National Heritage Board

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1. STOLEN ARTIFACTS?

The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) is one of the National Museums of Singapore under the National Heritage Board.

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A photo of the 1,000-year-old bronze sculpture of Uma Parmeshvari stolen from a temple in Tamil Nadu and sold to the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore. Source: The Hindu

On 6 December 2013, TRE broke the news that a 1,000-year idol stolen from India was in the possession of ACM.

“The 1,000-year-old Uma Parmeshvari bronze sculpture was stolen from a temple in the Ariyalur district of Tamil Nadu in 2005 or 2006 before being smuggled to Art Of The Past, owned by disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor. Kapoor sold the idol to ACM for US$650,000 in February 2007.

According to chasingaphrodite.com, a blog dedicated to the hunt for looted antiquities in the world’s museums, Kapoor’s contact in Singapore is ACM’s senior curator Dr Gauri Krishnan. The blog is written and maintained by Jason Felch, an award-winning investigative reporter with the Los Angeles Times.”
23PrincessRoad

“Singapore’s Asian Civilizations Museum bought more than $1 million of art from disgraced Manhattan antiquities dealer Subhash Kapoor, according to business records from Kapoor’s Art of the Past gallery.”
Chasing Aphrodite

2. ART AND MONEY LAUNDERING

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Art dealer Yves Bouvier, a Singapore permanent resident. Source: ST

Prominent Swiss businessman and art dealer Yves Bouvier, who is under investigation in Monaco for fraud and money laundering, is a Singapore permanent resident. He was accused by Russian billionaire and art collector Dmitry Rybolovlev of inflating the prices of works by master artists such as Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh.

Bouvier owns a company that ships and stores art for the wealthy, and has majority stakes in freeports — warehouses for the rich to store art and other valuables — including one in Singapore.

Lawyers and art dealers familiar with the discussions say the case could expand well beyond Bouvier and reach into the top galleries and billionaire collectors in New York, London and Hong Kong. It could widen to involve not only undisclosed mark-ups by dealers, but also tax fraud, global money laundering and possible bribery. 

“This is just the beginning,” said one prominent art lawyer in New York who asked not to be named. “There will be a lot of big dealers and collectors involved.”

3. PAMELIA LEE and Tang Dynasty Ship / Shipwreck Treasure

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Pamelia Lee; sister-in-law of LKY. Image from Challenge.gov.sg

In 2004, as Senior Consultant to the Singapore Tourism Board, Mrs Pamelia Lee (a sister-in-law of Lee Kuan Yew) handled the acquisition of a 9th Century shipwreck treasure of over 53,000 artifacts, known as the “Tang Shipwreck Treasures: Singapore’s Maritime Collection.”

Trafficking Culture, a website run by the University of Glasgow, focuses on understanding the international trade in illicit cultural objects.

From a 2012 article on Trafficking Culture:

. . .the Indonesian government turned to commercial salvaging company Seabed Explorations, led by German director Tilman Walterfang.

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Tilman Walterfang, founder and owner of Seabed Explorations NZ Ltd. with Mrs. Pamelia Lee during one of her many visits to Seabed Explorations New Zealand.

Walterfang sold the collection for $32 million USD in 2005 to the Sentosa Leisure Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Sentosa Development Corporation, an entity established by the government of Singapore. The Sentosa Development Corporation established a long-term loan agreement with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and that same year, the STB teamed up with the Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore to display highlights from the collection in an exhibition titled, ‘Tang Treasures from the Sea’.

In 2007, the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer/Sackler Galleries was approached by Singapore Tourism Board’s Pamelia Lee about organizing an exhibition of the shipwreck and putting together a book.

. . .This news sparked an internal debate within the Smithsonian, [when] archaeologists in other museum departments heard that an exhibition of unscientifically excavated, commercially exploited artefact was so far along.

Source: Trafficking Culture

This screenshot mentions some financial numbers re: the Tang Shipwreck Treasure.

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Financial Statements, Notes (2013). Source: NHB.

Last paragraph: “During the current financial year, 53,227 heritage materials of the Tang Shipwreck Treasure were transferred from the Singapore Tourism Board to the Board. The heritage materials were valued by an external valuer on a class basis and was valued at SGD$75,020,166  (US$60,392,985) in June 2012. These are recorded as part of heritage capital reserve.”

