Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Here are a couple links.
"I have some sad news. Unfortunately, Alaska voters defeated a ballot initiative yesterday that would have ended the state’s brutal aerial hunting program.
Thousands of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund supporters gave invaluable support to this important campaign, but in the end, deep-pocketed special interests carried the day.
This morning, I spoke with Nick Jans, co-chair of Alaskans for Wildlife, our grassroots partners in The Last Frontier who spearheaded the state ballot initiative to end Alaska’s brutal aerial hunting program. He wanted me to pass on this message to you:
“I want to thank Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund supporters for their help in this hard-fought campaign.
"We faced an approximately $750,000 campaign from our opponents -- including Safari Club International and a $400,000 state-funded campaign approved by Governor Sarah Palin and the Alaska legislature. They used deceptive propaganda and the authority of the Alaska government to defeat the ballot initiative.
"But thanks to the generous support of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund activists and donors, we were able to reach thousands of voters. Yesterday, over 75,000 Alaskans voted to end this barbaric practice.
“Despite this loss, we’re not giving up -- Alaskans for Wildlife will continue to hold the state Board of Game’s feet to the fire and redouble our efforts to end this brutal program.”
Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund will continue to partner with groups like Alaskans for Wildlife and our sister organization Defenders of Wildlife to end Alaska’s slaughter from the skies.
As we prepare for another bloody season of aerial hunting in Alaska, we are redoubling our efforts to pass the Protect America’s Wildlife (PAW) Act in Washington, DC to bring an end to Alaska’s aerial hunting program -- and prevent programs like it from spreading to places like the Greater Yellowstone region.
This bill already has strong bipartisan support in the House of Representatives -- now we must ensure that this important bill gets passed.
Please take a moment to write to your Representative in Washington, DC and urge him or her to support this important wildlife-saving legislation today.
Once again, thank you for your support in this important campaign. Together, we’ll continue to fight for sensible wildlife management -- and end the senseless slaughter of wolves by airborne hunters.
Defenders of Wildlife
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Then there are the Obama haters. Mr. Rise Up for America writes, " Precious" needs to commit to something other than his wife and hoop shots." How about Same Old Same Old who calls Obama and his VP pick ObamaObiden Oboy.
Resentment and anger and of course wanting to win can make people creative and rude. I think the Obama Obiden Oboy is quite catchy. I made it up like I did all the posters' names. I could not go back and read their names or posts again. My pretend names and posts are mild curry sauce compared to the nasty biting real ones. No water needed to read this post.
I told a friend today if I start talking about the election and begin to look or sound hysterical to walk away from me or hang the phone up.
I wish there was some way to block me from Politico.com, Real Clear Politics, Puma, and No Quarters. It is like a feeding frenzy of animosity and rudeness in their comment sections. I go back like a fighter in the ring trying to thinking of a verbal punch to post. I delve deep into my store of sarcasm and wit and most of the time come up with nothing. I am like a defective hot air balloon who gets all fired up and then crashes.
Since I like words I am making a list of all the "mild" able to repeat when there are children in the room names the Obama posters could call McCain and visa versa. I am listening to the sounds and perhaps will write a poem using them. I think it is the only way I can get through the election process.
Here is a start:
Mc Bush, MC Needs a Cane, Mc Can't Digest McDonald's low fat burger ( too old), Obominate, please don't, Obomba,
Monday, August 11, 2008
Another Way Toward Poetry
by Jennifer Bosveld
In ekphrasis, or ekphrastic art, there are initially two imaginations at work—that of the original artist, and that of the respondent through his/her medium.
For the purpose of this discussion we’ll primarily talk about writing poetry in response to visual art. That writing may define, redefine, or simply react to (in whatever way feels valid to the writer) the original piece of art.
Questions asked about ekphrastic poetry
What kind of art can be used for ekphrastic poetry?
You can write in response to the Springprint Company illustrated barns restaurant placemat at the greasy spoon down the street. It’s up to you. Writing poetry in response to a play, dance, movie, sculpture, oil or any other kind of painting, wood carving, you name it, can be a grand opportunity to respond with an ekphrastic poem. For ease of discussion I’ll talk about “paintings” and “drawings.”
How scholarly is your take on ekphrasis?
