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The Art Center Feasibility Study

Juneau Arts and Humanities Council - Wed, 07/13/2016 - 1:30pm
The Art Center (previously referred to at the Willoughby Arts Complex) is moving forward. The project is based on a Feasibility Study produced by The McDowell Group in November 2015. Read: ExecutiveSummary WAC Financial Feasibility Part II 11_24_15
Categories: Arts & Culture

“Weavers Across the Waters” Chilkat/Ravenstail Robe Update

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Wed, 07/13/2016 - 10:38am

As of June 9th, 2016, these are the very first 5×5 contributions from the following weavers:  Stephany Anderson, Kay Parker, Willy White, Alfreda Lang, Sandy Gagnon, and Dolly Garza

Being the creator (or “mastermind as my Mother would have put it) of this community-based project, would I had known that when I have receive each of these priceless 5×5 woven Chilkat and Ravenstail weavings, I would feel such honor and a privilege to hold each one in the palm of my hands!?  Would I have known that I would feel such pure and raw power in each simple image!?  And would I have known that I would feel such intense protectiveness as I hand-carried these in my carry-on luggage; like worse than when I am transporting a robe that I have designed and made!?!? — In the purity of this power, I feel immense grace and lovingness; I feel such excitement and peace; I feel strength and healing; I feel the connectedness of all beings through the anticipation of connecting all of these weavers’ weavings together.  This is already a powerful robe.  My goodness, we share in the excitement and most likely all of what I feel too in the completion of this robe!

As of today, July 13, 2016, we have 23 total contributions received from (top to bottom, L to R): Della Cheney, Margaret Woods, Douglas Gray, Lily Hope, Nila Rinehart, Kay Parker, Stephanie Andersen, William White, Karen Taug, Courtney Jensen, Alfreda Lang, Chloe French, Dolly Garza, Georgia Bennett, Rainy Kasko, John Beard, Michelle Gray, Marilee Peterson, Annie Ross, Sandy Gagnon, Pearl Innes, Veronica Ryan and Crystal Nelson

The past couple of nights since my return to Tulsa, which is where I will be working day and night on putting this robe together for the next month, I put a cloth cover over all the little weavings who lay side by side with one another, like the way we cover our weavings for the night.  Already these little ones have become dear.  —-  Thank you to all our present-day weavers who have contributed their talent through a piece of their spirit to become unified as one in this special, ceremonial robe.  We look forward to receiving the other 31 pieces due by the extended deadline of July 19th!

Remember to mail your contribution insured to me at:  Clarissa Rizal, 40 East Cameron Street #207, Tulsa, OK   74103

For more information on the mission and purpose of this robe, please visit the initial “invitational” blog post by clicking this link:  

Categories: Arts & Culture

49 Writers: Frank Soos | Inhabiting the Form

49 Writers - Wed, 07/13/2016 - 5:30am
 One of the things I often tell writersregardless of whetherthey are poets,fiction or nonfiction writers is that we must inhabitour form, live withinit to understand what we can and can’t do.
Here’s a little example: When I was in graduate school, one of my professors (my favoriteprofessor, Ben Kimpel, a wonderfulteacher they named a building after when he died) walked into our classroomand looked at the quotation on the blackboard, “The proper study of man is man.” He shook his head and said, “That’swhy nobody writes fixed form poetry anymore.” The line is from AlexanderPope’s “Essay on Man” writtenin heroic couplets in the eighteenth century. The poem is a bit of a slog, I have to admit,but you’re encouraged to take a look. More importantly, you might wonder,what’s wrong with that line anyway?
Do you see the problem?It’s missinga syllable. It should scan in iambic pentameter as, “The proper study of mankindis man.” The guy who’d made that mistake was our department’s eighteenth centuryspecialist. And it’s not that he shouldhave known the quote from memory so much as his ear should have told him he’d droppeda beat.
That’s what inhabiting a form can mean. You are attuned to your form (in this case a very specificform with very specific requirements) so that a mistakelike this would be glaring.
Here are a couple of variations on the same lines of a poem by Sir ThomasWyatt, courtierand clever politician. He helped Henry VIII wiggle out of his marriageto Catherine of Aragon so he might marry Anne Boleyn.He also was tossed in the Tower of London for a while because Henry suspectedhim of having an affair with Anne, and maybe he did.

