About Adam Donaldson Powell

My latest paintings (abstract, colourfield, geometric, abstract expressionist, minimalist etc.): 2016-2020

 

“From 2016 to 2020, I am making a series of paintings as documentation of how I experience this particular time period. Some works merely have titles and others carry texts which give more insight into my thoughts and feelings associated with the themes and the paintings themselves. Many of these works describe the search for security and understanding in a particularly tumultuous era where suspicion, fear, hate, lies and pain abounds together with joy, disillusionment, and just not wanting to give a fuck about real problems that we feel that we cannot do anything about anyway (climate change, terrorism, pollution of air, water, land, fishes, food etc.). The temptation to drown ourselves in materialism, reality show life, and other banalities is great. This is also an era where many “old truths” are being exposed as having been fallacious, and where social concepts are challenged and flipped in the twinkling of an eye (or a media/social media scandal). Some of my works address specific persons in history, such as Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau, Jacques Brel, and others who I now see quite differently than in previous decades. I too have different “eyes” than before. And thus, many of the themes that I paint about in this series are (as usual with my work) issues, questions and ideas that can be experienced as uncomfortable to many. I give no answers, and make no statements or demands. I only ask questions — through images, geometry, color and textures on canvas.

The year 2018 begins with several miniature paintings that make up a series entitled “J’en ai rien à branler !: 18 études abstraites en miniature — Feindre l’indifférence dans un monde fou et brutal. (“J’EN AI RIEN À BRANLER / I DON’T GIVE A FUCK!”: 18 abstract studies, in miniature — Feigning indifference in a crazy and brutal world.) I have posted nine of them so far, and there will be a total of eighteen miniature paintings in this series, so please return to this page frequently to keep up with the new additions.

I wish this online exhibition to be more entertaining than merely looking at my paintings, without any other contextual material. Therefore I have included some illustrative materials that have either inspired me or which create additional commentary. These are in the forms of photos, poems, essays, and videos — both built in and linked. Enjoy!

— Adam Donaldson Powell, 2018

“J’EN AI RIEN À BRANLER / I DON’T GIVE A FUCK!”: 18 abstract studies, in miniature — Feigning indifference in a crazy and brutal world.

“J’en ai rien à branler/I don’t give a fuck! no. 1, Endless Winter”, 15×15 cm., oil on canvas, 2018. This painting is part of a series of miniature abstract oil paintings made in 2018 — this series is about feigning indifference in a crazy and brutal world.

button1

“J’en ai rien à branler/I don’t give a fuck! no. 2, Spleen – love dissolving”, 20×20 cm., oil on canvas, 2018. This painting is part of a series of miniature abstract oil paintings made in 2018 — this series is about feigning indifference in a crazy and brutal world.

button1

“J’en ai rien à branler/I don’t give a fuck! no. 3, Roses and a teardrop for Las Ramblas”, 15×15 cm, oil on canvas, 2018. This miniature abstract painting was inspired by the terror attack upon the people at Las Ramblas in Barcelona. It depicts a rose-floral wallpaper-like background with a line/queue that is broken — interrupted by a single teardrop. This painting is part of a series of miniature abstract oil paintings made in 2018 — this series is about feigning indifference in a crazy and brutal world.

button1

“J’en ai rien à branler/I don’t give a fuck! no. 4 — Trou de la gloire/Gaufres bleues; Oui, l’amour est bleu … et la véritable gloire est un trou dans un mur qui s’effrité, («Gloryhole/Blue waffles; Yes, love is blue … and real glory is a hole in a crumbling wall»)”, 15×15 cm., oil on canvas, 2018. This painting is part of a series of miniature abstract oil paintings made in 2018 — this series is about feigning indifference in a crazy and brutal world.

button1

“J’en ai rien à branler/I don’t give a fuck! no. 5 — Ghosts no. 1 — Climate change sucks the life out of Spring”, 15×15 cm., oil on canvas, 2018. This painting is part of a series of miniature abstract oil paintings made in 2018 — this series is about feigning indifference in a crazy and brutal world.

button1

“J’en ai rien à branler/I don’t give a fuck! no. 6 — Ghosts no. 2 — Climate change sucks the life out of Spring”, 15×15 cm., oil on canvas, 2018. This painting is part of a series of miniature abstract oil paintings made in 2018 — this series is about feigning indifference in a crazy and brutal world.

button1

“J’en ai rien à branler/I don’t give a fuck! no. 7, Love between vampires: Yeah, Baby — let’s tear off a piece! (L’amour entre les vampires: Viens m’enculer!)”, 15×15 cm, oil on canvas, 2018. This painting is part of a series of miniature abstract oil paintings made in 2018 — this series is about feigning indifference in a crazy and brutal world.

Read my poem about love between vampires HERE!

button1

“J’en ai rien à branler/I don’t give a fuck! no. 8, Niqab — of love and fetish in an age of terror”, 15×15 cm, oil on canvas, 2018. Keywords: niqab, AK47, roses, blood, hidden passion, discomforting eyes, risks, fetish, love, 15×15 cm, oil on canvas, 2018. This painting is part of a series of miniature abstract oil paintings made in 2018 — this series is about feigning indifference in a crazy and brutal world.

button1

“J’en ai rien à branler/I don’t give a fuck! no. 9, Pissing on our parade”, 15×15 cm, oil on canvas, 2018. “Pissing on our parade”, is a commentary on gay violence — i.e. violence, murder and terror committed both by and against gays. LGBTQ-persons are “people”, and prone to the same problems and personality issues as all others in society. However, whenever an LGBTQ-person commits an act of terror (Orlando), sexual violence and harassment (by the way, these harassments are seldom investigated as #metoo, or even hate crimes), murder plus cannibalism, or other acts that feel like a violation of what many consider to be basic humane and civilised values, it feels as embarrassing to me as a gay person as muslims must feel when yet another act of hate-inspired terrorism is committed in the name of Islam. It is also embarrassing to me as a human and as a soul in active incarnation. These individuals — regardless of whether they are disturbed, or just hateful — are pissing on our parade. Keywords: pissing, parade, #stopthebleeding, wounded hearts, rainbow, #stopthehate. This painting is part of a series of miniature abstract oil paintings made in 2018 — this series is about feigning indifference in a crazy and brutal world.

gaypridetrainers

C1EF689B-F07A-4D6A-8270-C9401194B18B

button1

COMING SOON: “SILENCE” and “NOISE” — a commentary on media’s selective coverage of current issues.

button1

IMG_4959
“Love illusion” is a smoky colourfield oil painting on canvas, 65 x 90 cm., 2016-2020. The aim was to use colourfield painting to address emotion. In this case the illusion of love is effected by a smoky grey region threatening to totally encompass the colour of classical love: pink. The eye is naturally drawn towards and into the central grey area, which has the appearance and effect of a snowy old-fashioned television screen — pulling us into a state of uncertainty and the unknown.

It cries out for sugar therapy:

button1

The devil comes at night time,, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm., 2016-2020.

button1

IMG_5092

“Eclipse”, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cm., 2016-2020.

button1

IMG_5039

“Tears flowing while walking through the city”, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cm., 2016-2020.

button1

IMG_5034

“Tears flowing while walking through the forest”, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cm., 2016-2020.

button1

Next, here is a musical hint about my painting entitled «Le jour du couronnement / L’obsession des Jacobites» (The Coronation Day / Jacobite Obsession»):

36981F5E-73B4-4072-AF66-5AF8934D1D7E

The painting:

jacobite

«Le jour du couronnement / L’obsession des Jacobites» (The Coronation Day / Jacobite Obsession»), 2016-2020:
This 90 x 65 cm. abstract-geometric landscape oil painting on canvas features textiles reminiscent of royalty and festivities: a plush luscious green velvet hill and a shimmering blue heavy silk fabric sky, separated by a gold and silver brocade sash which represents the horizon at dusk. Swaying in the precocious Scottish wind in the Sky of Dreams is a somewhat unstable and slightly-tarnished large golden fleur de lis, and in the bottom section is a cocksure prancing silver unicorn — the fleur de lis (the royal tressure) and the unicorn (the Scottish national animal) both being closely related to Scottish history and tradition. Together, all of these elements comprise the Jacobite obsession/dream of one day crowning a new Jacobite King or Queen of Scotland. Finally, the traditional St. Andrew’s saltire or crux decussata gives way to the glittering sword / scepter of glorious resurrection — of both St. Andrew and the Jacobite dream … never again to be subordinate, tortured, enslaved, murdered or otherwise “crucified”.

Alba gu bràth!

Details from the painting:

3D4DAC87-0390-435E-BBC9-B5965014B4D7

9779EA25-26DF-4709-B478-C61911CA7E23

button1

IMG_4807

“Sunrise in early Spring”, 90 x 65 cm., oil on canvas, 2016-2020.

“Sunrise in early Spring” is a self-explanatory geometric/abstract oil painting on canvas inspired by the hints of Spring sunshine appearing already at the end of February — a doorway of Light predicting a new seasonal awakening.

EEC6981B-C7D3-4594-8206-0D628145D669

button1

lone_moose_in_sunset

“The lone moose at Sunset”, 90 x 65 cm., oil on canvas, 2016-2020.

The lone moose at sunset is a classic Norwegian motive that was popular in inexpensive kitsch paintings until the end of the 1970s. These paintings allude to typical Norwegian nature-romanticism, including the moose, afternoon/evening sun, pine forest, small forest ponds, and the quiet drama of the sunset that is bigger than Life. They are no longer found in each and every home and vacation cabin. Here I have re-introduced this iconic image in a modern color field context — emphasizing the dramatic elements of the all pervading sunset; and here suggesting the mystical qualities of the Northern Lights, a raging forest inferno and at once the quiet comfort and warmth of a fireplace. The lone moose disappears in the shadowy magnificent glow.

button1

quittepas

“Ne me quitte pas”, oil on canvas, 65 x 90 cm., 2016-2020 is an abstract geometric painting inspired by Jacques Brel’s famous love song, and its imagined personal history. Here his plea — Ne me quitte pas (Don’t leave me) — is scrawled on a blackboard in the mathematics classroom (an arena where the follies of hopeful youthfulness/adolescence meet up with the scientific rigours of deciding if a problem has zero, multiple or perhaps one solution only).

button1

“Talking heads / Social media”, 90 x 65 cm., oil on canvas, 2016-2020, is all about “the buzz” (slander, lies, cheating, hate and trolling, #hatersgonnahate, #americafirst, #metoo etc.) in black and white.

button1

“Faceless animus”, 65 x 90 cm., oil on canvas, 2016-2020, asks us how much we really know another person, and how much we really want to know about who they really are — the stereotypical/racial countenance … or the faceless animus that lies behind it?

button1

“Le jeune homme et La Mort”, 65×90 cm., installation de peinture: huile sur toile et filet de camouflage, Adam Donaldson Powell, 2016-2020.

