Op Art

When I walked into David Richard Gallery (www.davidrichardgallery.com/) in Santa Fe’s Railyard I got hit with a wave of euphoria—or more accurately waves. Color, pattern, optical illusion, and just plain raw beauty make up the show “Re-Op: “The Responsive Eye” Fifty Years After Visual Perception Today.
It doesn’t hurt that I’ve known the curator Peter Frank since I was twelve or thirteen years old, where he was a counselor at a unique summer camp—SAAC—where activities were intellectual and creative. There, my husband Rich was self described as “part of Peter’s entourage.”
I’ve written in this blog about people I learned from without realizing it—haiku poet Elizabeth Lamb, Beat writer Phil Whalen. But I always knew I was learning from Peter Frank, mostly about contemporary art but also about unabashed enthusiasm. I learned about Kenneth Koch from him, and Peter was the first publisher of my poems. Rich and I would accompany Peter schmying around New York looking at art. As luck and life would have it, this habit has continued for many years in Santa Fe when Peter is in town.
Saturday’s panel discussion (with David Eicholtz, Peter Frank, and artists Matthew Kluber, Tom Martinelli, and Jack Slentz) was edifying in terms of the relationship between Op and Pop Art, between the surface of a piece and the viewer, and between how we see and what we see. It was also an opportunity to sit for a long time in a room of eye dazzlers, occasionally taking just another look.

Christian Haub

Beverly Fishman

Tom Martinelli

Cradle Board by Angelee Deodhar

                                                                  Cradle Board
In India, five day old female infant was left outside the temple by her parents as they already have a five year old girl.The police took the child to an orphanage.
 In USA, “baby boxes,” small, opaque, “incubator-like” contraptions are being created so that a person can put a baby inside in order to safely abandon an infant. The boxes, will be placed at spots like police stations, can only be opened by those who have the key The pressure of the body being placed in it will also set off an alarm that alerts local emergency medical professionals, so that there is an instant response.
summer clouds
sliced by twin jet contrails-
a shrike’s  staccato cry


Sherman Asher has just published my new novel. Here is the start: “I had two mothers. Or maybe I had three. There was my real mother who died when I was born. And then there was the woman who claimed to be my mother, my stepmother Grace. Behind them, like a shadowy third, was the crazy lady, the one who had wanted to be my mother most of all. She was both murderer and midwife, my mother’s killer and the one who brought me into the world. Hers were the first pair of human eyes I ever saw.”


Collected Works Bookstore, Santa Fe, October 16, Friday, 6 pm

Bookworks, Albuquerque, November 4, Wednesday, 7 pm

Please come listen to a reading, get a signed book, say hello!


I know I owe a few you copies for commenting on the cover design–remind me if I forget to get you one! Also, a limited number of review copies are available–write me at msagan1035@aol.com for details.

More events are upcoming! I’m also available for readings, signings, and to talk to book groups.

To read an excerpt, search this site for “Novel in a Drawer.”


• By Rudy Rios

Effortless winds calmly push stubborn dust storms
Across barren iron rails leaves gallop some small
Children’s laughter heard from adults with a dog.
Wolf wolf he said, something about the sharp rocks
On tender older paws.

Wrock wrock wrock wrock the bantering cry.
Ravens swim in effortless winds, wondering
The younger man scampers the loose fill.
She watches with hoping eyes, that treasure.
Wrock wrock, I’m leaving now.
Seems the bakery is throwing out week old morsels.

Holes tell a tale of violent expansions.
Splintered waves left tossed like toothpicks.
Limber remains here as a solid mass.
What is this reflection of when the edges touch?
Felt tender from the cut of the raw edge.

If I could just climb the edge, the ego would
Transcend all limits. Cut like thick cords of old wood.
A bucket gives the value of productive consequence.
Solitude a busy reminder dates leave no room
Long time for a rotten animal to remain.

Last minute stops
The train is callin
Not here today.
The dirt road.

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An Orange Lantern, Eclipse of the Moon, and Failed Poem

Trying to get this to work, but it isn’t yet.

I saw the image in my backyard.


Alas, the orange
solar lantern
didn’t light
but luckily
there’s a moon.

It feels weak. That “alas” is too much. Should it be—“too bad?” But that seems skimpy.

Tried it as a one-line haiku, which falls flat. Orange solar lanterns didn’t light—luckily, there’s a moon. Seems to have no motion.

Now I’m realizing there will be an eclipse of the moon tonight. But if the eclipse is in the poem, nothing lights up!


