Project #92298 - literature assignment

Read my two postings in this forum. Follow the directions provided by my post entitled "Journal Review: A Guide and Sample." Basically, you want to review a contemporary journal with a focus on its imagery. You select an American magazine or journal whose title begins with the first letter of your last name - go to NewPages.com and click on the corresponding letter, browsing through the list provided (so if your last name is Smooch you select a journal whose title begins with S). Then, select for discussion in terms of imagery both the journal and a poem by two different poets published in this journal or e-journal.  But see my brief "Journal Review" post in the forum - it spells out what you have to do.   Length of new thread:  600-800 words.

 Note: THE MAGAZINE YOU ARE GOING TO CHOOSE SHOULD STATRS WITH LETTER A

post 1:

I have the pleasure of teaching an undergraduate course in "The Art of Poetry" and one in "Writing for Art and Architecture as well as a graduate course in NYIT's MFA program, "Critical Thinking and Writing about the Arts." These courses overlap in a myriad of ways.  At their crossroads, this essay attempts to dwell at some leisure,

in order to investigate how images are created and how they work in different media.  

 

********************

 

Nature Symbolism in a Poem and Painting:  The Mountain Top Experience

Great things are done when man and mountain meet;

this is not done by jostling in the street.

- William Blake, Gnomic Verse (193).

I came across a remarkable poem in a recent New Yorker magazine.  The poem entitled “Mountain” by the late Kenneth Koch articulates to my mind a range of experiences and feelings I have had in nature in its wilderness expressions.  I am an avid hiker, and Koch manages to offer some very valid insights about such things as how and why mountains inspire anyone who has beheld one up close or at a distance.  Mountains like so much in nature, but especially high and lofty things such as stars and clouds, seem impervious to the human gaze.  They do not abide by the will of man, wrapped in a deep obscurity. They exist in an ancient time past all human reckoning.  They seem to pose the question, “what are you, o man, compared to me?”  It is a staggering, looming question we more experience than ask.  The mountain-top experience impacts us in a total way comparable to the transformative quest to know described by that modern philosopher of horizons, Hans Georg Gadamer  – “Obtaining knowledge of oneself through experience versus preconceived principles of selfhood is the insight the question-and-answer logic allows us to perceive” (Gadamer summarized by Iser 41).  The Koch poem which I will quote in full in this regard puts me in mind of many observations made by Henry David Thoreau in his works The Maine Woods and Walden, but to provide a visual correspondent to the Koch poem, I would have to point to Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River school of painting in New York.  Here’s a typical landscape by Cole <a href="http://www.artchive.com/artchive/C/cole/cole_schroon.jpg.html">entitled Schroon Mountain</a>, a mountain I have not yet hiked up in the Adirondacks, near Mount Marcy, the highest peak in the state of New York at 6400 feet (approximately), which I have hiked… a tough old peak that gives one a touch of the sky, with views all the way to New Hampshire. 

 

Here’s the Koch poem:

                Mountain

Nothing’s moving I don’t see anybody

And I know that it’s not a trick

There really is nothing moving there

And there aren’t any people.  It is the very utmost top

Where, as is not unusual,

There is snow, lying like a white-haired person’s head

Combed sideways and backward and forward to cover as much of the top

As possible, for the snow is thinning, it’s September

Although a few months from now there will be a new crop

Probably, though this no one KNOWS (so neither do we)

But every other year it has happened by November

Except for one year that’s known about, 1923

When the top was more and more uncovered until December 15th

When finally it snowed and snowed.

I love seeing the mountain like a mouse

Attached to the tail of another mouse, and to another and to another

In total mountain silence.

There is no way to get up there, and no means to stay.

It is uninhabitable.  No roads and no possibility

Of roads. You don’t have a history

Do you, mountain top?  This doesn’t make you either a mystery

Or a dull person and you’re certainly not a truck stop.

No industry can exploit you

No developer can divide you into estates or lots

No dazzling disquieting woman can tie your heart in knots.

I could never lead my life on one of those spots

You leave uncovered up there.  No way to be there

But I’m moved.

