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

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Art of the Novel: Jean-Pierre Milovanoff

Jean-Pierre Milovanoff is a contemporary French novelist, dramatist and poet whose elegant writing may have eluded - for an unfathomable reason -  editorial plans of English language publishers.

At least for now, and hopefully not for long as Milovanoff’s fiction, which has garnered numerous French literary prizes, stands out in a mantle of its own in the star-studded gallery of contemporary French novelists such as Muriel Barbery, Nicolas Fargues, Annie Erneaux and David Foenkinos.

Born in 1940 in Nîmes, France, Jean-Pierre Milovanoff is a  prodigious writer, at home in most literary genres, including children’s books; he was also a radio producer for France Culture

 Milovanoffʻs most recent novel ″The Winter of a Selfish Man and the Spring That Followed″ (LʻHiver dʻun égoïste et le printemps qui suivit - Grasset, 2012) evidences several of the author’s strengths as a novelist: characters who, similar to old china, are chipped at the edges; short and well-tempered chapters and the precise delineation of a contained geography, inspired - possibly - by the counties in which the author grew up. 

Misha Miriaki, the protagonist of the novel, is a Frenchman who returns to his natal Languedoc after having spent several years in Japan. His first person narrative, both sombre and hilarious, carries us through the story, glittering with subdued irony.

One might readily agree that the tour de force of ″The Winter of a Selfish Man and the Spring That Followed″ is the layered and haunting description of Montpellier’s surroundings:

″We arrived within sight of the lighthouse at Bélugue which had gone out of service in the 1960s. 
The wind had pushed enormous quantities of sand against its base.  
More dunes had built up further out in the distance.   
The carcass of a seagull bore witness to a fight lost to a hungry predator, a half wild cat or a fox. The winner had left behind only a ball of feathers, the ergots and the yellow beak.
We turned around and returned to the city following the shoreline.″

To top it all off, the last page in the novel is a poem, whose final stanza might be translated as follows:

″The night falls on us, inescapable.
The sun is an ox in its stable.
Our childish hands seek each other out under the starry table
Where death pours out grains of sand and gravel. ″

 (Cover Page Credit:
with my thanks).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gargoyles of Shakespearian Poetry

Gargoyles, I’m told, are spouting objects, used to funnel rain water out from the entrails (or roofs) of a building  or – in some instances – are simply rich architectural add-ons. 

Similarly, it can be argued that there are passages within Shakespeare’s plays that serve as relief mechanisms, where the tension of the play is channeled and shaped through a special type of verses.

 These short poems act as relief valves  & spouting devices of the rhetoric kind in the overall architecture of a Shakespearian play.

The  “gargoyle” interludes are made of verses that fall under the domain of what may be called fantastic poetry – a poetry of  highly imaginative  ilk, in a hyperspace filled with surreal  regna. 

Queen Mab, in Romeo in Juliet is perhaps one of the obvious and best known examples:

“She is the fairies’ midwife; and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies”

 “her whip, of cricket’s bone” – precedes Mercutio’s suspenseful lines on dreams…”begot of nothing but vain fantasy; Which is as thin of substance as the air”.
(Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene IV)
The use of fantastic poetry is present throughout Macbeth, in the apparitions of the three witches and Hecate.  

 These apparitions are a counterpoint to increasingly gruesome deeds. 

Here’s a gargoyle effect (a passage of fantastic poetry) from Macbeth:

“I am for the air; this night I’ll spend
Unto a dismal and a fatal end.
Great business must be wrought ere noon:
Upon the corner of the moon
There hangs a vaporous drop profound;
I’ll catch it ere it come to ground;
And that distilled by magic slights,
Shall rise such artificial sprites,
As by the strength of their illusion,
Shall draw him on to his confusion:”
(Macbeth, Act III, Scene IV).

And to conclude this post, a passage of fantastic poetry from The Tempest sung by the ‘dainty Ariel’:

“Where the bee sucks, there suck I
In the cowslip’s bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat’s back I do fly
After summer merrily:
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.”
(The Tempest, Act V. Scene I).

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