Alfred Edward Housman: “The Colour of His Hair”

Photographers Unknown, The Colour of His Hair

Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrists?
And what has he been after that they groan and shake their fists?
And wherefore is he wearing such a conscience-stricken air?
Oh they’re taking him to prison for the colour of his hair.

‘Tis a shame to human nature, such a head of hair as his;
In the good old time ’twas hanging for the color that it is;
Though hanging isn’t bad enough and flaying would be fair
For the nameless and abominable colour of his hair.

Oh a deal of pains he’s taken and a pretty price he’s paid
To hide his poll or dye it of a mentionable shade;
But they’ve pulled the beggar’s hat off for the world to see and stare,
And they’re haling him for justice for the colour of his hair.

Now ’tis Oakum for his fingers and the treadmill for his feet
And the quarry gang on Portland in the cold and in the heat,
And between his spells of labour in the time he has to spare,
He can curse the God that made him for the colour of his hair.

Alfred Edward Housman, Oh Who Is That Young Sinner, First Draft Summer 1895
Published 1939, Collected Poems,’Additional Poems’, Number 18

Born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire in March of 1859, Alfred Edward Housman was an English classical scholar, educator and poet. Recognized as one of the foremost classicists of his era, he emerged as a poet with his 1896 “A Shropshire Lad”, a collection of works espoused by a simple youth preoccupied with the idea of early death. 

The eldest of seven children to Edward Housman and Sarah Jane Williams, Alfred Housman was educated at King Edward’s School in Birmingham and later at Bromsgrove School. In 1877 at the age of eighteen, he won a scholarship to St. John’s College, Oxford, where he studied the classics. Though introverted by nature, Housman developed strong friendships with two roommates, Moses John Jackson, who became the principal of Sind College in Karachi, and Alfred William Pollard, a future bibliographer and scholar of Shakespearean texts. 

At Oxford, Housman knew that emendation, the revision and  correction of scribal errors in classical texts, would be his life’s work. So, he studied accordingly. In 1879, Housman earned a first on his exam for Moderations but failed the Finals due to his neglect of ancient history and philosophy. He returned in September for the Michaelmas term to retake the exam and achieved the lower-grade pass degree. Housman, who was homosexual, fell in love at Oxford, for the first and only time, with his classmate Moses Jackson who was heterosexual. This unreciprocated love would remain a constant throughout Housman’s life and play a role in the creation of his poetry, an emotional and physiological experience for him.. 

After Oxford, Housman joined Jackson in London to work as a clerk in the Patent Office. They shared lodgings with Jackson’s brother Adalbert until 1885 at which time Housman found a flat of his own. Two years later, Jackson took a position in Karachi, India as an educator; he returned in 1889 to marry and resided with his wife and family in India until his retirement. Learning in 1922 that his friend, now back in England, was dying from stomach cancer, Housman wrote thirty-seven pages of poems that were published in early 1922. A copy of the collection was sent the hospital where Jackson was being treated. Jackson read the poems in October, a few months before his death in January of 1923. 

Housman’s most sustained period of poetry composition was during his professorship at University College. Of the work he produced during this period, his 1896 “A Shropshire Lad” became his best effort. After its rejection by Macmillan Company, it was published by Kegan Paul at Housman’s expense; at his insistence he took no royalties from Kegan Paul. Over two years, the book sold very slowly until Grant Richards, who became a lifelong friend, published five-hundred copies in 1897. Sold out, two more editions were printed and three-thousand copies sold by 1902. 

Profoundly affected by his mother’s death when he was twelve, Alfred Housman’s poetic themes largely dealt with time, seen by Housman as the enemy, and the inevitability of death. He frequently dealt with the plight of the young soldier, in which sympathy for the youth was balanced with patriotism of the nation. Housman also saw, through its changing seasons, death in nature; however, he regarded this manner of death with a stoic outlook rather than one of complete pessimism. Although the universe is seen in his poetry as cruel and hostile, his work also extolled the preciousness of both youth and youth’s beauty. 

In 1922, Housman published his “Last Poems” which greatly added to his reputation. His place in the poetic world was further enhanced by British composers setting his work to music. The cycle of poems from “A Shropshire Lad” were wet to music in 1904 by composer Arthur Somervell.  As of 2023, there have been six-hundred and forty-six musical settings of Housman’s poems. Among these are Ribert Vaughan Williams’s 1909 “On Wenlock Edge” for sting quartet, tenor and piano, George Butterworth’s 1911 “Six Songs fro A Shropshire Lad”, and John Ireland’s 1920 song cycle “Land of the Lost Content”.