  • Reader Tip: I remember those days, lots of rumours Pamelia Lee made a lot of comission from this. I noticed a lot of the Lee or Kwa family members used to be ex-directors in the National Heritage Board too.

4. BOARD MEMBERS in NATIONAL HERITAGE BOARD

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NHB Board Members (PDF; 2013)

I. Some board members include (from 2013 document):

II. Mini FAMILY TREE Image

NHB_Relatives

5. NOTE ABOUT MR. KWA CHONG GUAN:

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Kwa Chong Guan; a nephew of Kwa Geok Choo (Mrs. LKY)

Kwa Chong Guan, a nephew of the late Mrs. Lee Kuan Yew, is a Member of the National Heritage Board and current chairman of the National Archives Advisory Committee. He is also a board member of the National Library Board, and chairs the Acquisition Sub-committee of the Asian Civilisations Board.

From the website of The National Archives of Singapore:

“The National Archives of Singapore (NAS) is the keeper of records of national or historical significance. The records acquired by NAS come from both public agencies and private sources. Records in various mediums and formats are safeguarded and preserved.

The immensely rich collection continues to grow as NAS fulfils its mission to actively acquire records that will serve as the corporate memory of the Government and the social memory of our people. This memory allows current and future generations of Singaporeans to understand our different cultures, explore our common heritage and appreciate who we are and how we became a nation.”
National Archives of Singapore (Our Roles)

With academics warning of the “power of the Singapore state in constraining [history],” one wonders just how much of the National Archives is made to keep in line with “the well-rehearsed official state narrative.”

Author Interview, Katy Gilbert

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Interview #64, with the author of “Why You’re Gorgeous”: Katy Gilbert!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

katygilbert

Determined, optimistic, individual, creative, caring.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

katy gilbert

From Why You’re Gorgeous:

Blurb:
“Have you ever felt less than utterly delectable?
Ever ruled out the possibility of wearing something that you loved (hello, leopard print Speedos) because you were afraid of what people might think?
Have you ever considered chainsawing your thighs or diving into a cereal diet?
Are you concerned that you can’t be manly if you wear pink?
Have you ever been told that real women are all curvy, or that you need to ‘erase’ your wrinkles?
Confidence lacking? Not believing that you’re exceptionally attractive?
You’ve come to the right place.
Welcome to the world of Why You’re Gorgeous!
It’s time to skip along the path to self-love. It’s possible.
What are you waiting for, gorgeous?”

Excerpt:

“You’re meant to look at your face and your body and gasp in horror. I’m a human being! With skin that isn’t baby youthful for eternity! I have hips! Where is my sixteen pack?! My jaw could do with a bit of chiselling — fetch the tool box! Quickly!

[…]Laughter lines? We can erase them! Hold still, this scalpel here’s just gonna nick into your wallet. Hips?! Unnecessary nowadays, out with them!

[…]Need a more manly jaw? Dahling, haven’t you seen the wonders a painless transformational procedure can achieve? We’ll have you de-deformed in no time.”

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

Oooh, this is so difficult, but what a great question!

I eventually chose Meg Rosoff. This is an excerpt from her book Just In Case:

“Who knows what to expect from a blast of that magnitude? The brain struggles to process information with which it has no experience, races to find an explanation for the searing pain in one shoulder, the awkward bend of a leg folded under and digging into your solar plexus, a leg that turns out not to be your own.

[…]All around are events signalling noise, mouths open in the posture of screams, huge panes of glass splintering from within bent window frames. Everything falls much too slowly and silently towards the ground.”

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

Writing is the love of my life, the publication process is…not so much! No, I’m joking! Whereas being an author is everything to me -– writing is my passion, purpose, the one (when you know you just know, right?!) –- the publishing world is full of dreams and sparkle and you really have to grind away at it to reach them. That’s not a bad thing, though! I’ve self-published two books now, and the publishing side is always a little more stressful than the actual writing. I suppose it just doesn’t flutter around me quite as naturally, but the challenge is an important one! It’s cool to be able to look over your shoulder and know that you achieved it.

In terms of approaching publishers and agents I love the overall experience; I take joy in creating my story. It is very wearing at times; I don’t think you can be aware of the full extent of what you’re taking on until you’re caught up in it yourself. It takes guts to persevere in this industry: you’re constantly offering yourself up for approval, and more often than not you don’t get it. I think you have to relinquish your grip on the personal and let rejection whoosh over your head. Be the sparrowhawk, not the sparrow!

