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April 2019
Vol. IX, No. 4

April 2019

“Even this late it happens: the coming of love, the coming of light. You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves, stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows, sending up warm bouquets of air. Even this late the bones of the body shine and tomorrow’s dust flares into breath.―from “The Late Hour, By Mark Strand

“Self Portrait,” by Elizabeth Nourse, 1892. (American Federation of Arts.)

“Self Portrait,” by Elizabeth Nourse, 1892. (American Federation of Arts.)

“Woman with a Harp,” by Elizabeth Nourse, 1887. (Cincinnati Art Museum.)

“Woman with a Harp,” by Elizabeth Nourse, 1887. (Cincinnati Art Museum.)

Its April, and our columnists are musing on love and extinction; extinction and love. (Their editor here, having read all 16 of them long before you, Dear Readers, called to mind while editing their April work that great sequence at the end of Woody Allens Love and Death when Boris frolics, to the music of Prokofiev, with the immense, draped-in-sheets Grim Reaper.) Every month, I am astonished anew by the fecundity of our writers and artists who, despite their varied and idiosyncratic refractions, seem to see and reflect back just two things, and two big things: love and light; light and love. Embrace the love and the light with me here this spring!

About the artist featured here this April: Elizabeth Nourse, Cincinnatis most eminent woman artist, went to Paris in 1887 when she was 28 years old, and lived there until her death in 1938. During her career, she achieved all the honors to which an expatriate artist could aspire. She was the first American woman elected a member of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts (hereafter, the New Salon) when the Salon, the annual exhibition of contemporary art held each in Paris, was the primary showcase for international artists. Nourse also won many awards in the international expositions of the time, in Chicago, Nashville, Paris, St. Louis, and San Francisco. As a final accolade, the French government bought her painting, Les violets clos, in 1910 for its collection of contemporary art at the Musée du Luxembourg to hang with the work of such artists as Whistler, Winslow Homer, and Sargent. Despite such recognition during the productive years of her career, Elizabeth Nourse and her work were soon largely forgotten. Only in recent years have collectors and curators begun to demonstrate a significant interest in her work. The rediscovery culminated in the opening of a major retrospective at the National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC, on January 13, 1983, and the simultaneous publication of a lavish catalogue raisonné by the Smithsonian Institution. The exhibition, with the title Elizabeth Nourse, 1859-1938, a Salon Career, displayed 104 oils, watercolors, pastels, and drawings and included portraits of women working, mother and child scenes, landscapes, and genre paintings.”—By Mary Alice Heckin Burke

Welcome to the 2016 Glass Blown Open.

The Glass Blown Open.

Won Over By Reality

“My GBO Moment. It’s Disc Golf. It’s a Thing.By Tim Bayer

BRIGHTON New York(Weekly Hubris)—April  2019—In 2016, I was relatively new to disc golf; it was the start of my 4th year of playing. In April, I drove from Brighton, New York to Emporia, Kansas, to join more than a thousand other players in the world’s largest disc golf tournament, the Glass Blown Open. On one morning, I happened to be on the same card with a professional disc golfer who was ranked No. 9 in the world. I was playing well. I was in the lead. This was my GBO moment. (Read more . . .)

Church of Aghios Nikolaos, Spetses, Greece.

Aghios Nikolaos, Spetses.

Eating Well Is The Best Revenge

“Happy Lent!By Diana Farr Louis 

ATHENS Greece—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2019—I’m writing just after the last weekend of Carnival in Greece, which comes to a close not with an Ash Wednesday but with a Clean Monday. This gives Greeks three days on which to celebrate rather than just a single Fat Tuesday. And it seems to me that, despite all the parades and pranks of Carnival, what people love best are the foods and customs of the beginning of Lent. Clean Monday (Kathara Deftera) has nothing to do with Ash Wednesday, though it is often referred to as Ash Monday. Solemnity, smudged foreheads, penitence, even church have no place in the Greek Orthodox schedule of events. Instead, it’s an occasion for Greeks to head for the countryside with their kites and an elaborate picnic. But even if they stay at home, it’s a day that is dedicated to feasting. (Read more . . .)

Tableau Vivant, about 1912.

Tableau Vivant, about 1912.

