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Neuroendocrinology Letters incl. Psychoneuroimmunology & Chronobiology


NeuroendocrinologyİLetters incl. Psychoneuroimmunology and Chronobiology, Editorial.
ISSNİ0172ñ780X Copyrightİ©İ2001 NeuroendocrinologyİLetters

NELVol. 22 No. 2
From the Art Director's Desk

2001; 22:77-78
pii: NEL220201E02
PMID: 11335882

Two years ago, beginning with Volume 20, we refined the Neuroendocrinology Letters with an artistic touch connected to the scientific content. This is the way we convey the humanistic approach to our readers and this is the way we understand the comprehensive nature of every creative and scientific act [1].

In the April 6, 2001 issue of the Times Literary Supplement (TLS) Peter D. Smith reviewing George Steiner’s “Grammars of creation” (Faber), points out that for George Steiner, the “products of invention” do not share the grammars of creation. Science and technology, unlike literature, art, music and philosophy, do not attain the condition of timelessness: “A nineteenth-century steam engine is now a historical curio. A novel by Dostoevsky is not.”

The arts offer intimations of eternity, glimpses of a distant horizon beyond the timebound, lawful hyle that determines our being, Poiesis “authorizes the unreason of hope”: In that immensely significant sense, the arts are more indispensable to men and women than even the best of science and technology (innumerable societies have long endured without these). Creativity in the arts and in philosophic proposal is, in respect of the survival of consciousness, of another order than is invention in the sciences [2].

In this issue of the Journal we would like to introduce you to two different pieces of poetry from different cultures and different destinies but with one most vital common determinator - the timelessness and eternity of art and poetry.

One poem is chosen from the native America poetry from a century ago, from Chippewa Songs (Algonquian tribes in North America - NY State, Canada, North Dakota). The Chippewa tribe is one of the largest native American groups and a part of the Algonquian language group. The landscape the people has inhabited includes the Great Lakes: Lake Huron, Lake Superior, Minnesota and North Dakota. In the summer season Chippewa gathered into villages where they fished, planted small gardens and foraged. Around the Great Lakes they harvested wild rice and hunted deer, moose, bear and small animals.

“Every phase of Chippewa life such as love, war, a change in the weather, dreams etc, is expressed in music”, wrote Frances Densmore (The Norton Anthology, American Literature, New York 1979). Dreams figured greatly even in everyday life, and the singers of the songs would begin their performances by announcing that during the night these song (poems) appeared to them through a spirit power. The dreamer conveyed his songs to the others the next day. The drum and rattle and flute accompanied the songs, which are quite short and have strong imagery, almost like Japanese Haikus. These poems are sung and were written down in 1907, before the lifestyle changed drastically.

Another poem, “Break of Day in the trenches” is by Isaac Rosenberg (1890–1918).

Isaac Rosenberg was the least privileged of the British poets we are reading; he was born into a working-class Jewish family that had emigrated from Russia and eventually moved to the East End of London. Although his working-class origins and economic circumstances prevented him from attending Oxford or Cambridge, he was a talented artist and enrolled in evening classes in the Art School of Birkbeck College, London University and later at the Slade School of art. He hoped to make his living as a portrait artist and had moved to South Africa to pursue his career when the war broke out. He returned to England in 1915, enlisted in 1916 and was killed at the front on April 3, 1918 just months away from the armistice (the war ended on November 11, 1918 and all in all, 8,700,000 lives were lost).

First a painter, later a poet, his verse changed from the lyrical to graphic description of the horrors of war. His imagery is fierce and direct and alive. He writes from the trences and doesn’t spare us the grim reality of the senseless killing and meaninglessness of war.

In 1912 he published “Night and Day”, and before going to the front he published a small volume of poems, “Youth” (1915). Both T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound knew Rosenberg’s poetry and admired it. Some critics suggest that, had he survived the war, he might have been an outstanding poet, equalling both Pound and Eliot in reputation. The voice of a “modern” poet is clearly heard, for example, in “God” and in his longer projected work “Moses” (1916). The century was deprived of one of its most promising poets when he died in the Great War.

Lili Maas
Art & Advertising Director

1 Lili Maas. From the Art Director’s Desk. Neuroendocrinol Letters 2000; 21:4.
2 Peter D. Smith. The wingbeat of the unknown. Book review: George Steiner. Grammars of creation. Faber. In: The Times Literary Supplement (TLS). London: April 6, 2001. p. 13.

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