Friday, July 29, 2011

Evolution of a Photo Bomb

 Just taking a photo of Ernie....
 Uh oh.
 Ernie? Nope, can't say that I've seen him.
 Friends again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book By Its Cover

I got the book cover for the anthology from Ithaca/Garnet today.

Edited by Patty Paine, Jeff Lodge and Samia Touati

With an introduction by David Wojahn

The cover art was designed by 4 VCU Qatar students: Nawar Al-Mutlaq, Aisha Al-Naama, Al Hussein Wanas, and Ameera Makki

The anthology has gotten some nice "advance praise."

This is the first book to bring together a truly representative sampling of Gulf and Omani poetry and to give each poet sufficient space to showcase several works and not just the one iconic piece. Known names sit alongside new ones to deepen our appreciation of their artistic production. Set within the context of recently defined nation-state borders, these poems address a critical moment in the construction of national identities. Essential reading not only for lovers of poetry, but also for all who want to understand the role that the lyrical arts are playing in these rapidly transforming cultures.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     --miram cooke

Poetry anthologies are often mistaken for anthropologies. But Gathering the Tide is a celebration of art as common denominator of what is best in all of us: plurality, beauty, intense individuation. These are poems of representation and becoming, narrative and lyric, declaration and mysticism. They go beyond the cliche of breaking stereotypes and reach into art of the highest kind.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        --Fady Joudah

Assembled in this anthology is a symphony of ruminations and reveries. Here, voices old and new, luminous and innovative converge, and a powerful tide emerges. An astonishing gathering!
                                                                                                                                                                                                     --Nathalie Handal

The back cover is going to change a bit. It will have the advance praise "blurbs" rather than our bios.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Berlin 1930-1950

I processed over 200 negatives. They came from Berlin, and were taken sometime between 1930 and 1950. It was a lot of work, but each time I clicked invert and the image revealed itself was a moment of wonder and discovery.

Here are some of my favorite images:

This seems to be a mess hall. I like the utilitarian furniture, the white, round globes overhead, and the  light pouring in the windows. I love how each plate has a sausage on it. In my mind I saw the two men going plate to plate placing a sausage on each as the heavily decorated officer in the painting loomed over them.
All those young military men, the road vanishing into the horizon, the shadow branches creeping under some of the soldier's heavy, leather boots. There is something haunting about this photo.
 An iconic image. A young soldier with his parents, small children and new baby.
This might be my favorite photo of all. I love the flowers arranged in sharp angles, the tangle of roots magnified by water in the vase. I love the cocktail glasses, half full, the simplicity of one orange on a plate. The giant light fixture overhead is wonderful, particularly because all that light threw those wonderful shadows on the wall. And the couples. How not to like them? So young, and happy--and look at that wonderful hand placement, and how they all are linked together.

I love the sharp angle of the wall and how it frames the scene below. The foreground of the photo is linked to the background by the bridge. Look at all those squat buildings punctuated by steeples, and how the town gives way to open land. And look at those tiny specks in the sky; birds, frozen mid-flight.

I just got a huge lot of negatives from San Francisco 1950-1960, and NY, 1920's. I can't wait to see what they yield.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Negative Recovery Project

I started a new project, just for fun. I've been buying old photo negatives on ebay. I figure ebay is probably the last stop before trashville for negatives, and I'm drawn to the idea of "saving" them.  In my own life there have been several major upheavals, and in each rupture things were lost, photos included. Perhaps that's part of why I'm drawn to collecting/saving negatives. Also, as I get older I find myself getting more nostalgic, so I'm drawn to the earlier eras captured in the negatives. I got my first batch today. There is something haunting about a negative and how it comes alive in the light.

My plan is to scan them and post some here, or on a dedicated tumblr page. I have other plans for them, but they haven't come into focus quite yet.

Who knows, maybe some of the negatives will even find their way back to the people who lost them.

I love how for black and white negatives, light and dark trade places:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Alive and Kicking: Diode 4.3

It’s deep summer in Doha, 118 degrees today and humid, though not as humid as it will be in a few weeks. By then, Doha will be a ghost of itself, most everyone somewhere other than here. I suppose I am something of an oddity in my love of Doha in the summer. Gone is the tangled, honking traffic and overstuffed, chaotic malls. This warp speed city fast forwarding from desert to mirage slows down a bit. Yes, there is the heat, and make no mistake, the raw power of it is humbling, frightening even, yet so much perseveres: the bulbuls and mourning doves pecking the seed I sprinkled on the sill, lizards darting from the aloe when I water the garden, the feral cats stalking shade and hauling their kittens behind them. It’s too hot to do much of anything, and there’s a certain luxury of filling the time with quieter pursuits. This issue of diode, I think, is a quieter pursuit, perfect for a long, summer read.

Patty Paine

I once had a colleague, since retired, who said that for him there were three reasons to teach—June, July, and August.  And summers are nice here in Richmond: hot by day, warm by night, generally humid, sometimes rainy, sometimes dry.  Maples and live oaks provide plenty of comforting shade.  Children are (mostly) out of school, so normally quiet neighborhoods fill with the sounds of their play.  And I still get to teach—my reasons are not the same as my former colleague’s, I guess.  This summer, it’s an introductory creative writing class, fiction, two nights a week for eight weeks in what may be the most comfortable room on VCU’s campus—cool and carpeted, windows overlooking the Anderson Gallery (currently showing “Knock, Knock!, From the Collection of Paul and Sara Monroe”).  I have fourteen students, some who will become writers, some who will not but who will always be readers.  The pace is leisurely, the teaching fun, educational, and rewarding.  And it leaves plenty of time to focus on reading diode closely now, not as a collection of work by several different poets and writers, but as the single piece it becomes when it’s finally all together.

Jeff Lodge

Wherever you are, we hope you enjoy this issue of diode. 



 Special Features
  Kyle McCord
Review | Pigafetta is My Wife, Joe Hall
Didi Menendez
Editing Is Like Polishing Your Dad’s Shoes
Maureen Seaton and Kristine Snodgrass
Zoe Virginia
Selected Works 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bert is weird.

Every time I put a new bag in the trash can next to my desk....

I'd write more, but I'm very busy. Those Top Chef: Canada episodes aren't going to watch themselves, eh? Top Chef: Canada is exactly like Top Chef, except Dan Akroyd shows up to judge, and pimp his Crystal Head vodka.
It worked. I don't care about the vodka, but I totally want that bottle.