July 11th, 2010
Following is the second section of my poem “Colorado,” which I introduced yesterday. The Blood of Christ or Sangre de Cristo Mountains are in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. The range is either the beginning of the Rocky Mountains on the way north or the last stretch of the Rockies heading south. Some of the peaks rise 13,000 to 14,000 feet. The name derives from their reddish appearance at dawn and sundown at certain times of the year. —PM
Along well-marked routes I found this stop
Facing the Blood of Christ Mountains,
Far shelf of white-and-dark cake
That I imagine might be seized
If only I lean out far enough
Into the expanse beyond the guard rail.
I’m here but not grounded—a fresh context,
Mid-continent, with only a map for proof.
There’s something moving out there—
The whole Earth is rolling.
—Paul Marion (c) 2010
July 11th, 2010
In 1868, Lowell resident Charles Cowley wrote the “Illustrated History of Lowell”, a book filled with fascinating facts about our city. Here’s my fifth weekly compilation of “tweeting” from Cowley’s book:
July 3 – Chelmsford always gave tax breaks & land grants to millers, mechanics & traders so they would settled in the town. Many did.
July 5 – By end of 18th century Billerica Tewksbury Chelmsford & Dracut all had many saw-mills, grist-mills & mechanics shops.
July 7 – At end of 18th century, this region became a center of lumber production – Pawtucket Canal dug to get lumber passed the falls.
July 7 – In 1792 Proprietors of the Locks & Canals on Merrimack River incorporated – the oldest still active corporation in the US.
July 8 – Construction of Pawtucket Canal began in 1792; it took 4 years to complete and cost $50,000.
July 11th, 2010
”Arrangement in Gray: A (self) Portrait of the Painter” James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1872)
Just the other day I noted a Lowell connection in the current issue of Yankee magazine – a quote from James A. M. Whistler. And now we note that on this day – July 11, 1834 – Whistler was born at home on Worthen Street in Lowell, Massachusetts to George Washington Whistler – a prominent engineer – and Anna M. McNeill . He briefly attended West Point but left his unsuccessful experience behind to study art. He was a painter, printmaker, etcher, designer and collector of note who lived most of his life in England while taking frequent trips to France to study. His wit was legendary. Certainly his famous statement about his birthplace is a good example. Rather than Lowell - Whistler claimed the more exotic St. Petersburg Russia as his birthplace: “I shall be born when and where I want, and I do not choose to be born in Lowell” he declared. In later years, he would play up his mother’s connection to some Southern roots, and present himself as an impoverished Southern aristocrat. Whatever his personal eccentricities, rapier wit and life style, Whister was a great influence in the art and cultural world of his time.
One of my favorite Whistler works Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl (1862), can be seen The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. While the largest collection of Whistler’s works including his Nocturnes can be seen at the Freer Gallery of Art also in Washington D.C.
Learn more about Whistler by reading the various biographical sketches here . Learn about the Whistler House Museum of Art here.