well versed

Dan Fogel with Jean-Pierre Roy's painting

Dan Fogel with Jean-Pierre Roy's painting

The current Firehouse Gallery exhibit “human = landscape” is one manifestation of  The Energy Project, a collaborative effort to explores the relationship between people and the world we live in: the natural world, and the landscape we’ve created to sustain and support ourselves.

So, what does that really mean.  

It means futuristic paintings of nature reclaiming the world, water and vines thriving in humanity’s ruined structures in the wake of some unnamed calamity (very “Logan’s Run” in their look and feel). It means discussions, installations, photographic essays and partnerships with other regional organizations to engage the community simultaneously on scientific and artistic levels.

This past Thursday night it also meant poetry.

Seven local and regional poets were invited to the second floor of the Firehouse to read their own work and share the verse of other poets on themes of natural phenomena, and human intervention in the natural world. The gathering was the inspiration of UVM President Dan Fogel, a poet, English literature scholar, and the husband of Firehouse board member Rachel Kahn-Fogel. His introduction to the event drew an elegant parallel between the Industrial Revolution and the writings of Romantic poets Keats, Shelley, Byron, Wordsworth and Coleridge. Later in the evening against the backdrop of a large dystopian Jean-Pierre Roy landscape, Fogel concluded his reading with Percy Shelley’s evocative Ode to the West Wind.

Other readings came from Irish poet Angela Patten; Antonello Borra (UVM Italian professor); Daniel Lusk; Isaac Cates (who began with an inspired reading of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73…see below); and UVM Spanish professor Tina Escaja in a dual presentation with translator Helen Wagg.

This isn’t the kind of event that’s conceived to present solutions or a thorough scientific examination of the topic at hand. But, as always with the artist’s special charge in the world to observe and interpret life’s offerings, the words and thoughts carefully shaped and shared in the human = landscape poetry reading provided something equally intellectual and certainly as meaningful as any technical discourse: perspective.

(The Human = Landscape exhibit is open through October 24th at Burlington’s Firehouse Gallery.)

~ ~ ~

Sonnet 73

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed, whereon it must expire,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.

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