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Month: December, 2012

Barbara Stanwyck/Gary Cooper‏ – “Ball of Fire”

Barbara Stanwyck has never been for me
a favourite, more testosterone mostly than
her leading men, but when a cousin asked
about a New Year’s Eve gift recommendation
for his wife, for whom she is a favourite, how
could I resist 
 
this perfect little treasure, Ball of Fire“, is
what I found, with Gary Cooper no less, who’s
always had testerone enough indeed for
everybody, even as an academic and
milquetoast grammarian
 
 she is a gangster’s moll  
 
the script is scintillating, he corrects someone’s
split infintives, not once but several times, how
could I not love it 
 
she was nominated for an Oscar in what appears
to have been, for its display of female icons, a tight
year, but for this movie Gary Cooper wasn’t even
mentioned  
 
he won the Oscar that year instead for Sergeant
York“, indisputably probably deserving it 
 
 
incidentally, Ball of Fire is a riff on Snow White 
and the Seven Dwarfs“, these reorganizations in
art are not uncommon nor unusual, fairy tales and
Biblical references for instance resound always
especially profoundly in reinvented updates
 
here Prince Charming is already living with the
dwarves, Snow White is at the very least scarlet,
but it all ends up the same, of course, utterly ever
charming 
 
 
have a happy, and prosperous, new year 
 
Richard
 
 
 
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“EDWARD HOPPER*” – Brice Maiurro‏

nighthawks.jpg!Blog

Nighthawks (1942)

Edward Hopper

___________

here‘s another gem from Brice Maiurro, of which
there are many, too many to daily share, I’d
sound like too much of an addled fan, or worse,
an unbridled sycophant, though soon that might
be already too late

I’ll commend you rather to his rich and growing
website, FLASHLIGHT CITY BLUES, ardently

the following poem ‘s to do with Edward Hopper,
remember Edward Hopper, for the sake of, nudge,
nudge, always revelatory comparison

EDWARD HOPPER*” is an ekphrastic poem

ekphrasis is poetry about art,
that’s where I got my formal start,
my poetry is still trying to sprout
wings under my perhaps too literal prose

Richard

______________

EDWARD HOPPER*

*based on the notes of American artist Edward Hopper and his wife Jo

Night
+ brilliant interior of
cheap restaurant.

Bright items:

cherry wood counter
+ tops of surrounding
stools; light on metal tanks
at rear right;

brilliant streak
of jade green tiles
3/4 across canvas-
at base of glass
window
curving around the
corner.

Light walls,

dull
yellow
ocre
door
into kitchen right.

Very good looking
blond boy
in white (coat, cap)
inside counter.

Girl in red blouse,

brown hair

eating sandwich.

Man night hawk
(beak)
in dark suit,
steel grey hat,
black band,
blue shirt (clean)
holding cigarette.

Other figure
dark
sinister
back-
at left.

Light side walk
outside
pale greenish.

Darkish red brick
house opposite.

Sign across
top of restaurant,
dark-
Phillies 5c cigar.

Picture of cigar.

Outside of shop dark,
green.

Note:
bit of bright
ceiling
inside shop

against dark of
outside street

-at edge
of stretch
of top
of window.

Brice Maiurro

Eva Cassidy‏

Eva Cassidy seems to have been an angel who
flew too close to the ground, maybe you have
even yourself known one or two of these, I
certainly have, and ever of course have been
for the inordinate grace so profoundly grateful,
despite the hardship, the anguish, of having
lost them
 
here she sings Somewhere Over The Rainbow“,
an inspirational perennial, and makes it fresh and
improbably again wonderful
 
here also however is her sad but instructive story
quality apparently reaches ever its intended level
 
 
may your new year be such that you may also
fly over the very rainbow that you dream of 
 
 
Richard
 
 
 

Beethoven piano sonata no 7, revisited‏

let me say a few words more about Beethoven’s
piano sonata no 7, opus 10, no 3, which I left in a
blur of other sonatas in my last set of opinions, it
is a wonder, and entirely worth a second visit, it
can neatly expose the new Romantic expression
midst the still Classical impositions
 
simply stated the elements of beat, tonality, and
repetition lay out the grid of Classical musical
composition, the blue print, like a house would
have a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and
variations on a communal social space 
 
