Jokulsarlon by Genevieve Fitzgerald

Jokulsarlon

 
Jokulsarlon, the glacial lagoon, floats strange muted icebergs, in a country that’s boiling inside. 
Unlike Greenland or Antarctica, those with towering mountains frozen, these icebergs though cold, hard, streaked with black, are somehow more gentle.  Their edges are softened, as if they know they could melt, indeed they have started; their jaggedness worn.  Opposing attributes, warmed cold, inextricably linked, create a new kind of existence, some clear like Coke bottle glass, some speckled, some striated. 
Hundreds of years part of a glacial mass, the bigness of ice separates now, adrift in the glacial lagoon.

Rejection by Lauren Camp

Rejection: The Bugger
by Lauren Camp
Some days I get big doses of luck. Some weeks are just miraculous.
And some days I get rejections. In the past few weeks, I’ve gotten a boat-full of rejections. In fact, it seems like a cruise ship full of rejections, not a skimpy little skiff’s worth.
Sometimes when editors notify me that my few poems just aren’t right for their journal, I forget all the editors who have been astoundingly encouraging. Whatever good thing happened yesterday or last week is pretty much washed away in the big wave of rejection.
Do you know what I’m talking about? It’s like you’re watching every last vestige of yourself float off.
Recently, I was complaining about rejection to my friend Ann and she congratulated me. She said she hadn’t gotten any rejections that week — or that month. My confused silence followed. She was jealous of my rejections because she hadn’t found the time or been brave enough to send work out.
Samuel Beckett wrote, ““Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
You can’t help but fail sometimes. Send your best work out anyway, and I will too. Every single rejection brings you closer to a “yes.” In fact, let’s make a pact to send some of our finest work out to three journals before the end of the month. If you get a rejection or two, congratulate yourself. You can’t fail better. Holler out at me, and I’ll sympathize.
Rejections don’t in any way determine whether or not you are a writer, or even whether or not you’re a good writer.
I believe this with all my heart.
***
I have been enjoying Lauren Camp’s poetry blog, and am re-printing from it.

Wildfire Sculpture Made of Crayons

Internationally known sculptor Herb Williams of Nashville, TN, designed, created and installed 5 freestanding, three-dimensional sculptures of wildfire using the media of Crayola crayons for the National Ranching Heritage Center. Because each sculpture is made of wax, they are melting and changing shape in the unpredictable outdoor conditions. Moreover, each piece of art will continue to be altered by blowing wind and dry conditions such as those that affect the intensity and duration of real wildfire. The colorful crayons provide a striking contrast to the dry, brown landscape and are reminiscent of an actual wildfire and its destructive aftermath.

For more

The Lightning Field in the news as a legislative spending issue

Lightning art strikes taxpayers’ money
Larry Barker Investigates

PIE TOWN, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a bizarre government project, a quiet back-room deal that’s costing taxpayers a ton of money.

A project, so obscure it sailed through a legislative spending bill four years ago, unnoticed, sandwiched between rural water systems and school construction.

Five hundred thousand dollars set aside for an art preservation project in Catron County.

Welcome to the Lightning Field, or as it’s technically called, the Quemado Basin Conservation Easement which covers 5,400 acres north of Pie Town.

The avant-garde art project created 34 years ago by New York sculptor Walter De Maria displays 400 stainless steel poles evenly spaced in a grid pattern a mile wide.

This unique sculpture is located on the western New Mexico prairie, some 15 miles from civilization, but it’s not for everybody.

State Tourism Secretary Monique Jacobson tells News 13 that the field is not something the department promotes.

“We have so many treasures here in New Mexico and this is not one that we have actively chosen to promote,” Jacobson said.

Still, promoted or not, for most tourists, the privately funded Lightning Field is off limits.

The artistic creation is owned by the New York based DIA Art Foundation and access is by reservation only and limited to just 1100 visitors a year. And if you’re one of the lucky ones, be ready to shell out $250 for admission. Thinking of snapping a few photos as keepsakes? Forget it. The foundation prohibits all photography.

Visitors enjoy a 24 hour overnight stay in a rustic cabin and from here art connoisseurs enjoy the vast forest of stainless steel poles set against a backdrop of clear blue sky.

Chair of the University of New Mexico’s Art History Department, Professor Kirsten Buick, explains that the display is meant to be more than just art but also an experience.

“It is a work of art because we go there with the intention of experiencing something that is amazing and beautiful and profound,” Buick says.

This experience is dependent upon the pristine environment, which is why its home is, in fact on the range, in the wide open spaces. A Walmart Supercenter or cluster of condos in the background simply would not do. So just how does the New York art foundation guarantee an unspoiled view of its stainless steel rods? They found a partner with deep pockets, and in this case that partner is the taxpayers of New Mexico.

Just how does this work? A Pie Town rancher owns the cattle range adjacent to the Lightning Field and in order to protect the view, state legislators handed the cattle baron $500,000 in exchange for his agreement not to develop the land. A stipulation of the deal? No public access.

So thanks to the foundation’s partners, New Mexico taxpayers, a handful of private art patrons can be assured of an artistic experience that includes stainless steel poles against a backdrop of nothing more than blue sky. Which sounds nice, except for one big problem: any state expenditure must be for a public purpose and benefit and there’s nothing public about the Lightning Field.

