Category - Other Horizons

Que Sera, Sera

Greece is rebelling in the streets and the halls of government.
Spaniards are following suit in the streets – government’s not onboard but it may not matter.
The Euro is tottering and NATO is a lot shakier than it wants to admit (it’s in denial).
Sanctions are failing. Banksters fear jailing – or poverty or the guillotine.
Control is slipping here at home – it’s desperation that’s making the PTB escalate repression.

Times, they are a-changin’

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Thomas Merton Listening to the Rain

This, via Monksworks, from Thomas Merton:

Let me say this before rain becomes a utility that they can plan and distribute for money. By “they” I mean the people who cannot understand that rain is a festival, who do not appreciate its gratuity, who think that what has no price has no value, that what cannot be sold is not real, so that the only way to make something actual is to place it on the market. The time will come when they will sell you even your rain. At the moment it is still free, and I am in it. I celebrate its gratuity and its meaninglessness.

The rain I am in is not like the rain of cities. It fills the wood with an immense and confused sound. It covers the flat roof of the cabin and its porch with insistent and controlled rhythms. And I listen, because it reminds me again and again that the whole world runs by rhythms I have not yet learned to recognize, rhythms that are not those of the engineer.

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“It’s Been a Good Run…”

h/t Tina

BillMoyers.com– The third and final year of Moyers & Company comes to an end on January 2 and I am writing to assure you that this time it’s the real deal. You may recall that we had originally raised the funds in 2011 for a two-year series but when I announced last fall that the end was near, thousands of you wrote imploring us to reconsider. My long-time funders came forward with a renewed commitment to a third year of support. How could I say no?

But as the end of the third year approaches it’s time finally to sign off.

Beautiful art expressing an ugly world

Politicians discussing climate change until the very end

Politicians discussing climate change until the very end

Isaac Cordal is famous for tackling big political issues through a tiny medium. In his series “Waiting for Climate Change,” Cordal created a set of ephemeral and partially submerged installations to draw attention to rising sea level change. Laced with black humor, these grim and apocalyptic scenes show the consequences of inaction and apathy to environmental issues. The theme of rising floodwaters and drowning are themes repeated throughout his work that reference both climate change and the state of our sinking society.

To capture his skepticism of authority, Cordal usually depicts his tiny figurines as politicians and businessmen in the process of needlessly trapping themselves in unpleasant situations. In “Follow the Leaders,” Cordal warns onlookers of the dangers in blindly following the wills of the rich and powerful. Like miniature clones, the identical statues were created in the likeness of middle-aged, white collar, white men, each desperately clutching a briefcase as they huddle together or drown to death in a mindless mass.

Be sure to watch the slideshow at the link

The Oilsands-Inspired Creation that Looms in Washington

The Tyee, By Andrew Nikiforuk,

Winnipegger Mia Feuer’s art reflects the ‘sculptural’ transformation of Alberta’s landscape.

COVER.feuer20Reviewers alternatively call the Washington, D.C. exhibit dystopian, eerily beautiful, or a “nightmarish manifestation” of environmental ruin.

In particular, many are attracted to the ominous black skating rink that occupies the rotunda. The plastic rink may or may not be a metaphor for oil’s grip on Canadian politics.

Others are awed by a giant (40-feet by 40-ft. by 30-ft.) sculpture that hangs over the rink. Composed of a riot of suspended trees, oil field junk, tar paper and black birds, it resembles some strange, Harry Potter-like hallucination.

It’s all viewable at the venerable Corcoran Gallery of Art in the U.S. capitol, where politicians are still debating the future of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that would transport bitumen to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. (Word is that Canada’s U.S. ambassador Gary Doer, a fellow Manitoban and a Feuer fan, hasn’t yet peeked his head into the gallery.)

Winnipeg-born sculptor Mia Feuer calls her bitumen-inspired creation “An Unkindness,” after a gathering of ravens. She says that artists have a duty to respond and reflect upon the times we live in.

“We just can’t all be making beautiful things,” Feuer says.

More at the link

Will art that is not just striking but provocative lead to answers? (VIDEO)

How to bring FINE ART to the people

A brilliant video marketing campaign.

Street performance art at its best.

In April, 2013, the newly-refurbished Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Holland, decided to celebrate the return to the museum of Rembrandt’s great painting, “The Night Watch” (1642): they brought the characters in the picture to life and placed them in a busy shopping mall.

Translation of the sign at the end of the video: “Our heroes are back”.

Other Horizons – Poetry

Why Poetry Matters

weldon-kees Patrick_Pearse corso

What is the point of an art form so utterly uncommercial, impractical, and distant from the prosaic focus of our daily routine?- Julian H Lowenfeld
The point, as Wordsworth put it, is that “the world is too much with us, late and soon…” and we sometimes need release from that imprisonment of our mind and soul.
We need poetry because “Poetry is the link between the real and the ideal worlds” and without an Ideal, the Real descends to chaos and decay and barbarism.
And the less we seek and experience the ideal, the faster and worse our descent. Poetry civilizes us by keeping us in touch with what really matters.


Years ago, browsing through the great bookstores that used to be so plentiful, I began to wonder if anyone read poetry except poets and the occasional reluctant student. Certainly many people dabble in writing poetry, and while chatting with others in the poetry section, I found all of us were ‘amateur poets’. I suspect we dilettantes are the only market for poetry, a fact that professional poets probably find depressing. (Many poets of an earlier time had mundane professional lives. Their poetry was ‘dilettante’ by definition, but age seems to have cast a patina of respectability over their efforts. Go figure.)

Back in my Greenwich Village days in the golden ’60s, I wrote pretty consistently, to the point that I finally had to decide whether I wanted to Become-A-Poet or just write poems. I very deliberately chose a different livelihood. Marriage and family were added to the mix, and poetry was moved to the back burner. Whether I should have taken the other road is a question that will always haunt me.

It wasn’t so much a question of time to write, as a poem can be written in a matter of minutes. However, it may take hours or days or even weeks to achieve the necessary mental and emotional ambience for those few minutes of actual creation. I passed on becoming a poet because I was unwilling to accept, or at least uncertain about living in a poet’s mindset. And if you know much about the lives of most modern poets, you can understand my reluctance. There are many poets whose work I respect and love – and whose lives I would definitely not want to emulate. (My liver probably wouldn’t take it).

To the extent that art concerns itself with the Ideal World, artists will always be out of step with those whose lives are an attempt to master the Real World. Neither the artist nor the non-artist will ever really ‘master’ their respective worlds, but at least the artist is striving for something worth attaining, something which is intrinsically valuable.

In my view, art of any sort has two components. The first, and lesser of the two, is the craft to embody the artist’s perception. The more vital component is that perception; the ability to look at the same things we all look at and see something different, something extra, something beyond. It is this ability of the artist which expands our perception, enhances our grasp of the world, increases our humanity. All true art does that.

Poety is “Language that tells us [] something that can not be said…” – E. A. Robinson

Sir Philip Sidney also noted “…poetry is of all human learnings the most ancient [] from whence other learnings take their beginnings…”

Man’s first attempt to grasp the nature of the world and our place in it was expressed in poetry. It was the language of Truth and universally recognized as such by all cultures. It is no accident the ancient bards stood high at the king’s court; that a composition of a bard might settle a dispute that would otherwise mean battle; that all tribal societies seem to have a sacred language.

How does one identify poetry? Robert Graves quoted Houseman’s practical test:
Does it make the hairs of one’s chin bristle if one repeats it silently while shaving?

I have my own criterion:
Can I recite it aloud without breaking down mid-poem

The final chorus of Eric Bogle’s “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda:
But the band plays Waltzing Matilda and the old men still answer the call,
But as year follows year, more old men disappear.
Someday no on will march there at all.

Padriac Pearse’s “The Mother”
I do not grudge them: Lord, I do not grudge
My two strong sons that I have seen go out
To break their strength and die, they and a few,
In bloody protest for a glorious thing,
They shall be spoken of among their people,
The generations shall remember them,
And call them blessed;
But I will speak their names to my own heart
In the long nights;
The little names that were familiar once
Round my dead hearth.
Lord, thou art hard on mothers:
We suffer in their coming and their going;
And tho’ I grudge them not, I weary, weary
Of the long sorrow–And yet I have my joy:
My sons were faithful, and they fought.

Excerpt from Padriac Pearse’s “The Fool”
And the wise have pitied the fool that hath striven to give a life
In the world of time and space among the bulks of actual things,
To a dream that was dreamed in the heart, and that only the heart could hold.

Think this is Arthur Symons from Poetica Erotica anthology but could not verify
All that I know of love, I learned from you,
And I know all that lover ever knew,
Since – passionately loving to be loved –
The subtlties of your wise body moved
My senses to a curiousity
And your wise heart adorned itself for me.
Did you not teach me how to love you? How
to win you? How to suffer? I suffer
For you now with that same skill
Of self-consuming ecstatsy whose thrill
– may Death someday the thought of it remove –
You gathered from the very hands of Love.

Stella Maris

An Ancient Gesture

Interregnum

For My Daughter

Covering Two Years

The American Way
Excerpt from The American Way – Gregory Corso

What is the Way?
The Way was born out of the American Dream a
nightmare—
The state of Americans today compared to the Americans
of the 18th century proves the nightmare—
Not Franklin not Jefferson who speaks for America today
but strange red-necked men of industry
and the goofs of show business.

Americans are a great people
I ask for some great and wondrous event
that will free them from the Way
and make them a glorious purposeful people once
again
I do not know if that event is due deserved
or even possible
I can only hold that man is the victory of life
And I hold firm to American man.

What poets/poems enrich your life?

h/t Carol Lea Booth And as long as we’re on the subject…

Other Horizons – Drum! Drum Drum!

For this latest installment of Other Horizons, the weekly post where Agonist authors leave politics behind, I thought I’d write about one of my passions. Drums.

Terry Pratchett once observed that a drummer hits things with sticks and, when he’s done that, hits them again. I suspect Celts might be natural drummers. There’s a long tradition of drumming in the gaelic lands, most famously in the martial sound of the massed pipe bands but there’s also the great old war drums which eventually saw expression as the Irish lambeg, and the softer sound of the bodhrán, which is played in rhythms that evoke the cantering or gallop of horses. The very sound of those old celtic pipe and drum rhythms is a music that gets in the bloodstream and climbs up the spine to the backbrain all on its own, primitively entrancing.

Scottish band Albannach played on the Braveheart soundtrack:

My father played, and I first took up the sticks when I was about eleven or twelve. I played the old Scottish rhythms, but also rock and pop. I was never more than competent, although I played in a couple of college bands with folk who went on to finer musical things. I looked up with awe at the greatest of the rock drummers of the era and was flat open-mouthed gobsmacked at the greatest of them all.

I sold my drums in the mid-Eighties to put the deposit down on an apartment rental for myself and my girlfriend. I had a sad. I had to get drunk first, before I could send them away.

Then, that was me – confined to patting out drum beats on the arms of the chair or the steering wheel of the car for two decades…until Christmas, when my eldest son horrified his mother and our neighbours by buying me a new drum kit! It’s like learning all over again after all these years but at last I can again do my Animal impression and yell, “Drum! Drum, drum!”.

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