Friday, December 31, 1993

AFTER-SCHOOL /GATE ART CLASSES at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts

AFTER-SCHOOL /GATE ART CLASSES SAMPLE IDEAS: choose from 4 to15+ sessions

Collage, Painting & Drawing** with Scissors & Pencils:   4 to 8 sessions  With ordinary objects we will explore the medium of drawing, using contour line to enhance our awareness of shapes and edges and train the eye to really see. We will then"draw" with scissors, colored paper, and magazines to create "paintings" built in layers which are both surreal and abstract. Matisse and Magritte will be our models. We will color our own paper with tempra or poster paints, and later make paintings of our collages. We may also explore drawing with colored pencils and oil pastels. If there’s time, we will also experiment with monoprints using poster paint. 

MATERIALS: Colored paper, 80# white suifite drawing paper (18x24”), scissors, gluestix or white glue, soft-lead, colored, and stabilo pencils, water-based and permanent marking pens, oil pastels, poster paints, flat brushes, magazines. **Each art form listed above can be expanded into a full length worhshop.

 *PAINTING—Watercolor & Words:   4 to 8 sessions  Watercolor and the written word will be used to make paintings & graphics that incorporate both poetry & art by reuniting words with drawing, to create self-portraits, posters, & broadsides—visual statements! Students will learn wet and dry techniques, and to mix colors. 

MATERIALS: Crayola 07W, or Prang mixing watercolor sets, brushes, morilla board, 80# white sulfite drawing paper, poster paints and flat brushes, scissors, glue, soft-lead, colored and stabilo pencils, water-based and permanent marking pens, oil pastels, crayons. (Silk painting classes also offered).

 *Masks & Staffs—Making the Mask Speak:   4 to 8 sessions Make several masks from many different mediums—from plaster bandages and paper plates to plastic milk bottles—and then give them character and poetic voice. Learn how native peoples from around the world share this most ancient and modern art form. 

MATERIALS: Tagboard, plastic bottles, sand, cardboard (paper plates, cups, etc.), 80# white sulfite drawing paper, poster paints and flat brushes, sandpaper, plaster, scissors, Elmer’s glue, hot glue guns and refills, pencils, felt, feathers, beads, yarn, goodies to decorate masks. (Please note the added expense: it costs approx. $2.50 to $5 per child to make plaster masks, depending upon the additions.) Students will need to bring decorative goodies, plastic bottles, egg cartons, and special piece of wood for staff. 

ALTERNATE: (1) If there’s time, we’ll explore plastic bottle and found object masks too. Or if school can’t afford bandages, this is a cheaper alternative. (2) Masks & Papier Mache animals. Using glue, aluminum foil, acrylics, masking tape & paper, we’ll sculpt/shape/paint large animals based on Oaxacan folk art.

 *Calligraphy—from Petroglyphs to Parchment:   6+ sessions  Learn the art of beautiful lettering using the Italic alphabet. Trace the origins of our alphabet from petroglyphs to parchment. Invent an alphabet, learn cuneiform, create broadsides and note cards, or just improve your handwriting! MATERIALS: Calligraphy pens, inks, clay, wide-lined binder paper, specialty papers.

*Making & Illustrating One-of-a-Kind Small Books:   4 to 6 sessions  Learn how to make elegant pop-up, accordion, & saddle-stitched books from paper scraps. Become your own publisher & author by combining calligraphy, poetry & art to create rare books. If there’s time, we can marble paper, or make our own paper, (blenders & window screens needed). 
MATERIALS: Tagboard, colored paper, endpaper strips, specialty papers, Elmer’s or Prang clear green glue, scissors, exacto knives, drawing, marking, and calligraphy pens, watercolors, brushes.

Kraft Paper & Wood Sculptures—dwellings:    4 to 6 sessions    Using wood and found objects we will work three-dimensionally. With twigs and paper bags we will make sculptural dwellings. MATERIALS Lots of hot glue guns, wood scraps, twigs, twine, bags, Elmer’s glue, starch. (An alternative idea is to create robots using found objects—styrofoam, L’eggs eggs, spools, etc., or to mix this with a clay component.)

Clay Slab Building & Masks:    4 to 6 sessions   We will explore historical and physical aspects of clay using time-tested building techniques. Students will learn how to build three-dimensional slab sculptures, pinch pots, clay masks, tiles, etc. Ancient techniques include burnishing, staining, texturing & scraffito. 
MATERIALS: Clay, tools, stains, glazes, firing. School will need to fire clay, or Creative Ceramics can fire pieces (added cost). (Not available at this time).

