Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Life: Collage #1

"Every man is born as many men and dies as a single one."

Martin Heidegger

Note: this attempt at a collage was inspired by Alfred Corn's quilt...
(see below)

Juan Gris: Sunblind

Life's images: sitting at a long mahogany table in Tilton Hall Cockily (so said the Hegel scholar) defending my dissertation on Sir Herbert Read, playing chess with my father at the YMCA, dripping sand castles at Tybee that the tide washed away, falling through the dilapidated pier at Moon River where I lived for a while, plodding up Lombard Street to my three story house overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, repeatedly falling in love with briefly questioning heterosexuals and driving across country with them, getting married at last to my husband in a garden in Provincetown on Cape Cod, teaching my first philosophy class of 35 students and thinking "who am I to be teaching philosophy?" giving a lecture on Cubism at SCAD in Savannah, opening my office in the High Museum overlooking the Richard Meir building and Peachtree Street, a space I helped design including furniture from the decorative arts collection and a champagne reception, driving up the one-lane road to Walpi in my friend's '73 Mustang,  teaching for 17 years at the Atlanta College of Art, including such stars of the art world as Kara Walker, making love outdoors on the quad of the University of Virginia in the pre-dawn with the girl of my dreams, working loading trucks for Canada Dry one summer, recently watching Jupiter, then the crescent moon, then the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean, celebrating my 50th with 50 bottles of Veuve Clicquot and 50 long-stem roses, watching a student of mine play tennis against future #1 player in the world, Amelie Mauresmo in Paris at Roland Garros, exploring Delphi, standing inside the Parthenon, and the Pantheon, and before the glacier in Patagonia, where we "Look'd at each other with a wild surmise," climbing to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, spending a week cruising the French Quarter of New Orleans with Allen Ginsberg and lunching with W.S. Merwin, swimming naked in the pool at Kalani in Hawaii, taking in the holiness of Nara, standing atop the world's largest mountain and watching the sun set, dancing at the Tabernacle to a live performance of Damien Dempsey and Sinead O'Connor, seeing Jupiter and Venus together in the evening sky above the Champs-Élysées, having the Picasso rooms all to myself at the Met in NYC so I can study Picasso's portrait of Gertrude Stein, Watching my life-long friend onstage in Stratford playing Casca in the RSC's production of Julius Caesar, and writing and writing.

Jack 8-15-13

Alfred Corn's Quilt:

Scenes from the crazy quilt life. Playing jacks with my older sisters and doing miserably. Picking blackberries in the open fields under the blistering Georgia sun near our house and selling them at $.25 a quart to my mother. Giving the valedictory speech at secondary school graduation. A summer job in Atlanta, after my second year at Emory, loading furniture onto trucks. Hiking along the Rhone near Avignon during a French-language summer program. A Columbia grad student in New York, fall of 1965, when the lights blacked out. Janis Joplin at the Fillmore East. A civil ceremony at the Municipal Building, Ann and I toasting each other with Veuve Clicquot afterward at our apartment. A year in Paris, through May 1968, when a million demonstrators rose up to protest government policies. Moving into raw loft space in SoHo with Walter, 1972, with one water tap and a mattress on the floor. A trip we made to Venice, seeing David K. and Edmund W. Hopping from foot to foot after a telephone call told me my first book would appear. A dinner party in New Haven where guests included Robert Penn Warren and Harold Bloom. My first poetry class, the students including Langdon Hammer and Susan Schultz. Sitting across the table from Robert Lowell at the Signet Club in Cambridge. Attending poetry readings at Yale by Elizabeth Bishop, Derek Walcott, and Seamus Heaney. Half a Guggenheim year spent in London in 1986. A stay at the Mishkenot Shaanim in Jerusalem just two weeks before the first intifada. Years as a migrant worker adjunct, teaching at Columbia, UCLA, the U. of Cincinnati, Ohio State, the U. of Tulsa, and Oklahoma State. Chris coming to live with me in my apartment between Chelsea and the meat-packing district. After the Centrum conference in WA, a cruise up to shore points in Alaska to see the glaciers calve. A painful goodbye to Richard up on Fort Washington Ave. Choosing London as a base of activities, 2005- 2011. Two years in Hudson, NY, with Philip. Clare Hall, Cambridge. Finding my Sabine Hills in Rhode Island. And so forth.

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