Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tree Spirits

Last week I came a cross the work of Craig Harris; a wood carver from Cornwall, England.
Seeing his work simply made me happy. There is something playfull about his creations and it really shows they are made with a lot of love. All of it is so beautifully detailed and in balance with the used material; wood. It's almost like those faces have always been there.

I was touched when I read his biography in which he told, very openly, about his life and how he started to make these wood-carvings.
It was a memory from his childhood that drove him into the woods and as he said; "It wasn't long before my foot kicked against a long stick which I absently picked up and used as a walking stick for the rest of the journey. When I arrived home I looked at the stick and felt the urge to carve something on it. Having no idea how to carve I set about looking for a local carving course which I signed up for straight away."

Life can have it's own peculiar ways to show us what we are made for...
And for those who can't wait to make their own 'Tree Spirit', Craig Harris's book; 'How to carve a Tree Spirit' will soon be available at his shop.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Zombies Attack Texas!

Just a quick story today -- I found this hilarious. Apparently a computer-savvy hacker replaced the messages on some Texas electronic road signs to read "Caution! Zombies! Ahead!!!" and "Nazi Zombies! Run!" You can read more about it here -- I can only imagine the shock of drivers on the road.... Having a lifelong and paralyzing phobia of zombies, I'm sure I would have hit the brakes.

To prepare yourself adequately for a zombie apocalypse and for survival amid hordes of the ravening and ravenous undead, you'll want to read Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide and catch the upcoming movie World War Z.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dante's Heart Poetry Contest: Results

Dear readers,

On behalf of our contest reader, Ever Saskya, and the other editors of Dante's Heart, I would like to congratulate the winners of the Dante's Heart fall poetry contest! Winning entries will be published in our next issue (forthcoming in late February).

1st Prize goes to Ian McCarty for a remarkable set of excerpts from I Woke Up Early the Morning After the End of the World, "a poetic investigation of all the world's natural processes unraveling and a single narrator-character re-raveling them using the leftover artificial flotsam and jetsam."

2nd Prize goes to Jenn Nunes for her poem "Protected."

3rd - Honorable Mention: Lori Romero, "The Care and Feeding of a Ruler-God."

Please join me in congratulating these three poets. We look forward to sharing our reader's comments on the winning piece, and to seeing all of these in our next issue.

Kudos also to our other entrants - there is always a significant amount of courage involved in sending one's work out, but this is especially so in the case of a competition.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Live Action Chess

Tonight, my husband was thrilled. He was watching a live-action chess game that he follows closely. Of course most people may say that tonight's Cardinal vs Eagles game was hardly chess, but my husband and I would have to argue.

A set number of pieces are place on the board each with rules governing their movement. Each players round is carefully times, and full of complex planning. A careful look at the play books should moves not unlike chess. Wide Receivers are like rooks and bishops they came move to the end of the board (field). The Running Back is the queen which can run anywhere. The Quarterback is the King to be protected at all cost. Some plays are only to move a small distance like pawns on the field. The amount of thinking that must go into winning the game is high. One team downed the ball at the 1 yard line in order to run the time down and insure the win.

Football is not a game of brutal violence and little thought. It is a delicate game of chess played with living pieces.

Waiting for the Superbowl,
J.R. West the Raccoon

Sirens and Haunting eyes...

As some of you might have noticed I have been absent for a little while because of a little trip I made to the Belgian woods. It has been a wonderful time but I am also happy with my return and can't wait to share all the artists I have spotted since.

It must have been two weeks ago when I came a cross the website of Nadia Turner, a very talented artist/illustrator from Australia. I remember when I saw her work I found it very 'catchy', as her style is so uniquely her own and it kinda stays with you once you have seen it.
I'm not sure why the images of her work leave such an impression. Of course her work is wonderfully made, but so are many other works .
The reason why the impression stays probably is the mysterious atmosphere surrounding the characters she depicts. All of them are women, who reminded me a lot of Indian gypsies filling their time with magic and music. The eyes of these woman have the most haunting expression which leave you a bit confused. And then there are also these sirene-like creatures constantly returning in most of her works.

I must say that it has been a long time ago that an artist left me so touched.....

Friday, January 16, 2009

There's No One As Irish as Barack Obama

Wow. This is marginally off-topic, though very folksy. I'm posting it mostly in case a good many of our readers might need a good grin. I'm not even sure what to say about this, other than: it makes me want to dance, and: Go folklore!

The song and video are by the Corrigan Brothers. Enjoy!

Andrew Wyeth is no longer with us

Andrew Wyeth, whose paintings and drawings had such impact on the developing mythology of America, has passed away at the age of 91 -- you can read more here. He died peacefully in his sleep.

No one else ever painted America with the keen insight and moodiness that Wyeth did. To share a quote from a family friend interviewed in the article I've linked to:

Andrew Wyeth is to me the most solidly American artist of the twentieth century. He continued steadfastly to invest his paintings with deep and metaphoric emotion even when it was completely unfashionable in the period of pop art and abstract expressionism, which was ironic, distant and cool.

Which is to say, he was an artist who never compromised.

Please join me in a moment of silence to recognize his achievement and that now that he has moved on, we are down one of our great artists.

The painting shown above is Christina's World.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Once upon a time there was an elephant and a dog...

Perhaps the greatest wonder these days is when two very different creatures on this planet share a friendship of pure love and trust. Tara and Bella's story brought tears of joy to my eyes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lord Dunsany meets old time radio

Stumbling through the Old Time Radio Catalog website, I happened upon the free episodes for the day (they are available for about three days, so you can get this one starting from January 13). Imagine my surprise to find an episode featured on the early Black Mass radio program titled "Lord Dunsany How the Enemy Came to Tlunrana"! One of Dante's Heart's favorite authors, Lord Dunsany wrote, among many other titles, The King of Elfland's Daughter, from which comes the famous line, "the fields we know" (recently invoked by Neil Gaiman in Stardust). You can listen to a very short radio rendering of "How the Enemy Came to Tlunrana" and perhaps consider our old forms of storytelling in the oral tradition and reading to family and friends in the evening on a cold winter's night such as we lately are enjoying.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mystical Castles

I just can't resist sharing this dazzling image from National Geographic. It is a castle in Mittenwald, Bavaria, and so inviting not only for those human creatures passing in the cold but for the many ice sprites that surely creep through its windows during the long dark nights. The descending glory seems a touch of the numinous.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Poetry Contest: Update

Happy New Year! Here at Dante's Heart we are going to rock 2009.

Just a quick update on our poetry contest -- we have received many, many excellent entries, and so our reader is still reviewing them. We expect the contest results very soon. Please offer us your patience and keep checking in. We are excited for the results.

All the best,

Daniel Fusch, Ph.D.
Editor, Dante's Heart