Lesley Residency 1.6

We ended today’s activities with a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts, just over the river in Boston. Our guide for the evening was the head of the Art Insitute of Boston, though I am forgetting his name at the moment. While he was telling us about the final painting of the evening, a piece by Degas, I was enthralled by two other pieces by that artist. There were two small sketches hanging on the wall just to the right of the painting we were supposed to be viewing and they captured my attention for quite some time.

Earlier in the week we had been talking about how all artists, to some extent, learn through apprenticeship. The two Degas sketches were perfect examples of this. The first, a drawing of his sister from 1856 was noted as clearly emulating the style of one of the artists he admired. The second piece, a drawing of his brother-in-law from 1865, was clearly in the style of most of the other pieces in the room. It was interesting to note the progression there and I made it a point to point it out to several of my fellow students, Sara and Jill in particular.

I just thought I should note that particularly interesting moment because so many other writings this week have been about writing and writing alone and I wanted to impart that there is a definite interdisciplinary portion of the program.

I began my day in the cafeteria eating breakfast with the head of the program, the poet Steven Cramer. It’s been great to get there early and share that time before the first seminar with the talented individuals who are teaching me and the talented individuals I am learning with. Shera also often makes appearances early in the morning. Though the breakfast crowd has dwindled as the week has worn on, it has been a miraculous thing to partake in the varied conversations that erupt over bagels and muffins and Tropicana Cranberry Juice Cocktails.

Today’s seminar was conducted by the master poet and performer Thomas Sayers Ellis, who lectured on the “Widescreen Matrimony of Poetic and Prose Diction.” He offers you so much, so quickly, that it is hard to keep up. But, if you take in even a fraction of the energy and information he puts out in his teaching, you can count yourself very, very lucky.

Later, we workshopped my second story and had very interesting discussions about it. I almost wrote a sentence just now about the specifics of what we spoke about but I couldn’t really put it to words. It was helpful. That’s important. I’ll tell you that.

All in all, it was another grand day.