Archives for posts with tag: women artists

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SEPTEMBER 1918
Poem by Amy Lowell

This afternoon was the color of water falling through sunlight; 
The trees glittered with the tumbling of leaves; 
The sidewalks shone like alleys of dropped maple leaves, 
And the houses ran along them laughing out of square, open windows. 
Under a tree in the park, 
Two little boys, lying flat on their faces, 
Were carefully gathering red berries 
To put in a pasteboard box. 
Some day there will be no war, 
Then I shall take out this afternoon 
And turn it in my fingers, 
And remark the sweet taste of it upon my palate, 
And note the crisp variety of its flights of leaves. 
Today I can only gather it 
And put it into my lunchbox, 
For I have time for nothing 
But the endeavor to balance myself 
Upon a broken world. 

Painting: “Berry Picking Children on a Summer Day” by Gerda Wallander (1905)

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AUTUMN IN NEW YORK
lyrics by Vernon Duke

Autumn in New York, why does it seem so inviting?
Autumn in New York, it spells the thrill of first knighting
Glittering crowds and shimmering clouds in canyons of steel
They’re making me feel, I’m home

Its autumn in New York that brings the promise of new love
Autumn in New York is often mingled with pain
Dreamers with empty hands, may sigh for exotic lands
It’s autumn in New York, its good to live it again

Autumn in New York, the gleaming rooftops at sundown
Autumn in New York, it lifts you up when you’re run down
Jaded roués and gay divorcées who lunch at the Ritz
Will tell you that it’s divine

This autumn in New York transforms the slums into Mayfair
Autumn in New York, you’ll need no castle in Spain
Lovers that bless the dark on benches in Central Park
Greet autumn in New York, its good to live it again

Listen to BIllie Holiday sing “Autumn in New York” in a lovely vintage New York autumn video at youtube.com.

ABOUT THE SONG (from Wikipedia.org):  Vernon Duke composed the jazz standard “Autumn in New York” for the Broadway musical Thumbs Up!, which opened on December 27, 1934. Over the years, a wide range of performers have recorded many version of the song, a favorite of jazz performers — including  Chet Baker, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald.

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ABOUT THE COMPOSER: Russian-born Vernon Duke (1903 – 1969) was an American composer/songwriter, who also wrote under his original name Vladimir Dukelsky. He is best known for “Taking a Chance on Love” with lyrics by Ted Fetter and John Latouche, “I Can’t Get Started” with lyrics by Ira Gershwin, and “April in Paris” with lyrics by E. Y. (“Yip”) Harburg (1932). He wrote the words and music for “Autumn in New York” (1934). Vernon collaborated with lyricists  Johnny Mercer, Ira Gershwin, Ogden Nash, and others — and his works have been performed and recorded by Count Basie, Bunny Berigan, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, the Modern Jazz Quartet, André Previn, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Wynton Marsalis, and many others. (Read more at Wikipedia.org.)

Illustration: “Street, New York I” (1926) by Georgia O’Keeffe

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THE POETRY OF POTATO SALAD
by O.P.W. Fredericks

Making a good bowl potato salad is not unlike writing a good poem. The selection of ingredients are important to both. When selecting the potato there are many varieties, russet, white, red, and yukon gold to name just a few, are like selecting the right words. Do I peel them or leave the skins on? Do I expose the meaning immediately, or conceal it in a thin layer that must be savored for all its flavor. Are they in big pieces or small, bumpy or smooth, old or new?

For the basic ingredients of potatoes and words they have to feel right, but they must be given the opportunity to sit a spell and be spelled right. How do I want to dress them, plain with mayo, salt and pepper, monorhyme, strophes and periods; or do I add the extras; celery and commas, onion and Ottava rima, hard boiled or Haiku – scrambled or Spondee? Do I use eggs and Enclosed Rhyme at all? A little mustard with your Meter might be nice, or sliced pickles of poetic diction, but do I want a sweet sestina or the dill of dactyls? Paprika you say, well why not some prose, if for nothing else, color is pleasing to the eye. Capers in couplets? Why not. Crumbled bacon is always nice as is a comedic ballad.

