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Event: Memorial reading for poet David Franks. Still not a great painter.

David Franks, 'Man of Letters.' By R.R. Rodney Boyce.

By DAVID FRANKS [Exquisite Corpse] – I am not a great painter. I am not dead. There are significant differences between Oskar Kokoschka and myself, yet I must understand him if I am to understand myself. I am not a character in a Beckett play, nor am I an old man who slips on bananas. There are significant differences between Krapp, and myself, but I must understand this character, if I am to avoid being what I might become.

An obsession is not an obsession, no more than an addiction is an addiction with the first shot of whiskey, hit of crack, line of coke, injection of heroin, or broken heart. Time takes time, & obsessions & addictions take time to become manifest. And what is an obsession really? Where to find the line where we trespass into insanity?

For nearly three years, long before the advent of the Internet when sex became a spectator sport, Oskar Kokoschka had an all-consuming love affair with Alma Mahler, the widow of the great composer, Gustave Mahler. Aside from Mahler, the former Alma Schindler married the great architect, Walter Gropius, & finally, the novelist Franz Werfel. She also had legendary affairs with the composer, Franz Schreker, the painter, Gustav Klimt, the composer Alban Berg, possibly Schoenberg and other acknowledged geniuses. Indeed, one biography devoted to her life is titled, “Muse to Genius”. It is, however, her three-year affair with Oskar Kokoschka that is my intimate concern.

Continued at Exquisite Corpse | List of readers for the David Franks Memorial Live Reading (31 January 2010, 3134 Eastern Ave., Baltimore. 3-7 p.m) | Details and obituary | More Chronicle & Notices.

More: Baltimore Sun obit | NPR obit | Maryland Institute release | Best American Poetry notice | Michael Lally reminiscence

Updated on the first anniversary of the Baltimore reading.

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