Beethoven adheres to all of these elements but
does so eccentrically, beat itself is moderately
altered here and there, relaxed somewhat, mostly
at the end of musical phrases, an outcome
incidentally of the piano’s hold pedal, which
allows the reverberation of any note played
beyond its being played 
 
but you can nearly identify Beethoven by the
fact that he is always off the stated beat, which
is to say that his accent is always on the wrong
syllable, off what the time signature requires, the 
template along with key notations indicated
at
the front of each set of bars of a musical text
 
this is already a significant peculiarity, and
consistent, endemic, he is fundamentally out of
synch, innately rebellious, which makes for nervy,
edgy music, bristling and electric, electrifying  
 
none of it you can sing, though the tonalities are
still entirely melodic
 
 
as far as repetition is concerned, Beethoven is still
repeating religiously, albeit with extended, and
ever so complex, elaborations, leaving you awed
ever, might as well say soulfully levitated, and 
mesmerized
  
 
the first movement, the presto, for “very fast”, takes
place on hot coals, brisk and electric
 
the second movement, the enchanted largo e mesto,
“very slowly with sadness”, is not only in marked
contrast with the first, a required condition for any
new movement, though here rendered flagrantly
extreme, it also tests the limits of effective pace,
again an innovation of the new piano, this time
coming out, despite the absolutely funereal
constraints undertaken here, instead of stultifying  
unquestionably and incontrovertibly transcendental
 
in the last movement, the menuetto (allegro), a
(jaunty) minuet, his parentheses, after an equally
exuberant third, the rondo (allegro), a (jaunty), his
parentheses again, rondo, a musical form akin to
what a sonnet would be to a poem, you can already
hear intimations even of jazz in the free and easy
tickle of the ivories, casual, debonair and apparently
improvisational, like Gene Kelly himself in dance,
toes twinkling with fresh and candid effervescence
and exhilaration  
 
now how unClassical is that    
 
 
Richard 
 
 
 

Beethoven – piano sonata no 7 in D major, opus 10, no 3‏

when I first decided to explore Classical music
the field of course being so large it seemed
advisable to narrow my search, approach it 
methodically, I hadn’t had, nor since have had,
formal training, neither in the history nor in the
evaluation of music, apart from lessons in
flute and piano however extensive and
undistinguished those might’ve been it’s
been just me and my headphones ever and
my Walkman®, remember Walkman®s
 
but a world nevertheless opened up, and
bountifully, not this one, but the one I was
exploring
 
putting two things together and comparing
is at the root of any kind of knowledge, your
plant will grow profusely if you choose well
your soil, your soil is your avidity
 
I stirred in some Beethoven, already for me
question for being so highly revered by
succeeding generations, Nietzsche had
even made him out to be the template for
his superman, and I hadn’t got it yet
 
it seemed to me that a chronological
investigation, opus 1, then 2, then 3, would
be the manner in which to proceed for being
able to watch a genius grow, I couldn’t’ve 
chosen better  
 
the movement from Classical music to
Romantic rests on essentially his shoulders,
something I’d determined even then, and one
can watch, hear, its advance as Beethoven
moves from his early to middle to late periods,
it is like being there 
 
the early sonatas are trite to my mind, though
other informed people have disagreed, and
I am merely responding to my own aesthetic
impulses, but there you have it
 
they are academic, didactic, musically constricted,
to my mind, though they are full of evident personal
power, Beethoven bristles and burns through the
Classical chains that constrain him, through also
his own inexperience and emotional immaturity      
 
he kicks in splendidly however early enough with
a beautiful cello sonata, for cello and assumed
piano, his opus 5, no 1, in an apparently amateur
production here nevertheless utterly commendable,
but reaches total emancipation already by his
opus 10, after which he doesn’t  put a foot wrong,
but rather consistently inspirationally 
 
with the okay pieces you follow dutifully their
music, perhaps with even an encouraging smile,
with the great ones you’re simply irresistibly
carried away, drawn in, you alone can tell the
difference
 
as with art
 
as with poetry 
 
in the first case you wonder when it’ll finish,
in the second you don’t want it ever to end,
that’s your unmistakable cue, given that you’re
at least paying some attention
 
 
his opus 10, no 3 is irresistible at the hands
of Eric Zuber, precise and meticulous in his
rendering, but mostly electric, effervescent  
and exhilarating
 
and evidently also timeless
 
enjoy
 
 
Richard 
 
 
         cello sonata no 1, opus 5, no 1      
 
         sonata no 4, opus 7 
 
         sonata no 7, opus 10, no 3 
 
         for your ease of chronological comparison,
         if you follow the list and the opus numbers
 
 
 