This discovery of mine regarding Cocteau and his “Le jeune homme et la mort” made me quite enraged with the man, and with how he used his art to get revenge. I went through a long process, at the end of which I decided to reinterpret his theme and create a modern version of “Le jeune homme et la mort”. Just to illustrate my thinking throughout this process, I have included quite a bit of diary notes — in my own halting French and in English. In a way, they are an important part of this art installation piece.

L’histoire :
https://adam-donaldson-powell.blog/2017/11/06/le-jeune-homme-et-la-mort/

LE JEUNE HOMME ET LA MORT.

“Redéfinir l’interprétation de Cocteau de «Le jeune homme et la mort»:
Aujourd’hui, j’ai enfin pu mettre la dernière couche de textures sur ma peinture en cours: «Le jeune homme et la mort» – il représente un ordre violent et hasardeux; chaos mental blanchi à la chaux avec la conviction de purification et avec des marques d’automutilation … la dépression tourbillonnant avec des atonalites rythmiques tellement écrasante que l’électricité bleue des impulsions et des courants est étouffée par un énorme oreiller blanc qui donne une impression générale de calme et contrôle – tant que l’on suit religieusement chaque respiration. C’est une atmosphère de beauté violente; l’environnement intérieur qui lave et consume toutes les perceptions du monde extérieur, nous pousse à l’ultime acte de correction et de gloire: le suicide. La blancheur de la dépression est la lumière au bout du tunnel de la mort – promesse de renaissance, nouvelle virginité et ultime séduction. Les dalles épaisses de peinture représentent les murs de boue que nous érigeons pour nous garder en sécurité dans nos cocons – notre forteresse. La dépression ne concerne pas la tristesse, mais plutôt la construction de notre château dans les cieux, où notre indifférence au succès et à l’échec peut enfin s’épanouir. Nirvana. Ici, la mort n’est pas une femme, mais la propre psyché du jeune homme. La vision misogyne de Cocteau sera blanchie au néant, et exposée comme un vide qui se déguiserait en auto-victimisation masculine. Une fois que les nombreuses couches de peinture à l’huile sont complètement sèches, je vais couvrir la peinture minimaliste avec filet de camouflage ; qui forceront le spectateur à vouloir regarder les désagréments dans les images. Regarder sous le voile et ensuite s’identifier suffisamment dans le Mental pour pouvoir chercher le voile de Vide qui est sous le voile. Bien sûr, personne ne veut vraiment connaître la dépression d’une autre personne – surtout s’il est suicidaire. Nous combattons tous la même dépression et le néant. C’est seulement une pensée loin. Le résultat sera une peinture de sculpture en deux dimensions. Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau était très talentueux, très courageux, très “gay”, très célèbre … et très misogyne. Seuls les malheureux ou les idiots seraient heureux de le mettre en colère.” (Adam Donaldson Powell, Décembre 2017)

Le jeune homme et la mort

“Dans un atelier, un jeune homme seul attend. Entre la jeune fille qui était cause de sa détresse. Il s’élance vers elle, elle le repousse, il la supplie, elle l’insulte, le bafoue et s’enfouit. Il se pend. La chambre s’envole. Ne reste que le corps du pendu. Par les toits, la mort arrive en robe de bal. Elle ôte son masque : c’est la jeune fille. Alors elle pose son masque sur le visage de sa victime. Ensemble, ils s’en vont par les toits.”

— Jean Cocteau»

Plus de soixante-dix ans se sont écoulés depuis que ce travail a eu sa première mondiale. Et l’idée me hante toujours. L’histoire est trop mince … un cliché inverse conçu pour choquer. La femme qui triche a la froideur d’un homme, et l’homme désespéré (le cocu) se pendent comme la femme demande. L’ironie est qu’un certain nombre d’hommes aujourd’hui se suicident après l’infidélité ou le divorce de leur femme. Mais quoi d’autre est derrière ce suicide? Il y a sûrement des problèmes de dépression et de relation au sein de l’homme avant ce développement? La femme était-elle vraiment responsable de sa mort? L’infidélité d’une autre personne est-elle vraiment la cause du suicide – ou est-ce simplement un symptôme, le résultat d’une illusion de longue date qui ne peut plus être nié? N’est-ce pas une autre expression de la misogynie à l’époque du romantisme? Et comment puis-je recréer cette histoire / peinture – pénétrant davantage dans la psyché du jeune homme – bien au-delà de cette femme représentant la mort, qui peut si facilement être blâmée?

C’est la même chose pour les deux ou tous les sexes (il y en a plus de deux maintenant). Parce que la dépression et le suicide sont des sujets tabous, je veux forcer le public à s’engager à regarder et à marcher à l’intérieur du tableau. Ces problèmes doivent être normalisés – comme le cancer et d’autres syndromes et maladies de style de vie.

“Il est important de comprendre et d’accepter simplement que toutes nos expériences passées, qu’elles soient joyeuses ou tristes, continuent à nous accompagner tout au long de notre vie et affectent considérablement la façon dont nous nous sentons aujourd’hui. Les problèmes ne peuvent que déclencher des sentiments d’insécurité, de honte, d’envie ou de vengeance si nous nions qu’ils font partie de nous. Être submergé par de tels sentiments dans les situations les plus difficiles nous oblige à les reconnaître et à les intégrer consciemment en tant que parties naturelles de notre psyché. Ce n’est qu’alors que nous serons en mesure de développer une acceptation aimante de nous-mêmes avec tous nos défauts et insuffisances.”(astro.com)

Comme je le dis toujours, beaucoup de fiction est plus factuelle que ce que les lecteurs réalisent. Cocteau était très misogyne et sa fascination pour vouloir un fils, sa colère quand la femme de son choix (la princesse Natalie Paley) l’a rejeté: il a dit que les femmes étaient «les tueuses des enfants de poètes», les suicides dans sa vie, et ainsi de suite – indiquent ses problèmes psychologiques au travail dans cette histoire.

THE YOUNG MAN AND DEATH.

“Redefining Cocteau’s interpretation of “The young man and death”:
Today, I was finally able to put the last layer of textures on my current painting: “The young man and death” – it represents a violent and hazardous order; whitewashed mental chaos with the conviction of purification and with cutting knife marks of self-harm … and swirling depression with so many overwhelming rhythmic atonalites that the blue electricity of pulses and currents are stifled by a huge blanketing whiteness that gives a general impression of calm and control – as long as we follow each breath religiously. It is an atmosphere of violent beauty; the inner environment that cleanses and consumes all the perceptions of the outside world which drives us to the ultimate act of correction and glory: suicide. The whiteness of depression is the light at the end of the tunnel of death – promise of rebirth, new virginity and ultimate seduction. The thick slabs of paint represent the mud walls we erect to keep ourselves safe in our cocoons – in our fortress. Depression does not concern sadness, but rather the construction of our castle in heaven, where our indifference to success and failure can finally flourish. Nirvana. Here, death is not a woman, but the young man’s own psyche. The misogynistic vision of Cocteau will be whitewashed and exposed as a void that disguises itself as male self-victimization. Once the many layers of oil paint are completely dry, I will cover the minimalist painting with camouflage netting, this in order to force the viewer to want to look at the discomfort in the pictures. To look under the veil and then to identify oneself sufficiently in the Mind to be able to look for the veil of Emptiness that is under the veil. Of course, no one really wants to know about another person’s depression – especially if they are suicidal. We are all fighting the same depression and nothingness. It’s only a thought away. The result will be a two-dimensional sculpture painting. Jean Maurice Eugene Clement Cocteau was very talented, very brave, very “gay”, very famous … and very misogynistic. Only the unfortunate or idiots would be stupid enough to try to make him angry.” (Adam Donaldson Powell, December 2017)

“The young man and death In a workshop, a young man alone is waiting. In comes the girl who was the cause of his distress. He rushes towards her, she pushes him away, he begs her, she insults him, scoffs at him and tells him to go hang himself. He hangs himself. Only the body of the hanged man remains. Through the roofs, death then returns in a prom dress. She takes off her mask: it’s the girl. So she puts her mask on the face of her victim. Together, they go through the roofs.”
— Jean Cocteau

More than seventy years have passed since this work had its world premiere. And the idea still haunts me. The story is too thin … a cheap shot designed to shock. The cheating woman has the coldness of a man, and the desperate man (the cuckold) hang himself as the woman demands. The irony is that a number of men today commit suicide after their wife’s infidelity or divorce. But what else is behind this suicide? Surely there are problems of depression and relationship within man before this development? Was the woman really responsible for his death? Is the infidelity of another person really the cause of suicide – or is it just a symptom, the result of a long-standing illusion that can no longer be denied? Is not this another expression of misogyny in the age of Romanticism? And how can I recreate this story / painting – penetrating more into the young man’s psyche – far beyond this woman representing death, who can so easily be blamed?

It’s the same for both or all genders (there are more than two now). Because depression and suicide are taboo subjects, I want to force the public to commit to watching and walking inside the painting. These problems need to be normalized – like cancer and other syndromes and lifestyle diseases.

“It is important to understand and simply accept that all our past experiences, whether joyful or sad, continue to accompany us throughout our lives and greatly affect the way we feel today. Problems can only trigger feelings of insecurity, shame, envy or revenge if we deny that they are part of us. To be overwhelmed by such feelings in the most difficult situations requires us to recognize them and consciously integrate them as natural parts of our psyche. Only then will we be able to develop a loving acceptance of ourselves with all our flaws and shortcomings.” — from www. astro.com

As I always say, a lot of fiction is more factual than readers realize. Cocteau was very misogynistic and obsessed with wanting a son, and had great anger when the woman of his choice (Princess Natalie Paley) rejected him: he said that women were “the killers of poets’ children”, there had been many suicides in his life, and so on – all of which indicate his psychological problems at work in this story.

With Nureyev in the title role:

And with Barishnikov (from “White Nights”): HERE!

Read about Gustave Moreau’s painting “The Young Man and Death” HERE!

button1

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

button1

Vertigo, 40×40 cm., oil on canvas, 2016-2020.

button1

Video game shooting gallery.

Video game shooting gallery, 50×50 cm., oil on canvas, 2016-2020. Description: In an age when oil paintings have little chance of competing with the internet, television and video games, I decided to paint an abstract depiction of a video game shooting gallery against a concrete background — no penetration.

button1

Emotional aftermath.

Les soirées de Nazelles, 50×50 cm., oil on canvas, 2016-2020.

My piano instructor John Ranck plays “Les soirées de Nazelles”, by Poulenc:

button1

Spring becoming Summer, 50×50 cm., 2016-2020.

button1

Nightfall – with Winter giving way to Spring, 50×50 cm., 2016-2020.

button1

Equilibrium, oil on canvas, 50x50 cm., 2016-2020.

Equilibrium, oil on canvas, 50×50 cm., 2016-2020.

button1

Reflection, oil on canvas, 50x50 cm., 2016.

Reflection, oil on canvas, 50×50 cm., 2016-2020.

button1

Geometric gossip, 40x40 cm., oil on canvas, 2016-2020.

Geometric gossip, 40×40 cm., oil on canvas, 2016-2020.

button1

Democracy by gun, oil on canvas, 100x80 cm., 2016-2020.

Democracy by gun – We the People, oil on canvas, 100×80 cm., 2016-2020.

button1

Tale of three colour fields (front view), oil on canvas, 81 x 100 cm., 2016-2020.

Tale of three colour fields (front view), oil on canvas, 81 x 100 cm., 2016-2020.

button1

Emptiness giving birth to Nothingness, oil on canvas, 100x80 cm.

Emptiness giving birth to Nothingness, oil on canvas, 100×81 cm., 2016-2020.

button1

Deconstructed pond, oil on canvas, 40x40 cm., 2016-2020.

Deconstructed pond, oil on canvas, 50×50 cm., 2016-2020.

button1

Playa del Postiguet (Alicante), oil on canvas, 30 x 30 cm., 2016-2020.

Playa del Postiguet (Alicante), 30 x 30 cm., 2016-2020, Oil on canvas — in private collection; unavailable.

Check out this great YouTube video by Jacek Zarzycki of a walk on the Postiguet beach:

button1

Here is a side view of

“Flurry”, note the superimposed painted canvas cut-outs hanging over the flat surface, oil on canvas, 50×50 cm., 2016-2020. Oil on canvas — in private collection; unavailable.

button1

Horizon, oil on canvas, 40x40 cm., 2016-2020

Horizon, oil on canvas, 40×40 cm., 2016-2020

button1

Twilight, oil on canvas, 40x40 cm.

Twilight, oil on canvas, 40×40 cm., 2016-2020.

button1

Hands.

“Hands”, 30×30 cm., oil and charcoal on cardboard, 2016-2020.

button1

Sunset_colourfield

Sunset reflecting through Venetian blinds, onto wooden floor, 2016-2020.

button1

Floating_shards

Floating shards, 56 x 46 cm., oil on canvas with foil, 2016-2020.

button1

image

Aged stone (Oil on styrofoam), 2016-2020.

button1

glow2

“A Wrist Cutter’s Glow”, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm., 2016-2020

32052E9B-BFF9-4E4F-9CDE-DE6C8FC327CF

button1

portaltoeternity1

Portal to Eternity, No. 1 (Oil on canvas — in private collection; unavailable), 2016-2020.

button1

portalstoeternity2

Portal to Eternity, No. 2 (Oil on canvas), 2016-2020.

button1

Portal_No.3

Portal to Eternity, No. 3 (Oil on canvas — in private collection; unavailable), 2016-2020.

button1

image

Meteors in the night, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm., 2016-2020

button1

White night no. 1

“White night no. 1”, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm., 2016-2020

button1

avalanche

“Avalanche”, oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm., 2016-2020

button1

raw

“RAW”, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cm., 2016-2020

button1

Ascension2

Ascension, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 cm., 2016-2020

button1

GonePrimal

Gone primal, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 cm., 2016-2020

button1

bokstavelig_talt

Bokstavelig talt (literally speaking), oil on canvas, 30 x 30 cm., 2016-2020

button1

Egreaterthanmc2

E is greater than mc2, oil on canvas, 40×40 cm., 2016-2020

button1

goth

Goth, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cm., 2016-2020

DDF9C284-B069-40D6-ACCA-8029645D6A5E

button1

vortex2

Vortex (Oil on canvas), 2016-2020.

button1

Not seeing the forest for the trees.

Not seeing the forest for the trees, oil on canvas/mixed media, 60×50 cm., 2016-2020

button1

painting_in_progress1

“Tribute to Mars: The Great Source and Center”, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm., 2016-2020

button1

“Being = Nothingness”, 40×40 cm., oil on canvas, 2016-2020. NB. “Being = Nothingness” is my interpretation of Sartre’s “Being and Nothingness” in the style of Malevich (Russian Suprematism). Layer upon layer of white paint with shadows and reflections, eventually consolidating the monotony into two extremes of existence masquerading as seemingly identical apparitions in a flash of Light. This is just the latest in several paintings over the years where I have re-interpreted Malevich’s “White on White” masterpiece (from 1918).

NB. I personally consider Kazimir Malevich’s “White on white” painting to be a masterly work of art-philosophical genius. Read more about this iconic painting HERE!

button1

FF8DD583-2516-4D92-ADF1-492AB4568D6C.gif

See several of Adam’s paintings on

SAATCHI ART

button1

And here is a quick recap/overview of my recent paintings and of my published books. For more information, please see the next pages of this blog.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

chess

Welcome to Adam Angel’s World!

9991C2F8-3FFA-4436-8775-E20BB823D218

 

My two latest published books:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

DED6F5F8-D4DB-4304-AD35-858C061F9D9B

milkface

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

SHORT AUTHOR BIO:

ADAM DONALDSON POWELL (Norway) is a multilingual author, literary critic, and art photography critic; and a professional visual artist. He has published several literary books (including collections of poetry, short stories, and novellas, two science fiction novels, a biography, and a collection of essays) in the USA, Norway and India; as well as numerous works in international literary publications on several continents. He writes in English, Spanish, French and Norwegian. He has previously authored theatrical works performed onstage, and he has read his poetry at venues in New York City (USA), Oslo (Norway), Buenos Aires (Argentina), and Kathmandu (Nepal). His book “Gaytude” (co-authored with Albert Russo) won the 2009 National Indie Excellence Award in the category gay/lesbian non-fiction. Powell was also the winner of the Azsacra International Poetry Award in 2008, and the recipient of a Norwegian Foreign Ministry travel stipend for authors in 2005. Powell also took initiative to planning and organizing the “Words – one path to peace and understanding” international literary festival in Oslo, Norway in 2008. He has been an author under the Cyberwit label since 2005, and he has published 13 literary books since 1987.

ADAM DONALDSON POWELL – WIKIPEDIA NORGE

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Under the Shirttails of Albert Russo: an alternative biography, l’Aleph — Sweden, ISBN 978-91-7637-401-6, © Wisehouse 2017, Sweden.

Entre Nous et Eux: contes de fées pour adultes, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-93-85945-77-9, © 2017, India.

Jisei: death poems and daily reflections by a person with AIDS”, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-81-8253-403-2, © 2013, India.

The tunnel at the end of time” (co-written with Rick Davis and Azsacra Zarathustra), Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-81-8253-160-4, © 2010, India.

Malerier og fotokunst, a short 38-page retrospective overview of some of Adam Donaldson Powell’s best known oil paintings and photographic art works”. Published by Cyberwit.net as a special limited and numbered full-color, soft cover edition (55 copies only), ISBN 978- 81-8253-154-3, India, © 2009.

GAYTUDE: a poetic journey around the world, co-authored together with Albert Russo 1[1], bilingual (French and English), gay poetry, 334 pages, Xlibris, ISBN 978-1-4363-6395-2, 2009, USA 6 [2].

2014: the life and adventures of an incarnated angel, 135 pages, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-81-8253-118-5, 2008, India.

Critical Essays, literary and photobook criticism by Adam Donaldson Powell and Dr. Santosh Kumar 2[3], 108 pages, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-81-8253-110-9, 2008, India.

Le Paradis (Paradise), 80 pages, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-81-8253-103-1, 2008, India. Inkluderer bilag med symboler fra Universelle Lysspråket, som opplevd av Laila Holand.

Rapture: endings of space and time (86 pages), Cyberwit,net, ISBN 978-81-8253-083-6, 2007, India.

Three-legged Waltz, (80 pages), Cyberwit.net, ISBN 81-8253-058-X, 2006, India.

Collected Poems and Stories, (175 pages), Cyberwit.net, ISBN 81-8253-028-8, 2005, India.

Arcana and other archetypes, (special limited edition – hardback collection of poetry), AIM Chapbooks ANS, 2001, Norway (now out-of-print).

Notes of a Madman, (hardback collection of poetry), Winston-Derek Publishers, Inc., 1987, ISBN 1-55523-054-7, USA (now out-of-print).


CHECK IT OUT:

And here is a quick recap/overview of my recent paintings and of my published books. For more information, please see the next pages of this blog.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

MY AMAZON.COM AUTHOR PAGE: HERE!

2389ECFE-7F46-4E2D-BD0E-23B579D37284

MY CYBERWIT.NET AUTHOR PAGE: HERE!

image

SEE MY MOST RECENT PAINTINGS HERE!
NB. KEEP RETURNING TO THIS PAGE FOR NEW ADDITIONS —
COMING SOON: 18 études abstraites en miniature
(18 abstract studies, in miniature)

Be certain to visit my SaatchiArt blog as well:

🔘 Adam Donaldson Powell’s paintings on Saatchi Art

 

adam01

FF8DD583-2516-4D92-ADF1-492AB4568D6C.gif

Reviews of “Under the Shirttails of Albert Russo: an alternative biography.”

“Under the Shirttails of Albert Russo” modernizes the concept of the biography away from Boswellian “every ladder rung is vital” structure, and straight to “the good and meaningful stuff — that defines who a person is … and why.”