Both Koch and Cole make us regard an aspect of the natural world that is outside - or treated as if it were - outside civilization, nearly beyond human knowledge.  The mountains stand apart although we know they have been leveled by industry, such as the legal and political battle fought a few years ago – and lost – despite a courageous Circuit Court judge of West Virginia that defied George W. Bush Administration’s allowance for the coal industry to take off the top of mountains and dump it in streams below.  The judge had ruled it against environmental acts that superceded current federal policies.  The Supreme Court, however, went on to overturn this pro-green stay against such dumping. According to a recent New York Times article, as a result of this allowance –and despite the heroic efforts of individuals such as Maria Gunnoe,

Mountaintop removal mining has grown increasingly common in central Appalachia. Coal operators blast the tops of mountains apart to expose seams that are otherwise hard to reach, flattening ridge lines, then dumping debris into valleys below (“Mountaintop”) 

The Obama administration, of course, sees things more green – although no legislature can restore the top of a mountain once lost.  Such controversy and profit aside, mountains remain a symbol of what is greater than the human. Anyone who has walked to the top of one can tell you it’s an important experience, paradoxically both elevating and humbling in a way that is crucial to understanding human life and what borders it.  I would dare say that the mountain-top experience has inspired the architecture of religions for centuries, with spires and minarets and steeples all emulating the mountain peak.  Even the ancient Greek temple in Athens, the famous Parthenon, pays its reverence to the twin peaks of Mount Hymettos in the distance, framing the temple so that it sits between the peaks - like a hammer blow delivered to the sacrificial bull between its horns.

 

There’s something about a mountain that lifts us out of ourselves, and as we shrink before its walls, the vastness of the cosmos opens up.  This experience can also happen at sea, when towering waves seem to open the mouth of hell…In a storm indeed, let me be on land….though not on a mountain top either. 

 

Notice how the painter Cole allows the woods and scenes of nature to imply what they are – not scenes at all but places of wilderness, of light and dark forces that have their own beauty, scale, and signification.  In Cole, they are far more than  “natural resources” for mankind waiting for our exploitation of them.  They are worthy of our closest attention, as Cole gave them throughout his life, on their own terms.  In Cole’s work, unlike the classical landscapes of Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorraine, Cole’s land or earth remains untidy and wild.  The painter is in the wilderness, painting, not giving us a studio or academic view highly finished and polished.  He is meeting the mountain on its own terms, to paraphrase William Blake’s gnomic verse I use as an epigraph for this essay.   His  painting seems to impose arbitrary borders or margins on the mountain.  While Cole knows how to create the illusion of a 3-dimensional perspective from which to view, it is only one perspective, and the way the mountain side and the forest seem to wraparound the viewer, filling the margins, many more are suggested.  No view can see the whole because there is no whole, only dynamic natural forms and the energies they exude.  We sense the struggle Cole had in mounting this view, and the work has a bounded logic and limited result that its subject, the mountain, far exceeds.  It refuses to be a subject, as it were, to anything man can muster.  As the art-historian E. H. Gombrich observed of the landscape artist John Constable, so might we observe of Cole’s work.  In his work, “making still comes before matching” (320), because no human act can match even the visual the mountain affords, much less capture the wind, the sun, and the many other natural forces teeming towards us out of the work.         

 

Koch’s poem also articulates this humbling indifference, this “outer-ness” and otherness of the mountain and the natural places it can readily be taken to stand for.  Koch’s speaker observes that the mountain has a “total mountain silence.”  This phrasing makes me think of the cacophony (noise) of human existence where the cars, the cars, the cars are constantly sounding in the not so faraway distance so that only now very rarely, even when I am fifteen miles deep in the woods, do I not still hear the ridiculous banter of our wheels rolling for hot coffee and tv. and the often dire need to make money etc.  This silence of the mountain, the sheer bounty of silence, is particularly beautiful to my ears.  It leads to a new way of thinking, of, perhaps, finding similar silences nearby, in the stars tonight or the alleyway where a wild rose may bloom. 

 

The speaker of the poem asks the mountain, “You don’t have a history / Do you, mountain top?”  I take this to mean that it does not need one to be what it must as if having to have a history, such as human beings have, is somewhat beneath it or beyond it or simply beside the point of existence.  The mountain almost seems brilliant in this regard.  A limit to what we are emerges.  As the philosopher Giorgio Agamben remarks, if human history has its basis in “difference and discontinuity,”  “nature in the absolute has no need of a history” (59-60). 

