Yesterday’s Moth

A cloth thread
it was yellow; shinning
bright steel blue
cob webs; recyclability
drips design retractable
and Tuesday received
buckets freely
I see a moth
from yesterday poems on
a blank piece of paper
cloth; thoughtfully pinned
inside made
thoughtfully re-read intimately
exhaust/senescent
tube; in my heart
leering down
it’s sinful weakness

My ears are doing-that
windshield-wiper
thing-slowed-down
wiping out
hands off; buzzards; leftover
ground down white wrapped yarn
the bones of a coat; hung hanger
wreck debris aged
falling of the bone
in waves; falling off the bone
in waves; it just comes
nothing hurts
it’s supposed to

 

Poem By Heather Whitley Gibson

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Love

The character for ai, the ‘love’ that one person
feels for another, suggests that although the
word is now used as freely in China as elsewhere,
love was once considered a highly
spiritual emotion. Some sages believed it to be
a form of giving that should be extended not
only to those closest to us, but to more distant
members of society as well.
In the center is the ‘heart’ pictogram.
Above and below ‘heart’ are the characters
for ‘breath’ and ‘graceful movement’. Love,
therefore, can be seen as a kind of inspiration.
It breathes life into the heart, and brings grace
to the body.

Should Historians “Mind” What’s Been Said? By mcheesaker

who's word's?

According to Google’s new n-gram tool, when researching history, words count.

Literally.

By analyzing over 500 billion words from 5.2 million books in Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish, the n-gram tool allows users to track the usage of words from 1500AD onwards. The implications of this tool in terms of historical and cultural research are just beginning to come to light. In the article  “Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books,” Jean-Baptiste Michel and his fellow researchers suggest that Google’s n-gram can be used to track the emergence of diseases, state censorship and the relative “celebrity” of a given person.

There is no doubt that the n-gram is, and will continue to be, an extremely useful tool in historical inquiry. However, there are some limitations that need to be addressed.

Firstly, the Google n-gram is limited in regards to language. Most of the collected works are written in English. Although this is helpful for me (an Anglophone student from Canada), some of the world’s most spoken languages, like Arabic and Hindi, are not even present in the database.

Furthermore, as Jean-Baptiste Michel notes, the Google n-gram tool simply measures the frequency of words within books, and books alone. Therefore, other publications like newspapers, and academic journal articles are marginalized from each search. The impact of this becomes quite clear when you compare n-gram searches on Google, and an n-gram search that browses through local newspaper clippings like the site, Mining the Dispatch. On Mining the Dispatch, users are able to see the relative frequency of fugitive slave ads that made it into the local Richmond newspaper during the Civil War. Because of its larger scope, and inability to browse through newspapers, this kind of historical deduction cannot be made through Google’s n-gram.

There is no doubt that the n-gram is, and will continue to be, an extremely useful tool in historical inquiry. However, there are some limitations that need to be addressed.

Firstly, the Google n-gram is limited in regards to language. Most of the collected works are written in English. Although this is helpful for me (an Anglophone student from Canada), some of the world’s most spoken languages, like Arabic and Hindi, are not even present in the database

I think it’s also important to note that language, although an important (and often forgotten) indication of culture is certainly not the only one. As historians know, geography, religion and class, all play a critical role in shaping the thoughts, actions and mindsets of a given people. Language is only one small piece of what makes us who we are.

Indeed, Canada, the United States, and the UK, may all be English speaking nations, but we have very different cultures. Just to prove this point, I decided to gauge the relative frequencies of three major sports: baseball, hockey, and football. From 1900-2008, the frequency of hockey was dismal compared to football and baseball. However, this was a search that took into account all English books written during the designated period. I imagine if I were to search a corpus containing only Canadian books, hockey would be mentioned far more frequently..

But more than that, words themselves are limited.

Think about Twitter. Depending on the words we choose to use in our hashtags, our statuses are more searchable. Similarly, if we tweet about a topic that’s trending, what we say is viewed by a larger audience. But what if we don’t use the right words to categorize what we’re saying? What if we type in an extra “s” or add an apostrophe where it doesn’t belong? But more pertinent than that, what if we say one thing, and mean another?

