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On Sketches by Matisse


When I was eighteen, I saw a film of Matisse sketching his grandson. He did sketch after sketch, each time simpler. The portrait never became abstract, it simply became a face with fewer and fewer lines needed to give the boy his presence.

Through my life, finishing a poem, a novel, a meal (Chicken Cacciatore for example) I’ve always kept that in mind: simmering, guiding, creating whatever the heck it is to its essence. And it’s endless.

Allen Ginsberg said, “The first thought is the best thought,” and as true as that is, I would add, “but vision comes with revision.”


Dance 1, 1909

Dance, 1912

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