We have these different versions because when Wyatt’spoems were includingin a sixteenthcentury anthology, Tottel’s Miscellany. Tottel took the poems of Wyattand others and regularized the lines into iambicpentameter. 

Wyatt’s version: “It was no dream: I lay brode waking.” Tottel’s version: “It was no dream:for I lay brode waking.”
Wyatt’s version: “Into a strange fashion of forsaking.” Tottel’sversion: “Into a bitter fashion of forsaking.”
You may be wonderingat this point, how much can this matter? Well, it canmatter as much as a form allowsmeaning to matter through its thoughtful use. At the time Wyatt wrote, the iambic line was being popularized (or you might say invented)as the go-to line in Englishpoetry. Marlowe and Shakespeare would follow bringing iambic pentameter
into full bloom. (You can google an article on line by Peter Groves that chronicles the long march of poetic form from Chaucer to Shakespeare if you reallywant to full skinnyon this question). Once you hear theline, you can hear the difference in Wyatt’s imperfect lines and the more sing-songy lines Tottel gets by purifyingthe iambic pentameter. And you can see that Tottel plows over some of Wyatt’s nuancein the process.
It’s hard to guess how much Wyatt cared about meter of aspecific line, butif we look at the two versions of the poem, we can see that the looserversion is more subtle. The poet complainsin more baffled terms in Wyatt’s version rather than the sour terms of the Tottelversion. Smart reader, sound out the words of this pre-Elizabethan English as you go. Or if you want to wimp out, you can find a modernlanguage version in just about any anthologyof English poetry.
Wyatt’s version:They fle from me / that sometymedid me seke with naked fote stalkingin my chambre.I have sene theim gentilltame and meke that nowe are wyld and do not remember  thatsometyme they put theimselfin daunger to take bred at my hand & nowe they raunge besely sekingwith a continuell change Thancked be fortune it hath ben otherwise twenty tymes better but ons in speciallin thyn arraye after a pleasauntgysewhen her lose gowne from her shoulders did fall and she me caught in her armes long & small therewithall swetely did me kysseand softely said dere hert how like you this It was no dreme I lay brode waking.but all is torned thoroughmy gentilnes into a straungefasshion of forsakingand I have leve to goo of her goodenes and she also to vse newfangilnes.but syns that I so kyndely ame serued,I would fain knowe what she hath deserued.
Tottel’s Version:They flee from me, that somtime did me seke With naked fote stalkyngwithin my chamber.
Once haue I seen them gentle, tame, and meke, That now are wild, and do not once rememberThat sometymethey haue put them selues in danger,To take bread at my hand, and now they range, Busily sekyng in continuall change.Thanked be fortune, it hath bene otherwise Twenty tymes better:but once especiall, In thinne aray, after a pleasant gyse,When her loose gowne did from her shouldersfall, And she me caught in her armes long and small, And therwithall, so swetely did me kysse,And softly sayd: deare hart, how like you this? It was no dreame:for I lay broade awakyng.But all is turndenow through my gentlenesse. Into a bitter fashion of forsakyng:And I haue leaue togo of her goodnesse, And she also to vse newfanglenesse.But, sins that I vnkyndlyso am serued:How like you this, what hath she now deserued?
Isn’t Wyatt’s version the sexiest poemabout getting dumped you’ve ever read?
By the time we get to Shakespeare and the sonnet writers who followed,the form has been set. The game is on, fourteenlines, ten syllables per line, iamb the dominant foot—but not offeredin lock step, marching lines of iambs.Writers would write with that syllable countin their heads almost subconsciously.
Maybe more importantly, their audience would be on that same wavelength, too. If you were and they were, then writing an iambic line completewith the possiblesubstitutions (mostlyspondees and trochees—there are also some more subtle substitutions, too), your reader would be right with you. And if youintentionally were to adda syllable or drop one, your readers’or listeners’ ears would go up—theywould hear it. And that alteration would have the kind of power a line break, whether enjambed or punctuated, would have on alistener’s ear.
But as Dr. Kimpel pointed out yearsago, that’s not the world we live in.There are good sonnetwriters out there right now, MarilynHacker and Mark Jarman come to mind. But whether the subtlety of the form worksfor us readers is another question. If we can’t hear the line, we can’t hear the richness of the variations.
All forms, even that messy form I like so much, the essay, require just what a sonnet does, that the writerinhabit the form, that the writer allow himself to grow and wanderwithin the limits of the form. The sonnet is a tightlyconstructed form and maybe too constrictive for most but it’s worth considering what hitting the walls of a form can do for awriter’s thinking. Condense it? Focus it? Give it something to keep the subject in bounds?All useful thingsfor a writer to consider regardless of what hisor her chosen genre may be. 
~Frank Soos taught English and creative writing at UAF from 1986-2004 and is serving as the 2014-2016 Alaska State Writer Laureate. His most recent title is Unpleasantries: Considerations of Difficult Questions (University of Washington Press, 2016). Other publications include Double Moon: Constructions and Conversations with Margo Klass (Boreal Books, 2009) and Under Northern Lights: Writers and Artists on the Alaskan Landscape, co-edited with Kes Woodward (University of Washington Press, 2000), among others.  
This post was originally published online by the Fairbanks Arts Association (FAA) and appears here with permission from FAA and the author. 
Categories: Arts & Culture

