Philip Ball’s recent article, Who’s afraid of the avant-garde, provoked much thought. Why do we seem to “get” modern art, but not modern, experimental music? I think the author nears the core of the issue here:
“There are certainly parallels in the way we make sense of acoustic and visual information. Chief among these rules are the “Gestalt principles” identified by a group of German-based psychologists in the early 20th century. These are a series of implicit mental rules that help people to make good guesses at how to interpret complex sensory stimuli by grouping them together. We make assumptions about continuity, for example: the aeroplane that flies into a cloud is the same one that flies out the other side. . . . Read more. “Fear of the Avant-Garde”
I looked again at one of my poems from the 90s, and tried to place it in context. Then and now. As experiment, as reevaluation. The quotes are new additions and, as always, this is a work in progress . . . .
“He talked to her endlessly about his love of horizontals: how they, the great levels of sky and land in Lincolnshire, meant to him the eternality of the will, just as the bowed Norman arches of the church, repeating themselves, meant the dogged leaping forward of the persistent human soul, on and on, nobody knows where; in contradiction to the perpendicular lines and to the Gothic arch, which, he said, leapt up at heaven and touched the ecstasy and lost itself in the divine.”
Ellipses of the body Stutter forth like breaking trains
Art does know But then someone tries to say What and where
Art knows without ever Belaboring the point If we explain we kill
So movies about suicide Movies about making movies Shrink when they should see! Expand everything
And keep quiet about it
Normally, I’d write a longer, more traditional review, but the poem above will take its place, for the most part. Shrink stars Kevin Spacey as a Hollywood therapist in need of a therapist. Sinking into oblivion after the suicide of his wife, he drowns himself in a sea of booze and a ton of pot, no longer believing in what he does, or anything else for that matter. . . . Read more. “The Very Thought of You”
For those of you living in Canada, or thinking about a visit, Desis Di Nardo sends this invitation. It sounds like a great gathering:
I want to let you know about a poetry event I will be co-hosting with Canada’s Poet Laureate – Pierre DesRuisseaux on Sunday, November 8, 2009 at 7 p.m. There will be readings by Pierre DesRuisseaux, Max Layton, Armand Garnet Ruffo, and Toronto’s new Poet Laureate – Dionne Brand. In addition, the night will feature live jazz, an art exhibit, and the winners of a high school poetry contest. Details can be found below.
The winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009 is . . . . Herta Müller. I confess. I do not know her work, had not heard of her prior to yesterday, but so far, the reviews indicate she is well worth knowing. The Swedish Academy said of her: “with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed.”
Born in Romania in 1953, in the German-speaking town of Niţchidorf, Herta’s family was a part of the German minority, and they carried some heavy baggage for her. Her father served in the Waffen SS, and her mother survived five years of slave labor in the Soviet Union, from 1944-1949. . . . Read more. “The Land of Green Plums”
Alison Sudol has a new album out, and it’s a bit of a departure from her first. It’s more up-tempo, but retains her trademark vocals, her sweetness, intelligence and vulnerability. For some, it may be somewhat too sweet, too pixie-like. But a few listens reduces that effect and gives space to a fine singer/songwriter — one who has been greatly influenced by Lewis Caroll and C.S. Lewis, among writers, and Johny Cash, Bob Dylan and The Talking Heads, among musicians. She has also toured with Rufus Wainright and Brandi Carlile, who must have influenced the young singer as well.