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askew

Earlier in the year. Later part of summer, which might have as well been the beginning. Or middle. I’m still astounded how quickly it passed. Tagged on either side by departure.
What does it mean when trees grow sideways?

Here’s a poem by Stephen Dobyns, a poet whose work I discovered by a fortunate accident around the same time pictured above:

 

CONNECTIONS

Two days of listening to a police radio
and everyone one around me is a killer. I have
walked this far, I must go slower. People
hang onto bodies that won’t be with them
long. Their own and all the others.
Give me your hand. I hold it like liquid
with the same result. My own hand drips
like water from a tree after a short rain.
Green becomes the color of decay. The forest
surronds us.

Standing on the fire tower
in the state park, I see a doe moving
beneath me. All twigs are pointing at it.
The ground can swallow it. If I shout
its sky will crumble. I refuse to breathe.
Nearby, hunters with bows and arrows rehearse
their comic lines: Who will grace our fenders?
Who will hang upside down in our immaculate
front yards? Their arrows have captured
the wind and its music. Their faces are like
drums, or clocks ticking. Their faces drip-
the noise of static on a radio. If I shout,
my own sky will splinter. Silence? I fill
my lungs like a swimmer diving to the bottom.

Splendor of the in-between

© Monika Sosnowski

This is my Notebook:

The in-between. My work is about moments that reveal a fragmented narrative.

Summer is fading minute by minute now each evening. When I notice its dwindling twilight I’m surprised at the earlier time each day. It was still bright at this hour just a few weeks ago!
Six more days left of the season.

This morning waking up I felt emptied out. Strangely and with relief.

Been reading more by Annie Dillard. It’s been very helpful. Very:
“There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by. A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough. The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet.” (The Writing Life, published by Harper Perennial)

Here’s to less.
Less needing. Making it matter. Making do. Keeping a schedule.

9/15/2014 NYC

 

 

 

 

Excerpts from Exile

Untitled (Once Upon a Time) © Monika Sosnowski

Here’s a poem by Adam Zagajewski from Mysticism for Beginners:

 

TRANSFORMATION

I haven’t written a single poem
in months.
I’ve lived humbly, reading the paper,
pondering the riddle of power
and the reasons for obedience.
I’ve watched sunsets
(crimson, anxious),
I’ve heard the birds grow quiet
and night’s muteness.
I’ve seen sunflowers dangling
their heads at dusk, as if a careless hangman
had gone strolling through the gardens.
September’s sweet dust gathered
on the windowsill and lizards
hid in the bends of walls.
I’ve taken long walks,
craving one thing only:
lightning,
transformation,
you.

(translated from Polish by Clare Cavanagh and published in: Adam Zagajewski – Without End – New and Selected Poems, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux 2002)

Stormy Weather Jazz

Few weeks ago on a Sunday. 3491 feet above sea level. Ben Kohn’s Quartet opened the mountain-top Jazz Festival 2014 at Bascom Lodge on Mount Greylock, MA.
Ben Kohn Quartet: Benny “Fingers” Kohn on keyboard, Daniel Broad on bass, Aaron Dean on sax, and Bill Chapman on drums. Bravo!

When I think back..

The cloud resisted dispersing. The music drizzled sideways blown by the wind turning music sheets to other places.
The musicians kept at it undeterred while the audience soaked up their misty notes.

We were dreaming again. Lost in the woods looking for a clearing.

7/29/14

Bobbie - Such a beautiful album, Monika!!

Monika Sosnowski - Thanks Bobbie! It would have been so great if you were there! Missed you.

An Artist’s Studio: Susan Hartung

Recently I visited Susan Hartung’s studio on North Street in downtown Pittsfield. Susan is getting ready for a retrospective of her work curated by Peter Dudek, which will be exhibited this September at the HVCC Teaching Gallery in Troy, NY.

Susan’s art encompasses painting, drawing and some photography. She is also a poet. Experiencing her work, be it by looking, reading, or listening is akin to walking in a meadow after it rained when the light and air is enchanting. Or perhaps very early in the morning when it’s still quiet and odds are favorable. It is a moment of clarity, a dearest memory, an openness.

Her’s is a study in mindfulness regardless of circumstances.

She has outwitted the grid and ruffled abstraction sincerely, playfully, unflinchingly. A photograph morphs into a drawing and colors into a painting. The line is a word and another word and another… Fragments aware of  their own own fluidity and purpose. Rhetorical questions without irony.

Susan’s work, like she herself, emanates a luminosity. She recognizes the Beauty and Form of animal footprints on a snow covered ground. The real drama is found in keeping things going. Elements. Life.

She looks for lines. She looks for light. She sees from within and stays curious. She has a most lovely smile and eyes the color of a landscape far in the distance seen from a mountain top. And then there’s her laugh: youthful, unadulterated, affecting.

Susan’s work, both visual and poetry echoes that  laugh of her’s. There is joy, even if sometimes on equal footing with sadness.  A complexity runs throughout. Fragments can be both glimpses either into or out of something. Lines can be connected again. It is about connectedness, perhaps even about how things work or don’t in life, love, color theories, language.. A paint brush stroke on canvas, pencil line on paper, a poem that goes straight into the heart of what matters.

Susan Hartung’s retrospective, titled “Following The Line,” will be exhibited at HVCC September 18th through October 25th. The opening reception will take place on Thursday, September 18th  4:00 – 6:00 pm.

I have posted one of Susan’s poems, “The Insistence of Hope,” in a previous post here.

Peter - Great photos and words.

Monika Sosnowski - Thanks Peter xoxo.

Last chance to register for Magic Woods workshop!!!

© Monika Sosnowski, 2014

My The Magic Woods workshop is happening this Sunday, June 22nd starting at 10:00 am.

If you’re interested in participating please register ASAP. This is a fun, instructive and inspiring workshop designed to help you see things in a different way and it’s a great opportunity to spend some time outdoors as we take couple of short hikes.

Mountains and forests abound in rich symbolism which can represent emotional, spiritual or mental states. Nature’s summits and woods, powerful in their permanence and immovability, have often been associated with personal quests, overcoming obstacles, seeking inner knowledge. Artists and writers have been inspired by the majesty of mountains and the mystery of forests in a variety of ways. Herman Melville imagined Mt. Greylock as a massive great white whale and that vision fueled him to write one of the best American stories, “Moby Dick.“

The Magic Woods is a one-day photographic workshop in which we will learn ways of transforming the physical splendor and awesomeness of Mt. Greylock and its surrounding forest, by creating images which suggest a narrative beyond the subject matter’s natural attributes.

We will utilize and understand the creative impacts of the natural elements: light, shadow, wind, and time of day with the technical aspects of our cameras: lenses, f-stops, exposure. How something is perceived makes all the difference creatively. We can find our own versions of Melville’s whale.
All levels of photographic skill are welcome.

How something is perceived makes all the difference creatively. We can find our own versions of Melville’s whale.

Where: Atop and around Mt. Greylock’s summit (meet in Bascom Lodge on the porch), Adams, MA.

When: Sunday, June 22nd, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm

Cost: $75 (includes hot & cold beverages and breakfast pastries at the beginning of the workshop and bottled water for our photo hike

To Register: email me to signup and for further details: info@monikasosnowski.com

© Monika Sosnowski, 2014

Insistence of Hope – a poem by Susan Hartung

Accidental Composition

Peter, Susan, and Rob

Red Tractor

Insistence of Hope

When I think how long
I wanted you
to be other,
I can hardly fault
the cat who,
finding rain
at the kitchen door,
asks to be let out
through the porch.

by Susan Hartung from Inclusions, a book of her poems published by An Elephant Tree House Book in 2011

Susan Hartung is an artist and poet. A retrospective of her work will be exhibited this September at HVCC Teaching Gallery in Troy New York.

 

 

Upcoming Summer 2014 Photography Workshops

© Monika Sosnowski, 2014

“The final strength in really great photographs is that they suggest more than just what they show literally. Photography and poetry center on metaphor.” ~ Robert Adams

 

I’m delighted to announce four upcoming workshops I’ll be teaching this summer in the beautiful Berkshires of Western Massachusetts!

These short but intensely productive, informative and inspiring workshops are designed  to encourage creative thinking and application. Each class gives a unique learning opportunity with hands-on exercises, relevant presentations, and group discussions. Both fun and challenging, these workshops will expand your existing skills and teach you new ways of being engaged in the creative process.

Please check in here again to find individual posts for each upcoming class with further details. Happy photographing y’all!!!

Schedule of Workshops and locations:

Sunday, June 22nd: The Magic Woods will take place atop Mount Greylock, Adams, Massachusetts. In this photographic workshop we will learn ways of transforming the physical splendor and awesomeness of Mt. Greylock and its surrounding forest by creating images that suggest a narrative beyond the subject matter’s natural attributes.

The following three workshops will take place at IS183 Art School of the Berkshires:

Saturday, July 12th: Hands on Camera  
Saturday & Sunday, July 26th & 27th: Capturing Summer  
Saturday, August 9th: Cultivating Your Artwork: Inspiration and the Creative Process 

Please contact me with any questions or comments at monikasosnowski@gmail.com

© Monika Sosnowski, 2014

 

Alfonso - Great work Monika. Don’t stop.
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Monika Sosnowski - Thanks Alfonso. Haven’t yet :)