I have to thank Maia T. (a shaman, poet, and cross-stitcher who lives in rural Scotland – check out her blog here!) for introducing me to this poem. This poem is from the cat’s perspective and Ms. Szymborska captures it perfectly and in the process mixes sorrow and laughter together in equal measure. To see what I mean, head over here to read the complete poem. Long famous in her native Poland, Wisława Szymborska became internationally renown after she won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996. I found the words of the poem themselves to call to me, the shape of the letters and punctuation, so I used them to create the illustration. Poem by Wisława Szymborska, translated from Polish by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh, illustration (ink on recycled cardboard) by me. Have a good Wednesday!
I remember learning many years ago that William Carlos Williams was both a physician and a poet – that he chose both professions equally and in turn each informed and influenced the other. I have always found this to be remarkable and refreshing. There always seems to be a tendency to be “either/or” and not “both” in this world! This excerpt comes from one poem in a series entitled “The Descent of Winter.” It is known by both its first line and by a section number – 10/30. If you would like to read the whole text of “10/30” AKA “To freight cars in the air,” scroll down or click the “read more” link. Mixed media collage and composition by me.
This is also a piece of mail art – the collage is on one side of a postcard. I’d love to send it to someone! If you’d like to receive this postcard in the mail, use the “contact” tab above to send me an email. There is no charge for the card or postage – international is okay too! It’s been taken – thanks, everyone! I’m hoping to post more mail art again soon! (I’ll update the post when it’s taken.)
If you tour around enough blogs on WordPress, you will eventually start recognizing certain Gravitar pictures as belonging to particular people. I distinctly remember the first time I saw the one belonging to the poet Robert Okaji, because it reminded me of a picture of the rotors inside an Enigma encryption machine. I was certain I’d enjoy the work of someone with such good Gravitar picture taste – and Mr. Okaji has not disappointed! I have been a fan of his work ever since then, putting me in the good company of thousands of others. So it is my great pleasure to present an illustration of one of his recent poems, “At Sunrise We Celebrate the Night’s Passage.” I definitely recommend taking a moment of your day to read the whole poem, which can be found here at his fantastic blog O at the Edges. Poem by Mr. Robert Okaji, mixed media collage and composition by me. Enjoy!
Right before Halloween, Ms. Kerfe Roig of MethodTwoMadness posted a beautiful drawing of a bat and wrote about the precarious conservation state of most bat species (check it out here!). Many years ago, I attended a presentation by a scientist from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where he detailed the efforts to find the origin of White Nose Syndrome in bats. White Nose Syndrome is a fungal disease that is decimating bat populations in the eastern U.S. It turned out that a hiker in New England – not a scientist or a Forest Service employee – provided the photograph of the bat that had been identified as “patient zero” of the epidemic. I have always been struck by that fact – that any one of us could be the singular witness to an important ecological event and that what we see and remember is so significant. Today’s poem and illustration are inspired by the memory of the bats I would see as a child and Kerfe’s post. Poem, drawing, and mixed media collage by me. Have a great Friday!
Octavio Paz’s long poetic career spanned a number of literary movements – existentialism, modernism, Marxist – but I am particularly drawn to his surrealist and ekphrastic work. I think of this short little poem affectionately like a clown car – the more you study it, the more imagery that keeps coming out. Collage and composition by me. Have a great weekend!
I am indebted to Mr. John Sapiro for introducing me to the poet Robinson Jeffers – and to this poem in particular (read the whole short poem here). Mr. Jeffers spent most of his life in Carmel, CA, a town I have been to many times (a partly related factoid is that Carmel has always been run, more or less, by artists and actors – Clint Eastwood was recently the mayor). Jeffers built his home and a four story tower next to it by hand out of stone. These buildings are now available for tours and have promptly gone on my “must see” list. Mr. Jeffers is one of the few poets to have been on the cover of Time magazine – but his staunch and open opposition to WWII led to much of his legacy having been forgotten. Collage and composition by me.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have continued to explore painting on my collages with a mixture of Elmer’s glue and paint – which I had started doing for last Friday’s post, “The Family Dinner Party.” This week’s piece is a compilation of several inspirations: the traditional triptych in western art, seeing the work of K.O. Götz at the Harvard Art Museum, and numerous collage artists I’ve been admiring online (Ben Stainton and Charles Wilkins, among others). I found that I didn’t have words to go with this collage and so it stands on its own, a kind of visual poetry. Collage by me. Happy Friday!
This is an excerpt of a verse I wrote for the January challenge – “Vino y Sangre” – over at Red String Paper Cuts. It was to be in the form of a rock song, which was a new experience for me and a lot of fun. I wanted to do a collage to illustrate the poem, but several attempts floundered. This one finally came together after I mixed together some paint with Elmer’s glue and just started painting. Check out the whole rock song poem here! Poem and collage by me. Happy Friday!
Are you nobody, too?
~ Emily Dickinson
(1830 – 1886)
“I’m Nobody! Who are you?” was the very first Emily Dickinson poem I can remember reading – I was in elementary school and I found it in an old tattered paperback of Dickinson poems on a shelf at my grandmother’s house. It was first published in 1891 and has gone on to be one of her most popular and enduring poems. Read all eight lines of this short poem here. Drawing (charcoal on paper), stitching (sewing into paper is harder than I thought it would be!), and composition by me.
Sometimes a poem is so inspirational to me that I come up with multiple ideas to illustrate it. This was the case with Larry Levis’ poem “The Spirit Says, You Are Nothing” – you can read the whole poem here and can see the first illustration of his poem that I posted here. Composition and collage by me. Yesterday’s post of “The Oxen” collage motivated me to go ahead and post this one too. Enjoy!