Photo by Lou
Pale but Piercing Sky
by Sheldon Kranz
It can seem in quiet moments,
When the sky is a pale but piercing blue,
That my eyelids are quite transparent;
And I can see each object in the room
Though my eyes are closed.
How can I explain what seems to be?
The light that flows through my eyelids is real.
I see the half-opened door, the dusty books,
The green umbrella with its broken stays
That leans rakishly against the wall.
How can I explain?
The yellow flowers are exactly in their place,
And the busy sky outside
Is just as high as skies should be.
Those flowers, those books, that pale blue sky
Move me more than on ordinary days.
Who shall say they are not real?
Who shall say that seeming is not a part of being?
Sheldon Kranz, one of America's true poets and important writers was, early, a student of Aesthetic Realism with Eli Siegel and
became a consultant, teaching Aesthetic Realism, in 1971. We
publish here a courageous story of his from 1944 about race, and
another about a son and mother that's been presented dramatically at
the Aesthetic Realism Foundation in
NYC. In classes with Mr. Siegel, Sheldon Kranz learned to write
authentic poetry, and came to see new meaning in his chosen
field of literature [he was an editor at Macmillan & Co. for many
years]. As a result he taught the course, "Literature and the
Self," at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation.
Poems by Sheldon Kranz from Personal and Impersonal: Six Aesthetic Realists,
with an excerpt from its preface by Eli Siegel: "The question, What is
poetry?--is as alive today as ever...for it is felt increasingly that
what poetry is deeply and immediately concerns what our lives are....."
Turning Over a New Leaf; or, What Is Literature? Talk of 1974
"I believe that all literature is the making one of opposites; and that
when a poem or prose work stirs us, it is because the permanent
opposites in reality have been made one by the poet or prose writer.
"My purpose in this talk is
to express my gratitude for the Aesthetic Realism way of seeing
literature, a way which I have tested over many years as a college
instructor, and as an editor, and which I have found to be true.
I should like to show the large cultural meaning this way of seeing
literature has for the world and for every self. It is this way
of seeing that I love as much as I love anything." —more
"My Mother Was a Girl"
"The Betrayal" from New Short Stories of 1944
Reports of Aesthetic Realism Classes taught by Eli Siegel
Class of March 8, 1948, The Self & Aesthetics
Class of March 29, 1948, Play & Work
Class of May 24, 1948, Satire
Class of September 13, 1948, Languages
Class of January 31, 1949, The 1860s
Class of July 10, 1968, Tao Yuan-ming & Lafcadio Hearn
Sheldon Kranz & his wife, actress Anne Fielding
World Literature Understood Truly
Kranz showed in his classes "Literature & the Self" that the
principles of Aesthetic
Realism were central in understanding many famous works. He heard and
studied thrilling, ground-breaking lectures Eli Siegel gave on novels
stories by Henry James, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Sir Walter Scott,
Stendhal, Thackeray, Dostoevsky, and more. What Mr. Siegel explained in
his book Self and World
was central about the characters in them—
as it is about all humanity:
"The basic conflict in
the human mind—present, I believe, in all particular conflicts—is that
between a person warmly existing to his finger tips, and that person as
related to indefinite outsideness: this is the subject and object
conflict, the personal and impersonal conflict, the Self and World
"A novel is one thing
and many things, that is, it is a whole and parts. And whole and parts
are working together. In a good novel you see a certain precision,
'has-to-be-ness,' or inevitability—that is, there is order in a good
novel. And in a novel, too, you feel the characters act freely, the
writer is not constrained; there is growth and there is strangeness in
the novel: what this means is, the novel has freedom." - Eli Siegel, from "The Aesthetic Method in Self-Conflict," a chapter of Self and World
Colleagues & friends of Sheldon Kranz proudly bring you this website.