Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Art magic & "Requiem"

Tomb stone
"Angel in the Graveyard," courtesy of sxc.hu and Lesley Mackin
of Bournemouth, Dorset, UK.

One of the strange aspects to art is how it draws all things to its net--or so it feels to the maker.  All large works seem to have some sort of magnetic power to draw what is needed, but I suppose it is just simply that the world is full of many things, and when turning to a new pursuit, some suddenly stand out as if lit from below.  As I work on the text to Requiem, the collaborative piece to be done with composer Paul Digby and painter Lynn Digby, the world seems to offer the particular jog I need--a photograph of 11th century graves cut in stone and gilded by the sun, a certain poem by Cavafy, the frost on the windowpane... Too, this long sequence with its traditional structure reaches out to embrace the closing of two lives in the past two months--a suicide, a death from cancer--two events that meant so much not just to me but to the entire community where I now live. Small as a fleck or word or as large as a generous life:  each thing leaps into place. Perhaps it is as close to magic as I can come through words.

5 comments:

  1. cosmic serendipity, yes, I know the feeling....

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  2. Strange how it is always there--the world being so very rich...

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  3. Nothing is better at pulling things into focus as noticing them, Marly : )

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  4. Quite so!

    Sent you something just this instant, Mr. Tree, and here you are...

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  5. It is amazing how just the very thing one needs comes to hand when it is needed. All that is required is attention, which is the stuff of art, after all.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.