Archives for posts with tag: Vincent Van Gogh

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Vincent van Gogh: The Mulberry Tree, 1889
by Gerald Locklin

In the artist’s words,
“Its dense yellow foliage
Was of a magnificent yellow color
Against a very blue sky,
In a white stony field
With sunshine from behind.”

He neglected to mention that
He’d plugged the whole scene into
God’s own infinitely voltaged battery.

No one was ever more alive than he,
It is not just that
He was creative:
He embodied creation…
The creator took possession of him.
Death and life were one;
Both crackled with brain-music.

He may have known something
That we do not, yet,
A reality defying words.

His brain exploded into galaxies.

PAINTING: “The Mulberry Tree” (1889) by Vincent van Gogh

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gerald Locklin is a professor emeritus of English at California State University, Long Beach, where he taught full-time from 1965-2007. He has published fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews prolifically in periodicals and in over 150 books, chapbooks, and broadsides. Recent books include a fiction e-Book, The Sun Also Rises in the Desert, from Mendicant Bookworks; a collection of poems, Deep Meanings: Selected Poems, 2008-2013, from PRESA Press; three simultaneously released novellas from Spout Press; and a French collection of his prose, Candy Bars: Le Dernier des Damnes from 13e Note Press, Paris. Event Horizon Press released new editions of A Simpler Time, A Simpler Place and Hemingway Colloquium: The Poet Goes to Cuba in 2011; Coagula Press released the first of two volumes of his Complete Coagula Poems; and From a Male Perspective appeared from PRESA Press. Find more of Gerald Locklin’s poetry in Gerald Locklin: New and Selected Poems (Silver Birch Press, 2013), available at Amazon.com.

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Vincent Van Gogh:The Mulberry Tree, 1889
Poem by Gerald Locklin

In the artist’s words,
“Its dense yellow foliage
Was of a magnificent yellow color
Against a very blue sky,
In a white stony field
With sunshine from behind.”
 
He neglected to mention that
He’d plugged the whole scene into
God’s own infinitely voltaged battery.
 
No one was ever more alive than he,
It is not just that
He was creative:
He embodied creation…
The creator took possession of him.
Death and life were one;
Both crackled with brain-music.
 
He may have known something
That we do not, yet,
A reality defying words.
 
His brain exploded into galaxies. 

Painting: The Mulberry Tree (1889) by Vincent Van Gogh

Find more of Gerald Locklin’s poetry in Gerald Locklin: New and Selected Poems, available here.

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WHAT THE LEAF TOLD ME
by Ronald Johnson

Today I saw the word written on the poplar leaves.
 It was “dazzle.” The dazzle of the poplars.
As a leaf startles out
from an undifferentiated mass of foliage,
so the word did from a leaf—
A Mirage Of The Delicate Polyglot
inventing itself as cipher. But this, in shifts & gyrations,
grew in brightness, so bright
the massy poplars soon outshone the sun . . .
“My light—my dew—my breeze—my bloom.” Reflections
In A Wren’s Eye.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ronald Johnson (1935-1998) was a Kansas native who lived most of his adult life in San Francisco. He spent 20 years writing a long poem titled ARK, completed in 1991. His subsequent work included rewriting Milton’s Paradise Lost by excision – using an 1892 edition and omitting most of the text to create a text of his own. His other work includes the poetry collection The Book of the Green Man (W.W. Norton and Company, 1967). (Read more atpoetryfoundation.org.)

ART: “Lane with Poplars,” drawing by Vincent Van Gogh (1882).

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MY SOUL IS ALIGHT (Excerpt)
by Rabindranath Tagore 

My soul is alight with your infinitude of stars. 
Your world has broken upon me like a flood. 
The flowers of your garden blossom in my body. 
The joy of life that is everywhere burns like an incense in my heart. 
And the breath of all things plays on my life as on a pipe of reeds.

Source: Poetry magazine, 1913

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A native of Calcutta, India, who wrote in Bengali and often translated his own work into English, Rabindranath Tagore(1861-1941) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 — the first Asian to receive the honor. He wrote poetry, fiction, drama, essays, and songs; promoted reforms in education, aesthetics and religion; and in his late sixties turned to the visual arts, producing 2,500 paintings and drawings before his death.

