Wandering in Woodacre – 27 July 2020

This Date in Art History: Died 27 July 1942 – Karl Parsimagi, an Estonian painter.

Below – “Jeune fille a la fenêtre”; “Femme japonaise”; “Interior”; “Dans le parc”; “Interior”; “Nude.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 27 July 2017 – James Alan McPherson, an American short story writer, essayist, author of “Elbow Room,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Two quotes from the work of James Alan McPherson:

“I think that love must be the ability to suspend one’s intelligence for the sake of something. At the basis of love therefore must live imagination.”
“Sometimes, in the night, it is expectant and therefore eager to be out. It has slept too long and is restless, fighting the force that keeps it patient. Years of internal slumber has drugged it, but not decisively, so that, once slightly touched, it starts and quivers and attempts to announce itself so strongly that, occasionally, a man’s mind will wake in his bed and ask itself: ‘Who is there?’”

Contemporary New Zealand Art – Peter Lambert: Part I of II

Below – “Woman With Cellphone On Van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace”; “Nantar”; “Midnight Espresso”; “European Tourists Walking on Thai Beach”; “Friday Night”; “Nude on Blue.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 27 July 1916 – Elizabeth Hardwick, an American novelist, short story writer, literary critic, and author of “Sleepless Nights.”

Some quotes from the work of Elizabeth Hardwick:

“The greatest gift is the passion for reading.
It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites,
it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind.
It is a moral illumination.”
“They had created themselves together, and they always saw themselves, their youth, their love, their lost youth and lost love, their failures and memories, as a sort of living fiction.”
“All of her news was bad and so her talk was punctuated with ‘of course’ and ‘naturally’.”
“It is June. This is what I have decided to do with my life just now. I will do this work and lead this life, the one I am leading today. Each morning the blue clock and the crocheted bedspread, the table with the Phone, the books and magazines, the Times at the door.”
“The Brontë sisters have a renewed hold upon our imagination. They were gifted, well-educated, especially self-educated, and desperate. Their seriousness and poverty separated them forever from the interests and follies of respectable young girls. It was Charlotte’s goal to represent the plight of plain, poor, high-minded young women. Sometimes she gave them more rectitude and right thinking than we can easily endure, but she knew their vulnerability, the neglect they expected and received, the spiritual and psychological scars inflicted upon them, the way their frantic efforts were scarcely noticed, much less admired or condoned.”
“If only one knew what to remember or pretend to remember. Make a decision and what you want from the lost things will present itself. You can take it down like a can from a shelf. Perhaps.”

Contemporary New Zealand Art – Peter Lambert: Part II of II

Below – “Cameo”; “Americans on a Sunday Drive”; “People Walking on Blue and Gold”; “Three Red Delicious”; “Left off Cuba St.”; “Bush Track.”

This Dare in Literary History: Born 27 July 1939 – Michael Longley, an award-winning Northern Irish poet.

“The Leveret”
by Michael Longley

For my grandson, Benjamin

This is your first night in Carrigskeewaun.
The Owennadornaun is so full of rain
You arrived in Paddy Morrison’s tractor,
A bumpy approach in your father’s arms
To the cottage where, all of one year ago,
You were conceived, a fire-seed in the hearth.
Did you hear the wind in the fluffy chimney?
Do you hear the wind tonight, and the rain
And a shore bird calling from the mussel reefs?
Tomorrow I’ll introduce you to the sea,
Little hoplite. Have you been missing it?
I’ll park your chariot by the otters’ rock
And carry you over seaweed to the sea.
There’s a tufted duck on David’s lake
With her sootfall of hatchlings, pompoms
A day old and already learning to dive.
We may meet the stoat near the erratic
Boulder, a shrew in his mouth, or the merlin
Meadow-pipit-hunting. But don’t be afraid.
The leveret breakfasts under the fuchsia
Every morning, and we shall be watching.
I have picked wild flowers for you, scabious
And centaury in a jam-jar of water
That will bend and magnify the daylight.
This is your first night in Carrigskeewaun.

Below – Jerek Jeschke: “Leveret”; an 1830s watercolor of centaury;

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Wandering in Woodacre – 26 July 2020

Contemporary American Art – Alex Chavez

Below – “Eternal”; “Ash Moon Rising”; “Amber Eyes.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 26 July 1856 – George Bernard Shaw, an Irish playwright, critic, polemicist, and recipient of the 1925 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of George Bernard Shaw:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
“He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.”
“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
“Youth is wasted on the young.”
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
“A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most.”
“Patriotism is, fundamentally, a conviction that a particular country is the best in the world because you were born in it.”
“After all, the wrong road always leads somewhere.”
“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.”
“There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.”