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

IMG_3637

With laser-like precision, Adam Donaldson Powell bores into Albert Russo’s psyche, while in parallel he analyzes the work of a lifetime. But more often than not, there is a process of cross-fertilization, whether it is clearly identified or on the sidelines. He interviews his subject, not always in a linear fashion, scanning the latter’s important stages of life: there is first Central, Eastern – the former Belgian Congo (now, DRCongo), Ruanda-Urundi (now, the two countries of Rwanda and Burundi) and Southern Africa – Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa, where the author was raised, completing high school at the Interracial Athénée of Usumbura (now Bujumbura), studying with European, Congolese, Hutu, Tutsi, Asian and American classmates, both in French and in English (he also went to an all-boys’ school in Salisbury, now called Harare). We then find him in the Big Apple at the age of seventeen, attending New York University, after which, he pursues his studies in German at the Collegium Platinum in Heidelberg. The subject is asked very intimate questions about his private life, with which he is faced for the first time. And he reveals facts he never thought could one day be thrust into the open. But still, he complies, candidly. Mr. Powell illustrates with excerpts of the author’s novels, poems and short stories, which are all either clearly or subconsciously related to Albert Russo’s life, as well as photos, letters and book reviews from Albert Russo’s personal archives. Mentioned are his AFRICAN QUATUOR, the collected poems in the CROWDED WORLD OF SOLITUDE, volume two, his collected stories and essays in the CROWDED WORLD OF SOLITUDE, volume one, and finally, his GOSH ZAPINETTE! series, of which David Alexander writes: “… Be warned, Zapinette’s gems of insouciant wit tend to become infectious. This wise-child’s deceptively worldly innocence takes the entire gamut of human endeavor in its compass. Hardly anyone or anything escapes unscathed. Michael Jackson,Vittorio de Sica, Freddy Mercury, Mao Zedong, Bill and Hill, the Pope, Fidel Castro, and even Jesus of Nazareth all come under Zapinette’s delightfully zany fire as she “zaps” from topic to topic in an irrepressible flux. As the century of the double zeros is with us, we have seen the future and the future is sham. As a healthy dose of counter-sham, Zapinette should be on every brain-functional person’s reading list.” After America, the subject moves to Northern Italy where he will reside nine years, then to Brussels. He spends half of his life in Paris, France, before finally settling in Tel Aviv Israel. When asked what his roots are, he replies that he is a humanist born in Africa, with his virtual roots being the languages which he speaks: English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, vernacular Swahili, as well as those he can only read: Portuguese and Dutch. He will soon add Hebrew. Those cherished languages are much more than forms of speech, they are his planet, from which he extracts much of the sap of his writing. So, don’t be shy. Get Under the Shirttails of Albert Russo. See the publisher’s page HERE!

originals of letters + journals re AR 1

DO WATCH ‪”The Age of the Pearl”, extracted from my new biography “Under the Shirttails of Albert Russo”

READER COMMENTS … regarding UNDER THE SHIRTTAILS of ALBERT RUSSO:

UNDER THE SHIRTTAILS of ALBERT RUSSO ‘can perhaps be likened to skipping a small rock across a pond – creating ripples and reverberations which both reflect the greater omnipotence of the water and temporarily alter its periphery and identity.’ Such is Adam Donaldson Powell the master weaver behind the literary tapestry that is the life & times with a view into poems, novels and picture gallery of one brilliant international award-winning multilingual poet, novelist, essayist, historian and photographer – Albert Russo – a man with a claim to no country yet a citizen of many soils – in his sensitively scripted yet profoundly penetrating work unveiled as ‘an alternative biography’.

— Jeanette Skirvin

This biography crowns five decades of my father’s very prolific writing. Both my brother Alex and myself are immensely proud of our father’s literary achievement. From his very deep insights on the history of Africa, to the birth and struggles of the Israeli state, his poems and immensely entertaining short stories, humorous novels for teenagers, short stories covering the complexities of human nature, there isn’t one topic that my father hasn’t masterfully addressed in his writings.

— Tatiana Russo

We have the pleasure to see all the beauties of literature, poetry and photography of Albert Russo in Adam Donaldson Powell’s brilliant and memorable book “Under the Shirttails of Albert Russo”. Russo’s profound and well-ordered imagination helps him to create great works of literature. Russo never writes his great poems and novels according to any mechanic rule. He has perfected his writings due to “the existential qualm for which my heritage is responsible: Africa, Judaism and Italy. They exist and coexist in cycles, in a fashion so inchoate that I am never quite sure which will take the upper hand.” Powell, the immortal poet famous for his classic “Three-legged Waltz”, points out that Russo “began life as an outsider; the offspring of refugees to Africa from Nazi and fascist persecution then became an outcast via his self-proclaimed ‘gaytude’.” No doubt, this fact has provided the perfection of tone in all his creative endeavors, and this will certainly entice all readers. The true essence of Russo’s writings and photography is revealed by Powell in this unique book. Adam Donaldson Powell’s latest powerful book “Under the Shirttails of Albert Russo” is a tour de force in biography and literary criticism.

— Dr. Santosh Kumar, Editor, Cyberwit.net

​To avoid any doubts or confusion, this book by Adam Donaldson Powell is NOT just a biography of the life of Albert Russo, nor is it a synoptic overview of his massive and prolific collection of works of prose, poetry, and photography. This book is something far more than either of these literary vehicles could ever be. Through literally decades of conversations, correspondence, and collaboration between these two very talented authors/artists, Adam Powell gives us a glimpse into not only the very diverse heritage and globe-trotting life and experiences of Albert Russo, but also a glimpse into his very psyche and incredible intellect. In other words, this book lays bare for the world to see what makes Albert Russo one of the few true renaissance men of our times. Russo’s collection of works bridges gulfs of heritage, culture, philosophy, and more – often with more than a hint of his sometimes quirky and off-beat sense of humor. For anyone who has ever read and enjoyed ANY of Russo’s works, this book is a must-read to fully understand the man behind the true art of his words, ideas, and imagery.

​– J. Richard Davis, B.A., J.D.

Powell’s study is important, for almost all of Russo’s work has been printed by small presses and/or university distributors and is not easily gathered. In addition, Powell’s particular focus is highly valuable, for it brings into compact view the issues and journeys of Russo’s fables and fiction and his social, personal, and literary commentaries.

— Martin Tucker, Editor Emeritus at Confrontation Magazine

The book is included in the collection of the
Mukanda Central Africa documentation resource center.

Mukanda has some very illustrious academics in its network. See HERE!

Adam Donaldson Powell, author

 

656309C0-720D-41E6-A179-9962AE888344

‪J’ACCUSE, J’ACCUSE ET J’ACCUSE … by Albert Russo.‬

‪This is the « rant and rage » essay by ex-Parisian Albert Russo that convinced me to interview him critically, and to write my latest book: « Under the Shirttails of Albert Russo » :‬

THE ESSAY

(Photo courtesy Blikk Magazine)

(Photo courtesy Per Eidspjeld)

Buy my books online at:

Amazon USA, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, Amazon France, Amazon Germany, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Japan, and Amazon Australia.

Most of my books can also be ordered directly from my publisher in India, at https://www.cyberwit.net/authors/adam-d-powell

“Gaytude”, the National Indie Excellence Award Winner for best book in the category gay/lesbian nonfiction, can also be ordered directly from Xlibris at http://www.xlibris.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-0035827003

My latest book “Under the Shirttails of Albert Russo” can be ordered directly through the publisher, as well as many other places on the internet and by ordering it at your local bookstore. Visit the publisher’s webpage here: http://l-aleph.com/project/under-the-shirttails-of-albert-russo-an-alternative-biography-by-adam-donaldson-powell/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

MY AMAZON.COM AUTHOR PAGE: HERE!

2389ECFE-7F46-4E2D-BD0E-23B579D37284

MY CYBERWIT.NET AUTHOR PAGE: HERE!

BUYING MY BOOKS ONLINE IS EASY.

(Photo courtesy Blikk Magazine)

(Photo courtesy Per Eidspjeld)

Buy my books online at:

Amazon USA, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, Amazon France, Amazon Germany, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Japan, and Amazon Australia.

Most of my books can also be ordered directly from my publisher in India, at https://www.cyberwit.net/authors/adam-d-powell

“Gaytude”, the National Indie Excellence Award Winner for best book in the category gay/lesbian nonfiction, can also be ordered directly from Xlibris at http://www.xlibris.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-0035827003

My latest book “Under the Shirttails of Albert Russo” can be ordered directly through the publisher, as well as many other places on the internet and by ordering it at your local bookstore. Visit the publisher’s webpage here: http://l-aleph.com/project/under-the-shirttails-of-albert-russo-an-alternative-biography-by-adam-donaldson-powell/

MY WEBSITES AND BLOGS.

 

SAATCHI ONLINE: https://www.saatchiart.com/norskeadam

ADAM’S WORLD: https://adam-donaldson-powell.blog

DOCUMENTING STREET ART: https://adamexhibition.wordpress.com

UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE OF LIGHT: https://universallanguageoflight.wordpress.com

OCCUPY ESSAYS – ESSAYS ON ACTIVISM: https://occupyessays.wordpress.com

Recent selfies.

2016-2017: selected book reviews by Adam Donaldson Powell.

Peek-a-boo!

Peek-a-boo!

REVIEW OF “CLOUD COMPASS”, by Marta Knobloch, 58 pages, cyberwit.net, 2014.

This is a masterly work by a profound poet. It is perhaps one of the best poetry chapbooks that I have read. The book is in two sections; the first entitled “Shadow Painting”, with poems inspired by the life and work of Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson, 1865-1904), and the second is entitled “Boxing the Compass”, with several poems grouped together as a poetic travelogue.

Knobloch is a seasoned professional with full command of her art form. Her descriptive images are strong but they never need to scream or shout, and her language flows as naturally as a mountain stream. The poet’s work demonstrates evenness in quality, imagination, artistic intent, good planning, execution and polish, and a good overall concept of the book as a complete work of art (and not just a potpourri of “homeless” poems). In addition, the poet’s writing has a wonderful sense of originality, excellent descriptive color and clarity — and without a feeling of being overworked or strained.

It is seldom that I have encountered so many treasures in such a small volume of poetry. This book is worth reading several times; perhaps twice as a regular read, and then a third time — reading aloud (or having someone read the poems to you). With each reading you will discover new layers and levels of beauty and insight. This is not a work to be analyzed to pieces, and no analysis of mine can speak better than this poet’s art. Therefore I will merely present a few of her poems — even though all the works in her book are excellent and inspirational.

From “Shadow Painting”:

Knell.

