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March 04, 2016


I love seeing these works of untrammeled imagination.

Beth, thanks for these powerful and stunning images. I hadn't heard of Marin and agree that his work is magnificent. I also share your concerns and have similar thoughts about the direction of my own work. Will be in touch with you by email soon.

This really resonates with me, because I think I've come to a similar place in my writing. If I am still going to write nature poetry from time to time, it must not have more than a whiff of the pastoral, that ecological lie based on a domesticator's vision of lion lying down with lamb. Life is dukkha. Humanity is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.

Glad you liked, Hattie - and I like that comment! Absolutely true.

Natalie, I look forward to hearing more from you on this subject, and I'm glad that Marin's work struck you the same way as it did me.

Thanks for commenting, Dave. I'm glad to hear that you're thinking along these same lines - do you think that being in a more urban environment during some of the time has changed/broadened your view?

And Dave, to answer my own question: For me, I think being in a relatively safe large-city environment removes that layer of insulation-for-personal-safety we might feel in New York or London or Mexico City and makes it more possible to just exist with all these thousands and thousands of other people from all over the world. And Mexico City is so raw that you can't hide from reality, no matter what. So those urban experiences over the past decade have definitely shaped my thinking, not so much about the environment and "the pastoral," as about my place and my responsibility in a world inhabited by other humans, most of whom have had a far more difficult time than I have. But I'm also a refugee of sorts; I left my country and have had to make a new life where I had no connections or built-in advantages, and actually am in a minority which is treated with a certain amount of disdain and hostility. I was always sympathetic to refugees because of J.'s family and history and because of friends we had in Vermont, but this has been a whole new first-hand wake-up.

In the work I do at Phoenicia it's easier to be intentional about what I publish and what our vision and purpose are. But how to respond to these things in my own work is somewhat trickier. I don't want to be politically strident, but I'm also determined to excise certain elements of "niceness" from my work. Interestingly, certain Zen poets who express the loneliness of the human in nature seem to strike a tone I can relate to, though. Where there is melancholy mixed with the awareness of beauty, that seems true. As Merton wrote: "holding the dark and the light together." It's the head-in-the-sand stuff that no longer works for me.

This is a beautiful piece on the artist's vocation, and the images (both Marin's work and the photos you make from them) are arresting. Thank you.

Can't respond now in any of the ways that this post deserves, but nodding and thinking and admiring. . .

Powerful images of Mexican art, thanks for these. Your thoughts on your artmaking resonate for me as well. And those feelings of being a newcomer in your new country, I have not forgotten even after many decades.

I find it sometimes a challenge for less sophisticated viewers to understand or appreciate works that are not just pretty or realistic. Some have even asked me why I don't paint flowers, sigh. But we do what our own hearts need, so onward with courage!

Interesting to see these images... And surely the artist's call is to a continual growth of the inner, making part of herself/himself. But it is grit that can make a pearl, layer by later.

"Why I don't paint flowers." Oh, I've had people suggest that I write a bestseller, and invoke names of people whose work I could not admire. It's just not relevant, is it? And hardly worth that sigh!

Ugh! "layer by layer," of course! But perhaps "layer by later" makes a kind of weird sense.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.