Poetry Friday: Lawrence Ferlinghetti

This isn't strictly shape poetry, but the shape of the lines mirrors the movement of the words. Enjoy.

# 46

And every poem and every picture
a sensation in the eye and heart
Something that jolts you awake
from the rapt sleep of living
in a flash of pure epiphany
where all stands still
in a diamond light
for what it truly is
in all its mystery
So a bird is an animal
flown into a tree
singing inscrutable melodies
As a lover stands transparen
Screened against the sun
Smiling darkly in the blinding light

Tags | Writing

July Reviews

More quickie reviews, cooled from weeks of neglect:

The simple appeal of the first Hellboy can be found in its paradoxical protagonist: a demon with a gentle spirit who fights on behalf of the good guys. In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, director Guillermo del Toro does almost nothing with this conceit, showing little interest in the interiority of its characters while fanning his obsession with elaborately designed monsters. Like his overrated Pan’s Labyrinth (whose fairy tale atmosphere was patronizing), there is a lot to distract the eye, but little to engage the head or heart. Briefly, fleetingly, the film will seduce you with its majestically dark vision of a supernatural underworld, but this vision is undermined by the silly comic book plotting, which basically comes down to a lot of martial arts-style skirmishing. Still recommended for the memorable appearance of a legless Irish troll, a butt-ugly creation that finds the right balance between humor and terror.

continue reading
Tags | Film

The Dark Knight: Best of the Decade?

With The Dark Knight’s claims to box-office pre-eminence secured, the spin cycle begins.   What does this hugely popular, amazingly resonate movie mean?   What is the message amidst all the madness cruising through Gotham’s streets?     At HollywoodJesus.com, The Joker is associated with postmodernism and all things relative, making Batman the force for moral absolutes.   At Dirty Harry’s Place, Batman emerges as a surrogate George W. Bush, willing to be hated for the sake of a larger mission.  Yet, at Beliefnet.com, The Dark Knight is traced back to St. John of the Cross and his dark nights of the soul.   Is this the sign of a great movie or merely a conflicted audience?  How many readings are possible?  How many readings are helpful?  What might be the filmmakers’ intent?

continue reading
Tags | Film

Art In Action (Part IV): Loving Offensively

IAM’s next Encounter will take place February 26-28, 2009, in lower Manhattan, and the theme of the Encounter will be “Art in Action.” When asked about the genesis of the next Encounter’s theme, Makoto Fujimura points to the 1982 book by Nicholas Wolterstorff of the same title. “Art in Action” has remained a staple on the bookshelf of artists and creative catalysts throughout the world who seek to dig deeper into the meaning and purpose for art.

Following is Part Four of Christy Tennant’s recent interview with Makoto Fujimura about the theme of the next IAM Encounter:

CT: If art is supposed to be a means of repairing and rehumanizing the culture around us, what is the artist’s responsibility to that end? Does Nicholas Wolterstoff place the responsibility on artists themselves?
continue reading

Poetry Friday: Donald Hall

An amusing - and possibly thought-provoking - image.

 We Bring Democracy To The Fish

It is unacceptable that fish prey on each other.
For their comfort and safety, we will liberate them
into fishfarms with secure, durable boundaries
that exclude predators. Our care will provide
for their liberty, health, happiness, and nutrition.
Of course all creatures need to feel useful.
At maturity the fish will discover their purposes.

Tags | Writing

THE DARK KNIGHT: Instant Classic

The Dark Knight is the most ambitious and satisfying comic book movie ever, an instant classic.   It thrills and chills, combining massive spectacle with timeless questions regarding our humanity.  In exploring our disturbing depths, director Christopher Nolan attains unparalleled cinematic heights.   It is a feast for the eyes and a challenge to the brain.   While Batman battles the Joker for the soul of Gotham City, Nolan pulls audiences into the rarest of responses to a Hollywood blockbuster:  genuine introspection.  It is a soulful adventure.   The Dark Knight explores the cost of combating evil.   How many rules are we willing to break to maintain order?   How many freedoms will we sacrifice to reign in chaos?   The Dark Knight calls us to give an account.

continue reading
Tags | Film

Poetry Friday: Roger Mitchell

I'll be honest and say that I chose this solely for the amazing imagery of "God's unshaven face".

The Stones at Callinish, Isle of Lewis

A boarded-up hotel beside
a fishing pier, a pub. Above them both,
a church crouched on a hill. Whoever brought
Christ to this desolate coast did it
with sword and fire, and it's not clear today
whether it took, or whether the slow seep
of centuries, the long winter nights,
would ever let anything be that wasn't
as sullen as the hill. The village
is that way, too. When you step outside,
there it is, the universe, all of it,
the glare of it pure, God's unshaven face
so close your skin rasps. Whoever raised
the stones did a good job of vanishing, too,
though the longer I stand here, the more
it seems it was deeper into the genes
they went, not just into the air.
continue reading

The Lost Hip Hop Generation?