11 Juneau Reps attend Arts Integration Conference in D.C.

Juneau Arts and Humanities Council - Mon, 07/11/2016 - 1:35pm
A team of Juneau educators traveled to Washington, D.C. at the end of June for a three-day conference on Arts Integration sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  The team included four principals, an art specialist, and … Continue reading →
Categories: Arts & Culture

Two Poets Talking

What Turtle Blood Tastes Like - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 10:10am

One of my favorite poets, David Budbill has been dealing with rapidly declining health lately and while the conversations I’ve had with him over the years have been marked by a striking optimism, the challenges of being a writer who is losing the physical ability to write are becoming too much for even the most optimistic and zen of mountain recluse poets.   Here’s a recent conversation between Budbill and longtime friend, David French.  HIt the link for the full conversation,

David French’s questions and comments are in italics. Unless otherwise indicated, all the poems are David Budbill’s.

But let’s talk about what’s happening in your life right now.

The major thing that I’m dealing with is my Parkinson’s disease, my rare form of Parkinson’s disease. It has incapacitated me and made me incapable of all the things I used to love to do: I would cut wood and garden and mow, and I can’t do any of those anymore. So I’ve had to revise my life completely. So far I haven’t revised my life; I’ve just cancelled it, dropped out.

Now that’s not entirely true, because before I dropped out, I was able to finish a novel and a short story and a collection of poems, and they’re all coming out in the next year. So I did that before I cancelled my life.

The last time I was here, you said all this happened a year ago, when you moved to Montpelier.


Up until then, you’d still been working on your novel and your stories and your poem.

I suppose, yeah.

There recently was a song cycle of your poems at the Elley-Long Music Center. One song was about doing things for the last time. It was beautiful, but with an ache to it. You must have done a lot of that leaving Wolcott, walking around, looking around, knowing that was the last time you’d cut this wood or stack it or put it in the stove.

It was. Yeah, it was heartbreaking, because that was my identity, and now it’s no longer that. Which is no doubt one of the reasons I’m in limbo now.

So you’re not writing now.

No, I’m not.

You’re not making music.


Another theme that keeps coming up in your poetry, sometimes in very funny ways, is the lament over not having been a major voice in the poetry world. You wrote about the life of “genteel poverty and meditation” you lead:

…which gives me lots of time

to gnash my teeth and worry over

how I want to be known and read

by everyone and have admirers

everywhere and lots of money!

Is that something you would still write a poem about at this point, or is that an old theme that isn’t something you think about anymore?

I certainly think about it.

You still do?


You would like to be higher on whatever the poetry best-seller list is?


And have more money from it, recognition.

Yeah. Of course, who wouldn’t?

You’ve written:

When I came to Judevine Mountain

I thought

all my troubles would cease,

but I brought… my ambition –

so now, still,

all I know is grief.

Well, that’s true. I have this thing about ambition. I can’t live with it, and I can’t live without it.


Filed under: Poetry
Categories: Arts & Culture


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