Birds by Christy Hengst


An Anti-Evil Eye Tree

More amazing than the shoe tree on the loneliest highway:


This is from my VP Margaret Peters who is an an incredible journey. Her caption is just: Cappadocia…unbelievable…

Richard Feldman Writes On Memory, Calendars, and Rituals

On Memory, Calendars, and Rituals

For much of my life, people have told me that I have an unusually good memory. I’m competitive enough that I have appreciated the compliment while being somewhat disappointed by thinking that I could be even better at recall if everyone remembered as well as I do, motivating me to work harder at it.

Retrieving memories gives me pleasure. One of the ways that my mind has tagged memories for retrieval is by the calendar. I don’t remember making a conscious decision to store memories that way, but it seems that I was genetically predisposed—my father, currently in his late 80s, is still pretty good at calendar-assisted recall, as was his mother at a comparable age.

These observations serve as background to memories triggered by this year’s synchronous occurrence of the September equinox and the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur on September 23. Although the Jewish traditional calendars are based on lunar cycles, as opposed to the solar-based Gregorian calendar, which has become a de facto world standard, an astronomical coincidence causes the calendars to meet every 19 years. Thus Yom Kippur falls together with or near September 23 and the equinox every 19 years.
I wrote up a more detailed discussion of solar and lunar calendars and how they come together, but decided that it might provide more information than some readers would want, so I’ve placed it at the end of this piece, after the memories of previous equinoctial Yom Kippurs.

In 1977, Yom Kippur and Equinox fell on September 22, less than two weeks after I had moved to the commune where I would spend the next eight years. The focus of my ritual observance was the equinox, as I was part of group that marked the event by spending the entire night outdoors on a hillside. I remember the timeless ritual of sitting in a group around a bonfire; receiving a rude gesture from a future romantic partner in response to what might be considered a miscommunication on my part; and taking on the middle of the night task of waking up a snorer who was keeping everyone else from falling asleep.

Nineteen years later, in 1996, Yom Kippur fell on the same day as this year, September 23, three days after I arrived in Santa Fe, the day after the equinox, and the day before I started work. The friends who had accompanied me and the rental truck filled with my possessions across the country had stayed the night, then driven north towards Colorado and their own adventures. The dictates of hospitality had deferred my initial investigation of the Farmers’ Market until the following Saturday. I still found the high desert environment of north central New Mexico fresh and startling. On Yom Kippur itself, we took a walk down to the river, where the bright yellow chamisa was in bloom, and I contemplated the new life that I was starting.

Nineteen years from now, in 2034, Yom Kippur will again fall on September 23, although the equinox will occur before sunset on the 22 for most of North America including Santa Fe. I hope that the coincidence of calendars will again open a window to a trove of memories.

More on Distinctions and Overlaps among Calendars

This year the sun could be seen directly overhead at the equator in its apparent southbound movement at 8:20 AM Universal Time (sometimes expressed as Greenwich Mean Time) on September 23, which was the equivalent of (more or less) sometime between 8:20 PM on September 22 and 8:20 PM September 23, depending on your local time zone. This moment was what would technically be considered the September equinox (the gateway to autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, to spring in the Southern), although most of us associate each equinox or solstice with an entire day or even several. September 23 was also the date on which Jews around the world observed the holiday Yom Kippur, a day comparable in its solemnity to Good Friday for Christians, although the narrative from which the solemnity derives is completely different.

Yom Kippur always falls on the tenth day of Tishri (or Tishrei), the first month of the Jewish civil calendar. As opposed to the predominant Gregorian calendar, which was designed to have solar-oriented events such as solstices and equinoxes be associated with consistent dates from year to year, the Jewish calendars are primarily lunar-oriented, with the first of each month calculated to coincide with the new moon, the 15th with the full moon, and each month thus lasting 29 or 30 days (on the average, a complete lunar cycle is 29.5309 days). As with the lunar Islamic calendar, the new day begins at sunset, the prelude to the twilight time when the new sliver of crescent moon can first be spotted.

The 12 months of the Gregorian calendar contain 365 days three quarters of the time and 366 for leap years. The closest that a lunar-based calendar comes to that is 12 months totaling 354 or 355 days. There is significant variation among Muslim countries & populations in deciding the day when the new month starts, but all versions lead to a mix of 354- and 355-day years, with no attempt to reconcile to the “tropical” solar year of approximately 365.24 days. In contrast, the canonical Jewish calendar adds a leap month every two or three years, preserving an approximate synchronicity with the Gregorian calendar over a span of a century or two. In fact, as the ancient Athenian astronomer Meton calculated, the amount of time that elapses over the course of 235 lunar monthly cycles is just two hours or so more than the amount of time in 19 solar years (this is known as the Metonic Cycle after its promulgator). Using this information, the Jewish calendar was engineered to a 19 year cycle of 12 regular and seven leap years, so that Yom Kippur or any other Jewish date falls on or within a day of the same Gregorian date every 19 years.


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