Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Lusk’

poetry in action

November 24, 2009

For several days now on the way to work I’ve been driving past the little white sandwich board parked on the lawn of the Richmond library, near the sidewalk. This is all it said:

Poetry in Action
Nov. 23

I realized the reading must be one of the many events planned around the Vermont Arts Council’s (much) larger statewide initiative, The Art of Action: Shaping Vermont’s Future Through Art.

I first heard about the project a little over a year ago, when there was a call-out for visual artists to apply to participate. That was around June 2008, if I recall. The finalists were announced last fall and then this past February the selections were made for the 10 artists who would receive the commissions to be part of The Art of Aciton. All of this taking place, keep in mind, against the backdrop of bank closures, the real estate market and credit crashes, and all of the other dark portents for the onset of the current recession. It was – and is – a bright, encouraging ray of hope that such an ambitious artistic vision could come to fruition at a time when much else in the world seemed to be withering.

The Art of Action is a large effort whose 100+ works have been divided into two concurrent statewide tours. One part of the exhibit opened in Rutland in mid-October and since then the two exhibits have visited Randolph, Montpelier, and Marlboro. The tour is well underway now with the current setup in Richmond, and further stops planned in South Burlington (starting on Dec. 5th), Middlebury, Barre and Winoski.

Tonight’s reading featured three local writers, expanding the creative exploration of the state’s future from the visual to the poetic arts. I didn’t have much of a chance to see the paintings before the reading began, so I’ll have to get back there and spend some time with the exhibit soon before it moves on. The poetry was outstanding, even if it more frequently spoke to past memories and experiences rather than ideas and reflections on the state’s future. In turn, Antonia Clark, Angela Patten, and Daniel Lusk shared their gifts of language in themes of home, grounding, and sense of place.

I’m not sure any one effort, however comprehensive, could hope to fully address the vast concept of “shaping Vermont’s future”. I’m hoping the Arts Council may come to the same conclusion and invite further artistic explorations of this kind, but in the meantime I’m planning on sticking around and finding ways to do that  myself as much as possible when the future gets here. It won’t be long now.

Here’s the complete Art of Action exhibit tour schedule.

well versed

October 17, 2009
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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