Contemporary Serbian Art – Endre Penovac

Below – “Sleeping”; “March Snow”; “Who disturbs my dreams?”; “Winter Furcoat”; “Home.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 26 July 1894 – Aldous Huxley, an English novelist, essayist, philosopher, and author of “Brave New World.”

Some quotes from the work of Aldous Huxley:

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
“Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.”
“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.”
“I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.”
“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.”
“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.”
“Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.”

Contemporary French Art – Wietze Gerber

Below – “Skyward”; “Golden Light”; “Sunny Day”; “Wild Anemone”; “Blue Moon.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 26 July 1959 – Rick Bragg, an American writer, journalist, author of “All Over But the Shoutin’,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Rick Bragg:

“Every life deserves a certain amount of dignity, no matter how poor or damaged the shell that carries it.”
“It was a good moment, the kind you would like to press between the pages of a book, or hide in your sock drawer, so you could touch it again.”
“The only thing poverty does is grind down your nerve endings to a point that you can work harder and stoop lower than most people are willing to. It chips away a person’s dreams to the point that the hopelessness shows through, and the dreamer accepts that hard work and borrowed houses are all this life will ever be.”
“I know how silly and paranoid that sounds, especially coming from a man who gets a perverse thrill from taking chances. But it is a common condition of being poor white trash: you are always afraid that the good things in your life are temporary, that someone can take them away, because you have no power beyond your own brute strength to stop them.”
“Mama just stepped back on the treadmill of worry and hopeless, and kept walking.”

Contemporary Portuguese Art – Patricia Imbraus

Below (photographs) – “Shower time”; “Contrast”; “Slowing down”; “Last surf of the day”; “Time travel underwater.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 26 July 1875 – Antonio Machado, a Spanish poet.

[“Traveler, your footprints”]
by Antonio Machado

Traveler, your footprints
are the only road, nothing else.
Traveler, there is no road;
you make your own path as you walk.
As you walk, you make your own road,
and when you look back
you see the path
you will never travel again.
Traveler, there is no road;
only a ship’s wake on the sea.

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Wandering in Woodacre – 25 July 2020

Contemporary German Art – Bernard Simunovic

Below – “Calm View Of The Seaside”; “One day by the sea”; “In the mood for love”; “love letters for you”; “La dame au chapeau bleu”; “Queen of my castle.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 25 July 1834 – Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an English poet, philosopher, and critic.

“This Lime-Tree bower, My Prison”
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Well, they are gone, and here must I remain,
This lime-tree bower my prison! I have lost
Beauties and feelings, such as would have been
Most sweet to my remembrance even when age
Had dimm’d mine eyes to blindness! They, meanwhile,
Friends, whom I never more may meet again,
On springy heath, along the hill-top edge,
Wander in gladness, and wind down, perchance,
To that still roaring dell, of which I told;
The roaring dell, o’erwooded, narrow, deep,
And only speckled by the mid-day sun;
Where its slim trunk the ash from rock to rock
Flings arching like a bridge;—that branchless ash,
Unsunn’d and damp, whose few poor yellow leaves
Ne’er tremble in the gale, yet tremble still,
Fann’d by the water-fall! and there my friends
Behold the dark green file of long lank weeds,
That all at once (a most fantastic sight!)
Still nod and drip beneath the dripping edge
Of the blue clay-stone.

Contemporary Uruguayan Art – Javier Delgado

Below – “Celo”; “Beauty and vanity”; “Brazilian night scene”; “Music”; “About enlightenment.

This Date in Literary History: Born 25 July 1905 – Elias Canetti, a Bulgarian-Swiss novelist, playwright, memoirist, and recipient of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Elias Canetti:

