When writers read -- 2: poets, artists, musicians
Eric Pankey reads Czeslaw Milosz ``Czeslaw Milosz's most recent book of poetry, `Separate Notebooks,' translated by the outstanding American poets Robert Hass and Robert Pinsky with Milosz and Renata Gorczynski, possesses a rare and rich lyrical wisdom that I cannot help but be moved by,'' says Eric Pankey (``Without faith,'' June 25). `` `Seasons flare and fade, but as in a garden we do not enter anymore,' Milosz writes, and through the collection we too look into that lost garden, into a past that is at once both pe rsonal and historic, full of beauty, destruction, torment, tenderness, and praise. Milosz gives us a world of hope: Hope means that someone believes the earth Is not a dream, that it is living flesh; That sight, touch, hearing tell the truth; And that all things we have known here Are like a garden, looked at from the gate. You can't go in; but you see it's there. And if we could see clearly and more wisely We know we'd find in the world's garden Some new flower or undiscovered star . . . '' William Stafford reads Ray Hunt on horsesSkip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
``An appetite for discovering something good that others don't yet know about has drawn me back recently to an American original by Ray Hunt called `Think Harmony with Horses,' '' writes William Stafford (``Figuring out how it is,'' Jan. 9). ``This quiet package of wisdom, disguised as just an account of one person's way with animals, is really a revelation about how to teach, and about how one's manner of life can converge helpfully with existent power in a world not always intending to be helpful. My eyes waver at marvelous -- and authenticated -- accomplishments, and my imagination roves to adapt horse-training techniques to the kind of encounter we all have with apparently intractable materials.'' Demi reads the pictures of Shih-T'ao
``I'm reading the pictures of a book written in Chinese, which I don't read, on Shih-T'ao or Tao Chi, by Jem-Jui-Yao, Hong Kong Art Publishing house, 1980, first edition,'' writes Demi, whose ``How I grew up to draw what I knew at two'' (Sept. 19) was accompanied by her own pictures: one from her book ``Ma Liang and the Magic Paintbrush'' and one based on a work by her great-grandfather, William Morris Hunt.
``I know in China Shih-T'ao is considered the first true genius of Impressionism and modern art and that he was doing it in 1641. As a royal Ming descendant turned monk, he lived in the Chiangnan Mountains, but more in heaven than on earth. The ceaseless movement of his universe, the heavenly harmonies, and vertical forces of life from heaven to earth dance and sing through his brush.
``My Chinese friend Tze-si Huang translated a few lines that say: `There is music in this landscape, and those who grasp it feel it in their hearts. The meaning of heaven is profound and vast like the ocean. When I reveal it in my brushwork its merits are limitless. Should I explain this secret teaching to you, the solid mountain, I'm afraid, would blow away.'
``Even without words this book will blow you away.'' Philip Booth reads Rockwell Kent
Writes Philip Booth (``We may choose something like a star,'' Dec. 24): ``As I often have in weather too raw to work outdoors on a boat, I reread this spring the handsomest book I know: `N by E,' which sets that course for Greenland with words as sharply edged as the dark and light of its author's famous woodcuts. Like all classics of voyaging under sail, Rockwell Kent's narrative tacks toward landfall by way of belowdecks psychology and such philosophizing as any nightwatch invites. Befogged and galeswept as his voyage proves to be, Kent's short chapters and stark woodcuts become even more luminous after he survives shipwreck. His trek for help on a bleak coast, and his awakening to Greenland's translatable virtues, are themselves rites of passage. Both verbally and visually, the book celebrates a voyaging each of us knows or still yearns for.'' ]Paul Z. Rotterdam reads Goethe on a plane
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's ``The Sorrows of Young Werther'' was read on a plane this summer by Paul Z. Rotterdam (``Swordsman in the landscape of imagination,'' June 19): ``Rereading it is reflecting the present state in our continuously changing perception of love. How come that ultimate love is unattainable and that it exists only in imagination? So great is Werther's love for married Lotte that her presence in the same room suffices to create such happiness that all desire is silenced and her soul is felt spinning through every nerve. But the will for possession, the picking of the apple, the realization of love through confession, destroys the possibility for a paradise. Ideal love would demand living for the purpose of love alone. No romantic love can survive the stress of reality. There is no triangular love but the conflict between two separate states of it. In order to keep morality intact Werther needed to leave the scene. Prohibited from living for his ideal love, his choice was to die for it.'' Adelheid Fischer reads Ondaatje