Richibi’s Weblog

Just another weblog

Month: September, 2014

Pablo Picasso/Gertrude Stein

Pablo Picasso - "Untitled" (1923)

Untitled (1923)

Pablo Picasso


Gertrude Stein was a friend of Pablo Picasso,
you can see it in her prose, a disordering of
traditional practices, perspectives and

in loving repeating she writes

As I was saying loving repeating being is in a way earthly being. In some it is repeating that gives to them always a solid feeling of being. In some children there is more feeling and in repeating eating and playing, in some in story-telling and their feeling. More and more in living as growing young men and women and grown men and women and men and women in their middle living, more and more there comes to be in them differences in loving repeating in different kinds of men and women, there comes to be in some more and in some less loving repeating. Loving repeating in some is a going on always in them of earthly being, in some it is the way to completed understanding. Loving repeating then in some is their natural way of complete being. This is now some description of one.

Gertrude Stein


in my poetry course the Modernists keep on
coming, quite a few I’ve found impenetrable
and obtuse, I can see their points, but find
them pedantic and trivial

similar sentiments greeted the Impressionists
when they came out, so I’m watching myself

it’s easy to digest Picasso‘s painting now,
but even when I was a boy he was
controversial, now everyone admires him

Gertrude Stein not so much, writing is not

they are both, I believe, returning to the
language of innocence, putting together
their world as children do, getting their
information in overlapping concepts,
trying to make their way through the

a five-year-old would talk like that, a
five-year-old would paint like that,
both are sorting out their new world,
the world that had been so profoundly
disturbed, disjointed

they were returning to the disarray,
and consequent irregular grammar,
of children, making their own kind
of common sense, trying to get their
bearings, after all, even God had
died, see Nietzsche on that

and, for better or worse, finally,
they’ll leave you behind, the children,
whose world, then, is it worth attending


psst: as a boy I asked my dad, while
interminably, I thought, fishing,
how long it would take the
minnow to grow into the
required fish, how’s that for
not illogical observation

Bill and Flossie Williams

Arshile Gorky - "Hitler invades Poland" (1939)

Hitler Invades Poland (1939)

Arshile Gorky


it must be understood that World War l
changed everything, the old order,
orders, had been discredited, new
states were formed, territories allotted,
-isms proliferated, the arts had to, of
course, reflect that, and did, as many
-isms were hatched in the art world
as in the political world, indeed,
many more

which is why much of it at first
seems questionable, practitioners
were learning anew how to talk, paint,
make music, they were creating a new
conceptual universe to replace the one
that had been roundly discredited, the
one that had been around in the West
for the last two thousand years

therefore Schoenberg, therefore
Picasso, and therefore Finnegan’s
for instance

we’ve been studying American
Modernists in the classes on the
Internet I’m taking
, none of whom
I find interesting, and I’m, contrary
to all expectations, losing even my
early enthusiasm for the much too
thorny, I think, Emily Dickinson

but here’s another abstruse poet
that I like in this poem

though I much prefer his wife
Flossie’s sardonic reply
, which


This Is Just To Say (1934)

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

William Carlos Williams


Flossie’s Reply (1934)

Dear Bill: I’ve made a
couple of sandwiches for you.
In the ice-box you’ll find
blue-berries–a cup of grapefruit
a glass of cold coffee.

On the stove is the tea-pot
with enough tea leaves
for you to make tea if you
prefer–Just light the gas–
boil the water and put it in the tea

Plenty of bread in the bread-box
and butter and eggs–
I didn’t know just what to
make for you. Several people
called up about office hours–

See you later. Love. Floss.

Please switch off the telephone.

Florence Williams


go Florence, I say, but you can
see, of course, why I’d say that


the Argentinian tango‏

Jane and John

Jane and John


through the magic of the Internet, new
old friendships abound, with the click
of a connection I found the key to
erstwhile friends, who, it turns out,
are now ballroom dancers, pictured

can you dig it

she suggested an Argentinian tango I
might like

I am countering with another

meanwhile watch also what they’re
doing on Avenida Florida in Buenos
, where miracles, trust me,
, just click


psst: do try all of this at home

Ezra Pound “on the language of form and colour”‏

Wassily Kandinsky - "304"

304 (1910)

Wassily Kandinsky


in trying to explain the genesis of his poem,
In a Station of the Metro“, Ezra Pound

And so, when I came to read Kandinsky’s chapter on the language of form and colour, I found little that was new to me. I only felt that someone else understood what I understood, and had written it out very clearly. It seems quite natural to me that an artist should have just as much pleasure in an arrangement of planes or in a pattern of figures, as in painting portraits of fine ladies, or in portraying the Mother of God as the symbolists bid us.”