Making the Mural:   8 to 15 sessions A group project where students will learn the mural process from start to finish. A mural is the synthesis of a group vision— a vertical history in images—its origins date back to the first cave paintings. We will turn ideas into a thematic visual statement that goes beyond the image to record a story. 
MATERIALS: Butcher paper, drawing paper, acrylic or poster paints and flat brushes, sponges, masking tape, pencils, water containers, 4x8’ plywood panels* coated with three layers of white latex paint, shellac/sealant.
 * These classes can be tailored to incorporate a poetry component as well.

SOME NOTES:  School should supply available materials e.g., colored paper, drawing paper, butcher paper, tempra poster paints, flat brushes, Prang green glue, or Elmer’s glue, hot glue & glue guns, glitter, scissors, crayons, kindergarten pencils, colored marking pens, masking tape, colored tagboard for mounting and for portfolios, storage space for art, supplies and portfolios, (4x8’ plywood panels* perhaps a parent could donate them?) etc. 
Below, I’ve included some general prices for supplies FYI. Feel free to pick and choose which classes to do, as some will be more expensive than others. I’ve listed supplies in order of importance. I need to know how many students, total, to estimate final costs—pens, pastel sets, etc. (a basic rule of thumb is about $2 -5 per child for the 2-dimensional arts). I will need an art (av) cart to wheel supplies to and from storage; flat tables, sinks, paper towels. 

Poster paints are about $30.
         Magenta, turquoise, cobalt blue, yellow, black, white, (& red, optional) and flat brushes
I need to research acrylics/housepaint for murals & papier mache animals.

Colored paper—I will need the full complement of sizes and colors,  & may need to purchase
         more than what you already have. It could be $10 or $40.

I prefer to have 3 large gluestix on hand, or Yes Glue, $9, but can use your glue (no paste glue; it’s awful).

I have #12 and Chinese round brushes and the mixing watercolor sets ($7.50 per)
         the watercolor refill pans will cost $15 to 20 per class. (Turquoise Magenta 2 Yellows Blue Black)

I will need at least one package of Morilla board watercolor paper (50 sheets) about $52.
I can also use 80# white sulfite drawing paper, $35 a ream, for some watercolor.

Good pencils and black chisel-point felt drawing pens are approx. .60 to 1.10 ea.
         I can use kindergarten pencils, but need the felt tip pens.

Calligraphy pens cost $1.40 ea. It’s nice to have a set of colored pens for further experimentation. Wide-line smooth white binder paper! Butcher paper for demonstration.

Oil pastels are $3.50 - 4.50 per student (but 2 can share a set—the cheap sets have no purple!)

Plaster bandage masks are expensive—$55+, but it’s such a fun class.
Hot glue guns & fillers $12 - $20.  Sculpture & mask classes take gobs of hot glue.

Clay $60 - 100 + firing costs

Some of these supplies I already have on hand; but will need to be reimbursed.

Suggestions for classes—as a basis I recommend beginning with:

     Collage and/or watercolor classes, (these core classes can be easily expanded or shortened (no less than 4 sessions ea.), and augmented with 1 or 2 other classes. In these core classes, I will cover various art terms and techniques which will enhance the other classes. If there’s interest, I also like to work with a thematic structure—it could be based on heritage, environment, science, etc.

     Calligraphy and small books* go well together. (I can include a little poetry here too.)
     The length of the mural class depends on the skills of the students. I will need some flexibility here.

     We will need to discuss various options with the three-dimensional classes—masks, and especially small books*, & sculpture—are labor intensive; an enormous amount of prep—pre & post-class time goes into them (much longer than the classes themselves); it would be best to choose only one of these.

     By the same token, clay is also very labor intensive (back-breaking). Storage is always a problem, and if school doesn’t have a kiln, it’s not feasable, unless we focus on process only. There is something called Sculptee—but it’s expensive. I’ll have to research it. (Not available at this time).