“Relearn astonishment.”
“All things one has forgotten scream for help in dreams.”
“There are books, that one has for twenty years without reading them, that one always keeps at hand, that one takes along from city to city, from country to country, carefully packed, even when there is very little room, and perhaps one leafs through them while removing them from a trunk; yet one carefully refrains from reading even a complete sentence. Then after twenty years, there comes a moment when suddenly, as though under a high compulsion, one cannot help taking in such a book from beginning to end, at one sitting: it is like a revelation. Now one knows why one made such a fuss about it. It had to be with one for a long time; it had to travel; it had to occupy space; it had to be a burden; and now it has reached the goal of its voyage, now it reveals itself, now it illuminates the twenty bygone years it mutely lived with one. It could not say so much if it had not been there mutely the whole time, and what idiot would dare to assert that the same things had always been in it.”
“A head full of stars, just not in constellation yet.”
“Most religions do not make men better, only warier.”
“What a man touched upon, he should take with him. If he forgot it, he should be reminded. What gives a man worth is that he incorporates everything he has experienced. This includes the countries where he has lived, the people whose voices he has heard. It also takes in his origins, if he can find out something about them… not only one’s private experience but everything concerning the time and place of one’s beginnings. The words of a language one may have spoken and heard only as a child imply the literature in which it flowered. The story of a banishment must include everything that happened before it as well as the rights subsequently claimed by the victims. Others had fallen before and in different ways; they too are part of the story. It is hard to evaluate the justice of such a claim to history… We should know not only what happened to our fellow men in the past but also what they were capable of. We should know what we ourselves are capable of. For that, much knowledge is needed; from whatever direction, at whatever distance knowledge offers itself, one should reach out for it, keep it fresh, water it and fertilize it with new knowledge.”
“You draw closer to truth by shutting yourself off from mankind.”

Contemporary Japanese Art – Kyoko Kogiso

Below – “letter”; “study”; “she”; “a boy”; “she”; “Jet lag sleeping 2.”

A Poem for Today

by Stephen Behrendt

Pruning back the old spirea bushes
that sprawled for years in summer’s heat,
I bared the snake skin, a yard and a half long:
its naked empty length rippled in the streaming wind
lifting its ghostly coils from the dead shoots
that scraped the slough from the slithering body
that shed it in that narrow, shaded space.

I paused—who wouldn’t?—shears poised,
slipped off gray canvas gloves, extracted
the sere, striated casing from the brown stalks
that had held it, silent, hidden.

I coiled the paper-thin curling sheath with care,
delicately, eased it into a simple squatty box
for keeping, for care, for my daughters
to take to school, to show, to explain
how some sinuous body we’ve never glimpsed,
that haunts about our shrubs, our porch,
left for us this translucent, scale-scored wrapper,
this silent hint of all that moves unseen.

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Wandering in Woodacre – 24 July 2020

This Date in Art History: Died July 24 1910 – Arkhip Kuindzhi, a Russian painter of Greek descent.

Below – “Elbrus”; “The Birch Grove”; “Red Sunset on the Dneiper”; “Moonspots in the Forest, Winter”; “Lake Ladoga”; “Evening in Ukraine.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 24 July 1927 – Ryunosuke Akutagawa, a Japanese author. Akutagawa’s short story “In a Grove” is a literary masterpiece.

Some quotes from the work of Ryunosuke Akutagawa:

“What is the life of a human being—a drop of dew, a flash of lightning? This is so sad, so sad.”
“The human heart harbors two conflicting sentiments. Everyone of course sympathizes with people who suffer misfortunes. Yet when those people manage to overcome their misfortunes, we feel a certain disappointment. We may even feel (to overstate the case somewhat) a desire to plunge them back into those misfortunes. And before we know it, we come (if only passively) to harbor some degree of hostility toward them.”
“He felt so lost, he said later, that the familiar studio felt like a haunted valley deep in the mountains, with the smell of rotting leaves, the spray of a waterfall, the sour fumes of fruit stashed away by a monkey; even the dim glow of the master’s oil lamp on its tripod looked to him like misty moonlight in the hills.”
“A man sometimes devotes his life to a desire which he is not sure will ever be fulfilled. Those who laugh at this folly are, after all, no more than mere spectators of life.”
“I could wish for nothing more than to die for a childish dream in which I truly believed.”

This Date in Art History: Born 24 July 1927 – Alex Katz, an American painter and sculptor.

Below – “Ada in Spain”; “Oona”; “Three Trees”; “Grey Dress”; “Departure”; “Blue Umbrella.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 24 July 1886 – Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, a Japanese novelist, essayist, and author of “The Makioka Sisters” and “In Praise of Shadows.”

Some quotes from the work of Jun’ichiro Tanizaki:

