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Archive for February, 2012

Marching to the Beat of a Drum on His Face: An Interview with Jon Brumit, Public Artist

Jon Brumit, Drum on My Face (Photo courtesy of Jon Brumit,

by Kathy Leisen

“Probably the best thing is designing some kind of scenario where everything seems clear or engaging or fun enough for strangers to engage with me, and then to have the space and the time unfold into something else – something unexpected.” Jon Brumit speaks on public performing…while wearing a drum on his face.

Join Kathy Leisen as she opens our next issue of The Muse Dialogue with her piece: “Marching to the Beat of a Drum on His Face: An Interview with Jon Brumit, Public Artist.” [click here]

The Power of Personal Experience — Part II

Shrine, Richard St. John's most recent publication

by Richard St. John

What if you feel you can’t connect with poetry?  What if it seems less like “felt experience” than a complex “story problem” you were assigned in class, but never were able to solve?   Well, lots of people feel that way.  I think it’s because they were taught that you had to “understand” poetry in order to experience it, when really it’s the other way around. Poet Richard St. John discusses entering the world of poetry in the second of his two-part series “The Power of Personal Experience.”

Click here to read St. John’s  latest contemplation on poetry, “The Power of Personal Experience — Part II”

Click here for the full table of contents to our current issue The Case for Poetry in Our Age

From Poet to Teacher and Back: An Interview with Taylor Mali

“I don’t see the world in a particularly unique way. People tell me I do, but I don’t think they’re being honest with themselves; I think I see the world just like everyone else. I just have the audacity to know that people will be entertained by an eloquent articulation of their own vision.”  –Taylor Mali

Taylor Mali took the online world by storm with a video of his poem “What Teachers Make.” The video has over 5 million views and counting, and it has inspired students, teachers, and the rest of us to realize the truth of his poetic claim: “You want to know what I make? I make kids wonder.”

James Ranson recently talked with Mali on behalf of The Muse Dialogue, and we are pleased to share this interview as part of our series on poetry — and yes, it includes two fine video performances: “From Poet to Teacher and Back: An Interview with Taylor Mali.” (click here to see full text of interview).

Taylor Mali, poet and teacher

Bring Back the Poets

by Andrew Swensen

Poetry. We seem to view poetry nowadays as if it dwells singularly in the province of pretentious intellectuals, academic institutions, and (if we are lucky) the occasional 11th-grade English classroom. I find this development sad. For some reason we think that poetry is somehow inaccessible, a rarefied highbrow art form expressed in overwrought language. Yet if you think about the birth of the arts from back in the days when we were sleeping under the stars and keeping warm by open fires, we were also doing a couple of other things, practicing our most primal elements of culture: dance, song, some basic rhythms for music, and yes, speaking or chanting poetry to one another. Now we have arrived in the 21st century, and we seem to have neglected our origins under the open sky. Bring back the poets, I say.

Click here to read our most recent article, “Bring Back the Poets,” released today.

Percy Bysshe Shelley by Alfred Clint, after Amelia Curran, and Edward Ellerker Williams (National Portrait Gallery, London)

Vol. 1, No. 6: The Case for Poetry in Our Age

Frank X. Gaspar, Night of a Thousand Blossoms

TMD is releasing a new issue this week: The Case for Poetry in Our Age. Our first article comes from poet Richard St. John as he considers how personal and true the poem is as a form of human expression. “There are lots ways to talk about poetry.  Here’s one that resonates, especially, for me: Poetry is a way of telling truth. A particular kind of truth: not the stripped-down “truth” of a mathematical equation or controlled scientific experiment, but the felt, lived truth of human experience.

Read more in this most recent contribution to The Muse Dialogue: “The Power of Personal Experience” by Richard St. John.

Is Fashion Art?

Alexander McQueen, Purple Flowers -- combining inspiration from nature, design, architecture, and fashion.

Famed French couturier Paul Poiret once said, “I have always liked painters. It seems to me that we are in the same trade and that they are my colleagues.” Yet fashion has had to struggle to gain that “collegiality” among the arts, being also seen as “the bastard child of capitalism and female vanity,” according to Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Elyssa Jechow contemplates the question of the claim of fashion as an art form, and its challenges, in our newest article from The Muse Dialogue: “Is Fashion Art?“

Fashion and Costume Design

Zandra Rhodes stands in front of costumes for English National Opera’s production of Aida. Photo Credit: London Evening Standard

TMD opens our next issue on Fashion and Costume Design with Alexandra Holness’ article “Fashion in the Arts: A Powerful Collaboration of Creative Minds.” This article opens the series by asking about the role of fashion and costume in collaborative art forms. The performing arts of theater, opera, and ballet involve more artistry than just acting, singing and dancing. Part of the collaborative process includes the visual spectacle of costume. The role of fashion is so significant that in curtain calls after a recent performance by the Pittsburgh Opera, an interesting thing happened. Read more and find out just what that was.

We will be releasing articles throughout the week, and you can find them all in Vol. 1, No. 5: Fashion and Costume Design.


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