It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.
"THANKSGIVING (1956)" appears to castigate the UN and USA for not supporting the Hungarian Uprising: did no-one ever explain Mutual Assured Destruction to you, Cummings?
Bernado Canal had a son whom he named...Bernado...and hence was nicknamed Canaletto, "Little Canal" - a monicker that has stuck for circa 300 years, because the little Bernado became probably Italy's greatest ever painter of views. He spent more time working in Britain than Van Gogh spent painting in his lifetime (nine years).
Op Art was the first Fine Art movement I ever engaged with, way back in my early to mid teens. I found a book about it in the school library. Its geometrical aesthetic appealed to me very strongly, so much so that I even made a few pencil drawings of my own that fitted in the genre - I might even still have them somewhere. So when a local art gallery held an Op Art retrospective (I think Brits only) I dashed along to see if I still liked that kind of thing. - Yep! Still love it - bought every book they stocked about it. This is one of them. It's an exhibition catalogue, with an interview with Bridget Riley and a short biography of her, focusing almost exclusively on her artistic accomplishments. The art is fab, given as much space as the middling sized format (for an art book) allows and carefully reproduced to preserve the colour effects of the original.
Vermillion Sands is one of the most unsettling story settings I've ever come across; you'll find it in the Uncanny Valley between our world and the outright made up worlds of SF and fantasy. The people that live there are as strange as the place.
Some disappointing aspects of Cummings' work: a poem that seems unavoidably sexist; repeated use of "nigger". I suppose everyone is of their time in some respects, even if they are extraordinary innovators in others.
A competent and affordable introduction to the life, work and impact of the artist, the inventor of the Pointillist style of painting. it's slightly irritating that the text is often discussing a painting reproduced several pages away, but - y'know, books in this series don't cost more than some paperback novels, so don't be complaining too hard...
Seurat had a number of important influences, including the contemporary Impressionists, but perhaps the most significant were not artists but scientists. He absorbed all the latest theories of colour and used them to develop the extraordinary effects of Pointillism - paintings composed entirely of dots of colour - usually of unmixed, single pigment paints, relying on proximity of dots and distance of the observer to create mixed colours in the eye, which the science had demonstrated gave a brighter, less muddy colour effect.
Oddly, his genius was better recognised during his lifetime than in the immediate aftermath: Thirty or so years after his death, The Metropolitan Museum of Art turned down the purchase of one of his greatest works - it was bought instead by the Art Institute of Chicago, where it still hangs. Now, of course, he's considered to have been exceptional and a sad loss, dying young, but leaving a huge impact on the development of Western art - the second step towards Abstract art after the original Impressionists. It's a pity that no sane format of book can ever really do justice to the Pointillist technique when fully reproducing even modestly sized paintings, but this gives you an idea - go see the real things if you ever have opportunity.
La Grande Jatte: two years' effort and no less than 34 preparatory works went into making what appears to be the first Pointillist painting. It was turned down by the Met (!) and now hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago, where I've seen it two or three times.
An entire chapter on Bathers at Asnieres: I've had the good fortune to see it a couple of times (National Gallery, London) - it's vast - and amazing. As well as showing/discussing preparatory works, the text tells how Seurat used the current scientific knowledge of colour to achieve his colour contrast and blending effects.
A spate of good 'uns! I don't think of Cummings as a nature poet but here's one about a blue jay. Also the first poem I clearly remember from elsewhere: "maggie and milly and mooly and may."