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. You may call me up to 11 p.m. If possible, I would like to meet with you at your earliest convenience, before classes begin, to see the school, supplies, space, etc. I look forward to meeting you and, of course, working with your students! 



the day after his birthday, heartsore—
in the wrinkled sheets, death found him
sleeping in the cloistered darkness of the morgue
weeks later, the electric blanket incubated
a rusted carpet of kleenex blooms


beneath the stained mattress
one blank bullet in the gun—
a drowned halo of light in the waterglass


the embalmer gets his mouth all wrong—
with a red rose on the white satin pillow
I say goodbye to the parent of my Akhmatova nose


the word rests uneasily on my lips—
suddenly jealous of the young man 
who said, He was like a father to me


where the dead outnumber the living
our shadows circle the casket clockwise
shards of sunlight & whispering feet


after the funeral
I dream of crawling over pictographs
in the desert to find some rest


I dream my father’s candle is out—
the slim, musty book he hands back to me
to prove his blood          and mine

My aunt said: He's trying to pleas you.


welfare child, never saw him much
his precious money went to a stranger
my final inheritance—other than my life


Thursday, December 9, 1993

LAST RIDE (for my cousin Richard Reilly)

             In dreams begins responsibility
                —WB Yeats
             for my cousin Richard Reilly
             Dec. 21, 1954 - June 5, 1977

      He loved death more than me
      and so slipped back
      into the bosom of the sea.

The cold rain of memory
cresting each wave of thought—
the half-life of yesterday
approaches the gardens of sleep
takes root, finds the fertile fields
of imagination lonely
for the dream’s embrace.

     They took my new red tricycle
     For his leg, they said; the steel brace,
     a strange, uneasy piston.

I had no reason to face the dawn,
my prince of tides returned to the sea.
My legs ached as I crossed the floor
and though I cried, no fins appeared.
Reality bent itself toward sleep—

     beneath the streetlights’ sodium glare
     patient and unyielding, dark cars
     waiting for the motorcycle’s drone—

Small mermaid, I carried the burden
of that night home to the dream’s final sea.


Wednesday, December 1, 1993

Poetry Unites the World by Dr. Andrei Bantaş

5-21 Dec. 1993,
by Dr. Andrei Bantaş

BUCHAREST—From the Pacific Coast, California, there comes to us a cultural surprise and exceptional reading: a poetry magazine—or rather a tabloid review, like our weeklies. It is not a mere publication meant to convey to readers the latest production of American poets (as many other poetry reviews do) but an entirely uncommon one: a sort of Secolul XX (the 20th century) of the Romanians, yet devoted to poetry alone, in order to spread publications which the public has few opportunities to know.

The first issue of Uniting the World Through Poetry (UWP) is devoted to Soviet Poetry Since Glasnost, a 24-page tabloid, with a similar format to our Romania Literatura, is full of translations from Arabov, Slepynin, Lubenski, Soloviov, Kulle and many others—verses written in the last six or seven years.

With the decoration of the journals—or perhaps it’s pop-art—with press clippings, photos, collages, and vignettes, an entire page is devoted to a poem of Oleg Slepynin’s, printed in the shape of a cross, with the title buried in the center: SYNCHRONIC.

Some general data, with a short excursion into history, and with substantial topicalization, are offered in the essay entitled, “A Poet in Russia is more than a Poet” by the Ukrainian poet of Armenian descent, Oleg Atbashian (who, with UWP editor, Maureen Hurley, did most of the translations).

The general presentation of the themes and aims of the review is made by the two UWP editors, Herman Berlandt and Maureen Hurley. Berlandt is chairman of the National Poetry Association, and editor of Poetry: USA, a quarterly, and after more than 30 lectures on this very theme of uniting the world through poetry, he decided to publish these international anthologies with Maureen Hurley (an educator, graphic designer, photographer, and writer, with poems translated into Spanish and Russian.

She is an initiator of an international conference of writers for the 30th anniversary of California Poets in the Schools (CPITS), tenatively scheduled in San Francisco, in October 1994. An earlier CPITS conference, (the 25th) was joined by more than 150 poets from the U.S. and Mexico.)

The second issue of the review is entitled Mother Earth, with the same internationalist motto as the subtitle “Let the voice of the poet be heard throughout the world”. These 24 pages bring together (in translation, or in the English original) the voices of poets from Bulgaria, China, Poland, Hungary, Holland, Macedonia, India, Pakistan, Italy, Israel, Greece, Great Britain, Argentina, Japan, Korea, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Russia, and—surprise—Romania: Geo Dumitrescu (translated by the late Dan Dutescu with post-translation by Maureen Hurley) and Ana Blandiana (translated by Andrea Deletant and Brenda Walker, as well as by Andrei Bantaş, also with Maureen Hurley). They are accompanied by fine engravings by Victor Brauner and a Romanian stamp.