I haven’t a clue. I’ve studied everything I can get my hands on, and there is much disagreement in the subtleties of current use of the word and practice. I’ve decided to go with broad interpretation. There hasn’t been that much available on the subject but in the past 10 years there’s been a huge increase in interest—so much so that the words “ekphrasis” and “ekphrastic” are making their way back into dictionaries. They were gone from all but the Oxford for a very long time. This discussion is meant for the poet who wants to engage in ekphrasis and this is a subjective offering coming from my opinion which might find some disagreement elsewhere on the literary playground.
How does one approach the art
in hopes of accomplishing an ekphrastic poem in response?
Become physically comfortable and committed to a long period of time in front of the art. If possible sit in front of the work and attempt to become one with it. If you have permission, take a photograph of it and carry it with you or prop it in front of your computer, especially for the revision process. Since while writing poetry “it all depends on the questions that you ask,” ask yourself and ask the painting about the movement in the piece. What is going where? Ask about color, light, shape/form, subject/items, geometry/direction/balance, relationship/tension, taste, sound. Is anything here making noise? Is anyone/anything speaking? Can you create dialogue? Monologue? If you can’t take a photo of a museum piece, try a “naive poet’s sketch” of the piece just to remind yourself of the elements of the painting, its flow, and relationship of the subjects.
How might I choose one piece of art out of a whole gallery? Tour the gallery without pen or paper, and after a while, feel the tug toward a particular piece of art. Honor that “tug” by returning to the work and staying with it, studying it as much as possible in the short period of time you have for it. Thirty minutes? An afternoon? Then start taking notes. Is this feeling like a picture you want to further explore? Yes? Then it’s yours. Let the piece go to work on you.
There are different approaches, right? Can you simplify an explanation of that? Choose whether you wish to try the minimalist approach by saying exactly what you see there in as few words as possible (example, Cathy Callaghan’s book, Other Worlds available through Pudding House) or the embellished and flamboyant approach (example, my book, The Magic Fish) that allows you to have your way with this art without regard for the artist’s possible message.
Are there additional techniques that could
help me make a successful ekphrastic poem?
Minimize adjectives and adverbs and choose just the perfect qualifiers, not over-doing the descriptive just because you’re “interpreting” art. Tap into the senses that might be in the picture. It is easy to write what you “see” but what about smell and taste? Get all the 5 physical senses into your writing. Try a narrative, writing a story in poetry form about what you see there and beyond, starting long before the action in the painting or long past. Avoid vague language, trite notions, over-used expressions. Use strong action verbs and the finest detail regarding the nouns and even presumed proper nouns in the visual art. You may name the subjects even when the visual artist did not. Some say “art is anything you can get away with.”
How do you know you’re understanding what the artist intended?
You might not get it at all and I don’t know many artists who would care. Most professional artists I’ve known are at least amused by various interpretations of their art if not flattered or gratified by differing opinions. My recommendation is that the poet should have her way with the art and see what happens. In my work on The Magic Fish: Poems on an Edward Boccia Sketchbook, I went with immediate reactions and did not try to interpret the painting with concern for Edward Boccia’s meaning, though one can always attempt that. Perhaps occasionally I came close to his own story regarding the drawing. Boccia gave me carte blanche to have my own experience with the art. This way you have two different pieces of art, a drawing and a poem, that might meet somewhere on the spread between the two side by side, but that’s for the third pair of eyes to decide, isn’t it? For the poem to have its highest experience, we might remember that ART is always taking things and altering them. Study the picture, deconstruct it, then put it all back together again your way. It will be valid.
Are there any legal issues
when making your own art (poetry) off of another’s work?
Always include a citation regarding the art: Title, medium, year produced, artist’s name, and sometimes the owner of the piece and whether it is on loan and where you saw it exhibited. If you’d like to publish a photo of the work, you’ll have to obtain written permission from the artist and/or owner of copyright. Some artists will not give you permission. This is not legal advice, I am not a lawyer. If you are concerned, you should consult an attorney.
What is the value of ekphrastic poetry?
