Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
no not corn
run on ahead
could it be
on the bypass
as I drive past
it's a real place
we went there
from Lares / Manes
Monday, November 28, 2011
The train traveled that night
through upper North Dakota, parallel to the
border of Canada and through some of the coldest
areas in all America. Towns like Minot and Rugby,
and Rugby just happens to be the geographical center
of North America but we are not awake for it. I
remember how we hurled through this part of the
country long ago from the other direction and we saw
it all in the daylight of morning and part of the
afternoon. Back then the train had a "dome car"
which was a coach with a second level where people
could sit and look out, and if I'm not mistaken all the
sides and roof were rounded in glass. At least I have
this memory of sitting up there late one night
watching the stars peeking in and out as the train
smoked through tall forests of the Cascades. The day
we traveled through North Dakota in the dome car,
Susan and I might have sat up there all day, or we
might have divided our time between there and a
Dutch doorway where we would linger to enjoy the breeze.
But I do remember sitting up in the dome car while a young
Amish couple, sweet and trim in suspenders and short hair,
a full skirt for the young lady, made out passionately.
It was a wonderful way to go, as pronghorn antelope
startled on the prairie at the chase of the train.
(Coyote Books, 1995)
Sunday, November 27, 2011
cover art by Rita Corbin
Rita Corbin, Catholic Worker artist, dies at 81
Artist Rita Corbin, whose tender line drawings graced the pages of Catholic Worker journals for decades, died Nov. 17 from injuries suffered in a car crash. She was 81.
Corbin decided early in life to become an artist, choosing to major in art while attending Cathedral High School in New York City.
"The school was keen on turning out secretaries," she said, "but I refused to learn to type. I knew I didn't want to go into business on pure instinct, I guess. I needed a major and art appealed to me the most."
For Corbin, the artistic endeavor could not be separated from one's political and religious consciousness. She considered the work of the artist to be "a real struggle to bring some kind of form and feeling out of the materials one uses and the society one lives in."
Corbin's society included the natural world as well as the poor. Both were frequent subjects of her illustrations. Her etchings and pen and ink drawings of trees, flowers and birds have been described as lyrical celebrations of nature. Her figurative work has been likened to that of German painter, printer and sculptor Kathe Kollwitz.
Unassuming in demeanor, Corbin was a prolific artist. Over the course of her life, she produced a voluminous and expansive body of work that explored a variety of styles and subject matter. Much of this art was created while Corbin was living in pacifist collectives and raising children. She donated a lot of her work and later said, "In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have given away so much to people who could pay for it. It's not fair to other artists for me to work entirely for free."
Her artwork enjoyed wide-ranging publication. Corbin's images appeared in Commonweal, Harvard Theological Review, several pacifist magazines and numerous Catholic and liturgical publications. She illustrated books, including Thomas Merton's Ishi Means Man, painted a mural in Chicago and annually produced Christmas cards and a calendar.
But Corbin is best known for her countless contributions to The Catholic Worker newspaper first published in New York in 1933. She, along with liturgical artist Ade Bethune and illustrator Fritz Eichenberg, formed what one editor of The Catholic Worker referred to as the "Holy Trinity" of artists whose work shaped the look and feel of the newspaper during its formative years.
Her now-famous etching contrasting the Works of War with the Works of Mercy was emblematic of the Catholic Worker movement's commitment to Christian pacifism and solidarity with the poor. It has been reproduced in Catholic Worker journals all over the country.
Editors described her as a most agreeable and responsive artist, able to produce images in a timely manner.
"If we said we needed something for the newspaper, Rita would do it. She understood the importance of the work," said Patrick Jordan, a former editor of The Catholic Worker and now managing editor of Commonweal.
Jordan said Corbin "had a way of picturing the poor that was obvious it wasn't from afar. ... There was one picture she drew of a woman at the [Catholic Worker] soup kitchen standing beside a dining room table where someone had scrawled, 'Joy, Joy, Joy.' Rita caught that detail. For a journal that didn't use photographs, she conveyed a great deal with a certain clarity that worked very well for a newspaper."
