Sentient in San Francisco – 9 December 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 9 December 1962 – Roxanne Swentzell, a Native American (Santa Clara Tewa) sculptor and ceramic artist.

Below – “For Life in All Directions”; “Mud woman with a pot”; “Duo”; “Koshare on a jug”; “Community.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 9 December 1964 – Edith Sitwell, an English poet and critic: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Edith Sitwell:

“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.”
“My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.”
“I am not eccentric. It’s just that I am more alive than most people. I am an unpopular electric eel set in a pond of goldfish.”
“The public will believe anything, so long as it is not founded on truth.”
“Vulgarity is, in reality, nothing but a modern, chic, pert descendant of the goddess Dullness.”
“I’m dying, but otherwise I’m in very good health.”
“I have often wished I had time to cultivate modesty… but I am too busy thinking about myself.”
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. It is no season in which to wander the world as if one were the wind blowing aimlessly along the streets without a place to rest, without food, and without time meaning anything to one, just as time means nothing to the wind.”
“The poet speaks to all men of that other life of theirs that they have smothered and forgotten.”

This Date in Art History: Died 9 December 2002 – Ian Hornak, an American painter and sculptor.

Below – “Marcia Sewing, Variation III”; “Wordsworth in the Tropics”; “From the Argo”; “Hannah’s Mirror, Variation III: The Expulsion from Eden”; “The Song of Zephyrus, Variation II”; “Volcano.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 9 December 1964 – Edith Sitwell, an English poet and critic: Part II of II.

“The Web of Eros”
by Edith Sitwell

Within your magic web of hair, lies furled
The fire and splendour of the ancient world;
The dire gold of the comet’s wind-blown hair;
The songs that turned to gold the evening air
When all the stars of heaven sang for joy.
The flames that burnt the cloud-high city Troy.
The mænad fire of spring on the cold earth;
The myrrh-lit flame that gave both death and birth
To the soul Phoenix; and the star-bright shower
That came to Danaë in her brazen tower…
Within your magic web of hair lies furled
The fire and splendour of the ancient world.

This Date in Art History: Died 9 December 2014 – Jane Freilicher, an American painter.

Below – “Cat on Velvet”; “Champion Flowers”; “Still Life on a Balcony”; “Study in Blue and Gray”; “Bouquets”; “City at Twilight.”


Musings in Autumn: Mark Twain

“December is the toughest month of the year. Others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, October, August, and February.”

This Date in Art History: Died 9 December 2015 – Soshana Afroyim, an Austrian painter.

Below – “Outside Havana”; “NY Central Park”; “Workers in a New York sweatshop”; “Kyoto”; “Alone in Mexico”; “Rainbow.”

A Poem for Today

“The Copper Beech”
by Marie Howe

Immense, entirely itself,
it wore that yard like a dress,

with limbs low enough for me to enter it
and climb the crooked ladder to where

I could lean against the trunk and practice being alone.

One day, I heard the sound before I saw it, rain fell
darkening the sidewalk.

Sitting close to the center, not very high in the branches,
I heard it hitting the high leaves, and I was happy,

watching it happen without it happening to me.

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