The cadence of the temple bells is random,
at the whim of an errant breeze.
A waterfall of notes, a cool music
trickles through the flimsy netting,
pools on her sodden pillow.

She can no longer hear them chime.

Death has unclenched her fists
grasping the rumpled sheets.
Now her uncurled fingers
reach for her husband’s hand.

Palette (“Painted with a poet’s eyes”).

Her poems have the focused brilliance
of Mughal paintings where lovers
tryst in mimosa bowers,
bolstered by silk cushion moons,
a peacock fan of stars.

They drift on lotus lakes,
float in a shimmering oasis,
loll on filigreed balconies,
oblivious
to turbaned princes’ elephant wars,
the formal slaughter of tiger and gazelle.

While far out at the vanishing point,
perilous edge of the heart’s rim,
the poet/dervish spins her fever dreams

of mythic India.

From “Boxing the Compass”:

Sketch.

white canvas
blue sky
yellow sun
red earth

white linen
blue dish
yellow omelet
red geranium

printemps
plein air
petit déjeuner

Provence

Thin Ice.

The cove froze overnight in opaque waves,
formal as a Japanese rock garden.
I tiptoed from crest to knobby crest.
Beyond the semaphore of the pines,
we heard the creaking tide rise,
a panorama with rusty gears.
A rifle crack of jagged water
Aimed a black thunderbolt at my feet.
He jerked me back to shore warning,
“That’s why I never skate on tidal ice.”
I thought, “This man has never been in love.”

And this, dear Reader, is truly what the art of contemporary prose poetry sounds like.

– Adam Donaldson Powell, Oslo, 2017.

DO VISIT THE AUTHOR’S WEBSITE!

High on the red pills (Oil on canvas).

High on the red pills (Oil on canvas).

High on the blue pills (Oil on canvas).

High on the blue pills (Oil on canvas).

cocktails

REVIEW OF “THE MEANING OF FYFE – the 70’s”, by John R. Fyfe, 633 pages, 2016, Cyberwit.net.

This novel is a very good read. The main story opens at a psychiatric institution in Canada in the 1970s, and includes many recognizable associations with the youth of “my generation” – i.e. the hippie generation – at its peak. At times humorous and inane, but always written with an underlying mindful sobriety (no, dear Reader – the story is not devoid of drugs, sex, rock ’n roll, alcohol and other fun and debauchery we well remember from those years), this book underscores the difficulty of separating one’s own “at once changing, and yet unchanging” identity from that of our environment — thus creating a perfect arena for understanding life itself as perhaps just another imitation of stories on a ferris wheel or merry-go-round … churning around and around. When is the moment to jump off and make a change, and how significant will those changes really be?

The author exhibits many first-rate qualities as a writer, including his superb attention to story construction and his meticulous literary craftsmanship. He does not stumble with his language, and the storyteller “voice” is both believable and engaging. In addition, the author includes introspective passages which shine like jewels – because of their truthful simplicity and their simple truths. Here is one example:

“I felt good vacationing from my life, which was becoming far too complicated and confining for my liking. I felt trapped in my environment, but was still attached to my friends and our lifestyle. It was one thing to be cool and get high, but I preferred meeting people I didn’t know, who were more open. What I wanted, without really knowing it, was to explore who I was by being with such people. I could be whoever I wanted, without being judged or put down by my gang of friends; criticism was their defence against a scene that made them inwardly fearful and uneasy. I liked being with my friends and partying with them, but ultimately I’d always felt the need to escape them.”

And here is another:

‘Who’s really crazy in this joint?’ I asked myself. ‘You have a staff member pissing in a batch of soup while others screw patients in the swill room. At the same time you have so-called insane people knowing irony when they hear it. And then you have Carol, who is completely blind but possesses a sixth sense, knowing precisely when your thoughts are somewhere else. We then have the Jack Steeles of the world, creeping up stairwells, hoping to catch fellow workers not working so they can write them up or suspend them, just waiting and hoping to catch you slacking in this loony bin, taking a minute off from wiping up other people’s shit and piss.’

This book is much more than a “feel-good” novel. It incites reflection and acceptance of the mores, traditions, behavioral values and mindsets across decades and generations, allowing us to relive the way “it was back then” and still remain convinced of our present “more sophisticated” perceptions. But was one era really any better than another? How is one’s changing individual personal identity – in fact – dependent upon our social and environmental identities, and their capacity for growth in complementary directions that match the new “I” and “we”, at any given point in time? Not all aspects of our individual and group realities are personally created or co-created with intent, as much also involves adapting and reacting to unforeseen circumstances that may have been out of our control. And finally, how much are our personal identities and behavior patterns founded upon and restricted by culture, social politics and mores of the era, and by our generational social DNA?

We are constantly making decisions regarding what parts of our identities we retain and build upon, and which aspects and persons we leave by the side of the road. These identities and their expressions are not always easy to change or to let go of — even though voices in our heads or perhaps other individuals or institutions in society may try to convince us that we should force a restart or an about-face. In many ways this novel is a “road trip” novel, but here the road is the path of life … and the vehicle (the Self) is not always in control.

Is “The Meaning of Fyfe” by John R. Fyfe, truly a novel, or is it perhaps really a fictionalized autobiography? While it may be tempting for the reader to speculate on which stories may be real life ones, as well as the possible or probable degrees of embellishment or fictionalization, that indeed would be a rather useless occupation. Let’s be honest. This novel is about you and me — for some of us it may perhaps be about what was or what could have been in our own lives, or in the lives of someone we have known or heard about; but it is more essentially about the vocation of being human … and of living and dying with the consequences of how we handle the deck of cards on the table.

It certainly took insight and courage to write this story. And it takes a good deal of both to read it, own it and to “relive it” through the author’s eyes.

– Adam Donaldson Powell, Oslo, 2016.

Do visit the author’s WEBSITE!

puppy at french cafe in oslo

REVIEW OF “GOSH, ZAPINETTE!” by Albert Russo, 768 pages, cyberwit.net, India, 2016.

This mammoth volume is billed as “The first ever series of global Jewish humor”. While I understand the marketing idea, I see this literary work as much more than that in both scope and content. In my view and experience this book is “a history-of-the-world-in-progress” told by a quirky but witty protagonist with a Jewish heritage. The humorous approach is a seductive mechanism (at times almost propagandistic and at others times almost embarrassingly true) more so than an end in itself. Seductive because it is endearing enough to entice the reader into following constant and endless paths of thinking perhaps not previously considered. Each of these paths is riddled and spiced with historical, geographical and religious references, anecdotes, allusions to current events, and political commentaries — all weaving a charming and sometimes “wicked” web of associations that are perhaps not always considered to be politically-correct in any one milieu. The author – through the protagonist and “ghost-writer” Zapinette – shoots from the hip in all directions and with aplomb. This book is witty, at times sacrilegious (if not blasphemous), educational and informative, and entertaining. Although almost all of these books have been previously published separately, in this new combined volume the individual books may be experienced and enjoyed as individual stories or chapters (or journal entries) in an ongoing larger sets of adventures. This book may be enjoyed as a personalized travel guide and political history “Nouveau Testament”, as well as a psychological study of two complementary personas and personalities of the author (Zapinette and her Uncle Berky) and that of the “Contemporary Common Man”.

Zapinette is – in my eyes – both a child and an adult. She is the “child in us all” that boldly inquires about and says those things that socially-adjusted and politically-savvy (read “politically-correct”) adults may be afraid to say, and/or which we hope will not be noticed or commented on … be it our appearances, our behavioral idiosyncracies or politics and events in the world. Her Uncle Berky is more cautious, and is often over-run (and over-ruled) by the more carefree (and perhaps more careless) adolescent who knows and says more than she should. And yet more often than not Zapinette is also representative of many values esteemed by representatives of the status quo. She decides herself how to piece together these sometimes competing values within her own illogical but yet logical perspectives on life, humans and world society. Zapinette is always loquacious (except when pouting or suddenly a bit insecure) and oftentimes overbearing and tiring, but she is always true to character: a bit of a true believer cum prophet, and at other times a creative and inquisitive child, and perhaps really just a bystander who is trying to find logical systems of thinking in order to define her own space in the disorderly web of an adult world full of inconsistencies.

The book is written in Albert Russo’s signature descriptive style, and although it is well-written and well-constructed the author allows for a degree of haphazardness, some hurried denouement, the occasional proof-reading laxness, and author-acknowledged repetitions. This lends further to the fun of reading as intentional play with words blend with a refreshing youthful and non-academic style, as well as it keeps the books connected more as stories in this large volume. I suspect that portions of this book are (veiled) autobiographical in personality, perspective and experience, thus giving the reader the added bonus of more insight into a well-known author who has not yet written his formal autobiography. While some readers who are new to the works of Albert Russo may primarily experience the humor in this book, those who are familiar with his African novels and his poetry will recognize both his tongue-in-cheek political commentaries and his occasional passion for ranting about the illogical, the unjust and the plain old “stupidity” he often experiences in our world — both now, and throughout history.

Albert Russo exhibits much courage in publishing this book — both because of its commentary, and also because of his inability not to express his own unadulterated personal truths. I salute and commend his courage and his achievement. I have but one question: when will we get to see “Zapinette – the film”? Anyone in the film industry reading this review?

by Adam Donaldson Powell, Oslo, 2016.

DO VISIT THE AUTHOR’S WEBSITE!

clouds-over-oslo-7

REVIEW OF “MODERN JAPANESE HAIKU”, by Ban’ya Natsuishi and Sayumi Kamakura, 109 pages, cyberwit.net, 2012 (First edition).

“Modern Japanese Haiku” is yet another fine literary work by Haiku masters Ban’ya Natsuishi and Sayumi Kamakura.

