Category: salem writes

Two Pieces of Musical Ekphrasis

Poems by Kelley Morehouse and Vere McCarty When a poet responds with his or her own art to another work of art, the result is ekphrasis.  Music is the art form that inspires these two poems.  In one poem the artists play a sonata.  In the other the artist is a songbird.  Products of quiet morning writing time, these verses celebrate the capacity of music to lift the spirit.      _________ “The Starving Masses” imagines the notes of a sonata tumbling out windows and down the side of a building, becoming bread for the people below.  It describes a mutation of sound into other senses, satisfying the needs of taste, motion and touch. With its dwindling verticality on the page, “The Starving Masses” takes the shape of something light as dotted eighth notes falling, falling. The Starving Masses by Kelley Morehouse The pianist said             the musical notes were birthed that day on the 12th floor,              issued as they were from violin and grand piano.              Violinist said, No. They were released.  Dispersed like manna to the masses, scattered to the city below. The music fell upon the women waiting on lower floors at their kitchen’s window sills, catching it like falling snow, to savor its flavor long enough to waltz with...

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LEGACY OF ANCIENT AMERICAN WOMEN LEADERS

By Leonide Martin Last weekend I declared freedom from I-5 by taking Amtrak to attend the Historical Novel Society conference in Portland. It was a banquet of delights for historical fiction lovers, where I rubbed elbows with famous and not so famous authors, joined spirited discussions of the art and content of writing, and spent far too much money buying books by inspiring writers. This international group is based in England, with U.S. and Australian branches. Naturally, there was a big focus on fiction set in Europe. I browsed the bookstores noting many titles featuring powerful European women: Victoria, Elizabeth I, the White Queen, Ann Boleyn, Tudor queens, Catherine the Great, Isabella of Spain. Where, I wondered, was historical fiction about women leaders in the Western Hemisphere? Important women from the Far and Middle East, Egypt, and Mediterranean regions were there. The Americas were represented by some sagas about women in the 18th-19th centuries, with more books on women during the world wars.  But the ancient Americas? Nothing. I was particularly struck by this omission, since my books are about powerful native women in ancient times. Although a few native women such as Pocahontas and Sacagawea have been portrayed, stories set in pre-European contact Americans are rare. Yet, it is exactly in these ancient eras when native women had the greatest influence upon their cultures, holding positions of highest...

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Behind the Beyond: Psychedelic Posters and Fashion in San Francisco, 1966-71

June 3 – August 27, 2017 Hallie Ford Museum of Art Willamette University Gary Westford – Organizer and Guest Curator By Steve Slemenda When the music’s over, don’t turn out the light; just paint it black to see behind the beyond. In the summer of 1967, when I was 15 years old, I bought Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for $2.98 (monaural—stereo was a buck more). It was a little store off Melrose in Hollywood crammed with boxes of vinyl LPs. One of the great “underground” FM stations was on—KMET with legendary disc jockey B.Mitchell Reed (“You gotta dig this new cut from Procol Harum called ‘Whiter Shade of Pale.’ Stop and listen to the lyrics; it’s poetry, man, and and it will send you”). Wedged between records in one of the boxes was a square of cardboard with the handwritten “Stealing is Bad Karma.” Behind a counter slouched a skinny kid with stringy spills of hair parted in the middle. Just the point of his nose peeked through as if from between curtains, catching the sweet pungent waft of patchouli oil from a browsing girl in a gypsy skirt. On the walls were posters promoting area rock concerts. These were singular  works of art—loud and colorful, outrageous and flamboyant expressions of a countercultural phenomenon called The 60s. In the cooler parts of town these posters were everywhere:...

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WHO’S AFRAID OF EDWARD ALBEE? A tribute and recollection

by R. S. Stewart   Broadway producers, directors, actors, fellow playwrights, and audiences, that’s who–at least during the early years of his success and fame, marked by the two-year run of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” in 1962. Three years earlier the unknown Edward Albee had to go to Berlin, Germany, to get his first play produced, the one-act “Zoo Story”, still an unnerving perennial classic of compression, character, narrative, and shock. After its European success, it returned to New York for a long run at the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village, ushering in a new theatre movement called “Off-Broadway.”    Albee, who died on September 16th at the age of 88, was one of the most controversial of American playwrights, bringing new themes, stories, and language to the stage where Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller, and Tennessee Williams dominated. His public and private quarrels with directors and actors are legend, as well as his anger over the changes made in the film version of “Virginia Woolf”, much of it shot outside the claustrophobic setting of the play and casting an Elizabeth Taylor 20 years too young for her role as Martha, although Albee praised her performance as her best ever. His increasingly bad reviews from theatre critics in the 70s led them to turn one of his own titles, “All Over”, into the watchword for his career.    A...

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The Way I Talk

By Sarah Rohrs    People who stutter are generally not known for being garrulous, and what so many don’t like to talk about is, in fact, stuttering. Take it from me. I’ve been stuttering since the second grade. I’ve spent nearly fifty years confounded by my speech, trying to keep my stutter a secret, and berating myself when it pushes its way to the surface. On particularly bad days when my voice seems to squeeze through a crack in my throat I despair. Those are the days I long to know what it’s like to speak without thinking first. Those are the days I really wish I didn’t stutter.    But those thoughts pass quickly now that I moved to Salem and opened the drapes onto my speech. That happened after I saw “The Way We Talk,” a documentary feature about stuttering by local filmmaker Michael Turner. As the lights dimmed and Turner’s stutter filled the Salem Cinema theatre on Broadway, something broke free in me. It felt and sounded so familiar. He spoke of feeling like something was wrong with him each time he opened his mouth. When he said his family never spoke about stuttering, I realized neither did mine.    Stuttering Awareness Week, the second week of May, gave me a chance to do just that. It was a great week for me, a time for...

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