Saarinen synchronicity

Just 11 days shy of 11 months ago, in mid-December 2008, I began writing this long poem Lanthanum, which originated in an odd dream I had had a few days before, about the Gateway Arch monument in St. Louis (something I'd never seen, nor thought about previously).

On Monday, I finished the first book of Lanthanum (1st of a projected 3 volumes). Today I self-published it via Lulu (see previous post). & when I got home from work, & stretched out on the couch, & opened the NY Times... there was an article about a new exhibit at the City Museum of NY : on Eero Saarinen (architect of the Gateway Arch).

The gateway monument, by the way, is in the form of a "catenary arc" - the shape a flexible string or line makes when hung upside-down. Jasper Johns has painted a whole series of works incorporating the catenary arc.


Gabriel said...


Henry Gould said...

Love that essay, Gabriel! Thanks!

JforJames said...

I grew up in St. Louis. The Arch is part of the deep imagery of home for me. Don't tuning fork legs tend to be parallel? The catenary arch legs will widen out to eternity.

Henry Gould said...

James, yes - & I think of the Arch as the beginning of an ellipse, a mandorla, half-buried in the ground. Grounded. So the tuning-fork reaches parallel underground, there.

Funny you shd mentiont he legs of the arch widening to eternity.... I was thinking of a necklace, earlier today. The catenary formed by the 2 ends of the string (of pearls). That horizontal line from which the catenary depends. Upside down, or reflected, in the case of the Gateway Arch.

W.A. Mehroff, in the intro to his book about the arch ("Gateway Arch : Fact & Symbol"), says the book was triggered one day when he saw a rainbow hanging over the arch, 2 parallel curves. (Mehroff's title is an allusion to Trachtenberg's book - "Brooklyn Bridge : Fact & Symbol").

So I began thinking about the little rainbow around the throat of an ordinary pigeon, & the necklace of the catenary arc, &...