Sound and Sculpture

•May 17, 2012 • 2 Comments

Reading an essay by composer and artist, John Cage, I came across an interesting connection that he made between experimental music and three-dimensional art forms. One of the things he found most important in his compositions was the use of silence. In his essay Experimental Music he writes, “In this music nothing takes place but sounds: those that are notated and those that are not.  Those that are not notated appear in the written music as silences, opening the doors of the music to the sounds that happen to be in the environment.”

He goes on to mention a similar occurrence in 3-d art :  “This openness exists in the fields of modern sculpture and architecture.  The glass houses of Mies van der Rohe  reflect their environment, presenting to the eye images of clouds, trees, or grass, according to the situation.  And while looking at the constructions in wire of the sculptor Richard Lippold, it is inevitable that one will see other things, and people too, if they happen to be there at the same time, through the network of wires.”

I wasn’t familiar with Richard Lippold,  but when I looked him up, I was fascinated by his work. Looking at his art with Cage’s perspective on space made it even more fascinating to me.  I looked into the work of Mies van der Rohe as well. I have to confess that I never thought about architecture as an art form. It’s not that I didn’t think it was, I just never put much thought into it. Now I’m seeing it as yet another artistic niche to explore.

I’ve been exploring Cage’s idea of silence in music for quite a while and I think the use of space in art would be worth exploring, too. If anyone has any suggestions or thoughts, it would be great to see your comments below.

“There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear.” ~ John Cage

Flight ((1962) Richard Lippold

Farnsworth House designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1951)






















Silence: Lectures and Writings by John Cage  Wesleyan University Press

Read more about Cage on my other website HERE.
For an extreme and somewhat humorous example of Cage’s use of silence click HERE.


Art and the Unconscious

•April 23, 2012 • 7 Comments

The creative process consists in the unconscious activation of an archetypal image, and in elaborating and shaping this image into the finished work.
~ Carl Jung

Have you ever written a poem, painted a picture or created some other form of art and afterwards found symbolism and meaning in it that you hadn’t intentionally included? This happens to me sometimes and it always surprises me.  I know that dreams bring unconscious content to the surface and they do so in a very creative way. Thinking about this,  I began to explore the idea of the creative process being another method of bringing unconscious thoughts to our awareness.

I found myself writing my dreams into poems. By doing that I was able to discover insights that hadn’t come to me through thoughtful analysis of the dreams. The poems surprised me by ending with some twist or interpretation that I wasn’t thinking about when I began the poem. It became another tool to use while interpreting my dreams.

This led me to look at my non-dream poems in the same way.  I had noticed before that sometimes when I go back and read one of the poems that I’ve written, I find a deeper level of meaning than I had realized was there. I see things – connections – that I hadn’t intentionally woven into the poem.  I say to myself, “How clever!” I make that comment in a lighthearted way, but in reality I’m in awe of the workings of the unconscious mind.  I’ve learned I can discover things about myself by paying attention to these things that have surfaced from my unconscious through writing poems.

I think that the creative process does indeed work in the same manner of dreams.  I was able to understand this better when I read Carl Jung’s essay On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry from which the above quote was taken. It contains more detail than I have room to include here, but I recommend this for anyone interested in the subject.

I would be curious to hear what other poets and writers think about this. I’m also wondering how artists experience these unconscious revelations in their paintings – what it is like in terms of images and colors as opposed to words.

It’s fascinating to explore how art and poetry can be, in the words of William Shakespeare, “such stuff as dreams are made on.”


Jung’s essay On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry can be found in The Portable Jung edited by Joseph Campbell published by Penguin Books or in The Spirit of Man, Art, and Literature. The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 15  Princeton University Press.

•April 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Apollo's Crow

Last night, during my wild mild New Years eve carousal, I had my fortune told by a friend at a bar.  Between sips of whiskey-sour, I casually examined some of her colorful tarot cards. They were in their own way lovely and intriguing things, and New Year’s being a night of hope and forward-thinking, it seemed fitting.  For now I’ll leave off the topic of whether I “believe” in such practices and phenomena, as I’m not the sort to make absolute declarations about the many mysteries of our little-understood reality – especially when it comes to the slippery subject of Time.  Really, I find absolutes to be generally bad things, contrary to our innate creativity and the sense of wonder which enables all art and science to succeed.  If I have a personal ideology, it would be the consistent rejection of ideologies in general.  “All I know is that I…

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Invitation to the Gathering

•April 5, 2012 • 16 Comments

“The poets have learned how to see.”
~ Richard Exner

I came across this quote a few months ago and with these words began a journey.  I like to call myself a poet, but I’m not sure if I’ve earned that mantle. Poetry can be a brutal craft. It’s so difficult to do it right and a poet is forever hunting, beckoning for the right words to come to her.  And once the words are found it’s a matter of arranging and rearranging  them… just so.  A poem’s bare bones structure is exposed with nothing much to hold it up if it fails to stand on its own. Let’s face it, a poet needs all the help she can get and I think, by way of inspiration, I may have stumbled upon some helping hands.

I write because I have a need to write and deep within the core of my writing self, poetry burns. Self-sustaining, it burns with the archetypal fire of what I believe to be the most basic level of written expression there is. Yet beyond that there is an even deeper level of expression and that is wordless, visual art that speaks to us with the very voice of the unconscious through vivid images and colors and symbols.

The quote above was found in the book Letters On Cezanne by Rainer Maria Rilke and it was in this book that I came upon the idea of poets perfecting their craft by studying art and learning to see the way an artist sees.  Rilke studied Cezanne, Hofmannsthal studied Van Gogh and so it has continued, I believe, through the years.

Through conversations with a few artists I know and by reading the words of Rilke, I began to look at the world, not only with a poet’s heart, but now through the eyes of the artist and the world began to look very different to me.  Knowing a good thing when I see it, I’ve been reaching out to more artists here and there, but it’s a big world out there and I’ve finally given myself the advice I’d give to someone who was lost in the woods – sit still and wait for help to come to you.

My vision is to share my thoughts, discoveries and questions about art and writing and to invite others that are on the journey to join me here for a gathering of the muses – a dialog with artists of all mediums as well as musicians and other writers – ones that will open this poet’s eyes and teach her to see.