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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Jim Dine: the downfall / of your eyes

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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9e/L%C3%A9onard_de_Vinci_-_Vierge%2C_Enfant_J%C3%A9sus%2C_ste_Anne_%26_st_Jean-Baptiste_1.jpg/610px-L%C3%A9onard_de_Vinci_-_Vierge%2C_Enfant_J%C3%A9sus%2C_ste_Anne_%26_st_Jean-Baptiste_1.jpg

The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and the young Saint John the Baptist (detail): Leonardo da Vinci, 1507-1508 (National Gallery, London)





Resting uncomfortably
...my eyes watch the downfall
...of your eyes.
The downfall of the "Leonardo Highway"
uncomfortably sitting
...with mouth open and face white
phoning the world
to find new anxiety
in a free verse.
Imagine --
one man in the cosmos
the saint of vanishing dreams
Blue limbs, gold draperies
the child of The Baptist.
Rushing the ending
...because The Baptist is so strong.
It just came into view
...so rush it!
Use it for the final squeeze --
...sister







Madonna and Child with Saint Anne and the young Saint John the Baptist (detail): Leonardo da Vinci, 1507-1508 (National Gallery, London)


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d7/Leonardo_-_St._Anne_cartoon-alternative-downsampled.jpg/762px-Leonardo_-_St._Anne_cartoon-alternative-downsampled.jpg

The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and the young Saint John the Baptist: Leonardo da Vinci, 1507-1508 (National Gallery, London)



Female head: Leonardo da Vinci, n.d. (Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence)



Female head (La Scapigliata): Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1508 (Galleria Nazionale, Parma)


Head of a woman: Leonardo da Vinci, 1508 (Royal Library, Windsor)


Study of a woman's head: Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1490 (Musée du Louvre, Paris)


Study for Madonna with the Yarnwinder (?): Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1501 (Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice)


Head of a girl: Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1483 (Biblioteca Reale, Turin)


Madonna Litta (detail) : Leonardo da Vinci, 1490-1491 (Hermitage, St. Petersburg)



Virgin of the Rocks: Leonardo da Vinci, 1483-1486 (Musée du Louvre, Paris)


Virgin of the Rocks (detail): Leonardo da Vinci, 1483-1486 (Musée du Louvre, Paris)



Virgin of the Rocks (detail): Leonardo da Vinci, 1483-1486 (Musée du Louvre, Paris)

10 comments:

TC said...

Another brand new poem fresh from the pen of the amazing American artist Jim Dine.

See also:

Jim Dine: We lived once in an ideal kingdom

Nin Andrews said...

So beautiful! What else can I say?

TC said...

Thanks, Nin. The good word from a fellow artist -- Jim and Leo are going to appreciate that.

ACravan said...

It's funny: I've never read anything quite like this.

the child of The Baptist.
Rushing the ending
...because The Baptist is so strong.
It just came into view
...so rush it!

Blue limbs, gold draperies

John The Baptist and Leonardo are exceptionally strong characters. I'm fascinated how the poet arranges the poem and stays out of their way.

Curtis

TC said...

Curtis,

"I've never read anything quite like this."

That's the same feeling I get with Jim's poems.

Another way of saying it might be:

"There's no other writer whose work this work reminds me of."

That one-off quality makes him a stand-apart poet in a landscape of continuous copycat sameness.

His poems don't so much buck the trend as ignore the trend or make their own trend.

The "plot" of the poem and its internal dynamics really can't be picked apart.

I like that, too.

(A Henry Green-ish title passed through the mind: "Museumgoing".)

But to attempt interpretation or "explanation" of such an elusive, intricate piece would be like an attempt to see a flower better by pulling off its petals. Soon enough, we might have a pile of petals... but where has the flower gone.

I think Jim writes his poems the old fashioned way, with that curious object people used to use... a pen I believe it was called.

He doesn't do e-mail, so the poems come to me in the strangest fashion: he faxes the scripts from Europe to his assistant in Walla Walla, who types them into e-mails, which then come to me.

They are literally "fresh": with the poems you've seen here, the period between composition and posting can't have been more than a few days.

The challenge with this post was also the great private pleasure and revelation and labour and joy of it: a long night spent in the sketches and drawings of Leonardo.

An artist so great and famous is perhaps too easily taken for granted. After this search, I will never be tempted to do that again.

Few draughtsmen are worthy of having their names included in the same sentence with Leonardo da Vinci, but I think Jim Dine is one.

Steidl has issued some swell collections of Jim's drawings in recent years. I wonder, for example, if you might have happened to see The Glypotek Drawings?

TC said...

What I like best about Jim Dine's poems

They are fast
They are mysterious
They are direct
They never telegraph their moves

vazambam said...

I think you've said it all about Jim's poetry; hopefully there will be more where he comes from.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

"It just came into view" -- and yes, as Nin says, "So beautiful!"

12.7

pink cloud in pale blue sky above black
ridge, shadowed bird standing on branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

compared to which, and also
an approximation that

is taken into consideration,
i.e., change notation

bright orange of sun rising above ridge,
white cloud in pale blue sky on horizon

Sarah Sarai said...

Thanks for posting this poem. I just saw him read tonight, at the Dia. Read, talk, sing. Wonderful poems. Wonderful poem, here.

TC said...

Thanks, Sarah. Jim's poems grow stronger and deeper for me each time I return to them. An amazing artist, for now and for the future (if there is one).