In the third issue—devoted to East European poetry, Romanian poetry (including Valeriu Matei of Moldova) is represented in over three pages by the same Geo Dumitrescu and Ana Blandiana as well as Nichita Stanescu, Maria Banus, Nina Cassian, Daniela Crasnaru, Carolina Ilica, and Mircea Dinescu.

The translators are the same, with the addition of poet Fleur Adcock, the version being reproduced mainly from Silent Voices: an Anthology of Contemporary Romanian Women Poets, published by Brenda Walker and Andrea Deletant in Britain about 5 years ago (when they also published Mircea Dinescu’s Exile on a Peppercorn—their persons and books were proscribed in Romania—but well-received in Bulgaria!)

Highly valuing these new tokens of appreciation offered by foreign publishers and translators of Romanian poetry (I happen to know of the financial efforts made by these two English women and the editors of UWP), I am taking the liberty of asking two rhetorical questions: What are we doing for ourselves and for our poets, for our literature, as a whole?

Suppose I rounded off my anthology of 20th century poets (Like Diamonds in Coal, Asleep, Minerva Publishers, 1985) with poems formerly banned by censorship as well as with those of Romanian poets abroad, who would publish it? (today, tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. . . .?

Note Bene: Dr. Andrei Bantaş, with whom I had the pleasure of corresponding, in order to collect Eastern European Poetry, was the compiler of the Romanian dictionary, an eminent translator and a Professor of English Literature at the University of Bucharest, Romania. I had no idea of his fame as I embarked blindly on this translating adventure. Those Romanian stamps we used in the collages were Andrei's. —Maureen Hurley

Thursday, September 23, 1993



Dear Jim,
Wending our way cross-country with laptops, sleeping bags,
evening dresses, broken hearts, hiking boots, Celia & I
managed to find the North Rim in the dark without a map.
Woke to your cowboy coffee, colon-blo, boiled french roast
that threatened to make off with the pot at Jacob Lake
which we never did find. Lake was a man, not a body of water.
Soon as we crossed the Utah border, Lord, how we suffered
from Mormon exposure, twisting our vowels (not bowels).
She insisted the sign at Dry Beaver Creek read
“Keep poets on leash/ or face fine.” We haven’t written a thing,
but could use a two-bit shower & a shave.

Dear Sharon,
We drive along the Virgin River, the towns of Virgin,
and Laverkin by the Cowboy Buttes in Beaver County—
& wonder, what was on those Mormon’s minds.
Celia calls me Mo-reen, says we’re in ’Merika now
but is confused by my speaking in tongues:
the ungulates crossing the road are cantaloupes. 
Oh give me a home…
Can you spell dicks-lexia, bulls and girls?
We’re born again, baptized in the Virgin River
(don’t know as to whether or not it actually took),
I say she baptized us in the wrong place: the difference
between dyslexia and dailysex is merely a perceptual matter.
Where does the the random mind stop and the prairie begin?

Dear Bruce,
Crossing the Sandia Mountains
I kain’t believe how much “Jesus saves” ’round here—
Or how on our 1993 White Trash Tour,
which officially began at the Cadillac Ranch
(a line of caddies planted nose first—car henge)
in Amarillo, Texas, folks take three syllables
(or all day, whatever comes first) to say fish and truck.
The trucks here are God’s personal rollin’ billboards
& the overpasses tell us poor watermelons to believe. 
God is dog; evil is live. Shone’s is one-up from Stuckey’s.
We’ve been on the road too long; Denny’s is beginning to seem like home.
We’re road worriers sinnin’ in the heart of the cholesterol belt,
getting good mileage on bad vowels and day-old puns.

Dear God,
El Reno, the epicenter of radio revival land is a shakin’ & a rollin’
but the cockroaches in the motel bathroom don’t seem very saved.
However, I do believe they will inherit the earth, by and bye.
Blanketed by kudzu vines, black-eyed susans suffer death by bed tax.
We’re humid beans descending into the syntax of the vegetable kingdom.
Like true love, and the blues, maps are abstract unless you’ve been there.
You’d like Hot Springs, home of Bill Clinton haircuts & the Sin Tax.
I bet the Mormons took to that idea. Say, God, who's your best friend?
Lightning storm—we pilgrims cross Old Muddy, enter Memphis,
& truly we have let Tennessee into our hearts, for at the gates
of Graceland, the chosen have come to testify the miracles.
St. Elvis is still King, and anything is possible—this poem, or even love.

