2021 United States Inaugural Poem “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman

Dr. Biden, Madam Vice President, Mr. Emhoff, Americans, and the world.

When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never ending shade?
The loss we carry, a sea. We must wade.
We’ve graved the belly of the beast.
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace.
In the norms and notions of what just is, isn’t always justice.
And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow we do it.
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that it isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.
We, the successors of a country and the time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one.
And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge our union with purpose.

To compose a country, committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man.
And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else say, this is true.
That even as we grieved, we grew.
That even as we hurt, we hoped.
That even as we tired, we tried that will forever be tied together victorious.
Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made.
That is the promise to glade the hill we climb.
If only we dare it’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit.
It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.

We’ve seen a force that would shatter or nation, rather than share it.
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded, but while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated in this truth.
In this faith we trust for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us. This is the era of just redemption.
We feared it in its susception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of of such a terrifying hour, but within it, we found the power to author a new chapter.
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves.

So while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be a country that is bruised.
But whole benevolence, but bold, fierce, and free.

We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and an Ursa will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blenders become their burdens, but one thing is certain.
If we merged mercy with the mights into might with right, a night then love becomes our legacy, and change our children’s birthright.
So let us leave behind a country better than one.

We were left with every breath, my bronze pounded chest.
We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the gold limbed hills of the West.
We will rise from the wind swept to Northeast where our forefathers first realized the revolution.
We will rise from the lake when cities of the middle Western States.
We will arise from the sun baked South.
We will rebuild, reconciled and recover and every known nook over a nation.

And every corner called our country.
Our people diverse and beautiful will emerge, battered and beautiful.
When day comes, we step out of the shade of flame and unafraid, the new dawn balloons, as we free it.
For there was always light.
If only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

Amanda Gorman

Dreaming Peace is not enough

Untitled Cast Glass 2007 by Nicholas Africano
From Supermajority—
What we can do right now:
Donate to local groups:Minnesota Freedom Fund
Black Visions Collective
Reclaim the Block
What we can take with us:
Watch Alicia Garza speak with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi about his book, How To Be An Antiracist
Order at least one book from this list (and when you do, support a black-owned independent bookstore! One of our staff members recommends Harriett’s Bookshop or Semicolon Bookstore)
Read about the historical and racial context of Amy Cooper’s encounter with Christian Cooper, a Black man, in New York
More anti-racism resources for white people
With love,
Alicia, Ai-jen, Cecile, and the Supermajority staff

Gus Blaisdell 1935-2003

Joel Peter Witkin’s GUS




AFTER THE SYMBOLS
Chuang Tzu beats a bowl
And mourns.
His eyes are bright;
His wife, dead.
He sleeps, a skull
His pilllow dreaming life.
Morning finds
Incarnate knowledge:
The motions of fish
Against swift currents.

Gus Blaisdell


February 20, 2005

From Stanley Cavell

                                                             GUS     

On the evening of February 24, 2005

I will not be where Cathleen and I want to be, in Albuquerque with others of Gus’s friends gathered with his family, but instead I am to  give a talk that evening some five thousand miles from there, at the Cinematheque in Lisbon, as I agreed some months ago to do, introducing a series of a dozen films they have scheduled  there beginning with It Happened One Night and The Lady Eve and The Philadelphia Story.  These are three of countless films Gus and I spent time on together and I thank him for that in a book I wrote about such films.  I thank him in other books for other conversations.  But I profited from those conversations beyond any thanks I know how to give.  And I know that others trying to get on with writing books or making other things have the same causes for gratitude I have and feel the same way I do.  What I do not know is of anyone else whose range of friends, and whose care of his friends, was as great as Gus’s.  He knew people, and kept up with people, from all the lives he had led, or was living, seeming to have room in his memory for writings and images made by everyone, famous and not, that he had ever come across who showed a talent for doing something or saying something or playing something distinctive, and Gus had the rare knack and the tact of forming words of encouragement for them.  There kept being new names, some strange to me, some known to many, entering his conversation, or into one of his delirious monologues from a theater of his own.  He finished some memorable projects, and I believe others also must have tried and cried to get him to finish more, small and large.  It is frightening to think how many unfinished projects there must be heavy evidence of, ones he was right never to give up on.  This means that numbers of people who would have cared to know may not know what we know.  But we know it.  And I join in celebrating it. 

