This Date in Art History: Died 5 April 1906 – Eastman Johnson, an American painter.
Below – “The Nantucket School of Philosophy”; “Ruth”; “The Girl I Left Behind Me”; “Winter, Portrait of a Child”; “Not at Home (An Interior of the Artist’s House)”; “The Old Stagecoach.”
This Date in Literary History: Died 5 April 2005 – Saul Bellow, a Canadian-American novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, author of “The Adventures of Augie March” and “Humboldt’s Gift,” recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, three-time recipient of the National Book Award for Fiction, and recipient of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Some quotes from the work of Saul Bellow:
“A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”
“People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.”
“Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.”
“Boredom is the conviction that you can’t change … the shriek of unused capacities.”
“Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.”
“You can spend the entire second half of your life recovering from the mistakes of the first half.”
“People don’t realize how much they are in the grip of ideas. We live among ideas much more than we live in nature.”
“She was what we used to call a suicide blonde– dyed by her own hand.”
This Date in Art History: Died 5 April 1950 – Hiroshi Yoshida, a Japanese painter: Part I of II.
Below – “Kumoi Cherry Trees”; “Glittering Sea”; “Spring in a Hot Spring”; “Bamboo Grove”; “View from Komagatake”; “Sailing Boats.”
This Date in Literary History: Died 5 April 2017 – Makoto Ooka, an award-winning Japanese poet and literary critic.
“The Tale of a Star #1”
by Makoto Ooka
A star is
My favorite star
all over the sky and
never bothers to
read them back
Now there’s someone
I can take off my hat to!
This Date in Art History: Died 5 April 1950 – Hiroshi Yoshida, a Japanese painter: Part II of II.
Below – “Climbing Snow Valley”; “Edo Castle”; “Carp in a Pond”; “The Fuji New Grand Hotel”; “The Cherry tree in Kawagoe”; “Atami Hot Spring.”
This Date in Literary History: Died 5 April 1997 – Allen Ginsberg, an American poet, author of “Howl,” and recipient of the National Book Award for poetry.
“A Supermarket in California”
by Allen Ginsberg
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?
I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?
This Date in Art History:Died 5 April 1958 – Asgrimur Jonsson, an Icelandic landscape painter.
Below – “Strúttur and Eiríksjökull, Iceland”; “Landscape, Iceland”; “Landscape, Iceland”; “Icelandic Landscape”; “View of Mount Strutur from Husafell with the glacier Eriksjokull in the background”; “Scenery from Husafell, Iceland.”
This Date in Literary History: Died 5 April 2014 – Peter Matthiessen, an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, author of “The Snow Leopard,” and three-time recipient of the National Book Award.
Some quotes from the work of Peter Matthiessen:
“The secret of the mountain is that the mountains simply exist, as I do myself: the mountains exist simply, which I do not. The mountains have no ‘meaning,’ they are meaning; the mountains are. The sun is round. I ring with life, and the mountains ring, and when I can hear it, there is a ringing that we share. I understand all this, not in my mind but in my heart, knowing how meaningless it is to try to capture what cannot be expressed, knowing that mere words will remain when I read it all again, another day.”
“When we are mired in the relative world, never lifting our gaze to the mystery, our life is stunted, incomplete; we are filled with yearning for that paradise that is lost when, as young children, we replace it with words and ideas and abstractions – such as merit, such as past, present, and future – our direct, spontaneous experience of the thing itself, in the beauty and precision of this present moment.”
“The concept of conservation is a far truer sign of civilization than that spoilation of a continent which we once confused with progress.”
“The sun is roaring, it fills to bursting each crystal of snow. I flush with feeling, moved beyond my comprehension, and once again, the warm tears freeze upon my face. These rocks and mountains, all this matter, the snow itself, the air- the earth is ringing. All is moving, full of power, full of light.”
“There’s an elegiac quality in watching [American wilderness] go, because it’s our own myth, the American frontier, that’s deteriorating before our eyes. I feel a deep sorrow that my kids will never get to see what I’ve seen, and their kids will see nothing; there’s a deep sadness whenever I look at nature now.”
“And as the wary dogs skirt past, we nod, grimace, and resume our paths to separate destinies and graves.”
“I grow into these mountains like a moss. I am bewitched. The blinding snow peaks and the clarion air, the sound of earth and heaven in the silence, the requiem birds, the mythic beasts, the flags, great horns, and old carved stones, the silver ice in the black river, the Kang, the Crystal Mountain. Also, I love the common miracles-the murmur of my friends at evening, the clay fires of smudgy juniper, the coarse dull food, the hardship and simplicity, the contentment of doing one thing at a time… gradually my mind has cleared itself, and wind and sun pour through my head, as through a bell. Though we talk little here, I am never lonely; I am returned into myself. In another life-this isn’t what I know, but how I feel- these mountains were my home; there is a rising of forgotten knowledge, like a spring from hidden aquifers under the earth. To glimpse one’s own true nature is a kind of homegoing, to a place East of the Sun, West of the Moon- the homegoing that needs no home, like that waterfall on the supper Suli Gad that turns to mist before touching the earth and rises once again to the sky.”
“Zen has been called the ‘religion before religion,’ which is to say that anyone can practice, including those committed to another faith. And that phrase evokes that natural religion of our early childhood, when heaven and a splendorous earth were one. But soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions and abstractions. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines, and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, at the bottom of each breath, there is a hollow place filled with longing. We become seekers without knowing that we seek, and at first, we long for something “greater” than ourselves, something apart and far away. It is not a return to childhood, for childhood is not a truly enlightened state. Yet to seek one’s own true nature is ‘a way to lead you to your long lost home.’ To practice Zen means to realize one’s existence moment after moment, rather than letting life unravel in regret of the past and daydreaming of the future. To ‘rest in the present’ is a state of magical simplicity…out of the emptiness can come a true insight into our natural harmony all creation. To travel this path, one need not be a ‘Zen Buddhist’, which is only another idea to be discarded like ‘enlightenment,’ and like ‘the Buddha’ and like ‘God’.”
“Indicating his twisted legs without a trace of self-pity or bitterness, as if they belonged to all of us, he casts his arms wide to the sky and the snow mountains, the high sun and dancing sheep, and cries, ’Of course I am happy here! It’s wonderful! Especially when I have no choice!’ In its wholehearted acceptance of what is;I feel as if he had struck me in the chest. Butter tea and wind pictures, the Crystal Mountain, and blue sheep dancing on the snow-it’s quite enough!
Have you seen the snow leopard?
No! Isn’t that wonderful?”
Contemporary Indian Art – Shabana Godhrawala
Below – “The Library”; “The Chandelier”; “The Wall Of Flowers”; “The Kitchen”; “The Room”; “Tranquil.”
This Date in Literary History: Born 5 April 1904 – Richard Eberhart, an American poet and recipient of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.
by Richard Eberhart
I stood out in the open cold
To see the essence of the eclipse
Which was its perfect darkness.
I stood in the cold on the porch
And could not think of anything so perfect
As mans hope of light in the face of darkness.
Below – Allison Bagg: “Total Eclipse Of The House” (photograph)