Sentient in San Francisco – 20 April 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 20 April 1840 – Odilon Redon, a French painter and illustrator: Part I of II.

Below – “Butterflies”; “Ophelia”; “Flower Clouds”; “The Buddha”; “Chariot of Apollo”; “Coquille.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 April 1982 – Archibald MacLeish, an American poet, playwright, recipient of the National Book Award, and three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize: Part I of II.

“Ars Poetica”
by Archibald Macleish

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown –

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind –

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

A poem should be equal to:
Not true

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea –

A poem should not mean
But be

This Date in Art History: Born 20 April 1840 – Odilon Redon, a French painter and illustrator: Part II of II.

Below – “Two Young Girls among the Flowers”; “Pandora”; “The Raven”; “Lady of the Flowers”; “White Vase with Flowers”; “The Birth of Venus.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 April 1950 – Steve Erickson, an award-winning American novelist and critic.

Some quotes from the work of Steve Erickson:

“If I had it to do all over again . . . I wouldn’t change a thing.’. . . the final expression of narcissism, the last gesture of self-congratulation.”
“I think for the foreseeable future we have to disabuse ourselves of any ideas of unifying, or coming together, or all getting along. I don’t think we’re going to reconcile the America that elected the first African American president with the America that just elected a president avidly endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan – I’m not sure I even want to reconcile the two.”
“It wouldn’t have occurred to me that while this old white man, which is to say me, was voting for Hillary Clinton, white women were choosing an overt misogynist [Donald Trump] over the first woman president. Someone will have to explain that one to me someday.”
“I was raised a right-wing Republican and was about eighteen when I had to admit to myself that in regards to the great domestic crucible of the day, civil rights and racial justice, conservatives were on the wrong side historically and morally, and that it took too much intellectual and psychological jujitsu to pretend otherwise. I didn’t want to pretend anymore; I wanted to be on the right side.”
“It became inescapable that as conservatives were wrong about people of color, they were also wrong about women. They were wrong about gay people. The only individual freedoms they seemed to get exercised about were the freedom to make a profit and the freedom to own a gun.”
“With a few exceptions like Kraftwerk, most great 20th century Western music is in some way American-based. And the great paradox of America, the paradox that distills America, is that this greatest of American contributions to humanity, this American contribution that probably has influenced more people around the world for the good, that probably has brought more people around the world unqualified joy, was born of America’s greatest evil, slavery. Or one of the two great evils anyway, counting the European extinction of those who were on the continent first.”
“I have members of my immediate family, and my wife’s immediate family, who voted for Donald Trump, and now there’s this gulf that I have no interest in bridging however much I love those people. It’s almost like the Civil War.”
“A dream is only a memory of the future.”


Contemporary British Art – Nikki Wheeler

Below – “Snow and Grasses”; “January Sunrise”; “Pink Clouds”; “Spring Mist”; “Cloudy Light”; “Cloudy Snow.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 April 1982 – Archibald MacLeish, an American poet, playwright, recipient of the National Book Award, and three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize: Part I of II.

“Immortal Autumn”
by Archibald MacLeish

I speak this poem now with grave and level voice
In praise of autumn, of the far-horn-winding fall.

I praise the flower-barren fields, the clouds, the tall
Unanswering branches where the wind makes sullen noise.

I praise the fall: it is the human season.
Now
No more the foreign sun does meddle at our earth,
Enforce the green and bring the fallow land to birth,
Nor winter yet weigh all with silence the pine bough,

But now in autumn with the black and outcast crows
Share we the spacious world: the whispering year is gone:
There is more room to live now: the once secret dawn
Comes late by daylight and the dark unguarded goes.

Between the mutinous brave burning of the leaves
And winter’s covering of our hearts with his deep snow
We are alone: there are no evening birds: we know
The naked moon: the tame stars circle at our eaves.

It is the human season. On this sterile air
Do words outcarry breath: the sound goes on and on.
I hear a dead man’s cry from autumn long since gone.

I cry to you beyond upon this bitter air.

Contemporary British Art – Natalie Toplass

Below – “Broken Flight”; “Dizzy Heights”; “Flower Dance”; “Autumn Fall”; “Blue Hydrangea.”


A Poem for Today

“Playing the Pipes”’
by Joyce Sutphen

This morning in Dingle, the clouds
bellied down over the mountains
and broke into grey, white, and blue.

Winds flagged through the palm trees
that the man from the “Big House”
brought back to the bay long ago.

Up Greene Street, the school kids
in their dark uniforms gather
on the sidewalk by the Spar store.

Long ago, this was a Spanish town,
east of the Blasket Islands and west of
Connor Pass. The harbor is full of sails.

The piper sits in his little shop
on the rounding road, selling penny
whistles, telling anyone who will listen

how many ways there are
to vary the sound, how much
there is to think of all at once.

This entry was posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply