New Year Paintings and Poetry

So, another year, another variant, and we trudge on across the tundra. Courage, creativity, and, yes, peace, love, and understanding are needed now more than . . . Well, they’re needed. In that spirit of hopeful trudging, Spinozablue offers new literature, literary criticism, and home-brewed paintings.

Robert Mueller brings us his unique take on Petrarch, and David Groulx gets obliquely iambic. It looks like we’re off to a solid start.

I had a stretch there with at least two kinds of artistic blockage: writing and imaging. A dearth of imagination, perhaps, inhibiting both. But recent days have seen the breaking up of the dam — at least this is how I choose to see it.…

Robert Mueller and Petrarcan Mirrors

Petrarcan Naissance

by Robert Mueller

Here is a poem from the great sequence of poetry using the native Italian tongue, instead of being written in Latin, by Francesco Petrarca and covering much of a life lived during the 14th century. Readers will know him as Petrarch. The time he lived is important to the extent he is regarded as a proto-Renaissance-humanist and well ahead of his time. The later developments emphasizing human autonomy are already in evidence in Petrarca’s poetry, and it is intriguing how individual accomplishments may fit into the mold. The nature of what Petrarca titles the writing of fragments in and about the vernacular (rerum vulgarium fragmenta) may be understood as a writing that comes piecemeal.

Robert Mueller: On the Poetry of Mary Orovan

 

From Mary Orovan a Touch of e.e. cummings if You Like

by Robert Mueller

These Elective Affinities, what are they?  You do not have to believe ce personnage distingué in Goethe’s novel who has a way of explaining things.  Thus der Hauptmann, supreme intellect with superb practical bent, can speak of a situation to which his old friend the Baron (and spouse) have invited him.  Put, or putting himself, in charge, he can explore it fully, and in the new relations as he finds them discuss and explain fully.  The upshot is that the Wahlverwandtschaften of the novel’s title relate analogically to any sort of relations, such as salts and acids, where the expelled element sinks back down and is recuperated. …

Robert Mueller: Anna Shukeylo’s Urban Diaries

How to Do Urban, by New Yorker of Choice

 
Two young women, art students, funnel into the bleak and lead-like dreary light of the subway car grasping in their hands, by the frames on which they have been crafted, smallish paintings (maybe 12 by 16).  Apparitions they are, the young artists, and holdings of the imagination, their finished images that I may never have the opportunity to observe again.

In New York City one can still think of opportunities not as tearless moments to rebuild upon destruction and demolition, but rather as the unexpected and normal continuance of spirit, (perhaps still) unlike any emanation of spirit anywhere else in the world. …

Donal Mahoney: Why We Write

Why Did You Write That?

 

Anyone who has written fiction or poetry probably has been asked at one time or another, “Why did you write that?” I’ve been asked that question and I have never been able to provide an answer.

Some writers may set out to write a poem that will address an important question about life, such as who we are as human beings and what purpose, if any, we have on Earth. I have never tried to write a poem like that. Nor have I ever written a poem knowing in advance what it might say. I just write down “words” that come to me, provided I like the way they sound and like their “rhythm” when heard together.…

Between the Notes

Bang on the Chasm

 

by Robert Mueller

 

 

I am wondering about new jazz and new art music, and separating them entirely for the convenience of entertaining these thoughts. I am thinking about consorting with a difference even though what I have to say about one has to be true of the other (again assuming for the purpose that they are separate). Specifically as a matter of degree I want to distinguish new jazz as a living production that arrives currently, spontaneously in the club or spontaneously also at a jam session or recording session, from the same scenario for new art music, which comes to us as a product, or object, that, when it arrives, may arrive in a public performance, but not currently.

Jill Magi: Labor Lost and Found

 

LABOR

by Jill Magi

Last fall I found myself at the gate of an archive. Remembering something from my labor and union past and thinking about my work life at present, I came across the on-line finding guides for the Wagner Labor Archive at New York University. The writings here are a warm-up to my trip into that archive. As of this spring, I’ve been inside, but that writing—is it poetry?—is slow to come along. For now, I’m using exposition to trace the outline of a shape I do not yet know.

November 4, 2008

On the day of an historical election, after weeks of hearing the word “socialism” used as a weapon (as they bail out the banks), I am anxious.

Poetic Synchronicity, by Sean Howard

Poetic Implications: Synchronicity and The Language of Meaning

A Personal Reflection by Sean Howard

Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Cape Breton University

November 2008

 

A few months ago, I began work on a project I’ve been putting off for over a year: an account of my time in the clutches of what Jungian analysts call the ‘puer aeternus’ complex, or neurosis; an inflated sense of the self as a precious, creative but foredoomed ‘eternal youth,’ destroyed, to quote Jung’s colleague Marie-Louise von Franz, by a chronic “unadaptedness,” which “frequently results in early death”{{1}} if not shaken off by the sufferer’s mid-twenties – the age, incidentally, I told myself as a teenager that I (like two of my heroes, Shelley and Keats) would die.…

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