Saturday, February 11, 2017

Archer! Of Arrows in Shadows of Nottigham Castle


Lurking in the shadow of the walls at Nottingham Castle, Robin Hood's statue upholds the legend of the masterful archer and his merry men.

It is a place where legend and history cross paths, and within the strong pull of the castle wall, it's every man (or tourist, maybe)  for him/herself as imaginary arrows whizz by.

Caught between modernity and medieval times, the verses of a poet from another time and space, fit the bill here:

"I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight."

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - The Arrow and the Song)

But let's stroll over into the castle, past the gate.

Intra muros - the former ramparts of the medieval bailey have given way to a place of a recollection where an ununiformed archer inhabits a peaceful garden.

The proverbial "straw man",  which I thought was left behind at corporate meetings back home, greets me in the guise of a warrior armed with a bow and arrow.

Now upwards into the mystery of the middle bailey:

 Finally at the top of the castle, I am rewarded with what the French call une vue imprenable,  a stunning view, but as well a view of something that cannot be conquered....the very definition of these castle walls towering over the adjoining grounds.

 As I make my way at the top castle, another surprising encounter, this time, face to face with Lord Byron:

Speaking of is a Byronic rendition of a poking wound:

"But ever and anon of griefs subdued
There comes a token like a scorpion's sting,
Scarce seen, but with fresh  bitterness imbued;
And slight withall may be the things which bring
Back on the heart the weight which it would fling
Aside for ever: it maybe a sound -
A tone of music - summer's eve's or spring -
A flower - the wind - the ocean - which shall wound,
Striking the electric chain wherewith we are darkly bound;"

(Lord George Gordon Byron - Childe Harold`s Pilgrimage - XXIII)

And it is all downhill from here, past the Ducal Mansion and back out of Nottingham's castle gates and the slightly melancholic tone of music Lord Byron alludes follows me around...

...or is it yet another arrow cut loose by the enigmatic Robin Hood?

Monday, November 07, 2016

On Days Without Seasons

Today we reverted from daylight savings time.

I turned back the clock by 60 minutes, finally admitting  that summer's alert pace has disappeared, giving  way to a less rigorous and rather unpredictable stretch of time, if we are to agree with George Bacovia.


"A day without season and without military order."

    (From Sunset - by George Bacovia)

Autumn benefits from a mysterious je ne sais quoi which seems to keep in balance the past and the future without any plans for either.

  Hence, it behooves to us, on and off poetry aficionados, to decide what mindset to adopt once snowfalls begin.

Here is a possible alternative, eloquently argued by Canada's beloved author, Lucy Maud Montgomery:

"Come, for the dusk is our own; let us fare forth together,
 With a quiet delight in our hearts for the ripe, still, autumn weather, 
Through the rustling valley and wood and over the crisping meadow, 
Under a high-sprung sky, winnowed of mist and shadow."

(From November Evening by  Lucy Maud Montgomery)

The final suggestion belongs to French poet Guillaume Apollinaire:

"How bored I am between these naked walls
Painted in pale hues
A fly, in quaint and measured steps 
Digresses over my paper and its unequal lines."
(From A la Santé by Guillaume Apollinaire)

Monday, September 05, 2016

"Hiring A Clown" by M. Visniec - Toronto (September 30th, 2016) and Montreal (October 2nd, 2016)

An exciting cultural event coming to Romanian-speaking audiences in Toronto and Montreal this fall: the play "Hiring A Clown" by Matei Visniec, directed by Daniel Bucur. 

Three amazing Romanian actors: Ionel Mihailescu, Magda Catone and Paul Chiributa will be starring in a performance filled with much-anticipated  innovative theatrical moments.

Not to be missed, one of  this fall's creative highlights - Toronto (September 30th, 2016) and Montreal (October 2nd, 2016).


Sunday, April 24, 2016

400 Years Old - Gargoyles of Shakespearean Poetry - The Truant Disposition


I'm sure that quite a lot of folks have clicked today (April 23rd, 2016) on the Google main page link referencing Shakespeare. 

A momentous anniversary – four hundred years since Shakespeare’s death (on April 23rd, 1616) a crateful of words and centuries to sift through what remains one of the most enduring legacies of the human spirit.

Floors of the  Folger Shakespeare Library

It’s highly unlikely that within the span of my life I will ever get to experience another similar ‘magic’ number as it pertains to Shakespeare…hence today feels like a special milestone in my life.

And here is why.

I am lucky to have lived through this time - April 2016 - and crossed paths today with a 400 years old comet of wit and melancholy that swirls around this planet since the Bard’s passing away.

