American Art – Part I of V: Sherry Karver
In the words of one writer, “Sherry Karver combines photography, painting, and narrative text to create new media works that focus on urban life and the individual’s place in a crowded world. Featuring public spaces from New York to San Francisco, she addresses themes of identity, voyeurism, and surveillance that form part of modern existence.
Born in Chicago, Karver has spent her life in metropolitan areas. Her work reflects the multitude of issues and truths of living in large cities. Karver describes aspects of urban living as, ‘loneliness and alienation in our fast paced society, the concept of personal identity and the loss of it, the individual as part of the crowd.’ In placing personalized biographical details, sometimes humorous, over selected figures captured in a crowd, Karver seeks to highlight individuality and establish connection within an otherwise anonymous sea of life.”
A Poet for This Day – Tom McGrath: Part I of VI
“Route Song and Epitaph”
From the Music Archives – Part I of III: Johann Sebastian Bach
Reflections in Summer: Jeff Rasley
“My own experiences in the wild rank in value just behind the birth of my children, my wedding, and the memorial services and graduations I’ve attended. I am permanently affected by those solitary encounters with land, sky, and water, and all that’s contained within. I don’t really know if I am a better person because of them, but I am happier for them.”
American Art – Part II of V: Roberto Santo
A Poet for This Day – Tom McGrath: Part II of VI
“Against the False Magicians”
for Don Gordon
The poem must not charm us like a film:
See, in the war-torn city, that reckless, gallant
Handsome lieutenant turn to the wet-lipped blonde
(Our childhood fixation) for one sweet desperate kiss
In the broken room, in blue cinematic moonlight —
Bombers across that moon, and the bombs falling,
The last train leaving, the regiment departing —
And their lips lock, saluting themselves and death:
And then the screen goes dead and all go home…
Ritual of the false imagination.
The poem must not charm us like the fact:
A warship can sink a circus at forty miles,
And art, love’s lonely counterfeit, has small dominion
Over those nightmares that move in the actual sunlight.
The blonde will not be faithful, nor her lover ever return
Nor the note be found in the hollow tree of childhood —
This dazzle of the facts would have us weeping
The orphaned fantasies of easier days.
It is the charm which the potential has
That is the proper aura for the poem.
Though ceremony fail, though each of your grey hairs
Help string a harp in the landlord’s heaven,
And every battle, every augury,
Argue defeat, and if defeat itself
Bring all the darkness level with our eyes —
It is the poem provides the proper charm,
Spelling resistance and the living will,
To bring to dance a stony field of fact
And set against terror exile or despair
The rituals of our humanity.
From the American History Archives: The Mountain Meadows Massacre
11 September 1857 – The Mountain Meadows Massacre takes place in Southern Utah. Mormons dressed as Indians murder 120 men, women, and children. In the words of one historian, “In early 1857, several groups of emigrants from the northwestern Arkansas region started their trek to California, joining up on the way to form a group known as the Baker–Fancher party. The groups were mostly from Marion, Crawford, Carroll, and Johnson counties in Arkansas, and had assembled into a wagon train at Beller’s Stand, south of Harrison, to emigrate to southern California.
The Mountain Meadows massacre was a series of attacks on the Baker–Fancher emigrant wagon train at Mountain Meadows in southern Utah. The attacks culminated on September 11, 1857, with the mass slaughter of most in the emigrant party by members of the Utah Territorial Militia from the Iron County district, together with some Paiute Native Americans.
The militia, officially called the Nauvoo Legion, was composed of Utah’s Mormon settlers (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS Church). Intending to give the appearance of Native American aggression, their plan was to arm some Southern Paiute Native Americans and persuade them to join with a larger party of their own militiamen—disguised as Native Americans—in an attack. During the militia’s first assault on the wagon train, the emigrants fought back and a five-day siege ensued. Eventually fear spread among the militia’s leaders that some emigrants had caught sight of white men and had likely discovered the identity of their attackers. As a result militia commander William H. Dame ordered his forces to kill the emigrants.”
Reflections in Summer: Harvey Broome
“Where wilderness can still be found, the ancientness of the land and the nobility of man’s struggle emerge. Wilderness is vastly different from the clutter and clatter of much of our civilized world. In wilderness one experiences exhilaration and joy. In freedom and simplicity, in its vitality and immense variety, happiness may not only be pursued; it is ofttimes found.”
American Art – Part III of V: Nona Hyytinen
Artist Statement: “Growing up, I entertained myself by illustrating stories and characters from books, and as an adult, I still do. I naturally became a figurative artist for that reason. I continue to be inspired by literature and history, myth, my Finnish heritage and love of dogs and horses.”
A Poet for This Day – Tom McGrath: Part III of VI
“Gone Away Blues”
Sirs, when you are in your last extremity,
When your admirals are drowning in the grass-green sea,
When your generals are preparing the total catastrophe—
I just want you to know how you can not count on me.