I have previously had the privilege of writing a number of essays where I have commented on publications by both authors:

  • in 2008: “A modern master of haiku paints the collective conscience” – my foreword to the English version of “Flying Pope”, by Ban’ya Natsuishi, Cyberwit.net, India, 2008, pp. 139, paperback, ISBN: 978-81-8253-106-2.
  • in 2008: “CONTEMPORARY HAIKU: the renaissance and the transformation” – literary criticism based upon “Right Eye in Twilight”, published by Wasteland Press, USA, 2006, ISBN13: 978-1-60047-016-5 and ISBN10: 1-60047-016-5, 62 pages, paperback; and “Earth Pilgrimage” (Pellegrinaggio terrestre), published by Albalibri Editore, Italy, 2007, ISBN 88-89618-52-3 and ISBN 978-88-89618-52-3, 146 pages, paperback).
  • in 2008: “SAYUMI KAMAKURA: the timelessness of the veil behind the veil behind the veil” – literary criticism based on “A Crown of Roses”, a haiku collection by Sayumi Kamakura, published by Cyberwit (India), 2007, 70 pages, ISBN 978-81-8253-090-4, and “A Singing Blue: 50 Selected Haiku”, published by Ginyu Press (Japan), 2000, 63 pages, ISBN 4-87944-032-9).
  • in 2009: “TWO ESSAYS ON BAN’YA NATSUISHI’S WORLD HAIKU”, EXPRESSION OF EMOTIONS IN THE INTERNATIONAL / MULTILINGUAL HAIKU OF BAN’YA NATSUISHI” – based on “A Future Waterfall”, 2004, Red Moon Press, ISBN 1-893959-46-5, USA and “Endless Helix”, 2007, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-81-8253-072-0, India.
  • “A SHORT ESSAY ON PRESENTATION OF WORLD HAIKU” – an essay based upon the following multilingual haiku books by Ban’ya Natsuishi: “MADARAK / BIRDS, 50 HAIKU”, including aquarelles by Éva Pápai, translations by Ban’ya Natsuishi, Jack Galmitz and Judit Vihar, published in 2007, Balassi Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary, ISBN 978-963-506-743-5; and “VOICES FROM THE CLOUDS”, translations by Leons Briedis, Ban’ya Natsuishi, Jim Kacian and James Shea, published in 2008, Minerva, Latvia, ISBN 978-9984-637-42-5).
  • “ESSAY ABOUT THE HAIKU PUBLISHED BY THE WORLD HAIKU ASSOCIATION – World Haiku 2008, No. 4 – a multilingual collection of contemporary haiku from around the world”, (a review of “World Haiku 2008, No. 4”, published by Schichigatsudo Publishing, Tokyo, Japan, ISBN 978-4-87944-117-1, 2008, 230 pages, softcover, edited by Ban’ya Natsuishi for the World Haiku Association).
  • “Reaching towards infinity” – Literary criticism (2009) by Adam Donaldson Powell (based upon “World Haiku 2009, No. 5”, The World Haiku Association, published by Shichigatsudo, Japan, 2009, ISBN 978-4-87944-135-5, 198 pages, paperback).

It is with great pleasure that I once again have the honor and privilege of reading (and re-reading) many of the works of these two contemporary haiku masters. I include “re-reading” because some of these gems I have indeed read before. “Modern Japanese Haiku” contains 100 haiku by Ban’ya Natsuishi (excerpted from “The Diary of Everyday Hunting” (1983), “Métropolitique” (1985), “Rhythm in the Vacuum” (1986), “The Fugue of Gods” (1990), “Opera in the Human Body” (1990), “Waves of Joy” (1992), “The Science of Megaliths and Big Trees” (1995), “Earth Pilgrimage” (1998), “Drifting” (2001), “Right Eye in Twilight” (2006), “Flying Pope: 161 Haiku” (2008), “Labyrinth of Vilnius” (2009),”Hybrid Paradise” (2010); and 100 haiku by Sayumi Kamakura (here it is not specified where these poems have been published previously but I recognize haiku from her wonderful book “A Crown of Roses” (2007)). These poems are in Japanese and in English, with English translations by Ban’ya Natsuishi, Jim Kacian, Stephen Henry Gill and James Shea.

These 100 plus 100 haiku are not billed as “The 100 best haiku of …”, but rather merely as 100 Haiku, by Ban’ya Natsuishi and 100 Haiku, by Sayumi Kamakura. I consider each of their books to contain precious haiku which function excellently as both individual poems and as coordinated cogs on a wheel; a wheel that is an expression of infinity, and at the same time one of equally valid intelligence (experience) from a bird’s eye perspective (“As above, so below”, “outside looking in and inside looking out”, etc.). All of the haiku books that I have read which have been written by these two authors, and also those edited by Ban’ya Natsuishi, are carefully envisioned, written and constructed so as to give a sense of open-ended completion, inter-connectedness, and harmony — as a whole. I do not look for “the haiku moment” in their poetry because each haiku and all of their haiku books represent (for me) “the moment”, of the breath of Life becoming breathing, in all its expressions. Not one haiku is greater or lesser than the one preceding (or following) the other. Like a great work of art, literature or music, each part flows as effortlessly as any other; and there cannot be music without silences, without rhythm, without contrasts. There cannot be any “100 Best” — merely “100 Haiku”.

This ability of these two haiku masters to create timelessness in a single moment is, indeed, one of my own definitions of mastery: “The novice struggles to make pretty feet dance in the wind, while the haiku of the master yawn and stretch toward infinity … like a century-old bonsai.”

Another characteristic of a contemporary master (in any period of world history) is the ability to think outside of traditional parameters, to give new life to art forms, to explore old and new ideas from new perspectives, with variations on style, and even breaking standardized rules of technique and artistic expression. This is not so much about having a sense of rebelliousness as it is about having the courage to see with more than one’s eyes, to hear noise, silence or “music” with each and every cell of your body, and to feel contact with the essence of experience without ever having to use your sense of touch. A great haiku, like any other truly great work of art, literature or music, is not forced. It is perhaps merely inhaled, and released — in a breath, as a moment.

“Modern Japanese Haiku” is a book that every haiku-lover should consider having in his or her private library. It is also a book that should be available in school curricula and in public libraries. Most importantly, it is a book that should be carried around (on your cellphone, your iPad, or in your shoulder bag or backpack) for meditation and energizing — whenever you need “a moment”.

In conclusion I leave you with two haiku, each of which is, in itself, an entire book of “moments”:

Finally I’ve noticed

a flower of melancholy

in the core of the sun

  • Ban’ya Natsuishi, from “Rhythm in the Vacuum” (1986)

A cold circle

called God

or the sun

  • Sayumi Kamakura, from “A Crown of Roses” (2007)

by Adam Donaldson Powell, Oslo, 2016.

clouds-over-oslo-6

ブラックカード  BALANCING THE YIN AGAINST THE YIN.

BALANCING THE YIN AGAINST THE YIN: an essay in response to Ban’ya Natuishi’s

“Black Card / Tarjeta negra”, 169 pages, cyberwit.net, 2013, with English translations by Ban’ya Natsuishi and Eric Selling, and Spanish translations by Emilio Masià.

In “Black Card / Tarjeta negra” Ban’ya Natsuishi allows the reader to be a silent companion in his protagonist’s sojourns through the the darkest side of the Yin-Yang cycle: dealing with death and loss, sorrow and disillusionment; perhaps occasionally with hints of anger or disgust, but never the less at times exhibiting an almost stoic sense of detachment, and at other times absence or resignation. And yet there is an accompanying knowledge that yin cycles are always followed by more positive and active yang cycles in the greater continuum of energy, matter, life force and Spirit.

These haiku are not so much “dark” as they are intentional explorations into the experiential darkness of brutal transformative experiences. Poets fight oppression and stalemates with their greatest sword: words. But Natsuishi – although highly-intelligent about the world and the occupation of living – is also human. He is also emotional. Words often fail to describe the depth of human emotion when spoken or written directly, without a degree of abstraction, without inculcation, and without involving or implicating our surroundings. We gain a greater sense of self-justification when we feel and can show that there is indeed chaos everywhere.

The poet’s protagonist may understand that death and destruction are a part of Life, but he still feels pain. He knows that the somber clouds of disillusionment will one day be replaced by the sun rays of the yang, but he chooses to investigate in detail how the negativity besets his world and his perception of it. By recognizing this yin energy in all its manifestations and describing its core force in words, then he can possibly eventually triumph over its overwhelming force. As with most people in personal crises, it is often at some point a question of balancing the Yin against the Yin — hoping to reach a milder greyness on the path back to Light and Hope.

This book is a powerful and relentless dirge — for his parents, for victims of natural disasters and nuclear accidents, and for himself. More importantly, it is a vivid documentation of a journey through Darkness. It is private, personal … and yet we are allowed to experience his humanness. It is not negativity but rather a beautiful account of passage through a mirror of darkness. But do not be deceived. This book was not only written for Natsuishi himself; it is written for you, me … all of us. Perhaps it is only by connecting with the rawness of poetic emotionality that we can stop and consider the lives we are creating and the world we are destroying.

Of course, it is only human for readers to want some finalization in the denouement. But Ban’ya Natsuishi has only offered a one-way ticket. This is his journey, and his continuation is truly a new book already in the making. For now, it is just to try on his spectacles and wonder at the magnificent transference he has achieved. Just be here now — right now, and right here — with Ban’ya Natsuishi as he ponders the futility of the Black Card.

And then take your own journey — into the deeper reaches of your own emotional world and perceptions. Balance the yin against the yin. The sunlight awaits beyond the dark cloud but we must first experience and accept the inevitability of the nature of clouds.

Consider these haiku poems from the book by Ban’ya Natsuishi:

Page 57

Cloudy sky —

my own fluttering

unheard

Cielo nublado

inaudible

mi aleteo

Page 61

Torrential rain pours on

a word pursuing

a word

Bajo esta lluvia torrencial,

persigue

una palabra a la otra

Page 69

Death is not the last answer

a bird singing

behind the mountains

La muerte

no tiene la última palabra

en la recóndita sierra gorjean los pájaros

Page 70

Absence is a womb

we are traveling

to the next absence

La ausencia es un seno

somos viajeros

de la ausencia

Page 71

Ground water silently

running to a spring

a pure night wind

Fluye hacia el manantial

un cauce subterráneo

silenciosa brisa nocturna

Page 73

I throw down

a dead word

to a dead fish

Lanzo

palabras muertas

a peces muertos

Page 124

Thunderstorm

on a giant dandelion —

the silent Japanese

Rayos y truenos

sobre el gigantesco diente de león

japoneses en silencio

Page 133

This sorrow:

a broken cloud

among clouds

Esta tristeza:

nubes rotas

dentro de otra nube

Page 151

Time filled with holes

appears

in clouds filled with holes

Aparece

un tiempo agujereado

entre nubes agujereadas

by Adam Donaldson Powell, Oslo, 2016.

ブラックカード    EQUILIBRANDO EL YIN CONTRA EL YIN.