Small Things Recollected

“In the Image of the Beloveds, By Dr. William Ramp

LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA Canada—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2019—This is the third in a series of reflections on the meanings granted by encounters with old photographs. Some of my meditations are anchored in inscriptions or labels, or in shared memory. Some respond instead to an apparent lack of information; to orphaned, ambiguous, or ghostly images. In my last column, I said I would present the present batch with minimal commentary, allowing you to form and consider your own impressions. Instead, I confess to having chosen images to fit the general theme of this issue of Weekly Hubris, the greening (again) of love. Having thematized them, I couldn’t resist the urge to comment on some, impressionistically and at length. Read and appreciate the commentary for what it is and however far it takes you. Beyond that, please do feel free to read these images against the grain of the words given with them. Read them in light of your own responsive impressions, and then perhaps also against your own grain. See what you come up with. (Read more . . .)

The poet Ed Madden.

The poet Ed Madden.

Speculative Friction

“The Poetry of Ed Madden,By Claire Bateman

GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2019—Ed Madden is a professor of English and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina. He is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Ark, a memoir in poetry about his father’s last months in home hospice care. His poems have appeared in “Crazyhorse,” “Prairie Schooner,” and other journals, as well the recent anthology “Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry.” In 2015 he was named the poet laureate of the City of Columbia, South Carolina. (Read more . . .)

Clicks & Relativity

“Musings on Knots & Not(s),” By Chiara-Sophia Coyle

OAKLAND California—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2019—As an introduction to an upcoming sharing of one of my favorite themes “The Greek Blue,” today I share with you some imagery and thoughts on knots. What’s in a knot? Skill, certainly. And it doesn’t have to be a Gordian knot to demonstrate complexity in the “tying” or the mastery achieved over time. The term “Gordian knot,” frequently used as a metaphor for challenges faced in a particular situation, is one we may be familiar with, yet more straightforward knots carry their own messages and deserve their own space. Nothing is ever as simple as it appears. (Read more . . .)

Addison

“April’s Toons,” By Mark Addison Kershaw

ATLANTA Georgia—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2019—This April, Addison, when not wandering around a suburban lake in Georgia, photographing wildlife (well, turtles and birds, mostly), attended by his canine companion, has been attending to my, your, and his contemporaries, who are currently playing catch with their offspring, gardening, and offering their spouses compassionate criticism. (Read more . . .)

Happiness-by-Worm.

Happiness-by-Worm.

On The Other Hand

“There Will Be No Worms in Gilead,By Anita Sullivan

EUGENE Oregon—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2019—In March, pretty much all across the country, robins start showing up anywhere there is a bit of grass newly bared by melting snow and likely to be soggy enough to get a beak into. The birds simply appear from wherever they’ve been hanging out during the winter, moving in squadrons across any available green expanse, eager to resume their favorite diet of earthworms after a long winter of (ugh!) berries. Meticulously, these groups—(unlike geese, larks and crows, robins have yet to commandeer their own noun of venery. A bobbin of robins, perhaps? A fund? (Read more . . .)

Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970) with a group of children at Beacon High School. (Photo: Keystone/Getty Images, 1950.)

Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970).

Going Dark

“How We Live, How We Die,” By Dr. Guy McPherson

WESTCHESTER COUNTY New York—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2019—British philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote in 1950: “After ages during which the earth produced harmless trilobites and butterflies, evolution progressed to the point at which it generated Neros, Genghis Khans, and Hitlers. This, however, is a passing nightmare; in time the earth will become again incapable of supporting life, and peace will return.” Despite Russell’s prescient words, every day I read about human hubris, rooted in industrial civilization. We have convinced ourselves that we are stunningly special, as individuals, as members of industrial civilization, and as a species. We are special, at each of these levels, as I have frequently pointed out. (Read more . . .)

The Joads: Ma, Rose of Sharon, and Tom. (In John Ford’s 1940 film of Steinbeck’s novel.)

The Joads: Ma, Rose of Sharon, and Tom.