Writer and publisher Robert Ellsberg, who edited The Catholic Worker in the late 1970s, praised Corbin's regard for the natural world.
"A lot of the famous Catholic Worker artists like Bethune and Eichenberg brought a heavy, narrative approach to the paper," he said. "Rita always brought a more celebratory and decorative approach that came out of the [Catholic Worker] farming communities. Her images from nature reflected as much of a concrete dimension of the Catholic Worker movement as those depicting the Houses of Hospitality."
Indeed, Corbin said she considered some of her best art to be her drawings of nature and the poor, "those on the fringes of society, the same kinds of people Christ came to heal and teach."
Born May 21, 1930, in Indianapolis, Corbin was the youngest daughter of Carmen and Hubert Ham. The family was very poor and traveled throughout the country while Hubert Ham, an organist, played for magic shows.
After graduating from Cathedral High School, Corbin remained in New York to pursue training in art. She was awarded a scholarship to Franklin School of Professional Art, a three-year advertising school, then later studied with Hans Hoffman, a master of abstract expressionism. She also took classes at the Arts Student League of New York City.
But Corbin said much of her artistic education came from wandering through New York's galleries and parks, simply observing.
Upon graduating from advertising school, Corbin was offered a job at an agency, which she declined. When later asked if she regretted refusing a potentially lucrative career, Corbin said, "What I do is kind of commercial, but I have control. I consider myself an artist illustrator, not a fine artist, not a commercial artist."
Corbin first visited the New York Catholic Worker on New Year's Day in 1950. Like many before her, she was immediately recruited to help in the kitchen. She made friends with the Catholic Workers and kept coming back to their home on the Lower East Side to attend Friday night meetings, bake bread, serve soup, support a strike or demonstrate against the city's civil defense drills.
"The Catholic Worker was my school, my education," she once said.
The Catholic Worker first published Corbin's art in 1954. Two years later she married Marty Corbin, a Catholic intellectual. For 10 years, the couple lived in Glen Gardner, N.J., in an intentional community founded by pacifist Dave Dellinger.
As artist and writer, the Corbins contributed to Liberation, a radical, pacifist monthly. Conditions in Glen Gardner were very tough. The Corbins lived in an un-insulated chicken coop. Their firstborn, a son, died in infancy, the first of many losses in Corbin's life. Three daughters were also born in Glen Gardner.
In the mid-'60s, the family moved to the Catholic Worker farm at Tivoli, N.Y. Marty Corbin edited The Catholic Worker. A son and another daughter were born.
After spending 10 years at Tivoli, the Corbins relocated to Montreal, where Marty taught English at a local college. Rita separated from her husband four years later, and with her children, moved back to the United States. She lived in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., then Weston, Vt., where she became art director of Growth Associates publishers, then Worcester, Mass., where she studied printmaking with artist activist Tom Lewis.
At the time of her death, Corbin was living in Brattleboro, Vt., near her five children and grandchildren.
Once asked what advice she would give to young artists, Corbin said, "Keep working at it. It doesn't come easy. It's very fulfilling. A lot of young people think in terms of jobs and not vocations. It's very schizophrenic."
Rita Corbin poses for a photo in 2008 at the 75th anniversary celebration of the Catholic Worker movement in Worcester, Mass. (Photo courtesy of Bob Fitch)
Claire Schaeffer-Duffy is a longtime NCR contributor. She writes from Worcester, Mass., where she lives and works at the Ss. Francis and Therese Catholic Worker.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
~ THEODORE ENSLIN
To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will task the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem. It requires a training such as the athletes underwent, the steady intention almost of the whole life to this object. Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written.
HENRY DAVID THOREAU
Friday, November 25, 2011
"The horses run around, their feet
are on the ground." In my headlights
there are nine running down the highway,
clack-clacking in the night, swerving
and drifting, some floating down the ditch,
two grays, the rest colorless in the dark.
What can I do for them? Nothing, night
is swallowing all of us, the fences
on each side have us trapped,
the fences tight to the ditches. Suddenly they turn.