There’ll always be days when it hits you harder than others, but that’s OK. There’ll be one day that turns out to be the best, ever, when everything finally comes together. It’s so exciting to think about a gleam of sun rising on it, and you having no idea what’s falling into place! I mean, that’s exciting regarding any day, let alone one as special as that.

I like that part about how it’s exciting regarding any day ;) What is your definition of “good writing”?

I think for writing to be ‘good’ it just needs passion behind it. If an author is completely dedicated to really putting craft and effort in the end result will have a degree of shine to it. That’s always going to be better than something someone’s thrown together for the sake of money or popularity, for example -– no matter how much talent is involved in either. Love for your baby shows!

Sweet! Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Keep going. You have times when you think ‘God, how much longer is it going to be like this’, then you get up the next morning and you do it again and again.
If you persevere you’ll come through the other side, right out into the bright, sparkling, unicorn adorned light!

And, enjoy the journey! Don’t be so fixated on ‘making it’ that you miss out on what’s just as important, which is getting there. You want your own story to be fabulous, too!

Sorry, that’s two tips.

Important ones, though :) Your websites/blogs/etc:

www.katygilb.com (website)
www.katygilblog.tumblr.com (blog)
www.katygilbert.bigcartel.com (buy / shop)
www.youtube.com/katygilb

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Much thanks to Katy for stopping by — do visit her website for more info about her and her very original/inspiring projects. Stay up to date and win cool prizes with her newsletter too!

UPDATE (2 Sept 12): Here’s my review of Why You’re Gorgeous.

Quality Erotica

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* This post is part of a short series on Quality Erotica:

QUALITY EROTICA (aka “Jess’s Erotic Stash”)

PART 1: Introduction + Erotic Art Books
PART 2: Erotic Books (Non-Fiction)
PART 3: Erotic Poetry
PART 4: Erotic Books (Fiction)
PART 5: More on Love/Sex/Relationships

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Jess’s erotic stash / “sex education”

INTRODUCTION:

After reading Fifty Shades of Grey (which was romance/fantasy), I thought of the (high-quality) erotic books I own because all of them gave me a really good grounding with regards to love/sex/relationships (in both fact and fiction).

In the above photo of my “erotic stash,” the first three books which introduced me to the world of erotic literature were:

(1) Edgar Allan Poe Anthology

(2) Anais Nin’s Little Birds

(3) D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover

I got those three books when I was 16 years old (nothing prepared me for the deviant wonder of Anais Nin — LOL!). Poe isn’t exactly an erotic writer (in the “sexual” sense) though one of his love letters in the anthology really opened up my perspective on relationships.

These are high-quality erotic books (what “erotica” should ideally be about) which “deal openly and excitingly with sexuality as a part of human experience” (to quote my co-author on Teen Guide, Matt Posner). Wikipedia (erotic literature) is a good resource if you want to learn more about this type of literature, and find the classics.

I’ve always (1) had a high level of interest in sex, (2) found sexuality to be a fascinating subject matter, especially when it’s intense/raw/realistic/non-superficial.

The books in my stash showed me what “real sex” is all about [as compared to the type of sex that most of the “mass media propaganda” (to quote Dr. Alex Comfort of The Joy of Sex / Part II in this series) likes to sell to consumers].

It really made a difference because I learned (and continue to learn) a lot about the true scope of what love/life/sex is all about. I wasn’t aware of it, but I think this entire stash helped me to understand the importance of developing a happy and relaxed sexuality (another quote from Dr. Comfort in The Joy of Sex).

I hope you find some good reads here ;)

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QUALITY EROTICA (aka “Jess’s Erotic Stash”)

For now I’ve divided my stash into five sections —

PART 1: Erotic Art Books
PART 2: Non-Fiction
PART 3: Poetry
PART 4: Fiction (Novels / Anthologies)
PART 5: More on Love/Sex/Relationships

[PART 1: Erotic Art Books]

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1. The Kama Sutra Illuminated: Erotic Art of India | Amazon.com

Blurb: Features 200+ artworks, accompanied by excerpts from the Sir Richard Burton translation of the original text. Long treasured as an uninhibited exaltation of erotic and mystical bliss, the Kama Sutra is a sublime gift for lovers — and lovers of beautiful art.

