Sentient in San Francisco – 8 May 2019

Contemporary French Art – Sophie Leblanc

Below – “Dia de playa”; “Silas”; “Les grands airs.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 8 May 1937 – Thomas Pynchon, an American novelist, author of “Gravity’s Rainbow,” and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Thomas Pynchon:

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”
“Time is never wasted if you remember to bring along something to read.”
“The general public has long been divided into two parts; those who think that science can do anything and those who are afraid it will.”
“There is no real direction here, neither lines of power nor cooperation. Decisions are never really made – at best they manage to emerge, from a chaos of peeves, whims, hallucinations and all around assholery.”
“Why should things be easy to understand?”
“Life’s single lesson: that there is more accident to it than a man can ever admit to in a lifetime and stay sane.”
“Love with your mouth shut, help without breaking your ass or publicizing it: keep cool, but care.”
“There are stories, like maps that agree… too consistent among too many languages and histories to be only wishful thinking…. It is always a hidden place, the way into it is not obvious, the geography is as much spiritual as physical. If you should happen upon it, your strongest certainty is not that you have discovered it but returned to it. In a single great episode of light, you remember everything.”

Contemporary Dutch Art – Clara Bastian

Below – “Dromedary”; “Brown Swiss Cow”; “Rooster”; “Burrowing owl”; “Swan”; “Vizsla.”

A Poem for Today

“Second Tour”
by Penelope Scambly Schott

While my husband packed to fly back to Vietnam,
this time as a tourist instead of a soldier,

I drove to the zoo to say goodbye to the musk oxen
who were being shipped out early next morning

to Tacoma. We were getting lions instead.
When I got there, it was too easy to park.

The zoo was closing early so they wouldn’t let me in.
I went back to my car and slid into the driver’s seat.

Sobs tore from deep in my chest, I who had never
seen a musk ox and never cared until now.

Contemporary Dutch Art – Philine Van Der Vegte: Part I of II.

Below – “Grazing horse”; “Sheep on the dyke”; “Jersey cows II”; “Zuiderzeedijk”; “Study of two Friesian horses in ink”; “Composition in Browns.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 8 May 1930 – Gary Snyder, an American poet, essayist, translator, author of “Turtle Island,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Gary Snyder:

“Walking is the great adventure, the first meditation, a practice of heartiness and soul primary to humankind. Walking is the exact balance between spirit and humility.”
“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”
“Wildness It is perennially within us, dormant as a hard-shelled seed, awaiting the fire or flood that awakes it again.”
“Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.”
“Practically speaking, a life that is vowed to simplicity, appropriate boldness, good humor, gratitude, unstinting work and play, and lots of walking, brings us close to the actually existing world and its wholeness.”
“Doom scenarios, even though they might be true, are not politically or psychologically effective. The first step . . . is to make us love the world rather than to make us fear for the end of the world.”
“Wilderness is a place where the wild potential is fully expressed, a diversity of living and nonliving beings flourishing according to their own sorts of order. In ecology we speak of ‘wild systems.’ When an ecosystem is fully functioning, all the members are present at the assembly. To speak of wilderness is to speak of wholeness. Human beings came out of that wholeness, and to consider the possibility of reactivating membership in the Assembly of All Beings is in no way regressive.”
“We . . . must try to live without causing unnecessary harm, not just to fellow humans but to all beings. We must try not to be stingy, or to exploit others. There will be enough pain in the world as it is.”
“For several centuries Western civilization has had a drive for material accumulation, continual extensions of economic power, termed ‘progress’…The longing for growth is not wrong. The nub of the problem is how to flip over, as in jujitsu, the magnificent growth energy of modern civilization into a nonacquisitive search for deeper knowledge of self and nature.”
“True affluence is to not need anything.”
“Why should the peculiarities of human consciousness be the narrow standard by which other creatures are judged?”
“In Western Civilization, our elders are books.”
“Three-fourths of philosophy and literature is the talk of people trying to convince themselves that they really like the cage they were tricked into entering.”
“I hold the most archaic values on earth … the fertility of the soul, the magic of the animals, the power-vision in solitude…. the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe.”
“Range after range of mountains. Year after year after year. I am still in love.”

Contemporary Dutch Art – Philine Van Der Vegte: Part II of II.

Below – “Strength and fragility”; “Big white horse”; “Sheep and chestnut branches”; “Dreaming of spring”; “Pippi.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 8 May 1930 – Gary Snyder, an American poet, essayist, translator, author of “Turtle Island,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize: Part I of II.

“Piute Creek”
by Gary Snyder

One granite ridge
A tree, would be enough
Or even a rock, a small creek,
A bark shred in a pool.
Hill beyond hill, folded and twisted
Tough trees crammed
In thin stone fractures
A huge moon on it all, is too much.
The mind wanders. A million
Summers, night air still and the rocks
Warm. Sky over endless mountains.
All the junk that goes with being human
Drops away, hard rock wavers
Even the heavy present seems to fail
This bubble of a heart.
Words and books
Like a small creek off a high ledge
Gone in the dry air.
A clear, attentive mind
Has no meaning but that
Which sees is truly seen.
No one loves rock, yet we are here.
Night chills. A flick
In the moonlight
Slips into Juniper shadow:
Back there unseen
Cold proud eyes
Of Cougar or Coyote
Watch me rise and go.

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