EQUILIBRANDO EL YIN CONTRA EL YIN: un ensayo en respuesta a Ban’ya Natuishi’s “Black Card / Tarjeta negra”, 169 páginas, cyberwit.net, 2013, con traducciones en inglés de Ban’ya Natsuishi y Eric Selling, y traducciones en español de Emilio Masià.

En “Black Card / Tarjeta negra” Ban’ya Natsuishi permite al lector ser un compañero silencioso en las estancias de su protagonista a través del lado más oscuro del ciclo Yin-Yang: lidiar con la muerte y la pérdida, el dolor y la desilusión; quizás ocasionalmente con indicios de enojo o disgusto, pero nunca menos exhibe a veces una sensación casi estoica de desapego, y otras veces ausencia o resignación. Y sin embargo, hay un conocimiento acompañante de que los ciclos yin siempre son seguidos por ciclos yang positivos y activos en el continuo mayor de energía, materia, fuerza vital y Espíritu.

Estos haiku no son tan “oscuros” como son exploraciones intencionales en la oscuridad experiencial de experiencias transformadoras y brutales. Los poetas combaten la opresión y los estancamientos con su mayor espada: las palabras. Pero Natsuishi – aunque altamente inteligente sobre el mundo y la ocupación de la vida – también es humano. También es emocional. Las palabras a menudo no describen la profundidad de la emoción humana cuando se habla o escribe directamente, sin un grado de abstracción, sin inculcación, y sin involucrar o implicar a nuestro entorno. Obtenemos un mayor sentido de autojustificación cuando sentimos y podemos demostrar que realmente hay caos en todas partes.

El protagonista del poeta puede entender que la muerte y la destrucción son una parte de la vida, pero él todavía siente dolor. Sabe que las sombrías nubes de desilusión serán un día reemplazadas por los rayos del sol del yang, pero él decide investigar en detalle cómo la negatividad asedia su mundo y su percepción de él. Al reconocer esta energía yin en todas sus manifestaciones y describir su fuerza central en palabras, entonces él puede eventualmente triunfar sobre su fuerza abrumadora. Como ocurre con la mayoría de las personas en crisis personales, a menudo es en algún momento una cuestión de equilibrar el Yin contra el Yin – con la esperanza de alcanzar una grisura más suave en el camino de regreso a la Luz y la Esperanza.

Este libro es un fiel poderoso e implacable – para sus padres, para las víctimas de desastres naturales y accidentes nucleares, y para sí mismo. Más importante aún, es una documentación vívida de un viaje a través de la Oscuridad. Es privado, personal … y sin embargo se nos permite experimentar su humanidad. No es negatividad, sino más bien un hermoso relato del paso a través de un espejo de oscuridad. Pero no se deje engañar. Este libro no sólo fue escrito para Natsuishi mismo; está escrito para ti, para mí … para todos nosotros. Tal vez sea sólo conectando con la crudeza de la emotividad poética que podemos detenernos y considerar las vidas que estamos creando y el mundo que estamos destruyendo.

Por supuesto, es sólo humano para los lectores que quieren alguna finalización en el desenlace. Pero Ban’ya Natsuishi sólo ha ofrecido un billete de ida. Este es su viaje, y su continuación es verdaderamente un nuevo libro ya en construcción. Por ahora, es sólo para probar sus gafas y maravillarse de la magnífica transferencia que ha logrado. Sólo estar aquí ahora – ahora mismo, y aquí mismo – con Ban’ya Natsuishi mientras reflexiona sobre la futilidad de la Black Card.

Y luego tomar su propio viaje – en los tramos más profundos de su propio mundo emocional y las percepciones. Equilibrar el yin contra el yin. La luz del sol espera más allá de la nube oscura, pero primero debemos experimentar y aceptar la inevitabilidad de la naturaleza de las nubes.

Considere estos poemas de haiku del libro de Ban’ya Natsuishi:

Pagina 57

Cloudy sky —

my own fluttering

unheard

Cielo nublado

inaudible

mi aleteo

Pagina 61

Torrential rain pours on

a word pursuing

a word

Bajo esta lluvia torrencial,

persigue

una palabra a la otra

Pagina 69

Death is not the last answer

a bird singing

behind the mountains

La muerte

no tiene la última palabra

en la recóndita sierra gorjean los pájaros

Pagina 70

Absence is a womb

we are traveling

to the next absence

La ausencia es un seno

somos viajeros

de la ausencia

Pagina 71

Ground water silently

running to a spring

a pure night wind

Fluye hacia el manantial

un cauce subterráneo

silenciosa brisa nocturna

Pagina 73

I throw down

a dead word

to a dead fish

Lanzo

palabras muertas

a peces muertos

Pagina 124

Thunderstorm

on a giant dandelion —

the silent Japanese

Rayos y truenos

sobre el gigantesco diente de león

japoneses en silencio

Pagina 133

This sorrow:

a broken cloud

among clouds

Esta tristeza:

nubes rotas

dentro de otra nube

Pagina 151

Time filled with holes

appears

in clouds filled with holes

Aparece

un tiempo agujereado

entre nubes agujereadas

por Adam Donaldson Powell, Oslo, 2016.

Equilibrium, oil on canvas, 50x50 cm., 2016.

Equilibrium, oil on canvas, 50×50 cm., 2016.

Reflection, oil on canvas, 50x50 cm., 2016.

Reflection, oil on canvas, 50×50 cm., 2016.

COMMENTS ON “100 HAIKU” by Ban’ya Natsuishi & Sayumi Kamakura, in Japanese and English, 55 pages, paperback, 5.5 x 8.5, cyberwit.net, 2016.

This small volume presents selected haiku by Ban’ya Natsuishi and Sayumi Kamakura, with excerpts from:

  • Ban’ya Natsuishi’s “Collected Early Haiku: Roaring River (2001), “The Diary of Everyday Hunting” (1983), “Métropolitique” (1985), “Rhythm in the Vacuum” (1986), “The Fugue of Gods” (1990), “Opera in the Human Body” (1990), “Waves of Joy” (1992), “The Science of Megaliths and Big Trees” (1995), “Earth Pilgrimage” (1998), “Drifting” (2001), “Right Eye in Twilight” (2006), “Flying Pope: 161 Haiku” (2008), “Labyrinth in Vilnius” (2009), “Hybrid Paradise” (2010) and “Black Card/Tarjeta negra” (2013); and
  • Sayumi Kamakura’s “A Singing Blue” (2000), “A Crown of Roses” (2007) and “Seven Sunsets” (2013).

The book highlights individual poems in small groupings, and is perhaps more light-hearted than some of Ban’ya Natsuishi’s previous books. Nonetheless, these haiku poems all have levels of profundity as can be found in much of Natsuishi’s work. Imagine leafing through one’s memory bank of images and feelings connected with past experience — much like a photo album. Those memories and sensations that are now most subjectively vivid are not always those that we may have considered to be the most dramatic, significant or transformational at the time, but perhaps fleeting ones that we have later (now) associated with feelings, happenings and discoveries experienced recently. It is at those precious moments of protracted timeline associations that past (and sometimes seemingly forgotten) memories again come to life. They were – in fact – never really forgotten, and they may now shine anew — in a different context, sequence and perspective. In such a process — of looking back and finding new associations — we are able to see life’s chain of events in a broader and more elongated line which is at once integrated and interactive. This is the calm of mature reflection, and of being able to momentarily put aside the urgency of finding permanent solutions and assessments. We must find periods of “completion” again and again before any final summation. Haiku lends itself very well to this kind of reflection, as stillness and movement often happen concurrently in the life of the haiku. Natsuishi’s imagery is well-complemented by that of Kamakura. Hers is equally strong, but perhaps at times more feminine and quiet — full of harmonious color, but still emphatic.

The book is beautifully illustrated with calligraphy created by the poets themselves. The poetry and art are aesthetically presented, and in such a way so as not to compete with or cancel out one another. It is possible to reflect upon either the haiku or the illustrations, without the one being dependent upon the other. In that sense, this book qualifies as well as an art book or a coffee table book — an edition that needs space, accessibility and the “freedom” to be picked up and admired, rather than to be hidden between dozens of other books in a bookcase. It is also a book that is very conducive to reflection; one page at a sitting. As a single blade of grass holds the secrets of an entire universe, each haiku and illustration in this book can provide limitless insight into the science of living. These haiku and illustrations are alive.

This book contains no foreword, and no explanation stating the intentions of the authors. None is needed as the book speaks quite well for itself. The reader is quickly plunged into the minds, senses and sensibilities of the two haiku masters, without preparation or expectation. It is at once both zazen and walking meditation. There is no need to follow our breathing or rid ourselves of competing thoughts, as the authors’ “music” synchronizes our sensibilities, rhythms and sensations with that of their own.

– Adam Donaldson Powell, Oslo, 2016.

Trinity

Comments about “Màs alla Del Esfuerzo – Memorias de un Cónsul Honorario (Spanish Edition)”, 

by James G. Skinner, 136 pages, cyberwit.net, 2015.

This peculiar book is an entertaining and engaging book by an interesting personality who has created a fascinating life for himself. The book is short (136 pages) but it is packed with amusing and informative anecdotes from his years as a British consul in northern Spain. These anecdotes are – in reality – abbreviated short stories told in lively detail, but usually ending rather abruptly. Thus the reader may feel almost as if he or she is invited to a long dinner with a fantastic spread of exciting tapas dishes — only to have the table suddenly cleared and loaded up again with new exotic delights. There are so many of these anecdotes that the reader still has a full literary stomach when the stories quite suddenly come to an end. The experience can perhaps also be likened to “bar stories” exchanged by reminiscing ex-adventurers. They are captivating and well-written, in a simple, refreshing and matter-of-fact literary style: “this is how it was”, and with no attempts at being“academic” or “poetic”.

The final portion of the book is a mini-autobiography of sorts, disguised as a personal timeline. Here Skinner remembers and recounts the many major events, travels and jobs in his life — spanning from 1938 until 2007, and on several continents.

As noted above, the author has had a most interesting life, and he is a good conversationalist and writer. His writing makes the mouth water for more, and longer stories — and although I have yet to read any of his novels, I am now curious to do so.

It would seem that James G. Skinner has perhaps always “walked the extra mile”. In spite of some disappointments along the way I believe that the rich rewards that he has reaped in the total context of his fabulous life should inspire many to approach their own lives with the same enthusiasm for life and for doing the right thing — even if it means sometimes bending some rules. And hopefully, to share those learnings and experiences wide and far, as James G. Skinner does.