Exercising your pen with ekphrastic writing, when it comes down to it, is great practice for empowering your writing re: any “picture” life presents. “Get the picture?” It is great practice for poetry therapy group participants. “Taking a picture of a moment” is one of my most popular writing exercises and in my mind writing in response to a freeze-framed moment of two siblings arguing in the backyard is no different than responding to Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of LaGrande Jatte. Ekphrastic poetry brings renewed attention to visual art. It is an excellent way to bring art ‘back from the dead’ or to just bring additional attention to worthy works, old or new. People who have trouble appreciating “modern art” (as they’ll lump it all together with this nondescriptive or incorrect label) could find an enhanced understanding of any work they spend enough time with to write a response. Ekphrastic writing can unlock the mysteries of the painting and grow an appreciation for the art and artist. It is also a way for the poet to go outside the self and respond to something outside her/his usual experience.
Are the paintings and poems supposed to interact?
If the poet wants them to. The poet may struggle to discover precisely what the artist intended, go wildly in another direction (as I often do), or anything in between. The poem might require the painting to stand beside it in order to get meaning from the poem or the poem might stand alone.
Since Ekphrasis was better known long ago,
can you tell us more about that?
Where did the term come from?
It isn’t a joke out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it really did come from the Greek. We know that school boys were instructed to write (usually poems) about the architecture and art in museums and grand public places—for public consumption and understanding. Around the 4th and 5th Centuries, ekphrastic poetry was pretty much limited to poems derived from visual art. The poems were often elaborate and descriptive and might have been about the religious architecture or paintings surrounding people or that the citizens had little access to. English romantic poets: (Keats “Ode on a Grecian Urn” always comes to mind first), Shelley, Byron, and others composed many such works, some of which became well known.
Can you give us an example of ekphrastic poetry collections
or resources on the subject?
Poetry on Art / Poets on Tour
Edited by Jennifer Bosveld, with the work of poets on tour through galleries. Ekphrastic poetry has been on the rise for 15 years and is only now beginning to be understood. Here is a marvelous classroom or workshop resource for writers responding to art. Released in 2003. Perfect bound, red enamel cover, 71 pp, $14, ISBN: 1589981669.
Other ekphrastic poetry collections
and resources on the subject:
Monet in the Twentieth Century by James R. Scrimgeour (chapbook, Pudding House, 2002)
Elastic Ekphrastic: Poets on Tour through the Galleries edited by Jennifer Bosveld (chapbook anthology forthcoming from Pudding House, 2003)
Other Worlds: Poems on the Drawings of M.C. Escher by Catherine A. Callaghan (Pudding House, 1999)
The Magic Fish: Poems on an Edward Boccia Sketchbook by Jennifer Bosveld (Pudding House, 2002)
Snow Effects by Lynne Knight (Small Poetry Press, 1999)
The Gazer’s Spirit by John Hollander
Museum of Words: The Poetics of Ekphrasis From Homer to Ashberry by James A. W. Hefferman
Transforming Vision: Writers on Art ed. E. Hirsch (Art Institute of Chicago, 1994)
Paint me a poem: a canvas of words (King County Poetry & Art on Buses), 1999
Visions: paintings seen through the optic of poetry by Marc Elihu Hofstadter, Scarlet Tanager Books, 2001, 72 pages, $14. No art included but this is still another take on ekphrasis. Some might argue that most of the poems are not ekphrastic because they don’t capture the whole of the art or attempt. But the poems are elegant, very much at least a response to the art. Among experts on ekphrasis (and they are very few with a broad vision) it would be interesting to hear opinions on whether this work is ekphrastic. Regardless, I think it is splendid.
Ekphrasis, The Illusion of the Natural Sign by Murray Krieger
“Ekphrasis and the Other” by W. J. T. Mitchell in Picture Theory (University of Chicago Press), 1994
Getting the Picture: The Ekphrastic Principle in Twentieth Century Spanish Poetry by Margaret H. Persin, 1998
The Sculpted Word: Keats, Ekphrasis, and the Visual Arts by Grant F. Scott
Poetry in Crystal: Interpretation in crystal of thirty-one new poems by contemporary American poets, sponsored by Steuben Glass w/support of the Poetry Society of America (a reversal from the norm!), 1963
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Elizabeth P. Glixman
I have a confession to make. I can't go to church and confess. I'm not Catholic. Can't be on national TV talk shows. I tried but my name isn't Bill.
"No way," said Helena, a famous talk show hostess, when I pleaded with her.
"Just give me one prime time minute to confess. I promise to make it juicy."
"No can do," said Helena. "No viewer interest in your type of crime. I'm sorry but you have to face the fact that you aren't Bill. Maybe one of those evangelists would give you air time. They love confessions from ordinary people."
