Sentient in San Francisco – 4 May 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 4 May 1826 – Frederic Edwin Church, an American painter.

Below – “Cotopaxi”; “The Icebergs”; “Niagara”; “Twilight in the Wilderness”; “Oosisoak”; “The Parthenon.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 4 May 1949 – Graham Swift, an award-winning English novelist, short story writer, and author of “Waterland.”

Some quotes from the work of Graham Swift:

“What we wish upon the future is very often the image of some lost, imagined past.”
“That’s the way it is: life includes a lot of empty space. We are one-tenth living tissue, nine-tenths water; life is one-tenth Here and Now, nine-tenths a history lesson. For most of the time the Here and Now is neither now nor here.”
“I think what I like to do is to begin with the ordinary and find the extraordinary in it.”
“When people aren’t expecting to be seen, they look their truest.”
“Literature is the voice of the human heart.”
“Children, be curious. Nothing is worse (I know it) than when curiosity stops. Nothing is more repressive than the repression of curiosity. Curiosity begets love. It weds us to the world. It’s part of our perverse, madcap love for this impossible planet we inhabit. People die when curiosity goes. People have to find out, people have to know.”

This Date in Art History: Born 4 May 1851 – Thomas Dewing, an American painter.

Below – “Summer”; “The White Dress”; “The Days”; “In the Garden”; “Lady in Gold”; “The Lute.”


A Poem for Today

“Laundress”
by Heid Erdrich

Given over to love,
she un-balls the socks,

lets fall debris of days,
leaf litter, sand grain,

slub of some sticky substance,
picks it all for the sake

of the stainless tub
of the gleaming new front loader.

Given over to love long ago, when her own
exasperated moan bounced off

the quaint speckled enamel
of the top loader

vowing: she’d do this always and well.
She fell in love then, she fell in line—

in a march of millions, you pair them,
two by two, you marry the socks.

This Date in Art History: Born 4 May 1890 – Franklin Carmichael, a Canadian painter.

Below – “The Upper Ottawa, near Mattawa”; “The Glade”; “Autumn Hillside”; Untitled; “October Gold”; “Lone Lake”; “Light and Shadow.”


A Poem for Today

“Fund Drive”
by Terri Kirby Erickson

She could be a Norman Rockwell painting,
the small girl on my front porch with her eager
face, her wind-burned cheeks red as cherries.
Her father waits by the curb, ready to rescue
his child should danger threaten, his shadow
reaching halfway across the yard. I take the
booklet from the girl’s outstretched hand,
peruse the color photos of candy bars and
caramel-coated popcorn, pretend to read it.
I have no use for what she’s selling, but I
can count the freckles on her nose, the scars
like fat worms on knobby knees that ought
to be covered on a cold day like this, when
the wind is blowing and the trees are losing
their grip on the last of their leaves. ‘I’ll take
two of these and one of those,’ I say, pointing,
thinking I won’t eat them, but I probably will.
It’s worth the coming calories to see her joy,
how hard she works to spell my name right,
taking down my ‘information’. Then she turns
and gives a thumbs-up sign to her father, who
grins like an outfielder to whom the ball has
finally come—his heart like a glove, opening.


Contemporary British Art – Patrick Palmer

Below – “Where Nobody Knows”; “Musings in Yellow”; “The Storm Inside”; “Girl on Stool”; “The Prettiest Girl in Town”; “Le Femme Rouge.”


A Poem for Today

“Hojoki”
by Kenneth Rexroth

A thing unknown for years,
Rain falls heavily in June,
On the ripe cherries, and on
The half cut hay.
Above the glittering
Grey water of the inlet,
In the driving, light filled mist,
A blue heron
Catches mice in the green
And copper and citron swathes.
I walk on the rainy hills.
It is enough.

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