Sentient in San Francisco – 24 May 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 24 May 1830 – Alexei Savrasov, a Russian painter.

Below – “The Rooks Have Come Back”; “Rustic View”; “Sundown over a marsh”; “Winter”; “Early Spring Thaw”; “Spring. Kitchen Gardens.”


This Date in American History: Born 24 May 1940 – Joseph Brodsky, a Russian-American poet, essayist, and recipient of the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Joseph Brodsky:

“By failing to read or listen to poets, society dooms itself to inferior modes of articulation, those of the politician, the salesman, or the charlatan. In other words, it forfeits its own evolutionary potential. For what distinguishes us from the rest of the animal kingdom is precisely the gift of speech. Poetry is not a form of entertainment and in a certain sense not even a form of art, but it is our anthropological, genetic goal. Our evolutionary, linguistic beacon.”
“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
“I do not believe in political movements. I believe in personal movement, that movement of the soul when a man who looks at himself is so ashamed that he tries to make some sort of change – within himself, not on the outside.”
“Life—the way it really is—is a battle not between good and bad, but between bad and worse.”
“For a writer only one form of patriotism exists: his attitude toward language.”


This Date in Art History: Died 24 May 1990 – Arthur Villeneuve, a Canadian painter.

Below – “Le Trainee”; Untitled; “L’écluse de Shipshaw”; “Horse and buggy”; “Radio Canada”; “L’Accident.”

This Date in American History: Born 24 May 1940 – Joseph Brodsky, a Russian-American poet, essayist, and recipient of the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature: Part II of II.

“A Song”
by Joseph Brodsky

I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish you sat on the sofa
and I sat near.
The handkerchief could be yours,
the tear could be mine, chin-bound.
Though it could be, of course,
the other way around.

I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish we were in my car
and you’d shift the gear.
We’d find ourselves elsewhere,
on an unknown shore.
Or else we’d repair
to where we’ve been before.

I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish I knew no astronomy
when stars appear,
when the moon skims the water
that sighs and shifts in its slumber.
I wish it were still a quarter
to dial your number.

I wish you were here, dear,
in this hemisphere,
as I sit on the porch
sipping a beer.
It’s evening, the sun is setting;
boys shout and gulls are crying.
What’s the point of forgetting
if it’s followed by dying?

Below – Norman Cornish: “Man alone at bar”

Contemporary French Art – Pauline Zenk: Part I of II.

Below – “Learning to Fly”; “Colorblind”; “Insider”; “Woman with a white T-shirt”; “Das Green hinter den Ohren”; “Nude in Garden.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 24 May 1928 – William Trevor, an award-winning Irish novelist, playwright, short story writer, and author of “Love and Summer.”

Some quotes from the work of William Trevor:

“My fiction may, now and again, illuminate aspects of the human condition, but I do not consciously set out to do so: I am a storyteller.”
“A person’s life isn’t orderly …it runs about all over the place, in and out through time. The present’s hardly there; the future doesn’t exist. Only love matters in the bits and pieces of a person’s life.”
“The past has no belongings. The past does not obligingly absorb what is not wanted.”
“But you didn’t lose touch with a place when it wasn’t there any more, you didn’t lose touch with yourself as you were when you were part of it, with your childhood, with your simplicity then.”
“He traveled in order to come home.”
“The flies of some other summer darkening its windowsills.”
“Memory in its ordinary way summoned harvested fields, and haycocks and autumn hedges, the first of the fuchsia, the last of the wild sweetpea. It brought the lowing of cattle, old donkeys resting, scampering dogs, and days and places.”

Contemporary French Art – Pauline Zenk: Part II of II.

Below – “Head over heels”; “Girl in the red blouse”; “Women sorting out stardust”; “Girl reading”; “reclining nude fading away”; “Nude undressing in Garden.”

A Poem for Today

“I’m Thinking in Bed”
by Dennis Lee

I’m thinking in bed,
Cause I can’t get out
Till I learn how to think
What I’m thinking about;
What I’m thinking about
Is a person to be–
A sort of a person
Who feels like me.

I might still be Alice,
Excepting I’m not.
And Snoopy is super,
But not when it’s hot;
I couldn’t be Piglet,
I don’t think I’m Pooh,
I know I’m not Daddy
And I can’t be you.

My breakfast is waiting.
My clothes are all out,
But what was that thing
I was thinking about?
I’ll never get up
If I lie here all day;
But I still haven’t thought,
So I’ll just have to stay.

If I was a Grinch
I expect I would know.
But I don’t think so.
There’s so many people
I don’t seem to be–
I guess I’ll just have to
Get up and be me.

Below – Pauline Zenk: “Man on Bed”

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

Leave a Reply