 

a poem without words

 
poetry: when Beauty touches Truth, producing
                incandescent transcendence 
 
                and an inadvertent, and privileged, view
                of the sublime
 
                just click
 
 
Richard
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

“A Girl Named America” – Brice Maiurro‏

Brice Maiurro‘s A Girl Named America
does for America what Carl Sandburg‘s “
Chicago” did for Chicago

it becomes your picture, condensed and easy
to fit into your pocket, of then, Chicago, here,
America now

only a great poet can do that

wow

Richard

_______________________

A Girl Named America

we adopted this girl
from an orphanage in the middle of nowhere
and we named her america
and we made her america
and we made her pretty
we put her hair in curlers
and we dyed it blonde
we put her in a pink dress
and red rouge
we taught her how to walk in heels
and how to smile with vaseline on her teeth
we made her eyes blue
and we threw her out on stage

and she was our little princess
with her sparkling tiara
queen of this old beauty pageant
she juggled and she sang
and she twirled her baton
like the american flag

we taught her how to barely eat anything
we showed her how to fold her napkin
and to excuse herself from the table
we taught her to cross her legs like a lady
we never stopped teaching her how to win

and on the world stage, she smiled
and she danced and she sang and she smiled
and when she spoke, she spoke of charity
and freedom and she opened her arms
for the world to hug her

then she got older
and the world is cruel
and everyone got sick of her
saying the same scripted things
again and again
and she grew desperate for attention
she got naked on the silver screen
burnt herself into an edie sedgewick coma
made a million off her tragedy

she danced for dollars
thrown by old, rich, white, american men
she still smiled like marilyn
but she was dying where everyone could watch
she talked about the past like a drug she loved
she shot quick fixes into her fragile arms

meanwhile
her lovely bones turned to dust
her structure began to break
her knees cracked
and her backbone crumbled
while we yelled at her
to get out on stage
and dance like she used to

Brice Maiurro

__________________________

Chicago

Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Bareheaded,
Shoveling,
Wrecking,
Planning,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing!
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

Carl Sandburg

“A Visit from St. Nicholas” – Clement Clarke Moore / Henry Livingston, Jr.

                                        
                 Christmas Trio - Norman Rockwell
 
 
                                                             “Christmas Trio
 
                                                             Norman Rockwell
 
                                                                 _____________
 
 
 
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads,
And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap —
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer and Vixen,
“On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Donder and Blitzen;
“To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
“Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys — and St. Nicholas too:
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound:
He was dress’d all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnish’d with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys was flung on his back,
And he look’d like a peddler just opening his pack:
His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples: how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face, and a little round belly
That shook when he laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly:
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laugh’d when I saw him in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight —
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

how to read poems – Maiurro, Spiro Wagner

How to Read a Poem: Beginner’s Manual
by Pamela Spiro Wagner has been a model
of effective, which is to say inspiring, poetry
for me for a long while, calling out as it does
pretentiousness around verse, and having
verse mean something, something you can
understand and relate to, in a way that is
potent and beautiful, resonant, ever tolling,
extolling, stirring profoundly, like a
conscience, or an echo

but here is another voice that will not let you
pass it by, Brice Maiurro, and in more than
just one poem, How to Read My Poems
is a good place, however, to start

check out also his significant others

this man is incontrovertibly a poet, the very
voice of a generation, I believe, Brice Maiurro
is what presently, I think, is happening

a cardinal rule for me of aeshtetic consideration
is ever to juxtapose, be it art, music, poems –
these are all essentially conversations among
acolytes – in order to be able to consider
differences, it is in the interstices that the artist
flourishes, the personal, and telling, touches,
their foundational stories most often remain
the same

How to Read My Poems and How to Read
a Poem: Beginner’s Manual
are both equally
powerful exhortations, each resounding mightily
above the generally less compelling fray, read
them and listen to what they’re saying, they
are messengers, oracles, of nothing less than
harmony and compassion, better known
together as grace

Richard

________________________

How to Read My Poems

slink up
behind them
in the stale of
night
with a baseball bat
with nails
sticking out of the end
and bash them in the
head
like a zombie
terrorizing your childhood
home.

do not listen
to their
bullshit.

bitch back.

stomp
on their
toes.

poison
their drinking
water.

let the fucking
curse words shout
at their
stupid
fucking
faces like
unintentional spitwads

but don’t
talk
behind their backs.

my poems
keep their friends close,
but their enemies
even
closer

Brice Maiurro

____________________________

How to Read a Poem: Beginner’s Manual

First, forget everything you have learned,
that poetry is difficult,
that it cannot be appreciated by the likes of you,
with your high school equivalency diploma,
your steel-tipped boots,
or your white-collar misunderstandings.

Do not assume meanings hidden from you:
the best poems mean what they say and say it.

To read poetry requires only courage
enough to leap from the edge
and trust.

Treat a poem like dirt,
humus rich and heavy from the garden.
Later it will become the fat tomatoes
and golden squash piled high upon your kitchen table.

Poetry demands surrender,
language saying what is true,
doing holy things to the ordinary.

