What happens when you cross the perfervid emotionalism of Edna St. Vincent Millay, she of the candle burning at both ends, with Charles Olson’s idea, distilled out of William Carlos Williams, of a projective verse imbued with “the breathing of the man who writes” (and I suppose it is very emphatically a man who writes the poetry that Olson had in mind)? You get John Wieners, one of the youngest exemplars of “The New American Poetry” as canonized by Donald Allen in 1960. Already at twenty-four, he was depicting himself on the verge of burnout, having “come to the last defense” — though in fact he’d keep writing beautifully for decades. Almost from the beginning, Wieners knew this: “The poem / does not lie to us.” Notice how different this statement would have been as “The poem / does not lie”; it might lie, but not “to us.” He writes, “We lie under its / law, alive in the glamour of this hour.” Yes, we lie, “dark people, who carry secrets / glassed in their eyes and hide words / under the roofs of their mouth.” His intense commitment to abjection is what separates Wieners from the poets he otherwise might have seen as his peers:
Now back to New York and The Turkish Baths
which I find no fun, tho Frank O’Hara does,
and Allen Ginsberg sits in his white pajamas
and dreams of men as I do—and thinks of fame
Wieners seems to accept what might have been an establishment view of O’Hara as too amusing and too amused by life to be a really serious poet, while Ginsberg by contrast takes himself altogether too seriously (in Wieners’ eyes) to face the misery of his position as a gay man in pre-Stonewall New York. Thinking about that sent me back to Bruce Boone’s 1979 essay on O’Hara, “Gay Language as Political Praxis,” in which O’Hara’s articulation of a position within a gay community is played off against Ginsburg’s way of distancing himself from the “fairy boys” with “no religion / but the old one of cocksuckers.” Wieners, who never stopped proclaiming himself the cocksucker, neither evades nor transcends the condemnation of the straight world, but demands it: “Damned and cursed before all the world / That is what I want to be.” Strange desire. And yet it kindles the “small fires / I burn in the memory of love.”
From 1968 to 1973, the Nihon Documentarist Union did radical documentary work in Japan. They made two films in Okinawa before, during, and after its reversion.
Every corner and crevice of Columbia University’s MFA Thesis show feels lived in, reflecting not just artists’ experience quarantining with their work, but also that of re-entering society.
Curated by Clare Dolan, this solo exhibition in Frenchtown, NJ contains new and unearthed paintings, sculptures, and prints selected from the organization’s 60-year history.
Sprawling across the Joshua Tree region, nine site-specific works consider the ways in which people have relocated to the desert, destroying what came before them, and cultivating new life.
The rendition could be a platform for essential conversations on sociohistorical and economic land rights issues.
Conversations with Leslie Barlow, Mary Griep, Alexa Horochowski, Joe Sinness, Melvin R. Smith, and Tetsuya Yamada will be accessible online or in person at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
The UK has long refused to return the contested sculptures, which were stripped from the Parthenon in the 1800s.
The National Gallery of Art launched a new artwork guessing game inspired by the super-popular Wordle.
Now on view in Pasadena, this exhibition explores how four artists challenged the limitations of gestural abstraction by exploiting the resonance of figural forms.
The union said that grass hedges were erected around the entrance, blocking the gala’s guests from seeing the protest outside.
The small New York art fair celebrated its 26th edition with the works of 11 women artists.
The artist couple shared creativity and mutual devotion reflecting a period of light and joy that came after considerable darkness in their early lives.