To Believe in Things: Poet Joseph Pintauro’s Lost Love Poem to Life, Illustrated by the Radical Nun and Visionary Artist Sister Corita Kent

Corita– whose now-iconic “Rules for Students and Teachers” have actually influenced generations of artists, including John Cage– went, like Beyoncé, by her given name only, so that the spinal columns of the living treasures read Pintauro/ Corita.

But Pintauros the majority of motivated cooperation, both poetically and aesthetically, was with the artist, designer, printmaker, pop art pioneer, and unstoppable force of social justice Sister Corita Kent (November 20, 1918– September 18, 1986). Entirely self-taught, she ended up being one of the most ingenious silkscreen artists of the 1970s and 1960s, steeping her stunning prints with messages of uniformity with the civil liberties and ecological movements of the period, messages of peace and consistency and love– love, as the poet Elizabeth Alexander might state, and did state half a century later, “beyond marital, filial, nationwide, like that casts an expanding pool of light.”

Soon after he resigned his deal with the church in his mid-thirties, Pintauro started a series of wonder-smiting cooperations with artists, bringing his existentially huge poems to life in little objects of glittering pleasure that can best be referred to as kidss books for grown-ups. 4 of them, illustrated by the graphic artist Norman Laliberté, he called “boxes” and committed to a particular emotional season of life– amongst them The Magic Box (autumn) and The Rabbit Box (spring).

Queer and glowing and in love with life, the priest turned poet and playwright Joseph Pintauro (November 22, 1930– May 29, 2018) was born and raised and annealed in New York, in the intellectual and creative ferment of the city, the city that never sleeps and always dreams. A late bloomer by every common procedure, he published his first poetry collection in the gloaming hour of his thirties and married the love of his life– Greg, his partner of forty years– in the gloaming hour of life, at 81. However oh how splendidly, how fragrantly, how soulfully he bloomed.

In 1968, the year she moved and left the order to Boston, Corita cast her widening pool of light around Pintauros debut poetry collection, To Believe in God, which unspooled a “trilogy of beliefs,” proceeding with To Believe in Man in 1970 and culminating with the out-of-print treasure To Believe in Things (town library) in 1971.

Pintauros poem itself is an uncommonly stunning, buoyant, and largehearted event of life– of the delighted improbability of it, the self-enlarging and unselfing interconnectedness of it, the luminescent fulness of it across the entire spectrum of pleasures and griefs.

With a feeling-tone evocative of Marie Howes exceptional “Singularity,” the poem opens the method it ends– by bridging science and the human spirit:

Millions of years earlier, therewas blackness, beautiful and pure Nothing. Therewas no thingin it, no star, no wind, no light, no word, no damaged heart.
However a time came when perfect, relaxing Nothingwas to vanish forever. Something wasabout to be.
Suddenly, there it was. Something, all alone, king of whatever. Killer of ancient, stunning Nothing. There wasa silence.
… till Nothing yelled a deathscream andthat scream is still shouting, anexpanding ring into the universethat will never ever end.
Nothing is dead …

Like any excellent work of art, the poem makes the personal the website into the universal, into the beautiful bittersweet dance of life and death. Nested in the narrative sweep as large as spacetime are a handful of poignant vignettes pinned to specific moments in time from a specific life. With charming subtlety, Pintauro catches his passing away moms helpless, enthusiastic cosmic bid versus death:

My sister was told to do her typing away from therest of us, where it would not disrupt us.
We did our research at the dining-room table whileour mom crocheted big white stars according to planon theinstruction sheet. When she ended up one, she would tiethe yarn and flatten the star on the table: “Look young boys, that makes eleven.”
We searched for, as tired by the stars as ourhomework. Wewere too young to comprehend, she haddecided making a bedspread and betweendying and her stars wereall veryimportant.
We went to sleep those nights with Julius Caesar onour minds, with Napoleon, Spartacus, photosynthesis, zinc, granite, thenames of all the rocks of the earth and ofthe constellations.All that understanding inside us, we fell asleep, guaranteed thatthere are forty million mornings in unheard-of places.
While she lay awake, slightly wanting therewere angelswho would accept the coming of a brand-new bedspread intothe universe, in exchange for her life.
Recently, I was going through the scrap of the cellarand Ifound the bedspread. It was torn and unraveledand stuffedinto an old pillowcase.
My sis recalls washing it when, and adding toomuch bleachto the maker. Itfell apart in her hands when she took it from the dryer.

