In 1970, during the war in Viet Nam, Marchant became one of the first Marine officers ever to be honorably discharged as a conscientious objector. In these poems, Marchant explores the concept of violence: What are its origins and consequences? What actions of the heart and mind resist it? Marchant takes us on a voyage from childhood to adult trauma, and eventually to a peace arrived at by unflinching meditation. A hard-won peace, it is our undiscovered country.
These poems by Fred Marchant are sometimes like breathing, sometimes like holding one’s breath. In his contemplations of the many forms of violence and trauma, Marchant presents us the loss, “the mortal shale we all plummet toward” as he takes us on a journey from childhood to adulthood, from Viet Nam to Ireland, from race to family—and from violence to acceptance and peace. There is trauma almost everywhere in these poems, but it is layered by a meditation on peace that penetrates the space between the violences, and rejects them. Full Moon Boat is, ultimately, a lyric and meditative book of hope and transformation. –Bernadette Smyth, in Puerto del Sol, 2001
When he poured acid for his etching,
Blake said the art he practiced was infernal,
meaning it brimmed with the energy of demons
who first of all had been angels. On the wall
of the bedroom I inherited from my grandfather
hung a gold-framed etching titled “The Return”—
a doughboy kneeling before a larger than life
crucifix, the helmet and rifle on the floor,
his calves wrapped with puttees, his head
half-hidden by a bulging, cinched-up knapsack.
Cover art: oil on canvas painting, 86″ x 68″ titled Starry Floor IV, by Gregory Amenoff, done in 1994.
It one in a series of Amenoff paintings inspired by the poetry of William Blake, specifically the “Introduction” to the Songs of Experience. One can study these paintings in The Sky Below, a book published by Hard Press Editions, 1997. Available at Amazon or/and Barnes and Noble.
Gregory Amenoff lives in New York City and Ulster County, New York. He is the recipient of numerous awards and has had over fifty one-person exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the United States and Europe. His work is in the permanent collections of more than thirty museums, including the Whitney Museum of America Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is a founding board member of the CUE Art Foundation in New York City and serves as the CUE Art Foundation’s Curator Governor.
Amenoff has taught at Columbia for the last eighteen years, and is currently the Chair of the Visual Arts Division in the School of the Arts. This information and biography was gleaned and summarized from Amenoff’s website.