“Whenever I see the alcove of a tastefully built Japanese room, I marvel at our comprehension of the secrets of shadows, our sensitive use of shadow and light. For the beauty of the alcove is not the work of some clever device. An empty space is marked off with plain wood and plain walls, so that the light drawn into its forms dim shadows within emptiness. There is nothing more. And yet, when we gaze into the darkness that gathers behind the crossbeam, around the flower vase, beneath the shelves, though we know perfectly well it is mere shadow, we are overcome with the feeling that in this small corner of the atmosphere there reigns complete and utter silence; that here in the darkness immutable tranquility holds sway.”
“We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates.”
“With lacquerware there is an extra beauty in that moment between removing the lid and lifting the bowl to the mouth, when one gazes at the still, silent liquid in the dark depths of the bowl, its colour hardly differing from that of the bowl itself. What lies within the darkness one cannot distinguish, but the palm senses the gentle movements of the liquid, vapour rises from within, forming droplets on the rim, and the fragrance carried upon the vapour brings a delicate anticipation … a moment of mystery, it might almost be called, a moment of trance.”
“The ancients waited for cherry blossoms, grieved when they were gone, and lamented their passing in countless poems. How very ordinary the poems had seemed to Sachiko when she read them as a girl, but now she knew, as well as one could know, that grieving over fallen cherry blossoms was more than a fad or convention.”
“In making for ourselves a place to live, we first spread a parasol to throw a shadow on the earth, and in the pale light of the shadow we put together a house.”

Contemporary New Zealand Art – Brian Tucker

Below – “Tea”; “You May Have Fish Every Year”; “Emergence”; “Reminisswing”; “Dawn at Dong Fu”; “Float Away.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 24 July 1895 – Robert Graves, a British poet, novelist, critic, classicist, and author of “I, Claudius” and “Good-Bye to All That.”

“She Tells Her Love While Half Asleep”
by Robert Graves

She tells her love while half asleep,
In the dark hours,
With half-words whispered low:
As Earth turns in her winter sleep
And puts out grass and flowers
Despite the snow,
Despite the falling snow.

Below – Siret Roots: “couple sleeping together”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 23 July 2020

Contemporary Thai Art – Pairat Sawasdisara

Below – “cello violin and harp”; “dancer”; “Umbrella girl”; “cello and
violin”; “pink.”

A Poem for Today

“One Thursday Afternoon: Magdalena, Sonora, 1939”
by Alberto Rios

Baltazár went to the market and came home with a parrot.
Thursdays in this town were always just so:

What should have been four big potatoes and some white cheese
Came home in a cage filled with green feathers and two wings.

The mathematics of exchange in this world, the stomach or the heart—
Which of these, how much of one for the other,

Friday would have to sort out. On a Thursday afternoon
The world sang, a full dinner this way coming through the air.

Below – Mukarram Sousli: “Green Parrot”

Contemporary Japanese Art – Kyoko Yoshida

Below – “Tasting For Rolling In Sands”; “Unknown blue”; “Play in sands”; “Like gemstone”; “Somewhere Looking For”; “If We Will Can.”

A Poem for Today

“Mother Talks Back to the Monster”
by Carrie Shipers

Tonight, I dressed my son in astronaut pajamas,
kissed his forehead and tucked him in.
I turned on his night-light and looked for you
in the closet and under the bed. I told him

you were nowhere to be found, but I could smell
your breath, your musty fur. I remember
all your tricks: the jagged shadows on the wall,
click of your claws, the hand that hovered

just above my ankles if I left them exposed.
Since I became a parent I see danger everywhere—
unleashed dogs, sudden fevers, cereal
two days out of date. And even worse

than feeling so much fear is keeping it inside,
trying not to let my love become so tangled
with anxiety my son thinks they’re the same.
When he says he’s seen your tail or heard

your heavy step, I insist that you aren’t real.
Soon he’ll feel too old to tell me his bad dreams.
If you get lonely after he’s asleep, you can
always come downstairs. I’ll be sitting

at the kitchen table with the dishes
I should wash, crumbs I should wipe up.
We can drink hot tea and talk about
the future, how hard it is to be outgrown.

Below – Natalia Bayklova: “Cup of tea”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 22 July 2020

Contemporary American Art – Hannah Ward

Below – “Ancestral”; “Goldeneye Duck”; “Agitated Angels”; “Promise Me”; “Threads of Worship”; “Morning Petals.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 22 July 1967 – Carl Sandburg, an American poet, historian, and three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Below – Barbara Pastorino: “Fog over the city”

Contemporary New Zealand Art – Christian Nicolson

Below – “last one out of the surf”; “bethells at sunset”; “man runs naked”; “it was really hard to surf”; “andy”; “the aliens have landed.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 22 July 1932 – Tom Robbins, an award-winning American novelist and author of “Still Life With Woodpecker,” “Another Roadside Attraction” and “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.”

