Sentient in San Francisco – 26 May 2020

Contemporary Canadian Art – Angela Seear

Below – “Ocean Dawn”; “Island Life”; “Apricot Sky”; “Aiko”; “Breaking the Dawn.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 26 May 1954 – Alan Hollinghurst, an award-winning English novelist, poet, short story writer, and translator.

Some quotes from the work of Alan Hollinghurst:

“It was the time of year when the atmosphere streamed with unexpected hints and memories, and a paradoxical sense of renewal.”
“She felt something similar, but worse in a way, about hundreds and hundreds of books she’d read, novels, biographies, occasional books, about music and art—she could remember nothing about them at all, so that it seemed rather pointless even to say that she had read them; such claims were things people set great store by but she hardly supposed they recalled any more than she did. Sometimes a book persisted as a coloured shadow at the edge of sight, as vague and unrecapturable as something seen in the rain from a passing vehicle; looked at directly it vanished altogether. Sometimes there were atmospheres, even the rudiments of a scene; a man in an office looking over Regent’s Park, rain in the street outside—a little blurred etching of a situation she would never, could never, trace back to its source in a novel she had read some time, she thought, in the past thirty years.”
“All families are silly in their own way.”
“Like the roses and begonias they seemed to take and hold the richly filtered evening light.”
“There is a sort of aesthetic poverty about conservatism.”
“He was asking for memories, too young himself to know that memories were only memories of memories.”
“He knew he was giving off the mischievous contentment of someone left behind for an afternoon, sleepy hints that he might have got up to something but in fact had done the more enviable and inexplicable nothing.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Olga Flerova

Below – “Winter Fox”; “October. First snow.”; “Red Knight”; “Parrot No. 1”; “Cat’s life No. 1”; “Cat’s life No. 3.”

A Poem for Today

“I so Liked Spring”
by Charlotte Mew

I so liked Spring last year
Because you were here; –
The thrushes too –
Because it was these you so liked to hear –
I so liked you.

This year’s a different thing, –
I’ll not think of you.
But I’ll like the Spring because it is simply Spring
As the thrushes do.

Below – Beverly A. Mitchell: “Thrushes’ Nest”

Contemporary British Art – Ruth Mulvie

Below – “Garden of Earthly Delights”; “Movie Night”; “Weather Lovely, Food Great”; “Pink Palms, Venice”; “Cheetahs In Ibiza”; “Domino.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 26 May 1963 – Simon Armitage, an award-winning English poet, playwright, novelist, and, since 10 May 2019, Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Simon Armitage:

“You’re beautiful because when you were born, undiscovered planets lined up to peep over the rim of your cradle and lay gifts of gravity and light at your miniature feet.”
“We still need a voice that thinks before it speaks.”
“Killing time in the precinct, I find a copy of one of my early volumes in a dump-bin on the pavement outside the charity shop. The price is 10p. It is a signed copy. Under the signature, in my own handwriting, are the words, ‘To mum and dad’.”
“The melancholy comes over me, the dismal misery of not knowing where I am, or perhaps losing any sense of who I am, as if the mist is bringing about an evaporation of identity, all the certainties of the self leaching away into the cloud.”
“Brace and be brisk,
commoner, carry your heart like an egg
on a spoon, be fleet through the concourse, primed
for that point in time when the world goes bust”
“Where does the hand become the wrist?
where does the neck become the shoulder? The watershed
and then the weight, whatever turns up and
tips us over that
razor’s edge
between something and nothing,
one and the other.”

Contemporary American Art – Elizabeth Becker

Below – “Swallow No. 45”; “Moved”; “In the Woods No. 43”; “Iris No. 122”; “Immersed No. 3”; “Jess No. 3.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 26 May 1963 – Simon Armitage, an award-winning English poet, playwright, novelist, and, since 10 May 2019, Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom: Part II of II.

“To His Lost Lover”
by Simon Armitage

Now they are no longer
any trouble to each other

he can turn things over, get down to that list
of things that never happened, all of the lost

unfinishable business.
For instance… for instance,

how he never clipped and kept her hair, or drew a hairbrush
through that style of hers, and never knew how not to blush

at the fall of her name in close company.
How they never slept like buried cutlery –

two spoons or forks cupped perfectly together,
or made the most of some heavy weather –

walked out into hard rain under sheet lightning,
or did the gears while the other was driving.

How he never raised his fingertips
to stop the segments of her lips

from breaking the news,
or tasted the fruit

or picked for himself the pear of her heart,
or lifted her hand to where his own heart

was a small, dark, terrified bird
in her grip. Where it hurt.

Or said the right thing,
or put it in writing.

And never fled the black mile back to his house
before midnight, or coaxed another button of her blouse,

then another,
or knew her

favourite colour,
her taste, her flavour,

and never ran a bath or held a towel for her,
or soft-soaped her, or whipped her hair

into an ice-cream cornet or a beehive
of lather, or acted out of turn, or misbehaved

when he might have, or worked a comb
where no comb had been, or walked back home

through a black mile hugging a punctured heart,
where it hurt, where it hurt, or helped her hand

to his butterfly heart
in its two blue halves.

And never almost cried,
and never once described

an attack of the heart,
or under a silk shirt

nursed in his hand her breast,
her left, like a tear of flesh

wept by the heart,
where it hurts,

or brushed with his thumb the nut of her nipple,
or drank intoxicating liquors from her navel.

Or christened the Pole Star in her name,
or shielded the mask of her face like a flame,

a pilot light,
or stayed the night,

or steered her back to that house of his,
or said “Don’t ask me how it is

I like you.
I just might do.”

How he never figured out a fireproof plan,
or unravelled her hand, as if her hand

were a solid ball
of silver foil

and discovered a lifeline hiding inside it,
and measured the trace of his own alongside it.

But said some things and never meant them –
sweet nothings anybody could have mentioned.

And left unsaid some things he should have spoken,
about the heart, where it hurt exactly, and how often.

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