I stop. They come back toward me,
my window open to the glorious smell of horses.
I'm asking the gods to see them home.
Songs of Unreason
(Copper Canyon Press, 2011)
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Look at those smiles!
I'm not content at listening to a mob being pissed off. I've been listening to that for six decades. It's nowhere. Pick up the ax, build your home.
Is it really going to come to a vast and powerful minority of 1% that is going to control by police state (watch Occupy videos for prime example, or in Cairo, Greece, China, Tibet, Africa, Syria et al) how we ride our wobbly (think bicycle) but beautiful country down the road? Really? This one-percent is mighty mighty because they thoroughly believe in what they own: money, land, companies, people. What do you believe? They love to keep us drugged on commodity and fear. I'm not about to buy outrageous Rolling Stone tickets when I can walk into a music store and find this song-blast coming my way c/o of a free-thinker youngster behind the counter nodding to the music and to me with a grin. This is what free is all about. Zero cost. Float awhile while you rest. I think we can be hard workers and love and be insurmountable. I really do. And brush aside a one-percent. It means showing the cops (who are now robbers) and the armies (mercenaries) they're bought and working for a no end. Their families, too. Everyone is as frightened as you are. Throw out the dead flowers; plant, grow, cut some new.
By the way, we came home and played Sticky Fingers. Loud. It's even better curling through the house with all the lights out. Be brave.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
a partial list of Ted's books:
- The Work Proposed (1958)
- The Place Where I Am Standing: Poems (1964)
- This Do (1966)
- To Come, To Have Become: Poems 1961-66 (1966)
- New Sharon's Prospect & Journals (1966/1967)
- The Four Temperaments (1966)
- Characters in Certain Places (1967)
- The Diabelli Variations, and Other Poems (1967)
- Agreement and Back: Sequences (1969)
- Forms 1-5 (1970-1974)
- Views 1-7 Berkeley, CA: Maya (1970
- The Country of Our Consciousness (1971)
- Etudes (1972)
- Sitio (1973)
- The Swamp Fox (1973)
- Views (1973)
- With Light Reflected: Poems 1970-1972 (1973)
- The Mornings (1974)
- Fever Poems (1974)
- Of East Dennis: The Highlands in Sorrow (exact year not known: 197-?)
- Mahler (1975)
- Ländler (1975)
- The Median Flow: Poems 1943-1973 (1975)
- Synthesis 1-24 (1975)
- The July Book (1976)
- The Further Regions (1976)
- Carmina (1976)
- Papers (1976)
- Assensions (1977)
- Ranger CXXII & CXXVIII (1977)
- Circles (1977)
- Concentrations (1977)
- Ranger (2 vols. 1978 corrected edition 1980)
- Tailings (1978)
- Occurrence: An Issue of Theodore Enslin (1978)
- 16 Blossoms in February (1978)
- May Fault (1979)
- Opus 31, no. 3 (1979)
- 2 Plus 12 (1979)
- The Fifth Direction (1980)
- The Flare of Beginning Is in November (1980)
- Star Anise (1980)
- Two Geese: Two Poems (1980)
- Madrigal (ca. 1980)
- In Duo Concertante (1981)
- Axes 52 (1981)
- Markings (1981)
- Processionals (1981)
- September’s Bonfire (1981)
- “F. P.” (1982)
- Meditations on Varied Grounds (1982)
- A Man in Stir (1983)
- Gray Days (1984)
- Songs w/out Words (1984)
- The Weather Within (1985)
- For Mr. Walters: Master Mechanic (1985)
- The Path Between (1986)
- The Waking of the Eye (1986)
- Case Book (1987)
- Six Pavannes (1987)
- Love and Science (1990)
- Little Wandering Flake of Snow (1991)
- Mad Songs (1995)
- Conversations (1998)
- Sequentiae (1999)
- Then and Now: Selected Poems, 1943-1993 (1999)
- In Tandem (2003)
- Nine (2004)
- I, Benjamin (2010)
the saddest news just now in via phone call from richard levasseur, one of Ted's closest friends, and mine. Few words but that the good man was gone last night (Sunday-Monday) in his sleep. Ted and I read our poems in public together as a twosome a few times, maybe the most memorable for me was at Melville's home Arrowhead in the Berkshires. Goodbye musician~poet of the seascoast & hills.