PAINTING: “Irises” by Vincent van Gogh (1889), Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California.

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ON THE EXISTENCE OF THE SOUL
by Pattiann Rogers

How confident I am it is there. Don’t I bring it,   
As if it were enclosed in a fine leather case,   
To particular places solely for its own sake?   
Haven’t I set it down before the variegated canyon   
And the undeviating bald salt dome?   
Don’t I feed it on ivory calcium and ruffled   
Shell bellies, shore boulders, on the sight   
Of the petrel motionless over the sea, its splayed   
Feet hanging? Don’t I make sure it apprehends   
The invisibly fine spray more than once?
 
I have seen that it takes in every detail
I can manage concerning the garden wall and its borders.
I have listed for it the comings and goings
Of one hundred species of insects explicitly described.
I have named the chartreuse stripe
And the fimbriated antenna, the bulbed thorax   
And the multiple eye. I have sketched
The brilliant wings of the trumpet vine and invented
New vocabularies describing the interchanges between rocks   
And their crevices, between the holly lip   
And its concept of itself.
 
And if not for its sake, why would I go
Out into the night alone and stare deliberately   
Straight up into 15 billion years ago and more?
 
I have cherished it. I have named it.   
By my own solicitations   
I have proof of its presence. 
***
“On the Existence of the Soul” appears in Pattiann Rogers‘ collection Firekeeper: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by Pattiann Rogers (Milkweed Editions, 1994).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Pattiann Rogers was born in 1941 in Joplin, Missouri. She attended the University of Missouri, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and went to the University of Houston where she earned an MA in creative writing. Her awards and honors also include two National Endowment for the Arts grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Poetry Fellowship, Poetry’s Tietjens and Bess Hokin Prizes, the Roethke Prize from Poetry Northwest, the Strousse Award from Prairie Schooner, and four Pushcart Prizes. Rogers has taught at numerous colleges and universities as well as in high schools and kindergartens.

PAINTING: “The Starry Night” (1889) by Vincent van Gogh

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SKYTONES (Section X)
Poem by Pablo Neruda

I invite you to topaz,
to the yellow
hive in the stone,
the bees,
and the lump of honey
in the topaz
to the gold day
and the familial
drone of tranquility:
here is a minimal
church, built in a flower
as the bee builds, as
the planes of the sun or the leaf
in autumn’s yellowest profundity,
a tree, incandescently
rising, beam over beam, a sunburst corolla,
insect and honey and autumn, all
transformed by the salts of the sun:
essence of honey, the tremulous world
and the wheat of the sky
that labored to accomplish
this sun-change, at rest in the pallor of topaz.

Painting: “Wheatfield with Reaper (1889) by Vincent van Gogh

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CHOOSE SOMETHING LIKE A STAR
by Robert Frost

O Star (the fairest one in sight),

We grant your loftiness the right

To some obscurity of cloud –

It will not do to say of night,

Since dark is what brings out your light.

Some mystery becomes the proud.

But to be wholly taciturn

In your reserve is not allowed.

Say something to us we can learn

By heart and when alone repeat.

Say something! And it says “I burn.”

But say with what degree of heat.

Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.

Use language we can comprehend.

Tell us what elements you blend.

It gives us strangely little aid,

But does tell something in the end.

And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,

Not even stooping from its sphere,

It asks a little of us here.

It asks of us a certain height,

So when at times the mob is swayed

To carry praise or blame too far,

We may choose something like a star

To stay our minds on and be staid.

PAINTING: “Starry Night” by Alex Ruiz. ARTIST’S NOTE: This is an homage to Vincent van Gogh, and to his painting “The Starry Night,” one of my all time favorites. We see him standing here, looking up at the night sky…probably in awe, as he wondered how he would capture the beauty he saw. (Read more at io9.com.)

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AQUA VITA
by Dale Sprowl

A color of aqua lives,
fantastically far from real;
Once I saw it behind Pablo Neruda’s house
in a dream,
a stripe of Chilean ocean, cool and green.
Another time,
though this one real,
I saw it at the beach on Aruba,
Blown with racing winds,
sea over shallow white sand
pale as a pool.
Once I found it in nature
as I stared down at ice floes on Greenland,
white chunks cut into black lake,
each framed by numinous liquid refreshment.

