Friday, June 01, 2018

Who Are You?

Call me Jack

Jack, Manhattan, 
Photo by Dar

I am a Savannah boy, since I was born there and lived there until I went to college. That's how one starts, right? The colleges certainly are an essential part of my identity-- U.Va., Sewanee, Tulane, Emory University are the major ones. Left Va. for Sewanee in order to change majors (math to philosophy) and for reasons of love and sexual identity.
 Degrees? B.A., M.A., M.Ln., 
Ph.D. in Philosophy (Tulane). My Doctoral Dissertation was on Philosophy of Art--

 My Master's Thesis was on D.H. Lawrence and Native Americans. I visited Taos, NM, Hampstead Heath, Land's End in Cornwall, and Lake Chapala, Mexico.

In the areas of literature and philosophy: Shakespeare to the Beats;  Plato, Descartes and Whitehead;  the existentialists, especially Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.  Novels have shaped who I am: Tolstoy, James Baldwin, Iris Murdoch, Alan Hollinghurst, Edmund White...and works from the Romantic poets to Michel Foucault. And that doesn't even touch on the art and artists I love...

I've had a long career in teaching and librarianship: Two universities, two art colleges, two high schools, and the High Museum of Art along with other oddities like Law Librarian at the Georgia State University Law School. Teaching for 17 years at the Atlanta College of Art was especially rewarding. During those years I wrote articles and reviews for Art Papers and other publications. I met wonderful students who are still making art today. Kara Walker took two of my elective classes. And many students and colleagues are now among my Facebook friends. Teaching is a two-way avenue. 
It was also during this time that we collected much of the art we now own, the Larry Connatser paintings, for instance, art from Mexico and South America, and the photographs of my friend Paula Gately TillmanI also own Hogarth engravings and a work by Aristide Maillol

Since the age of 18 I have kept journals. My first trip to Europe in 1970 was as formative as any college course. I spent three months there, writing Journal 5, traveling by Eurail pass, soaking up art and history as never before.  Seeing the world and other cultures has always been an inspiration vital to me.

Japan, April 2013

 My relationships, like my train trips in Europe from country to country, crossed the landscapes, the bodyscapes of intimacy and sexuality.  I was a Hippie in the 70's and thank Dionysus for it. It was then I found lifelong friends Jim and Julian, now deceased, who added so much to my life and are the subject of a novella I wrote. Savannah, New Orleans, Mexico, and San Francisco (where I lived on Russian Hill), with frequent jaunts to New York and New England, were my fertile crescent and home during the 70s. Those were the days of meeting Allen GinsbergW.S. Merwin, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti-- A time of art, music, theater, and philosophy. It was the time when I met the wonderful actor and my close friend, Joseph Mydell.

Today, I am married to my darling, Darryl Gossett. We have a nexus of relationships with others. Our travels and life together fill many of the pages of this Blog. He is a talented editor and award winning writer (His article on Alzheimer's) (Edith Honeycutt --with whom we had a delightful dinner).  My aim now is to shift from critical writing to more creative writing, such as my "Art Memo" and several reviews in The Gay and Lesbian Review, Worldwide, (another link to the essay is Art Memo; and to my most recent review, Alfred Corn's Miranda's Book). I continue to teach, continue writing essays, poetry, short stories;  and  creating a photographic vision in sync with my writing, Poems and Short stories: Apricocks and 4 Way.

But enough about me...

Here's to my friends, loved ones, and artists I've encountered: These portraits are among the best of my accomplishments, not to mention the relationships we have nurtured that made them possible. 

To the chief intensity: the crown of these
Is made of love and friendship, and sits high
Upon the forehead of humanity.

Keats-- Endymion.


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