Alfred Edward Housman died at the age of seventy-seven in April of 1936 at Cambridge, England. After his death, his brother Laurence published several collections of works by Housman among which include the 1936 “More Poems” and 1939 “Collected Poems”. In 1936, Laurence deposited an essay, “A. E. Housman’s ‘De Amicitia”” at the British Library with the proviso that it not be published for twenty-five years. This essay discussed Alfred Housman’s homosexuality and his love for Moses Jackson. Despite his own caution in public life and the conservative nature of the era, Housman was fairly open in his poetry about his love for Jackson.

Notes: A 2021 article by Veronica Alfano, a Research Fellow at Australia’s Macquarie University in Sydney, on the life of Alfred Edward Housman can be found at the Yellow Nineties 2.0 site located at:

Alfred Edward Housman’s poem “Oh Who Is That Young Sinner” was written in the summer of 1895, a few months after the crimainal trial of poet Oscar Wilde on charges of gross indecency under the Criminal Law Amendment Act, which applied to same-sex activity. In his poem, Housman criticized the imprisonment of Wilde by stating that Wilde’s homosexuality was natural and created by god/nature and, as such, should not be condemned. Housman, himself gay, avoided the fate of his contemporary but, as seen in the poem, was very sympathetic to Wilde’s plight. Housman died before homosexuality was decriminalized in England during the 1960s.

More information on the trials of Oscar Wilde can be found at Professor Douglas O. Linder’s “Famous Trials” website located at:

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Alfred Edward Housman”, 1894, Vintage Bromide Print

Second Insert Image: Agnes Miller Parker, Illustration for “A Shropshire Lad”, Woodcut, 1954 Edition, George G. Harrap, London

Third Insert Image: Francis Dodd, “A. E. Housman”, 1926, Charcoal on Paper, 37.5 x 27.3 cm National Portrait Gallery, London

Fourth Insert Image; Agnes Miller Parker, Illustration for “A Shropshire Lad”, Woodcut, 1954 Edition, George G. Harrap, London

Bottom Insert Image: Emil Otto Hoppé, “Alfred Edward Housman”, circa 1911, Vintage Bromide Print, 29.7 x 25 cm, National Portrait Gallery, London

Will Barnet

The Artwork of Will Barnet

Born in Beverly, Massachusetts in May of 1911, Will Barnet was an American artist whose career spanned nearly nine decades. He is known for his prints, watercolors, paintings and drawings which elegantly depicted figures seen in daily life and dream-like scenes. Barnet’s works were laden with symbolic meaning; his paintings often presented solitary figures with birds set amidst portentous landscapes or interiors.

Will Barnet studied at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts under Impressionist artist and writer Philip Leslie Hale whose brushwork and palette were influenced by the paintings of Claude Monet. Beginning in 1930, Will Barnet studied at the Art Students League of New York under early Modernist painter Stuart Davis and Charles Locke, an accomplished painter and printmaker who taught lithography at the League. 

In the mid-1930s, Barnet taught at the New School for Social Research and, beginning in 1936, began a long professional association with the Arts Student League when he was appointed the official printer for the school. He later became an instructor in graphic arts at the school and influenced a generation of artists including sculptor and painter Knox Martin, pop art painter James Rosenquist,  abstract-impressionist painter Ether Fisher, woodworker Emil Milan, and Cy Twombly, known for his calligraphic, large scale works. 

As with many of the American painters in his generation, Barnet observed the evolving trends in European art and integrated them into his own vocabulary. He was formal though, in accordance with his teachings, to the basic  elements that form any work of art: the principles of color use, composition, and subject matter. Barnet’s  works encompassed the different art movements of his era, from his early works in social realism to his minimalist works of carefully placed solid colors. 

Will Barnet was one of the few artists, along with Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, who produced inspired work over a continuous, decades-long period through a logical progression of different artistic phases. His early social realist work, produced for the graphic arts division of the WPA’s Federal Art Project in New York, were lithographs and etchings of farm laborers, factory workers, and urban dwellers. These sullen dark-toned portraits depicted the struggle of the depression era and the simple love of family life; they reflected the popular Ashcan School style, also seen in the contemporary works of etcher John Sloan and painter George Bellows.

Well known as a painter and prolific graphic artist by the 1940s, Barnet began to experiment with Abstraction and added more vibrant color to his work. His work, though, never became fully abstract; there was always some presence of figuration in the composition. Barnet became a prominent figure in the 1940s New York art movement called Indian Space Painting, which based their abstract work on the art of Native Americans. Through the 1950s, Barnet’s moved more towards Abstract Expressionism and created more studied, formal works of shapes and color. Near the end of the 1950s, his work incorporated more gestural forms and his attention became more drawn to domestic scenes, which became a major element in his later work. 

Will Barnet’s style had matured by the mid-1960s. Influenced by traditional Japanese color woodcuts, Renaissance paintings, and the newly arrived American Pop Art, his work evolved again into more figurative work with silhouetted forms set against geometrically designed backgrounds. Barnet is probably best known for his enigmatic portraits of family, such as his 1969 “Silent Seasons” series, a suite of figurative work comprising four prints for each season. He continued to experiment with these harmonious compositions of domestic tranquility and produced work in this style for the next fifty years. 

Barnet, in addition to his teaching positions at the New School for Social Research and the Art Students League, also held positions at Yale University, New York City’s Cooper Union, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He was a member of the National Academy of Design and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London. In 2011, Barnet received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama in Washington DC. 

Will Barnet’s work is in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Vatican Museum in Rome, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, among others. Barnet died of cardiac arrest on November 13, 2012, at the age of 101, in New York City, his home for twenty-eight years.

Top Insert Image: Sidney J. Waintrob, “Will Barnet”, 1966, Gelatin Silver Print, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Second Insert Image: Will Barnet, “Big Grey”, 1987, Lithograph, 32.4 x 24.9 cm, Whitney Museum of American Art

Third Insert Image: Will Barnet, “Gladys”, 1936, Lithograph, 37.5 x 25.4 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Bottom Insert Image: Marc Royce, “Will Barnet”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print

Andreas Georgiadis Kris

Andreas Georgiadis Kris, “Οι δύο φίλοι (The Two Friends)”, 1965, Oil on Canvas

Born in 1892 in Chania, a city on the northwest coast of Crete, Andreas Georgiadis Kris was a Greek painter whose work was influenced by the western art tradition. Due to the rebellion of the Greek Army against the rule of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent burning of the city of Chania, the family moved to Egypt in 1896, where Andreas Kris spent his childhood in Cairo and Ismailia. As he grew older, he became employed in the workshop of the interior contractor V. Vernardos, and later became an assistant painter and decorator under Orlando in Cairo. Recommended to the architectural firm of the Nistri brothers, Kris remained with this firm for three years.

In 1910, Andreas Kris traveled to Athens and took the entrance exam at its School of Fine Arts, which gave him admittance to the third class under portraiture painter Dimitris Geraniotis. After the start of the Balkan Wars, Kris volunteered for military duty in 1912, joined a unit of Garibaldi volunteers known as the Red Tunics, and later, in the Battle of Drisco, suffered the loss of an eye at the city of Kriftsi in Greece. After leaving military service, Kris resumed his studies at the School of Fine Arts where, from 1914 to 1923, he trained under Ceorgios Roilou, Georgios Jakovibis,  and Spyridon Vikatos, all portraiture and genre painters of the Munich School tradition. 

In 1922, Andreas Kris was awarded first prize in the Panhellenic Arts Competition for his work depicting  the 1826 heroic exit of the Greeks from their city of Missolonghi, which was under siege by the Turkish army during the Greek War of Independence. He later won first prize in an exhibition at Athens’ Polytechnic which secured him a four-year scholarship to study in Europe. Kris studied in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and at three free academies, including the Julian Academy. During this scholarship period, he frequently traveled throughout Europe to study the masterworks in the museums of Paris, Madrid, Antwerp, Brussels, and Ghent. From these studies, Kris produced a series of twenty-five studies based on the works of Ruben, Van Dyke, Velasquez, and Jusepe de Ribera. 

Returning to Greece in 1929, Andreas Kris had his first solo exhibition at Athens’s  Parnassos Hall; his collection of forty works received critical attention from Zacharias Papantoniou, who was the Director of the National Gallery. In August of 1929, Kris received the Heracles Voltos Scholarship form the University of Athens, which enabled him to study, both in Paris and Rome, the development and techniques of western European art.