Allan Graham SITE Santa Fe Jan. 2000

Allan Graham: As REAL as thinking

Allan Graham SITE Santa Fe Jan 2000                                                  Nicole Blaisdell Ivey

SITE Santa Fe presents an exhibition by New Mexico-based artist Allan Graham featuring a comprehensive overview of his work.  The exhibition, entitled Allan Graham/TH: AS REAL as thinking, is curated by Kathleen Shields.  The unusual title of the exhibition comes from AS REAL as thinking, a line from a Robert Creeley poem together with TH that stands for Toadhouse, a pseudonym that Allan Graham worked under for part of his career.

Born in 1943, Allan Graham has lived in New Mexico for nearly 35 years.  Among other exhibitions, Graham showed Cave of Generation at the Fisher Landau Center, Long Island City, New York in 1992 and The Collection of Panza di Biumo, Artists of the 80s and 90s at Museo D’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Trento and Roveretto, Italy in 1996.  Collections of Graham’s work are at the Museo Cantonale d’Arte, Lugano, Switzerland; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico; and the University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Gus Blaisdell and Allan Graham

Allan Graham/TH: AS REAL as thinking will present selected works from the past 15 years in individual, yet interrelated, installations that both underscore the experience of the respective groups of works and tie together the forms and ideas that underlie them.  Concurrently, SITE Santa Fe will present a gallery of paintings, selected by Allan Graham, by his friend and fellow artist Oli Sihvonen (1921-1991).

AS REAL as thinking will include works such as Judas Hangs Himself, 1984, a pivotal piece in which the painting support seems to have turned inside out or its surface to have been split and turned in on itself and Moon II, 1986, representing the period during which Graham abandoned the traditional painting format to create a series of large, eccentrically shaped, monochrome canvases.

Gus Blaisdell                     SITE Santa Fe                                            Nicole Blaisdell Ivey

Also part of the exhibition, TIDE, 1995, featuring four sets of cast bronze coffee mugs placed on the floor suggests the simple beauty of everyday objects while offering subtle allusions to intersections of presence and absence, fullness and emptiness.allan-graham-site-2-e1551932538299.jpg

Stanley Cavell recording at The Living Batch Bookstore

Gus Blaisdell, Stanley Cavell, David Jones –                                                                              Living Batch Bookstore     Albuquerque, New Mexico

https://duende.bandcamp.com/album/stanley-cavell-in-albuquerque

Excerpt of Stanley Cavell’s Forward from Gus Blaisdell Colllected.

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

∙ xi ∙ Foreword Stanley Cavell ■ Only for the months Gus came to Cambridge and, whatever else caught his interest, participated in my seminar every week at Harvard on film and philosophy through the fall of 1984, did we spend the kind of time together that those who knew him through years in Albuquerque could count on. They will be able to testify better than I to the radiating figure Gus assumed among interlocking or mutually shunning groups of writers and intellectuals, artists and academics, and other offshoots knowable from the vicinity of the famous and inspiring bookstore he molded and tended a block or two from the University of New Mexico. Yet while Cathleen and I visited Albuquerque over a couple of decades just three or four times, for a total of probably no more than two or three weeks, the man I knew is fully continuous with the marvelous sketches rendered by Ira Jaffe and David Morris, just now reaching my inbox. They both refer to Gus’s sometimes singling out my writing for special praise. I too, of course, was sometimes struck by this. Since I was aware of the range of gifted people Gus knew, I explained this periodic favoring of my work as his taking heart for his own work, specifically, from my varying efforts to resist the isolating or insulating of philosophy and the arts from each other in so much American writing in the field. I suppose it is since his death, and noticing my eightieth year come and go, that I have come to see Gus’s unique, tireless way of weaving isolation with intimacy in a further, I would say more particular, light. If Gus had vowed to various of the gods in his care that in case he could not complete the projects of writing he had in mind, along with myriad drafts in hand, he would nevertheless take the time to see to his artistic and intellectual and moral immortality by permanently etching his spirit on the consciousness, and beyond, of friends and strangers. Often with apparent xii ∙ foreword abandon, but so characteristically, in return, incorporating a fragment associated with a companion, present or absent, of any depth or era whose talent he had tasted and had instantly and endlessly metabolized, he could hardly have been more faithful and successful in this mission. How else can one explain the eerie agreement among his untotaled company of friends and strangers concerning his learning and accomplishments (abstract and concrete ), and his love of learning and accomplishment, and hence sometimes, his all the more intimately self-punishing hesitations before his ambitions for his own writing and philosophy and languages and passionate curiosities , his own angles of world sense? There is, I take it for granted, ready agreement that Gus’s capacities for friendship and for original modes of conversation—conversations characteristically demanding of him turns of improvised impressions, some doubtless lovingly burnished over years, of characters real or abstracted or invented, from rappers to orators, across all races—were touched with genius. But, as my speculation just now about his divine bargain was meant to mark, there is no comparably shared understanding about the motivation, or say, rather, the ferocity of energy, that brought him to and served him in fashioning, and attacking, his version of existence. Many of us will have been beneficiaries of his encouragement.The capacity to praise pertinently is terribly rare and must have taken various emphases within Gus’s circles among those who benefited from it. In the rest of my few pages here, I want to say something more particular about how this was between Gus and me. Several people have asked me about an unusually regular series of phone calls that engaged us for some time following Gus’s return to Albuquerque. (At the end of that Harvard fall term, just after the middle of December, Gus drove me in his truck to the Boston airport for my lonesome departure to Jerusalem to join a literary/philosophy group half way through its year of work, Cathleen and our two sons meant to follow some weeks later. So the series of phone calls probably began when I returned at the beginning of the following summer.) Gus and I had learned that we each began work early in the day, and though our different time zones prevented the simultaneity of the hour, we managed effectively to begin a number of our days with a call. My understanding of the…

