Sentient in San Francisco – 31 January 2020

Contemporary Portuguese Art – Raquel Gralheiro

Below – “Hen’s cackle and nice legs”; Untitled; Untitled; “quem mexeu no armário?”; “Gourmet painting”; “a aspera.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 31 January 1933 – John Galsworthy, an English novelist, playwright, author of “The Forsyte Saga,” and recipient of the 1932 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of John Galsworthy:

“Love is not a hot-house flower, but a wild plant, born of a wet night, born of an hour of sunshine; sprung from wild seed, blown along the road by a wild wind. A wild plant that, when it blooms by chance within the hedge of our gardens, we call a flower; and when it blooms outside we call a weed; but, flower or weed, whose scent and colour are always, wild!”
“Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives.”
“I drink the wine of aspiration and the drug of illusion. Thus I am never dull.”
“Wealth is a means to an end, not the end itself. As a synonym for health and happiness, it has had a fair trial and failed dismally.”
“The beginnings and endings of all human undertakings are untidy, the building of a house, the writing of a novel, the demolition of a bridge, and, eminently, the finish of a voyage.”
“Men are in fact, quite unable to control their own inventions; they at best develop adaptability to the new conditions those inventions create.”
“Only love makes fruitful the soul.”
“It was such a spring day as breathes into a man an ineffable yearning, a painful sweetness, a longing that makes him stand motionless, looking at the leaves or grass, and fling out his arms to embrace he knows not what.”

Contemporary French Art – Luc Andrieux

Below – “Roaming”; “Dark Light”; “Astral City”; “Distant Blue”; “Serenity”; “Maelstrom.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 31 January 1935 – Kenzaburo Oe, a Japanese novelist, short story writer, essayist, author of “A Personal Matter,” and recipient of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Kenzaburo Oe:

“There’s no better reading experience than going to the place where a text was written.”
“I think, we can only write very personal matters through our experience. When I named my first novel about my son ‘A Personal Matter,’ I believe I knew the most important thing: there is not any personal matter; we must find the link between ourselves, our ‘personal matter,’ and society.”
“Understanding comes hard to persons of high rank who are accustomed to phony lifestyles that involve no daily work.”
“The writer’s job is the job of a clown …the clown who also talks about sorrow.”
“I am one of the writers who wish to create serious works of literature which dissociate themselves from those novels which are mere reflections of the vast consumer cultures of Tokyo and the subcultures of the world at large.”

Contemporary Austrian Art – Selina Saranova: Part I of II.

Below – “Wind”; “Dancing alone”; “once upon a time”; “Water”; “The very thought of it”; “Chamonix.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 31 January 1905 – John O’Hara, an American novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenplay writer, and author of “Appointment in Samarra” and “BUtterfield 8.” In an appraisal of O’Hara, critic Lorin Stein wrote, “On the topics of class, sex, and alcohol—that is, the topics that mattered to him—his novels amount to a secret history of American life.”

Some quotes from the work of John O’Hara:

“America may be unique in being a country which has leapt from barbarism to decadence without touching civilization.”
“Never play cards with a man named Doc, and never eat at a place called Mom’s.”
“Socially, I never belonged to any class, rich or poor. To the rich I was poor, and to the poor I was poor pretending to be like the rich.”
“An artist is his own fault.”
“There comes a time in a man’s life, if he is unlucky and leads a full life, when he has a secret so dirty that he knows he never will get rid of it. (Shakespeare knew this and tried to say it, but he said it just as badly as anyone ever said it. ‘All the perfumes of Arabia’ makes you think of all the perfumes of Arabia and nothing more. It is the trouble with all metaphors where human behavior is concerned. People are not ships, chess men, flowers, race horses, oil paintings, bottles of champagne, excrement, musical instruments or anything else but people. Metaphors are all right to give you an idea.)”
“A merchant in Baghdad sends his servant to the marketplace for provisions. Shortly, the servant comes home white and trembling and tells him that in the marketplace he was jostled by a woman, whom he recognized as Death, and she made a threatening gesture. Borrowing the merchant’s horse, he flees at top speed to Samarra, a distance of about 75 miles (125 km), where he believes Death will not find him. The merchant then goes to the marketplace and finds Death, and asks why she made the threatening gesture. She replies, ‘That was not a threatening gesture, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.’”
“But whats the use of being old if you cant be dumb?”

Contemporary Austrian Art – Selina Saranova: Part II of II.

Below – “let me go my own way”; “deer in my dreams 2”; “Attitude”; “turtles”; “my grandfather as a student”; “eeh, the green grass in our garden.”

A Poem for Today
by Martin Walls

“Cicadas at the End of Summer”

Whine as though a pine tree is bowing a broken violin,
As though a bandsaw cleaves a thousand thin sheets of
They chime like freight wheels on a Norfolk Southern
slowing into town.

But all you ever see is the silence.
Husks, glued to the underside of maple leaves.
With their nineteen fifties Bakelite lines they’d do
just as well hanging from the ceiling of a space
museum —

What cicadas leave behind is a kind of crystallized memory;
The stubborn detail of, the shape around a life turned

The color of forgotten things: a cold broth of tea & milk
in the bottom of a mug.
Or skin on an old tin of varnish you have to lift with
lineman’s pliers.
A fly paper that hung thirty years in Bird Cooper’s pantry
in Brighton.

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