Saturday, May 21, 2005

Drawing: Ronaldo V. Wilson + Ricoeur, RIP

On my old Website, which I still haven't resurrected, I had a page featuring some of my drawings and sketches. I used to draw a lot, especially when I was watching semi-rapt as someone threw down science at the Dark Room Collective's reading series, or when I was riding on the not-so-jerky Red Line T trains from Cambridge to Dorchester. Another favorite place to draw was in MIT's old Rotch Library during my lunch hour during my years at the LMP, as Course 4, 11 and 16* students quietly filed in to read the newspapers and magazines. Now I only do so when the feeling grips me, and in the last few years, it's mainly been at readings or lectures. (One of my favorite stories is of drawing Mark Strand when he read at U.Va., and later showing him the picture, to which he responded, after a smile, "My shoulders aren't that narrow." Perspective, perspective.)

Here's one from 2002, when I went to see the Black Took Collective (Duriel Harris, Dawn Lundy Martin, and Ronaldo V. Wilson) perform their work at a reading Christopher Stackhouse organized at the St. Mark's Poetry Project. I arrived too late to catch and capture Dawn, but here's a rendering of Ronaldo (I did draw Duriel::DrPomoFunk, who is barely visible in palimpsestic fashion if you look closely enough at Ronaldo's face--but I'll post the drawing of her soon), reading one of his poems.

Ronaldo WilsonThe words hovering around Ronaldo (Serena) like so many shuttlecocks or tennis balls I fetched from his performance, or maybe I dreamt them after opening holes in his chronophotographes (serenatopes?). The balloon features authentic quotes, though (probably) altered a little.

He also chatted on his cellphone (with Dawn?), and (break) danced, which I sort of drew on another page of my book. (I can't remember if he sang, though Duriel did.) They were wonderful.

To really get a sense of how alive and fun it all was, I'd have needed a video camera (showing live feed),

which makes me think
the Black Took Collective
ought to issue
some videos/DVDs
cause this is one of DrPomo's
many points of expertise.

This upcoming Monday, May 23, 2005, Ronaldo will be at the Poetry Project, creating a moment entitled "Hand/Eyes/Coordinates," which is described in the newsletter (by him?) as a "talk-performance" that'll "explore the relationship between drawing and tennis as vehicles that can inform writing: in what ways do the hand and eye work together?"

the poem a naked prince
make an epistle
but penetrate....
*Points to anyone who has a clue about what these refer to.

Thanks to Modern Kicks for links to the AP obituary of former University of Chicago professor Paul Ricoeur, one of the leading contemporary continental philosophers and thinkers. Ricoeur's work spanned many areas in philosophy, including hermeneutics and phenomenology, which he trained with great success upon an array of topics. Several years ago I used his essay on time, narrative and plot, "Narrative Time" (in WJT Mitchell's still valuable volume On Narrative (Chicago, 1981)), in an advanced fiction writing course, and often think of it and Ricoeur's subsequent work, the remarkable three-volume Time and Narrative (Chicago, 1984) as essential to understanding how texts--in the broadest sense of the term, including ourselves as narrating agents and narrative objects in time--function and cohere.


  1. That is totally Ronaldo. It's like he walks around with those words floating around him, too.

  2. You know it. Your HBCU response on the CC listserve is amazing. I don't know if you plan to post it on Sweat, but I agree with Treasure, please feature it somewhere. I tried 2-3 times to express that 1) there are black artists practicing, creating, teaching at HBCUs and 2) that the issues HBCUs face are easier to criticize from the outside than if you're working at one, but I think your personalized response takes the topic to another level. Thank you!