Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Posts Tagged ‘Marsden Hartley

An eye with brain

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There is no less need of organization even if we do not employ the established meter and rhyme. Likewise, if a poet must state his or her personal history, he or she may be asked to be as brief as possible. It is easier to read epigrams than to read the diary, no matter how short the latter may be. The age of confession perished with the Parnassians. We are a vastly other type of soul—if we are soul at all, which I keenly doubt. The poet’s attitude then, for today, is toward the outside. This does not necessarily imply surface. We present ourselves in spite of ourselves. We are most original when we are most like life. Life is the natural thing. Interpretation is the factitious. Nature is always variable. To have an eye with brain in it—that is, or rather would be, the poetic millennium.

—Marsden Hartley, “The Business of Poetry”

Written by nevalalee

October 8, 2018 at 7:30 am

The problem of painting

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I am interested…only in the problem of painting, of how to make a better painting according to certain laws that are inherent in the making of a good picture—and not at all in private extraversions or introversions of specific individuals…When a painting is evolved from imaginative principles I am strongly inclined to turn away because I have greater faith that intellectual clarity is better and more entertaining than imaginative wisdom or emotional richness. I believe in the theoretical aspects of painting because I believe it produced better painting, and I think I can say I have been a fair exponent of the imaginative idea.

I have come to the conclusion that it is better to have two colors in right relation to each other than to have a vast confusion of emotional exuberance in the guise of ecstatic fullness or poetical revelation—both of which qualities have, generally speaking, long since become second-rate experience. I had rather be intellectually right than emotionally exuberant, and I could say this of any other aspect of my personal experience.

Marsden Hartley, “Art and the Personal Life”

Written by nevalalee

October 15, 2017 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

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Marsden Hartley

Poets cannot, as aspiring poets, depend, it seems to me, ever upon the possible natural “flow” that exists in themselves. Poets have work to do for the precision of simplicity, and for the gift of volume in simplicity. It is the business of good poetry to show natural skill as well as natural impetus…[Personality] begins, but it does not finish anything. We have eventually to insert in the middle spaces all we can of real ability…Poetry is not only a tool for the graving of the emotions; nor is it an ivory trinket. It calls for an arm.

Marsden Hartley, “The Business of Poetry”

Written by nevalalee

May 3, 2016 at 7:30 am

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