Excerpt:

“Decency, reality, and love;
Personal views and public opinion–
One who knows the Kama Sutra sees through all such things,
And is not programmed by one’s appetites.”

(Kama Sutra 7.2.51)

It was from this book that I directly learned how the actual/ancient Kama Sutra was not a sex manual (as it’s taken to be in Westernized cultures), but as something psychological to enhance a person’s personal/spiritual life. P.S. It’s a HUGE book with very high-quality prints.

Links: Amazon.com | Kama Sutra Quotes

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2. Erotica: An Illustrated Anthology of Sexual Art and Literature | Amazon.com

Blurb: This illustrated anthology presents a collection of the very best examples of sexual art and literature spanning two thousand years: from classical Rome and the ancient East to the novels of D. H. Lawrence and Henry Miller. Artworks from Aubrey Beardsley, Henry Fuseli, Gustav Klimt, Thomas Rowlandson, and many others are juxtaposed with literary pieces from such names as C. P. Cavafy, Frank Harris, John Cleland, Anais Nin, Boccaccio, Christina Rossetti, Oscar Wilde, and Casanova.

Excerpt:

Sadly, following the liberalization of the laws governing the publication of sexual material, a great deal of second-rate, ugly and pernicious stuff has also become available. This was inevitable but it does not argue for suppression. Indeed, it makes it vital for good erotica to be published, so that we can see for ourselves the difference between the life-enhancing, and the sordid and destructive. . . (Introduction / Page 7)

Best parts of the book =

1) the blend/presentation of pieces of erotic art, alongside excerpts of the finest literary erotica in the history of publishing/the written word

2) the scope of the selected works (which span over 2000 years of both Eastern and Western cultures)

This book which combines erotic art and literature is definitely one of my favourites in the entire stash.

Link: Amazon.com

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3. Icons of Erotic Art | Amazon.com

Blurb: This intimate, exquisitely produced collection offers provocative insights into what distinguishes the merely titillating from the masterful. Icons of Erotic Art brings together 150 sublime examples of this dynamic, covering nearly every major period on art history: ancient, Renaissance, and Rococo paintings; treasures from India, Japan, and China; Impressionist and Modernist masterpieces; even caricature, cartoons, and Pop Art. The result is a dazzling display of artistic eroticism and a new understanding of how its power transcends time and temperament.

Excerpt:

For the statue’s 500th birthday in 2004 Michelangelo’s David underwent an eight-month cleaning process to remove years of pollution from the marble surface.

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Image from Wikipedia

Working in daily proximity to this erotic icon, one of the restorers was overwhelmed by the experience. She was quoted in the press, saying: “I felt so much emotion when I found myself face-to-face with this giant. My heart was beating too fast. I had to call the doctor.” The ordinary viewer, gazing up at David’s 4.34 meters, cannot fail to be equally impressed, both by the heroic size and the vulnerability of David’s extraordinary body. (“The Voluptuous Male” / Page 18)

Gorgeous book and very informative.

Link: Amazon.com

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4. Art Nouveau and the Erotic | Amazon.com

Blurb: The swirling sensuous forms of Art Nouveau are synonymous with the erotic. This concise, fully illustrated study shows how the idea of the erotic was given visual expression by artists and designers, creating in the process some of the most striking and representative works in the new style.

Excerpt:

Art Nouveau designers created a style they deemed appropriate for a complex modern world. The style articulated widely held anxieties caused by opposing forces within society: nature versus technology, individual versus community, nationalism versus internationalism and — most significantly in the context of the erotic — the physical versus the spiritual. (Introduction / Page 8)

Don’t let the compact size of this book fool you ;)

Link: Amazon.com

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5. Skyscrapers of Oz (Yaoi Manga) | Amazon.com

Blurb: From tailing your lover to walking your dog, no job is too small! Mari and his partner Yoichi are drop-dead gorgeous “Handymen.” But they also have a hidden (and dangerous) other side. Their latest job is, of all things, to sleep with Yu, a beautiful male student! But instead Mari finds himself rescuing Yu from an attack, then sheltering him in his own apartment!

Excerpt:

Click on the second and third images above.

Yaoi also known as Boys’ Love, is a Japanese popular term for female-oriented fictional media that focus on homoerotic or homoromantic male relationships, usually created by female authors. I probably should “expand” my manga knowledge but that was an erotic one I got by chance that I enjoyed (very nice/cool drawings, especially if you find yaoi manga ‘sweet’).

