I have decided to go on an alphabet adventure. I am working my way from A to Z, using it as a template for contemplation. So, I assigned myself letter A. I explored the writing of Adrienne Rich and the art of Edmond Aman-Jean. And coincidentally I received a book from my good friend Adam, which strangely enough was titled with an A starting "And Then Came the Flood," by Lacey Roop. More about that later, when I share with you Roop's poem, "American Doll."
I discovered that Aman-Jean was best friends with Seurat and was best known for his portraits of women. Here is one titled "Young Girl with Peacock." Yes Virginia, I thought of you. (Aside: Virginia loves peacocks.)
According to www.dreammoods.com, "To see a peacock in your dream represents spring birth, new growth, longevity, and love. It is a good omen, signaling prestige, success and contentment in your relationship or career. Alternatively, the peacock signifies pride, confidence and vanity. You may be showing off too much or are overly arrogant with your success and achievements. A peacock may also suggest that many eyes are watching you."
How does this consideration of peacock symbolism impact your interpretation of the painting? How might Aman-Jean's close friendship with Seurat have influenced his work? I don't have the answers, but I do know that thinking symbolically challenges me to go beyond the surface of the canvas.
To acquaint yourself with Rich's work, click on her face to link to her reading "Prospective Immigrants, Please Note." (Very timely, politically speaking.) The page also contains a transcript of her conversation with Moyers, including a discussion of the poem. (Note: Everything is not what it first seems with Rich.) While you are there you might as well check out the poetry of Victor Hernandez Cruz and Michael Harper, or you can wait until we get to letter H...
Before I leave the letter A, I want to go back to my friend Adam Lemmon. (Yes, He is Paula's son).
Roop's poem could be described as somewhat Antagonistic. Whether or not you agree with Roop's view of the iconic Monroe, you must agree that she approaches the subject from a fresh perspective. (By the way, Adam sent me this book because he reads this blog from time to time and responded to one of the challenges!) I challenge you to send a package to someone. It is such a surprise as well as a delight to receive something you did not order from Amazon!
I will close today with this:
"The body itself is an information processor. Memory resides not just in brains but in every cell. No wonder genetics bloomed along with information theory. DNA is the quintessential information molecule, the most advanced message processor at the cellular level - an alphabet and a code, 6 billion bits to form a human being."--James Gleick
No. No. This is what I want to close with. One of my favorite bits of Animation, from Wallace and Gromit's "The Wrong Trousers." Here is the train chase scene! Enjoy.