My previous example with sports provides an interesting example. In English, the word “football” can either mean soccer, or American football. In my search, this discrepancy wasn’t accounted for. Therefore, any mention of the word “football,” whether that book was actually talking about soccer or American football, was nonetheless counted. And therein lies another problem with Google’s n-gram: the tool gives us no sense of context.

And for the historian, context is king.

An old Chinese proverb claims that, “If you wish to know the mind of a man, listen to his words.”

After playing around with the Google n-gram, and uncovering its uses, I think this is extremely accurate. However, words are only one investigative tool in the proverbial historical tool-belt that can be used to understand history and culture.

F0r charts and more information visit: http://hist291.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/should-historians-mind-whats-been-said/

Snow Tiger by YUSEF KOMUNYAKAABY

th - Copy - Copy

Ghost sun half
hidden, where did you go?
There’s always a mother
of some other creature
born to fight for her young.
But crawl out of your hide,
walk upright like a man,
& you may ask if hunger is the only passion
as you again lose yourself
in a white field’s point of view.
In this glacial quiet
nothing moves except—
then a flash of eyes & nerves.
If cornered in your head by cries from a cave
in another season, you can’t forget
in this landscape a pretty horse
translates into a man holding a gun.

Source: Poetry (April 2012).


BIOGRAPHY

In his poetry, Yusef Komunyakaa weaves together the elements of his own life in short lines of vernacular to create complex images of life in his native Louisiana and the jungles of Vietnam. From his humble beginnings as the son of a carpenter, Komunyakaa has traveled far to become a scholar, professor, and prize-winning poet. In 1994, he claimed the Pulitzer Prize and the $50,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for his Neon . . .

“Painting Abstraction: new elements in abstract painting” by Bob Nickas.

Oregon College of Art and Craft Library:

 “Painting Abstraction: new elements in abstract painting” by Bob Nickas.

 Featured Artist: Michelle Ross

She is well known for her contemporary abstract paintings, which “[traverse] the history of abstraction, design, decoration and the love of language” (here). Her work has been likened to Mondrian, Hans Hoffman, Giorgio Morandi, Agnes Martin, Mary Heilman, and Robert Mangold. Ryan Pierce has stated that “Ross’ paintings are firmly grounded in the tropes and traditions of modernism,” they are “refreshingly free of the gimmicks that crowd a lot of abstraction these days,” and they “link the classical and the modern with grace and reverence, leaving plenty of open space for whatever happens next” (from a 2007 review on PORT).

More images of her recent work can be seen on the Elizabeth Leach Gallery website.

2011-12-05-michelleross

 “Painting Abstraction: new elements in abstract painting” by Bob Nickas.

For this week’s library pick, we have selected a title that showcases many of Michelle Ross’ contemporaries and other artists pushing the limits of abstract painting. The book is Painting Abstraction: new elements in abstract painting by Bob Nickas.

After a prefatory essay on the “persistence of abstraction,” the book is broken up into six parts: “hybrid pictures,” “Rhythm and Opticality,” “Color and Structure,” “Found/Eccentric Abstraction,” “Form, Space, and Scale,” and “the Act of Painting.” About a dozen or more artists have been selected for each section and a short text describes how each particularly addresses some issue related to that section’s theme.

For example, Nickas asks “Is the hand of an artist more visible to us when drawing and line are central to her paintings?” (139). He then demonstrates how this question can be answered in the “affirmative” by a close investigation on the work of Allison Miller. Several large, full-color reproductions of her work follow in order to illustrate his point.

Painting Abstraction is an authoritative compilation that addresses the key issues in the field of abstract painting from the last five years and profiles 80 different contemporary abstract artists including Mark Grotjahn and Amy Sillman. Bob Nickas work is an excellent balance of research, critical analysis, and, what all great art books so often have: art, art, and more art.

