Friday, June 23, 2017

GORGÓS


"Gorgós (Dreadful)" by Troy's Work Table.

Mixed media on 24" x 36" concrete board. (Sidewalk chalk, chalk pastels, charcoal, plaster of Paris, tempera paint, charcoal pencil.)

From left to right: Euryale, Stheno, Medusa.

LEMNIAN ATHENA


"Lemnian Athena" by Troy's Work Table.

Sidewalk chalk, chalk pastels, charcoal, and charcoal pencil on 18" x 24" concrete board.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

ENTROPY of the IMPERIAL YOUTH


"Entropy of the Imperial Youth" by Troy's Work Table.

Watercolor and India ink on 9" x 12" watercolor paper.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

UNION OFFICERS



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Union officers flank the battlefield at the Civil War reenactment during Old Town Days of Union Gap, Washington.

Friday, June 16, 2017

XXX CANTOS


Wooden type at the Olde Yakima Letterpress Museum.

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"She is submarine, she is an octopus, she is / A biological process"

—from "Canto XXIX" by Ezra Pound

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(I'm intrigued by these lines, but even more so by the line break.)

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I've now completed the first 30 of the 120 Cantos of Ezra Pound.

With A Draft of XXX Cantos (1930) completed, I move on to Eleven New Cantos XXXI–XLI (1934).

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

IGNORANCE


"Keep your eyes on the mirror. / Prayed we to the Medusa, / petrifying the soil to the shield,"

—from "Canto XV" by Ezra Pound

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I have decided to read The Cantos by Ezra Pound. But I have decided to read it on its own terms, in the midst of my ignorance.

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It would be easy to find a guide to interpreting these poems and have everything of which I am unaware or need additional help identifying explained for me. But it would slow down my reading and not allow the poems to sing.

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Therefore, I simply read.

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I encounter English, colloquial English, Greek, Latin, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and transliterated Chinese. I know there are more languages to come.

I encounter references to mythology and history of which I am only vaguely familiar or unfamiliar, amidst stories that I do know.

I let all of it wash over me.

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I enjoy the song of the lines and lyrics, even if I do not always understand their references or meanings.

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At a later time, I will read The Cantos again, with a guide, in order that I can enjoy the poem with fuller knowledge of what Pound intends me to find within. But, for now, I dwell in my ignorance and let the poem speak to me where I am at, with what I know.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

UNIVERSAL HARVESTER


"Orlok, like the actor [Boris Karloff], is a surviving remnant of a bygone age; the monsters he played when he was younger and stronger have given way to the ongoing shocks of the late twentieth century, to atrocities of war and the isolation of modern life. There are new monsters now."

—page 20, Universal Harverster by John Darnielle

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John Darnielle is the singer-songwriter responsible for the band The Mountain Goats, and for most of it's musical history as the solo member. Now, Mr. Darnielle is also an author and Universal Harvester is his second novel.

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I went in with no expectations of what to find within these pages.

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The little I did know was that the main character was a twenty-something clerk in a mom-and-pop video store in Nevada, Iowas in those moments where videotape rentals were on the decline. The story takes place in the late 1990s. My experience as a teenage clerk in a mom-and-pop video store took place a decade earlier, but I found much here that was familiar.

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It doesn't take long for the familiar to give way to the strange, though. Small snippets of home video (?) are being reported by customers in the middle of movies they've rented. But how did these scenes get there?

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A reading note:

There is a slow build of creeping horror (and I'm only to page 42 (of 214)). This is Lovecraftian. Or Poe. Or The Blair Witch Project.

It shouldn't be as tense as it is at this point, mostly because so little has happened.

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And then:

Darnielle makes sure that he knows that you were going to refer to The Blair Witch Project at some point...

"'I don't know if either of you saw that Blair With Project but they had something like this on the internet.' Both nodded back." (page 76)

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There is more than one story line and they eventually melt together. The tension builds and then is left as we enter a new story line. The pattern starts again. But there is connective tissue to attach one story to another to another.

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This isn't cosmic horror (a la Lovecraft) after all, but, indeed, the new monster of "the isolation of modern life." The antidote in these tales is people having to deal with one another face to face, in the flesh.

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Recommended if you like literary fiction or "cerebral" horror.



Wednesday, June 07, 2017

THE CANTOS


My "new" hardcover copy of The Cantos by Ezra Pound.

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On Memorial Day weekend, I was perusing the shelves at King's Books when I happened upon this copy of The Cantos. It is in very good condition. Other than a minor tear on the spine of the book jacket, some fading on the jacket (due to being many decades old), and a handwritten inscription on the end papers, this book is hardly used. Also, it was reasonably priced.

What makes me nearly a moron is that I initially passed it up.

I didn't have any cash on me at the time. But as the week wore on, I kept wondering why I didn't grab this book off of the poetry shelf and bring it home with me. I rectified the problem by doing just that this evening.

I returned to King's Books, all the while offering up prayers that it would still be on the shelf, and once I saw it grabbed on to it and didn't let go until I purchased it and made it back to the car.

Now I'm letting Pound's language and lines wash over me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

GRASS


These stalks of grass are as thick as drinking straws and six to eight feet in height. I'm hiding in their midst during a break from work, watching birds.

Friday, June 02, 2017

ARTEMISION POSEIDON


"Artemision Poseidon" by Troy's Work Table.

Charcoal, sidewalk chalk, chalk pastels, and charcoal pencil on 12" x 12" concrete board.