Pound is saying that playing at painting is
no different from playing an instrument or
playing a part in a play, art is about playing,
the artist has reached enough skill at his or
her craft, that he or she, however seriously,
is now playing

therefore Kandinsky, for instance

there remains, however, communication,
how much will one want to play, join in,
when the artist’s aim should be, I would
think, communication, have the
refinements become so inscrutable as to
become alienating, and contrary to art,
if not outright rubbish under an effete,
affected, gaze

what do you think


parsing art : “A Table of Desserts” – de Heem/Matisse‏

Jan Davidszoon de Heem - "A Table of Desserts" (1640)

A Table of Desserts (1640)

Jan Davidsz. de Heem


Henri Matisse - "Still Life after Jan- Davidsz de Heem's 'La desserte'"

Still Life after Jan Davidsz. de Heem’s ‘La desserte’(1915)

Henri Matisse


if Siudmak was a little too much like
Rousseau for my taste, then what
Matisse does to de Heem is just
right, though the blueprint is
identical the outcome is starkly
different and individual, Matisse
is evidently his own man

directors will do the same with
Shakespeare, for instance, or
Verdi, when they alter, or update,
the work’s time frame, giving it
more immediacy, a new life

not always however effectively,
we saw a Figaro in Dresden come
in on a motorcycle, we walked out
after the first act, though not
before my mom had fallen asleep
during the torpid arias

whose table of desserts above
would you like


what is a philosopher‏

Henri Martin - "Philosopher"


Henri Martin


considering the response below too
forthright for a discussion we were
having on a university course website,
interactively dealing with the question
of free will, I nevertheless found worthy
my opinion of what a philosopher is,
which I deign to mount here on my,
less discreet, canvas

if you’ll allow

it is evidently a dramatic monologue



what is a philosopher

you are not a philosopher, sir, to take
offence so quickly, a philosopher is
objective, and wouldn’t allow for
emotion to get in the way of even an
offensive argument

but with irrefutable logic simply
expose his, her sound position

indeterminacy would be encountered
with humility first, then grace, only
ever consummate deference

if you’ll allow



psst: see, for more on indeterminacy,
Socrates, ever catering to objections

ballin’ the Jack‏

 Leonora Carrington  - "Jack be Nnimble, Jack be Quick" (1970)

“Jack be Nnimble, Jack be Quick (1970)

Leonora Carrington


a friend writes about my most recent
parsing art – Rouseau/Siudmak entry

“You are so perceptive, Richard. How did you possibly remember these two very disparate paintings and realize (in your mind!!!) that they were so similar????
Encyclopedic visual memory?

Brilliant! Fun!



I answered

first I put my two knees close up tight,
I swayed them to the left and then I
swayed them to the right, I twisted
around the floor kind of nice and light,
and then I twisted around and twisted
around with all my might

it works every time, just click



Visconti’s Death in Venice‏

  William Turner -  "Venice Looking East from the Guidecca, Sunrise" (1819)

Venice Looking East from the Guidecca, Sunrise (1819)

William Turner


Death in Venice is perhaps the most
beautiful film I’ve ever seen, just click

Visconti suffuses his masterpiece with
all the colours and textures of Monet,
Renoir, Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, and
a host of other Impressionists, and
settles them all upon, nearly inevitably,
the splendours of a Canaletto Venice

Dirk Bogarde has never been better,
his von Aschenbach is definitive,
Silvana Mangano is every single inch
an aristocrat, the epitome of poise,
elegance and propriety, Tadzio is
throughout the very incarnation of a

all is given stately motion by the art
of film and made thereby into another
equal and haunting form of poetry

enjoy, marvel


psst: Visconti even makes Mahler sound

as does Leonard Bernstein, incidentally,
in the accompanying clip, who is
manifestly transported throughout his
evidently otherworldly experience,
just as you might even be, just click

parsing art – Rousseau/Siudmak‏

Henri Rousseau "Alleyway in the Park of Saint Cloud" (1908)

Alleyway in the Park of Saint Cloud (1908)

Henri Rousseau


Wojciech Siudmak - "Poème Matinal)

Poème Matinal

Wojciech Siudmak


the line seems fine here between homage
and appropriation

what do you think


a merely theoretical dilemma, a poem

Albrecht Dûrer - "Apollo and Diana(" (1502)

Apollo and Diana (1502)

Albrecht Dürer


in the tradition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
a forthright, personal poem

a merely theoretical dilemma

yesterday, I had lunch with Vickie,
she said she admired our relationship,
despite the fact, which I’d interjected,
that there was no sex

she didn’t find that unacceptable

I found her concern more personal,
revealing, than strictly theoretical

then gave up the improbable

I dream, however, ever, Apollo, and
irrepressibly, of your genitals,
knowing that your spawn would
transform me, ineradicably, into
a constellation, its crystallization
our progeny, into immortal stars

but that would mean leaving you,
Apollo, behind

could I, would I, do that