Lewis Baltz and Gus Blaisdell begin

On a postcard from Lewis Baltz to Geoff Young:

Dear Geoff,  Just returned from Paris to find your ‘O Hermie, O Augie’ (an edited collection of letters between Geoff and Gus) waiting for me. I’ve never properly mourned Gus because I’ve never really believed that he is dead. I’m perfectly prepared to accept the Death of God, even the Death of Art, but the Death of Gus is inconceivable. Hearing his voice–loud and clear–in ‘O Hermie’ reconfirms my belief that Gus is immortal and eternal.

Below find an excerpt of Bldgs by Gus Blaisdell, his first essay on Lewis Baltz.     Originally published in Three Photographic Visions, 1977.                                             Republished in Gus Blaisdell Collected, University of New Mexico Press 2012.

______________________________________________

Bldgs

I regret that I must begin in a quandary. But since I am in it and have been in it ever since I first began trying to think and write about Lewis Baltz’s photography over two years ago, this quandary is not only the place from which I must begin but it may also be the place in which, entangled, embroiled, and exasperated once again, I am forced to conclude.

Allow me to elaborate in a figure so that I may come to the various questions which will clearly indicate the ranges of my confusing (but not inchoate) concerns.

In the room in which I am presently writing this essay everything is concrete. That simple italicized phrase struck me the other morning with all the philosophical force of a secular revelation. And it persisted throughout the whole day, nagged during the conscious moments of a fitful night, and was still hauntingly present this morning when, in a mood of exasperation bordering on despondency, I once again sat down to yet another revision of my seemingly endless, as yet unfinished essay on the work of Lewis Baltz–my project a pile of notebooks, pages, file cards, jots and scribblings that has been with me nearly every day since that day in 1975 when I unexpectedly received in the mail a complimentary copy of The New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California. As I leafed through the book it steadily dawned on me that Baltz was doing something in photography specifically and in art generally that had not been done before in either domain. His work stood forth as a summary limit and an extension, a point at which the promise in the work of others was engendered and fulfilled, and a point beyond which nobody else had gone. So strong was this conviction that it expressed itself paradoxically, that Lewis Baltz was a painter who had chosen photography instead of paint in which to make significant objects. The paradox here is not in the apparent restrictions consequent upon such a choice but in the media Baltz would be crossing and in the successful trans­lations he would have to achieve. A painter who used photography–­there was something of Japanese aesthetics in that, and in the restriction of means and the accepting of the automatisms that constitute photography, further limiting this medium to work in black and white fixed images.

Again, the above also had the philosophical force of worldly revelation and it has persisted, often annoyingly, throughout the years that have lead to the present writing in this room in which everything is concrete. Nothing here is abstract unless it is my mind or the meanings my written words may carry as my sentences achieve equilibrium. Everything in this room except mind and meaning is photographable, will yield an individuated aspect that can be fixed upon film. (The difficult “things in this room” that are not obviously individual and thus fixable are light, dark, and the shadows cast by the interruption of light by objects. None of these seem either trivially concrete or plainly abstract. Penumbral seems to be the accurate term here. And the penumbral is difficult for photography not only as object matter–what the camera points at out there–but also as subject matter, what gets fixed in the frame and shown in the print; and what takes its further meanings, beyond the frame and outside the print, from whatever network of knowledge happens to contain the print centrally and essentially like an idiom or a poem.)

The only conceivable thing in this room which might be wholly abstract in relation to every other photographable thing is a photograph by Lewis Baltz,  Maryland 24, a photograph which is endlessly a reminder of this quandary in which I daily encounter my thought…