One red bird morning too bright for melancholy all hard things fell away For several years, it has been my honor and privilege to observe, and enjoy, the daily postings of Phibby Venable from afar.…
Jillian Parker on Yves Bonnefoy in Spectral Light
Two of my favorites
She met Modigliani when he was still poor and unrecognized. They sat in the Jardin du Luxembourg and recited Verlaine to each other. He drew sixteen portraits of her, of which only one survives. She preferred it to any other and kept it hanging in her room to the end of her days. She describes these meetings with Modigliani in a memoir of him published in 1965, and notes with evident nostalgia that the city in which they took place was ‘vieux Paris et Paris d’avant guerre,’ where the principal means of transport was still the fiacre. The Russian ballet was all the rage—The Firebird was put on in June 1910—and Chagall had already arrived ‘with his magical Vitebsk. (Max Hayward, Writers in Russia: 1917-1978.)
Later in life, not having left Russia again in a third of a century, she would be astonished to learn how famous he had become.
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