A Masterful Story Of American Power – Errol Morris

The link below is an interview that the Huffington Post did with Morris about his film " The Unknown Known". Morris's balance and insight are striking; one feels in the presence of an explorer of human nature itself. http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/errol-morris-donald-rumsefeld-documentary-the-unkown-known/527972ff02a7601ab2000177   http://www.errolmorris.com

Special Human Powers – The Lotus Sutra – Fragments

This is a talk about special powers that people have without knowing it nor using them. This discussion is a transcript of a talk given by Shunryu Suzuki and the transcript  lacks fluidity but reflects the actual presentation style of Suzuki. The sutra story shows that through paying attention to what is in front of …

Grammars of Creation – George Steiner

"Beyond good and evil, beyond reason and social-ethical accountability, rages the drive to create, to engender form." Grammars of Creations George Steiner   Jackson Pollock - Untitled (Figure Composition), 1938-41. Colored pencils and graphite on paper  

Going To The Sun

The Stranger by Albert Camus - Impressions 1942 Prose that is crisp and spare and precise. Fragments of humanity that are turned this way and that to develop a character in time and place. Meursault is detached and self-sufficient. His social needs are minimal. He is authentic and sure of his senses and is comfortable …

An Island Neighbor – Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis

"The Haida believed both animals and people had souls, which were essentially the same. The bodies of different animals were merely their "canoes" and all were capable of assuming other forms at will; "or better, they possessed a human form, and assumed their other forms when consorting with men." The killer whales were believed to …

Richard Serra – Art Installations

I am posting two installations by the San Francisco installation artist Richard Serra. The first is a neon installation that accompanies a row of horse tacks. This image suggests the domination of the natural over technology and is calming in its repetition of natural forms. The second installation reflects Serra's traditional large scale work, however …

Czeslaw Milosz – The Angels – Polish Production

The video for the line spoken by Czeslaw Milosz. Production completed with the participation of students in the art school under the supervision of Monica Opole Nowojskiej. Content of the poem: Czeslaw Milosz - The Angels You deducted white robes, Wings and even the existence, However, I believe you, Messengers. Where on the left side …

Disorientation – The Eternal in the Moment.

Marek Zyga captures a classical elegance and mystery in his sculpted figures. Having viewed the forms we seek possession, perhaps obsession - we want to know more: the history, the story, the actions, when they breathe and move again. Background: Mr Zyga's studio is in Poland near the German and  Czech borders. He is exhibiting …

Gary Synder – A Curse

Volcano Woman - Wayne Young - Northwest Coast (Nisga’a / Haida) acrylic on paper 30" x 23" 2005 ----------------------------------------- He Who Hunted Birds in His Father's Village The Dimensions of a Haida Myth Gary Synder The Curse From the Foreward: "A curse on monocultural industrial civilization and its almost deified economic and political systems that compete, exploit, an …

David Ferry’s Beautiful Theft – Dan Chiasson

Poetry is innately related to theft. The lyre was invented, the Greeks tell us, by Hermes, who then gave the instrument to Apollo as compensation for stealing cattle. One reason people’s aversion to poetry sometimes passes over into strong annoyance, or even resentment, is that poems steal our very language out from under us and …

Sensing a Path

If genius is profuse, never ending - stuck in the middle of a work is - the wrong track, Genius is the track seen. Once seen it is impossible to keep from it. The superficial definitions, such as "genius is industry, genius is hard work, etc. " are nonsense. It is to see the track, …

Literary Estimations – Gore Vidal on Italo Calvino

Gore Vidal has always been highly intelligent, disciplined and cranky, and as this video shows, has left himself open to being dismantled due to his use of crude attacks on literary colleagues -  not only attacks, but outright belittlement. No one can relish the idea of going up against his sharp tongue. However, by doing …

Czeslaw Milosz – Biography – The Wilno Poet Under California Skies

Czeslaw Milosz - The Wilno Poet Under California Skies November 2012 It is not an anomaly to be transformed by the breadth and scope of the Northern California landscape. To stand on a mountain and look over the rocky shore and the expanse of the blue Pacific is a powerful sensation. While one's awe eventually …

Poem – Now It Is

Now It Is motions today are real,  and yet they house   potentialities   that are full.  They are not present   and yet the scent of them is.  it is the mystery of their  unfolding   that draws me in.