Some quotes from the work of Tom Robbins:

“We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.”
“When we’re incomplete, we’re always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we’re still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on–series polygamy–until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.”
“…disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business….”
“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”
“Who knows how to make love stay?
Tell love you are going to Junior’s Deli on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to pick up a cheesecake, and if loves stays, it can have half. It will stay.
Tell love you want a momento of it and obtain a lock of its hair. Burn the hair in a dime-store incense burner with yin/yang symbols on three sides. Face southwest. Talk fast over the burning hair in a convincingly exotic language. Remove the ashes of the burnt hair and use them to paint a moustache on your face. Find love. Tell it you are someone new. It will stay.
Wake love up in the middle of the night. Tell it the world is on fire. Dash to the bedroom window and pee out of it. Casually return to bed and assure love that everything is going to be all right. Fall asleep. Love will be there in the morning.”
“We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.”
“The unhappy person resents it when you try to cheer him up, because that means he has to stop dwelling on himself and start paying attention to the universe. Unhappiness is the ultimate form of self-indulgence. When you’re unhappy, you get to pay a lot of attention to yourself. You get to take yourself oh so very seriously.”
“A sense of humor…is superior to any religion so far devised.”
“You should never hesitate to trade your cow for a handful of magic beans.”
“Curiosity, especially intellectual inquisitiveness, is what separates the truly alive from those who are merely going through the motions.”
“In the haunted house of life, art is the only stair that doesn’t creak.”
“Our lives are not as as we think they are; the world is a wonderfully weird place; consensual reality is significantly flawed; no institution can be trusted, but love does work; all things are possible; and we all could be happy and fulfilled if we only had the guts to be truly free and the wisdom to shrink our egos and quit taking ourselves so damn seriously.”

Contemporary Canadian Art – renee lee smith

Below – “Blue light”; “princess von elle”; “heather and flora”; “marilyn”; “thought process”; “passion” (sculpture).

A Poem for Today

“Possum in the Garbage”
by Faith Shearin

He was a surprise of white: his teeth
like knives, his face a triangle
of albino dislike. I had seen him before,

on our back porch, where my father
sometimes left watermelon rinds,
and he dipped his tongue into them,

his skin glowing beneath our lights,
like some four-legged relative
of the moon. I knew him
as a citizen of the night:

a fainting, ghostly presence
with a tail so naked it was
embarrassed to drag behind him.

But that morning, terrified and violent,
he was different: a hissing fury
at the bottom of the garbage can,
a vampire bathed in light.

Below – Hannah Ward: “Have Faith”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 21 July 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 21 July 1866 – Carlos Schwabe, a Swiss Symbolist painter and printmaker.

Below – “Evening Bells”; “Interior Silence”; “La douleur”; “Death and the Gravedigger”; “Lotte, the artist’s daughter”; “l’Ame du vin.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 21 July 1933 – John Gardner, an American novelist, essayist, literary critic, and author of “Grendel.”

Some quotes from the work of John Gardner:

“Self pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”
“i understand that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears. i understood that, finally and absolutely, i alone exist. all the rest, i saw, is merely what pushes me, or what i push against, blindly – as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back. i create the whole universe, blink by blink.”
“When I was a child I truly loved:
Unthinking love as calm and deep
As the North Sea. But I have lived,
And now I do not sleep.”
“So childhood too feels good at first, before one happens to notice the terrible sameness, age after age.”
“Stars, spattered out through lifeless night from end to end, like jewels scattered in a dead king’s grave, tease, torment my wits toward meaningful patterns that do not exist.”
“I look down past the stars to a terrifying darkness. I seem to recognize the place, but it’s impossible. “Accident,” I whisper. I will fall. I seem to desire the fall, and though I fight it with all my will I know in advance I can’t win. Standing baffled, quaking with fear, three feet from the edge of a nightmare cliff, I find myself, incredibly, moving towards it. I look down, down, into bottomless blackness, feeling the dark power moving in me like an ocean current, some monster inside me, deep sea wonder, dread night monarch astir in his cave, moving me slowly to my voluntary tumble into death.”
“They watch on, evil, incredibly stupid, enjoying my destruction.
‘Poor Grendel’s had an accident,’ I whisper. ‘So may you all.’”

Contemporary American Art – Julia Grayson

Below (mixed media) – untitled; “Chip Away”; untitled; Untitled ; “isolation”; “Eunah 2.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 21 July 2015 – E. L. Doctorow, and American novelist, short story writer, author of “Ragtime,” “World’s Fair,” “Billy Bathgate,” and “The March,” recipient of the National Book Award, and three-time recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award.”