Andreas Kris traveled and studied for seven years in Italy, which included a one-year training period at the Regia Seuola per Industrie Artistiche under fresco painter Mario Roversi. In 1930, Andreas Kris’s oil painting “Manna” was accepted for the new work exhibition at the Salon in Paris’s Grand Palais on Champs-Élysées. At the 1934 Venice International Exhibition, Kris entered three works, one of which was his “Portrait of a Friend”. After contributing to the oversight of the 1935 restoration work on Athens’s Old Royal Palace’s murals, he was selected to send one of his works to the 1936 International Exhibition in Sydney, Australia. Later in the same year, Kris exhibited works,  which included portraits, in two  collective shows held at the Atelier Gallery.  

Andreas Kris was appointed as the Chair of Painting at Athens’s School of Fine Arts in 1947, where he taught composition and color studies for fourteen years. Invited to show his work at the 25th Venice International Exhibition held in 1950, he exhibited ten paintings, of which his work of chiaroscuro, entitled “The Fall”, received critical acclaim. Kris participated in the 1957 Mediterranean Exhibition held in Alexandria and, two years later, showed eighty paintings at a retrospective of his work held at Athens’s Parnassos Hall. 

In 1962, the Ioannina Gallery, which holds a collection of over five hundred works, mounted a thirty-two work retrospective of Kris’s oeuvre and awarded him a gold medal in recognitions of his military service and contribution to the arts. From 1965 to 1970, Andreas Kris held the elected post of  President of the Chamber of Arts, a position he used to lobby the government for legislation providing pensions for retired artists. He regularly participated in the annual  Panhellenic Exhibitions and in group exhibitions abroad, including shows in Belgrade, Bucharest and Moscow. 

Andreas Georgiadis Kris died in 1981. In December of 1986, the Director of the National Gallery presented the first complete retrospective of Kris’s oeuvre as a tribute to his career as a painter. Andreas Kris’s work is held in many national museums, public institutions, and private collections in Greece and abroad.

Top Insert Image: Andreas Georgiadis Kris, Still Life, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 46 x 55.5 cm, National Gallery of Greece

Middle Insert Image: Andreas Georgiadis Kris, “The Praying Man, Nude Study”, Date Unknown, Graphite on Paper

Bottom Insert Image: Andreas Georgiadis Kris, “Jeune Homme au Gilet Vert”, 1943, Oil on Canvas, 60.5 x 50 cm, Private Collection

Alojz Klimo

Paintings by Alojz Klimo

Alojz Klimo was a Slovakian painter, graphic artist and sculptor who, along with Milan Dobeš and Miloš Urbásek, is considered to be the founding representative of geometrical and constructionist art in Slovakia. 

Born in Pieštany in 1922, Klimo attended the Department of Drawing and Painting of the Slovak Technical University from 1941 to 1945, where he studied under Maximillán Schurmann and Gustav Mallý, both influential in the development of Slovakian modern painting. From 1945 to 1948, he studied under painters Jan Bauch and Antonin Pelc at Prague’s University of Applied Arts. Klimo returned to Slovakia in 1948 and settled in the city of Bratislava where he lived and worked until his death in October of 2000. 

Alojz Klimo developed his expression of art gradually. Inspired by prewar European modernism, he was known for his expressive paintings by the end of the 1950s. The drawings and graphic work he produced in this period were influenced by the national and folk traditions of his native country. Fascinated by the progressive technology, architecture, and industrial landscape of the early 1960s, Klimo’s work moved progressively towards abstractionism. 

By the end of the 1960s, Klimo’s work was characterized by symbols, signs, and pictograms which served as commentaries on both the positive and negative manifestations of contemporary civilization. The basic building blocks of his artistic language were triangles, squares, rectangles and circles portrayed in multiple variations to form a wide spectrum of motifs. His dynamic paintings with their vivid colors and simple compositions  illustrated the possibilities of a formalized geometrical style. 

Alojz Klimo regularly used symbolic motifs of urban scenery in his work. The themes of streets, crossroads, and roofs of houses appear throughout his work, either as paintings on wood panels or graphics produced with linocuts. The image areas are divided into individual fields, designated by bold black lines. Klimo’s most significant and best known “Crossroads” series depicted fields created by accentuated diagonal lines; the fields of the “Windows” and “Roofs” series were formed by systems of rectangles and squares. Each segmented field in his work was depicted by specific colors of pure tones, a technique which was similar to that used by American artist Roy Lichtenstein. 

