Posts

Opinion: Mindful Spontaneity

Image
Climbing the ladder of age discourages spontaneity. Maturity is often expressed as taking seriously shallow subjects and events; pretending one understands what one does not; sowing envy to cultivate unnecessary suffering where inspiration would be the more productive; punishing genuineness with insecurities because we see plots against us where none exists and we must have what others have, even when we have no need, use or want of it––without suffering any of the conditions they have endured to achieve it. All in all, that which we termed a matured person, today, is often one who is very frightened of her own shadow and for whom life is a tedious pretension of hiding confusion and fear. The matured persons of today deem it necessary to hide uncertainty and ignorance behind intelligent facades because the worst thing there is, is to appear a fool or to be seen or taken for an idiot. Thus many grown-ups do not sleep very well. But as I spend more time with children, as a teacher, I a…

New Published Art Work in Jet Fuel Review

Image
Hello Friend,

I'm happy to share with you this beautiful spring 2018 issue of Jet Fuel Review. It is full of engaging literary & art works including my Postcard (abstract photography) Series (pages 66, 67, 68). I'd like to invite you to browse my images and peruse the gorgeously put together ebook––you are bound to discover some new favorite artists. Thanks. ^_^

J. A. Odartey

Analysis of Louise Bogan’s Knowledge

Image
Knowledge
by Louise Bogan

Now that I know
How passion warms little 

Of flesh in the mould,
And treasure is brittle,––

I’ll lie here and learn
How, over their ground,
Trees make a long shadow
And a light sound.

---

Thomas Gray’s poem, “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College” ends with the following lines, “Since sorrow never comes too late, / And happiness too swiftly flies. / Thought would destroy their paradise. / No more; where ignorance is bliss, / 'Tis folly to be wise.” If you suffer an obsession, like I do, with Adam and Eve you can easily place the pair in your own narrative where after they have eaten the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge they would lament what they had given up: innocence for knowledge, just as Gray’s poem does. But when one has taken a bite and it dawns on one that the previous state was superior to the present, how does one carry on? In his 1709 poem, An Essay on Criticism, Alexander Pope states “A little learning is a dangerous thing / Dr…

Photography: Mel Chin: All Over the Place an Exhibition at the Queens Museum

Image
Operation of the Sun, 1987 From Funk and Wag A to Z, 2012 Presence of Tragedy, 1988 Flint Fit, 2017 (in collaboration with Tracy Reese)
Mel Chin: All Over the Place exhibiting at the Queens Museum, April 8th through August 12th 2018.
--- JAO 



Between the Pages of Letters to A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke VIII

Image
“It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living. Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us; because everything we trust and are used to is for a moment taken away from us; because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing”
(Rainer Maria Rilke. Letters to a Young Poet. Trans. Stephen Mitchell. NY: Modern Library, 2001, p. 83-84).

All of Rilke’s letters in his Letters to a Young Poet are deeply beautiful. And though my current favorite is the seventh chapter, I find the eight chapter not less profound. It is as if the chapter attempts a summary of all that have been said in the previous letters. There are so many passages in this letter worth considering and I will be using some of them to support the chosen quote above––which seems the thesis of the letter. For this commentary, my interest is merely to explore a little furth…