Some quotes from the work of E. L. Doctorow:

“I am often asked the question How can the masses permit themselves to be exploited by the few. The answer is By being persuaded to identify with them.”
“The difference between Socrates and Jesus is that no one had ever been put to death in Socrates’ name. And that is because Socrates’ ideas were never made law. Law, in whatever name, protects privilege.”
“It was evident to him that the world composed and recomposed itself constantly in an endless process of dissatisfaction.”
“Stories distribute the suffering so that it can be borne.”
“Because like all whores you value propriety. You are creature of capitalism, the ethics of which are so totally corrupt and hypocritical that your beauty is no more than the beauty of gold, which is to say false and cold and useless.”
“I watched bulls bred to cows, watched mares foal, I saw life come from the egg and the multiplicative wonders of mudholes and ponds, the jell and slime of life shimmering in gravid expectation. Everywhere I looked, life sprang from something not life, insects unfolded from sacs on the surface of still waters and were instantly on prowl for their dinner, everything that came into being knew at once what to do and did it, unastonished that it was what it was, unimpressed by where it was, the great earth heaving up bloodied newborns from every pore, every cell, bearing the variousness of itself from every conceivable substance which it contained in itself, sprouting life that flew or waved in the wind or blew from the mountains or stuck to the damp black underside of rocks, or swam or suckled or bellowed or silently separated in two.”
“The three most important documents a free society gives are a birth certificate, a passport, and a library card.”

Contemporary Colombian Art – Santiago Castro

Below – “A Fraction of Light”; “Something is Gone”; “A Look Through a Memory”; “La espera en un lugar sin mombfe”; “Watercolor study 2”; “Conversations with Absent People.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 21 July 1945 – Wendy Cope, an English poet and critic: Part I of II.
Wendy Cope has a delightful sense of humor, and that fact is evident in her parody of T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land.”

“Waste Land Limericks”
by Wendy Cope

In April one seldom feels cheerful;
Dry stones, sun and dust make me fearful;
Clairvoyantes distress me,
Commuters depress me—
Met Stetson and gave him an earful.

She sat on a mighty fine chair,
Sparks flew as she tidied her hair;
She asks many questions,
I make few suggestions—
Bad as Albert and Lil–what a pair!

The Thames runs, bones rattle, rats creep;
Tiresias fancies a peep—
A typist is laid,
A record is played—
Wei la la. After this it gets deep.

A Phoenician named Phlebas forgot
About birds and his business–the lot,
Which is no surprise,
Since he’d met his demise
And been left in the ocean to rot.

No water. Dry rocks and dry throats,
Then thunder, a shower of quotes
From the Sanskrit and Dante.
Da. Damyata. Shantih.
I hope you’ll make sense of the notes.

Below – Wendy Cope.

Contemporary Canadian Art – Cyrus Azadi

Below (photographs) – “Ocean View 20/20”; “Fall”; “White on Blue”; “Ghamishloo, twin peaks”; “Early spring morning by Lake Chaghaxor”; “1980’s arcade sunset.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 21 July 1945 – Wendy Cope, an English poet and critic: Part II of II.

“The Orange”
by Wendy Cope

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all my jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.

Below – Billing Brandi DeVillez: “An Orange”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 20

This Date in Art History: Died 20 July 1994 – Paul Delvaux, a Belgian surrealist painter.

Below – “L’Imperatrice”; “Le Chapeau”; “Les Rivales”; “Anne Lost in Thoughts”; “Paiolive”; “The Phases of the Moon II.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 July 1936 – Alistair MacLeod, an award-winning Canadian novelist, short story writer, and author of “No Great Mischief.”

Some quotes from the work of Alistair MacLeod:

“No one has ever said that life is to be easy. Only that it is to be lived.”
“All of us are better when we’re loved.”
“And then there came into my heart a very great love for my father and I thought it was very much braver to spend a life doing what you really do not want rather than selfishly following forever your own dreams and inclinations.”
“Sometimes it slanted against her window with a pinging sound, which meant it was close to hail, and then it was visible as tiny pellets for a moment on the pane before the pellets vanished and rolled quietly down the glass, each drop leaving its own delicate trickle. At other times it fell straight down, hardly touching the window at all, but still there beyond the glass, like a delicate, beaded curtain at the entrance to another room.”
“‘On a clear day you can see Prince Edward Island,’ we would say. Not ‘forever’, just Prince Edward Island.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Nikolay Shatalov

Below (sculpture) – “An intermission”; “Ballerina”; “Watchman”; “Crysalis”; “Firewood pickers. Sister”; “Firewood pickers. Brother.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 July 1933 – Cormac McCarthy, an American novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenwriter, author of “All the Pretty Horses,” “No Country for Old Men,” “The Road,” and “Blood Meridian or The Evening Redness in the West,” and recipient of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. (A note: A few months ago, I decided to re-read “Blood Meridian” [I first read it in 1987], and it was an emotionally exhausting experience.)

