Sunday, November 8, 2009

Reflections by William Schulman

Welcome to Chapter 18 of my Book Passages series. A few times on this visual journey I have gone off the main road to visit some interesting passages that could only be found on the back roads of this incredible trip. Those images and passages are reflected in the radio dialog "God", the recent passage from Mary's novel and now William Schulman's poem.

For those who may not know, William (Bill) Schulman is my father-in-law and has been one of my biggest supporters on this Book Passages journey. Also for those who may not know, Bill is an incredible artist and retired educator. Even now he continues to create new work on a regular basis with his brushes as well as his pen. Check out the links I've provided which help provide some background to the man behind the poem starting with one of my favorite paintings by Bill and a brief review from Gary John Gresl on the Retrospective Show Bill had at the Charles Allis Museum about five years ago .

This visual interpretation of Bill's poem is fittingly abstract just like much of Bill's art work is. It's as much a visual interpretation to the artist as it is to his poem. I feel I nailed it. If you are looking for a narrative illustration you will probably be disappointed. If you appreciate the abstract play of his words to my visual reflection it may become one of your favorites as it has mine. Either way it should provoke some kind of response and if it does then please share your thoughts in the comment section of the blog. Your opinions help shape the dialog for others to enjoy and contemplate.

Reflections by William Schulman

Reflections hold rigid,
my Ronson fails once more.
The candle sputters but will not light.
All seems light, yet the numbing dark
interfaces my veins and arteries.
Blood has coagulated in blue-ivory,
bed-ridden fancies collapse in my coma,
Rigor mortis stains my breath,
my last follicle twitches in vain.
All parasitic lice begin to starve.

Reflections pool in my ankles in strange ways.
They stretch me out on a snooker table-
I crush the chalk with a clenched fist.
The green cloth is blue in the pockets.
Dull clicks become icier.
The Van Gogh light shade glows citron.
They rack me up.
The yellow ball hurts my eyes.
I have an immense desire
to scratch!

These are not a series but two separate options. Which one speaks to you more? Please comment.


Jim Schulman said...

The top image works for me. Vivesected writer rabbit.

Forgive me for quoting Rod Stewart: "I suppose I could...steal my Daddy's cue, and make a Living playing pool."

I had forgotten that (the urge to) "scratch" is billard terminology!

eddee said...

I like them both, but I prefer the simplicity of the second.

Nice work!

Naomi said...

I prefer the second one — but both are a bit puzzling to me. The second one looks like a body with a living thing (clown?) attached to it. In the first, it looks like there's a typewriter behind a little dog with its snout pointing up. Am I seeing things?

Anonymous said...

wow... these are very odd's not often I see real attempts at abstraction in photography and to me these seem very close to pure abstraction. Given my fear of empty space, I have to say I like the image with the typewriter the best. This is one time where I wonder if some introduction of color might be worth considering. There's such a visceral feeling of something organic...the backside of some beast...not until later inspection did I see the female form in the back. I think it really hits the mark with the poem. JB

William Schulman said...

As a former Snooker player, I really didn't want to scratch. If you scratched( missing the ball you were aiming at or put the cue ball into a pocket rather than the colored ball you scratched the value of the color ball. If you scratched on the black, the 8 ball ,you lost the game. Both your photos are abstract, immobile and frozen in time. My eyes reacted to your soundless space as Royal, the frozen word writer (type writer) echoed the conceptual metaphor of non- movement in the poem. The hand carved voodoo doll echoes immobility in the shadows beyond the light. On a stained felt surface a ghostly spine corroborates a closing down of life sensations. The scene is drained of color but offers the sense of dried blood under the spinal shadow of paralysis. Your reflections are as descriptive as my words. Great job ! W.S.

William Zuback said...

Thanks for the very interesting comments on this piece. When I read and reread this poem many times over a couple things came to light for me.

One, the whole first half of the poem (in my opinion)is a reflection on ones life as an aging person. Someone no longer in the so called prime of their life.

Two,the second half begins to carry this theme but then moves into the metaphor of sport? Familiar to the game of billiards I chose to treat the whole poem as a statement on aging instead of trying to meld the two sections into a more literal interpretation.

So in the abstraction of form I chose to create the backside of a man without the normal shell of the human form. The more defined statue becomes a symbol of virility (often weakened or lost in aging). The whole, an abstract metaphor on aging and the effects both internal and external. The typewriter is a source of contact between what can appear, or maybe is, the physical and emotional feelings of two very different stages of ones life.

Jane Konkel said...

As a writer, experiencing bulging disk pain, I have to say I'm drawn to the first image.
Once again, you impress me, Bill Zuback.

Anonymous said...

HI I am trying to find out more about the process written about in this ERIC citation:
Paper Plate Lithography.
Authors:Schulman, William
I am really interested in finding out more about this process and am hoping to hear more. Hope I have the right person.

Here is the link to the ERIC educational publications database:

sham Wan towers said...

Gosh that was silly, I didn't leave my email address.

William Zuback said...

Sham Wan you still didn't leave an email to reach you at. It was just the generic no reply blogger email address.

The papers you are referring to very well could have been written by William Schulman. He is an artist very experienced in lithography. If you send me a proper email address I can see about forwarding it on to him.