“It’s extremely unusual that we would purchase a conservation easement just to protect a privately held piece of art, on a private piece of property,” said Cultural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Veronica Gonzales.

When asked if she thought the half million dollars was well spent, Gonzales said no.

State Rep. Don Tripp, R-Socorro, who serves Catron County said he did not see how this pricey project benefited his constituents.

“The project kind of appeared in the capital bill in the 11th hour. It was the Governor’s project and I had no prior knowledge to it,” Tripp said.

So how did this taxpayer money end up being used to fund such a project? That’s where former Gov. Bill Richardson comes in.

After Richardson was approached by the DIA Art Foundation, the then governor secretly slipped the $500,000 appropriation into the 2007 bill disguising it as “art preservation.”

Lawmakers approved the project without any question or debate; the money was then used by Museum of New Mexico officials to buy the half million dollar art preservation

Senate Finance Committee Chair John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, explained that it was within Richardson’s budgeted allocation for capital outlay, which is why it wasn’t questioned any further.

Former Cultural Affairs Secretary Stuart Ashman inked the deal in 2008 and now Richardson’s out of office, the money’s gone, but the Lightning Field view is protected forever.

“If we could spend money on what people need to live and survive, the water systems, clean water systems, I think its a travesty to spend it this way,” Tripp told News 13.

“Oftentimes in the Legislature the money is perceived as ours and not taxpayer dollars, but if we can communicate the fact that we’re spending taxpayers dollars up here, sort of lost in the process, then hopefully we will be as responsible, as if we were spending our own individual dollars in our household,” Smith said.

The DIA Art Foundation did not respond to News 13.

krqe.com–News 13

Neighbor by Anna Sarigianis

Neighbor

On nice afternoons she’d sit outside
and we’d talk from one porch to the other.
She’d tell me about her hydrangeas,
her grandchildren, her dog,
and how the dead follow her
in carts and on horseback
They cannot walk, she’d say,
they are but sticky pieces of themselves
that curve limbs against the heat of the living,
clinging like wet leaves to rags.
The ones she left behind were close,
she’d say, her brothers hang on her shoulders
and her sisters coil around her feet.
Once, for a moment, I thought I saw them,
huddled around her limbs like frightened birds,
but it was only her skirt
heaving in the wind.
One morning, after making toast,
her son stood at the table
and she screamed
and her eyes turned black
because this man in the kitchen was her father,
a dead man walking. She screamed
and cursed them for letting in demons.
They bolted the door.
That night she said she could not see,
she said now that it is dark, they come in twos.
She cried they press, they press.
The dead ride fast. As do the living.

Anna Sarigianis

Bio note: Anna Sarigianis is in the process of changing her major at the University of Delaware. She is one of the founding editors of the new online journal Kenning.
***
Curated by Devon Miller-Duggan

What’s wrong with me? 

by Devon Miller-Duggan: earthquakes, the adjunct teaching life, and Occupy

What’s wrong with me? 


by Devon Miller-Duggan

Right before the semester started here in the next-to-smallest state, there was an earthquake. Then, on the weekend the dorms were supposed to open, Hurricane Irene came barrelling in, bringing tornadoes in her wake. The start of classes was pushed back two days and the frosh ended up moving into their dorms at the same time they were starting classes, which was a lot for them to take in.

So we hit a trifecta of scary Mother Earth behaviors. And the semester started off weirdly. Maybe that’s why everybody I know at the University feels slightly off-kilter. It doesn’t help that morale is already in the dumps because we’re all dealing with an administration that is actively hostile to faculty, terminally tone-deaf with the alumni, and insistently clueless about the importance of the University to the larger community of the state. So the zeitgeist around here is fairly crummy. Teaching is good, but teaching is pretty much always good. Things are fine once I get my draggy self into the classroom, but the general atmosphere around campus is just grey. This isn’t new for me, per se. My relationship to the institution has been conflicted/grouchy/unfullfilling for decades. I’m adjunct, which translates, in this medium-sized, semi-eminent institution to my being krill. Full professors are blue whales. The current administration, with some significant exceptions in the Dean’s office, are giant squid and great white sharks. Being krill is wearing. Teaching is great, but being krill outside of the classroom pretty much sucks. 

Still, I’m not sure either that, or this semester’s peculiarly tough schedule is why I feel so ridden-hard-and-put-away-wet. I’m not willing to entertain the notion that it’s age–and really, I don’t think it’s that. What I am beginning to think is that national politics are actually sucking the life out of me on some level. State-wide politics are blessedly sane-ish in Delaware, almost by tradition (though there are rumors that Christine O’Donnell is going to make another run at a senate seat, God save us). I think the Oakland police gassing the Occupy folks and shooting the Iraq vet in the head, the NYC cop pepper-spraying women, and the continuous flood of hateful untruths spilling from the mouths of various presidential hopefuls and sitting legislators and conservative commentators is just clawing away at my sense of something I don’t really have a name for. It might be less depressing if I hadn’t been raised by people who believed in paying attention to the news and in a fairly optimistic notion of what the American Experiment could achieve. Better, maybe, to have been raised among depressed lefties. 

I was briefly cheered by the thought that this year I’d be able to order a Turduchen from Costco and gleefully avoid a big chunk of Thanksgiving prep. But they’re already sold out. Maybe we’ll go out instead.