. . .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.
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 wrote to you about the story of the cat at the heart of this photograph, but why is the cat wreathed in flames, and why don’t they consume him? I’ll respond to that now, not with pretended analysis or explanation, but with a kind of “Biography of Fire.” . . .
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
A few days ago, I wrote an e-mail to one of my best friends, Rich Armstrong, about a new photograph of mine, which you see above, “The Friend Who Dies … Continue Reading A Pre-Christmas Christmas Card
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.
I didn’t know, when I started my three-post “Keith Carter and the Cloud of Mercy,” how many new reasons we would have now, in this pandemic, to pray for mercy. … Continue Reading Angels of Love and Sorrow
I have for you three clues, or, if you will, a three-part exercise. Any of the parts could move you closer to certain comprehensions, but it’s my hope and belief … Continue Reading Three Clues, One Three-Part Exercise, to Open What’s Closed
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
For his wonderful collection of short, imaginative poems from world literature, called The Sea and the Honeycomb, Robert Bly rewrote Frances Desmore’s translation of a Chippewa poem. And I think that it’s … Continue Reading A Poem for 2017 and Every Year That Follows
I drove by the site late one day and took a few photos for my final-stretch planning. After dinner, when I looked at the photos on my computer, I did … Continue Reading Who Really Made That Photograph? – Part 2 of 2
“Mushrooms & Trees 5” by Van Chu Post 1 of 2: The Photograph, From time to time in these posts, I’ll write about an image that has caught me in … Continue Reading A Story of Creation – Post 1 of 2