Some quotes from the work of Cormac McCarthy:

“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.”
“You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.”
“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”
“People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn’t believe in that. Tomorrow wasn’t getting ready for them. It didn’t even know they were there.”
“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”
“The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning.
The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude in its conception to repeat what exists in one part in any other part. Even in this world more things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way. For existence has its own order and that no man’s mind can compass, that mind itself being but a fact among others.”
“Your heart’s desire is to be told some mystery. The mystery is that there is no mystery.”
“He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.”

Contemporary American Art – Erin Hanson

Below – “Dappled Clouds”; “Rocky Dawn”; “Wildflower Light”; “Crystal Hues”; “Maple Light”; “Lilies Reflection.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 July 1924 – Thomas Berger, an American novelist, short story writer, playwright, and author of “Little Big Man.” (A note: “Little Big Man” is one of my favorite novels.)

Some quotes form the work of Thomas Berger:

“If you want to really relax sometime, just fall to rock bottom and you’ll be a happy man. Most all troubles come from having standards.”
“You got to knock a man down and put your knife at his throat before he’ll hear you, like I did to that trooper. The truth seems hateful to most everybody.”
“The buffalo eats grass, I eat him, and when I die, the earth eats me and sprouts more grass. Therefore nothing is ever lost, and each thing is everything forever, though all things move.”
“I expect Custer was crazy enough to believe he would win, being the type of man who carries the whole world within his own head and thus when his passion is aroused and floods his mind, reality is utterly drowned.”
“Believe me, the real romantic person is him who ain’t done anything but imagine. If you have actually participated in disasters, like me, you get conservative.”
“You might have thought the colonel would be interested in my experiences of five years’ barbarism, but he wasn’t. I wasn’t long in discovering that it is a rare person in the white world who wants to hear what the other fellow says, all the more so when the other fellow really knows what he is talking about.”
“For he was big, and I don’t care what you say, for every inch a man grows over five foot five, his brain diminishes proportionately. All my life I have had a prejudice against overgrown louts.”
“I love her still, for if you know anything about that kind of feeling, you know how close it is connected to hopelessness and thus is about the only thing in civilization that don’t degenerate with time.”

Contemporary Australian Art – Stephen Graham

Below – “Beach Montage”; “Mount Tibrogargan”; “Construction Site”; “Willow Jug with Lemons”; “The Bridge Builders”; “The Surveyor.”

A Poem for Today

“In Possession (Minnesota)”
by Roy Scheele

Something almost Flemish about that water,
a golden brown but clear into its depths,
the plank-ends of the dock a fading gray
beside it, and a boat moored at the end;
something, it seems to me in looking back,
about a murky bullhead on a stringer,
one of those rope ones you can hardly see,
so that the fish appeared to scull in place;
something (the details start to widen now)
about white wooden clapboards on the side
of that inn or tavern where my dad had stopped,
a neon beer sign staring out through glass—
late in the afternoon, I drinking deep
of everything I saw, now mine to keep.

Below – Kenneth Halvorsen: “Pondering Upon Golden Dreams”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 19 July 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 19 July 1834 – Edgar Degas, a French painter, illustrator, and sculptor: Part I of II.

Below – “A Cotton Office in New Orleans”; “The Dance Class”; “L’Absinthe”; “Musicians in the Orchestra”; “Woman Seated beside a Vase of Flowers”; “La Toilette (Woman Combing Her Hair.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 19 July 1967 – Odell Shepard, and American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

by Odell Shepard

O lapidary’s heaven, no brazier’s hell for me,
For I am made of dust and dew and stream and plant and tree:
I’m close akin to boulders, I am cousin to the mud,
And all the winds of all the sky make music in my blood.

I want a brook and pine trees; I want a storm to blow
Loud-lunged across the looming hills, with driven sleet and snow.
Don’t put me off with diadems and thrones of chrysoprase;
I want the winds of northern nights and wild March days.

My blood runs red with sunset, my body is white with rain,
And on my heart auroral skies have set their scarlet stain,
My thoughts are green with springtime, and in the meadow-rue
I think my very soul is growing green and gold and blue.

What will be left I wonder, when death has washed me clean
Of dust and dew and sundown and April’s virgin green?
If there’s enough to make a ghost, I’ll bring it back again
To the little lovely earth that bore me, body, soul, and brain.

Below – Chenlu Zhu: “Man in the Forest”

This Date in Art History: Born 19 July 1834 – Edgar Degas, a French painter, illustrator, and sculptor: Part II of II.