– Adam Donaldson Powell, Oslo, 2016.

Commentarios sobre “Màs alla Del Esfuerzo – Memorias de un Cónsul Honorario (Spanish Edition)”, 

por James G. Skinner, 136 paginas, cyberwit.net, 2015.

Este libro peculiar es un libro entretenido y atractivo, escrito por una personalidad interesante que ha creado una vida fascinante para sí mismo. El libro es corto (136 páginas), pero está lleno de anécdotas divertidas e informativas de sus años como consul británico en el norte de España. Estas anécdotas son – en realidad – abreviadas historias cortas contadas en detalle vivo, pero terminan generalmente algo abruptamente. Así, el lector puede sentirse casi como si el o ella es invitado a una larga cena con una fantástica variedad platos de tapas emocionantes – sólo para tener la mesa de repente despejada y cargada de nuevo con nuevas delicias exóticas. Hay tantas de estas anécdotas que el lector todavía tiene un estómago literario completo cuando las historias de repente llegan a su fin. La experiencia también puede ser comparado con “historias de bar” — intercambiadas por la reminiscencia de ex aventureros. Son cautivantes y bien escritas, en un estilo literario simple, refrescante y práctico: “así es como fue”, y sin intentos de ser “académico” o “poético”.

La parte final del libro es una mini-autobiografía, disfrazada como una línea de tiempo personal. Aquí Skinner recuerda y relata los muchos acontecimientos importantes, viajes y trabajos en su vida – que abarcan desde 1938 hasta 2007, y en varios continentes.

Como se mencionó anteriormente, el autor ha tenido una vida muy interesante, y es un buen conversador y escritor. Su escritura hace que la boca haga agua para más, y más historias – y aunque todavía tengo que leer cualquiera de sus novelas, ahora tengo curiosidad por hacerlo.

Parece que James G. Skinner quizás siempre “caminó la milla extra”. A pesar de algunas decepciones en el camino creo que las ricas recompensas que ha cosechado en el contexto total de su fabulosa vida debe inspirar a muchos a acercarse a sus propias vidas con el mismo entusiasmo para la vida y para hacer lo correcto – incluso si significa a veces doblar algunas reglas. Y con suerte, para compartir esos aprendizajes y experiencias de manera amplia y lejana, como hace James G. Skinner.

por Adam Donaldson Powell, Oslo, 2016.

Flora, erotica no. 1

REVIEW OF “THAT EROTIC SILENCE”, by Dr. Anuj, 259 pages, Cyberwit.net, 2016.

This book represents a creative and courageous approach to writing by the author: Dr. Anuj.

For me, the boldness has both to do with the subject matter, i.e. the nascence and development of sexuality from childhood onward and the accompanying Freudian explanations, as well as the unusual style of writing: 259 pages of mostly third person narrative and devoid of dialogue! The possible pitfalls to avoid in such an endeavor are many,including snubbing the literary police who religiously warn against “telling rather than showing” the reader, risks of alienating reader participation by distancing him or her from the characters’ speech, interactions and multi-dimensional personalities, and the possible tediousness of almost unbroken narrative prose over so many pages.

Here there were no great concerns, it would seem. The author managed to maintain my attention and interest throughout the book, largely due to the fact that the author has a good command of English vocabulary, a passion for the story, a good storytelling ability, a sense of detail, and the successful usage of descriptive imagery and social and culture dynamics — all of which blossom with leaps and bounds, as the book progresses.

Despite the lack of direct dialogue and traditional in-depth character development, the author manages to create an almost cinematic quality in the storytelling. The author obviously enjoyed writing this tale, and that engagement has brought life to a rather difficult exercise.

While sexual development in the young protagonist “Z” is the primary problem examined, the underlying main theme is rather about learning to understand love — perhaps mostly from the perspective and experience of women. It is an endearing story, which is well-communicated.

Dr. Rosa Maria DelVecchio provides a very good foreword to the book, but with spoilers. Do read it, but consider reading the story first.

This book would make an interesting study for creative writing students today.

by Adam Donaldson Powell, 2016, Norway.

REVIEW OF “THE IMPOSSIBLE GIRL”, 198 pages, by Jyothirllata Girija, Cyberwit.net, 2016.

This is a delightful and fast-paced play – in three acts – which is set in India. Girija has done a wonderful job with her storytelling and, even though I was convinced that I had guessed the final outcome already one-third of the way through the script, the author managed to throw out a few surprising fireballs all the way to the final page. There are many themes and agendas presented for thought and discussion in this short play, and they are all handled quite well. Girija has excellent writing skills, and a keen understanding of reader psychology. 
 
 
by Adam Donaldson Powell, Oslo, 2016.
We the People - Democracy by gun, 100x81 cm, oil on canvas, 2016.

We the People – Democracy by gun, 100×81 cm, oil on canvas, 2016.

Review of “…the smell of piss an’ shit in his pants – The vicarious memoir of a Vietnam War veteran -“, by T. Wignesan, 120 pages, Cyberwit.net, 2015, paperback.

From the author’s Preface:

“This is the story of a Vietnam War veteran. It would hardly be appropriate to use the word veteran for one so young, for when Ulixes was de-mobbed he was only twenty-two. He was born in the borough of Queens and grew up mainly there and in Brooklyn, New York, before being conscripted at twenty. In all he had spent a year and 67 days in Vietnam during which time he saw action as a foot-soldier. On three occasions, he and his patrol were ambushed by the Viet-Cong and North Vietnamese regular army personnel. There were seven other skirmishes as well. The first time a month after his arrival on October 1st, 1968, he went through the shock of seeing and handling mashed-up and dismembered bodies of his buddies while staving off an attack from the Viet Cong. The second took place two months later during the Mini Tet Offensive at Long Ogygia Base on the Cambodian border and lasted some twelve hours. He killed two North Vietnamese Army personnel; one with his M16 and another with his Ka-Bar knife. He sustained no great injuries himself; that is, not visibly on his person, but the scars of shock and fear were scorched deep under his fatigues and skin and rose with time to render his life a vacant yet furies-filled passage between the embattled three-room quarters he occupies and the Veterans’ Hospital. On the psychologist and psychiatrists’ cards he remains tagged as a post-traumatic stress (PTS) case.”

And with the following additional sentences from the cyberwit.net description of the book:

“Is he a hero? Or an anti-hero? Or just a victim of circumstances? A pawn on the chess-board moved by invisible hands? Judge for yourself.”

T. Wignesan is a literary provocateur, and reading his books always presents the reader with challenges and tests. These are not so much tests of academic or literary intelligence; they rather “allow the reader to understand” that not all in life (or literature) is as expected, or as presented. Wignesan is adept at creating constructions that ensnare, release, and then change again. He is clearly interested in how persons think, and how they are conditioned. In this book he boldly states that the story to be presented is purposely not written in a linear fashion, and he explains why — blaming the interview subject, communications difficulties, occasional apathy on the parts of both the author and the interview subject, and other issues. While much information is presented in the book, it is highly-deconstructed. Some sections are highly-detailed and engaging, and others read more like journal entries — recording disconnected, but yet connected conversations and narratives. The reader who does not hold out might well conclude that this book is merely poorly-written. But alas, Wignesan is far ahead of us. For those who are paying attention there are many “coincidental” revelations throughout the book — and a bit of reflection while reading successive chapters and passages is enough to leave you both cursing the author and praising his weird genius by the time you reach the last page. You see, this story is really not about any big or important story, and it is truly not about the protagonists (the “author” and the interview subject). In fact, the only protagonist in this “novel” is the Reader.

Already from the beginning we are drawn into a series of puddles which become concentric circles — of both small and meaningless, and greater and more significant proportions. We will not find our way through the labyrinth by linear thinking. It does not matter where this “story” begins. It begins and ends in the mind of the Reader. It is up to you to let the process mix up and possibly explode your mind, or to give up — blaming the author for not being a coherent, traditional, non-academic … or good writer.

Wignesan has fun throughout the book — with repetitions (and comments signifying that he knows that he repeats himself), with references to earlier books (and what I assume has been criticism for their academic style), and more. When Wignesan finally gets to the promised “story” over half-way through the book, he does give us exactly what we wanted from the beginning: a fluid, descriptive, engaging, and well-told story that only requires that we follow the words. But by then it is too late, dear Reader. Wignesan has already penetrated your mindset with literary guerrilla warfare. You have already been disabled, and had your literary ego neutralized and violated.

And finally — in the last few pages — Wignesan cleverly manages to extricate himself of responsibility by revealing his mere advisory role in the whole vicarious mess of piss an’ shit.

What do you expect, dear Reader? He has a doctoral degree in aesthetics, for chrissake! Hahaha …

I have previously written three essays based on books by T. Wignesan:

– Literary criticism by Adam Donaldson Powell (based upon “Poïetics : Disquisitions on the Art of Creation”, published by Cyberwit.net, India, 2008, ISBN 978-81-8253-104-8, 214 pages, paperback.

– Literary criticism by Adam Donaldson Powell – based upon “Victorian (pen-in-cheek) Vignettes” and “The Night Soil Man”, both published by Cyberwit.net, India, 2008, respectively : ISBN 978-81-8253-107-9, 207 pages, paperback; and ISBN 978-81-8253-124-6, 193 pages, paperback.

– Literary criticism (2009) by Adam Donaldson Powell (based upon “Mere deaths and the mostly dead : a collection of six long and four short stories”, published by Cyberwit.net, India, 2008, ISBN 978-81-8253-122-2, 275 pages, paperback).

These essays can be read here: https://adamangel.me/2011/07/10/adam-donaldson-powell-reviews-literary-works-by-t-wignesan/

– Adam Donaldson Powell, Oslo, 2017.

Deconstructed pond, oil on canvas, 40x40 cm. (An exploration of the zone in between Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism.)

Deconstructed pond, oil on canvas, 40×40 cm. (An exploration of the zone in between Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism.)

REVIEW OF “FLOTSAM OF THE MIND”, 92 pages, Malini, Cyberwit.net, 2016.

“Flotsam of the Mind” is a good attempt for a first book of poetry. The author demonstrates a good understanding of poetry styles, and has many thoughts to communicate. With maturity, experience and practice her writing will improve even more so.

– Adam Donaldson Powell, 2016, Norway.

(photography and paintings by Adam Donaldson Powell)

%d bloggers like this: