Sometimes my system of “mad libbing” my poems1 into photo titles works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Maybe then I should reshuffle somehow, and rename images with the better name. Nobody would even notice but me.
and let’s be honest, borrowing other people’s lines too [↩]
When I was a lot younger, I had the thought that I would scribble my poetry on top of my paintings, giving both a bit more depth. I never was satisfied with any results, mostly because I’ve never learned how to draw. My painting skills are basically that of a six year old. My poems are pretty obscure, which works well for being painted, but only if the painting is interesting, and I never felt any were interesting enough to share.
I stopped working in oil/acrylic about 20 years ago, and switched to photography.
I still haven’t found a good medium for my poems, but recently had the thought that if I changed how I worked in my digital darkroom a bit, I could use photo titles as a form of free verse.
Normally, as I’ve written previously, when I start working in my digital darkroom on a new photograph, I keep it on my screen until I come up with an appropriate title, and then start tweaking the photo until I finish.
But what if, instead I kept a running diary of verse1 and used those, in sequence, for photo titles?
Only I would know why certain photos would necessarily be hung together, with titles that cohere into a larger thought.
HE HELD RADICAL LIGHT The Art of Faith, the Faith of Art By Christian Wiman
With all the stonings, smitings, beheadings and bear maulings in the Bible, it is easy to miss the rather staid death of Eutychus. As recounted in the Book of Acts, the young man nods off during a long sermon by St. Paul, and falls three stories from a window in Troas. In a reprieve for dozing parishioners everywhere, Paul resurrects him.
Poor Eutychus comes and goes in only a few verses, but I thought of him while reading the poet Christian Wiman’s curious new book, “He Held Radical Light” — not because it’s in danger of putting anyone to sleep, but because, like Acts, it’s an episodic account of equally strange encounters, in this case, with apostles of verse. A. R. Ammons shows up for a reading in Virginia but refuses to read, telling his audience, “You can’t possibly be enjoying this”; Seamus Heaney winks before stepping into a cab in Chicago; Donald Hall orders a burger for lunch, then confides to Wiman, who was then 38: “I was 38 when I realized not a word I wrote was going to last”; Mary Oliver picks up a dead pigeon from the sidewalk, tucks the bloody carcass into her pocket and keeps it there through an event and after-party.
Wiman had met a few poets by the time he finished college at Washington and Lee and completed a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford, but he really started to collect them at Poetry magazine, where he was editor for 10 years. The most straightforward version of those years would be a literary tell-all, along the lines of the former New Yorker editor Robert Gottlieb’s “Avid Reader.” But “He Held Radical Light” is something else: a collection of private memories, literary criticism and theology, plus an eccentric anthology of poems Wiman holds dear, all drawn into an argument about art and faith.
I should be more familiar with my birthdate partner, William Wordsworth, than I am. In fact, this is really the only poem I know of his.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company: I gazed–and gazed–but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.
Fun and informative discussion on Breaking Bad and Walt Whitman in the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Magazine:
Had Walt Whitman, an occasional proponent of Prohibition, lived today, he might have been horrified to discover that he in any way inspired a TV series about a murderous drug lord named Walter White. And stunned (though perhaps pleased) to find his magnum opus employed as the smoking gun leading to the man’s undoing. But after a smattering of Whitman references throughout its four and a half seasons, AMC’s Breaking Bad—which is wrapping up its final chapter beginning August 11—has done just that, drawing an unlikely parallel between the two men who share a monogram (W.W.) and, for all intents and purposes, a name.
So how does Walter White compare to Walt Whitman? And what cynical commentary on our times, on humanity, does series creator Vince Gilligan make with this subversive pairing?
When I heard the learn’d astronomer, When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me, When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them, When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick, Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself, In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
Such a clear, strong voice. If you’ve listened to The Pogues, Sinead O’Connor, or even U2, you’ve heard his influence.
Liam Clancy, an Irish troubadour and the last surviving member of the singing Clancy Brothers, who found fame in the United States and helped spread the popularity of Irish folk music around the world, died on Thursday in Cork, Ireland. He was 74.
His death was announced by his family and reported on the Web site www.liamclancy.com. He had been treated for pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease
Liam Clancy lived in Greenwich Village, where he befriended another young folk singer, Bob Dylan. They dated a pair of sisters, Mr. Clancy told interviewers. Recalling that time in an interview on Irish television two years ago, Mr. Clancy said that he, a Roman Catholic from rural Ireland, and Mr. Dylan, a Jew from a small Minnesota town, shared an important quality.