Links: Amazon.com | Wikipedia (Yaoi)

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QUALITY EROTICA (aka “Jess’s Erotic Stash”)

PART 1: Introduction + Erotic Art Books
PART 2: Erotic Books (Non-Fiction)
PART 3: Erotic Poetry
PART 4: Erotic Books (Fiction)
PART 5: More on Love/Sex/Relationships

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Poet Interview, Frank Mundo

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Interview #51, with poet, Frank Mundo!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

frank_mundo

Student of literature and art.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

frank_burbury

REMORSE by Frank Mundo

I must lay this to rest, must cast it aside,
Where memories map and nightmares collide
Like basic units of matter and mass.
I must embrace the lie: that this too shall pass
In time with patience if virtue is true,
And forget all I think (or thought) that I knew.
I must plough forward, despite all desire
And accept what faith and the future inspire
Without ever, of course, accepting the blame
For all that I did that earned me the name.

Share an excerpt of your favorite poet’s work (10-100 words):

* Note from Jess: I’m unable to accurately format this poem (in terms of spacing, etc). The poem’s original formatting can be viewed here.

The Triple Fool by John Donne

I am two fools, I know,
For loving, and for saying so
In whining poetry ;
But where’s that wise man, that would not be I,
If she would not deny ?
Then as th’ earth’s inward narrow crooked lanes
Do purge sea water’s fretful salt away,
I thought, if I could draw my pains
Through rhyme’s vexation, I should them allay.
Grief brought to numbers cannot be so fierce,
For he tames it, that fetters it in verse.

But when I have done so,
Some man, his art and voice to show,
Doth set and sing my pain ;
And, by delighting many, frees again
Grief, which verse did restrain.
To love and grief tribute of verse belongs,
But not of such as pleases when ’tis read.
Both are increasèd by such songs,
For both their triumphs so are published,
And I, which was two fools, do so grow three.
Who are a little wise, the best fools be.

Did reading a poem first spark the desire to write poetry, or was it an experience?:

After reading and studying for many years, I decided to give it a try myself. But it was reading Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales that inspired me to write my book The Brubury Tales.

I did link the two together ;)! What goal do you seek through your poetry?

To take a big fat stick and challenge our history, traditions, values, beliefs, mores, standards, stereotypes and anything else we take for granted or as gospel.

Most excellent (I like to combat the ‘sheeple’ mentality too). Please share your #1 tip for poets/writers:

Passion is not enough. Never stop studying your craft.

High standards. Your websites/blogs/etc:

Frank Mundo Books on Amazon.com

Twitter: @frankemundo

Facebook: FrankMundoBooks

You Tube: FrankMundoPoet

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Much thanks to Frank for stopping by!

Frank’s Bio:

For 14 years, FRANK MUNDO worked as a graveyard-shift security guard in Los Angeles, a job which allowed him to write and publish hundreds of stories, poems, essays, book reviews and author interviews. A book reviewer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, The New York Journal of Books, LA Books Examiner, Westside Today, Karisma Magazine (UCLA) and The Swamp, Frank earned a BA in English from UCLA, where he completed the Creative Writing Program.

His first book of poetry, The Brubury Tales, won the Poet Laureate Award Nomination from UCLA and CAL, Reader Views 2011 Reviewers Choice for Poetry Book of the Year, the 2011 Bookhitch Award for Most Innovative Poetry Book of the Year, a Reason to Rhyme Award from Byline Magazine, was selected for UCLA’s Words poetry exhibit at Powell Library, and selections were published by Fusion Literary Magazine (Indiana University) and The Swamp. Born in Maryland, Frank grew up in Los Angeles where he currently lives with his wife, Nancy, and their dogs, Jax and Rusty.

Poet Interview, Matthew Andrako

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Interview #50, with poet, Matthew Andrako!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

knowledge seeker, thinker, dreamer, creator

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

mimesis

An excerpt taken from “To the Girl That Sat in Front of Me in Biology Class”

Once more I must remark upon
The visions aglow atop your look,
A cool moon eclipsed by a fiery storm
Of red waves and flowing reactions
Of gold and scarlet hues.
Or about the lips in a simpering muse
To the tune of a friendly smile or ruse
In tune to an admirer’s ha.

I doubt you’d expect such record or
Alluring expression at your accord
But I must respect
The wandering arts of beauty, esteem,
In a world where magnificence is so universal,
Has lost the power to move the heart.