I have ridden to hounds through my ancestral halls,
I have picked the eternal crocus on the ultimate hill,
I have fallen through the window of the highest room,
But don’t ask me to help you ’cause I never will.
Sirs, when you move that map-pin how many souls must dance?
I don’t think all those soldiers have died by happenstance.
The inscrutable look on your scrutable face I can read at a glance—
And I’m cutting out of here at the first chance.
I have been wounded climbing the second stair,
I have crossed the ocean in the hull of a live wire,
I have eaten the asphodel of the dark side of the moon,
But you can call me all day and I just won’t hear.
O patriotic mister with your big ear to the ground,
Sweet old curly scientist wiring the birds for sound,
O lady with the Steuben glass heart and your heels so rich and round—
I’ll sent you a picture postcard from somewhere I can’t be found.
I have discovered the grammar of the Public Good,
I have invented a language that can be understood,
I have found the map of where the body is hid,
And I won’t be caught dead in your neighborhood.
O hygienic inventer of the bomb that’s so clean,
O lily white Senator from East Turnip Green,
O celestial mechanic of the money machine—
I’m going someplace where nobody makes your scene.
Good-by, good-by, good-by,
Adios, au ’voir, so long,
Sayonara, dosvedanya, ciao,
By-by, by-by, by-by.
Below – Huck Finn lighting out for the Territory.
Reflections in Summer: Edward Abbey
“All people dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their mind, wake in the morning to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous people, For they dream their dreams with open eyes, And make them come true.” – David Herbert Lawrence, an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic, painter, and author of “Studies in Classic American Literature” (which every American should read), who was born 11 September 1885. In the words of one critic, “His collected works, among other things, represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation. In them, some of the issues Lawrence explores are emotional health, vitality, spontaneity and instinct.”
Some quotes from the work of D. H. Lawrence:
“The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.”
“Men are free when they are obeying some deep, inward voice of religious belief. Obeying from within. Men are free when they belong to a living, organic, believing community, active in fulfilling some unfulfilled, perhaps unrealized purpose. Not when they are escaping to some wild west. The most unfree souls go west, and shout of freedom.”
“Art has two great functions. First, it provides an emotional experience. And then, if we have the courage of our own feelings, it becomes a mine of practical truth. We have had the feelings ad nauseam. But we’ve never dared dig the actual truth out of them, the truth that concerns us, whether it concerns our grandchildren or not.”
“Sanity means the wholeness of the consciousness. And our society is only part conscious, like an idiot.”
“It’s no good trying to get rid of your own aloneness. You’ve got to stick to it all your life. Only at times, at times, the gap will be filled in. At times! But you have to wait for the times. Accept your own aloneness and stick to it, all your life. And then accept the times when the gap is filled in, when they come. But they’ve got to come. You can’t force them.”
“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”
“No form of love is wrong, so long as it is love, and you yourself honour what you are doing. Love has an extraordinary variety of forms! And that is all there is in life, it seems to me. But I grant you, if you deny the variety of love you deny love altogether. If you try to specialize love into one set of accepted feelings, you wound the very soul of love. Love must be multi-form, else it is just tyranny, just death.”
“Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved.”
“It is a fine thing to establish one’s own religion in one’s heart, not to be dependent on tradition and second-hand ideals. Life will seem to you, later, not a lesser, but a greater thing.”
“I want to live my life so that my nights are not full of regrets.”
“This is what I believe: That I am I. That my soul is a dark forest. That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest. That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back. That I must have the courage to let them come and go. That I will never let mankind put anything over me, but that I will try always to recognize and submit to the gods in me and the gods in other men and women. There is my creed.”
Reflections in Summer: Robert M. Pirsig
A Poet for This Day – Tom McGrath: Part IV of VI
I don’t belong in this century—who does?
In my time, summer came someplace in June—
The cutbanks blazing with roses, the birds brazen, and the astonished
Pastures frisking with young calves . . .
That was in the country—
I don’t mean another country, I mean in the country:
And the country is lost. I don’t mean just lost to me,
Nor in the way of metaphorical loss—it’s lost that way too—
No; nor in no sort of special case: I mean
Now, down below, in the fire and stench, the city
Is building its shell: elaborate levels of emptiness
Like some sea-animal building toward its extinction.
And the citizens, unserious and full of virtue,
Are hunting for bread, or money, or a prayer,
And I behold them, and this season of man, without love.
If it were not a joke, it would be proper to laugh.
—Curious how that rat’s nest holds together—
Distracting . . .
Without it there might be, still,
The gold wheel and the silver, the sun and the moon,
The season’s ancient assurance under the unstable stars
Our fiery companions . . .