And another time I saw it.
Would you call it real or not?
In Vincent’s sky in “The White Orchard.”
When I saw it,
I wept,
uncontained,
until I saw it again in “The Plow”
and knew I was at home there.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dale Sprowl teaches writing at Biola University in La Mirada, California. During summers, she administrates and teaches at the Young Writer’s Project at UCI. Her work with the UCI Writing Project began in 1981, and she has contributed to the UCIWP texts on the teaching of writing. Her first chapbook of poems, The Colors of Water, published by Finishing Line Press in 2007, and her second chapbook, Moon Over Continent’s Edge (2009), have been nominated for a California Book Award. Her poems have also appeared in PEARL, Fire, A New Song, Ancient Paths, and Knowing Stones: Poems of Exotic Places. She earned her bachelor’s degree in humanities and in history as well as a master’s degree in history from Pepperdine University. An Educator Associate for the American Psychoanalytic Association, she lives in Newport Beach, California, with her husband.

“Aqua Vita” and other poetry by Dale Sprowl appears in the Silver Birch Press Green Anthology, a collection of poetry & prose from authors around the world — available at Amazon.com.

Painting: “The White Orchard” by Vincent van Gogh (1888)

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WHAT THE LEAF TOLD ME
by Ronald Johnson

Today I saw the word written on the poplar leaves.
 It was “dazzle.” The dazzle of the poplars.
As a leaf startles out
from an undifferentiated mass of foliage,
so the word did from a leaf—
A Mirage Of The Delicate Polyglot
inventing itself as cipher. But this, in shifts & gyrations,
grew in brightness, so bright
the massy poplars soon outshone the sun . . .
“My light—my dew—my breeze—my bloom.” Reflections
In A Wren’s Eye.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ronald Johnson (1935-1998) was a Kansas native who lived most of his adult life in San Francisco. He spent 20 years writing a long poem titled ARK, completed in 1991. His subsequent work included rewriting Milton’s Paradise Lost by excision – using an 1892 edition and omitting most of the text to create a text of his own. His other work includes the poetry collection The Book of the Green Man (W.W. Norton and Company, 1967). (Read more at poetryfoundation.org.)

ART: “Lane with Poplars,” drawing by Vincent Van Gogh (1882).

Image
ON THE EXISTENCE OF THE SOUL
by Pattiann Rogers

How confident I am it is there. Don’t I bring it,   
As if it were enclosed in a fine leather case,   
To particular places solely for its own sake?   
Haven’t I set it down before the variegated canyon   
And the undeviating bald salt dome?   
Don’t I feed it on ivory calcium and ruffled   
Shell bellies, shore boulders, on the sight   
Of the petrel motionless over the sea, its splayed   
Feet hanging? Don’t I make sure it apprehends   
The invisibly fine spray more than once?
 
I have seen that it takes in every detail
I can manage concerning the garden wall and its borders.
I have listed for it the comings and goings
Of one hundred species of insects explicitly described.
I have named the chartreuse stripe
And the fimbriated antenna, the bulbed thorax   
And the multiple eye. I have sketched
The brilliant wings of the trumpet vine and invented
New vocabularies describing the interchanges between rocks   
And their crevices, between the holly lip   
And its concept of itself.
 
And if not for its sake, why would I go
Out into the night alone and stare deliberately   
Straight up into 15 billion years ago and more?
 
I have cherished it. I have named it.   
By my own solicitations   
I have proof of its presence. 
***
“On the Existence of the Soul” appears in Pattiann Rogers‘ collection Firekeeper: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by Pattiann Rogers (Milkweed Editions, 1994).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Pattiann Rogers was born in 1941 in Joplin, Missouri. She attended the University of Missouri, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and went to the University of Houston where she earned an MA in creative writing. Her awards and honors also include two National Endowment for the Arts grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Poetry Fellowship, Poetry’s Tietjens and Bess Hokin Prizes, the Roethke Prize from Poetry Northwest, the Strousse Award from Prairie Schooner, and four Pushcart Prizes. Rogers has taught at numerous colleges and universities as well as in high schools and kindergartens.

PAINTING: “The Starry Night” (1889) by Vincent van Gogh