderer the faces of all islands
resemble one another. And the mind
trips, numbering waves; eyes, sore from sea horizons,
run; and the flesh of water stuffs the ears.
I can’t remember how the war came out;
even how old you are–I can’t remember.
Grow up, then, my Telemachus, grow strong.
Only the gods know if we’ll see each other
again. You’ve long since ceased to be that babe
before whom I reined in the plowing bullocks.
Had it not been for Palamedes’ trick
we two would still be living in one household.
But maybe he was right; away from me
you are quite safe from all Oedipal passions,
and your dreams, my Telemachus, are blameless.