“People who were trying to escape repressed backgrounds, like mine and Bob Dylan’s, were congregating in Greenwich Village,” he said. “It was a place you could be yourself, where you could get away from the directives of the people who went before you, people who you loved but who you knew had blinkers on.”
Mr. Dylan told an interviewer in 1984: “I never heard a singer as good as Liam ever. He was just the best ballad singer I’d ever heard in my life. Still is, probably.”
Featuring exclusive footage, interviews and additional performances from the man Bob Dylan called “the best ballad singer I ever heard in my whole life. Still is, probably”
Free delivery within Ireland. Orders will be delivered to Irish addresses from October 30th and to UK addresses from Nov 9th.
This is a Region 2 DVD and may not be viewable outside Europe.
Please be advised that we can only ship to addresses in Ireland and the UK. We can not process orders outside of these territories.
Feature Run Time: 110’
Extras: Film Trailer | Interviews | Additional Performances including “Those Were The Days” from the White Horse Tavern, New York and “Brennan On The Moor” | Liam at home with friends
In the interview he talks about The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Maken and their huge success worldwide, where they outsold the Beatles and played for JFK. The new documentary released in cinemas in 2009 is directed by Alan Gilsenan.
A few interesting links collected November 26th through December 1st:
Movie Review – Gomorrah – Lesser-Known Mobsters, as Brutal as the Old Ones – NYTimes.com – A snapshot of hell, the film takes its biblically inflected punning title from the Camorra, or Neapolitan Mafia, the largest of Italy’s crime gangs, with 100 barely organized, incessantly warring clans and some 7,000 members. Based in and around Naples, the Camorra (it means gang) smuggles cigarettes, drugs, guns and people, polluting the province with fear and worse. Unlike the better-known Sicilian Mafia, which took root in America in the late 19th century and in Hollywood thereafter, the Camorra has never had a significant presence in this country, pop cultural or otherwise. Until now, its reign of terror has been largely in reality and not on the screen, which explains why the world in this film can feel so alien: the movies haven’t yet imagined it.
Gomorrah :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews – The film is a curative for the romanticism of “The Godfather” and “Scarface.” The characters are the foot soldiers of the Camorra, the crime syndicate based in Naples that is larger than the Mafia but less known. Its revenues in one year are said to be as much as $250 billion — five times as much as Bernard Madoff took years to steal. The final shot suggests that the Camorra is invested in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. The film is based on fact, not fiction.
This Progression of What – I’ve been writing
These poems every day
For many months now.
Even though I haven’t been paid
A single cent, I’d rather be remembered
For this, these words,
Over being recalled
As an efficient
Trouble in Paradise :: rogerebert.com :: Great Movies – The sexual undertones are surprisingly frank in this pre-Code 1932 film, and we understand that none of the three characters is in any danger of mistaking sex for love. Both Lily and Mariette know what they want, and Gaston knows that he has it. His own feelings for them are masked beneath an impenetrable veneer of sophisticated banter.
Herbert Marshall takes ordinary scenes and fills them with tension because of the way he seems to withhold himself from the obvious emotional scripting. He was 42 when he made the film, handsome in a subdued rather than an absurd way, every dark hair slicked close to his scalp, with a slight stoop to his shoulders that makes him seem to be leaning slightly toward his women, or bowing. His walk is deliberate and noticeably smooth; he lost a leg in World War I, had a wooden one fitted, and practiced so well at concealing his limp that he seems to float through a room.
A few interesting links collected November 1st through November 2nd:
Redeeming iPhone App Promo Codes in iTunes – You can redeem a code at the iTunes Store by following these instructions: Open iTunes. Click iTunes Store in the pane on the left-hand side of the window. Click the Redeem link in the QUICK LINKS box on the right-hand side of page. Enter your code. Click the Redeem button.
Two Bare Hands – Staring at your two bare hands For hours.Just like a young,
Sexually frustrated male
On a Friday night
With nothing better
A few interesting links collected October 6th through October 13th:
Army of Shadows :: rogerebert.com :: Great Movies – “The members of this group move between safe houses, often in the countryside. When they determine they have a traitor among them, they take him to a rented house, only to learn that new neighbors have moved in. They would hear a gunshot. A knife? There is no knife. “There is a towel in the kitchen,” Gerbier says. We see the man strangled, and rarely has an onscreen death seemed more straightforward, and final.”
