ArtiFact #35: The Life & Times Of Bruce Ario, Poet | Joel Ario, Alex Sheremet, Dan Schneider

ArtiFact: Books, Art, Culture

11-01-2023 • 1時間 15分

Bruce Ario (1955 – 2022) was a great Minneapolis poet with a fascinating backstory. Although he did not have much interest in writing in the start of his adult life, a car accident and traumatic brain injury (possibly) led to mental illness, homelessness, drug addiction, a religious conversion, and, most importantly, a lifetime of poetry and prose. Author of the novel “Cityboy”, he is also creator of the ario poetic form, a 10-line, 4-stanza poem which taps plain speech and startling juxtapositions of thought and image for its poetic effect.

In ArtiFact #35, Alex Sheremet is joined by one of Bruce Ario’s surviving brothers, Joel Ario, and Bruce’s literary executor, Dan Schneider @cosmoetica to discuss Bruce’s upbringing, mental health struggles, fascination with Minneapolis, personal views, and art. Watch this conversation on our YouTube channel:

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B Side topics: the 2022 Sound & Sight film poll; why Chantal Akerman's “Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” is not a traditionally bad film, but still fails; contrasting the film’s aimlessness with Roman Polanski’s “Repulsion”; some artistic decisions Chantal Akerman could have made to improve her film; why Roman Polanski’s Carol has a more logical character arc than Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman; how Akerman’s writing (and critical appraisals of it) mirrors some of the worst elements of John Williams’s “Stoner”; if Jeanne Dielman seems to have a rational, mature view of life, murder can’t really be part of the character arc; contrasting this film to Orson Welles’s “Other Side Of The Wind”; the Jeanne Dielman / John Cassavetes connection; James Emanuel, “a poet who wrote about racism”; why Ben Shapiro, Matt Yglesias, liberals & reactionaries need to shoehorn art into some political box; using emotion in the arts as a springboard for depth; narcissism & in-fighting between Native American elites; why YouTube blocked a Russian playlist featuring Alexander Galich, Bulat Okukdzhava, and Novella Mateeva; on Alexander Galich’s career: from social-climbing artiste to genuine dissident & poet; Alexander Galich’s “Song About A Bike”; going to Minneapolis to get footage related to Bruce Ario & the 1990s arts scene; racial segregation in Minneapolis art; Elon Musk’s Twitter meltdown; why Elon Musk’s COVID demands in 2020 & wrong-headed economic prognostications in 2022 are self-serving; Elon Musk’s free speech hypocrisy; if Twitter goes away, something nearly identical would replace it

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0:00 – Dan Schneider on Bruce Ario’s importance, especially in light of his mental health ills

3:28 – Joel Ario on Bruce’s siblings, parents, & upbringing; Bruce’s “sensitivity” & what this entailed for his person, his art; Dan Schneider speaks to art vs biography; Bruce’s childhood

10:04 -  Bruce Ario’s budding rebelliousness, even before his car accident; Bruce Ario’s philosophical father; family addiction issues; Bruce’s accident and subsequent mental health woes; sexual guilt

21:24 – Bruce Ario’s feelings of romantic, sexual loneliness; reading his poem “Lofting It Into Friendship”, & how loneliness did not lead to bitterness or entitlement; Bruce’s visits to prostitutes, poetry on the subject; reading “Waltz In Waltz Out”; how Bruce’s post-injury complaints about the world ultimately cohered into a rational critique

34:35 – Bruce Ario’s inner and outer lives; his charitable donations, self-sacrifice; the “devils” Bruce saw in his own life; his use of these situations artistically

40:43 – Bruce Ario’s 6 months of homelessness; Bruce’s mature response to mental health issues, and his refusal to romanticize his own problems; how mental health issues are incidental to, rather determinative of, artistic creativity; how this might have differed in Bruce; why Bruce Ario, despite mental health issues, does not have to judged on a curve

50:10 – reading Bruce Ario’s poem “Tugging”; on the intersection of random variables and art; poetry vs biography

01:00:38 – Dan Schneider reads a passive-aggressive email from an academic belittling Bruce Ario’s accomplishments under the guise of helpfulness; how fake liberal types damage not only those who are struggling, but the arts and artists in general; concluding remarks

Tags: #Minneapolis, #mentalhealth, #poetrylovers, #drugaddiction, #poetry, #poetrycommunity