Sentient in San Francisco – 12 October 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 12 October 1858 – Utagawa Hiroshige, a Japanese woodblock print and painting (ukiyo-e) artist. Part I of III.

Below – “Evening Snow at Kanbara”; “Wind Blow Grass Across the Moon”; “Rain Shower at Shono”; “The Plum Garden in Kameido”; “Suido Bridge and the Surugadai Quarter”; “Sukigashi in the Eastern Capital.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 12 October 2013 – Oscar Hijuelos, an American novelist, author of “The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Oscar Hijuelos:

“A great novel is worth one thousand films.”
“I grew up with the idealistic notion that writing and literature were noble causes. I had no inkling, no sense of what I would eventually encounter in terms of people who weren’t being sincere. I’m not saying that it happens always or a lot, but it happens enough that sometimes it makes me feel a little queasy.”
“On his back, Robert must have had time to see something beautiful, and not just the ugliness of a city street at the end of life. Even with the tremendous pain in his badly gutted belly he would have looked up beyond the fire escapes and the windows with their glittery trees and television glows, to the sky about the rooftops. A sky shimmery with the possibilities of the death; lights exaggerated, the heavens peeled back- a swirling haze of nebulae and comets – in some distant place, intimations of the new beginning into which he would soon journey.”
“I have never – I have never let go of my childhood contacts. My best friends from childhood are still my best friends.”
“It’s true that immigrant novels have to do with people going from one country to another, but there isn’t a single novel that doesn’t travel from one place to another, emotionally or locally.”
“People in their forties, fifties, and onward enjoy the whole world of books in a different way than the Internet-age kids do.”


This Date in Art History: Died 12 October 1858 – Utagawa Hiroshige, a Japanese woodblock print and painting (ukiyo-e) artist. Part II of III.

Below – “Moonlight View of Tsukuda with Lady on a Balcony”;
“Futami Bay in Ise Province”; “View of the Whirlpools at Awn” (triptych); “Sudden Shower Over Shin-Ohashi Bridge and Atake”; Moon Bridge in Meguro”; “Fudo Falls, Oji.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 12 October 1924 – Anatole France, a French poet, journalist, novelist, and recipient of the 1921 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Anatole France:

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
“In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.”
“Man is a rational animal. He can think up a reason for anything he wants to believe.”
“Stupidity is far more dangerous than evil, for evil takes a break from time to time, stupidity does not.”
“A people living under the perpetual menace of war and invasion is very easy to govern. It demands no social reform. It does not haggle over expenditures for armaments and military equipment. It pays without discussion, it ruins itself, and that is an excellent thing for the syndicates of financiers and manufacturers for whom patriotic terrors are an abundant source of gain.”
“If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.”
“The average man does not know what to do with this life, yet wants another one which will last forever.”
“Sometimes one day in a difference place gives you more than ten years of a life at home.”
“If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.”
“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”

This Date in Art History: Died 12 October 1858 – Utagawa Hiroshige, a Japanese woodblock print and painting (ukiyo-e) artist. Part III of III.

Below – “Sumida River, the Wood of the Water god”; “The Sea at State, Suruga Province”; “Full moon over a mountain landscape”; “Sokokura”; “A shrine among trees on a moor”; “Kozuke Province.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 12 October 1910 – Robert Fitzgerald, an American poet, critic, translator, and author of the lovely line “Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story.”

“Lightness in Autumn”
by Robert Fitzgerald

The rake is like a wand or fan,
With bamboo springing in a span
To catch the leaves that I amass
In bushels on the evening grass.

I reckon how the wind behaves
And rake them lightly into waves
And rake the waves upon a pile,
Then stop my raking for a while.

The sun is down, the air is blue,
And soon the fingers will be, too,
But there are children to appease
With ducking in those leafy seas.

So loudly rummaging their bed
On the dry billows of the dead,
They are not warned at four and three
Of natural mortality.

Before their supper they require
A dragon field of yellow fire
To light and toast them in the gloom.
So much for old earth’s ashen doom.


Contemporary South Korean Art – Hunjung Kim

Below – “Afternoon tea No.1”; “Girls inside me No.0211”; ‘backstage 1030”; “woman by the window No.1”; “woman by the window No.2”;
“Girls inside me No.1117”; “Spring Fairytale.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 12 October 1908 – Paul Engle, an American poet, novelist, playwright, and critic.

“Return in Autumn”
by Paul Engle

The land unchanged, the cattle track,
Narrow for two split hooves to meet,
Winds to walnut grove and back
As when I walked it with bare feet,

Horses with no different eye—
Brown water flowing over stone—
Watch white-maned north wind running by,
Or corn from fields that they had sown.

New mood in older things must be
An inner change, mind’s bone grown longer,
Nerves less blind, more quick to see,
Blood’s cry for air turned stronger.

A man’s age like returning rain
Mingles with flesh it knew when younger,
Raising for him that bitter grain,
Remembered things, which ease no hunger.

Through that rain beating on my face
I see the huddled shape of days
That wandered with me in this place,
But lost their old and friendly ways.

Can I hills, horses understand,
And not past self? Yet here, I know
That one tense mind, one troubled hand,
Make present self forever go,

As frozen pond, the end of food,
Drives the southward duck to flying.
Though I return in autumn wood
I can find nothing but its crying.

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