2011-12-05-paintingabstraction

Denise Burge: Original Dirt (May 14 – September 4, 2011)

Denise Burge: Original Dirt (May 14 – September 4, 2011)

Denise Burge, Louise's Tree's, 1999

Denise Burge, Louise’s Tree‘s, 1999

Cincinnati based artist Denise Burge, approaching quilting from a painting background, views the creation of her work as its subject as well as its medium. Using the storytelling tradition learned in her community while growing up in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains, Burge uses her works as a commentary on everything from her family to the natural environment.
The Appalachian region has a history of folk artists concentrating on storytelling featuring aspects of religion, poverty, and the natural resources of the land. By using the quilt as her medium, Burge interprets what, to her, is a nostalgic and functional form of expression. Exploiting patchwork and sewing techniques as a vehicle for ecstatic pattern, Burge seeks to suggest her compositions as and analog to natural patterns of existence. Her work is constructed with a variety of materials and methods, both recycled and new, suggesting aspects of physical growth and renewal through the process. Shredding, slicing, layering, and turning forms and patterns inside-out, the artists sees her creations as a way to reenact and connect with the transformations that the earth constantly undergoes. Her nostalgia leads her to a romanticized conversation about attachment to our landscape. In the Appalachian landscape, people often see the brutality that can be exerted upon the earth, but also become viscerally connected to land and place as a natural resource and source of vitality. Burge uses her work to contemplate this contradiction and question the complexities of our relationship to our natural world.

Elmhurst Art Museum
150 Cottage Hill Ave.
Elmhurst, Illinois 60126
630.834.0202

Object Imprint artist, Denise Burge

Object Imprint artist, Denise Burge (Photo credit: a stitch in the ditch)

Pocahontas (1595?- 1617) –


Pocahontas

English: Pocahontas

English: Pocahontas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pocahontas (1595?- 1617) –

The daughter of a powerful “Tribal chiefIndian Chief in Virginia, she was born in the Tidewater region of Virginia around 1595 and was called Matoaka. However, at an early age she took on the nickname of Pocahontas, meaning “Little-wanton,” for her playful and frolicsome nature, and was considered an “Indian Princess” in pop culture.

