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 …