Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Audubon, my Ancestor in Art

I heard the former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky speak here in Iowa City Saturday night, part of a wonderful City of Literature event. He said to the students of poetry in the audience "Know your ancestors". He wasn't just referring to their real family ancestors- although he did talk about ancestoral memory and how most people can't give the full names of all eight of their great-grandparents. Pinsky was speaking more of the ancestors of his craft; of Elliot, Keats, Yeats, etc. And it got me thinking, who are my ancestors of craft? One is John James Audubon. A naturalist, painter of birds extraordinnaire, he was born 226 years ago to this very day. And I honor and think of him as I paint in a wild turkey in my book mural!

Incidentally, my great-grandparents were, on the English side: Kate Talmadge and Norton Jones; William Hine and Laura Hall. On the American side: LuluBelle Johnson and Rush McHargue; Michael South and Hannah Keenan.


Jennifer Cahill said...

Okay, I've been humbled. I've always known the great-grandparents by "Great Grandpa Kling," etc. but as I sit hear I can't for the life of me remember many of their first (or maiden names of the women). This will be a good topic of conversation around the Mother's Day breakfast table with my folks & family tomorrow!

Claudia said...

I confess, I had to ask the 'rents for help...

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