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David Daniels with Rodin's Gates of Hell

Tributes to David Daniels

(1933 - 2008)

by Divers Hands

Regina Celia Pinto

Randy Adams

Jim Andrews

David Inkey

Regina Celia Pinto:

(Originally published by Regina as part of her "Incidental parodies" series, based on the work of other artists, at

The Meanings of the White / Os Sentidos do Branco (Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 85)

“A white square floating weightlessly in a white field, Suprematist Composition: White on White was one of the most radical paintings of its day: a geometric abstraction without reference to external reality. Yet the picture is not impersonal: we see the artist’s hand in the texture of the paint, and in the subtle variations of the whites. The square is not exactly symmetrical, and its lines, imprecisely ruled, have a breathing quality, generating a feeling not of borders defining a shape but of a space without limits.

After the Revolution, Russian intellectuals hoped that human reason and modern technology would engineer a perfect society. Malevich was fascinated with technology, and particularly with the airplane, instrument of the human yearning to break the bounds of earth. He studied aerial photography, and wanted White on White to create a sense of floating and transcendence. White was for Malevich the color of infinity, and signified a realm of higher feeling.”


I have a friend in California who is a poet, he also believes that his “shape poetry” have to fluctuate in the space where it is. But he is a colorful friend, he paint with words, colorful words that make to laugh or to cry or to feel.

My friend poet always wrote me very sensitive messages… messages or poems? These messages filled my mailbox with colors and gave me much fun.

He will not write messages or create poetry anymore, I am losing my friend to a terrible disease. So I can understand that today my color white is not Malevich’s white, my white is the empty, is the absence, is the feeling of loss, the loss of so dear friend and all poetry that he still could create.


Eu tenho um amigo poeta lá na Califórnia, ele também acredita que sua “shape poetry” deve flutuar no suporte onde ela está. Mas esse amigo é um colorista, ele colore com palavras, que fazem rir ou sentir ou chorar.

Meu amigo poeta sempre me escrevia mensagens muito sensíveis, essas mensagens iluminadas coloriam a minha caixa postal e me alegravam sempre.

Ele não vai me escrever mais ou fazer poesia, estou perdendo o meu amigo para uma terrível doença. Posso então compreender que hoje o meu branco não é o de Malevich, o meu branco é o vazio, é a ausência, é sentimento de perda, a perda desse amigo tão querido e de toda poesia que ele ainda poderia criar.

(pintor - 2008)

Tribute from Regina Celia Pinto, Image 1
Tribute from Regina Celia Pinto, Image 2
Tribute from Regina Celia Pinto, Image 3
Tribute from Regina Celia Pinto, Image 4
Tribute from Regina Celia Pinto, Image 5
Tribute from Regina Celia Pinto, Image 6
Tribute from Regina Celia Pinto, Image 7
Tribute from Regina Celia Pinto, Image 8
Tribute from Regina Celia Pinto, Image 9


Randy Adams:

(Originally published on Flickr at The image remixes Daniels' "The transformation of a charming white and black mammal into a film noir bete noir gate" from The Gates of Paradise.

Tribute from Randy Adams


Jim Andrews:

Jim Andrews' website is at He writes:

I read his two books The Gates of Paradise and Years. I liked the first one better. The writing seemed more urgent to me somehow. He tells stories very well. Also, the book itself was terrific as a book. Flops around like a cat on the couch. Very supple. Not stiff, no resistance in the book itself to being read. A supple spine. And the poems are unmatched in their shapeliness. He is definitely the man when it comes to shape poems, no question. Not just in the shapeliness and its relevance to the writing but, especially in his book The Gates of Paradise, in the many-storied power of the voice and that "permanent inner joy" you mention which blends humour, sadness, love, and everything human into captivating picture-poem distillate.

I think his aspiration to create masterpieces, which you mention, Edward, was successful in the case of his first book. And in the shape of his larger body of work. I think the notion that there are no more masterpieces is misunderstood by most everyone. It's not that there can't be masterpieces these days or that there aren't masterpieces these days or that an aspiration to create them is wrong or misinformed or whatever. It's still the way really serious artists proceed with at least a few works. A masterpiece is just a term to describe truly excellent work, isn't it? Other works may be too experimental to be masterpieces in any recognizable sense of that term. But we see that even a genuine master such as David Daniels is simply not going to be recognized now or in the future in the way that we associate with the past recognition of poets such as Blake and so on up to the time of the high modernists (Eliot, Pound, yadayada). His work may be recognized within smaller circles and, being on the net, those who need it can indeed find it, which is a wonderful improvement in the fates and the technology of fortune. But no one, not David or Charles Bernstein or any living poet, will have their work studied and written about and widely published and transmogrified etc as happened in previous eras with the work of some poets.

One take on it:

Because art itself is not so important anymore in the culture. Not just poetry. But art more generally. We're left with much less than masterpiece in the ruins of civilization. In a western civilization run by corporations and military industry and a culture of art eager to look the other way to enjoy the perks it can offer.

But that isn't it, is it.

A different take on it:

It's just that we're in such a transitional phase--and this transitional phase may even be permanent, or at least as long as technological change is as fast as it is now. The technological rate of change causes an accompanying burgeoning experimentalism in which media are not long-lived enough for there to be much possibility for masterpiece. Because a masterpiece is not just a great piece but a great piece within some sense of a set of standards that have been not only mastered but overthrown and overpowered in the masterpiece. Hard for there to be masterpieces when porky is king, oink oink and digital media just haven't evolved far enough to be able to support the sort of depth and reach attained in the novel, for instance.

That seems more like it but it still doesn't have the ring of masterpiece, does it.

And no single take on it will.

However, David gave it such a go. Such a beautiful, yes important, transcendant go. He put his life into it. And it's all there at


David Inkey:

Tribute from David Inkey


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