September 9, 2014 § 1 Comment
Journey to the West is a Chinese novel published in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty and attributed to Wu Cheng’en. It is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. The book tells the story of the fourteen-year pilgrimage of the monk Xuanzang, one of China’s most famous religious heroes, and his three supernatural disciples, in search of Buddhist scriptures. Throughout his journey, Xuanzang fights demons who wish to eat him, communes with spirits, and traverses a land riddled with a multitude of obstacles, both real and fantastical. An adventure rich with danger and excitement, this seminal work of the Chinese literary canonis by turns allegory, satire, and fantasy.
The textual history of ‘The Journey to the West’ is relatively simple. The standard modern version in four volumes, publisehd by The University of Chicago Press and translated by Anthony C. Yu, is substantially the same as what is thought to be the first edition, in 100 chapters, published (the author was anonymous) at Nanjing in 1592.
The narrative is mostly in a polished vernacular prose, but about 750 poems and verse passages in an older and more classical language are interspersed through the book. These introduce, summarize or comment upon the action, sometimes in the arcane language of mythology or alchemy, or they provide descriptive set-pieces – landscapes, battles, banquets. The adventures occur on many literary and intellectual levels at once in a story that moves with surprising speed through its many chapters.
September 8, 2014 § 1 Comment
The Twin Cities Book Festival—brought to you by Rain Taxi—is not only the largest and most important literary gathering in the Upper Midwest, it is the annual get-together for the Twin Cities’ devoted literary community.
This FREE, day-long festival brings around 7000 people together to celebrate our vibrant literary culture. The festival welcomes ‘rock star’ authors, local literary heroes, publishers, kids and book lovers, who connect over real-live books and conversations.
Progress Center, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
An all-day exhibit of publishers, magazines, literary organizations, local authors, booksellers, and more! Check back for a complete listing of exhibitors and exhibitor specials.
The Reading Stages are located in the Fine Arts Building, located next door to the Progress Center. CLICK HERE to see who’s coming and check back for a complete schedule of events. Book signings will take place after each event in the Progress Center building.
CLICK HERE to see who’s coming and check back for more information on Children’s Pavilion authors and activities! Sponsored by MELSA—Metro Public Libraries.
NEW! MIDDLE GRADE HQ and TEEN TENT
CLICK HERE to see who’s coming and check back for more information on participating authors and activities.
Mingle with literary luminaries! Check back for a complete list of participating authors.
USED BOOK BONANZA
Great deals on thousands of gently used books and records.
August 31, 2014 § Leave a comment
Animation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Tree of Life by artist Daryl Alexsy.
Many in the “Martin House community” are well aware that the famed “Tree of Life” art glass design bears a popular name, one not given by Frank Lloyd Wright or Darwin D. Martin. The term first appears in print around 1968, coinciding with a major exhibition and sale of art glass from the Martin House complex through the Richard Feigen gallery, New York (1968-70). The Feigen gallery bought a number of pieces of Martin House art glass (including one or more “Tree of Life” windows) from John Crosby Freeman, then Curator of the nascent Maltwood Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia, Victoria, BC. Freeman had the enviable task of assembling an “Arts and Crafts” collection for the Maltwood, and had obtained 21 pieces of Martin House art glass from a dealer who most likely acquired them from Darwin R. Martin.
As to the burning question of the origin of the “Tree of Life” term (alternately written “tree-of-life”), Freeman has stated that he thinks the Feigen gallery may have come up with the name as a marketing device – a way to boost sales of the Martin glass by applying an evocative, romantic name. We may never know exactly when the term was first applied, or by whom, but one thing is clear: it stuck. The “Tree of Life” window soon became one of the most iconic of Wright’s Prairie house art glass designs, and this “brand” has been sought by major collections of decorative and fine arts world-wide.
August 29, 2014 § 4 Comments
From 1923 to 1956 Tangier was an International Zone, governed separately from the rest of Morocco by a loose collection of foreign governments. Known as the ‘Interzone’, the promise of cosmopolitan freedom attracted Western artists and writers in the 50s and 60s.
One of the most prolific – yet little-known – Tangier figure was the American poet, photographer, and artist Ira Cohen (1935 – 2011), who lived there during the 60s. Cohen published a literary magazine titled Gnaoua, meaning exorcism. It contained early writings from the including William Burroughs and Brion Gysin. Jimi Hendrix and other artists were portrayed in his “Mylar Images” and he created many record covers. Shamanistic and tantric experiences were technically and conceptually integrated into his photographic work and his work as a poet, musician and filmmaker began at the latest in the 70’s. A work by Ira Cohen was recently presented at Art Basel 38 / Kunst+Film by John Armleder. In 1970 Cohen moved to Kathmandu where he lived for ten years and built up an artist’s colony.
The pictures shot by chance, in spontaneity and irony, refer not only to Dadaism and its nonconformism but also to the anti-authoritarianism and social criticism of the Beat Generation, which also broke many taboos and developed new experimental ways of life. Cohen’s work reflects these influences in a most impressive way.
A sense of cosmic pranksterism pervaded his work; a line in one of his poems pronounces that “subtraction is only a special form of addition”. He was the author of the underground hit volume The Hashish Cookbook, a collection of hash recipes written under the pseudonym of Panama Rose (a twist on Panama Red, a then popular type of marijuana), which was published, inevitably, in 1967 by his own Gnaoua Press. His ‘Gnaoua magazine’, started in Tangiers three years previously, ran to only one edition; significantly, a copy of it is visible in the cover image of Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home LP. Named after the Moroccan black African sect known for ecstatic dancing and possession trances, it was devoted to Beat poetry and showcased the work of Brion Gysin, William S Burroughs, and Harold Norse. “It had great Burroughs stuff, as well as Ian Sommerville talking about the dream machine, which he and Brion Gysin co-invented,” the writer Barry Miles recalled. In Morocco Cohen also produced an LP of Moroccan trance music.
Ira Cohen made phantasmagorical films that became cult classics and published works by authors like William Burroughs and the poet Gregory Corso. He wrote thousands of poems himself. He called himself “the conscience of Planet Earth.” But his most amazing work of art was inarguably Mr. Cohen himself.