Sentient in Seattle – 26 March 2018

This Date in Literary History: Died 26 March 1979 – Jean Stafford, an American author and recipient of the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Some quotes from the work of Jean Stafford:

“To her own heart, which was shaped exactly like a valentine, there came a winglike palpitation, a delicate exigency, and all the fragrance of all the flowery springtime love affairs that ever were seemed waiting for them in the whisky bottle. To mingle their pain their handshake had promised them, was to produce a separate entity, like a child that could shift for itself, and they scrambled hastily toward this profound and pastoral experience.”
“She wanted them to go together to some hopelessly disreputable bar and to console one another in the most maudlin fashion over a lengthy succession of powerful drinks of whiskey, to compare their illnesses, to marry their invalid souls for these few hours of painful communion, and to babble with rapture that they were at last, for a little while, they were no longer alone.”
“I fell in love with Caligula and now I’m married to Calvin.”


Art for Spring – Part I of V: Francisco Toledo (Mexican, contemporary)

Below – “Femme au Crabe”; “Horse Stung by Wasps”; “El Que Sube”

Remembering a Great Engineer on the Date of His Birth: Born 26 March 1879 – Othmar Hermann Ammann, who was, in the words of one writer, “a Swiss-American structural engineer whose bridge designs include the George Washington Bridge, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and Bayonne Bridge. He also directed the planning and construction of the Lincoln Tunnel.”

Art for Spring – Part II of V: Bill Tosetti (American, contemporary)

Below – “Woven Sky”; “Thermal”; “Horizons”

This Date in Literary History: Died 26 March 2016 – Jim Harrison, an American author, essayist, and poet.

“Vows”
by Jim Harrison

I feel my failure intensely
as if it were a vital organ
the gods grew from the side of my head.
You can’t cover it with a hat and I no longer
can sleep on that side it’s so tender.
I wasn’t quite faithful enough
to carry this sort of weight up the mountain.
When I took my vows at nineteen
I had no idea that gods were so merciless.
Fear makes for good servants
and bravery is fraudulent. When I awoke
I wasn’t awake enough.


Art for Spring – Part III of V: George Tsui (American, contemporary)

Below – “Mask”; “Peacock Fan”; “Red Butterfly”

Worth a Thousand Words: Kluane Lake, Yukon Territory, Canada.

Art for Spring – Part IV of V: Nguyen Tuan (American, contemporary)

Below (all bronze) – “Tranquility”; “Rapture”; “Triumph”


Remembering a Nobel Laureate on the Date of His Death: Died 26 March 2016 – Tomas Transtromer, a Swedish poet, translator, psychologist, and recipient of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature.

“The Stones”
by Tomas Transtromer
translated by Patty Crane

The stones we have thrown I hear
fall, glass-clear through the year. In the valley
confused actions of the moment
fly howling from tree-top
to tree-top, quieting
in air thinner than now’s, gliding
like swallows from mountain-top
to mountain-top till they
reach the furthest plateaus
along the edge of existence. Where
all our deeds fall
glass-clear
to no ending
except ourselves.

Art for Spring – Part V of V: Natasha Turovsky (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “Fish Tank”; “Marathon”; “A Night at the Opera”


Remembering a Great Scientist on the Date of His Birth: Born 26 March 1941 – Richard Dawkins, an English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, author, and founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.

Some quotes from the work of Richard Dawkins:

“Do not indoctrinate your children. Teach them how to think for themselves, how to evaluate evidence, and how to disagree with you.”
“Faith is belief without evidence and reason; coincidentally that’s also the definition of delusion.”
“Evolution is just a theory? Well, so is gravity and I don’t see you jumping out of buildings.”
“Such delusions of grandeur to think that a God with a hundred billion galaxies on his mind would give a tuppenny damn who you sleep with, or indeed whether you believe in him.”
“Evolution is a fact, as securely established as any in science, and he who denies it betrays woeful ignorance and lack of education, which likely extends to other fields as well. Evolution is not some recondite backwater of science, ignorance of which would be pardonable. It is the stunningly simple but elegant explanation of our very existence and the existence of every living creature on the planet.”
“It has become almost a cliche to remark that nobody boasts of ignorance of literature, but it is socially acceptable to boast ignorance of science and proudly claim incompetence in mathematics.”
“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die, because they are never going to be born. The number of people who could be here, in my place, out number the sand grains in the Sahara. If you think about all the different ways in which our genes could be permuted, you and I are quite grotesquely lucky to be here. The number of events that had to happen in order for you to exist, in order for me to exist… we are privileged to be alive and we should make the most of our time on this world.”


Contemporary English Art – Janet Treby

In the words of one writer, “The youngest of four children Janet Treby was born in London in 1955 and grew up in a small country village in Bedfordshire. She embarked on a two year foundation course at Barnfield College, Luton, followed by a degree at West Surrey College of Art and Design specialising in printmaking and sculpture. After learning many skills there Treby then went onto the Slade School of Fine Art and completed a two year post graduate in printmaking. Whilst at the Slade School she started lecturing in printmaking specialising in mezzotint. Upon leaving college she lived in a studio apartment in Wapping, East London and one could say that Treby did the bohemian artist’s thing. She built up a successful relationship with a gallery called the Curwen Gallery who gave her first one-women exhibition in the 80s. She also won a few awards ‘The Lloyds Young Printmaker of the Year’ and the ‘Elizabeth Greenshield award’ which allowed her to paint for a year. Throughout all of this, in the 80s, she was lecturing and doing other various jobs to support her art. From this humble beginning Janet Treby is now represented worldwide by dozens of galleries.”

Below – “Blue Chair”; “Persephone”; “Muse III”; “Dancing Spirit”; “Agean Legend”; “Olympian Myth I.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 26 March 1969 – John Kennedy Toole, an American novelist and recipient of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Some quotes from the work of John Kennedy Toole:

“Having once been so high, humanity fell so low. What had once been dedicated to the soul was now dedicated to the sale.”
“I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.”
“The only problem that those people have anyway is that they don’t like new cars and hair sprays. That’s why they are put away. They make the other members of the society fearful. Every asylum in this nation is filled with poor souls who simply cannot stand lanolin, cellophane, plastic, television, and subdivisions.”
“The only excursion of my life outside of New Orleans took me through the vortex to the whirlpool of despair: Baton Rouge. . . . New Orleans is, on the other hand, a comfortable metropolis which has a certain apathy and stagnation which I find inoffensive.”
“You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”


Contemporary American Art – William Toliver

In the words of one writer, “William Tolliver spent more than 30 of his 48 years perfecting his skill as a painter. His style freely combines the color of Chagall with the solid compositional principles of Cezanne and the mood and forms of Modigliani and Picasso.”

Below – “Amorous Lady”; “Afternoon Checkers”; “Big Band”; “Adora”; “Sax”; “Golden Lady.”

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