Since 1945, Klimo was a member of an artist group called August 29, and later, in 1967,  became a member of the Club of Concretists, an organization of geometrical abstract artists. . The Club of Concretists was banned in Czechoslovakia in 1970 during the period of political normalization, which was characterized by the loss of the reforms gained during the more liberal government of Alexander Dubček. For Alojz Klimo, it became difficult period in which to exhibit his works. As such, he devoted his time to illustrating books, particularly children’s books, and also creating monumental sculptures for architectural details.

During his lifetime, Alojz Klimo presented his work in twenty-five solo exhibitions in Slovakia and abroad. He also participated in more than two hundred collective exhibitions in Slovakia and other countries, including the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Egypt, Mexico, and the United States. In both 1958 and 1960, Klimo represented Czechoslovakia at the Twenty-Ninth and Thirtieth Venice Biennales. In 1970, he exhibited his large, moveable sculpture, entitled “Colored Transformations” at the Czechoslovak Pavilion of the World Expo in Osaka, Japan. 

Klimo’s works, which include paintings, wood cuts, graphic work, and sculptures, are represented in the galleries and private collections in Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany and Austria.

Image Insert: Alojz Klimo, Poster for Slovak Fund of Creative Arts, 1966, Serigraph on Paper, 28.5 x 20 cm, Private Collection

Jasper Johns

Jasper Johns, “0 Through 9”, 1960, Lithograph, 76.2 x 55.9 cm, Private Collection

Born in May of 1930 in Augusta, Georgia, Jasper Johns is an American painter, printmaker, and sculptor who is associated with Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, and the Neo-Dada movement of the 1950s and 1960s. He is best known for his series of flags, targets, maps, letters and numbers. In 1954, after burning all his previous artwork, Johns started introducing numbers and text into his abstract paintings. Because he incorporated well-known motifs into his art, the work is defined as both abstraction for his use of stripes and circles, and representational for his use of targets and flags.

Jasper Johns spent his early years in South Carolina, an area he considered an artistic wasteland. After making the decision to become an artist, he studied for three semesters at the University of South Carolina; he later moved to New York City where he studied briefly at the Parsons School of Design in 1949. With the advent of the Korean War, Johns was stationed in Sendai, Japan, for a two year period from 1952 to 1953.

After his return to New York, Johns met artist Robert Rauschenberg in 1954 and soon began an intense, emotional relationship and artistic collaboration. Rauschenberg was an intense, spontaneous, energetic personality; while Johns was a more shy, intellectual personality with a slow deliberate style. This contrast led to private heated moments but also great creative accomplishments. In the 1950s, during the six years they were together, Johns and Rauschenberg produced many works which today are considered iconic masterpieces, such as Johns’ two series, “Flags” and “Targets”, and Rauschenberg’s “Combines” series.

In 1959, art dealer Leo Castelli met with Rauschenberg to discuss his upcoming gallery exhibition. This meeting led to Castelli’s discovery of Jasper Johns’ downstairs apartment with its trove of paintings from the “Flags” and “Targets” series. Castelli signed Johns immediately. In the years that followed, while Rauschenberg’s career waned and, for a time, faltered, Jasper Johns’ career thrived. His first solo exhibition in 1958, based on his series of American flags, sold out with four of the works being purchased by the Museum of Modern Art. By the beginning of the 1960s, Johns’ and Rauschenberg’s aesthetic, romantic, and professional conflicts led to the break in their relationship and a concentration on their individual careers.

Johns was introduced to lithography in 1960 through an invitation by Russian-American printmaker Tatyana Grosman to produce prints at her publishing company, Universal Limited Art Editions. Hesitant to work with what at that time was considered an antiquated medium, he was encouraged to proceed by friend and artist Larry Rivers. Since 1960, Jasper Johns has worked on developing various printmaking techniques to investigate and develop his existing compositions.

Johns’ first completed print was the 1960 “Target”; however, having been exploring numeric figures since 1955, his inaugural attempt at a printed series was based on the symmetrical and easily configured number zero. This initial lithograph series, entitled “0 Through 9”, consisted of the numbers 0 to 9 superimposed over each other to create numerous compositions. Although elements of all the numbers are visible, the individual numbers, removed from their original context, become difficult to distinguish.

This reduction of the combined numbers to a numeric motif places the attention of the viewer on the work’s pictorial composition and technique. It is the numeric motif to which Johns has returned most often, exploring it in paintings, drawings, print, and sculpture. He has produced more variations on it than any other subject matter.

