Sentient in San Francisco – 24 May 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 24 May 1830 – Alexei Savrasov, a Russian painter: Part I of II.

Below – “The Rooks Have Come Back”; “Rustic View”; “Winter Night”; “Sundown over a marsh”; “Winter”; “Spring Day.”

A Poem for Today

by Judith Harris

I can hear him,
now, even in darkness,
a trickster under the moon,
bristling his feathers,
sounding as merry
as a man whistling in a straw hat,
or a squeaky gate
to the playground, left ajar
or the jingling of a star,
having wandered too far
from the pasture.

This Date in Art History: Born 24 May 1830 – Alexei Savrasov, a Russian painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Rainbow”; “Early Spring Thaw”; “Spring. Kitchen Gardens”; “Sea of Mud”; “Early Spring”; “Night on the Sparrow Hills.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 24 May 1940 – Joseph Brodsky, a Russian-American poet, essayist, and recipient of the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Joseph Brodsky:

“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
“The moment that you place blame somewhere, you undermine your resolve to change anything.”
“Were we to choose our leaders on the basis of their reading experience and not their political programs, there would be much less grief on earth. I believe … that for someone who has read a lot of Dickens to shoot his like in the name of an idea is harder than for someone who has read no Dickens.”
“The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even – if you will – eccentricity. That is, something that can’t be feigned, faked, imitated; something even a seasoned imposter couldn’t be happy with.”
“By failing to read or listen to poets, society dooms itself to inferior modes of articulation, those of the politician, the salesman, or the charlatan. In other words, it forfeits its own evolutionary potential. For what distinguishes us from the rest of the animal kingdom is precisely the gift of speech. Poetry is not a form of entertainment and in a certain sense not even a form of art, but it is our anthropological, genetic goal. Our evolutionary, linguistic beacon.”
“I do not believe in political movements. I believe in personal movement, that movement of the soul when a man who looks at himself is so ashamed that he tries to make some sort of change – within himself, not on the outside.”
“Life—the way it really is—is a battle not between good and bad, but between bad and worse.”
“For a writer only one form of patriotism exists: his attitude toward language.”
“Poetry is what is gained in translation.”

Contemporary British Art – Elaine Kazimierczuk

Below – “Wild Cherry in Cottage Hedgerow”; “Apple Blossom at Twenty Pound Meadow”; “Buttercup Meadow with Grasses”; “New Tuscany Meadow with Fluorescent Flowers.”

Musings in Spring: Ernest Hemingway

“In the morning there was a big wind blowing and the waves were running high up on the beach and he was awake a long time before he remembered that his heart was broken.”

Contemporary American Art – Don Bishop

Below – “Spring Flower Field”; “Red Field”; “Glowing Sunset”; “Lake Water Reflections”; “Red Poppies and Violet”; “Pond Sunset”; “Red Field With Violet.”

A Poem for Today

by Don Thompson

I used to think the land
had something to say to us,
back when wildflowers
would come right up to your hand
as if they were tame.

Sooner or later, I thought,
the wind would begin to make sense
if I listened hard
and took notes religiously.
That was spring.

Now I’m not so sure:
the cloudless sky has a flat affect
and the fields plowed down after harvest
seem so expressionless,
keeping their own counsel.

This afternoon, nut tree leaves
blow across them
as if autumn had written us a long letter,
changed its mind,
and tore it into little scraps.

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