Sentient in San Francisco – 20 September 2019

Contemporary Swiss Art – Tina Sturzenegger

Below (photographs): “Rainbow II”; “Fallen”; “The chair”; “I’m just restless”; “Soup Stock Tokyo”; “Peel it off.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 September 1878 – Upton Sinclair, an American novelist, essayist, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Upton Sinclair:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
“Journalism is one of the devices whereby industrial autocracy keeps its control over political democracy; it is the day-by-day, between-elections propaganda, whereby the minds of the people are kept in a state of acquiescence, so that when the crisis of an election comes, they go to the polls and cast their ballots for either one of the two candidates of their exploiters.”
“It is foolish to be convinced without evidence, but it is equally foolish to refuse to be convinced by real evidence.”
“You don’t have to be satisfied with America as you find it. You can change it. I didn’t like the way I found America some sixty years ago, and I’ve been trying to change it ever since.”
“I don’t know whether anyone will care to examine my heart, but if they do, they will find two words there- ‘social justice.’ For that is what I have believed in and fought for.”
“One of the necessary accompaniments of capitalism in a democracy is political corruption.”
“When the masters of industry pay such sums for a newspaper, they buy not merely the building and the presses and the name; they buy what they call the ‘good-will’- that is, they buy you. And they proceed to change your whole psychology – everything that you believe about life. You might object to it, if you knew; but they do their work so subtly that you never guess what is happening to you!”
“Pessimism is mental disease. It means illness in the person who voices it, and in the society which produces that person.”

Contemporary Polish Art – Joanna Borowiec

Below (photographs) – “Blue Garden”; “Summer Day14”; “White Rose, collodion”; “My magical garden#5”; “1”; “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 September 1971 – Giorgos Seferis, a Greek poet and recipient of the 1963 Nobel Prize for Literature.

“Epiphany, 1937”
by Giorgos Seferis

The flowering sea and the mountains in the moon’s waning
the great stone close to the Barbary figs and the asphodels
the jar that refused to go dry at the end of day
and the closed bed by the cypress trees and your hair
golden; the stars of the Swan and that other star, Aldebaran.

I’ve kept a rein on my life, kept a rein on my life, travelling
among yellow trees in driving rain
on silent slopes loaded with beech leaves,
no fire on their peaks; it’s getting dark.
I’ve kept a rein on my life; on your left hand a line
a scar at your knee, perhaps they exist
on the sand of the past summer perhaps
they remain there where the north wind blew as I hear
an alien voice around the frozen lake.
The faces I see do not ask questions nor does the woman
bent as she walks giving her child the breast.
I climb the mountains; dark ravines; the snow-covered
plain, into the distance stretches the snow-covered plain, they ask nothing
neither time shut up in dumb chapels nor
hands outstretched to beg, nor the roads.
I’ve kept a rein on my life whispering in a boundless silence
I no longer know how to speak nor how to think; whispers
like the breathing of the cypress tree that night
like the human voice of the night sea on pebbles
like the memory of your voice saying ‘happiness’.

I close my eyes looking for the secret meeting-place of the waters
under the ice the sea’s smile, the closed wells
groping with my veins for those veins that escape me
there where the water-lilies end and that man
who walks blindly across the snows of silence.
I’ve kept a rein on my life, with him, looking for the water that touches you
heavy drops on green leaves, on your face
in the empty garden, drops in the motionless reservoir
striking a swan dead in its white wings
living trees and your eyes riveted.

This road has no end, has no relief, however hard you try
to recall your childhood years, those who left, those
lost in sleep, in the graves of the sea,
however much you ask bodies you’ve loved to stoop
under the harsh branches of the plane trees there
where a ray of the sun, naked, stood still
and a dog leapt and your heart shuddered,
the road has no relief; I’ve kept a rein on my life.

The snow
and the water frozen in the hoofmarks of the horses.

Contemporary British Art -Olha Pryymak

Below – “By time I walk”; “With adoration, with fertile tears, With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire”; “Deadly if taken for spring onions”; “Dry some leaves or an entire small pant between the pages of a thick book, repeat”; “I’d suggest using it at night time, you just never know”; “Chamomile”; “She is so bright and glorious that you cannot look at her face or her garments for the splendor with which she shines.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 September 1902 – Stevie Smith, an award-winning English poet and novelist: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Stevie Smith:

“I’m alive today, therefore I’m just as much a part of our time as everybody else. The times will just have to enlarge themselves to make room for me, won’t they, and for everybody else.”
“The human creature is alone in his carapace. Poetry is a strong way out.”
“Why does my muse only speak when she is unhappy? She does not, I only listen when I am unhappy.”
“People who are always praising the past
And especially the time of faith as best
Ought to go and live in the Middle Ages
And be burnt at the stake as witches and sages.”
“A man may forgive many wrongs, but he cannot easily forgive anyone who makes it plain that his conversation is tedious.”
“Death’s not a separation or alteration or parting; it’s just a one-handled door.”

Contemporary American Art – Kristin Hart

Below – “Desert Bloom – Coral, California”; “Surf -Coral”; “Desert Shadows – Pink”; “Pastel Desert, California”; “Reflections of Life”; “Surf – Blue, 3.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 September 1902 – Stevie Smith, an award-winning English poet and novelist: Part II of II.

“Not Waving But Drowning”
by Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

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