Photo courtesy Whit Griffin
Photo courtesy of Alison Enslin
Douglas Brinkley is one grand American mind. A historian at Rice University, Brinkley has plowed like a work horse in probably the widest range possible for one man: he is the authorized biographer of both Jack Kerouac and Rosa Parks, he has edited Kerouac's Journals, Ronald Reagan's Diaries, and published books on Henry Ford, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Hunter S. Thompson. Quite a crew.
Watch below Douglas Brinkley and others speak on the preservation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge against the monstrous odds of oil companies. Hang with it, Brinkley gets dissed (at roughly 31 minutes on the screen), by grumpy Republican disgrunts impatient with any conversation or meditation regarding preservation.
Imagine, this is an American congressman Rep. Don Young (Alaska), paid by taxpayers (including you, me and Mr. Brinkley) barking at Professor Brinkley by calling him "Professor Rice" from "Garbage University"(?) along with "elitist group", "ivory tower" et al. and demanding this guest on the panel "Be quiet".
Occupy the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
update April 22, 2012:
photo: vanity fair
arctic national wildlife refuge
Sunday, November 20, 2011
We read, save, he pays, and picks up. We make sure not one ad or inner sleeve coupon is lost and I detest those things. He loves those things. Differences can be a wonder. 62 degrees and it may be the last of the good old summer-feel days as winter makes a move in. The mind turns to jelly for a moment or two, despite all the hardship and struggle elsewhere going on. This is the sort of song that comes back to haunt, a song you can still hear in certain grocery store aisles. Gerry Rafferty is the one with the soft spoken voice, a Scotsman, who died this year of liver failure.
in some quiet little town
and forget about everything
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Pepper Sprayed ~ Elizabeth Nichols holding strong at Occupy Portland (Oregon)
Most recently this photo, which is quickly becoming an iconic image from the movement, has gone viral. It shows Occupy Portland protester Elizabeth Nichols getting hit directly in the face with pepper spray by Portland police. The shot was taken by Randy L. Rasmussen, a photographer for the Oregonian, during Thursday's protests.
The picture itself has been called a lot of things, but intriguingly enough, the most accurate description of how it was taken is that it was an accident. Ramussen explained in an interview with the Oregonian that he didn't even know he had captured the scene until he saw it appear on a computer screen when he returned to the office.
But Elizabeth Nichols, the woman being hit in the face with the spray, certainly knew what happened (though she didn't know it had been captured on film). Nichols won't soon forget the incident, regardless of the photo.
From the Oregonian:
Nichols said a policewoman jabbed her in the ribs with a baton and pressed it against her throat. That made her angry.
She yelled at the officer, saying she was being mistreated. That's when another officer shot her with pepper spray. A photo by The Oregonian's Randy L. Rasmussen, which flashed across social media websites, shows Nichols was sprayed from a few feet away.
"It felt like my face, ears and hands were on fire," she said.
UC Davis, California, November 18, 2011
UC Berkeley, California (Robert Hass):
Karl Slover, One of the Last Surviving ‘Oz’ Munchkins, Dies at 93
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: November 16, 2011
DUBLIN, Ga. (AP) — Karl Slover, one of the last surviving actors who played Munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz,” died on Tuesday in a central Georgia hospital. He was 93.
The cause was cardiopulmonary arrest, said the Laurens County deputy coroner, Nathan Stanley.
Mr. Slover was best known for playing the lead trumpeter in the Munchkins’ band, but he also played an Oz townsman and soldier, according to John Fricke, author of “100 Years of Oz.”
Long after the 4-foot-5 Mr. Slover retired, he appeared around the country at festivals and events related to “The Wizard of Oz.” He was one of seven Munchkins at the 2007 unveiling of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame dedicated to the film’s little people. Only 3 of the 124 actors playing Munchkins remain.
