Sentient in San Francisco – 26 September 2019

Contemporary Dutch Art – Kay Sleking

Below – “Two Storks”; “Stern”; “Harbor”; “Sterns”; “Sea Sonnet Nr. 6 Birds”; “Sea Sonnet Nr. 5 – View Towards Sea.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 26 September 1949 – Jane Smiley, an American novelist, author of “A Thousand Acres” (a modernized retelling of Shakespeare’s “King Lear”), and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Jane Smiley:

“Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.”
“A child who is protected from all controversial ideas is as vulnerable as a child who is protected from every germ. The infection, when it comes- and it will come- may overwhelm the system, be it the immune system or the belief system.”
“Whatever you love is beautiful; love comes first, beauty follows. The greater your capacity for love, the more beauty you find in the world.”
“But what truly horsey girls discover in the end is that boyfriends, husbands, children, and careers are the substitute-for horses.”
“I was depressed, but that was a side issue. This was more like closing up shop, or, say, having a big garage sale, where you look at everything you’ve bought in your life, and you remember how much it meant to you, and now you just tag it for a quarter and watch ’em carry it off, and you don’t care. That’s more like how it was.”
“I loved the house the way you would any new house, because it is populated by your future, the family of children who will fill it with noise or chaos and satisfying busy pleasures.”
“Men are competent in groups that mimic the playground, incompetent in groups that mimic the family.”
“You know what getting married is? It’s agreeing to taking this person who right now is at the top of his form, full of hopes and ideas, feeling good, looking good, wildly interested in you because you’re the same way, and sticking by him while he slowly disintegrates. And he does the same for you. You’re his responsibility now and he’s yours. If no one else will take care of him, you will. If everyone else rejects you, he won’t. What do you think love is? Going to bed all the time?”

Contemporary British Art – Michael James Talbot: Part I of II.

Below – “Reborn – Lauren Cuthbertson”; “Seraphina”; “Freya”; “Ariadne”; “Heart’s Ease of Pleasure.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 26 September 1897 – Edwin Keppel Bennett, an English writer and poet.

“The Stranger”
by Edwin Keppel Bennett

The room grows silent, and the dead return:
Whispering faintly in the corridor,
They try the latch and steal across the floor
Towards my chair; and in the hush I turn
Eagerly to the shadows, and discern
The ghosts of friends whom I shall see no more,
Come back, come back from some Lethean shore
To the old kindly life for which they yearn.

How still they are! O, wherefore can I see
No sign of recognition in the eyes
That gaze in mine? Have they forgotten me
Who was their friend? They fade into the gloom;
And on my heart their plaintive murmur dies:
“A stranger now, a stranger fills his room.”

Contemporary British Art – Nicholas Guttridge

Below (photographs) – “Brenda Lee Photographed at Studio Wayne McGregor 2017”; “Oihana Vesga & Photographed at Yuko Shiraishi Installation at Annely Juda Fine Art in 2018”;“Iceberg Swimming Club, Sydney, Australia “; “Nafisah Baba Photographed at Park Village Studios 2019.”; “Paje Campbell Photographed at Studio Wayne McGregor 2019”; “Kyle White Photographed at Studio Wayne McGregor 2019.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 26 September 1904 – Lafcadio Hearn, a Greek-American-Japanese writer and author of “Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things” (four episodes of which were made into a remarkable 1965 movie – “Kwaidan” – “Ghost Stories” -directed by Masaki Kobayashi). In the words of one writer, “In Japan he married a Japanese woman with whom he had four children, and became a naturalized Japanese citizen. His writings about Japan offered the Western world a glimpse into a largely unknown but fascinating culture.”

Some quotes from the work of Lafcadio Hearn:

“No man can possibly know what life means, what the world means, until he has a child and loves it. And then the whole universe changes and nothing will ever again seem exactly as it seemed before.”
“All good work is done the way ants do things: Little by little.”
“In order to comprehend the beauty of a Japanese garden, it is necessary to understand – or at least to learn to understand – the beauty of stone.”
“Times are not good here [New Orleans]. The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under taxes and frauds and maladministrations so that it has become a study for archaeologists…but it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes than to own the whole state of Ohio.”
“A great many things which in times of lesser knowledge we imagined to be superstitious or useless, prove today on examination to have been of immense value to mankind.”
“I often imagine that the longer he studies English literature the more the Japanese student must be astonished at the extraordinary predominance given to the passion of love both in fiction and in poetry.”
“Woo the muse of the odd.”
“Japanese affection is not uttered in words; it scarcely appears even in the tone of voice; it is chiefly shown in acts of exquisite courtesy and kindness.”
“The more you wish to be, the wiser you are; while the wish to have is apt to be foolish in proportion to its largeness.”
“Whatever doubts or vexations one has in Japan, it is only necessary to ask one’s self: ‘Well, who are the best people to live with?’”
“How sweet Japanese woman is! All the possibilities of the race for goodness seem to be concentrated in her.”
“The Shadow-maker shapes forever.”

Below – Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo), shown with his wife Koizumi Setsu, whose family name he took.

Contemporary British Art – Michael James Talbot: Part II of II.

Below – “Midday Sun”; “Cortigiana.”“Amethyst”; “Beckoning.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 26 September 1886 – T, S. Eliot, an American-born British poet, playwright, essayist, literary and social critic, and recipient of the 1948 Nobel Prize in Literature.

“Preludes”
by T. S. Eliot

I
The winter evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
Six o’clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.

And then the lighting of the lamps.

II
The morning comes to consciousness
Of faint stale smells of beer
From the sawdust-trampled street
With all its muddy feet that press
To early coffee-stands.
With the other masquerades
That time resumes,
One thinks of all the hands
That are raising dingy shades
In a thousand furnished rooms.

III
You tossed a blanket from the bed,
You lay upon your back, and waited;
You dozed, and watched the night revealing
The thousand sordid images
Of which your soul was constituted;
They flickered against the ceiling.
And when all the world came back
And the light crept up between the shutters
And you heard the sparrows in the gutters,
You had such a vision of the street
As the street hardly understands;
Sitting along the bed’s edge, where
You curled the papers from your hair,
Or clasped the yellow soles of feet
In the palms of both soiled hands.

IV
His soul stretched tight across the skies
That fade behind a city block,
Or trampled by insistent feet
At four and five and six o’clock;
And short square fingers stuffing pipes,
And evening newspapers, and eyes
Assured of certain certainties,
The conscience of a blackened street
Impatient to assume the world.

I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.

Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.

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