Sunday, April 29, 2007

Gists and Piths

Gists and Piths is a newish British poetry and poetics blogzine, which seems to lean towards the experimental. I haven't read the poetry on the site, but I enjoyed "Some thoughts on the mainstream" and the review of Daljit Nagra's book (which I also haven't read yet). Should be worth following this blog's development.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Brief Note on Translation, Politics and Art

Today's Guardian Review includes a reasonable piece by Jennie Erdal on literary translation. It has no especially profound insights to offer on the process/art/act of translation but is more concerned with the profile of translators and translation in the world of books in the UK (woeful, but improving slightly). However, I liked the final sentence:
"Translators let us see another way of life, other possibilities, other matters, other manners, increasing the understanding between nations far better than politicians."
This is a significant function not only of translation but of much art of whatever form.

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Little Respect

If you missed David Martin's recent exhibition at the RSA, don't despair, because there are images of the work from the show (including the "studio wall" collage) on his blog.

I managed to get along to the RSA for a quick visit just before the exhibition ended. What struck me about the work was its depth of colour and depth of seeing, by which I mean not least the respect I sense towards the people and places Dave encountered on his journey. That deep respect is not new in his painting--I remember it from his degree show about seven or eight years ago--but, by the time it came to his last but one show, it seemed to have dissipated somewhat. It was there in his previous exhibition, but the slightly alegorical nature of the work diluted it, so it's good to see it back in full force. That respect made it seem a timely, even essential, exhibition because there is too little visible in our culture that treats the middle east in such a manner.

Inform Yourself!

It's getting a bit close to the Scottish Parliament elections to be posting a link like this one, but a Scottish voter (or anyone, for that matter) interested in culture could do worse than look at the Scots Language Centre's election pages. They contain details of not only the parties'* policies on the Scots language, but their cultural policy proposals and commitments. The information is provided in English and in Scots.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rob For President

Rob A Mackenzie has been nominated for poet laureate of the blogosphere! Thing is, he says he doesn't want it, which is tough, 'cause I've never heard of the other nominees. I don't know much about what the accolade entails, either. First I heard of it was when Ron Silliman said his stint was now over, so at least one predecessor is hardly an insignificant name, which makes it all the more something to celebrate that Rob has been nominated.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Dark Matters

I managed to scoot up to the Ingleby Gallery on Thursday to catch Alison Watt's installation "Dark Light" on its last day. Her shift from white canvases to black is logical: a further step in the stripping down that is represented by her progression from full-blown portraits to paintings of fabric to paintings of purely white fabric. White is a combination of all the colours of the spectrum, so a move to black marks a removal of that underlying richness.

Thursday was, of course, Maundy Thursday, one of the days on which it is traditional in some Christian demoninations to hold a tenebrae service, in which the light in the church is gradually extinguished--another stripping back to black. The churches in Linlithgow held a joint tenebrae service on Good Friday, but experiencing Watt's piece was a tenebrae for one: standing in the cube waiting for the paintings to emerge from the dimness was highly contemplative, not unlike waiting for God to emerge from the gloom of prayer. It put me in mind of the closing stanza of Henry Vaughan's poem "The Night":

There is in God (some say)
A deep, but dazzling darkness; As men here
Say it is late and dusky, because they
See not all clear;
O for that night! where I in him
Might live invisible and dim.

Ecce Choco

David Taylor at Diary of an Arts Pastor has a very good post on the stoushie about the

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Cusp of Fame

Something else I had to miss because of Eilish's sense of timing was the opening of the new show by painter David Martin: "The Cusp of Change: A Journey Through the Middle East". This is Dave's RSA show of work arising out of his Salvesen scholarship. There's a lot of stuff from it appearing daily on his blog, so take a look. I hope to get down to the RSA before it finishes. I missed his last show entirely, even though I'd written poems to accompany some of the work.

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