As I sit here compiling and analyzing research for a new book I’m writing,[1] I am quickly realizing that there is a large gap between the connection with the Hip Hop generation and the church (emergent, traditional, or whatever you wanna call it). Most Hip Hop youth (between the ages of 12-18) see the church as oppressive, judgmental, harsh, and out of touch. They also recognize the double standards that are set forth as well. Double standards like “Do as I say not as I do.” Moreover, there is a vast amount of young urban Hip Hoppers seeking connections with other religions. One young guy I interviewed stated, “Yeah, I grew up in the Black Church, but Sh** they outdated now man, I mean…umm, they just don’t get me and I just can’t get with a punk Jesus they keep portraying to me…Rastafarianism is doing a way better job of meeting me at my level, Sh** I’m tired of being judged, I love God, but…whew…I don’t even know about the Christian church man.”

continue reading
Tags | Music

Art In Action (Part III)

IAM’s next Encounter will take place February 26-28, 2009,in lower Manhattan, and the theme of the Encounter will be “Art inAction.”  When asked about the genesis of the next Encounter’s theme, Makoto Fujimura points to the 1982 bookby Nicholas Wolterstorff of the same title.  “Art in Action” has remained a staple on the bookshelf ofartists and creative catalysts throughout the world who seek to dig deeper into the meaning and purpose for art. 

Following is Part Three of Christy Tennant’s recent interview with Makoto Fujimura about the theme of the next IAM Encounter:

CT:  You mentioned that Art in Action is a philosophical approach to the arts, especially for artists who are Christians.   What is one ofthe philosophical insights you gleaned from Art in Action?

MF:  I am deeply concerned with the issue ofjustice, and this book partly addresses the fact that Art and Beauty flow fromconcern for justice and the brokenness and how unjust the world is.  Art is a medium for mediating that conversation. 

We don’t usually think of art that way.  Often, art is divorced from society – Art egotistical, and Society is common.  But for Nick, art is based on this idea of justice within society.  For him, art is a means for rehumanizing the world. 

Nick doesn’t talk about “excellence” the way we so often do. Instead, he talks about art’s “fittingness.”  One of his criteria for beauty is Does this expression properly fit this broken reality?  Something beautiful and lofty might not be good if it doesn’t fit.  Should we have an absolute standard of excellence for beauty that does not take into account the circumstances of the broken world?  How does that fit?

The Greek philosophers tried to define happiness and goodness by sets of ideals determined by your status and the accomplishments you work toward.  Their conclusions were that beauty and happiness could be achieved if all of the circumstances were in place to make one happy and beautiful.  But Augustine of Hippo was one of the first Christian philosophers to say no, it’s not like that, because God doesn’t work that way. God wants us to be aware of brokenness, as a precondition of “loving our neighbor.”  It is only possible to have godly happiness if you are aware of sorrow and brokenness.  The Christian definition of love requires an identifying with suffering, rather than divorcing yourself from suffering.

So art divorced from love is like the Greeks ignoring the plights of the broken and obtaining a form of happiness that is removed from cruelty. Plato would have an absolute standard but on a practical level didn’t want to be connected to reality, while Augustine connected reality and brokenness.  Love is the object – this is what Christ has shown to be immovable.

Nick’s new book on Justice (Justice: Rights and Wrongs, published 2007) is much clearer about this article and deals with it in more depth.

For the artist, Artin Action speaks on many levels, and poses both Christians and non-Christians with conceptual issues and questions that people would not normally ask in art school. It gives post-modernist philosophers language to not just divide, but connect.  If we believe in a standard of love, everything changes.

continue reading


From the backdrop of Eugene Delacroix’s famous painting of Lady Liberty leading the people to their Les Miserables-style, “Storm the Bastille” clothes, Coldplay’s tour shouts “Vive le Revolucion!”  But on the opening night of their tour at the Forum in Inglewood, it was not clear what freedom was being celebrated beyond the sheer joy of musical release.   Occasionally, the songs approximated a European soccer match—boisterous sing alongs where all were temporarily united as one.    It was nice in an era of concert calculation to feel the arrangements being tested in front of us.  

Earnestness remains key to the Coldplay oeuvre.   They are a post-ironic band (which naturally begets a critical backlash).   Singer Chris Martin expressed genuine appreciation throughout the concert, concluding, “This is gonna be a good one” after thefirst song.   It is easy to imagine these four lads sipping coffee, reading the newspaper and playing withtheir kids.   No drug overdoses for such studied musical pros.

continue reading
Tags | Music
Syndicate content

Bloggers in Arts And Media

Sign-up for the Newsletter
Sign-up for the Newsletter
Get the latest updates on relevant news topics, engaging blogs and new site features. We're not annoying about it, so don't worry.