Wing + Prayer

“The Grapes of Grace: Matthew 21: 33-46,” By The Rev. Robin White

LAKE HARTWELL South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2019—Like many American high school students, I was assigned John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, and both loved and loathed it. The violence, the injustices, the human cruelty, tore at my heart while, at the same time, the glimpse of grace and hope in the novel filled it. The beginning of the story is haunting and apocalyptic, with its descriptions of the sun-parched earth of a late summer’s day in Oklahoma, where the crops are withering and where gentle breezes blow up into fierce, dust-choked winds. Steinbeck’s rendering of the Dust Bowl leaves a reader as breathless as the Okies of the1930s. (Read more . . .)

“Le mal 'du pays,” by René Magritte.

Le mal du pays,” by René Magritte.

Pinhead Angel 

“Flights of Fancy,” By Burt Kempner

GAINESVILLE Florida—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2019—Have you ever . . ? Have you ever felt a deep pang of nostalgia for a person you’ve never met, a place you’ve never been to or an event that never happened? Have you ever been on a train as it slowed through a town, and made up stories about the people living in the houses you’re passing by? Have you refused to abandon your imaginary friends from childhood, except now you call them “characters”? Then you, Sir or Madam, are a writer, even if you never put pen to paper. (Read more . . .)

La vie en rose. (Photo by Lynn Kellan.)

La vie en rose.

Skip the B.S.

“Beer Goggles vs. Rose-Colored Glasses: Optimism,” By Skip Eisiminger

CLEMSON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2019―According to Mark Kurlansky, author of Milk! if I’d been breast-fed for a year instead of three days, I’d likely be two to three inches taller and more optimistic. At 6’ 4” and 210 pounds, I had a difficult time getting my students to speak; imagine if I’d been 6’ 7”. As for my optimism, I’ve always been an Apollonian sort of fellow; indeed, when teaching four sections of English 101, it’s a vocational requirement. Ironically, the shadow I cast affirmed my sunny existence. (Read more . . .)

The author (right) in college, 1967.

The author (right) in college, 1967.

Squibs & Blurbs

“Love is the Drug & the Drug is Love,” By Jerry Zimmerman

TEANECK New Jersey—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2019—My college years are now, suddenly, intertwined with LSD. It’s not what you think. I never took acid in my life, nor do I want to now. However, two fated events have slowly made their way through 50 years of unerringly focused travel, arriving at my doorstep almost simultaneously.  (Read more . . .)

Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Old Shanghai, where I was baptized.

Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Old Shanghai.

Waking Point

“Where People Like Me Point When We Say, “Home”,” By Helen Noakes

SAN FRANCISCO California—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2019—I can’t prove that I was born. There is no birth certificate recording my birth. It was lost somewhere in our escape from China. I can, however, prove that I’m a baptized Orthodox Christian. Since there was no Greek Orthodox Church in Shanghai, where I first drew breath, my family attended St. Nicholas Cathedral in Shanghai. I have two memories of that church. One in which I stood during the offertory dedicated to the remembrance of the dead, where my grandmother lit candles to commemorate the many members of our family who’d passed away. (Read more . . .)

Unusually large shadblow/serviceberry.

Unusually large shadblow/serviceberry.

Epicurus’ Porch

“Spring Has Blown!  By William A. Balk, Jr.

ELKO South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2019—Everywhere you turn, there’s another sign of spring’s exuberant arrival: sneaky peeks at emerging new foliage; buds on trees and shrubs; so many flowers have started to blow. Do you know that term as applied to flowers? To blow? It’s from Old English, and it means to bloom or to flower—and this botanical usage is the root of the term “full-blown.” There’s a beautiful small tree called Shadblow (Amalanchier arborea, or Serviceberry), which gets its name from its regularly blooming at the time of the shad runs in the rivers. (Read more . . .)

Quiet down with sunshine. (Photo by Annie Maffeo.)

Quiet down with sunshine.

Working Through Motherhood

“Sunshine Through the Rain,” By Annie Carroll Maffeo

BATAVIA Illinois—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2019—Ben came into this world in a storm. The day before I went into labor, it was 80 degrees and sunny out but, then, in classic Midwest style, the barometer and the temperature dropped drastically, bringing with it a 40-degree decline and rain. By the time we moved into our room post labor, it was cloudy and rainy and a blatant reminder that we lived in the Midwest in Chicago. It may seem like an old wives’ tale but, the day he was born, ten other women checked into the hospital and gave birth, which many seasoned and wise Labor and Delivery nurses would attribute to the drastic weather change. (Read more . . .)

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