And trees, perhaps, and the sound
Of the wild and living water hurrying out of the hills.
Without these, I have you for my talisman:
Sun, moon, the four seasons,
The true voice of the mountains. Now be
(The city revolving in its empty shell,
The night moving in from the East)
—Be thou these things.
From the Music Archives – Part II of III: Moby
“I like tea and yoga, but I don’t do yoga.” – Moby, the stage name of Richard Melville Hall, American singer, songwriter, musician, DJ, photographer, and animal rights activist, who was born 11 September 1965.
Reflections in Summer: Edmund Wilson
American Art – Part IV of V: Deon Matzen
Here is part of the Artist Statement of Deon Matzen: “I am a painter. When I started in 1995 I painted in watercolor exclusively. In 2002 I returned from living in China and felt that oil would better lend itself to painting the scenes of China. Since that time I paint in oil and find it the best medium for the style of painting I like to create, representational work. Bordering on photorealism, my work shifts colors, rearranges the scene and pops up the contrast of values, abstracting the original somewhat.”
A Poet for This Day – Tom McGrath: Part V of VI
Sixty years at hard labor
In the stony fields of his country.
Reflections in Summer: Robert Heinlein
“Anybody can look at a pretty girl and see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl that she used to be. But a great artist-a master-and that is what Auguste Rodin was-can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is…and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be…and more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo, or even you, see that this lovely young girl is still alive, not old and ugly at all, but simply prisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart…no matter what the merciless hours have done to her.”
From the Music Archives – Part III of III: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
A Poet for This Day – Tom McGrath: Part VI of VI
“A Coal Fire in Winter”
Something old and tyrannical burning there,
(Not like a wood fire which is only
The end of summer, or a life)
But something of darkness, heat
From the time before there was fire
And I have come here
To warn that blackness into forms of light,
To set free a captive prince
From the sunken kingdom of the father coal.
A warming company of the cold-blooded–
These carbon serpents of bituminous gardens,
These inflammable tunnels of dead song from the black pit,
This sparkling end of the great beasts, these blazing
Stone flowers diamond fire incandescent fruit.
And out of all that death, now,
At midnight, my love and I are riding
Down the old high roads of inexhaustible light.
Reflections in Summer: Terry Tempest Williams
“A bunch of the boys were whooping it up
in the Malamute saloon;
The kid that handles the music-box
was hitting a jag-time tune;
Back of the bar, in a solo game,
sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,
And watching his luck was his light-o’-love,
the lady that’s known as Lou.” – From “The Shooting of Dan McGrew,” by Robert W. Service, Canadian writer and poet called “The Bard of the Yukon,” who died 11 September 1958. In the words of one literary historian, “His vivid descriptions of the Yukon and its people made it seem that he was a veteran of the Klondike gold rush, instead of the late-arriving bank clerk he actually was. ‘These humorous tales in verse were considered doggerel by the literary set, yet remain extremely popular to this day.’”
To hell with the neurasthenic members of the “literary set.” Read the following lines, look at the photographs below, close your eyes, and imagine . . .
From “The Cremation of Sam McGee”
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.
Back from the Territory – Art: Mark Preston
In the words of one writer, “Mark Preston (Tenna `Tsa `Teh) was born in Dawson City, Yukon. He is of Tlingit and Irish ancestry presently living in Vancouver, British Columbia.
He learned about is Tlingit ancestry through family and school study. Initially, Mark began studying art through European masters such as Leonardo da Vinci but later discovered other notable masters: Bill Reid, Robert Davidson and Roy Vickers.
Mark has studied various mediums in paper, cloth, wood, metals, stone and most recently started working on glass. He began studying silver carving with well known master jeweler and carver Phil Janze (Gitskan Nation) at Hazelton, B.C.
‘When I think about what art is, it is more than illustration or objects to be doted over. Art is the magic, the glue that binds us all together. It is the language that transcends its forms.’”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Reflections in Summer: Craig Childs
“This is not wilderness for designation or for a park. Not a scenic wilderness and not one good for fishing or the viewing of wildlife. It is wilderness that gets into your nostrils, that runs with your sweat. It is the core of everything living, wilderness like molten iron.”
American Art – Part V of V: Karen Kosoglad
In the words of one writer, “Karen Kosoglad’s figurative paintings capture women during their introspective moments. Her expressive style, sometimes monochromatic, sometimes colorful, reveals her interest in what she describes as ‘the gestural moments in everyday life and the balance between weight, rhythm, shape and color.’ Black contour lines highlight the curves and form of her live models who she has pose in chairs, with her dog, or occasionally outside in the landscape. She uses mirroring to increase narrative ambiguity in her works and introduce the idea of contemplation with figures pictured alongside their reflections. The paintings reveal various moods, not necessarily those of the models, but of the artist responding to the moment and process of paintings itself.”