I must depart, but say I before I arrive
At another call for interruption,
Thou hast remarkable qualities
In proportion to such refined effects.

Share an excerpt of your favorite poet’s work (10-100 words):

If you had asked me eight years ago, I would have remarked, “My favorite poet must be John Donne, Jim Morrison, or William Shakespeare!” They heavily influenced my love poetry and philosophical musings in Mimesis. Now, I enjoy Stephen Crane, Richard Brautigan, and others.

I will share with you today something from Stephen Crane:

Once, I knew a fine song,
–It is true, believe me,–
It was all of birds,
And I held them in a basket;
When I opened the wicket,
Heavens! they all flew away.
I cried: “Come back, little thoughts!”
But they only laughed.
They flew on
Until they were as sand
Thrown between me and the sky.

Did reading a poem first spark the desire to write poetry, or was it an experience?:

A growing experience. I found the first spark of desire to write poetry during an American Literature class at North Carolina State University with a wonderful professor to whom my first book of poetry, Mimesis, is dedicated. Throughout lectures, I would find myself writing my own verses in the margins of my notes. Ideas of philosophy, purpose, and the pursuit of the American Dream inspired me to seek out and discover my own principles and place. I signed up for other literature and philosophy classes to broaden my scope. I ventured into the stacks of used book stores and gobbled up classics and contemporary literature.

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[Jim Morrison | Image from last.fm]

I watched The Doors at least twenty times and strove to comprehend the rock poet, Jim Morrison, and his journey to capture (or at least understand) the American Dream. The words of poetry and inspiration began to flow like a river within my mind that was unstoppable; I wanted to bottle up all that I could to analyze it, know where it came from, where it was going, and celebrate it. I carried with me a small notepad everywhere, and always had a pen in my pocket. I never knew when a particular verse would come and it had to be written down and remembered. To this day, I never leave the house without a pen.

Wow, twenty times! What goal do you seek through your poetry?

For the reader to find inspiration. I write love poetry. Poems of admiration. Poems of beauty. Satirical poems, often political. I enjoy a twist of philosophy. It is my hope that through my words, you will find a spark of inspiration that arouses you to create or open your mind to a new idea.

That’s a great goal. Please share your #1 tip for poets/writers:

Seek your inspiration, your muse. Keep an open mind and do something out of the ordinary to add depth in your life: travel, enroll in a humanities class, attend a play, walk through an art gallery, speak to a stranger. Embrace beauty in all its forms and may you find inspiration in the smallest of things.

Yes, we certainly could do with more of that to combat materialism and crass commercialism. Your websites/blogs/etc:

Blog: http://meandrak.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Meandrak

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Matthew-Andrako-Author/117338498390343

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Much thanks to Matthew for stopping by! Be sure to visit his blog where you may find more of his poetry (text as well as recordings). The publication of his first book, Mimesis, is a step towards realizing his goals as an author.

Erotica: An Illustrated Anthology of Sexual Art and Literature (I)

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Erotica: An Illustrated Anthology of Sexual Art and Literature (I), by William Wallace & Charlotte Hill (Amazon, Goodreads)

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To a more cultured/discerning mind, erotica isn’t “literate porn” that’s cheap and obscene and meant to generate profits via arousal in the reader.

I like to promote quality erotica (where artistic aspects are a factor, which means beauty and/or some level of substance are inclusive), and this book is one of the best that I have (covers both visual art and erotic literature).

And I’d recommend this anthology to anyone interested in being introduced to the world of erotic art!

This book was/is worth every penny — the best parts of the book are:

1) the blend/presentation of pieces of erotic art, alongside excerpts of the finest literary erotica in the history of publishing/the written word

2) the scope of the selected works (which span over 2000 years of both Eastern and Western cultures)

I have a few other erotic anthologies (which are mostly either art, or textually-focused), and this is the one that I repeatedly re-read and/or go back to. It’s an excellent resource book (if you’re wondering which “great erotic author to check out next”), and there have been several times where I can attribute first seeing/knowing about a particular piece of sexual art to this book [such as “a Chinese nineteenth-century rosewood toilet box (with eleven concealed miniatures),” “Coloured wood-cuts by Utamaro,” “(the very beautiful) charcoal drawings by the artist known as ‘AL'”].