Pocahontas probably saw white men for the first time in May, 1607 when the Englishmen landed at Jamestown. One of the first she was to meet was Captain John Smith, who was the leader of the Virginia Colony at Jamestown. Later that year, in December, Smith was leading an exploration along the rivers of Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay when the Powhatan Indians took him captive. Smith would live to tell the romanticized story, which would become legendary. The tale would also come under scrutiny many years later by historians, who question its authenticity. But, as Smith tells it, a few days after his capture, he was taken to the official residence of the Powhatan at Werowocomoco, which was 12 miles from Jamestown. There, the great chief, Wahunsunacawh, welcomed him and offered him a feast. However, afterwards, several warriors grabbed him, forced him to stretch out on two large, flat stones and stood over him with clubs, as though ready to beat him to death if ordered. Suddenly, in rushed the chief’s daughter, little Pocahontas, and took Smith’s head in her arms to save him from death. Pocahontas then pulled him to his feet and the chief declared that they were now friends. He then adopted Smith as his son, or a subordinate chief. Actually, this mock “execution and salvation” ceremony was traditional with the Indians, and if Smith’s story is true, Pocahontas’ actions were probably one part of a ritual. Relations with the Indians continued to be generally friendly for the next year, and Pocahontas was a frequent visitor to Jamestown. She delivered messages from her father, accompanied other tribe members food and furs to trade, and spent time visiting with John Smith on her visits. Unfortunately, relations with the Powhatan and the Jamestown settlers deteriorated. Though necessary trading continued, hostilities became more open. Pocahontas’ visits to the fort became much less frequent. In October 1609, a gunpowder explosion badly injured John Smith, forcing him to return to England. When Pocahontas next came to visit the fort, she was told that her friend Smith was dead. In 1610 Pocahontas living with the Patowameke Indians and was either engaged or briefly married to an Indian named Kocoum and lived in Potomac country. But, her relationship with the Englishmen was not over. When a resourceful member of the Jamestown settlement, Captain Samuel Argall, learned where she was, he devised a plan to kidnap her and hold her for ransom. With the help of Japazaws, a lesser chief of the Patowomeck Indians, Argall lured Pocahontas onto his ship. When told she would not be allowed to leave, she “began to be exceeding pensive and discontented,” but, she eventually became calmer and even accustomed to her captivity. Argall sent word to Powhatan that he would return his beloved daughter only in exchange for the English prisoners Powhatan held, some arms and tolls that the Indians had stolen, and some corn. After a while, Powhatan sent part of the ransom and asked that they treat his daughter well. Argall returned to Jamestown in April, 1613 with Pocahontas. Pocahontas was eventually moved to a new settlement, Henrico, which was under the leadership of Sir Thomas Dale. Here, she began her education in the Christian faith and met a successful tobacco planter named John Rolfe in July, 1613. Pocahontas was allowed relative freedom within the settlement, and she began to enjoy her role in the relations between the colony and her people. After almost a year of captivity, Dale brought 150 armed men and Pocahontas into Powhatan’s territory to obtain her entire ransom. Attacked by the Indians, the Englishmen burned many houses, destroyed villages, and killed several Indian men. They finally sent Pocahontas ashore, where she reunited with two of her brothers, whom she told that she was treated well and that she was in love with and wanted to marry the Englishman John Rolfe. The Powhatan Chief gave his consent to this, and the Englishmen departed, delighted at the prospect of the “peace-making” marriage, although they didn’t receive the full ransom. John Rolfe was a very religious man who agonized for many weeks over the decision to marry an Indian, but, finally made the decision once she had been fully converted to Christianity. Pocahontas was baptized, christened by the name Rebecca, and later married Rolfe on April 5, 1614. A general peace and a spirit of goodwill between the English and the Indians resulted from the marriage. Sir Thomas Dale made an important voyage back to London in the Spring of 1616. His purpose was to seek further financial support for the Virginia Company. To ensure spectacular publicity, he brought with him about a dozen Algonquian Indians, including Pocahontas, her husband and their young son, Thomas. Pocahontas probably saw white men for the first time in May, 1607 when the Englishmen landed at Jamestown. One of the first she was to meet was Captain John Smith, who was the leader of the Virginia Colony at Jamestown. Later that year, in December, Smith was leading an exploration along the rivers of Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay when the Powhatan Indians took him captive. Smith would live to tell the romanticized story, which would become legendary. The tale would also come under scrutiny many years later by historians, who question its authenticity. But, as Smith tells it, a few days after his capture, he was taken to the official residence of the Powhatan at Werowocomoco, which was 12 miles from Jamestown. There, the great chief, Wahunsunacawh, welcomed him and offered him a feast. However, afterwards, several warriors grabbed him, forced him to stretch out on two large, flat stones and stood over him with clubs, as though ready to beat him to death if ordered. Suddenly, in rushed the chief’s daughter, little Pocahontas, and took Smith’s head in her arms to save him from death. Pocahontas then pulled him to his feet and the chief declared that they were now friends. He then adopted Smith as his son, or a subordinate chief. Actually, this mock “execution and salvation” ceremony was traditional with the Indians, and if Smith’s story is true, Pocahontas’ actions were probably one part of a ritual. Relations with the Indians continued to be generally friendly for the next year, and Pocahontas was a frequent visitor to Jamestown. She delivered messages from her father, accompanied other tribe members food and furs to trade, and spent time visiting with John Smith on her visits. Unfortunately, relations with the Powhatan and the Jamestown settlers deteriorated. Though necessary trading continued, hostilities became more open. Pocahontas’ visits to the fort became much less frequent. In October 1609, a gunpowder explosion badly injured John Smith, forcing him to return to England. When Pocahontas next came to visit the fort, she was told that her friend Smith was dead. In 1610 Pocahontas living with the Patowameke Indians and was either engaged or briefly married to an Indian named Kocoum and lived in Potomac country. But, her relationship with the Englishmen was not over. When a resourceful member of the Jamestown settlement, Captain Samuel Argall, learned where she was, he devised a plan to kidnap her and hold her for ransom. With the help of Japazaws, a lesser chief of the Patowomeck Indians, Argall lured Pocahontas onto his ship. When told she would not be allowed to leave, she “began to be exceeding pensive and discontented,” but, she eventually became calmer and even accustomed to her captivity. Argall sent word to Powhatan that he would return his beloved daughter only in exchange for the English prisoners Powhatan held, some arms and tolls that the Indians had stolen, and some corn. After a while, Powhatan sent part of the ransom and asked that they treat his daughter well. Argall returned to Jamestown in April, 1613 with Pocahontas. Pocahontas was eventually moved to a new settlement, Henrico, which was under the leadership of Sir Thomas Dale. Here, she began her education in the Christian faith and met a successful tobacco planter named John Rolfe in July, 1613. Pocahontas was allowed relative freedom within the settlement, and she began to enjoy her role in the relations between the colony and her people. After almost a year of captivity, Dale brought 150 armed men and Pocahontas into Powhatan’s territory to obtain her entire ransom. Attacked by the Indians, the Englishmen burned many houses, destroyed villages, and killed several Indian men. They finally sent Pocahontas ashore, where she reunited with two of her brothers, whom she told that she was treated well and that she was in love with and wanted to marry the Englishman John Rolfe. The Powhatan Chief gave his consent to this, and the Englishmen departed, delighted at the prospect of the “peace-making” marriage, although they didn’t receive the full ransom. John Rolfe was a very religious man who agonized for many weeks over the decision to marry an Indian, but, finally made the decision once she had been fully converted to Christianity. Pocahontas was baptized, christened by the name Rebecca, and later married Rolfe on April 5, 1614. A general peace and a spirit of goodwill between the English and the Indians resulted from the marriage. Sir Thomas Dale made an important voyage back to London in the Spring of 1616. His purpose was to seek further financial support for the Virginia Company. To ensure spectacular publicity, he brought with him about a dozen Algonquian Indians, including Pocahontas, her husband and their young son, Thomas.