Below – “The Dancing Class”; “Rehearsal on Stage”; “At the Cafe-Concert: The Song of the Dog”; “Dancer with a Bouquet of Flowers (Star of the Ballet)”; “The Millinery Shop”; “After the Bath, Woman Drying her Nape.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 19 July 1921 – Elizabeth Spencer, an award-winning American novelist, short story writer, playwright, and author of “The Light in the Piazza.”

Two quotes from the work of Elizabeth Spencer:

“August in Mississippi is different from July. As to heat, it is not a question of degree but of kind. July heat is furious, but in August the heat has killed even itself and lies dead over us.”
“His house to me was a child was a heart of happiness. If there is a wonder childhood possesses which makes it forever superior to what shall come after, it is the happy and uncritical love of whatever is happy, place or person, it does not matter which.”

Contemporary Portuguese Art – Mario Henrique

Below – “Somnium No. 4, Series IV”; “Somnium No. 6”; “Somnium No. 1, Series VI”; “In Navi”; “Apparentia No. 3, Series III”; “Materia No. 3, Series IV.”

A Poem for Today

“Marge’s Shoes”
by Sylvia Ross

The first few years she wore them
I didn’t even notice the leather’s soft tan,
and the buckskin laces roughly looped.
By the time I paid attention, her feet
had already curved the shoes inward,
weather had toughened the soft leather,
and one lace had broken short.
Then I asked where she got those shoes
and she said from the Indian store
down in Mountain View.

Some other time, another year, I asked
the name of the Indian store
that sold handmade shoes like hers,
but she said it went out of business
and no store sold mocs with vodka
splatters and Yosemite dirt ground in
with a little tamale pie, so I couldn’t
buy shoes like hers anyway.

Last summer, laughing and crying
together, in the campground
at Lake Mendocino, on the night
before her youngest son’s wedding
while the men drank beer and talked
of politics and sports,
I told her how much I really, really liked
those old shoes of hers. So
she took them off and gave them to me.

Those beat-up, raggedy Kaibab moccasins
I wear are stained and worn rough
by hard years in my friend’s life.
I wear them when I need her courage.

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Wandering in Woodacre – 18 July 2020

Contemporary German Art – Stefan Neubauer

Below – “Strike a Pose Illusion #6”; “Strike a Pose Illusion #5”; “Smooth Swing #4”; “Smooth Swing #3”; “Hotrod #2” (photograph).

A Poem for Today

by Stuart Dybek

Sometimes they are the only thing beautiful
about a hotel.
Like transients,
come winter they have a way of disappearing,
disguised as dirty light,
limp beside a puttied pane.
Then some April afternoon
a roomer jacks a window open,
a breeze intrudes,
resuscitates memory,
and suddenly they want to fly,
while men,
looking up from the street,
are deceived a moment
into thinking
a girl in an upper story
is waving.

Below – Sophie Hoad Halma: “You’re letting flies in”

Contemporary French Art – Maria Magenta

Below – “Portrait with peonies”; “Silver interior”; “Roseau I”; “Plage du Midi”; “Night landscape in Cannes”; “Paysage avec champ vert.”

A Poem for Today

“Restless After School”
by Debra Nystrom

Nothing to do but scuff down
the graveyard road behind the playground,
past the name-stones lined up in rows
beneath their guardian pines,
on out into the long, low waves of plains
that dissolved time. We’d angle off
from fence and telephone line, through
ribbon-grass that closed behind as though
we’d never been, and drift toward the bluff
above the river-bend where the junked pickup
moored with its load of locust-skeletons.
Stretched across the blistered hood, we let
our dresses catch the wind while clouds above
dimmed their pink to purple, then shadow-blue—
So slow, we listened to our own bones grow.

Below – Sophie Labayle: “Tall Grass”

Contemporary American Art – Richard Hutchins

Below – “Upside Down Car”; “Abandoned Place”; “Abandoned Motel”; “Figure Leaning Against Building.”

A Poem for Today
by Barbara Crooker


is a river you wade in until you get to the other side.
But I am here, stuck in the middle, water parting
around my ankles, moving downstream
over the flat rocks. I’m not able to lift a foot,
move on. Instead, I’m going to stay here
in the shallows with my sorrow, nurture it
like a cranky baby, rock it in my arms.
I don’t want it to grow up, go to school, get married.
It’s mine. Yes, the October sunlight wraps me
in its yellow shawl, and the air is sweet
as a golden Tokay. On the other side,
there are apples, grapes, walnuts,
and the rocks are warm from the sun.
But I’m going to stand here,
growing colder, until every inch
of my skin is numb. I can’t cross over.
Then you really will be gone.

Below – Lika Rusadze: “Girl in river”

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