9/23/93  Graceland

Wednesday, September 22, 1993



A flock of sheep
like smoke floods the road.
Dressed in red banners, corn mothers
dance in furrows. Clapton sings the blues
to the passing blur of fields.
Trying to press onto Shiprock by sunset,
we enter into twilight, equinox.
Sabitaie, the rock with wings,
the great bird that brought the Navajo
from the north, unfolds and emerges,
a Pliocene knife to the eye of the sky.
The earth’s shadow, a blue eclipse
below the belly of a salmon horizon.
We are no closer to knowing who we are,
than to where we were.

Tsé Bitʼaʼí, Four Corners
New Mexico

Tuesday, September 21, 1993



At Bowery Creek, the cottonwoods
undress themselves for the fall,
maples combust against
Navajo sandstone so red,
it makes the deer seem green.
Down from the summer pastures,
the Herefords part around the car
like the Red Sea. The cowboy tips his hat,
says his smile will break my camera.
Lariat ready for strays, he whistles
to the cattle milling at the stop sign.
A redtail hawk hovers above us,
vermilion spires pierce the sky.
Quaking aspens whisper sunlight
to the patches of first snow
and I am far from home.

9/21/93  Utah



The snake seeks the sun
crawling to the sky, a ladder
for the small spider gods
and the continuation of day.
Equinox. Sun and moon
and the trail to the sky is open
to the orbital continuation of days.
Amid the debris of the 20th century,
I am looking for the symmetry of worked stone,
finding only crystalline structures
in the desert varnish, the exposed marble,
the crushed hearts of riverstones,
and other signs of ancient oceans.
What of those concentric circles
with an upraised hand?
The beseeching of water, the labyrinth?
Is it the snake or lightning
that climbs up the rocks to the sky?
Hands at the end of the path to guide us—
At the four corners, an intersection.
The division of power—a circle and a cross.
At least the wind knows its own strength.
We are gathering rocks for those who will follow
the small hidden selves—
I am looking for symptoms of earlier cultures
than the amber glass, cans & cigarette butts
that will survive us.

9/21/93 Parowan Gap, Utah

1994 Steelhead Special



Dendridic clouds, juniper, yarrow & aster.
Yesterday’s pronghorn and road signs glow
amber and red as if lit from within.
Turquoise and jade greet the sunset—
I gather cedar and sage for smudge sticks.
The power lines, ancient symbols of man
carry electricity west. Equinox.
We are eclipsed by technology,
and the urgency of fall light.
Amid the rows of new-mown alfalfa
a tumbleweed gallops to the horizon.
We talk of horses, Sinead O’Connor sings,
England’s not the mythical land 
of Madam Georgian roses…
We pass a hogan—earth household.
A meadowlark collides with the car,
death on the wing, by the roadside,
wild cotton, bluebirds weaving the air.

9/21/93  Parowan Gap, Utah

Saturday, September 18, 1993



Once 10,000 prospectors roamed the streets
of Austin, a ghost town of 204 souls.
At the International Cafe
(the only one in town)
Butch tells me of my cousin, Julia’s ghost,
the spilled coffee. Out at the adobe
the crazy twin who sat sewing
with imaginary needle and thread.
There’s a bar here for every 40 people.

At Home Ranch I look at photos.
My family astride the names of horses:
Ribbons, Stable Boy, Blue, Whitey, Lady.
Which one killed Wild Bill when the bull was unloaded.
Jim tells me stories of my grandmother
gathering eggs before the Indians got to them.
From Ireland she came cross-country
on the Great Western Railroad
to Battle Mountain where her uncle,
Wild Bill, came to meet her in the buggy.
Her brother Joe came by way of Galveston
because the boat was $10 cheaper,
they didn’t have enough for two fares.

There were two Indian villages here.
At the end of the season, Wild Bill
paid the Indians only half of what was owed.
The rest he gave to their women
because the men drank their wages in Austin.
Wild Bill, who once sold his truck in Ione
for a 5-gallon barrel of whiskey & a good game of cards
knew about the wages of sin and hard work.
He’d built this ranch up from dirt to grubstake.
But a foreman sold him out in ’Frisco,
pocketing the bankroll for a round of drinks
and an inferior bull.