Finally there’s the presentation. Enjambment and enjoyment, how does it taste? Do you savor their flavor on the tongue as you chew, or do you swallow them greedily intent to get your fill? Are they deserving of study to appreciate the subtle complexities in the flavor of the words?

It’s up to you.

Visit the author’s blog at opwfredericks.com.

ABOUT O.P.W. FREDERICKS (in the author’s own words): I was called the nursing profession in the fall of 1976. After thirty-two years of caring for the sick and injured at the bedside and in other capacities, I chose a new path, that of writer and poet. As I embark on this new journey I continue to walk the path of nurse, though in a lesser capacity during this time of transition. I cannot help but be influenced by the teachings from my professors, but more so by the people I have known as patients and fellow human beings.

Watercolor: “Feta potato salad with garlic, chives, and tomatoes” by Debra Morris, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Find a recipe for Feta Potato Salad at thecornerkitchen.com.

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ODE TO THE WATERMELON (Excerpt)
by Pablo Neruda

…the round, magnificent,
star-filled watermelon.
It’s a fruit from the thirst-tree.
It’s the green whale of the summer.
The dry universe
all at once
given dark stars
by this firmament of coolness
lets the swelling
fruit
come down:
its hemispheres open
showing a flag
green, white, red,
that dissolves into
wild rivers, sugar,
delight!…
When we’re thirsty
we glimpse you
like
a mine or a mountain
of fantastic food,
but
among our longings and our teeth
you change
simply
into cool light
that slips in turn into
spring water
that touched us once
singing.
And that is why
you don’t weigh us down
in the siesta hour
that’s like an oven,
you don’t weigh us down,
you just
go by
and your heart, some cold ember,
turned itself into a single
drop of water.

Painting: “Viva La Vida” by Frida Kahlo (1954) — Kahlo’s last painting.

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“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are engines of change (as the poet said), windows on the world and lighthouses erected in the sea of time. They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.” BARBARA TUCHMAN

Illustration: “Monument of Books” by Anca Benera, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Today we honor Frida Kahlo, the groundbreaking artist who was born on a summer day (July 6, 1907) and passed away on a summer day (July 13, 1954). Like her husband, the celebrated painter Diego Rivera (1886-1957), the subject of Kahlo’s last painting was the watermelon — the essence of all things summer. We raise a slice of summer to Frida and Diego — and thank them for their sublime art. Kahlo’s last painting includes the phrase “Viva La Vida” — long live life — as exemplified by the wonders of the watermelon.

When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat.” MARK TWAIN

For the curious, Diego Rivera‘s last painting is featured below.

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FOR PURITY
   in memory of Georgia O’Keeffe
by Larry D. Thomas

she dons jet-black
and takes her stance
before the canvas,
 
draping her heart
with the shadow
of a black cross.
 
She scours her mind
with cloudless
desert sky
 
and she waits
for the moon-like rising
of the flower,
 
the pelvis,
the cleansed,
sun-bleached skull.

“For Purity” appears in the collection Amazing Grace by Larry D. Thomas, Texas Review Press, 2001

PHOTO: Georgia O’Keeffe with painting, 1930, by Alfred Stieglitz, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Alfred Stieglitz Collection

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We’d like to wish a very happy Mother’s Day to all the materfamiliases in the world — with a special tip of the hat to women who take time to read to their children.

You may have tangible wealth untold

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold

Richer than I you can never be

I had a mother who read to me.

From “The Reading Mother” by STRICKLAND GILLILAN

Painting: “August Reading to Her Daughter” (1910) by Mary Cassat

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Credit: Roz Chast, THE NEW YORKER, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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IN THE MONTH OF MAY
by Robert Bly

In the month of May when all leaves open,

I see when I walk how well all things

lean on each other, how the bees work,

the fish make their living the first day.

Monarchs fly high; then I understand

I love you with what in me is unfinished.
 
I love you with what in me is still

changing, what has no head or arms

or legs, what has not found its body.

And why shouldn’t the miraculous,

caught on this earth, visit

the old man alone in his hut?
 
And why shouldn’t Gabriel, who loves honey,

be fed with our own radishes and walnuts?

And lovers, tough ones, how many there are

whose holy bodies are not yet born.

Along the roads, I see so many places

I would like us to spend the night.

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Painting: “Apple Blossoms I” by Georgia O’Keeffe (1930)