Aesthetic Realism itself began with Eli Siegel’s seeing of the relations among all the things reality has. It showed through his early writing in poetry and prose. He later wrote: “It was these thoughts that, becoming passionate and musical, took the form of “Hot ‘Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana.'” This grandly sweeping poem of relation—relation in time and space, the relation among the outward doings of life and the inner thoughts of people, the relation of the inanimate world and living beings—won the Nation magazine’s poetry prize in 1925.
The poem begins:
Quiet and green was the grass of the field,
The sky was whole in brightness,
And O, a bird was flying, high, there in the sky,
So gently, so carelessly and fairly.
Award-winning filmmaker and Aesthetic Realism consultant Ken Kimmelman made a film of this majestic poem. Historian Howard Zinn wrote: “Ken Kimmelman’s reproduction, on film, of Eli Siegel’s magisterial poem, is an extraordinary achievement. It matches, in its visual beauty, the elegance of Siegel’s words, and adds the dimension of stunning imagery to an already profound work of art.”
You’ll be stirred to your depths by this great combination of words and visual images. Now, more than ever, we need to feel that beauty is just as real as the things that can frighten us. I’m grateful to be learning that from Aesthetic Realism. I hope this film encourages everyone else to feel it too.