¡ Viva Colón !

…or whatever the Genovese admiral’s name was.

On this auspicious day, CONNECT/HOOK brings you two jewels of agit-prop.

Maldición del Malinche is a tragically beautiful song, and Soy Cuba is visually compelling – I think these two offerings complement each other today.

You can figure it out from here, as the good mariner did.
Discover new worlds – but don’t sail over the edge of the old one on your way…

HAPPY COLUMBUS DAY 2013

I sing the Mariner who first unfurl’d
An eastern banner o’er the western world,
And taught mankind where future empires lay
In these fair confines of descending day;
Who sway’d a moment, with vicarious power,
Iberia’s sceptre on the new found shore,
Then saw the paths his virtuous steps had trod
Pursued by avarice and defiled with blood,
The tribes he foster’d with paternal toil
Snatch’d from his hand, and slaughter’d for their spoil.

Slaves, kings, adventurers, envious of his name,
Enjoy’d his labours and purloin’d his fame,
And gave the Viceroy, from his high seat hurl’d.
Chains for a crown, a prison for a world
Long overwhelm’d in woes, and sickening there,
He met the slow still march of black despair,
Sought the last refuge from his hopeless doom,
And wish’d from thankless men a peaceful tomb:
Till vision’d ages, opening on his eyes,
Cheer’d his sad soul, and bade new nations rise;
He saw the Atlantic heaven with light o’ercast,
And Freedom crown his glorious work at last…

[from: The Columbiad, Book I , by Joel Barlow, published in 1807]

¡ Viva Cristóbal Colón !

…or whatever the Genovese admiral’s name was.

On this auspicious day, CONNECT/HOOK brings you two jewels of leftist agit-prop.

Maldición del Malinche is a tragically beautiful song, and Soy Cuba is visually compelling –
but that doesn’t mean either one is 100% truthful in its message.
I think these two offerings complement each other today.

You can figure it out from here, as the good mariner did.
Discover new worlds – but don’t sail over the edge of the old one on your way…

HAPPY COLUMBUS DAY 2012

I sing the Mariner who first unfurl’d
An eastern banner o’er the western world,
And taught mankind where future empires lay
In these fair confines of descending day;
Who sway’d a moment, with vicarious power,
Iberia’s sceptre on the new found shore,
Then saw the paths his virtuous steps had trod
Pursued by avarice and defiled with blood,
The tribes he foster’d with paternal toil
Snatch’d from his hand, and slaughter’d for their spoil.

Slaves, kings, adventurers, envious of his name,
Enjoy’d his labours and purloin’d his fame,
And gave the Viceroy, from his high seat hurl’d.
Chains for a crown, a prison for a world
Long overwhelm’d in woes, and sickening there,
He met the slow still march of black despair,
Sought the last refuge from his hopeless doom,
And wish’d from thankless men a peaceful tomb:
Till vision’d ages, opening on his eyes,
Cheer’d his sad soul, and bade new nations rise;
He saw the Atlantic heaven with light o’ercast,
And Freedom crown his glorious work at last…

[from: The Columbiad, Book I , by Joel Barlow, published in 1807]

Eurydice

What a name . . . what a face.

Gypsy Marpessa Dawn Menor

I feel really stupid. Yesterday I found out that one of my favorite Reggae artists Mikey Dread passed away 3 years ago, and I was unaware.  Now I find out that one of my favorite film stars also passed away that same summer. It seems like just yesterday I was furiously Googling to find some news about the aged actress who played Eurydice in Black Orpheus (1959), but it was the early summer of 2008 actually, so I was trying to find news about her just months before she died.

She has always been a beautiful mystery. I was very curious about her after I first saw the film in the 1980’s. She was speaking fluent Portuguese and I had no idea she was from Pittsburgh, PA originally. After Black Orpheus she was in some bizarre  leftish French art films. I saw one just because she was in it:  Sweet Movie  (1974) which was awful, but have not been able to see any others.  Black Orpheus was a great awakening for me.  It made me realize what a good  director can do with film as an art form. The movie brings together so many themes that have haunted me ever since – Brazilian Samba, life after death, Greek myth, street parade spectacle, masquerade, all set before the viewer in a swirl of color and insistent rhythm.  It is one of a handful of films I recommend to anyone who likes film as art.

Another favorite film of mine, Soy Cuba, featured a Cuban actress named Luz María Collazo.  For a long time I thought it was Marpessa Dawn until checking the cast list for that Soviet/Cuban propaganda film. The film is a lot like Triumph of the Will (1934 Nazi rally) and Olympia (1938) filmed by Leni Riefenstahl in that it is blatant propaganda for a political ideology, but the filmmakers render it so visually striking that it endures as cinema art long after the cause has been discredited.  I recommend Soy Cuba as well as Triumph of the Will if you love film and history.

So what does this have to do with poetry?      Nothing –  and everything.

Just read the poem of her name out loud:

Gypsy Marpessa Dawn Menor

Where is she now ?