Monday, August 28, 2006

your august annogram

Reading at the United Nations
I’m thrilled to be reading September 7 at the U.N. Vision and Millennium Development Goals Speak Through The Arts program. With award-winning poets Terry Dugan, Kevin Pilkington and Linda Simone, the reading will celebrate themes of global partnership and respect.
Thanks to the Poet Laureate of Rikers Island, a.k.a. Jackie Sheeler, for publishing my poem, “Girls Night Out,” on her website. If you haven’t read the great New York Times article on Jackie’s poet laureate role, here it is: Scroll down to find my poem.

New translation section
See the new translation section on my website and a translation of one of my favorite passages from Helene Sanguinetti’s second book, Hence, this cradle (Flammarion, 2003).

More Helene in Mantis
Mantis 5, a journal out of Stanford, has published a selection from my translation of Helene’s first book, Left-hand Exploring (Flammarion, 1999). I like this journal “of poetry, criticism and translation”—especially the interview with poet Alfred Arteaga. I have to agree when he says

The sad fact is that I dislike almost all poetry that I read. Let me put it this way: I think that the vast majority of poetry I read is basically good, but it doesn’t really excite me. So as a result I end up not wanting to read the stuff, because I get disappointed.

Brattleboro Museum and Art Center
This museum knows how to do things right: Last month, it hosted a Community Day outdoor event replete with live jazz, BBQ, Thai food and homemade ice cream. The community could stroll inside to see the new exhibits for free. Artist Angela Virsinger and I took advantage of the celebration to see some amazing art (below).

Wolf Kahn Retrospective
Wolf Kahn creates landscapes in vivid, unexpected pastels that simply arrest the viewer. “Landscape of Light, 1953-2006” touches each decade of his career—which began in the 50s in New York and then migrated north to Vermont vistas. I was astonished to turn a corner and discover a vibrant portrait of Frank O’Hara—all multicolor brushstrokes that communicate the poet’s nervous energy. That’s when I realized Wolf Kahn had been part of the New York School phenomena. Angela and I met Mr. Kahn who, with a head of white hair, now has a distinguished Robert Frost quality.

Faith Ringgold Stories in Quilts and Colors
The author of children’s books such as Tar Beach, My Dream of Martin Luther King, and The Story of Rosa Parks that alone put Faith Ringgold in the American literary canon. She also silk-screens awesome quilts such as “The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles,” where Vincent Van Gogh approaches famous African-American women such as Sojourner Truth, Fanny Lou Hamer and Rosa Parks. Now that’s cross-cultural creativity! You have to love this woman for capturing African American history with such whimsy.

Secrets by Gloria Garfinkel
Don’t you hate “Don’t touch” signs in a museum? Gloria Garfinkel encourages viewers to open doors on her mixed media canvases—and discover two- and three-dimensional trinkets, sayings and bric-a-brac. The 10 canvases, whose secrets range from “Beauty” and “Religion” to “Vice,” invite reflection on disturbing events such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and the AIDS crisis in China. “The political and social content of her work does not overwhelm its poetry,” say curator Mara Williams.

Vermont photographer
While we’re focusing on Vermont, visit the website of Sue Mardirosian: Sue has an incredible range—from Ansel Adams-like forests to inventive manipulations of light.

Book review
The Fifth Voice (Toadlily Press, 2006). The Toadlily editors once again have created a fabulous quartet of poetry chapbooks, with a gorgeous cover photo of autumn leaves floating in water. Out of the four poets, I loved Hart’s work—especially “Obon” and “I Go For A Walk with Frank O’Hara”. I also enjoyed the work of Ohio postman Allen Strous who explores his roots with “dark clarity.” That’s the beauty of a volume like this—you get to pick and choose your favorites.

That’s all for now. Take advantage of these last summer weeks to take in some art or get some pleasure reading in.