On Wealth, Poverty, & Vermeer’s Light

Все картины Яна Вермеера 3

  • Is fifteen a big number? How about forty three? Or thirty six? How does one measure wealth? Or success?

Johannes Vermeer had fifteen children. He was forty three years old when he died. He produced relatively few paintings: some sources say thirty four, some — thirty six.

One of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age passed away in poverty leaving his family to deal with debts. In his work he frequently used very expensive pigments.

No one paints light like Johannes Vermeer.

If you want more, Essential Vermeer has pretty much got it all.

And if you’re still looking for poetic inspiration, here’s a magic word for you: grisaille. Isn’t it lovely?

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Image: The Milkmaid, Johannes Vermeer, c. 1660, Public Domain

 

 

 

 

 

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On June Poets & Friends We’ve Never Met

Landscape (Paysage)

Happy Birthday to my friend Janet whose poetry and photography never cease to amaze and delight. If you haven’t discovered Another Porch yet, stop by it today. And every day. Many happy returns!

  • Yesterday another special friend of mine had his birthday.

On June 6 Russia celebrated the 219th birthday of her greatest poet Alexander Pushkin (June 6, 1799–February 10, 1837). Here are just ten of all the countless reasons why Pushkin is great.

To me the incredible thing about Pushkin is that no matter what might come your way, whether you experience joy, sadness, or anything in between — turn to him, and you’ll find what you’re looking for.

His lines just pop up in my head, and I think, yes, that’s exactly what I needed to hear right now. Learning poetry by heart as part of the school curriculum sure has benefits. So does growing older.

Have you got the best friend you’ve never met? A favorite poet you “talk” to?

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Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Landscape (Paysage), 1916. Oil on canvas, Overall: 18 11/16 x 22 1/16 in. (47.5 x 56 cm). BF818. Public Domain.

 

A “Comment” on 2018 Met Gala Dating Back Sixty Five Years

Crucifixion with the Virgin, Saint John, and the Magdalene

  • ‘”Cardinal Timothy Dolan has defended the controversial 2018 Met Gala (“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”) as “a celebration of what we call the evangelization of culture.”

“I did not find the spirit of the evening to be offensive or blasphemous at all,” said the cardinal. 

  • ‘“Flesh-flashing” outfits adorned with Christian symbols’ — evangelization of culture?

“To take those symbols, hard won by the generations of artists and thinkers who built up Christendom on the foundations of the pagan world and reduce them to accesories to surgically-augmented body parts” — that’s not blasphemous? Not offensive?

  • The very word “imagination” in today’s predominantly secular world suggests a creation of the mind, an idealized poetic creation that has nothing to do with faith.

The Catholic imagination only really exists where it expresses, affirms, conforms to sacramental reality and dogmatic truth.

  • Maybe someday the celebrities that disgraced themselves at the Gala will come to understand the difference between Catholic imagination and its counterfeit.

What’s far more important is that people who should know the difference — permit, and promote the secularization of the Church.

Those who should be in the forefront of fighting for the Church and her values — choose instead to appease Hollywood elite.

  • ‘They err who say “the world is turning pagan again.” Would that it were! The truth is that we are falling into a much worse state.’ 

C.S. Lewis wrote this in March, 1953. And in September of the same year elaborated:

‘For no one returns from Christianity but into a worse state: the difference between  a pagan and apostate is the difference between and unmarried woman and an adulteress. For faith perfects nature but faith lost corrupts nature. Therefore many men of our time have lost not only the supernatural light but also the natural light which pagans possessed.’ (from The Latin Letters of C.S. Lewis: C.S. Lewis and Don Giovanni Calabria)

Sixty five years later we are still in dire need of light.

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Image: Gerard David. Crucifixion with the Virgin, Saint John, and the Magdalene, c. 1485. Oil on panel, Overall: 25 7/8 x 16 5/8 in. (65.7 x 42.2 cm). BF123. Public Domain.

 

 

 

 

Happy Medium: How to Become a Medium Author

Landscape (Paysage)

  • Want to write for Medium, but don’t know how to go about it?

A detailed tutorial from Indies Unlimited will help you get started.

  • Although Medium allows you to import already published blog posts, bear in mind that Medium is not the same as, say, WordPress.

You might find yourself writing different content for these two platforms.

  • Note: The posts I’ve linked to have important info in the comment threads as well. Don’t forget to check out the comments.

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Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Landscape (Paysage), c. 1917. Oil on canvas, Overall: 10 7/8 x 16 in. (27.6 x 40.6 cm). BF4. Public Domain.

 

“Cocky” Is Taken, What’s Next?

Landscape with Woman Gardening (Paysage et femme jardinant)

Merriam-Webster’s definition of cocky

1 : boldly or brashly self-confident
2 : jaunty

It’s ironic that author Faleena Hopkins chose to trademark this particular word. Not “nice” or “humble”, for instance, but “cocky”.
The very fact that one can register a trademark for a word is incomprehensible, but here we are: if you write in the field of romance, you better choose your words carefully now.
No matter what else might happen with #Cockygate one thing is clear: it pays off to be humble and nice. And if you’re “boldly or brashly self-confident” — you’ll reap trouble.
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Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Landscape with Woman Gardening (Paysage et femme jardinant), c. 1896. Oil on canvas (later mounted to fiberboard), Overall: 18 1/8 x 21 5/8 in. (46 x 55 cm). BF884. Public Domain. 

Can We Talk? or the Battle for Free Speech Is in Full Swing

Luncheon (Le Déjeuner)

  • “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.” — Linus

The majority of links I post are writing-related. Writing–like living, feeling, thinking–is inseparable from freedom. And this freedom is under attack.

However, no one is safe.

