For “the man who walks among the stars” the great poet Gord Downia on anniversary of his untimely passing with brief soliloquy about the importance of supporting the indigenous peoples of the land colloquially known as Canada.
And special appreciation for my favorite album/book “Coke Machine Glow” + special regards to survive in the band mates of The Tragically Hip who are telling stories, making songs and re-issuing albums (tyvm).
Yeah, just waking up, in bed under a mosquito net (with adorable pajamas) in a cottage in provincial #Japan with apologies for mediocre unrehearsed baritone #ukulele playing and marginally acceptable “singing” / croaking. It’s the sincerity that counts, right? Right.
Field Notesregarding exhibit/museum/gallery/garden dossiers:
These posts, such as they are, are for recollection, inspiration, reference and possible remixing. I say this to remind myself these round-ups are not meant to be textbooks, comprehensive guides, analysis – critical or otherwise, or a “master’s thesis”. So much goodness in these exhibits – whether grand and well-funded museums or (my favourite) grassroots operations, or even spontaneous art around the edges in unexpected circumstances – that i enjoy archiving.
Also noting often, museums have a “no photo” policy and of course, art and artifacts are best experienced in-person, or with fine reproductions at least, so consider my humble dossirs as a stand-in, in the meanwhile, with a special eye to shut-ins and other who have a hard time getting out and about.
As such, these round-ups will be lightly annotated with usually (just) the name of the museum, possible circumstance and/or approximate date of the visit, possible link to museum website and or map for your reference and then a flow of photos.
I almost always buy museum exhibit books, as well as many other items from the gift shop, so if you have any specific questions about any of the pieces displayed, please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to add some additional colour commentary – no guarantees.
Basics about Shinse Kinenkan:
This culture and folk art museum in Kanazawa, Ishikawa-ken (visited on our Shinkonryoko Ramble in May/June 2019) was wonderfully charming. Notably, was inexpensive (came with commemorative ticket) with cozy/comfortable feeling coming from a real community effort with volunteers on hand. The neighbourhood around was exceptional with loads of small museums, teahouses and historic lane ways to wander (additional stops referenced below), and much less hectic compared to “the old capital” :).
The first floor features the re-created apothecary of a traditional Japanese/Chinese pharmacy (as such, special dedication to my dear friend TCM Dr. Trevor) plus, in the back, a tearoom where Basho the haiku poem visited (dude was everywhere) and other rooms filled with handicrafts. The upstairs more art and artefacts from the historic neighbourhood in Kanazawa.
March 13, 2022: I went to sleep last night – first night without a fire in the stove for some time – on tatami mats reading “Danger on Peaks”, dedicated to Carole, woke up as my Ryoko took little Ichiro to school, recalling Gary writing about being a 63-year-old stepdad taking a 10-year-old to school in the carpool, and thinking of myself at 10 years old on 95th Ave. in Surrey, getting ready for church the Sunday morning when Mt St Helens erupted, remembering the feeling of the unusual rumble (was not an 18 wheeler), and thinking of Gary coming down the mountain as a 13-year-old to learn that Japan was bombed and “nothing will grow there for 70 years“ and how Hiroshima is just down the road from me, indeed wonderful noodles, activists & parks.
Poured fresh French Press coffee, and picked up my robot and read Wang Ping’s remarkable recounting moments with the axe handle, with the boy-now-man (about my vintage) who the axe handle was created with, with the poet (who had been just up the road in Kyoto, probably pass through here at some point), together throwing hatchets into a stump, then into a barn (no food allowed to prevent pests, like my kura), pulling out Ezra Pound and Han Shan, pages falling open to the exact place, and marveling at the un-coincidence of it all. Such treasure.
It’s all about the cycles as Gary said to Lew. Or was that vice versa?
Also, Ichiro – a year and a half old – loves no toy more than the brush and scoop to clean the woodstove & darling Ryoko now has the skill to light the store with a single match with help from my special arts and crafts made from egg cartons, soy paraffin and sawdust learned from my mother, her ashes on the altar.
Hail the fire queens, axe carvers, and pantry mice!
I keep thinking about this poet, he was a dashing Canadian “award winning” (though I’m not sure what those words mean anymore) poet, roughly my generation, he died, I know nothing about him.
There were some articles on CBC and then he is just gone. As a poet, he reached the “pinnacle of success” which can be expected without going into the *cough cough* pop-culture mainstream and then you “achieve” this, feted with awards which only other poets in that circle know about, you get an article and then you are just dead.