Granted, the comet - as most Shakespeare readers know - is a capricious manifestation of a  despondent aura that plays on puns and preys on our intellect with inescapable dark charm: words, words, words.

Shakespeare’s wordiness though is one of a ‘truant disposition’ – as Horatio might talk of it (in Hamlet) - and it brings about some memorable, 400 years old poetic gargoyles:

"Looking on darkness which the blind do see:
Save that my soul's imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous and her old face new."

                            -   from Sonnet XXIVII

I call such aggregations of intense and dizzying metaphors Shakespearean gargoyles, an incessant gurgling of ideas and images which continue to flood our imagination and to haunt us after we've absorbed them.

In a previous post I likened Shakespeare’s inclination to insert an episode of fantastic poetry in a dramatic scene with a gargoyle-like spouting mechanism, a relief valve meant to balance the tension in the play - a slight variation on the Shakespearean gargoyle theme.

Whatever figment of imagination a Shakespeare verse may invoke for you on this four century long month of April 2016, take solace in it.

“For we, which now behold these present days,
Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.”

                             -   from Sonnet CVI

Friday, June 14, 2013

Waterfall Poetry. Erland Lee (Museum) Home Poetry Reading

  Sunday, June 16th, 2013 - poetry reading at the Erland Lee (Museum) Home in Stoney Creek, Ontario.

The reading, organized by Mr. Conrad Didiodato, poet and literary blogger, is dedicated to the "themes of nature and Canada's rural poetry traditions."

I am very glad to be part of the Erland Lee Museum Home poetry reading and have written a cycle of six mini-poems to respond - in a lyrical manner - to the theme of the reading, which is very near and dear to my heart.

The title of the cycle of the poems is An Invitation to Niagara Falls -  since the Falls are relatively close to the location of the reading. 

Needless to say - but here goes:  waterfalls that are part of poems are usually marginally true to the waterfall form, since they are mostly an exercise in word play, water and imagination. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Artist Project Toronto 2013

The ArtistProject Toronto 2013 – on between February 21st & February 24th 2013, at the Exhibition Place Toronto - offers the public the opportunity to become acquainted with the creations of quite a few contemporary artists.

It’s also an occasion to engage the authors of these exciting works of art in insightful conversations.

Inside the show room, the brisk air of a Canadian winter is replaced with the colorful explosion of shapes and visual metaphors that make the event such a worthwhile pursuit. 

Here are some of the artists and their creations  from the kaleidoscope of this year’s intriguing collection at The Artist Project Toronto:

Sarah Phelps creates abstract art – whose arresting palette of hues, which includes green, blue and verdigris causes the visitor to stop and ponder

Sarah Phelps – Booth # 939

Sarah Phelps – Outcast

Silvia Taylor’s art grabs our imagination with glass contours that come to us from treasure coves of architectural designs, archeological sites and Venitian musings:

                                                         Silvia Taylor – Booth # 801


Silvia Taylor – Ogee Arroyo- 2012

The eerie calm and magnificence  of the Georgian Bay  scenery and of the surrounding forests resonate in Andrew Peycha’s paintings in an evanescent orchestration of horizontal and vertical lines:

                                                      Andrew Peycha, Booth #901  

                                                 Andrew Peycha – Early Fall Trail

Alice Vander Vennen’s work reaches out to the visitor on several realms: both visual and tactile.
Most  importantly, these creations  bring about a sense of wonderment at the artistic message that is presented to us: we can’t quite make out all their symbolism, yet all we'd like to do is to keep deciphering them.

                                                  AliceVander Vennen, Booth #702

                                                        Art by Alice Vander Vennen

Apama Shahrzad’s paintings stylized images of attitudes and feelings take us through multiple layers of narratives:

                                                  Apama Shahrzad Booth #917

Jason’s Holley’s creations speak to us of wide expanses that the artist brings closer to us through surprising artifacts:

                                                           Jason Holey, Booth #305

                                                              Art by Jason Holley

Paul Saari

The swirling eddies of colours in Paul Saari's paintings remind us of the constant shifting of the world around us:

                                                            Paul Saari, Booth #230

Nissim Ben Aderet

The area dedicated to the creations of Nissim Ben Aderet was intermittently swarmed by art lovers:

                                                Nissim Ben Anderet, Booth #422

The website of the Artist Project Toronto 2013 lists the artists and some of their work that is part of the show:

A few links to some other superb artists' profiles at this year's show:

Line Dufour 

Janet Kimber


Jane Colden

Yang Yang Pan 

Andrea Stajan-Ferkul

David Brown

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