 

At the end of the poem, the speaker says he knows he cannot be at the mountain’s top and yet he’s “moved.”  He is moved, I think, by the separateness and humbling majesty of the mountain that is beyond the human world.  It is a kingdom without kings. The experience it offers I consider of the highest sacredness and of the most ancient pedigree.  Did not Moses find his God on the mountain top?   Do not all spires and the high places of all sacred buildings, be they cathedrals, mosques, synagogues, pyramids, Mayan or Greek temples, draw from this mountain top experience?  Along these lines, the great architectural critic and historian Vincent Scully has written a most amazing book on the ancient sacred architecture of the world entitled  The Earth, The Temple and the Gods.  Scully writes that through sacred structures, "man's part is defined and directed by the sculptural masses of the land and is subordinate to their rhythms" (11). 

 

To this rhythm, as Koch overtly and Cole by implication direct us, we must add that "total mountain silence," a revelation still available to us, a kind of sacred "scripture" written by the wind upon stone.     

 

Works Cited

Agamben, Giorgio.  Infancy and History:  The Destruction of Experience.  Translated by

Liz Heron.  New York: Verso Books, 2007.

Blake, William. The Poetical Works of William Blake.  New York:  Oxford University

Press, 1925. 

Cole, Thomas.  Schroon Mountain.  The Artchive.   March 28, 2009.

(http://www.artchive.com/artchive/C/cole/cole_schroon.jpg.html)

Gombrich, E. H.  Art and Illusion:  A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Perception. 

2nd edition.  Bollingen Series.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1962. 

Iser, Wolfgang.  How To Do Theory.  New York:  Blackwell Publishing, 2006. 

Koch, Kenneth.  “Mountain.”  The New Yorker.  July 22, 2002, pg. 55. 

“Mountaintop Mining Activist Wins Global Award.”  New York Times.  April 9, 2009.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/04/19/us/AP-Goldman-Prize-

Gunnoe.html?_r=1

Scully, Vincent.  The Earth, The Temple and the Gods:  Greek Sacred Architecture

Revised Edition.  New Haven:  Yale University Press, 1979.

 

Post 2:

I have the pleasure of teaching an undergraduate course in "The Art of Poetry" and one in "Writing for Art and Architecture as well as a graduate course in NYIT's MFA program, "Critical Thinking and Writing about the Arts." These courses overlap in a myriad of ways.  At their crossroads, this essay attempts to dwell at some leisure,

in order to investigate how images are created and how they work in different media.  

 

********************

 

Nature Symbolism in a Poem and Painting:  The Mountain Top Experience

Great things are done when man and mountain meet;

this is not done by jostling in the street.

- William Blake, Gnomic Verse (193).

I came across a remarkable poem in a recent New Yorker magazine.  The poem entitled “Mountain” by the late Kenneth Koch articulates to my mind a range of experiences and feelings I have had in nature in its wilderness expressions.  I am an avid hiker, and Koch manages to offer some very valid insights about such things as how and why mountains inspire anyone who has beheld one up close or at a distance.  Mountains like so much in nature, but especially high and lofty things such as stars and clouds, seem impervious to the human gaze.  They do not abide by the will of man, wrapped in a deep obscurity. They exist in an ancient time past all human reckoning.  They seem to pose the question, “what are you, o man, compared to me?”  It is a staggering, looming question we more experience than ask.  The mountain-top experience impacts us in a total way comparable to the transformative quest to know described by that modern philosopher of horizons, Hans Georg Gadamer  – “Obtaining knowledge of oneself through experience versus preconceived principles of selfhood is the insight the question-and-answer logic allows us to perceive” (Gadamer summarized by Iser 41).  The Koch poem which I will quote in full in this regard puts me in mind of many observations made by Henry David Thoreau in his works The Maine Woods and Walden, but to provide a visual correspondent to the Koch poem, I would have to point to Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River school of painting in New York.  Here’s a typical landscape by Cole <a href="http://www.artchive.com/artchive/C/cole/cole_schroon.jpg.html">entitled Schroon Mountain</a>, a mountain I have not yet hiked up in the Adirondacks, near Mount Marcy, the highest peak in the state of New York at 6400 feet (approximately), which I have hiked… a tough old peak that gives one a touch of the sky, with views all the way to New Hampshire. 

