Jan 4, 2011

Barbara Kruger, Mark Strand, Ways of Being

Right: Alex Katz, "Ann and Billy," 1981

Below: Yves Tanguy, "Shadow Country," 1927

barbara kruger - Google Search

I cannot find the post where I was first clued in to Barbara Kruger's work, so I offer the above link for a sampling.

Everyone liked a Mark Strand poem I posted a long time ago:

Keeping Things Whole by Mark Strand : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.

So here's another one, by still another of our Poets Laureate. As destiny or some such would have it, Strand's "Lines for Winter" is very much about a way of being in the world, first Winter's way, then in the conclusion, the way each of us sees our own Way (which is left open-ended).

Lines for Winter by Mark Strand : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.

If you're not chilled by the last two lines, read it again. Or move north, or remember North-ness. At least the days are 18 seconds longer now than they were two weeks ago, or some such myth. Who's measuring that? (And what's his way of being in the world? Is there a Way for all the measurers? What's the opposite of a measurer? A scatterer?).

Strand's style is quite spare, arguably minimalistic. Maybe the same can be said of Barbara Kruger. At any rate, neither is a Whitmanesque, prolix Romantic. But how similar are the ways of being that Strand the poet and Kruger the artist propose? If they're at all similar, how so, and what differentiates them, whether it's major or minor?

"Anxious Mom, Anxious Baby," Time Magazine, January 10, 2011: "Chicks seemed to acquire their mother's stress . . . , showing more fearful behavior in novel situations." The article is talking about species other than chickens, if you get my drift. Ways of being are contagious, it seems.



Jean Spitzer said...

That's right, blame the mother. Now, even chicks have cause for complaint.

The Strand poem is beautiful.

Barbaro said...

You and your poems keep trying to make me hate winter, but I won't do it. So desperately do I love it that I got mildly depressed today bc I DID notice afternoons clawing their way back, which means those beautiful dark white days near the solstice are behind us for a whole other year. For all its intensity of cold and snow and impatience, Feb can't touch that sweet spot in late December.

Banjo52 said...

Jean, isn't that what moms are for? No, you know I know better . . . well, about most. But I do like the idea of chick and hen giving off and receiving vibes about their ways of being, just the way the rest of us do, I'd guess.

Glad you liked the Strand. Me too.

Barbaro, concept of a Dec. sweet spot is just perverse. You just want an excuse to do more napping.

If I say more, I'll get serious and long-winded. Somebody should do a post on the topic someday.

Jago said...

One of the most interessant blog I ever found...
There is a little book of Strand " Chicken, Shadow, Moon & more" where you can find the poem "Chicken":
Lunga vita al pollo e alla sua testa
Un pollo spensierato non รจ un pollo
...il mio pollo timido non chioccia.
I did not find this poem in English, so if you find...
I' ll be very happy if you visit my blog http://ottantanovenuvole.blogspot.com/ . It is about Mark Strand, poetry, and ... life. Sorry for my English.

Brenda's Arizona said...

Ways of being can be contagious? Yea, probably - trying being happy with a bunch of down friends. They guilt trip you into... their way of being.

I'm with Barbaro. Maybe it is our summers lasting 7 months - bright, hot, intense. I long for the dark, the cold, the winter. Nothing holds my heart more than the darkness of December/
January. Solstice should be a season, not the passage of a day.

Anonymous said...

It must take many deaths to find such words. (As to the poultry business, though, I think it's relatively easy for chicks to ignore a hen.)

PJ said...

Keeping Things Whole reminds of those moments when I stop and think about the fact that I'm living on a rotating planet that's orbiting in space; how does that happen? Or that all the water on Earth is all the water that has ever been or ever will be and who have I shared it with?

Banjo52 said...

Brenda, re: dour friends, I know what you mean, but I also hate relentless sunniness that implies there's nothing wrong in the world. And/or what's wrong is addressed entirely in cliches.

I prefer our winter to your summer, and in some ways I mind winter less now than I used to. Why can't the seasons be one week each? I want THAT world.

Hiker, I've heard that Strand does focus on death a lot; I need to read more of him to find out.

Are you thinking chicks win most of their cat fights with hens, by ignoring if not actually defeating?--and chicks do better with hens than little or big roosters? Could be. Interesting to wonder about that. How about the familiar idea that when the fighting stops, say, in the chick's twenties, the chick-hen bond becomes steely and sacred?

Paula, I think you know I'm a sucker for those kinds of wonderings. I cannot believe I'm in somebody's dream, but I also cannot believe in gravity. Or electricity. Or a time warp. Or relativity. Or that the material me is entirely new every seven years. So I really like the first Strand poem more than the recent one.

What do you think it's like not to wonder about such things? What percentage doesn't wonder much at all, do you think?

Banjo52 said...

Barbaro, I almost forgot: given the extent of your travels, I doubt you're much of a napper. Just seemed like a smartass thing to say to someone who loves short (cold) days, when being, or feeling, snowbound is always possible, and hibernation-envy is the center of sanity. No question, though, northern winters do have their beauty.

Anonymous said...

No, I just meant this chick didn't take much in the way of knowledge, fear, or anything else from her hen. It was almost all rooster.

And no, nothing changed with time.

Banjo52 said...

AHiker, if I keep going on this way of being biz, I'm going to have to hire body guards. But I have to ask, what was and is it about your and her ways of being in the world that enabled your rooster-hood? (Or was it HER rooster?).

Why can't everyone be a rooster?

I have ideas about it, but I really don't know how well I can answer that. ("at the end of the day," speaking of the "trendy phrases" topic at your place).

Gotta quit, but will look for your response ASAP.

Lovers' Lane