By Dylan Klempner
Oct 30th, 2014

Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson (from Self-Reliance)

By Dylan Klempner
Oct 29th, 2014

Aunt P and me in 2013

I am planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa in July to help support patients and families affected by cancer.  I’m climbing to honor my aunt, Patricia, a multiple cancer survivor, and the people I work with at the hospital.

The Climb For Cancer Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization will organize the climb. Their mission is to help ease the pain and suffering of those affected by cancer, including patients and families.  I know Ron and Dianne and have personally seen the impact of The Climb For Cancer Foundation on people’s lives in my community.

I need to raise $10,000 to be eligible for the climb. If you’re interested, here’s how you can help:

1) Follow this link to my personal page:
2) Click on the red “Make a gift!” link under the thermometer on the left of the screen (this ensures your funds support my climb)
3) Fill out the form to make a donation. (No donation is too small!)

Thank you for your consideration of support. I encourage you to participate even if you cannot contribute financially. Consider forwarding this link to others who might want to get involved:

By Dylan Klempner
Oct 27th, 2014

Reading poetry is an act of reciprocity, and one of the great tasks of the lyric is to bring us into right relationship to each other.  The relationship between writer and reader is by definition removed and mediated through a text, a body of words.  It is a particular kind of exchange between two people not physically present to each other.  The lyric poem is a highly concentrated and passionate form of communication between strangers–an immediate, intense, and unsettling form of literary discourse.  Reading poetry is a way of connecting–through the medium of language–more deeply with yourself even as you connect more deeply with another.  The poem delivers on our spiritual lives precisely because it simultaneously gives us the gift of intimacy and interiority, privacy and participation.

–Edward Hirsch (from How to Read a Poem And Fall in Love with Poetry)

By Dylan Klempner
Oct 26th, 2014

Jenn Garrett’s sculpture

This is a guest post by Jenn Garrett in response to yesterday’s post.  (Thank you, Jenn.)

I would like to clarify my feelings on the vandalism of my work.  Vandalism is a rite of passage for artists that put work into the public realm.  I’m not thrilled about it when it happens, but I had many many lessons in art school about not holding my work in such high esteem that I consider it to be sacred.  (I’ve had my work destroyed by profs and I’ve endured brutal crits.) Vandalism is intellectually not that different than other kinds harsh criticism. You and your work have to be tough enough to take it.  I repaired the pieces that were repairable, but I also kept the pieces that were not (and I hope to make a new work from them.)

The vandalism actually plays right into the meaning of the piece.  That sculpture is about family and family relationships, how the change and evolve over time and adapt to different settings.  For that exhibit, I drove 6+ hours with my 5 week old daughter to do the installation.  I would breast feed her, dig holes while she napped and held her in a sling when she woke while directing others on just how the pieces went together.  About 6 months later I got the call it had been hit several times with a baseball bat.  The vandalism, for me, is symbolic of the forces that hurt families and sometimes destroy them.  The pieces, like families, have a sense if vulnerability to them that I think left them open to vandalism.  So even if the vandal didn’t understand that the pieces of that sculpture make up a family, he/she could feel that vulnerability.  I’m sure of that because after I fixed it the first time and drove up to reinstall it, they took a bat to it again.

Ultimately I had to uninstall the work from that location but I think it served it’s purpose in that exhibit.  In a way I’m honored that someone felt so strongly about my work that they risked arrest twice to destroy it- I’d rather that than no reaction at all.

So that’s my feelings on vandalism.  It’s also important to note the recent crossover of vandalism as art.  I’m curious to see where that goes, but I won’t willingly be a part if it.