 

Here’s the Koch poem:

                Mountain

Nothing’s moving I don’t see anybody

And I know that it’s not a trick

There really is nothing moving there

And there aren’t any people.  It is the very utmost top

Where, as is not unusual,

There is snow, lying like a white-haired person’s head

Combed sideways and backward and forward to cover as much of the top

As possible, for the snow is thinning, it’s September

Although a few months from now there will be a new crop

Probably, though this no one KNOWS (so neither do we)

But every other year it has happened by November

Except for one year that’s known about, 1923

When the top was more and more uncovered until December 15th

When finally it snowed and snowed.

I love seeing the mountain like a mouse

Attached to the tail of another mouse, and to another and to another

In total mountain silence.

There is no way to get up there, and no means to stay.

It is uninhabitable.  No roads and no possibility

Of roads. You don’t have a history

Do you, mountain top?  This doesn’t make you either a mystery

Or a dull person and you’re certainly not a truck stop.

No industry can exploit you

No developer can divide you into estates or lots

No dazzling disquieting woman can tie your heart in knots.

I could never lead my life on one of those spots

You leave uncovered up there.  No way to be there

But I’m moved.

Both Koch and Cole make us regard an aspect of the natural world that is outside - or treated as if it were - outside civilization, nearly beyond human knowledge.  The mountains stand apart although we know they have been leveled by industry, such as the legal and political battle fought a few years ago – and lost – despite a courageous Circuit Court judge of West Virginia that defied George W. Bush Administration’s allowance for the coal industry to take off the top of mountains and dump it in streams below.  The judge had ruled it against environmental acts that superceded current federal policies.  The Supreme Court, however, went on to overturn this pro-green stay against such dumping. According to a recent New York Times article, as a result of this allowance –and despite the heroic efforts of individuals such as Maria Gunnoe,

Mountaintop removal mining has grown increasingly common in central Appalachia. Coal operators blast the tops of mountains apart to expose seams that are otherwise hard to reach, flattening ridge lines, then dumping debris into valleys below (“Mountaintop”) 

The Obama administration, of course, sees things more green – although no legislature can restore the top of a mountain once lost.  Such controversy and profit aside, mountains remain a symbol of what is greater than the human. Anyone who has walked to the top of one can tell you it’s an important experience, paradoxically both elevating and humbling in a way that is crucial to understanding human life and what borders it.  I would dare say that the mountain-top experience has inspired the architecture of religions for centuries, with spires and minarets and steeples all emulating the mountain peak.  Even the ancient Greek temple in Athens, the famous Parthenon, pays its reverence to the twin peaks of Mount Hymettos in the distance, framing the temple so that it sits between the peaks - like a hammer blow delivered to the sacrificial bull between its horns.

 

There’s something about a mountain that lifts us out of ourselves, and as we shrink before its walls, the vastness of the cosmos opens up.  This experience can also happen at sea, when towering waves seem to open the mouth of hell…In a storm indeed, let me be on land….though not on a mountain top either. 

 

Notice how the painter Cole allows the woods and scenes of nature to imply what they are – not scenes at all but places of wilderness, of light and dark forces that have their own beauty, scale, and signification.  In Cole, they are far more than  “natural resources” for mankind waiting for our exploitation of them.  They are worthy of our closest attention, as Cole gave them throughout his life, on their own terms.  In Cole’s work, unlike the classical landscapes of Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorraine, Cole’s land or earth remains untidy and wild.  The painter is in the wilderness, painting, not giving us a studio or academic view highly finished and polished.  He is meeting the mountain on its own terms, to paraphrase William Blake’s gnomic verse I use as an epigraph for this essay.   His  painting seems to impose arbitrary borders or margins on the mountain.  While Cole knows how to create the illusion of a 3-dimensional perspective from which to view, it is only one perspective, and the way the mountain side and the forest seem to wraparound the viewer, filling the margins, many more are suggested.  No view can see the whole because there is no whole, only dynamic natural forms and the energies they exude.  We sense the struggle Cole had in mounting this view, and the work has a bounded logic and limited result that its subject, the mountain, far exceeds.  It refuses to be a subject, as it were, to anything man can muster.  As the art-historian E. H. Gombrich observed of the landscape artist John Constable, so might we observe of Cole’s work.  In his work, “making still comes before matching” (320), because no human act can match even the visual the mountain affords, much less capture the wind, the sun, and the many other natural forces teeming towards us out of the work.         

