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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

October 31, 2007

nice costume, dude

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 12:58 pm

  We didn’t get to take Art History at the G.U. School of Foreign Service back in the late 1960’s, so I’m not sure whether I ever “knew” that ancient Greek and Roman statuary used to be painted. But, now I know, thanks to a great article in the latest Harvard Magazine, “Dazzlers: Ancients reborn in bright array” (Nov-Dec 2007), which includes photos of works appearing in the exhibit Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity, which is at the Arthur M. Sackler Museum through January 20, 2008. The exhibit presents 22 painted, full-size copies of Greek and Roman originals.

According to the article, which quotes Susanne Ebbinghaus, Hanfmann curator of ancient art at the Harvard University Art Museums:

   The color reconstructions are based on close examination of the originals and on scientific analysis of the scarce traces of paint remaining on them. Ultraviolet light, says Ebbinghaus, “brings out ‘paint ghosts,’ differences in the surface structure of the stone caused by different paints and by the weathering of the paints. It can often give you an idea of patterns, even if no pigments survive.”

“We now assume that almost all Greek marble sculpture was painted,” she says. “These reconstructions can only be approximations,” but at least they dispel a popular misconception—that most statues of antiquity were plain old white. Plain would not be thought ideal until the Renaissance.

statues in the square
the raised hand of the war hero
fills with snow

………………………….. by George Swede – Almost Unseen (Brooks Books, 2000)

The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor presents an excellent mini-history of Halloween today (October 31, 2007). The Celts believed Halloween was the day of the year when spirits, ghosts, faeries, and goblins walked the earth. And, “Historians believe that they dressed up as ghost and goblins to scare away the spirits, and they would put food and wine on their doorstep for the spirits of family members who had come back to visit the home.” Apparently, “Pope Gregory III turned Halloween into a Christian holiday” (but it didn’t quite work out as he planned). Indeed, “It wasn’t until the early 20th century that Halloween became a holiday for children.” However:

“Tonight, about 70 percent of American households will open their doors and offer candy to children, and Halloween parties are becoming increasingly popular among adults. It’s the one day a year that people can freely dress as the opposite gender, as criminals, superheroes, celebrities, animals, or even inanimate objects. But retailers report that the most popular costumes remain some variation on witches, ghosts, and devils.”

With all sorts of grinches out there trying to put a politically-or-religously correct damper on Halloween, we make out annual plea to “let the kids enjoy Halloween“. (You’ll find a bagful of Halloween-themed haiku and senryu by clicking that link.)

halloween twilight
again this year my son waits
alone by the door

easter brunch
his daughter’s hair
a new shade of pink

……………………… by Roberta Beary, The Unworn Necklace (2007)
“halloween twilight” – 1st place, Tokutomi Memorial Haiku Contest 2006
“easter brunch” – Modern Haiku (Fall 2007)

“No Costume No Treat”
goth kids
at my door

…………………….. dagosan – see the original haiga at MagnaPoetsJF

vampCvampC Looking for some theory on why we like scary stories? In “The Horror and the Beauty” (Harvard Magazine, by Craig Lambert, November-December 2007) you can read about Maria Tatar, who “explores the dazzle and the ‘dark side, in fairy tales—and why we read them.” It’s an interesting piece. I find this little glimpse at academia kinda scary:

DAGself “Tatar’s passions for the Brothers Grimm and Anne Frank stayed with her, but at Princeton in the late 1960s, she discovered that both were verboten at the graduate level. “The Grimms were off limits because fairy tales were not deemed worthy of scholarly attention,” she explains, “and studying the Holocaust was taboo because it raised too many anxieties about the status of German culture in the academy.”

“Why always the pathological?” Tatar has a ready answer. “It seems so much more interesting than the good, the true, and the beautiful. Trying to understand why things go wrong seems to me more productive than just focusing on what is right.”

winter solstice
our son reads a fairy tale
to his unborn son

sleeping bats–
an echo suggests
the depth of the cave

………………………………………………………. by Peggy Lyles
“winter solstice” – To Hear the Rain (Brooks Books, 20020
“sleeping bats” – Frogpond XXVIII: 3 (2005)


It’s traditional to ask what our Halloween costume choice tells us about ourselves. In a twist, a recent New York Times article asks what a candidate’s choice of fashion gear says about their campaign and their psyches. See “Their Looks for Fall 2008” (Oct. 25, 2007).

halloween party —
the shrink can’t decide:
tarts or cheese cake?

…………………………………….. by dagosan –

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