. . .In dejection from all the awful and discouraging news about reactionary political victories, rampant viral sub-variants, catastrophic droughts, and increasing violence (as well as, for me, unhappy views about my own self), I found myself doing something that I’ve done on occasion over the years, especially under stress: I was hand-writing, long past midnight, a list of my favorite artists and mystical writers. That exercise can calm and comfort me. not just as an obsessive-compulsive ritual, but as a reminder of real treasures that I’ve been given, for inspiration and illumination.
If we really want to honor those whom our country has sent to war, we should honor their suffering, which usually goes on long after they’ve returned from the killing fields. And we should mourn the lives that they destroyed at their country’s command in what may have been a war of aggression for an unjust cause, as in Vietnam and Iraq (or, for Russia, in Afghanistan and the Ukraine). And we should do a much better job of caring for them once they’ve returned to us, providing the treatment and care and training that they need, instead of the all-too-often shameful conditions that exist in the institutions that we’ve set up for them to stay in if they need such shelter and therapy, and if they have nowhere else to go for those essentials.
The poet, essayist, translator, and magazine publisher and editor, Robert Bly, died toward the end of last year. I think it’s unfortunate that he became best-known as a father of the “men’s movement,” because in the public’s mind that overshadows his tremendous contributions to American literature. His literary work in all the capacities that I just listed had a tremendous and priceless effect on me and others, opening up the cloistered world of an American poetry controlled excessively by stiff-minded academics to the timeless and global world of a poetry of imagination and spirituality, of what Bly called “news of the universe.”
I want to introduce you to a new portfolio of mine: “Towers and Devices of an Alien Race.” But I don’t, don’t want to squeeze it into an ill-fitting box of conceptions or drown it in chat about techniques or influence. Still, I want to tell you a few of the thoughts and feelings that I had in making these works.
As I said I would, I’ll write to you soon about the Fire in “The Friend Who May Not Seem a Friend.” But I have to share with you first an exceptional, timely gift that came to me this week.
I miss the pleasures of meeting people in doing my street photography. Various factors have kept me from it almost completely for several years: a major change in the nature of my paying employment, a new office location, a much-needed surgery and long rehabilitation, the pandemic. But I have to say that my experience, mostly on the streets of downtown Hartford, Connecticut, wasn’t all warming and satisfying, though it did call to my mind aspects of the life presented in the Gospels just as much as did the better parts of my portrait-seeking experience.
As some of you knew, we in the Northeast received warnings through all kinds of media in the early part of this week about the likelihood that a powerful Nor’Easter … Continue Reading Christmas Reports on Weather of the Soul from Charles Dickens (God bless ‘im!) and Me
These are the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original with me, If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing … Continue Reading A Quiet Coming-Together: Walt Whitman, America, Keith Carter, This Post
I recently had three of my photographs chosen for an exhibition called “Strange Times” at the Atlanta Photography Group Gallery . That exhibition was conceived partly with the pandemic in mind. Yet none of my selected images was made since the start of the pandemic, and none was generated by a dream or even a waking fantasy.
In my last post, I made some remarks about the falsity of calling certain artworks “surrealistic.” I want to pursue that further here. Am I saying that we should never use the words “surreal” or “surrealistic”? No, but. . . .
Dear Readers, I’m sorry to be so late with this “next” post. But you all know that sometimes we seem to be having even more difficulties than we usually do. And sometimes the world seems to give us even more causes for grief than it commonly does.
What you see above is a reproduction of the cover of the July 1992 issue of OMNI Magazine, for which I wrote the month’s “First Word” piece. The “First Word” … Continue Reading Art and the Mad Machine: The Spirit of Life vs. The Spirit of Addiction
We’re all taught – or, rather, misled – by our families, our schools, our occupational or professional training, by the ubiquitous stream of advertisements, to believe that what is unreal … Continue Reading A Little Guidance and a First Pair of Clues
If you’ve read my first post on this blog — “Welcome to Artists, Lovers of Art, and Unknown Friends” — you’ll have a good indication of my intentions here. And if … Continue Reading A Welcome to Further and Farther Voyages
Tomas Transtromer, the Swedish poet and psychotherapist, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2011. Transtromer, who died in 2015, wrote this poem after the assassination of President John Fitzgerald … Continue Reading An Unhappy July the 4th
Yes, the word “camera” is italicized in the original text of this passage from “The God of the Living” by George MacDonald. The word opens an entrance into these … Continue Reading The Body, Mortal and Immortal, as a Camera