Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Last night I had the honor to assist a distinguished poet with a word. Robert Hass was reading new poems at Williams College, including a great poem about an imaginary conversation with his old colleague and mentor Czeslow Milosz. While reading a poem about the Japanese painter Ito Jakuchu, if I remember correctly, Hass hesitated, and asked suddenly, "Are there any painters here?" I raised my hand. He then asked, "How do you pronounce a-l-i-z-a-r-i-n?" I loudly said "alizarin," as in "uh-liz-er-in" with the accent on liz. He said "elizarin," and I said "alizarin." He then said "alizarin" and finished the poem, which ended "...until you [something], don't talk to me about Cezanne." When he publishes his next book, I will get it to read the poem. Afterwards, I purchased one of his books, and he signed it "For Bob Lafond. Thanks for the alizarin...Bob Hass."
The above is a 9x12 pen, brush, and ink drawing with touches of watercolor and pastel, of the corner of Fourth and Douglass in Brooklyn.