Newsletter / Great poetry and literature are never at rest

Like their corporeal counterparts, the seafaring vessels of great poetry and literature are never at rest. Even in quiet harbors of water and mind, each vessel contends with a sinister pull beneath the surface. The two artists interviewed this week have duly mastered the rhythm of their waves and are unafraid to part with the shore to explore the depths.

In his engrossing interview, artist, educator, and societal mystic Pablo Helguera recounts the turbulence of manning an inadvertently itinerant Spanish bookstore and the lasting experience of conjuring over four thousand parables in a single year. A ravenous bookworm and ardent activist, Helguera’s performances, essays, novels, and comics have set new standards in artistic versatility and political awareness. It is not often one uncovers a spirit resilient enough to endure the creation and distribution of thousands of intimate and conscious handwritten letters, not to mention gracefully overstepping the pitfalls of independent curation and cultural empowerment.

Poet turned author Laurie Sheck cultivates the uncanny chaos and beauty found only in fact. In her compelling and poignant interview, Sheck describes a newfound liberty of mind born from a sudden interest in prose, which coincided with the terrible, yet poetic and transient, illness of her husband. In profound detail, Sheck reveals how the creation of characters with incurable ailments were used to nurse the image of a broken world, an allegory evocative of the ruthless forward momentum of reality. Besides a laudable voraciousness for knowledge, including a trail of research leading from Chinese tomes to Venetian history to the troubled mind of Dostoevsky, at the core of her novels is a sincere appreciation of the concerns and triumphs of lives long passed, coloring her work with a humanitarian and immemorial spirit.

Additional interviews include: Renée Petropoulos and Susan Silton.

What have you been reading? Bill Allen, one of our users, is admiring Paintings by accomplished French polymath Victor Segalen, a collection of delicate prose poems relishing the imaginary details of nonexistent Chinese paintings. Ruth Vontell, another one of our users, is savoring Robin Oliveira’s I Always Loved You, an erudite work of historical fiction that gently unfurls the budding love life of Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt like the slow petals of a flower.

The Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute is issuing a competitive but worthwhile open call for an Artist-in-Residence program at the PrattMWP campus in Utica, New York. In return for managing a workshop and fulfilling minimal community involvement, one illustrator and one printmaker will be offered the facilities and space to tend to their practice for a full academic year. Applicants have until March 1st to appeal to the illustrious design academy.

Time is never silent. Time is a measure of change, and change, a measure of movement. All movement, even when imperceptible, is an utterance. If time seems to have stopped for you, or robbed forever the voice of another, know well that the movement of the soul is as eternal and sure as the whispers of the wind.

As always, here are the links to the interview archive and free resources page.

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