Mr. Slover was born Karl Kosiczky on Sept. 21, 1918, in what is now the Czech Republic.
“In those uninformed days his father tried witch doctor treatments to make him grow,” Mr. Fricke said. Young Karl was immersed in heated oil until his skin blistered and then attached to a stretching machine at a hospital, all in an attempt to make him taller. When he was 9, he was sold by his father to a traveling show in Europe, Mr. Fricke said.
Mr. Slover was paid $50 a week for “Oz” and told friends that Toto, Judy Garland’s canine co-star, made more money.
article: ny times
JOHNNY ANGEL ~
(Lee Pockriss, songwriter)
Thursday, November 17, 2011
"The top 1 percent of Americans possess a greater net worth than the entire bottom 90 percent, according to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute."
NOT TO BE CRUDE, BUT TO FACE THE CRUDE
First rule of thumb on the road to progress (further) is: Don't Shit Where You Sleep. I don't care if you are in the Marines, Occupy Wall Street (another Marines), coaching football, or camping out with me. Don't. All articles above and visuals concern themselves with how don't works and does work. Where it doesn't work affects civilization, just trust me on that. Or go read your history.
Sure there are bad eggs and dead-beats in the Occupy army, but the majority show a force, a glow, for something magnificent: camaraderie, heart, soul, and a dedication to their country and fellow brother and sister, which, by the way, is all about what the Marines are supposed to be about.
The Penn State scandal is the scandal of our time. The subject of sexual abuse is demoralizing and underground and everywhere, and the names and institution involved here showcases an American Pie story. The top of the mom & pop, white picket fence heap: college football, team play, leaders to trust, myriad of millions in annual profit, in the halls of education. It isn't in absolutely every school or church, thank goodness, but it is with us. There remain terrific teachers, coaches, priests, ministers, preachers, yet the evil is there and ruining. Far worse than any boogieman Terrorist. Sports radio, which I've been hanging with for the last few weeks listening, is turning in its conservative guy grave. Coach Joe Paterno of Penn State (a certain god) is having his name erased off the trophy and perhaps soon the building in his name — which is like taking Reagan's name off the airport. We go to war and push our children (many go from a sports salute to a military salute) to die or return disabled and crippled for life. We give them trillions of dollars in debt to take care of when we all pass away from our war chest bravado and endless infidelities. And for good measure, we rape and fuck them and their lives to kingdom come. Never ever again talk or preach to us about "the children" or "the village" you've burned to the ground. Don't.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Carson and Bob Arnold once upon a time out on the windy plains
let it go — that was our
WE LEFT WYOMING through West Yellowstone where Susan wanted a photograph in the town of two road signs indicating "Leaving Wyoming" and the other, "Welcome to Montana." We like the Wyoming sign because of the bronco rider who also appears on the license plate. We once had neighbors who took their first trip out west for two weeks hunting, and for the journey they bought a large used pickup truck topped off with a camper. Each year they headed west in the fall to hunt until there just wasn't any more space on their garage or over the doors of the house to nail up elk racks and various other horns. By that time horses and trailers were bought and the couple started to don rigid cowboy hats, and of course it was only a matter of time before they got sick of our partisan New England wooded valley and left for the west. We heard it was to Wyoming.
From West Yellowstone we were to drive that afternoon to Big Sky, Montana which didn't look more than fifty miles away. We decided on Big Sky since, after all, it was a nickname of sorts for Montana, plus it was the title of a once popular novel by A.B. Guthrie — who I didn't think lived in Big Sky — having him confused with Chet Huntley, who had. Choteau was the town Guthrie lived in, a town much farther north on Willow Creek. A friend told us once while traveling with his teenage son about a visit they made to A.B. Guthrie — totally unannounced, and according to this friend's report the writer and his wife were amiable, treating the two to a few hours of Montana hospitality. At that point in Guthrie's life, around 1980, he was past his prime in writing the distinguished historical novels of Montana and the west; the type of books that would star Kirk Douglas when made into a film by Howard Hawks. The type of book or film that is rarely read or watched anymore. By the time our friend knocked at Guthrie's door, he was publishing mystery entertainments like No Second Wind and was a specialist on small town Montana life, and I guess he was available to talk with.