All of the paintings are erotic/sensual, as opposed to pornographic/degrading (with regards to both sexes in all sorts of sexual positions/situations). In this way, they are more representative/interpretative than offensive (and they’re certainly not offensive in an aesthetic sense).

The book is exactly what its subtitle says: “An Illustrated Anthology of Sexual Art and Literature.” I may have suggested adding the adjective “Fine,” before “Sexual Art and Literature,” if I were part of the editorial board for this anthology. I’d even have considered calling it “The Definitive” anthology/edition (…of Sexual Art & Literature) :)!

Books II and III in this series feature more visuals and prose that stimulate, educate, amuse, and engage. The authors/editors have exquisite taste, which shows in the selections they have included in this first anthology. I hope to check out the other two books in the series sometime in the near future.

P.S. In my “preview post,” WP repeated the first paragraph at the end of the post. I’ll leave the repeated section for emphasis, which is:

To a more cultured/discerning mind, erotica isn’t “literate porn” that’s cheap and obscene and meant to generate profits via arousal in the reader.

Post-Literate Society

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knock offs

[Pic from Obsolete Gamer]

I did a Google search for “fan fiction knock-offs” and came across the following post: Amazon’s Kindle Price Punking | Mike Cane’s Blog.

I noticed the following quote in the original post:

I don’t know where the hell real writers go from here.

And the following comment in the comments section:

“Real” writers, that is, professional, competent scribes with impeccable syntax and a proven devotion to the printed word, will cease to exist. We’re heading for a “post-literate” future…that’s what some of the wannabes out there are insisting when they’re taken to task for their juvenile, inept scribbling. Phooey on stuff like good spelling, graceful sentence structure and all that muck (they say). Fan fiction rules the day, knock-offs of popular franchises, erotic fantasies of non-penetrative sex with a vampire.

Welcome to the New Age, populated by morons with only a superficial knowledge of anything outside their favorite vanity mirror.

Followed by a later comment:

I find that “among illiterates” Canetti quotation particularly vicious, and bearing little relation to reality.

It’s the kind of thing a boot-licking intellectual would use to put down people who, for all their foibles, are generally more sincere.

Speaking for myself and “in my own experience” ONLY (throughout this blog post) — I think both sides of the spectrum hold true. ‘Both sides’ referring to those who care about good art, and those who don’t.

A post-literate society can be defined as a hypothetical society in which multimedia technology has advanced to the point where literacy, the ability to read or write, is no longer necessary or common.

I do think we have “progressed” to being a post-literate society, but I also think that art (like humanity) has the power/capacity to evolve.

I don’t think despair and aggravation alone are going to solve anything. I used to be quite cynical in the past, till I started making a conscious effort to put my ego aside to see what it is I really wanted — and would like to — accomplish with my life and work.

I’ve stopped fighting “the artist” in me (it’s something that’s always going to be there, no matter what). Life is never easy for an artist. But I’ve never wanted to die a penniless artist, so I continue to view the whole situation as an interesting challenge for me to “keep up” with society, while still staying true to my inner artist.

The literacy level of society may change. The technological aspects of society may be different across various eras. The popular fads change and are replaced by new disposable fads.

But I think the underlying aspects of humanity remain the same (i.e. everything that the 7 deadly sins and 7 virtues cover).

For the artist in me, I derive fulfillment from engaging something that matters to a person on a deeper level. I truly believe people have become tools of “consumerism,” which is a perspective which perhaps allows me to operate with both sensibility and compassion (I work well with opposing forces).

The wrong (superficiality) has become right (the norm). That doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for humanity (quite the contrary, in fact).

Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print. I think the real writers (those who write for some kind of purpose other than to make money) may have to shake off their attachment to the label of “real writer” so as to better be able to “infiltrate”/engage via a route/method that suits a post-literate climate. This way, the focus goes back to society on the whole (and what people hunger for on a deeper level — not on the level they’ve been made to believe “is right” as a result of the mass media + consumer capitalism).

Good art resonates with some innate truth. And it can’t, if the focus is on the artist’s ego, at the expense of a message that could be delivered to others. Yes, technicality and skill will always be important to an artist. But that shouldn’t be the sole area of focus, for the sake of being able to call oneself a “real writer/artist/etc.”

It takes talent to engage others, whether on a superficial or deeper level. I just happen to be more interested in the latter :) After all, bad art is forgotten by the viewer in the amount of time that it takes to look at something else.