Saturday, July 25, 2009


Recommend: Borderlands Texas Poetry Review. Issue 12 is dedicated to poetry inspired by art, known as the art of ekphrasis. I've been spending time reading this new arrival and am considering it as a text for the upcoming Fall semester.

Also received yesterday Eating the Pure Light: Homage to Thomas McGrath, edited by John Bradley. Thank you Backwaters Press for sending it along.

“All of us live twice at the same time—once uniquely and once representatively. I am interested in those moments when my unique personal life intersects with something bigger, when my small brief moment has a part in ‘fabricating the legend.’”
• Thomas McGrath

This statement from an interview shows why McGrath remains one of our most important poets. Why else, you ask? There’s his attention to craft and language, whether in a poem of a few lines or a book-length epic. His refusal to constrain the poetic imagination. His compassion for others, especially “working stiffs.” His ability to write with tenderness, humor, and defiance—sometimes all in the same poem. And, perhaps most importantly, his poetry continues to speak to our time. To honor the poet and his poetry, this anthology was born. Some of the poems affectionately recall McGrath’s life. Other poems examine the world with his bite and wit. Read this book and see for yourself—the legacy of Thomas McGrath endures.
• John Bradley

I've been enjoying my sketchbook class. The teacher must think I'm peculiar because I'm not on task as the other participants are. When I start drawing I drop into a zone, that is so quiet, so peaceful, so delicious-- it's rhythm without time-- I shut out all background noise. Good thing no one shouted fire or earthquake, or whatever, because I was not "there" to respond. We're working on values and I was suppose to be drawing a two value drawing, which I did and then went on to draw with multiple values. So when Marilyn checked my work she was perplexed
by my not being on task. (I'm a teacher's nightmare). I confessed straight away that I started
doing something other than the assignment. This week, I'm going to do the assignments and bring it in for her to check. At one point, I asked her if she thought I should erase the multiple values and she said no, no-- don't erase-- it's working. and she sighed, which made me think of Lola Haskins. Lola used to sigh that way too. Lola would say to me, "You always do that" which I was never sure of what "that" was exactly, but I was doing it. I could never tell if I was being chided or praised. Maybe a bit of both. (I wonder if this has anything to do with being left handed? Or the way I operate in the world?)

What intrigues me is the repetition of drawing, that is drawing and redrawing in the sketchbook,which is "never" a finished drawing, but work in progress, ideas, and so on.

The skill is being able to draw again and again-- transferring the drawing to its true medium, whether it's acrylics or watercolors, or pen and ink, and so on.

Equally, the more proficient one becomes with drawing, the more the sketchbook becomes a sketchbook. Right now I have "drawings" in my sketchbook. So much more ahead of me. I bought some watercolor pencils and a whole pencil set with varying degrees of hard and soft graphite, and brown and white too. I'm enjoying getting to know and appreciate what can be done with these materials. Something new, and I'm sure it will show up in my writing.


Going to a wedding later today. I hope the weather holds out for them. We went to the rehearsal dinner last night. Such a nice time. It was held at Artisan Works, which is a huge warehouse, filled with art-- many rooms full of art and set up as entertaining venues. This is how the Artisan Works works. It supports itself on the events booked there, from private parties to business meetings, and so on. Interesting concept. I like the idea that they pay the artists to house their work. Some of the work is for sale, but most of it is held by the gallery.

Off to the public market.

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