What Happens When Poetry Propagates a Nation?

Citizens, the month of harvest is here. Celebrate National Poetry Month.

Here comes, once again, An American Sunrise. Arrived, once again, a proliferation of poetry; each poem The Winged Seed of a thousand thoughts.

From whence do they come, these Words Like Thunder? Of course, from poets, those propagating Children of Grass who Forage for Earth Vowels, Mosses and Lichens, all the while seeking The Clearing, some clear view in the distance to get to the end of the poem, the manuscript, the line.

Poets Carrying Water to the Field have to learn How to Carry Water. They have to, carefully, tend to Pale Colors in a Tall Field until music, Field Music, fills air and it goes abuzz with Everyday Mojo Songs of Earth. Continue reading “What Happens When Poetry Propagates a Nation?”

Jacob Lawrence’s American Struggle

In March, the Seattle Art Museum will host a timely exhibition, Jacob Lawrence:  The American Struggle. Best known for his work The Migration Series, Lawrence set his sight on the American Revolution creating a series of 30 painted panels between 1954 and 1956, focusing on historical events occurring from 1775 to 1817. It is interesting to note that Lawrence developed this series during another time of struggle and strife in the country, the Civil Rights era.

The Seattle Art Museum’s show will reunite these works for the first time since 1958.

For some artists, their work is to create visual narratives. Through their work they provide their singular perspective on historical events. Such is the work of Jacob Lawrence. Lawrence brings us to key moments of a history centuries away that, yet, links to the present.

Today, One Mighty and Irresistible Tide of history sweeps over the nation. As you are well aware, we have been visited upon by multiple, simultaneous struggles that have swept us up Against Wind and Tide of forces unforeseen in our lifetime. Continue reading “Jacob Lawrence’s American Struggle”

Thirty Names of Night

Come December’s shortest days, there are, amongst us, those who relish Burning the Midnight Oil, who revel in every blue-black hour’s saturating presence.  These Night Bloomers, Know the Night, The Long Night, Faithful and Virtuous Night understand that as each day’s darkness lengthens its translucent filaments entwine with time’s endless line.  This is the story, the same story read, every December by every eye witnessing the work of the earth. Here, evidence that this sphere rotates beneath us as we traverse by foot, wheel or wonder.  We will go about our busyness, taking care or carelessly moving on with worry, wit and resolve to rejoice, live and die, in the best way possible, knowing that that cloak of sky And the Dark Sacred Night, will recede, just like that, every day and its night rounding the corner.

Continue reading “Thirty Names of Night”

Wintering Over: Art in Shades of Dark and Light

Winter, like life, comes in shades of dark and light. Herein lies the drama of an indispensable duo meant to be seen, in multitudes of splendor, in paintings photographs and drawings.

Let us go into the season with an Invocation of Beauty seeking not, its Genesis but Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico and Antonio Berni’s Juanito and Ramona.

Let us bask in some Remembered Light knowing that The Disappearance of Darkness cannot erase our Night Vision for it is vision we are seeking. It is a widening, expansive vision that we need to see us through. Continue reading “Wintering Over: Art in Shades of Dark and Light”

Washington’s Undiscovered Feminists with Mayumi Tsutakawa

On Dec. 5th, the Seattle Public Library presents a virtual program, Washington’s Undiscovered Feminists with Mayumi Tsutakawa, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. It is about five woman warriors of the Pacific Northwest: pioneering photographer Imogen Cunningham; Black American jazz musician Ruby Bishop; Chinese American artist Priscilla Chong Jue; Leftist journalist Anna Louise Strong; and Native American linguist Vi Hilbert. Here are some books from the library to learn and explore about each warrior or the field where the warriors pioneered.

Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976) specialized in plant photography. Richard Lorenz’s book Imogen Cunningham: Flora presents a selection of her botanical images, from simple flower arrangements to elaborate compositions of ferns and lilies.

The Blue Note by David Keller focused on Seattle’s black American Federation of Musicians’ Local 493. It is an upbeat story of race, jazz, gender, and union culture spanning the years from the 1880’s to the mid-1950’s. Ruby Bishop’s brother was an agent for Local 493, the black musicians’ union.  Jackson Street After Hours by Paul De Barros provides a detailed description of the vibrant Central District music scene that led up to the funk and soul clubs described in the documentary Wheedle’s Groove. Continue reading “Washington’s Undiscovered Feminists with Mayumi Tsutakawa”