This painting was one of two that I did for Matthias over at Beat Company (you can see the other one here) to mark the anniversary of Allen Ginsberg’s passing on April 5th, 1997. The inspiration for the piece was the footnote to Howl and a photograph of Ginsberg as a young man in Berkeley, California. When Matthias didn’t wind up using this painting for the anniversary post, I decided to post it here on Illustrated Poetry – but the more I looked at it, the more I realized it reminded me of the opening lines of A Supermarket in California. It is one of those cases where the art knows more than I do! You can read the entire text of A Supermarket in California here. Painting, acrylic on illustration board, by me. Have a wonderful week!
I am indebted to Mr. John Sapiro for introducing me to the poet Robinson Jeffers – and to this poem in particular (read the whole short poem here). Mr. Jeffers spent most of his life in Carmel, CA, a town I have been to many times (a partly related factoid is that Carmel has always been run, more or less, by artists and actors – Clint Eastwood was recently the mayor). Jeffers built his home and a four story tower next to it by hand out of stone. These buildings are now available for tours and have promptly gone on my “must see” list. Mr. Jeffers is one of the few poets to have been on the cover of Time magazine – but his staunch and open opposition to WWII led to much of his legacy having been forgotten. Collage and composition by me.
Larry Levis (1946-1996) attributed a powerful and direct effect of the landscapes of his life, particularly of his childhood in the central valley of California, on his poetry. His poems had always evinced the landscapes of rural California for me, so it was interesting and gratifying to learn that about him and his creative process. Today’s excerpt is from his fantastic short poem, “The Spirit Says You are Nothing” – read the whole poem here. Drawing (pencil on newsprint), photograph, and composition by me.
“The Span of Life” by Robert Frost (1874-1963). Photograph by Ms. Dawn Wenrich of Lake Piru, California – visit her website and linger on the beautiful photography. Composition by me. I hope everyone is enjoying the first weekend of fall (although it doesn’t feel like fall yet)!