Vol.5, Number 1, March 2009
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> STEVE MUMFORD: MOSUL JOURNAL
These drawings are from my sixth trip to Iraq, in April and May of 2008. I spent a month in Mosul, staying at the US and Iraqi armies’ combat outposts and larger bases. I accompanied the soldiers on missions every day and brought my art supplies in a photographer’s vest that fit over my flack jacket so that I could work from life. I carried an artnet.com press pass and sent jpegs of my drawings to that website.These trips were inspired by the premodern tradition of war art and history painting and Winslow Homer’s nineteenth-century Civil War paintings specifically. I was not interested in making art about the morality of the Iraq War, or its politics; nor did I want to rely on secondhand images. I wanted to record my own subjective experiences through the role of artist-reporter, and to collect material for larger oil paintings to be done back in New York.
– S.M., May 31, 2008, NYC
Baghdad Journal (Artnet, 2003-2004)
STEVE MUMFORD IS A NEW YORK ARTIST AND AUTHOR OF BAGHDAD JOURNAL: AN ARTIST IN OCCUPIED IRAQ (DRAWN & QUARTERLY, 2005). HE FIRST WENT TO BAGHDAD IN 2003 AS A WAR ARTIST, LIVING AND WORKING AMONG THE IRAQIS AS WELL AS EMBEDDED WITH THE US MILITARY. HIS ARTWORK IS REPRESENTED BY POSTMASTERS GALLERY IN NEW YORK. (IMAGES APPEAR COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND POSTMASTERS GALLERY, NY.)
> GRAHAM ALLEN: AFTER LIVY
These are the first few poems from a series which is in process. They form the central part of a cycle of poems, Trasimene, based on the lake in Umbria in which Hannibal achieved his second significant victory on Italian soil in the Second Punic War. I visit Lago Trasimene every year and over time I’ve worked on a collection which attempts to link modern Italian lake-life with the historical events which happened there over two thousand years ago. “After Livy” starts with a meditation on Hannibal’s life after he and his army had been defeated by the Romans, something most historians don’t feel the need to discuss at great length. But it moves on to consider the relation between poetry and historical knowledge, in particular issues of individual and collective heroism. Unlike Byron at the beginning of Don Juan, I’m not in search of a hero. I think we’ve had far too many heroes. Lago Trasimeno is a place that can remind people that all “heroism” fades back into the landscape and into geological time and that we should more than ever before, as Keats puts it in his meditation on poetry and history in The Fall of Hyperion, “think of the earth.”
– G.A., May 2008
GRAHAM ALLEN WORKS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK, IRELAND. HE HAS PUBLISHED NUMEROUS BOOKS ON LITERARY THEORY AND ROMANTIC LITERATURE, INCLUDING MARY SHELLEY (PALGRAVE, 2008) AND THE READER’S GUIDE TO “FRANKENSTEIN” (CONTINUUM, 2008). HE HAS BEEN PUBLISHING HIS POETRY IN JOURNALS IN IRELAND AND THE UK SINCE 2006 AND IS WORKING ON TWO COLLECTIONS, SOME THINGS I NEVER DID AND TRASIMENE.