As Guthrie was fading away in the eyes of many on the literary scene, Thomas McGuane was picking up, and like Guthrie he earned a bit of money in the film world with his screenplays. For awhile in the 1970s, McGuane single-handedly invented the modern western script — though his westerns might wrangle from the past or present, his interpretations of the west are upbeat and generally acquainted with Montana. My favorite film from a McGuane script is Tom Horn (and come to think of it: Missouri Breaks) which has everything to do with Wyoming and nothing with Montana but McGuane might have identified with the real life figure of Tom Horn especially played through the eyes of Steve McQueen. Not a great film, but McQueen is pokey enough and striking. In a McGuane script come wily unpredictable lines that A.B. Guthrie would never use, and in Guthrie's early novels are body and tenure that McGuane's followers think he has finally achieved in his succession of novels and short stories, plus a fine book of essays on sports — An Outside Chance — sport, like rodeo and flyfishing. In the books of A.B. Guthrie and Thomas McGuane you measure just how big, big sky Montana is.
Most readers are delighted to fall into the hands of Norman Maclean and his book A River Runs Through It. The secret of this book is its middle ground of Guthrie and McGuane, and most of us know by now it was written by a retired English professor with nearly unbearable patience and dexterity to the scribbled line. Maclean's boyhood, for anyone who read the book the year it came out, was then perfect for someone like Robert Redford to play one of the parts in the film — since like Redford, the storytelling is a little too finished. However, the idea lay fallow and Redford developed into the director of a film from the book. Now all these writers struck a chord with Hollywood, and for Norman Maclean the final product of his book resulted in a film appearing after his death. I'm not sure he would be the type to become excited about all the fanfare. You will know almost enough about a person on the decisions they make and the following book by Maclean: Young Men and Fire was again from Montana, though the subject wasn't as allegorical as boys and their fishing lines — this posthumous book was about smokejumpers — fourteen young men who lost their lives fighting a forest fire and revealing some truths about life and death. It would make a terrific film. It might be a film about westerners and not movie stars, and it could have a principal of young men, hardships, families and the livelihood of a wilderness. There would be no heroes, Paul Bunyans or crackpots as in the films made from Guthrie, McGuane and the first Maclean book — if it wanted to, it might be one of the few effective movies spun from Montana.
As we drive a nearly desolate road shared with tractor-trailer truck drivers steering like us through a course split of rainy fir trees I begin to wonder about other writers from this state, perhaps less popular, with none of their works, so far, engineered into films. We're already in Big Sky — population not much, and a few writers predictable to the area pop up: James Welch, William Kittredge and Ivan Doig; however these will do just fine, especially Doig whose book This House of Sky is, I believe, one of the finest memoirs ever written from Montana, or anywhere. I can say nothing more than the book was written as powerfully as religion and love. A writer could compose this one book in a life and perhaps be content. I wouldn't think again about Ivan Doig and his first rate book after leaving Big Sky — it turns out there isn't a whole lot around the town in the off-season and we have to think further about a ride to Bozeman.
Gulfed in mountain ranges, dark is coming on. What were supposed to be cabins for rent clumped by a river look damp and boarded up. We start to laugh when we think how we left that morning from Salt Lake City, drove to the Tetons through the rime of Yellowstone and are now in a convenience store at a Big Sky road junction with maybe forty-five miles to Bozeman. In the store we buy three hotdogs turning on a heated tray. The only other customers in the store are two teenage sweethearts with nowhere to go, but they're familiar with the owner of the place telling us after we ask for mustard and how far is Bozeman, that she just moved here from Kentucky two weeks ago with her husband, a state trooper, but she had a job once as a hair dresser. If the new business gets off the ground she wants to open a beauty parlor. She was the spitting image of Southern benevolence. All of this on a high road to the sky, and maybe only in Montana.
~ Bob Arnold, from American Train Letters
(Coyote Books, 1995)
photos © susan arnold