 

Koch’s poem also articulates this humbling indifference, this “outer-ness” and otherness of the mountain and the natural places it can readily be taken to stand for.  Koch’s speaker observes that the mountain has a “total mountain silence.”  This phrasing makes me think of the cacophony (noise) of human existence where the cars, the cars, the cars are constantly sounding in the not so faraway distance so that only now very rarely, even when I am fifteen miles deep in the woods, do I not still hear the ridiculous banter of our wheels rolling for hot coffee and tv. and the often dire need to make money etc.  This silence of the mountain, the sheer bounty of silence, is particularly beautiful to my ears.  It leads to a new way of thinking, of, perhaps, finding similar silences nearby, in the stars tonight or the alleyway where a wild rose may bloom. 

 

The speaker of the poem asks the mountain, “You don’t have a history / Do you, mountain top?”  I take this to mean that it does not need one to be what it must as if having to have a history, such as human beings have, is somewhat beneath it or beyond it or simply beside the point of existence.  The mountain almost seems brilliant in this regard.  A limit to what we are emerges.  As the philosopher Giorgio Agamben remarks, if human history has its basis in “difference and discontinuity,”  “nature in the absolute has no need of a history” (59-60). 

 

At the end of the poem, the speaker says he knows he cannot be at the mountain’s top and yet he’s “moved.”  He is moved, I think, by the separateness and humbling majesty of the mountain that is beyond the human world.  It is a kingdom without kings. The experience it offers I consider of the highest sacredness and of the most ancient pedigree.  Did not Moses find his God on the mountain top?   Do not all spires and the high places of all sacred buildings, be they cathedrals, mosques, synagogues, pyramids, Mayan or Greek temples, draw from this mountain top experience?  Along these lines, the great architectural critic and historian Vincent Scully has written a most amazing book on the ancient sacred architecture of the world entitled  The Earth, The Temple and the Gods.  Scully writes that through sacred structures, "man's part is defined and directed by the sculptural masses of the land and is subordinate to their rhythms" (11). 

 

To this rhythm, as Koch overtly and Cole by implication direct us, we must add that "total mountain silence," a revelation still available to us, a kind of sacred "scripture" written by the wind upon stone.     

 

Works Cited

Agamben, Giorgio.  Infancy and History:  The Destruction of Experience.  Translated by

Liz Heron.  New York: Verso Books, 2007.

Blake, William. The Poetical Works of William Blake.  New York:  Oxford University

Press, 1925. 

Cole, Thomas.  Schroon Mountain.  The Artchive.   March 28, 2009.

(http://www.artchive.com/artchive/C/cole/cole_schroon.jpg.html)

Gombrich, E. H.  Art and Illusion:  A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Perception. 

2nd edition.  Bollingen Series.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1962. 

Iser, Wolfgang.  How To Do Theory.  New York:  Blackwell Publishing, 2006. 

Koch, Kenneth.  “Mountain.”  The New Yorker.  July 22, 2002, pg. 55. 

“Mountaintop Mining Activist Wins Global Award.”  New York Times.  April 9, 2009.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/04/19/us/AP-Goldman-Prize-

Gunnoe.html?_r=1

Scully, Vincent.  The Earth, The Temple and the Gods:  Greek Sacred Architecture

Revised Edition.  New Haven:  Yale University Press, 1979.

 

Subject English
Due By (Pacific Time) 11/11/2015 01:00 pm
Report DMCA
TutorRating
pallavi

Chat Now!

out of 1971 reviews
More..
amosmm

Chat Now!

out of 766 reviews
More..
PhyzKyd

Chat Now!

out of 1164 reviews
More..
rajdeep77

Chat Now!

out of 721 reviews
More..
sctys

Chat Now!

out of 1600 reviews
More..
sharadgreen

Chat Now!

out of 770 reviews
More..
topnotcher

Chat Now!

out of 766 reviews
More..
XXXIAO

Chat Now!

out of 680 reviews
More..
All Rights Reserved. Copyright by AceMyHW.com - Copyright Policy