Jill Baumgaertner & Liviu Mocan
Jill Baumgaertner: Poems
Liviu Mocan: Sculptures
The book that reads you
sees you, you standing there
trying to read its opaque pages
stiff, unbendable they seem
yet stacked with an abundance
of breath between leaves and brass
that seems almost flexible.
It eyes you. Over and over
through its hieroglyphs the tiny eyes
see all that you are, all that you
should be, all that you will be.
They are not meaning but point
to meaning, harbingers, reflectors,
like the light from the moon,
not sun but still sunlight
reflected yet substantial,
until the morning erases
dark illuminations and unveils
glory, revelation the patina
covering sheen in the skin
The lamb of God
is a curl of eyes and a dagger
in its breast, blanketed
with the pulse
of copper and zinc
cool to the touch.
The warmth of wool
is not for the present.
Upright, fraught with intention,
its head turned
to see all, each eye firm
to what comes next.
A lamb knows consumption
and hunger satisfied.
It is tender with love
and tough with pain. It looks
at us with its neck twisted,
its body erect and ready.
Seeing all in its calm gaze,
wise to our futile actions,
knowing we cannot do it
The lamb will do it.
The ladder of the world
has 49 layers of brass
and 365 rods. I climb
slowly, searching finger
grips and toe holds.
It is hard, this ascent,
but my grasp is not
the point. Christ
is steady. He does
not swerve. His toes
anchor earth. Ramrod
straight he is more
than a link.
He is vertical
to hold my cling.
This Christ does not
He is all angles
and corners, stiff,
unmoving. The ladder
But this rigid God
Is no idol. Nor is he
With his bludgeoned
arms he reaches
The climb is not
what gets us there.
Anchor cast up to heaven
In this case, gravity is irrelevant.
Without this anchor, stretched to heaven,
the wrecked boat would sink,
chained to the depths of sin,
its fragile skin, broken,
the waters a gush of drowning.
But firm, straight, this rope.
The boat as delicate
and wind-tossed as paper,
or freshly dried hair.
Who cast this could shape it only
when it was hot-dipped galvanized,
drop-forged, hammered red and smoking.
Who threw it higher than air,
and who is tugging it upward, upward,
the vessel, all of us,
at the end of the rope?
Only nails hammered could do it,
forged for one who cried, finally,
It is finished.
The finish our beginning.
The Trumpet in the Universe
Soli Deo Gloria
The trumpet, however, stands
eighteen feet high outside the performance
hall, a glory of brass whirls
and small spheres climbing rods,
like atoms merging, molecules of
planets, the trumpet a mouthpiece
for which voice?
It is only this trumpet,
its first making steadied by scaffolding
but now standing free. Silent
but at any moment music
could erupt connecting worlds.
You have fed us with the bread
of tears, you have given us
bowls of tears to drink.
The news feed a monotone of scandal.
After so much repetition, hardly scandalous.
We drift into complacencies,
safe from dire diagnoses (10% cure rate
after 5 years), intentional murders,
and random, politicians’ lies, lost
aircraft, the gutter a blank margin
between facing pages. Or so we think.
Is there really an escape? God’s voice
in the trumpet or in the small silence?
And joy, always a surprise. Will it
splash fire flaring blaze
into corners dark with sorrows?
Jill Peláez Baumgaertner is the author of six collections of poetry, including the recently published From Shade to Shine: New Poems. She has also edited a collection of poetry, Imago Dei: Poetry from Christianity and Literature; written a textbook/anthology, Poetry; and published Flannery O’Connor: A Proper Scaring, still in print after thirty years. Taking Root in the Heart, an anthology of poetry from the Christian Century will be published in 2023. She was a Fulbright fellow to Spain, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is the winner of the White Eagle Coffee Store Press’s poetry chapbook contest, the Goodman Award, an Illinois Arts Council Award, the Illinois Prize of the Rock River Poetry Contest, and the CCL Midwest Poetry Contest. She has served as the poetry editor of The Cresset and First Things and currently serves as poetry editor of The Christian Century. She is also past president of the Conference on Christianity and Literature and is Professor Emerita of English and former Dean of Humanities and Theological Studies at Wheaton College. She has written song texts and libretti for composers Carl Schalk, Michael Costello, Richard Hillert, Daniel Kellogg, Shawn Okpebholo, and most recently for Michael Gandolfi. Their Cantata, based on Psalm 139, was performed by the Boston Symphony Chamber Orchestra. After her retirement from Wheaton in 2017 she returned for a term as Acting Provost and retired once again in 2018. She has two children—Anna, a teacher and professional violinist, and Martin, a video and film producer, and four grandchildren. She and her husband, Martin, a retired judge, lived in Oak Park and River Forest for twenty five years before moving into Chicago in 2003. http://www.jillbaumgaertner.com
Liviu Mocan was born into a farming family in 1955, in the Romanian village of Cara. When the communist regime confiscated their animals and lands, his parents Valer and Ana decided to invest in their three children’s education instead, so in 1961 they moved to the city of Cluj-Napoca.
From an early age, Liviu began to develop his artistic talent, on a journey that took him through art high school and on to the Academy of Visual Arts in Cluj-Napoca, where he graduated in 1991.
Soon after, he took up a post as artist-in-residence at two different universities in North America, before returning to Romania in 1993 where he continued to study, create and teach sculpture.
For his professional development, Liviu undertook numerous study trips to some of the most important global centres of art. This contributed to his reputation internationally, and up to now he has been invited to present his work in exhibitions across 21 countries.
Liviu has permanent public sculptures displayed on four continents, and lives with his family in Cluj-Napoca, where he continues to work as a studio artist. https://www.liviumocan.ro/
More:- September 2022: The Uncompleted Man
- March 2022: Annukka Laine
- January 2022: Megan Fisher
- November 2021: Luci Shaw & Worku Goshu
- September 2021: Pádraig Ó Tuama & Leo G. Franchi
- May 2021: Malcolm Guite & Unknown
- January 2021: Emily Dickinson & Henri Matisse
- December 2020: Allan Boesak & Harm Visser
- June 2020: Luci Shaw & Sebastian Wien
- November 2019: Dennis O’Driscoll & David Robinson
- June 2019: C.S. Lewis & Wayne Adams
- May 2019: Malcolm Guite & Andrea Mantegna: Ascension
- May 2019: Denise Levertov & Ernst Barlach
- October 2018: Sándor Reményik & Ildikó Mecséri
- August 2018: Abigail Carroll & Caravaggio
- May 2018: Bohuslav Reynek: Poet and Visual Artist
- March 2018: George MacDonald & James Ensor
- January 2018: Wendell Berry & Annukka Laine
- November 2017: Mary Oliver & Pauline Baynes
- August 2017: Ellyn Maybe & Pablo Picasso
- April 2017: Lucy Shaw & Henry Ossawa Tanner
- April 2017: Denise Levertov & Diego Velazquez
- February 2017: David L. Hatton & David L. Hatton
- November 2016: Dennis ODriscoll & David Robinson
- June 2016: Luci Shaw & Marietha Smit
- April 2016: Robert Browning & Pauline Baynes
- March 2016: Wendell Berry & Carol Aust
- January 2016: Dante G. Rossetti & Dante G. Rossetti
- December 2015: Sufjan Stevens & Geertgen tot Sint Jans
- September 2015: Thomas Merton & Andre Racz
- June 2015: Frances Bellerby & Jeltje Hoogenkamp
- March 2015: Christine Perrin & Ted Prescott
- January 2015: Jan Krist & Gor Chahal
- December 2014: Sufjan Stevens & Geertgen tot Sint Jans
- November 2014: David L. Hatton & David L. Hatton
- July 2014: Chris Lorensson & Dylan Clements
- June 2014: Jonathan Evens & Henry Shelton
- April 2014: Gerlind Krause & Worku Goshu
- April 2014: Christine Perrin & Michelangelo
- February 2014: David Hatton & Angelo da Fonseca
- January 2014: James Weldon Johnson & Aaron Douglas
- January 2014: Hannah Main-van der Kamp & Liviu Mocan
- December 2013: Christine Perrin & Fra Angelico
- December 2013: Luci Shaw & Botticelli
- November 2013: Christine Perrin & Luca Signorelli
- October 2013: Hannah Main-van der Kamp & Tanja Butler
- October 2013: James Weldon Johnson & Aaron Douglas
- October 2013: Marilyn Chandler McEntyre & Johannes Vermeer
- September 2013: The Renewal of Ekphrasis by John Skillen