The Kingston, Ont., writer published six books of poetry, debuting in 1989 with the provocatively titled Stalin’s Carnival. It promptly won the Gerald Lampert Award for best first collection and set him up as a new and exciting voice in Canadian poetry.
“Steven Heighton introduced a new basis into Canadian poetry: an approach to traditional formal rigour that was entirely original and personal,” said poet A.F. Moritz when Stalin’s Carnival was reissued in 2013.
“It became the seed of what in the new Canadian poetry is most truly experimental and restlessly seeking.”
I’ve made a note to acquire his books although I’m not sure what that does anymore. I can’t participate in his story (goodness knows, I mostly read books by dead people) but what’s to be expected for the life of a poet size just writing poems and then just dying rather young and undramatic. So we go on.
He does seem rather interesting… yet completely in a world i don’t know.
“Some of the poems in this book are translations of other poets. I call these translations ‘approximations,'” said Heighton in a 2017 interview with CBC Books.
“A poet makes himself a visionary through a long, boundless, and systematized disorganization of all the senses. All forms of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he exhausts within himself all poisons, and preserves their quintessences. Unspeakable torment, where he will need the greatest faith, a superhuman strength, where he becomes all men the great invalid, the great criminal, the great accursed–and the Supreme Scientist! For he attains the unknown! “
Via my pal Trevor: Old and grainy. Fell out of a plant identification book my son was looking at. The non-bearded is now bearded, and the bearded is now non-bearded due to the Viking red having changed to a different colour. And check out the depths of the poet’s eyes. Ever present, observant and turning every moment into a story
Me: problem with the eyes is no off switch, always gathering and collecting and then one day, you have a massive archive of creations to share
This cassette is SOLD OUT, but i want it and to learn more about Angus MacLise, ergo::
American poet, percussionist, calligrapher, actor, occultist and publisher Angus MacLise (1938-1979) counts as one of the central figures of the ‘counterculture’ of the 1960s and 1970s. MacLise was a member of La Monte Young’s The Theatre of Eternal Music, contributed to the early Fluxus newspaper VTre, founded the Dead Language Press together with his friend Piero Heliczer (in some of whose films he appeared), was the Velvet Underground’s first drummer, and co-founded the legendary Spirit Catcher bookstore in Kathmandu. MacLise produced scores for the underground classics Chumlum by Ron Rice and Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda by Ira Cohen and, together with his wife Hetty McGee, edited Aspen Magazine #9 in 1971. Maclise married Hetty soon after he had left (or some say had been kicked out of) an early incarnation of the Velvet Underground in 1965 and had moved to California, where Timothy Leary led their wedding ceremony in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. No sooner had the couple finished their work for Aspen Magazine in 1971 than they travelled to British Columbia, where they wanted to settle down but were refused visas. They eventually found a new home after having followed the hippie trail to Kathmandu, Nepal, where their son Ossian was recognised as a reincarnated Lama by the Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu. Angus MacLise was a heavy drug user and his addiction to opium and heroin in combination with a relentlessly creative and fiercely uncompromising lifestyle proved fatal. MacLise, only 41 years old, died in Kathmandu in 1979 and was cremated there according to the traditions of Tibetan Buddhists.
During his stay in Kathmandu in the 1970s, MacLise occasionally made trips to the west. Together with his wife and son and in the company of Ira Cohen and Petra Vogt, he travelled to Paris in 1975. And one year later he read poems during the Millennium Poetry and Multimedia Performance in New York City. The recording of this reading, dubbed directly from the master tape, has now been released on cassette by Counter Culture Chronicles. Against a background of Nepalese music recorded by MacLise himself, the poet is heard reading seminal works in a sensitive, at times even vulnerable voice. This cassette is in all respects a genuine and rare countercultural gem from René van der Voort’s amazing label.
…I came to a point where I needed solitude and just stop the machine of “thinking” and “enjoying” what they call “living,” I just wanted to lie in the grass and look at the clouds
— Jack Kerouac
Alone On A Mountaintop Lonesome Traveler
Photo Note: This is the Fire lookout on Desolation Peak in the North Cascades of Washington State where Kerouac spent 63 days in the summer of ‘56. Taken from an on line article. More great pictures from John Suiter’s Poets on the Peaks, 2002. h/t Kenneth Morris
mixed-media art library, global diary, project dossier and whole life documentation