My crime was as good as the next person's, as good as Bill's. But because there wasn't a young intern involved no one was interested.
I have to confess now. I can't turn back. It took me years to gather the courage. I told a few friends my horrible deed. I needed practice. They minimized my crime. "What's the big deal?" they said. "Do you know how many people steal towels from hotels or cheat on their spouses?"
"No," I answered.
"Thousands of people break the law everyday. Your crime is diddly."
I was hurt. My crime meant a lot to me.
"Where has morality gone?" I said sadly.
"It never existed," said my friends.
I have to confess. Otherwise I will live in a world darker then the blackest night. I need the relief that comes from public humiliation, media coverage, talk shows, and full color spreads in Karma News.
I say to myself every day since it happened, "Why did you do it? What were you thinking?" I looked at my reflection in the Atlantic Ocean this summer as I contemplated jumping in, and wondered, how could this happen to such a good looking person? I had my hair done that day. The ocean was silent. She had taken the fifth.
What was my crime? Just like Bill I had a professional speechmaker write my confession. Here goes. "My fellow Americans I am talking to you on national TV tonight to tell you something I did that I am not proud of, that I regret. On July 24, 1975, I ate a tuna fish in a holy ashram in the country of India. Yes that is my crime. Sorry. No sex. No scandal. No violence, unless you consider vigorous chewing violent. This was a serious offense to the Indian people. To many of you it may not seem an impeachable act yet I betrayed a people. I violated a country's trust. They let me in their borders, sit in their temples, sing their songs. Doesn't that count?
My fellow Americans, can you feel my pain? I ate the tuna before morning meditation. While people were om-ing, I was gulping. The truth. You want the truth. I'll give it to you. My desires got the best of me. I'm middle aged and I needed a fling.
It's not like I murdered Ghandi. That may not be completely accurate. It's all how you look at it. The cycle of birth and death is tricky. A politician today. A fish tomorrow. Remember that Bill. A crime is a crime. I can not be excused. I broke the rules of the ashram. I broke these ancient laws in India (of all places). I might as well have committed a crime against the American people while living on Pennsylvania Ave. Forgive me." End of speech.
Now I will wait for the consequences of my confession. Eating fish at the ashram is a sin that will be investigated. I wish. Bill, that lucky guy, is the one with the special prosecutor on his back. Not me. I'll get a three hour epic lecture on tape from my mother and a bolt of lightening will strike my year supply of tuna fish.
I am working on a defense. I have two plans. One is the genetic defense. Eating fish was genetically encoded in my cells. My ancestors were as coincidence would have it fisherwomen. It was those dam cells that made me eat the tuna. Genetics determining behavior is a good start. It's a popular theory that can be debated. Debate is good. It confuses people and will give me time to create defense two, the philosophical argument.
Defense two goes like this. It's an animal's job to give up their lives for us so we can do good in the world. It's in the plan of creation. They know the score. Tuna fish don't mind. The cosmic plan to be eaten works. Why else would God have made spare ribs? This defense won't get me off the hook, but it could with defense number one added, create public support and let me at least keep my job.
If all fails I can say legally I did not eat tuna on the ashram grounds. I ate tuna at the park that was next to the ashram. I'll falsify make believe measurements from non-existent government land surveyors to prove this. I was close to the ashram but we were never intimate. I know I've already confessed but I can change my story. Many famous leaders do.
The decision, no doubt, in my case will be to throw her out of the ashram forever. I will not be allowed to go to a spiritual retreat again and will be stripped of any spiritual attainment I have made in this lifetime. No dream team, no PR experts will get me off. Why should they? I broke a special trust. No one at the ashram would be able to look at me again without wondering if I had a fillet mignon in my suitcase.
I did it, Bill! Did you hear me? I confessed like you. I'm glad I'm not you. No offense. It must have been hard to confess in front of millions of people, telling them what a jerk you had been. Better think twice before you look lustfully into the eyes of any women but your wife. As for me, I'm joining Tuna Eaters anonymous. There are too many fish in the sea and I can't control myself.This piece was originally published in the now defunct e-zine "Snark Byte." It was then republished on a website for people from India. It was my error submitting to the site and not reading the fine print. I don't have any ancestors that lived in India as far as I know. Even though I wrote and said I am not from India, the piece is still there.