Often regarded as one of the fathers of conceptual art, Jasper Johns received in 1960 the Vincent van Volkmer Prize, a highly endowed biennial art prize. In 1963, he and long-time friend, American avant-garde composer John Cage, founded New York City’s Foundation for Contemporary Arts. a non-profit foundation which offers financial support and recognition to performing and visual artists. Johns received the National Medal of Arts in 1990 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

Insert Images:

Fred W McDarrah, “Jasper Johns- Whitney Museum”, 1977, Gelatin Silver Print

Jasper Johns, “6”, Portfolio “0 t=-9”, 1963, Lithograph, Edition of 10, 52.1 x 40 cm, Private Collection

Rachel Rosenthal, “Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns- Pearl Street, New York City”, 1954, Gelatin Silver Print, Rachel Rosenthal Trust

Gregory Scofield: “Your Mouth Will Be the Web”

Photographers Unknown, The Parts and Pieces Making a Whole: Set Twelve

with the tip of my spring tongue, ayike          frog
your mouth will be the web
catching apihkêsis words,          spider
that cannot be translated.

hâw, pîkiskwê!          Now, speak!

I’ll teach you Cree, nêhiyawêwin          the Cree language
that is the taste
of pima êkwa saskarômina          fat and saskatoon
Your mouth will be the branches
I am picking clean,
a summer heat ceremony
that cannot be translated.

hâw, pîkiskwê!          Now, speak!

I’ll teach you Cree
in the winter, pipon           winter
when the dogs curl against our backs.
Your mouth will be pawâcakinâsis-pîsim          the frost exploding
that cannot be translated.
It will be a ceremony.

hâw, pîkiskwê!          Now, speak!

I’ll teach you Cree
ê-kohk mistake ê-sâkihitan.          because I love you a
It will be in the fall, this ceremony.
You will have the mouth of a beaver,
thick and luminescent.

I will make my camp there
ê-kohk mistake ê-sâkihitan          because I love you a
This cannot be translated.

hâw, pîkiskwê!          Now, speak!

Gregory Scofield, I’ll Teach You Cree, Kipocihkân, Nightwood Editions, 2009

Born in July of 1966 in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Gregory Scofield is a poet, playwright, and teacher whose work and activism is centered around the indigenous experience. He was born into a Métis family of Cree, Scottish, French and English descent, whose lineage can be traced back to the Hudson Bay fur trade and the Métis community of Kinosota, Manitoba. The Métis are a community of indigenous people in Canada and parts of the United States who are unique in being of mixed indigenous and European, primarily French, ancestry. 

Separated from his mother at age five and placed with strangers, Scofield grew up in northern Manitoba, northern Saskatchewan and the Yukon, where he struggled with poverty, substance abuse, racism, and his gay sexual identity. He has been writing poetry for over thirty years and has published multiple collections of his work, as well as novels and memoirs. Scofield is also a strong  advocate of social and racial justice for the indigenous communities.

Gregory Scofield’s first collection of poetry, “The Gathering: Stones for the Medicine Wheel “, published in 1994, provided insights into the lives of Canada’s Métis and was awarded the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. In 1996, he received the Air Canada Award which is given annually to a promising Canadian writer under age thirty. Scofield published a memoir in 1998, entitled “Thunder Through My Veins”, which told the story of his traumatic, yet hopeful, fight to rediscover his heritage and accept his position as a person molded by completely opposed backgrounds.

From 1999 to 2009, Scofield published several collections of his  poetry. His 1999 “I Knew Two Métis Women” celebrated the lives of his mother Dorothy Scofield and his aunt Georgina Houle Young through the interweaving of poems, tales, and sly humor with verses from country classics by Hank Williams and the Carter Family. Scofield is also the author of the 1996 “Native Canadiana: Songs from the Urban Rez”, a cultural perspective on urban street life, and the 1997 “Love Medicine and One Song”, a work in which Scofield melds ezplicitly erotic imagery with elements of the Canadian bush and the rhythm of Cree words and phrases. For his 2005 collection of poems, “Singing Home the Bones”, he referenced the personal stories from his memoir “Thunder Through My Veins”.

While living in Vancouver, Gregory Scofield worked with street youth and became involved with the Louis Riel Métis Council, an educational and support organization. He taught First Nations and Métis Poetry at Brandon University in Manitoba, and later taught Identity Narratives at the Alberta College of Art and Design. Scofield also served as writer-in-residence at the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, and the Memorial University of Newfoundland.