The Footnotes of Mad Men. Betty’s Euro Look was based on Brigette Bardot – RESOLVED: Betty’s Euro look was based on Brigette Bardot: the 26 year old ‘sex siren’ of France. Here’s my favorite work from the Bardot cannon. The movie — by Godard, set in Italy, released in 1963 — is not only super slick but it also spawned, I believe, the greatest trailer of all time. I’ve been aching to link to this.
t.tex’s hexes: Creative Thievery – “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent.” – Jim Jarmusch
RealityStudio » Charles Bukowski, William Burroughs, and the Computer – On Christmas Day, 1990, Charles Bukowski received a Macintosh IIsi computer and a laser printer from his wife, Linda. The computer utilized the 6.0.7 operating system and was installed with the MacWrite II word processing program. By January 18 of the next year, the computer was up and running and so, after a brief period of fumbling and stumbling, was Bukowski. His output of poems doubled in 1991.
A few interesting links collected August 4th through August 7th:
Whiskey – "I still hate myself,
I still don’t believe in God,
And that hole inside me has grown even bigger
But I know better than to drink
So much fucking whiskey
For no good reason."
Backbeats – " The poem project is going fairly well; so far I have about a month’s worth of poems up, one per day. I’m trying to write at least a few per day so I have a backlog of poems ready in case I want to take a break, or go on a vacation, something, anything. I didn’t think I’d ever be writing poems again, but you know, it’s better than nothing. I’m just glad to have an outlet. What I do need, however, is exposure. It’d be nice to have a few inbound links from other people — if you’ve got any websites or leverage, that’d be pretty good. Or even better yet, encouragement, or pinging anybody you do know who’s into this kind of stuff."
A Glorious Gallery of Rot: Compost as Art (Pictures) | Lighter Footstep – " Nationally, food waste and spoilage amounts to losses in excess if $75 billion. In some sectors of agricultural production, waste can be as high as 40 percent. These autumnal fruits and vegetables — photographed being readied for compost by Flickr user swanksalot — will get another shot at the table next season."
Nicked the title from a William B. Yeats poem, apparently, which I half-remembered. I suggest reading it aloud…
via Google Books:
Awaken wanderings of light air
To stir their coverlet and their hair.
And poets found, old writers say;
A yew tree where his body lay;
But a wild apple hid the grass
With its sweet blossom where hers was;
And being in good heart, because
A better time had come again
After the deaths of many men,
And that long fighting at the ford,
They wrote on tablets of thin board,
Made of the apple and the yew,
All the love stories that they knew.
Let rush and bird cry out their fill
Of the harper’s daughter if they will,
A few interesting links collected July 4th through July 5th:
Can I Get a Witness? | TPM – yet more evidence that the Washington Post is in a death spiral”But it is bizarre to say that Palin is uncomfortable in the role of the victim. In fact I’m not sure I’ve ever found a better use for this much over-used word. As Noam Scheiber explained in one of the earliest and perhaps most insightful profiles of Palin, victimhood and resentment are Palin’s twin touchstones. They define who she is.”
Cat M.D.s prevent heart attack fatalities | The Daily Blank – Image by swanksalot via Flickr “Owning a cat could mean the difference between life and death. The University of Minnesota recently released a study that the risk of dying from a heart attack is 40% higher among people who have never owned a cat, compared to people who have.”
Confirmed: God is slightly gay – “Behold, the ongoing, increasingly startling research: homosexual and bisexual behavior, it turns out, is rampant in the animal kingdom. And by rampant, I mean proving to be damn near universal, commonplace across all species everywhere, existing for myriad reasons ranging from pure survival and procreative influence, right on over to pure pleasure, co-parenting, giddy screeching multiple monkey orgasm, even love, and a few dozen other potential explanations science hasn’t quite figured out yet. Imagine.
Are you thinking, why sure, everyone knows about those sex-crazed dolphins and those superslut bonobo monkeys and the few other godless creatures like them, the sea turtles and the weird sheep and such, creatures who obviously haven’t read Leviticus. But that’s about it, right? Most animals are devoutly hetero and straight and damn happy about it, right?
Daily Kos: State of the Nation – Palins Poetry – Awesome.
“The following is the complete text, directly transcribed, of the portion of Sarah Palin’s resignation speech available on video. The text is accurate and unaltered; a portion of the speech is missing from the beginning because the video does not start until then.The lines have been transcribed, however, in the form of vers libre poetry, which seemed appropriate under the circumstances.”
War: Retreat of the 20,000 — Printout — TIME – “Retreat, hell!” snapped Major General Oliver Prince Smith, commander of the 1st Marine Division, with which he had fought on Guadalcanal, New Britain, Peleliu, Okinawa (TIME, Sept. 25). “We’re not retreating, we’re just advancing in a different direction”
Wait, you mean Sarah Barracuda Palin flubbed a quotation, again? She needs to stop letting Trig vet her speeches