February 2019 Hours

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See you in September!

The Writing Center will be closed for August as we get ready to move into our beautiful new space: HM 223. We’ll reopen for the fall semester on Wednesday, September 5, at 9:00 AM. Be sure to stop by and see us — just around the corner and down the hall from our old location. Enjoy your summer!

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National Poetry Month: Talking of Michelangelo

Selected by Dr. Joan Digby

Talking of Michelangelo

“in the room the women come and go

talking of Michelangelo”

T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

 

Not only women but men also

talking and listening to audiotapes

as they strolled through the rooms

of the Metropolitan Museum’s

Michelangelo extravaganza

five viewer’s  deep to get within

range of a red chalk drawing.

 

For me it was a positive absurdity

between the brown walls

low light macular degeneration

and my paltry height of barely five feet

making me wonder whether

Michelangelo himself was tall enough

to see these drawing hung

at the eye level of a camel.

 

I imagined him there

in a crushed velvet hat and cape

cruising the rooms

wondering what it cost to gather

in one place all the work

of his masters and students

dead these six hundred years.

 

I followed close behind him

too short so see anything

but the bottoms of frames

and the collections

from which they had been borrowed:

the Louvre, Ufizzi, British Museum,

and the Queen’s cabinet at Windsor Palace

places from which he earned not one lire.

 

Unable to see the drawings

I read the endless wall copy

A babel of curatorial jargon

instructing me about

the cost of paper and how

the great artist worked from wax

models and wrote perhaps a poem

perhaps a shopping list—I thought—

on top of the drawings

he intended to throw away

once the real work was accomplished.

 

“Notice the cross-hatching,”

a gentleman clearly an art historian

or wily dealer said to the woman

at his side who turned to admire

the musculature of a floating arm.

It was all, quite literally, above me.

 

Michelangelo stared in disbelief

that all these sketches had survived

his clear intent to toss them out

once his sculptures were complete

and how they had miraculously

attracted people who had

nothing better to do

on a rainy afternoon in New York

a city that did not exist for him.

 

We walked together toward

the quarter scale replica

of his Sistine Chapel ceiling

cheap and stunted as if

it had been designed as a prefab

to adorn Vatican Pizza

Venieros or some other joint.

 

The idea of pizza seemed

to interest him and so I offered

to get him the hell out of

this show right past his mini

Last Judgment and hop a

subway down to 14th Street

to Basile Artichoke where I

could introduce him to

a venerable slice he was

most welcome to draw

in daylight when I might

closely observe and admire

his delicate cross-hatching

and architectural detail.