THE VEXING SIMPLICITY OF NEIL YOUNG – Alec Wilkinson

OCTOBER 17, 2012 THE VEXING SIMPLICITY OF NEIL YOUNG POSTED BY ALEC WILKINSON I was a little surprised when Neil Young published his memoir, “Waging Heavy Peace,” because he is the only artist I have ever encountered who is proud of not reading. Reading would distract him from writing songs, he once told me, meaning interfere …

Carmel Point – Robinson Jeffers Tor House

Carmel Point BY ROBINSON JEFFERS The extraordinary patience of things! This beautiful place defaced with a crop of suburban houses— How beautiful when we first beheld it, Unbroken field of poppy and lupin walled with clean cliffs; No intrusion but two or three horses pasturing, Or a few milch cows rubbing their flanks on the outcrop …

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Passion For Looking, Not Thinking

The following article shows the west meeting the east, particularly Jung and Frued meeting zen. Although the article does not mention Jung and especially Hillman they both demonstrated thoughout their writings that the image was dominant in our minds when it came to thinking, before the word. It is interesting that the internet is following …

The American – Henry James – A Critical Review

The American - Henry James

The American - Henry James

This novel is one of James's early works. We are reminded that he was educated in both Europe and America by tutors and private schools and then attended Harvard Law School briefly. He was a member of the American James dynasty, along with his brother William James the preeminent psychologist, begun by his father, Henry James, Sr., a Swedenborgian lecturer and writer. Henry James, Sr. was made independently wealthy by his father who worked real estate deals in upstate New York and was involved in the development of the Erie Canal project.

James was thirty-four when he wrote this novel and had been out of school for fifteen years. He lived in London at the time of its publication. He left America in 1875 to remain in Europe for the rest of his life.

It is a story of an American who travels to France to expand his life apart from business and finds and loses the woman that he sought with much effort and romance. The book is a character study, one that James holds up as representative of sturdy American stock.

Christopher Newman is a successful American business man in 1868, shortly after the end of the American Civil War. He conducts manufacturing and banking businesses in the United States ( at the time there are still several territories in the Rocky Mountain West) and presumably amasses his own wealth. He is in his mid-thirties when he departs for France.

Newman's travels lead him to Paris and he meets the French woman that fulfills his idea of a suitable mate: cultured, intelligent and beautiful. Newman sets out, therefore, to acquire her through marriage as James makes the relationship feel like a business transaction, albeit a very personal one.

Newman is the quintessential American - self-made, driven, polite, respectful and follows his own path. James shows in the closing pages that he is good too, not one to act out revenge such that the effects will destroy his opposer.

We are shown how an American behaves in a social setting giving value to personal desires and circumstances, contrasted with the French bluebloods, who ultimately respect heritage above all else, even money.

The novel's drama is developed in Newman's struggle and drive to woo Madame de Cintre and to overcome her domineering family. When he is very close to consummation, the plug is pulled and the family retracts its approval, sending Newman into a set of actions fraught with obstacles and French deceptions. The final obstacle is that Madame de Cintre elects to enter the monastic life to resolve the dual circumstances that her culture will not resolve: her desire to be Newman's wife and her desire to obey her mother.

Along the way we are shown the formality of French old world nobility including a dramatic pistol dual between two men to resolve an insult that appears trivial in its nature.

We are given the final impression that Newman is at peace with his personal resolutions to leave the family stew in its own juices only to be stirred to second thoughts by a friend who points out the notion that he has been beat at his own game and that is ultimately, very un-American in that the relationship is brought back into the realm of business and in business it is the deal that rocks.

While the James's rigid stylistic control over language is dated, the story line and characters are well developed.