Saturday, December 29, 2012

Poet Maya Angelou's "Phenomenal Woman"

Maya Angelou
Bruni Sablan, 2005
Phenomenal Woman 

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. 
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size 

But when I start to tell them, 

They think I'm telling lies.
I say, 

It's in the reach of my arms 

The span of my hips, 

The stride of my step, 

The curl of my lips. 

I'm a woman 

Phenomenal woman, 

That's me. 

I walk into a room 

Just as cool as you please, 

And to a man, 

The fellows stand or 

Fall down on their knees. 

Then they swarm around me, 

A hive of honey bees. 

I say, 

It's the fire in my eyes, 

And the flash of my teeth, 

The swing in my waist, 

And the joy in my feet. 

I'm a woman 

Phenomenal woman, 

That's me. 

Men themselves have wondered 

What they see in me. 

They try so much 

But they can't touch 

My inner mystery. 

When I try to show them 

They say they still can't see. 

I say, 

It's in the arch of my back, 

The sun of my smile, 

The ride of my breasts, 

The grace of my style. 

I'm a woman 


Phenomenal woman, 

That's me. 

Now you understand 

Just why my head's not bowed. 

I don't shout or jump about 

Or have to talk real loud. 

When you see me passing 

It ought to make you proud. 

I say, 

It's in the click of my heels, 

The bend of my hair, 

the palm of my hand, 

The need of my care, 

'Cause I'm a woman 


Phenomenal woman, 

That's me.

  ''There is a kind of strength that is almost frightening in black women. It's as if a steel rod runs right through the head down to the feet.''   
Maya Angelou 

painters and poets

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"To Be a Poet": The Work of Stephanie Brody-Lederman

In Stephanie Brody-Lederman’s art of images and words, some bold, new abstract gestures are shaking up the emotional mix. Read article in the current issue of Art & Antiques

Frank O'Hara "Why I Am Not a Painter"

Mike Goldberg's "Sardines"
Larry Rivers' "Double Portrait of Frank O'Hara"
Frank O'Hara

Why I Am Not a Painter 

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be 
a painter, but I am not. Well, 

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
"Sit down and have a drink" he 
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. "You have SARDINES in it."
"Yes, it needed something there." 
"Oh." I go and the days go by 
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days 
go by. I drop in. The painting is 
finished. "Where's SARDINES?" 
All that's left is just
letters, "It was too much," Mike says. 

But me? One day I am thinking of 
a color: orange. I write a line 
about orange. Pretty soon it is a 
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be 
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is 
and life. Days go by. It is even in 
prose, I am a real poet. My poem 
is finished and I haven't mentioned 
orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call 
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery 
I see Mike's painting, called SARDINES.

Read more at Smithsonian's American Art Museum blog 

painters and poets

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Willem de Kooning on Titian's paintings

"Even when crippled by arthritis, Titian kept on painting Virgins in that luminous light, as if he'd just heard about them.

Those old guys had everything in place, the Virgin and God and technique, but they kept it up like they were still looking for something. It's very mysterious.

You have to keep on the edge of something, all the time, or the picture dies."

- Willem de Kooning, quoted in Barbara Guest's Forces of Imagination

The Rape of Europa, 1538
Assumption of the Virgin, 1518

More on Titian here

painters and poets