In 2016, Scofield became Assistant Professor in English at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, where he teaches Creative Writing.  He has been  increasingly involved in publicizing Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) on social media. Having lost an aunt and a cousin to racism and violence, Scofield honored their lives and the lives of other victims by making this topic the subject of many poems in his 2016 collection “Witness, I Am”. 

“With my poetry, I always begin with the title—the title becomes the sacred lodge of where the poems are going to be. “Witness, I Am” really came about with this idea of where we’re sitting right now, the contemporary reality of Indigenous people. It’s partly my own testimony as an Indigenous individual in this country. It’s the testimony of my auntie, who cannot speak. It’s the testimony of my mother, who cannot speak. It’s the testimony of generations of my family that were left voiceless. It’s also a ceremony of those things, of bringing the names together, of talking about the things that each of us witness.” – Gregory Scofield, CBC Radio Interview

An interesting read for those who want to explore Gregory Scofield’s work is Sara Jamieson’s treatise “Âyahkwêw Songs: AIDS and Mourning in Gregory Scofield’s “Urban Rez” Poems” which is located at:

Italo Calvino: “Some Strange Animal”

Photographers Unknown, A Collection: Some Strange Animal

“In short, I often found myself in situations different from others, looked on as if I were some strange animal. I do not think this harmed me: one gets used to persisting in one’s habits, to finding oneself isolated for good reasons, to putting up with the discomfort that this causes, to finding the right way to hold on to positions which are not shared by the majority. 

But above all I grew up tolerant of others’ opinions, particularly in the field of religion, remembering how irksome it was to hear myself mocked because I did not follow the majority’s beliefs. And at the same time I have remained totally devoid of that taste for anticlericalism which is so common in those who are educated surrounded by religion. 

I have insisted on setting down these memories because I see that many non-believing friends let their children have a religious education ‘so as not to give them complexes’, ‘so that they don’t feel different from the others.’ I believe that this behavior displays a lack of courage which is totally damaging pedagogically. Why should a young child not begin to understand that you can face a small amount of discomfort in order to stay faithful to an idea? 

And in any case, who said that young people should not have complexes? Complexes arise through a natural attrition with the reality that surrounds us, and when you have complexes you try to overcome them. Life is in fact nothing but this triumphing over one’s own complexes, without which the formation of a character and personality does not happen.” 

—Italo Calvino, Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings

Henri Cartier-Bresson: “The Precise and Transitory Instant”

Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Set Eighteen

“Of all the means of expression, photography is the only one that fixes forever the precise and transitory instant. We photographers deal in things that are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth that can make them come back again. We cannot develop and print a memory. The writer has time to reflect. He can accept and reject, accept again; and before committing his thoughts to paper he is able to tie the several relevant elements together. There is also a period when his brain “forgets,” and his subconscious works on classifying his thoughts. But for photographers, what has gone is gone forever.” 

—Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Mind’s Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers

Busby Berkeley: Film History Series

Artist Unknown, Busby Berkeley,’s “By A Waterfall” Scene, Computer Graphics, “Footlight Parade” Film Gifs

Lyricist Irving Kahal and composer Sammy Fair had a sixteen year collaboration which started in 1926 and lasted until Kahal’s death in 1942. Among their many notable songs was the 1933 “By a Waterfall”, written for Warner Brothers Picture’s “Footlight Parade”, the third film in the 1933 Gold Diggers Trilogy. The vocal performances were done by actor-singer Dick Powell and actress-singer Ruby Keeler. 

Directed by Lloyd Bacon and presenting great cinematography by George Barnes, “Footlight Parade” contained opulent musical numbers created and directed by Busby Berkeley whose routines contributed to the film’s success. Berkeley’s extravagant arrangement features his trademark human waterfall with its synchroniised water ballet of diving and swimming chorus girls, who produce elaborate, geometric patterns in the water.

One entire sound stage was filled with a twelve by twenty-four meter swimming pool with walls and floor made of glass. Two weeks were required for the one hundred chorus girls to practice their routines in it before shooting began. The six days of actual filming for the waterfall scene required that twenty thousand gallons of water per minute be pumped across the set to produce the required effects.

Besides the placement and movement of the dancers, the cameras also had to be positioned to film the entire scope of the choreography. Berkeley set his cameras in motion on monorails and custom-built booms to get the correct angle of shot. Since Berkeley was not hampered by the need to shoot multiple images at once for continuity, he was able to expand his creative potential by fluid camera motion and the use of intricate editing, creating fantasy out of the movement.. 

