according to andy warhol, we should create art for the masses

P1030751

Photo: V. Slotto

 

according to andy warhol, we should create art for the masses
a tanka

paint that can of soup
beauty in the produce aisle
touch the smooth texture
revel in green orange and red
art on display everywhere

When I was a docent at the Nevada Museum of Art, I was especially impressed by the life and art of Andy Warhol, whose goal was to create art for the populace. I liked to challenge the school children to discover art all around them–for example in the grocery store.

Posted to dVerse Poets OLN where we have now reached a milestone of 150 Open Link Nights. We hope you will join us today.

I’m adding an older poem that I wrote at the time of the exhibit. It’s been around, but for those who haven’t read it…

Warhol

Maybe Andy was on
to something.
One-after-another
screen-printed cans—
Campbell’s soup:
red and white,
silver and gray,
navy blue with a gold seal.
An icon of comfort in
the midst of so much dismay.
Tomato, Chicken Noodle,
Split Pea,
Bean with Bacon, Pepper Pot.
Mother’s Milk, Mother’s Comfort.
Bring it on.

Did you ever stop?
Really look at art?
I mean art in a grocery store?
“Wake up!”
Andy would say.
“Look.
Listen closely.”

I pick up a navel orange.
Its dimpled skin
leaves a scent-mark
on my fingers.

“If you want to know me,
look at my art,”
“I’m a deeply superficial person.”

So I stare at him,
but he doesn’t glance back.
Eyes drifting to some
far-away place where
wholeness waits,
or to a party where
touching never held room
for emptiness.
The pull of gravity so great
the Mass collapses in
on itself,
Black Hole. Black Whole.

All that sparkles is
not diamond dust.
Even that wouldn’t adhere.
Your world
became glittered in so
much plastic.

Redemption plays in
pink and yellow
electric chairs.

Curl up,
snuggle in its lap
and die alone
while the nurse who
was there for you,
wasn’t.

Oh my God,
I am heartily sorry,
hardly,
heartily.
So much pain.
I repeat, I repeat.
Marilyn in
black and gray
and brown,
blue and pink.
We are heartily sorry
who we aren’t,
what we are
and what they made us.

The woman handed
the boy
a piece of dense bread.
“It’s dry,” he said.
“Dunk it in your soup,”
she answered.

Image: usf.edu

Image: usf.edu

Wordsmith Wednesday: More About Haiku

Basho by Basho by Sugiyama Sanpû (1647-1732)

Image via Wikipedia

“In this mortal frame of mine…there is something called a wind-swept spirit, for it is much like thin drapery that is torn and swept away at the slightest stir of the wind.” Basho, 1687

Last week when I had limited Internet access I had time to read Jane Hirschfield’s informative and beautifully written book on Haiku: “The Heart of Haiku.” Focused on the life and works of the 17th Century Japanese word artist (and I would say, mystic) Basho, Hirschfield peppers her exposition with elegant examples and succinct instruction.

Most of the time, after I’ve completed reading a book on Kindle, I send it to the archives at Amazon and then recall it if there’s something I want to rehash. This book, however, will reside on my device both as a source of instruction and inspiration.

Here are a few brief points that I would like to share with you about the art of Haiku:

  • Unless something is seen with a fresh eye, it is not worth writing down. (after Basho)
  • While English Haiku is written using the 5-7-5 syllable line structure, Japanese poetry is based on sounds.
  • Haiku always evokes a season, either by name or association.
  • Haiku offers the chance to make emotional, spiritual and psychological discoveries.
  • Haiku seeks to eliminate the space between the poet and the object of his poem. This allows the poet to truly perceive the object.
  • The new perception becomes the basis for an inner response on the part of the poet and reader.
  • The five-line Tanka (or Waka) preceded the Haiku. The syllable count for Tanka is 5-7-5-7-7.
  • Another poetic form called Renga consists of 3 and 2 line stanzas that build on one another. This form lends itself to collaborative poetry.
  • Basho taught: “If you have three or four, or even five or seven extra syllables, but the poem still sounds good, don’t worry about it.”

I strongly recommend “The Heart of Haiku” to anyone who loves this poetic form, has an interest in Zen Buddhism, or just wants to write poetry in which every word resounds.

For this weeks conversation, I am posting a Haiku that I wrote and would love to see you build on it in a collaborative effort. So when you visit this post, read all the comments and use the last Haiku posted as a prompt for your own that you will then add to the comments. I hope there will be enough of a response that I can compile them into a separate post. Of course, you will be acknowledged for your contribution.

Here’s the introductory Haiku:

Morning sun wakens

Arouses a ruddy sky

With his tender touch.

For more information on the Haiku form, you may want to visit my previous post: “True Haiku” written in June of this year: https://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/wordsmith-wednesday-true-haiku/

And this, my friends, is my 500th post! Thank you for all your encouragement.