English: Portrait of Pocahontas, wearing a tal...

English: Portrait of Pocahontas, wearing a tall hat, and seen at half-length. Around the oval lettering reads: “”MATOAKA ALS REBECCA FILIA POTENTISS: PRINC: POWHATANI IMP: VIRGINIÆ”. Below oval “Ætatis suæ 21. Ao / 1616.” Engraving by the Dutch and British printmaker and sculptor Simon van de Passe. 170 mm x 117 mm. Courtesy of the British Museum, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pocahontas_by_Simon_van_de_Passe_1616

The arrival of Pocahontas in London was well publicized. She was presented to King James I, the royal family, and the rest of the best of London society. Also in London at the time was Captain John Smith, the old friend she had not seen for eight years and whom she believed was dead. Smith relates that at their meeting, she was at first too overcome with emotion to speak. After composing herself, Pocahontas talked of old time After seven months, Rolfe decided to return his family to Virginia. In March, 1617 they set sail. It was soon apparent, however, that Pocahontas would not survive the voyage home. She was deathly ill from pneumonia or tuberculosis. She was taken ashore, and, as she lay dying, she comforted her husband, saying, “all must die. ‘Tis enough that the child liveth.” She died on March 21, 1617 and was buried in a churchyard in Gravesend, England at the age of 22. Pocahontas played a significant role in American history. As a compassionate little girl, she saw to it that the colonists received food from the Indians, so that Jamestown would not become another “Lost Colony.” She is said to have intervened to save the lives of individual colonists. In 1616 John Smith wrote that Pocahontas was “the instrument to preserve this colony from death, famine, and utter confusion.” Pocahontas not only served as a representative of the Virginia Indians, but also as a vital link between the Native Americans and the Englishmen.

***The Pictures inserted were chosen by HWG—the different contrast in images is an additional history, one that is still unwittingly propagates disingenuous history.

English: Artist depiction of Pocahontas saving...

English: Artist depiction of Pocahontas saving the life of Capt. John Smith. MEDIUM: 1 print : chromolithograph, color. B size. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)http://yanative.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/pocahontas/ (re-Blogged) http://www.legendsofamerica.com/ Related articles: