Good poets are hard to find. This weekend, good poetry, fine art and the great outdoors are your best bets.
A fine writer from Fairbanks named John Reinhard will read his poetry at 7 tonight in the Egan Library at the University of Alaska Southeast. Reinhard has published two books of poetry and his work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.
Reinhard is eloquent and insightful. He offers vignettes that show us something about life, about our relationships and all those little things that we realize are important over time.
Too many poets tell us what we already know: Alaska is beautiful, heartbreak is sad, love is good. Even if they are good with words, it's just not that interesting to state the obvious. Reinhard presents a slightly different way of looking at those things, a view that's richer and deeper and more substantial.
One poem, "After skinnydipping, the old couple fishes for brown trout in the Root River," conjures up everything the title suggests. But beneath the "story" of the poem, Reinhard speaks to growing old together, staying in love, the charm of flyfishing and an appreciation for nature that is evoked and not explained.
The reading will last about an hour. The cost is $5 or free to UAS students.
While you're out at UAS, you can check out the student art exhibit in the Egan Library. The artwork is on display through Monday.
If you make it to Auke Bay tonight you can also take in the opening for "Worn and Hung: New works by Michael Reid Hunter and Rick Clair." The opening is from 6 to 10 tonight at Gallery Art and Framing, 3340 Fritz Cove Road. That's Sharon Lobaugh's art studio. The artwork will be on display throughout the weekend, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Hunter is a jeweler and goldsmith and Clair is a painter. Both artists create distinctive and highly original work. Hunter has a gift for working with gold that is unsurpassed locally. His jewelry makes you understand why this metal is so seductive and coveted. Hunter will have earrings, pendants and bracelets. He incorporates cool stuff into his work, tiny little primitive tools such as ivory points, ancient coins, fossils and gems.
Artwork is sometimes a waste of precious materials. Like gluing little toy miners onto quartz crystals or carving dopey little trinkets out of fossil ivory. By contrast, Hunter honors the materials he uses, showcasing a tiny carved bead from Egypt or an antique coin.
Rick Clair paints from his imagination, creating one-of-a-kind pieces that suggest more than they show. You have to wonder about the characters in his paintings - what are they doing, who are they to each other, and why is there a bush growing out of this guy's head? Some folks like his use of color, his pallet, his technique, but I like the weird stories in the pictures.
The two artists are a nice combination and this promises to be a good show.
This is the last week to catch "Flashback: Photographs from the Sixties, Images from San Francisco and Los Angeles" by Ken DeRoux and Mark Daughhetee, at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council. Juneau painter Sue Kraft will open a show next Friday, and the joint photo exhibit will probably come down Wednesday. Drop into the arts council Monday or Tuesday afternoon if you haven't seen it yet.
Saturday from 1:30-2:30 there's a Marimba workshop with Makoto Nakura in the Chorus Room at Juneau-Douglas High School. Nakura is a virtuoso player and this is a rare chance to catch a free lesson or see a demonstration. It's sponsored by the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, and there won't be a concert performance.
We may get some wet weather, but spring is here. Fish are moving in and there's an abundance of wildlife out. Goats are moving down the mountains and there are birds galore. Skunk cabbage is showing its pointy yellow head, and wild-edible eaters are gathering ferns and nettles.
This is prime time to hit the trails, especially the coastal trails. I hiked Perseverance Trail last night and it's clear of snow all the way to Granite Creek. No sign of bears yet, but they'll be out any day.