Radiating from these verses that celebrate the vibrant aliveness of the Earth– the minerals that form “the hills and the mountains” and are likewise “the compound the hills and mountains stand upon”; the “red hanging begonias” that “parachute onto twinkling lawn”; the ice of February– is a tip that these living miracles exist with us, not for us. Echoing Rachel Carsons courageous countercultural insistence that “the real wealth of the Nation lies in the resources of the earth– soil, water, forests, minerals, and wildlife,” Pintauro issues a poetic admonition against the American hubris of proprietorship and extractivism:

Increasing above the human love poem is a grand orchestral love poem to life, temporal and improbable and transcendent life– life in which, as the fantastic naturalist John Muir observed a century prior to Pintauro, “when we attempt to pick out anything by itself, we discover it hitched to everything else in the universe.” These verses close the incredible To Believe in Things:.

long live the little greek dineron very first opportunity near the 59thstreet bridge.
the greek there offers fresh fishand fresh string beans, rice puddingand homemade coffee forninety centsbecause hes old and his wifeis gone and he cant sleep mornings.he goes to the fulton fish marketto watch the sun shown up, besidesthe fresh fish there is cheaperthan frozenhe smells greece on the fish andhe feelshis childhood when he cleans them.

All of Pintauros poetry is essentially like poetry. Harmonizing the cosmic and quotidian scales of his verse-meditations is a subtle and symphonic love poem, evocative of that elegant passage from the journals of Albert Camus: “If those whom we start to love might know us as we were prior to satisfying them … they might perceive what they have actually made from us.” Pintauro composes:.

Queer and glowing and in love with life, the priest turned poet and playwright Joseph Pintauro (November 22, 1930– May 29, 2018) was born and raised and annealed in New York, in the intellectual and creative ferment of the city, the city that never sleeps and always dreams. A late bloomer by every common measure, he published his first poetry collection in the gloaming hour of his thirties and married the love of his life– Greg, his partner of forty years– in the gloaming hour of life, at 81. Absolutely nothing is dead …

Mr. Griswold owns all the residential or commercial property in America … however the trees never heard of him.He owns the property exceptthe daylilies do not understandthey are growing inhis dirt, andthe dirt does not knowthe distinction in between.
Mr. Griswold andthe deer andthe chipmunks who trespass there.

long live our avoidanceof the quadrillion probabilitiesof our non-existence.
i am not who i wasi am not going to be who i was going to beyou altered all that.
you are not who you wereyou are not going to be who you were going to bei altered all that.
what is, is … and can not at the exact same time, not be.what was, was … and can not, not have actually been. so you see my love.
we are uswe are us now and we will never ever have beennot us.
who are we going to be?we are going to be who we never would have beenwithout each other.

to believe in the wind is to know.
there are things we gather which no guy plantsin our sailsour hair, in seashells our ears, the wind iswhy there is music no guy madein our roomswhen october makes loveto the house.The wind is whythe screen doorspeaks to you now and then and whyit is truewhen they are abandoned, barns willmoan and there is cryingon the fire escapewhen nobody is there.

Like any great work of art, the poem makes the personal the portal into the universal, into the beautiful bittersweet dance of individual and website. Nested in the narrative sweep as wide as spacetime are a handful of poignant vignettes pinned to specific moments in time from a specific life. All of Pintauros poetry is essentially enjoy poetry.

LONG LIVE EVERYTHING.
… but keep in mind, whatever is not everypossible thingeverything is just allthere is here and now.
somewhen, there will be more than there is.
you are not everythingbut everythingcould not beeverything without you.