• Tag Archives Metamorphosis
  • Busy Friday

    Beltane                                                                                           Waxing Last Frost Moon

    Finally.  One chunk of the Metamorphosis finished in a literal (sort 0f) version.  That’s Book III:138-250.  My learning curve has been steep, sometimes so much so that I thought I might tip over backwards, but I seem to have reached a point where moving forward goes faster now and the hill no longer looks quite so daunting.  The next step is to take it apart and put it back together in idiomatic English, then compare it to other translations, see what insights that adds.  As a guy who thought the world of language had invalidated his passport years ago, I’m pleasantly surprised and pleased with myself.  It means a lot to do something at 64 that I’ve spent a lifetime imagining I couldn’t.

    After that I drove into Little Sezchuan and had lunch with Justin and Margaret, the Sierra Club’s lobbyist and Executive Director.   We discussed evaluating our legislative work this year, wrapping things up and getting ourselves squared away for the 2011-2012 session.  This has been a difficult year and it’s not over.

    Came home, ready for my nap.  But.  Vega lay in the kitchen, scrunched up in pain and bloodied from some kind of a fight.  No clue what happened, but we first examined her, then took her over to the vet who sewed her up, gave her antibiotics and pain pills and we brought her home.  She’s resting now, but the vet says she be very sore tomorrow.  She’s such a sweety, she just let them work on her.

    Now, I’m sleepy, but can’t get my nap because it would interfere with going to sleep.

  • Fulcrum Books

    Lughnasa                                   Waning Grandchildren Moon

    Fulcrum books.  An idea I’ve been playing with for the last couple of weeks or so.  A fulcrum book (my definition) changed the course of your life, altered a point of view or opened a new world for you.  I have several that fit that definition, among them:  War and Peace, The Trial, The Glass-Bead Game, Steppenwolf, Dante’s Divine Comedy, Ovid’s Metamorphosis, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Mists of Avalon.  There are more, too, many more I imagine if I go back through my reading history with some care and I intend to do just that.

    A fulcrum book has found a place to set that lever that can move a world.  In The Trial, for example, the givenness of bureaucracy began to shift for me.  It was as if the earth had moved.  Not only was bureaucracy inhuman whether at the high school or college, the social security office or the corporate offices of industry, it was also silly.  Absurd.  Poor K, trying forever to get through the doors into the house of justice as Kafka’s fable, Before the Law, suggests.  Then, K, dying, in his own words, “Like a dog.” without a trial or mercy.  Never again would I assume that the force of a bureaucracy was unquestioned and unquestionable.  The Trial also pushed me, along with The Stranger, another fulcrum book for me, to search for my own meaning, make my own path.

    More on fulcrum books later.

  • Planting Done As Planting Moon Wanes

    Beltane                                              Waning Planting Moon

    Almost all of the seeds and transplants have gone in the ground with the exception of succession plantings of beets, lettuce and carrots.  I have butternut squash to plant and that will go in today.  After this point, the key lies in mulch, weed control, water, plant management (pinching, pruning), continuation of integrated pest management and regular attention.

    This means I have time now for the flowers, the poor flowers which have suffered from my inattention, crowded out by grass, not dead-headed and generally neglected.  Starting yesterday I’m working on that.

    A little time this morning in the tiered perennial garden just to my right outside the patio doors, then into Wheelock for chapter 17.  I realized yesterday that I’m four months or so into re-learning Latin and have already begun the task for which I took this up in the first place, the translation of Metamorphosis.  It’s nice to be able to learn and work on the translation at the same time.  It’s motivating.

    I’ve said here that my goal is translation of the Metamorphosis, but that’s only the vehicle for my true purpose.  Ovid’s many recountings of transformations occasioned by the Gods and by exigent circumstances in human lives has served for centuries as the chief repository of Greek myth.  What I want most of all is to integrate Ovid’s sensibility about transformation, mutation, metamorphosis into my own thought and apply the lesson in my own writing.

    Before that I have to work on transforming my weedy flower beds back into their former beauty.  Bye for now.

  • Transformations

    Beltane                                       Waning Flower Moon

    A calmer day today.  After the bee work I planted bok choy and monkshood, finished raking the potato patch level, dead-headed tulips and daffodils.  A productive day.  The stuff I protected last night survived the frost well, though some of the coleus got nipped a bit the night before and I forgot three coleus plants in the park.  They don’t look great, but I think they’ll survive.

    I said the other chapter 14 in Wheelock was half way through the book.  Not quite.  Chapter 20 is halfway.  It’s still a steep learning curve and that’s what I like.  Even the 9 verses of the Metamorphoses I’ve translated have already given me a deeper appreciation for the whole project Ovid set himself.  He correlates the painful and often vindictive transformations he records in the book with the kind of transformations the Gods have made to the whole of creation.  A dark thesis.

    Kate’s hip is giving her fits.  I’m really glad she has the surgery scheduled for June 30th.  Won’t come too soon.

  • Latin and Contemporary Art

    Spring                                                      Awakening Moon

    Had our Latin session with Greg at noon today.  I asked him if he thought my trying to translate Ovid now would hurt my learning.  He said, no, go for it.  But.  Get a latin text with a commentary and work out your translation to your satisfaction before you compare it to someone else’s.  So, I went on Amazon and found a 2-volume latin text with commentary.  They are on their way.  I’m excited.  I know I’ve got a long way to go before I’m a competent translator, if I ever make it to that level, but I can punt away at it.  He said to expect frustration.  Oh, I do.

    (from the Metamorphosis, Ulysses men turned into swine. 1591)

    After that into the Art Institute for the first of two lectures on the upcoming spring show, Until Now.    The lecture was excellent.  Docent training leaves out huge chunks of the world’s artistic tradition with a necessary focus on the art history of objects in the museum’s collection, but the biggest lacuna was contemporary art. I found the guest curator’s lecture very informative, a good background for an aspect of art history in which I feel very weak.

    Until Now is contemporary art in a large show and it combines with Art Remix which features museum contemporary works placed at provocative or evocative locations. David Ryan, curator of modern design, said years ago the museum would only purchase works of an artist who was dead.  This was to ensure that whatever work we purchased represented an important and/or mature example.  That policy ended a few years ago and the museum has begun collecting living artists.

    We have a new contemporary art curator and her initial job was to figure out how contemporary art fits into the MIA’s mission as an encyclopedic collection.  At the MIA we can place contemporary work in context, the art historical context which informed and informs artists working especially since WWII.  The Art Remix is an attempt to draw on the museum’s historical examples and use them as conversation starters about contemporary art as it has evolved out of the older works and how the older works can be illuminated, seen in a different way when viewed through the lens of later artist’s work.

    (a work by Kara Walker, African/American, 1998)

    The last hour of the day was a conversation about the Art Remix.  I found Liz Armstrong’s rationale for the Remix strong though I felt this first effort was uneven.  Some of it is very provocative, like the photographic panels in the Korean collection and the TV Buddha, which features a bronze buddha watching television, a television screen filled with a video camera turned on the Buddha statue and especially the Chinese Ming dynasty chair carved from a single block of marble and placed in the Wu family reception hall.  The works put in the Egyptian and African galleries (not the Shonibare, which I love) are not as effective for me.

    A day with a lot of learning.