Read just one poem a day.
Someday a book of poems may open in your hands
like a daffodil offering its cup
to the sun.

When you can name five poets
without including Bob Dylan,
when you exceed your quota
and don’t even notice,
close this manual.

Congratulations.
You can now read poetry

Pamela Spiro Wagner

Evgeny Kissin – a bouquet of composers‏

midway in my considerations about music I
came to myself in a dark wood for the straight
way was lost, if I may paraphrase Dante for my
own purposes, I’d digressed to Elizabeth Barrett
Browning, Audrey Hepburnand others, and
forgot what I had been talking about with
respect to the development of music, but have
been wonderfully, and perhaps even karmically, 
put back on track by this correspondingly 
 
Evgeny Kissin had provided a resplendent
haven’t yet finished enjoying often, but
found among his other Internet offerings
 
 
at first I wondered about the Schubert/Liszt
connection in the written introduction to the
program, they’d been united by a forward
slash, implying that there’d been some kind
of cooperation, but I hadn’t ever heard of
those two ever meeting  
 
upon very little investigation however I found
out that Liszt had merely transcribed of course
some of the Schubert lieder, something which 
Liszt was wont to do, Liszt transcribed
everybody and everything, most famously all
of Beethoven’s symphonies, writing them
up for piano only, so that more remote areas
could also enjoy them, in often even there 
aristocratic salon settings
 
lieder are songs in German, a lied, a song,
works Schubert produced in astonishingly
great number
 
 
Liszt was paraphrasing Schubert for his own 
Lisztian purposes of course, artists do that, 
which is to say he was giving them much
more Lisztian fanfare and, not unwelcome,
I might add, extravagance, Schubert could
be pretty dry, I think, in his lieder,
uncharacteristically, even his fun ones, 
despite their being ever so eminently
 
 
und der Bach  from Die schöne Müllerin“, one
of his song cycles,Ständchen” from
Schwanengesang“, another cycle, Gretchen
 am Spinnrade“, and Erlkönigare all poems
of celebrated German poets Schubert set for
accompanied voice, and that Lizst, and Kissin,  
transform into something pretty special   
 
 
next on the program Schubert takes independent
flight with his wondrous “Wanderer” Fantasy,
opus 15, D760
 
 
a fantasy is not a sonata for having only one
movement, but note this fantasy goes through
all the motions of a sonata, fast, slow, fast, each
with its own structural contrasts, but without
any of the intervening pauses
 
so is a fantasy just a sonata without breaks, or is
a sonata just a fantasy with hiatuses, had the
sonata become a fantasy, had the fantasy
become a sonata, definitions were being
upended, then again that’s what revolutions
are about
 
before Beethoven this had been unheard of
when music hadn’t yet learned to actually talk,
mean something, Schubert, like Beethoven,
not only talks, not only narrates, as in for
 “Pastoral“,  nor either describes, as in
but actually speculates, ponders, moves 
metaphysically forward, in thrall to his
vagabond spirit much more than to his
wayward heart 
 
hence, incidentally, the more abstract, less
geographical, “Wanderer”, to compare with
for instance Liszt’s more panoramic
see also Caspar David Friedrich here for 
a close contemporary counterpart of his
in art
 
 
music has become no longer merely narration 
then but philosophy, it is finding its way like
the rest of us, and for the rest of us, to the
stars 
 
 
Bach then intervenes here with a Siciliana, a
Baroque composer in Kissin’s Romantic
clothing, but the shoe entirely fits, and
hauntingly, you’ll remember Bach was
composing for the harpsichord, which
had none of the piano’s resonance 
 
 
Brahms then returns us to a more abstruse
Romanticism, “7 Fantasies”, his opus 17,
pushes the limits of melodic continuity, you
can’t sing Brahms, you’re not even drawn to     
 
seven fantasies in one opus, incidentally,
suggests a sonata with seven movements,
with all of the permutations that have been  
suggested already for the fantasy I talked
about, it’s open season on sonatas, in
other words, and by extension their less
segmented fantasies  
 
it is the history of art 
 
 
the final piece is totally transcendent, some
incidental music from Glück, from his sublime
Orfeo ed Euridice“, one of my very favourite
operas, Orpheus approaches the Underworld
in order to retrieve his beloved bride, we are
about to enter the Elysian Fields, the actual,
original Champs Élysées, or Elysium, with
him, the moment is unforgettable
 
others have led us into the Underworld, most
notably Homer in the “Odyssey“, Virgil in the
Aeneid“, and of couse, somewhat more
recently but just, Dante in his Divine Comedy“,
even Bosch in his Garden of Earthly Delights”  
 
Glück is the one whose hereafter you won’t
not  remember  
 
 
Richard