All posts tagged: poetry and visual arts

The Subvocal Zoo: Alan Chong Lau and J. W. Marshall – Painting Beyond the Canvas

In this episode, J.W. Marshall talks with Alan Chong Lau at the Jack Straw Cultural Center in Seattle.

Pen to Palette // A Visual Inventory of Gustave Flaubert’s Personal Belongings at the Time of His Death

“Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your own work,” wrote Flaubert in a letter to Gertrude Tennant, December 25, 1876. Joanna Naborsky, a “book lover’s illustrator” living in New York,  was rifling around in the Brooklyn Public Library recently and stumbled across Geoffrey Wall’s biography of the writer, Flaubert: A Life, which she claims sort of fell from her hands and opened itself to an index of Flaubert’s personal belongings compiled 12 days after his death. Wall describes this index as “a strangely cold mirror of the life that had unfolded in and amongst this elegant constellation of things.” We love Naborsky’s colorful, wiggly renderings of Flaubert’s panama hat, his 48 porcelain dinner plates, his tiger, lynex and bear skin rugs, his arrows, his mandolin, his axe, his Basque drum, and etc. In an interview with the Paris Review, Naborsky said what drew her to the project was that “the list is barren, orderly, lyrical. It spoke of a life in the way ‘That vase’ speaks of …

Review // Sierra Nelson’s I Take Back the Sponge Cake

  Reviewed By Kristen Steenbeeke, Contributing Writer I grew up on choose-your-own-adventure books, and now that I’m older, it seems poetry has always been a choose-your-own-adventure lying in wait. You know: the wordplay inviting one to interpret the work how they wish, then that interpretation branching off into some other dimly-lit pathway, which branches to another, and sooner or later one ends up out of the forest altogether and at some dark-blue lake, teeming with fish. This is why Sierra Nelson and Loren Erdrich’s poetry/art collaboration book “I Take Back the Sponge Cake” is so enticing: The poems are like tiny jigsaws in themselves, connected by choose-your-own-adventure snippets, such as “____ the night from day, O dreamers,” with the option to choose “Rest: to repose” or “Wrest: to take by force.” Depending on the reader’s choice of homonym, they are led to another page, another poem, another of Erdrich’s whimsically sad watercolors. The poems are small and concise but chock-full of their own wordplay and tricks. One highlight was “Pseudomorph,” a word which means “a cloud …

Picasso, Mon Ami

Picasso, Mon Ami: Dancing Arm-in-Arm with the Master During the 1950s in Provence, John Richardson dined often with his neighbor, Pablo Picasso, whom he says liked to startle supper guests with unpopular foods like Spanish marzipan and ancient Chinese eggs. Richardson, biographer and intimate friend of the artist, spoke to a very full house at Benaroya Hall on December 8 in conjunction with both Seattle Arts & Lectures and the traveling Picasso exhibition whose first stop in the U.S. was the Seattle Art Museum. He is in the process of completing the fourth volume of a four-part biography, the first three of which have taken about fifty years to write. “When the woman changes, everything changes” says Richardson at the very start of the talk, meaning that in addition to the expected “change of dog, change of food, change of house,” the acquisition of new lovers also transformed the way Picasso worked with his paint or bronze or wood. Now well-established, this concept is one of Richardson’s contributions to art history, an observation afforded by …

Ed Skoog: “What’s Your Beef?”

Over the course of the next few weeks, as the Winter/Spring 2010-11 issue of Poetry Northwest (v5.n2) is made ready, we’ll be featuring a series of poems by Ed Skoog written in response to photographs by J. Robert Lennon. When asked bout the process of composing these poems, Ed writes that “the question on my side, once I’d agreed to the collaboration, was what form the poems would take in response to John’s photographs. He’d already taken them; I’d already admired them. The photographs were taken around Ithaca, New York, and I recognized only a few of the locations from my visits there. Here in Seattle the March through June I worked on the sequence, it was gloomy and what little light came through the leafing apple tree was lonely. These poems started spinning out from the memory of the photos rather than from direct looking. I worked on them a long time, puzzling them out, puzzling into them, and in the end took them much more seriously than I’d set out to, in order …

Linda Bierds: “Fragments from Venice: Albrecht Durer”

For September we’re doing two things by featuring poet Linda Bierds: continuing our series on Northwest poets and giving you a glimpse of the Fall-Winter 2008-09 v3.n2 issue, our sixth. Of “Fragments from Venice: Albrecht Durer” Bierds writes, “lately, I’ve been drawn to poems structured by the interaction of two voices, particularly to poems in which the voices are out of sync, the responses only obliquely related to the calls. I love the friction that misalliance creates, its puzzles and ultimate responsibilities.”

Floyd Skloot: “Signac at Castellane, 1902”

Oregon’s Floyd Skloot is the subject of this month’s feature exclusive to Poetry Northwest Online as a part of our recurring series on Northwest poets. The series began with the June 2006 feature on Kevin Craft. Skloot, a native of New York, has been living in Oregon for the past twenty-two years. His poetry has appeared in magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and Poetry. We’re delighted to feature two of his poems: “Signac at Castellane, 1902” and “Recurrence.”