Adhere to the narrative, and you’ll be fine. Break a stereotype — you’ll be condemned. Your sexuality, race, gender won’t matter.

“Too many people of all persuasions act as though there are views, based on one’s perceived identity alone, that others must share. No matter what else might be said, that is an extraordinarily warped view of freedom.”

Fight for the right to write. The right to think, feel, live. Be brave.

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Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Luncheon (Le Déjeuner), 1875. Oil on canvas, Overall: 19 3/8 x 23 5/8 in. (49.2 x 60 cm). BF45. Public Domain.

 

Never Forget

Russians_bury_their_fallen._Kollaanjoki_15.-16.7._1944._Kollaanjoki_15_to_16.7._1944.

Great Patriotic War: June 22, 1941 — May 9, 1945.

26.6 million lives lost.*

Fallen

Lay them down in the fields of sweet barley and rye,
Let them pause just a bit till they’re ready to fly,

Do not bend over them, do not morn, do not weep,
Don’t disturb their short rest, let them sleep, let them sleep.

They will gather their strength, and together they’ll rise,
All like one they’ll take flight to the still paradise,

Where the children await, where the wives of their own
They’ll embrace at the gate, where the fields lie unmown.

 

© 2012 Sasha A. Palmer

*Some Russian politicians and journalists put the total number of losses in the war, both civilian and military, at over 40 million.

Image credit: Soviet soldiers burying their fallen. Public domain.

 

On Submission Fees & Publishers with Class (or without)

Glimmer Train header

  • Submission fees have their pros and cons. There’s a number of things to consider when deciding if it’s worth it to “pay to play”. One of them, maybe the one, is the goodness of a place you’re about to submit your work to. Here’s what I mean by goodness:

“I was just describing what my experience has been like to another writer I’ve been encouraging…explaining that you are honest, and a force for good, and that sets a tone that comes through in everything, and produces all its own evidence, as all good work being done out of love does, and that’s what makes Glimmer Train different. It’s the two of you, it’s personal, and it matters. There is no warmer home for writers than what you two have built. And I feel so fortunate to have found my home early, because it’s made such a difference, and by some strange magic, always when I’ve needed it the most.” — Gabe Herron

My work hasn’t appeared in Glimmer Train, but I still remember their rejection letter. It was personalized, honest, and encouraging — it felt like acceptance. It came from a publisher with class, a good publisher.

Glimmer Train New Writer Award is open. 1st place wins $2,500 and publication in Glimmer Train Stories! Deadline: 6/30. (The grace period for the Fiction Open and Very Short contests ends 5/10.)

  • Another reason to submit to Glimmer Train is that, sadly, after nearly thirty years it’s leaving. Being nice as they are, the two sisters who run it have given writers and subscribers plenty of notice. They’ll accept submissions for twelve more months.

Send your best work, pay a submission fee, and add Glimmer Train to the list of your publications! Good luck.

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image: Glimmer Train header

On Poetry Submissions & erbacce-press

Apples (Pommes)

  • When it comes to submitting poetry, five is a common number.

Sometimes the limit is three poems. Most journals will not read more than five poems per submission.

It is also common, if not standard, when formatting your submission to “type only one poem per page, even if your poem is very short.”

If the editors don’t mind seeing more than one poem on the same page, they’ll specify it in the guidelines.

  • However, sometimes they don’t.

When erbacce-press states they want five pages of poetry, they don’t want to see one short poem on a page. They want five completely filled pages, which is great, especially if you write short poems — it’s your chance to submit more of them. But…

Here’s how I found out about their preferences:

Alan Corkish (Dr. Alan Corkish MA MSc, poet, writer, publisher and reviewer who (together with Dr. Andrew Taylor MA) is the editor and owner of the erbacce poetry journal and of erbacce-press)
12:44 PM
to me
“Some advice to YOU; try actually READING what is said and stop being so arrogant as to presume guidelines apply to everyone else but don’t apply to you; to date we have 5000+ entries this year and not ONE has been so stupid as to presume 20 lines = 5 PAGES!”

  • “PLEASE do enter! There really is no catch; it’s entirely FREE!” erbacce-press site reads. Indeed, if Dr. Alan Corkish finds your IQ test results tolerable, you’ll probably be okay. So, if you consider yourself smart enough, go ahead and enter. As for me, I’ll pass.

My two cents: don’t get beguiled by the “no catch & entirely FREE!” slogans.

Research before you submit. Read the previous issues. Look up editors on social media, and see what they post. If it feels like a good fit — submit. If not — move on. Plenty of other opportunities out there.

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Image: Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Apples (Pommes), 1914. Oil on canvas, Overall: 7 1/16 x 12 3/8 in. (18 x 31.5 cm). BF55. Public Domain.

 

 

“Just listen, let it wash over you…”: Jeremy Irons on Narrating the Poems of T.S. Eliot

On hearing Jeremy Irons recite her late husband’s poetry, Valerie Eliot called the actor “today’s voice of Eliot.”

Jeremy Irons who recently narrated an audio book  “The Poems of T.S Eliot” talks to Stephanie Bastek of The American Scholar about the project.

  • How is driving a Lamborghini similar to understanding poetry?
  • What’s the reason Jeremy Irons listened to T.S. Eliot reading his own poetry?
  • How do you achieve a recording that’s got tremendous energy to it?

Find out. Don’t miss, it’s a delight. 

And if you are into reading poetry, rather than listening to it, here’s a different perspective on reading poetry out loud.

Finally, do you want to win a $25,800 fellowship?

  • Are you between 21 and 31 years of age?
  • Are you a US citizen, or do you reside in the US?
  • Do you write poetry?

Try your luck at Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships. Submissions are accepted until April 30, 2018. Hurry.

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image credit: T. S. Eliot in 1923, by Lady Ottoline Morrell, public domain