Cornelius James McCarthy

Cornelius McCarthy, “The Great Façade”, 2007, Oil on Canvas

Cornelius “Neal” James McCarthy was born in 1935 into a family of Irish Catholic and Eastern European immigrant stock. 

McCarthy’s earliest artistic influence was probably through the artifacts and images used to promote Catholic devotion with which he grew up. Through these he became familiar with the compositions of the masters of the Italian Renaissance. Formal study was completed in the 1950s at Goldsmith’s School of Art, London, followed by a tour of Italy visiting all the principal art collections and monuments. 

McCarthy was greatly influenced by the work of Pablo Picasso after seeing the first post-war exhibition in London in 1960. Later he was influenced b British artist Keith Vaughan. Always painting, McCarthy developed his own style, alternating between a  near cubist approach to soft, almost two-dimensional handling of the paint strokes. He painted both individual portrait-like images as well as groups of men, clothed and unclothed. 

McCarthy’s paintings are sensual yet not erotic as though his drive was to maintain a dignity in the genre of male figurative painting. Many of his works included somewhat brittle statements of addressing the manner in which the stigma of admiration of the male nude by ‘corporate types’ carried a message beyond the canvas. While McCarthy’s paintings are for the most part tender and sensitive interactions between men, he was unafraid to make some important ‘political’ statements. And his importance as a twentieth-century painter is heightened by this discovery.

In 2007, the book “Cornelius McCarthy” was published by Adonis Art in London, with introduction and commentaries written by  American actor Peter Dobson. Now widely regarded as a true master of paintings depicting the male form, Cornelius McCarthy is widely collected in England, the rest of Europe, and especially the United States. 

He died unexpectedly in November of 2009.

Duane Michals

Duane Michals, “Narcissus”, 1986, Photo Shoot, Model Unknown

Duane Michals was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, on February 18th, 1932. After taking art classes at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, he attended the University of Denver, receiving his undergraduate degree in 1953. In 1956 after his military service, Michals moved to New York where he studied at Parsons School of Design, later working as a graphic designer for magazines “Dance” and “Time”.

A 1958 Russian tour of portraiture photography started Michals’ artistic career. His photographs in the mid-1960s consisted of mainly deserted sites in New York. In 1966, Michals started to structure his photographs as multiframe compositions, with subjects enacting set narratives. The writing of captions in the margins of his photographs began in 1974 and, later in 1979 the incorporation of paint into his treatment of the printed images.

Duane Michals’s narrative pieces rely on the sequencing of multiple images to convey a sense of alienation and disequilibrium. In his world, the literal appearance of things is less important than the communication of a concept or story. In his portraiture, however, Michals relies wholly on his subjects’ appearance and self-chosen poses to establish their identity. He believes in a direct approach for his portraiture instead of his usual metaphoric approach.

André Castiagne

André Castaigne, “The Killing of Cleitus by Alexander”, 1898-1899, Engraving, The Century Magazine

Jean Alexandre Michel André was a French artist, engraver and book illustrator. He became an important artist in the Golden Age of Illustration in the United States, producing paintings and literary illustrations in both France and America. As a youth, Castaigne read prodigiously and studied classic Greek, Latin, French, and German literature. At the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, under Alexandre Cabanel and Jean-Léon Gérôme, he trained to become a painter in the Salon tradition. 

Castaigne’s interest in visually interpreting history led him to become an illustrator as well as a portrait painter. His first of many illustrations appeared in “The Century” magazine around 1891, followed by over 160 illustrations before the end of 1895. Castaigne created more than thirty-six engravings about Alexander the Great for the 1898 to 1899 twelve-part series of “The Century” magazine. 

André Castaigne’s engraving entitled “The Killing of Cleitus” shows the killing of Cleitus the Black, an officer of the Macedonian army led by Alexander the Great. At the Battle of the Granicus in 334 BC, Cleitus saved Alexander, who was under attack by the Persian commander Spithridates, by severing Spithridates’ hammer arm before he could strike the fatal blow. On the eve of the day he was to take possession of the Macedonian government, Alexander organized a banquet in the palace at Samarkand. During the drunken banquet, Cleitus, hearing he was to be posted in the steppes of Central Asia, uttered many grievances against Alexander and his royal legitimacy. This led to Alexander in anger throwing a javelin through Cleitus’ heart. In all four known texts of this story, it is shown that Alexander grieved for the death of Cleitus.