American Art – Part I of II: Karen Woods
Karen Woods earned a B.F.A. from the California College of the Arts, Oakland.
Reflections in Summer: A.E. Housman
A Poem for Today
By Suzanne Doyle
Though I may scent black cherry,
Violets or truffles in the nose,
Make my companions weary
Praising the bull’s blood that I chose,
Though it courses through my heart
And makes me brave (but rarely true),
And is the consummated art
Of all that tastebuds can construe,
Though I forget, I won’t deny:
The peroration to all this,
When the radiant glass is dry,
Is one expensive piss.
Reflections in Summer: Diogenes
From the Music Archives: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
20 August 1882 – Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” debuts in Moscow.
Reflections in Summer: Walt Whitman
20 August 1741 – Danish explorer and Russian naval officer Vitus Bering becomes the first European to discover and explore Alaska. In the words of one historian, “Having returned to Okhotsk with a much larger, better prepared, and much more ambitious expedition, Bering set off towards North America in 1741. While doing so, the expedition spotted Mount Saint Elias, and sailed past Kodiak Island. A storm separated the ships, but Bering sighted the southern coast of Alaska, and a landing was made at Kayak Island or in the vicinity.”
Reflections in Summer: Arnold Bennett
“The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.”
According to one critic, Norwegian painter Froydis Aarseth (born 1968) “has always known what she wanted in life and that was to live a life as a classical painter. Not only to paint paintings that are beautiful to look at, but also to convey a deeper importance that will give the viewer something more than only aesthetics.
Frøydis has been a student of The Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. Here she got an education in classical drawing and painting. She also studied anatomy under teacher Andrew Ameral. After three years at the academy she continued her studies as an apprentice under Odd Nerdrum.”
Reflections in Summer: Flannery O’Connor
“At its best our age is an age of searchers and discoverers, and at its worst, an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily.”
20 August 1908 – America’s Great White Fleet arrives in Sydney, Australia, to be greeted with a tremendous welcome. In the words of one historian, “On 20 August 1908 well over half a million Sydneysiders turned out to watch the arrival of the United States Navy’s ‘Great White Fleet.’ For a city population of around 600,000 this was no mean achievement. The largest gathering yet seen in Australia, it far exceeded the numbers that had celebrated the foundation of the Commonwealth just seven years before. Indeed, the warm reception accorded the crews of the 16 white-painted battleships during ‘Fleet Week,’ was generally regarded as the most overwhelming of any of the ports visited during the 14 month and 45,000 mile global circumnavigation. The NSW Government declared two public holidays, business came to a standstill and the unbroken succession of civic events and all pervading carnival spirit encountered in Sydney (followed by Melbourne and Albany) severely tested the endurance of the American sailors. More than a few decided to take their chances and stay behind when the fleet sailed!”
In fact, 221 American sailors decided to remain in Australia – the largest desertion in U.S. naval history. No worries, mate. We’ll just put another 221 shrimp on the barbie.
Reflections in Summer: Antoine de Saint-Exupery
A Second Poem for Today
By Rhina P. Espaillat
I’m learning the subjunctive, mood of choice
once the indicative has slipped away
that seemed to say it all once. Active voice,
yes, all the tenses—I need those to say
act and remembrance, why and how we live—
but now, subjunctive and conditional
(“If that should happen”) and obligative
(“Let this be said”) feel truer than “I shall,
he did, we are,” a ripening to speech
spiced and complex and tart, past what I’m sure
of—or was sure of—or set out to reach;
how to acquire a taste for the impure
provisional, that’s what I need to know,
before the last imperative says “Go.”
Reflections in Summer: Adrienne Rich
Reflections in Summer: Richard Dawkins
“I shout love in a blizzard’s
scarf of curling cold,
for my heart’s a furred sharp-toothed thing
that rushes out whimpering
when pain cries the sign writ on it.
I shout love into your pain
when skies crack and fall
like slivers of mirrors,
and rounded fingers, blued as a great rake,
pluck the balled yarn of your brain.
I shout love at petals peeled open
by stern nurse fusion-bomb sun,
terribly like an adhesive bandage,
for love and pain, love and pain
are companions in this age.” – “I Shout Love,” by Milton Acorn, Canadian poet, writer, and playwright, who died 20 August 1986.
“Live with Me on Earth under the Invisible Daylight Moon”
Live with me on Earth among red berries and the bluebirds
And leafy young twigs whispering
Within such little spaces, between such floors of green, such
figures in the clouds
That two of us could fill our lives with delicate wanting:
Where stars past the spruce copse mingle with fireflies
Or the dayscape flings a thousand tones of light back at the sun —
Be any one of the colours of an Earth lover;
Walk with me and sometimes cover your shadow with mine.
Reflections in Summer: Robert Frost
Back from the Territory – Art: George Alayco
George Alayco is in an Inuit Sculptor.
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Reflections in Summer: Joseph Campbell
“Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.”
20 August 1980 – Reinhold Messner, mountaineer, adventurer, explorer, and author from the Italian autonomous province of South Tyrol, completes the first solo ascent of Mount Everest. In the words of one historian, “on August 20, 1980, Messner again stood atop Mount Everest without oxygen after climbing a new route up the North Face. For this audacious ascent, the first solo new route on the mountain, Messner traversed across the North Face, and then climbed the Great Couloir directly to the summit, avoiding the Second Step on the Northeast Ridge. He was the only climber on the mountain and spent only three nights above his advanced base camp below the North Col.”
Reflections in Summer: Arnold Bennett
A Third Poem for Today
“Sleeping in the Forest,”
By Mary Oliver
I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.
Reflections in Summer: James Wright
“Love is a cliff,
A clear, cold curve of stone, mottled by stars,
Smirched by the morning, carved by the dark sea
Till stars and dawn and waves can slash no more,
Till the rock’s heart is found and shaped again.”
American Art – Part II of II: Rob Brooks
In the words of one writer, “Rob Brooks’ work has been described by the Cape Cod Times as ‘fun-pop art with a hint of surrealism,’ and ‘hard-edged impressionism.’ His rich color pallet and strong lines create unique and compelling perspectives that should not be missed viewing. Mr. Brooks follows in the tradition of the Northampton Realists, but with a unique style that is all his own. His work focus on urban scenes, seascapes, American contemporary icons and, in his words,’ kitsch.’ His use of vivid color, and deliberate brush strokes, yields realistic yet thought-provoking images of the modern world, with a hint of the surreal. Educated at the Institute of Art in Boston, Rob currently lives in Rhode Island.