2016 is a good year to bury things. How many years get their own self-deprecating meme?
And the notables who died this year is impressive, if you’re impressed by death: Muhammad Ali, David Bowie, Prince, Fidel Castro, Harper Lee, John Glenn, Leon Russell, Leonard Cohen, Arnold Palmer, Gene Wilder, nancy Reagan, Gordie Howe and many others. We won’t even get into the shanking of Bernie Sanders and the beginning of the US Neo-Fascist/Corruption era, despite our desire to bury that very deeply, no. That the year ends with Mercury-in-Retrograde only adds to the appropriateness of reviewing WTF just happened.
As is the custom to do Year-End Top Ten Lists, I offer here my top ten of 2016 in:
(see American Prophets for more)
The author of In Advance of the Broken Justy wrote: The essential core of any project is to open. Open, open, open. Create a state of total nakedness, an anima mundi, a connection with the world-soul that is non-judgmental and quick to excite. It’s not always pleasant The intelligible world, the world of the familiar, the world in which life is predictable and we fee safe, is annihilated. We’re set loose, like Rimbaud’s drunken boat, to be plunged into a state of “is-ness.” Unadorned being…
Colleen J. McElroy is professor emeritus of English and creative writing at the University of Washington. Former editor in chief of the Seattle Review, she’s published numerous poetry collections, Here I Throw Down My Heart and the brand new Blood Memory, was published as part of the Pitt Poetry Series, University of Pittsburgh press. She has published creative nonfiction including A Long Way from St. Louie and Over the Lip of the World: Among the Storytellers of Madagascar and received numerous prestigious literary awards.
Author of: The Transmutation of Love and Avant-Garde Poetics. In the first segment she confirmed that the book took over thirteen years to research and write and stated her term for the stance for the transformed method their poetry took, “a projective love and libidinized field poetics.” She discussed the typical love poetry mode “Lover/Beloved” and how each poet covered in the book: Ezra Pound, H.D., Robert Duncan, Kathleen Fraser and Nathaniel Mackey shifted to a deeper and more open process. We discussed how the history of love poetry has been “his love or none at all” and how Donald Trump’s actions discovered during the current presidential campaign are a really negative example of a male-centric sexual continuum.
The objective of art is exactly like that of cosmology. Its aim is to conjecture about the contents and form of the universe. How that has been accomplished in Spanish literature in the 17th century’s Baroque period and the 20th century’s Neo-Baroque and how it has included methods characterized as “distortion” is the subject of a book, newly translated from its original Spanish into English and published by Palgrave McMillan, written by Pablo Baler.
Judith Roche is the author of four poetry collections, most recently, All Fire All Water, Black Heron Press, 2015. Her book Wisdom of the Body, was an American Book Award winner, and Judith has published widely in various journals and magazines, and has poems installed on several Seattle area public art projects. As Literary Arts Director for One Reel she produced the Bumbershoot Bookfair and Literary Program for over twenty years.
Ed Varney is a Canadian poet, visual artist and curator who lives on Vancouver Island. I had the good fortune to interview him in August 2016 at his home near Cumberland, BC. I’ve waited until today to present this interview because one of the reasons for my visit is now manifesting with Ed’s help and that is a one day Cascadia Poetry Festival in Cumberland, September 9, 2017.
On August 6, 2016, I was honored to interview Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, one of the most brilliant painters in Cascadia. His work is also the subject of Unceded Territories, a huge exhibit at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. The webpage for the exhibit says: Unceded Territories promises colour and controversy through this display of over 60 of Yuxweluptun’s most significant paintings, drawings, and works in other media – a critical and impassioned melding of modernism, history, and Indigenous perspectives that records what the artist feels are the major issues facing Indigenous people today.
Ian Boyden (On Ai Weiwei)
What a great thing to do on a Sunday – day trip to San Juan Island to see an exhibit of the work of legendary conceptual artist and Chinese political dissident Ai WeiWei. His story is legendary (and includes an eighty-one day detention during which he was disappeared by the Chinese government) and the story of how an exhibit of his ended up at a small museum in Friday Harbor, Washington, the island that brought you the Pig War, was a moment too good to pass up… The fact that the new Director of the San Juan Islands Museum of Art is a friend, Ian Boyden, whose art is remarkable and original and whom I have interviewed before just made the visit that much easier to plan and carry out. And the walk from the ferry terminal was easy and the museum quite beautiful.
On May 30, 2016, I had a chance to chat with Sarah de Leeuw, a poet with work published in Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia. Her new book is Skeena, a book-length poem about one of the largest rivers in Northern BC.
Sarah de Leeuw has written a poem from the point of view of one of the largest rivers in Northern BC, the Skeena River. The author of four literary books and two academic texts, she earned a Ph.D., in geography and she makes a living as a researcher on medical humanities and health inequities. A native of Northern BC, we talk to Sarah via Skype today about Skeena, the book, the river and the task of writing as a river. Sarah.
Internationally-known Mime and Subud member since 1959, Richmond Shepard, in one of those quintessential (Subud National) Congress moments, dropped by the couch on which your humble narrator was finishing up one of his August Postcard Poems, and proceeded to discuss the current situation in Subud New York, the dwindling and aging population of the Subud community there and his feeling that that could be rectified with outreach. Thanks to my trusty I.C. Recorder and taped an impromptu interview in two segments.
(OK, technically, this interview was NOT posted on this site, but it is in my Top Ten for 2016 and you’d get a kick out of him even if you did not know or care about Subud, the subject of this interview.)