Dr. Steven Lomazow: Great American Magazine Collection, 1731 – Until

Dr. Steven Lomazow at the “Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart”, Shakespeare and Company. Photo: Suze Bienaimee

Steven Lomazow and I met at the little café and bookstore, Shakespeare and Company on the Left Bank of the Seine in Paris, France. It is affectionately called the “Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart” and is perhaps the most famous English-language bookstore in the world — a storied gathering place of 20th Century literati (Baldwin, Hemingway, Pound, Joyce, Huxley, Wilder, Lawrence, Fitzgerald, Miller). Steven was awestruck to be where so much literary history has taken place and it was fitting to talk with him here since he is a passionate historian, co-author of the Bibliography of American Literature in Periodicals and curator of what is considered by many to be the finest accumulation of American periodicals, the Lomazow Collection.

Lomazow Collection, A Magazine History of America: It comprises a compendium of every aspect of American culture as seen through its magazines and periodicals.

Steven likes to say he is a “neurologist by trade and an historian by passion”. He has a fulltime medical practice and a second passion for history and collecting periodicals. He is also a medical and World War II historian. All this is just for starters. Steven is the co-author of FDRs Deadly Secret that reads as a medical mystery he solved; is the author of articles published in peer reviewed medical journals; is researching the history of cancer care and philanthropy; is writing another Franklin D. Roosevelt biography “the way it was”; keeps two blogs; writes and speaks on medicine; is a national trivia champ; serves on the National Council of the Norman Rockwell Museum; is a Trustee of the FDR Library and Museum. (See below in RESOURCES for more detailed information and links.)

I wondered how many hours are in his day, surely more than twenty-four.

For our StudioSeeds conversation I focused on Steven’s passion for collecting magazines and periodicals. His highly-respected Lomazow Collection (also known as the American Magazine Collection)  is admired by those in the know and mere mortals alike. It dates from the first periodical to use the word “magazine” in 1731 until today.

SUZE BIENAIMEE: Steven, so good to have you on StudioSeeds. As you know, StudioSeeds is for conversations to explore inspiration and creativity in artists, poets, geeks, environmentalists, scientists, doctors, historians, collectors, philosophers, etc. You cover many of those bases! For our conversation on StudioSeeds.com we will focus on your magazine and periodical collection. I ask you, Dr. Steven Lomazow, what inspires you?

STEVEN LOMAZOW: The short answer is magazines and the hunt for them, however, a passion for collecting is deep in my DNA as I learned recently while watching a Steven Spielberg produced, USC Shoah Foundation video on YouTube of all places. My aunt, Dr. Helen Fagin, was interviewed and she revealed her father, my maternal grandfather, after whom I am named and who perished in the holocaust, “was a collector of books and periodicals”. (My mother never told me; holocaust survivors rarely speak about the details of that time.) This connection to my grandfather is huge as so much family and history was tragically lost; it still chokes me up when I think about how collecting is an important connection to my grandfather and I’ve discovered an insatiable curiosity goes with it.

My passion began at about age eight when my father, who in his youth was a stamp collector, introduced me to collecting stamps and coins.

When I was a kid, I spent hours putting coins in the change machines at the local laundromat to hopefully find coins for my collection; In those days there were still rare nickels and dimes to be found in circulation. I would put a quarter in the machine and sometimes I would get a rare coin or two.

I lost interest in stamps and coins as a college student when the challenge of obtaining new items hit the inevitable financial barrier that confronts collectors and also, there were few surprises left to find.

After entering medical school in Chicago in 1972, I decided to spend my spare time searching for antiquarian medical books. By pure serendipity, a local dealer on Clark Street showed me a first issue of Life magazine as well as  what seemed an innocuous “first issue” of Look.

Life, Volume 1, Number 1, November 1936

He said: “this is the first issue of Life with a Margaret Burke-White photo on the cover.” It was her classic picture of Fort Peck Dam, so I bought it for five or ten dollars.

Then he said: “here’s the first issue of Look.” It was complete with documentation showing it was, indeed the first issue; Herman Goering is on the cover.

For me, the problem was that inside, it was identified as Volume One, Number TWO!

Look, Volume 1, Number 2, February 1937

When I asked why, the dealer couldn’t tell me, saying: “nobody knows, but some think it was pornographic and pulled off the market.”

So the mystery of “Look, Volume One, Number One” got me hooked! From that point, my goal has been to collect the first issue of every important American periodical or at least, a representative copy. I’m not picky about the condition, if something is the only surviving copy, I’m not about to sniffle about that or a smudge or wrinkle.

Look, Volume 1, Number 1, was my first “holy grail”. It took me fifteen years to get an answer to the mystery.

One day I got a call from a fellow who said: “I have something I know you are looking for. I have the first issue of Look.” I said, “no no, no, you have the second issue, volume one, number two”, and he says, “no, I have number one.” That, as you can imagine,  got my attention!

He lived at the Jersey shore, so I jumped in my car to meet him. What he wanted from me was a trade and I had a signed copy of the first Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover. He liked it, so we struck a deal. The mystery of the Look, the real Number One was solved. Turns out it was an in-house, pre-publication mock-up issue printed on fragile rotogravure paper. I had it restored and I still have it.

Look, Volume 1, Number 1, January 1937

In 1987 my first large acquisition was a major collection of first issues and volumes from the State Street Book Shop in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Collectors never forget events such as this; it’s very much like the  first date with the woman who will be your wife.) Since then my collection has expanded into a “magazine history of America” comprising a compendium of every aspect of American culture as seen through its magazines and periodicals.

It used to be easy to hunt for rare magazines. Every town had one or two antiquarian book stores. I would go to the back of the store and always find the most amazing things on dusty old shelves. Now, with eBay and the internet, the joy of that hunt as well as the musty smell of an old bookstore is an aroma almost totally lost in time.

Learning about each new acquisition is a great thrill. I try to get first and important literary appearances of poets and authors such as Wheatley, Dickinson, Poe, Hemingway, Joyce, Elliot; important first “covers” such as the Saturday Evening Post by Norman Rockwell and even pulp magazines — everything that was published in American periodicals from the beginning to the present.

I also have additional special focus on pulp magazines as they were an important part of American popular culture. Weird Tales, October 1933, with Bat Girl on the cover is a favorite.

Weird Tales, a Pulp with Bat Girl, October 1933

I have many favorites, including  a Garbo-esque photo of Madonna on her first cover, Island magazine. It is very rare and I found it while walking with my daughter along Broadway in New York City. It was on a street-vendor’s blanket on the sidewalk with other magazines.

Madonna’s first cover, Island Magazine, October 1983

Over the last couple of years I have focused on adding  magazines from World War II especially the  United We Stand campaign from July 1942 featuring the American flag on each cover.

United We Stand Magazines, July 1942, the “Newsstand” on Exhibit at Kean University

Another reason collecting magazines is fascinates me, is because there is no comprehensive catalog or encyclopedic reference. Nary a day passes that doesn’t bring a new piece of information that enhances my understanding of American history and culture. I also get special pleasure from meeting collectors in all fields and engaging them with fascinating items they may not have been aware of. I surmise this may have started with the pleasure I derived from “show and tell” early in school.

“Show and Tell” with Steven Lomazow

Thanks for choosing me for StudioSeeds. It’s been fun to talk about my passion for collecting!

SUZE BIENAIMEE: Thank you, Steven!

RESOURCES

DIGITAL
@StevenLomazow, Lomazow Collection on Twitter

LomazowCollection.com  — Search the collection as well as very current information and recent additions

AmericanMagazineCollection.com — Another way to access the Lomazow Collection online

Magazine History: A Collector’s Blog by Steven Lomazow, MD

FDRsDeadlySecret Blog by Steven Lomazow, MD

USC Shoah Foundation YouTube video interview with Dr. Lomazow’s aunt, Dr. Helen Fagin, (1917-) education advisor to Elie Wiesel and later appointed chair of the United States Holocaust Council’s Education Committee in charge of developing an educational track for the then future Holocaust Museum. In 1993, President Clinton appointed Dr. Fagin to join the World War II Memorial Committee charged with building a national memorial in the nation’s capital.

ShakespeareAndCompany, also known as “the Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart, Paris, France

BOOKS
American Periodicals: A Collector’s Manual and Reference Guide, 1996, Steven Lomazow, MD.  A reference respected by professional book dealers and collectors;  it. It is referred to as “Lomazow” and something is either in “Lomazow” or not.

Bibliography of American Literature in Periodicals, 19th Century, 1998, Periodyssey Press Periodyssey.com, Steven Lomazow, MD and Richard Samuel West

The Great American Magazine: Adventures in Magazine History, 2014, Steven Lomazow, MD

FDRs Deadly Secret, 2010, Steven Lomazow, MD with Eric Fettmann

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
Adjunct Professor of History, Kean University, Kean.edu

American Antiquarian Society, AmericanAntiquarian.org

Grolier Club, GrolierClub.org

Ephemera Society of America, EphemeraSociety.org

FDR Presidential Library and Museum, Trustee, FDRlibrary.org

Norman Rockwell Museum, National Council Member, NRM.org

. . .

 

Dr. Steven Lomazow: Great American Magazine Collection, 1731 – Until StudioSeeds Inspire By Suze Bienaimee

Leah Umansky: Poet, Creator of COUPLET_Series, SuperFan Game of Thrones

Leah Umansky, Poet, Central Park, New York City Poet’s Walk. Photo: Suze Bienaimee

SUZE BIENAIMEE: Leah Umansky! We met at Poets’ Walk in Central Park, New York City and strolled under the lush green, majestic, extremely rare American elm trees arching overhead and I asked Leah my favorite StudioSeeds question: Leah, what inspires you?

LEAH UMANSKY: So many things inspire me like reading, movies, television, and pop culture, but ultimately it’s language and words. Even in regards to the TV Shows I love (Mad-Men, Westworld, Mr. Robot, The Crown, Game of Thrones)it’s really just the words and story of those characters. Their stories relate to our own stories. Also, being a middle and high school English teacher influences my writing, as well, but I rarely write poems about teaching. I’m not quite sure why! I also enjoy going to museums and readings, and when I do, I always take notes either by writing in a notebook or dictating into my smartphone (into a free app called WunderList that I love).

Leah Umansky dictated into her smartphone app to create this list.
Leah’s Notes/Notebook

When I write, I almost always write on my laptop. I wish I was able to write poems in a notebook but it never works for me. I think I’m just faster at typing and it just comes easier to me at a computer. I often look at my notes for inspiration, on my phone or in one of my many notebooks and journals, to see where that takes me.

Inspiration can come from anything: a comment of a character on television, something I overheard on the subway, or a phrase from a book or article. For example, my last chapbook’s title, Straight Away the Emptied World, is a phrase from a sentence from Helen MacDonald’s book H is for Hawk.

Straight Away the Emptied World, Poems, Kattywompus Press by Leah Umansky,

Like I said, I’m a big annotator — a big dork in that way. So, when I was reading H is for Hawk, the phrase, “straight away the emptied world” jumped out at me. I wrote it down in my notebook. When writing my last book, I struggled with a title, until I came across that phrase in my notebook. I remember looking through my notes and said hmmm, “straight away the emptied world” is sounds just perfect for this book, and very dystopian.

Even with my Mad-Men inspired poems (Don Dreams and I Dream) and my Game of Thrones inspired poems (The Barbarous Century, forthcoming in 2018), those poems came from pausing the “HBO On-Demand” button. When I realized I was stopping and taking notes, I was sort of shocked. I had never written poems about television before. I thought to myself: wait, why am I taking notes?

When I sat down to write for the week, I looked at my notebook and saw this note: “in my next life, I want to be an ad man” and that was the title of the first poem I wrote for my Mad-Men chapbook, Don Dreams and I Dream.

Fun! Matchbook ephemera from Leah Umansky’s book, Don Dreams and I Dream.

Inspiration struck in very much the same way with my Game of Thrones inspired poems (The Barbarous Century, 2018). The first note I made was because I was so impressed with Ned Stark. I felt he was such a good and strong man. I longed for that sort of decency. My note was, “I want to be Stark-like” and that inspired my first Game of Thrones poem.

Leah Umansky with her poetry books: Domestic Uncertainties, Don Dreams and I Dream (the Mad-Men inspired poems), Straight Away the Emptied World, Kattywompus Press. Not pictured: The Barbarous Century, Eyewear Publishing (Game of Thrones inspired poems) is forthcoming in 2018. Photo: Suze Bienaimee

The thing about inspiration is that it has to strike me. It’s not like I can say, okay, today I’m going to write a poem about this or that. I never really know what I’m going to write about.

I read a lot, too, and it often shakes up my language. When I read the weekend New York Times, I underline phrases and words, which often find their way into my writing. This helps me so I don’t use the same words I might gravitate to naturally.

In terms of my writing process, sometimes, I’ll sit down to write one poem which will lead to my being inspired and writing three or four poems. Often, if I’m lucky, one or two are strong. Sometimes, none at all are strong, but I might save a line…

In an odd way, I also find rejections inspiring. I’ve made one major goal for myself as a writer. I don’t beat myself up if I don’t write every week, or if I don’t submit every week, but I do send new poems out the same day I receive a rejection. I try to treat it like a game. Often, if the guidelines don’t state otherwise, I’ll send a new batch of poems to the same journal that rejected me and to a different journal. I think more writers need to do this, especially women. Why not? What is there to lose? I find that treating submissions like a game relieves some of the stress of being a writer. It’s a lot of hard work.

Leah Umansky, Poet and Anglophile in Central Park, New York City at the Alice in Wonderland sculpture by José de Creef. Photo: Suze Bienaimee

You know, what’s funny about pop culture and social media is that some of my Game of Thrones poems, for example, were really popular when they were first published in Poetry Magazine. There are people I’ve become friends with on social media who have tweeted to me: “watch this show, you will get really good poems out of it,” but that’s not the way it works for me. For example, I love the show, Mr. Robot, but I can’t manage a single decent poem from any of the notes I’ve taken. With HBO’s Westworld, on the otherhand, I’ve had the opposite experience. I’ve written around six Westworld inspired poems so far, and some of them will be published this summer (2017).

I had a poem, This is to Calm You When You Arrive, published in the September 2016 of Slice Literary Magazine. The poem was inspired by a couple of different things, one being the 30/30 writing prompt of National Poetry Month, and by my friend and poet, Kaveh Akbar who solicited submissions for an upcoming issue of Pleiades which will feature Franz Wright inspired poems. I wanted to submit a few, so I gave myself an assignment to read more of Wright’s work and see if inspiration would strike. I ended up writing three or four Wright inspired poems. I’m glad to say that some of those poems have been accepted for publication in journals and/or anthologies this year.

So, the following poem, This is to Calm You When You Arrive, in Slice Literary Magazine came out of that assignment I mentioned, but it was also inspired by a tarot card reading. One of the things the reader said to me in the reading is in the poem.

 

SUZE BIENAIMEE: Thank you Leah! Words! Yes, they are powerful! I also love that you treat publication rejections in a positive way. Thank you for sharing your inspiration with StudioSeeds readers!

Please connect with Leah Umansky in the COMMENTS section of this post.

MORE INFORMATION

BOOKS
The Barbarous Century is forthcoming in 2018 from Eyewear Publishing, UK, a new full-length poetry collection

Straight Away the Emptied World (Kattywompus Press, 2016), a dystopian-themed poetry collection

Don Dreams and I Dream, voted one of The Top 10 Chapbooks To Read Now in 2014 by Time Out New York. (Kattywompus Press, 2014), a Mad-Men inspired chapbook

Domestic Uncertainties, (BlazeVOX, 2012), full-length poetry collection

BIO
Leah Umansky is a graduate of the MFA Program in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College and a graduate of the MA in English Education – Secondary Education from CUNY- Hunter College. Leah earned her undergraduate degree from SUNY Binghamton in English/Creative Writing, where she graduated with honors.

Founder, creator, curator, host: COUPLET Reading Series in New York City, 5 years old in 2016, founded in 2011 and on Facebook, #CoupletNYC

Translations: Game of Thrones (#GoT) poems have been translated into Norwegian by Beijing Trodheim

Collage-artist: Designed her book covers for Domestic UncertaintiesDon Dreams and I Dream, Straight Away the Emptied World

Poets and Writers Magazine Directory Listing

Anthologies: Read Woman: An Anthology (Locked Horn Press, 2014), The American Voice in Poetry (Poetry Center Passaic County Community College, 2010), Golden Shovel Anthology, (Amazon, 2017)

Journals: Barrow Street, Coconut Magazine, Cream City Review, Forklift, Ohio, Harpur Palate, Lips, Magma Poetry, Paterson Literary Review, Ping Pong, Poetry Magazine, Posit, PSA Poetry Review, Slice Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Poetry Review, Pleiades, Coconut Magazine, Cream City , Harpur Palate and LIPs, The Journal, Queen Mob’s Teahouse

PRESS
Time Out New York: Don Dreams and I Dream, voted one of The Top 10 Chapbooks To Read Now, in 2014 by Time Out New York

The New York Times Poetry Pairing | ‘Khaleesi Says’ Poem by Leah Umansky, article by Shannon Doyne

USA Today’s Pop CandyCountdown to ‘Mad-Men’. Read a Don Draper-inspired Poem, The Times, by Leah Umansky. Article by Whitney Matheson

The PEN Ten with Leah Umansky is PEN America’s weekly interview series curated by Lauren Cerand

Flavorwire named Leah Umansky one of the People Who Will Make You Care About Poetry by Jason Diamond

Coldfront Magazine On Poetry & Pop Culture: Lisa Marie Basile Interviews Leah Umansky

Huffington Post Deconstructing the Poetry Goddess by Jill Di Donato. Leah Umansky writes:

My favorite women writers are confessional poets. Of course, there are other kinds. I know tons of poets who do not write about themselves in any shape or form. My first book, Domestic Uncertainties, is a memoir of my marriage and divorce told through poetry. In my Mad-Men and Game of Thrones poems, I’m writing about gender and power through the lens of pop culture. Khaleesi and Peggy or Ned Stark and Don Draper take over. But I’m still in there. The poet’s always there.

—  Leah Umansky

 

PRIZES & SCHOLARSHIPS
Honorable Mention for the 2012 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize sponsored by the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College

Norman Mailer Writers Colony in Provincetown, Massachusetts studying with Christopher Ricks. She was the recipient of a week-long scholarship, 2010.

FAVORITES
Books: Wuthering Heights; The Passion; Mysteries of Pittsburgh; Written on the Body; Station Eleven; The Woman Upstairs; English Patient; Tiny Beautiful Things; All the Light We Cannot See; A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing.

Authors: Emily Bronte; Jeanette Winterson; Carole Maso; Anne Carson, Marie Howe, Andrew Sean Greer, Eimear McBride 

CONNECT
Website: LeahUmansky.com for more poems and information 

E-mail: LeahUmansky@gmail.com

Poets & Writers Directory Listing

Twitter: @Lady_Bronte

Twitter: @COUPLET_Series

Next COUPLET_Series reading: April 21, 2017

Twitter: @BestAmPo Best American Poetry Blog – live tweets a few times a year

Facebook.com/LeahUmanskyPoet

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Leah Umansky: Poet, Creator of COUPLET_Series, SuperFan Game of Thrones StudioSeeds Inspire By Suze Bienaimee

Elizabeth Polanco: Spoken Word Artist, Dancer

Elizabeth Polanco at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Throne of Njouteu: Royal Couple. Photo: Suze Bienaimee

SUZE BIENAIMEE: Meet Elizabeth Polanco! She is a dancer, writer, world traveler and Spoken Word Artist. (Spoken Word is an oral art that focuses on word play, intonation and voice inflection.) She has performed her Spoken Word Art and dance at universities in the northeast as member of The Collective.

I had the opportunity to meet Elizabeth at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Strolling through the sub-Saharan African art of the Michael C. Rockefeller wing, I asked her the StudioSeeds question: what inspires you?

ELIZABETH POLANCO: Silence. Time. Stillness. Travel.

Moments of stillness don’t frequently happen in our society, probably because silence has a way of creating anxiety due to the repressed thoughts that may rush in when we finally stop to think. Despite the conflicting feelings, being still can help us reflect and realize what truly brings us joy and peace. Immersed in beauty, I discovered I was meant to explore the hidden treasures of the world.

Guadalquivir River in Sevilla, Spain. Photo: David Rodriguez Palomar

It all began for me as I sat by the Guadalquivir River in Sevilla, Spain on a Sunday afternoon, sun-gazing at the beautifully potent Sevilla sun. It was the happiest I had been at that point in my life, in stillness surrounded by the most inspiring view I had ever seen.

My adventure in Sevilla was the beginning of lifelong stories I plan to continue writing.

I am the dreams i constructed within the realm of rem sleep.

I am a burst of energy that glided the physical and 5th dimension.

I am present eternal and profound where no words can encapsulate everything i have been, will become and transform to.

Words, language, concepts compartmentalize and oversimplify who i am. I am more than what you see, more than a check box, more than you can discover, more than just a species, i am that i am.

My travels have taken me to Guayaquil, Ecuador;  Cozumel, Mexico; La Vega, Dominican Republic; Cahuita, Costa Rica; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Havana, Cuba; Paris, France; Lisbon, Spain, as well as many places around the United States.

Elizabeth Polanco: in Montego Bay, Jamaica with women in folkloric dresses. Photo: Jansiel Polanco @ArtclStudios
Elizabeth Polanco speaking with a Cuban local about African heritage in Hamal Alley, Cuba. Photo: Jansiel Polanco @ArtclStudios
A Costa Rican indigenous woman showing Elizabeth Polanco how to make chocolate from scratch by first roasting the cacao beans, Cahuita, Costa Rica. Photo: Jansiel Polanco @ArtclStudios

I have found joy in assimilating into cultures and the different lifestyles. I once traveled to learn about the culture and society, but now I travel to connect with parts of myself I don’t get to see in my everyday life. As a poet, writer, and dancer, being creative requires digging deep in oneself, examining what makes us uncomfortable and expressing what make us yearn.

My purpose in life is to use my adventures and those I meet along the way to communicate what can’t be intellectualized and must be in form of art. Exploring the world has helped me understand I am not lost when I wander.

The ties, connections, relativity are super natural. The past becomes a sheer moment spent in today that becomes deja vu as if we’ve lived this story or are living out our destiny. Time transpires all dimensions where there are no more resilient memories but actual specs of time playing out in its synchronicity.

SUZE BIENAIMEE: Elizabeth, thank you for sharing your inspiration and purpose with StudioSeeds readers! Wow: stillness, silence, timelessness and travel — all inspiring through your vision.

. . .

WRITING EXCERPTS BY ELIZABETH POLANCO, Spoken Word Artist:

From Ecstatic Corona:

Dance defined me.
Inside my interior reflecting my exterior, i found myself dancing.
It came natural.
It was liberating.
Dancing was not something i paid to learn. It wasn’t something i strategically practiced; working on my posture, doing proper plies, and fitting all the criterias that make up a dancer.

This is not me.
Not even if i secretly lived out someone else’s passion to exist and belong to could i correlate.
I’ve resurrected my memories weakness, defining OUR present illness.

 

From Children of the Mercy Files:

I grew up in a fantasy of a world that would allow all dreams. I learned that from them. But my innocence was shattered with the reality of my parent’s failed dreams. The fantasy of having possibilities to achieve my dreams became nothing but nostalgia.

I’ll tell you…she has chased dreams that have hypnotized her, blocking out reality. She reaches, and reaches, and reaches but doesn’t reach. She sleep walks. She moves in her rem sleep, not grounded by gravity.

He worked all the jobs he could and experienced what was to be his life until insomnia hit. Now the scabs on his feet, his shortness of breath, and the glaucoma are a constant reminder of his failure. He is now a mere example of lost value, an unacquired profitability in things like education, English language,— all those things that make you marketable in America.

Our happy moments were followed by lashes of anger, and then the ongoing struggle to maintain a family settled like a fog.

 

MORE ABOUT ELIZABETH POLANCO

MA, International Relations, City College, New York, New York

BA, Sociology, Queens College of the City University of New York

THE COLLECTIVE: Elizabeth Polanco is part of a multimedia collective where she dances and performs her poetry. The Collective has produced Ecstatic Corona and Children of the Mercy Files performed at Sarah Lawrence College, Graduate Center, Barnard College,  New York University as well as being featured in the Remix Media Festival and the Left Forum.

Elizabeth is currently working on a memoir of her spiritual journey in finding connections to her African heritage.

You can reach her through the comments section for this post on StudioSeeds.

. . .

 

Elizabeth Polanco: Spoken Word Artist, Dancer StudioSeeds Inspire By Suze Bienaimee

Setsuko Winchester: Freedom from Fear — The Yellow Bowl Project 

setsuko_by-simon-winchester
Setsuko Winchester, Artist/Ceramist/Photographer. Photo: Simon Winchester

SUZE BIENAIMEE: Meet Setsuko Winchester, creator the Yellow Bowl Project as a statement about “Freedom from Fear”. She is American-Japanese, a former National Public Radio (NPR) journalist and an artist/ceramist/photographer.

I find her Yellow Bowl Project very important because it brings to light a dark time in the history of the United States of America — hopefully it will never be repeated.

Welcome to StudioSeeds, Setsuko. What is The Yellow Bowl Project and what inspired you?

SETSUKO WINCHESTER: The Yellow Bowl Project is to remember and bring attention to a time during World War II (WWII) when the US government sponsored a program of forcible removal of a portion of the American-Japanese population from their homes and incarcerated them in internment camps.

setsuko_jerome-ak-water-tank
Freedom from Fear — Yellow Bowl Project at American-Japanese Internment Camp, Jerome, Arkansas. Photo: Setsuko Winchester

I wanted to bring attention to the internment because ethnic differences in our US population led to the assumption of a threat to the United States and I decided to express myself using something I love that brings me great joy: ceramics. Ceramics is part of your blood if you are Japanese. There is a pot for every kind of food and every occasion in your life.

For The Yellow Bowl Project I made one hundred-twenty bowls and each represents one thousand individuals who were incarcerated. I glazed them every shade of bright yellow and the yellow represents the “Yellow Peril”, meaning fear of Japanese as it was expressed.

The Yellow Bowl Project at Gila River, Arizona, (technically on sovereign land of the Gila River Indian Community). Photo: Setsuko Winchester
Freedom from Fear — The Yellow Bowl Project at Gila River, Arizona, American-Japanese Internment Camp (technically on sovereign land of the Gila River Indian Community). Photo: Setsuko Winchester

My goal was to visit and photograph the bowls at each of the ten internment camps. I have now completed that goal.

setsuko_amache-wide
Freedom from Fear — Yellow Bowl Project at Amache, Colorado, American-Japanese Internment Camp (considered on of the most humane of all the camps). Photo: Setsuko Winchester
setsuko-topaz-utah-block-29-the-churchtopaz-2
Freedom from Fear —  Yellow Bowl Project at the Topaz, Utah, American – Japanese Internment Camp, Topaz, Utah (Block 29, the Church). Photo: Setsuko Winchester

In addition to the camps, I have arranged and photographed the bowls at other places connected to the concept of “Freedom from Fear” which I call “Iconic American Landscapes”: Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, New York; Four Freedoms Rotunda at the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts; the steps of the United States Supreme Court, Washington, DC; the Memorial to Japanese American Patriotism, Washington DC; the FDR Library, Hyde Park, New York.

setsuko_steps-of-supreme-court
Freedom from Fear —  Yellow Bowl Project on the Steps of the Supreme Court, Washington, DC. Photo: Setsuko Winchester
Freedom from Fear —  Yellow Bowl Project Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island, New York. Photo: Setsuko Winchester

By exposing these places of “fear” we can finally exorcise the shame and guilt and move forward rather than blame the victim or shame the oppressors. In other words, I hope we will always remember and try to forgive.

SUZE BIENAIMEE: Setsuko, well said — thank you for reminding us of the importance of remembering and forgiving as well as bringing a tragic time in US history to light; that kind of violation of basic human rights by either individuals or the government of the United States of America must never happen again.

Again, thank you so much for coming to StudioSeeds. I know my readers will find your Freedom from Fear — Yellow Bowl Project very important.

Please connect with Setsuko Winchester in the COMMENTS section for the post.

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MORE INFORMATION 

YellowBowlProject.com Setsuko Winchester’s website and blog.

Contact Setsuko Winchester — be sure to mention StudioSeeds.

Densho.org Source for information about World War II incarceration of American-Japanese.

Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston is the true story of one spirited Japanese American family’s attempt to survive the indignities of forced detention . . . and of a native-born American child who discovered what it was like to grow up behind barbed wire in the United States. (from the publisher)

Camp Notes and Other Writings by Mitsuye Yamada. An activist, feminist, and poet, during World War II, Mitsuye Yamada’s Japanese immigrant family was forcibly relocated from their home in Seattle, Washington to an internment camp in Idaho. Yamada’s poetry collection, Camp Notes and Other Writings, speaks to that experience of internment — especially as a woman forced to feel like an outsider in her own country — and documents the racial violence and discrimination she and her family faced after World War II. (from the back cover)

George Takei (Star Trek, Heroes) at FDR Library, 3 p.m., Sunday, February 19, 2017 will be speaking of his family’s internment during WWII. Also, he stared in Allegiance, a Broadway musical, 2016. It was inspired by his life experiences in WWII and follows an extraordinary story of a family’s journey from prosperity in Los Angeles to internment in Rohwer, Arkansas.

Setsuko Winchester: In February of 2017, my photographs will be part of a photography exhibition at the FDR Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY. It will be 75 years since Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, which authorized the Secretary of War and any military commander designated by him “to prescribe military areas…from which any or all persons may be excluded.” This paved the way for what would become the mass forced removal and incarceration of all American-Japanese on the West Coast.

List of the ten Internment Camps  of American-Japanese from March, 1942 until their closing in 1945 and 1946.

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Connect with Suze Bienaimee: StudioSeeds, ArtNow.org or SuzeBienaimee.com

Setsuko Winchester: Freedom from Fear — The Yellow Bowl Project  StudioSeeds Inspire By Suze Bienaimee