Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Interplay Of Poetry And Art

     For many years my poetry and art have engaged and inspired each other. Sometimes a drawing will inspire a poem ("ekphrasis"); at others the reverse--a poem will be the catalyst for a work of art (as far as I know, there's no technical term for this). These are expressions of two different sides of my being which nevertheless are deeply interconnected. Each is a distinct creative medium--one more imaginative and abstract, the other more sensory and concrete. Dancing together, they illuminate a holistic and multifaceted vision of reality. Following are two recent examples of this personal creative collaboration. In the first instance, the drawing inspired the poem. In the second, it was the poem which came first.

                       Night In The Badlands

                 NIGHT IN THE BADLANDS

nothing's here   and it's everywhere   an absence
to be seen   and heard   in the chasms   the cliffs
that is   if there was anyone   to watch   to listen

a pitiless moon stares down   bleaching the rocks
they look eerily like ancient bones stacked in piles
and stars   so many!   bright   close   coldly burning

something vital to know   that such a primal place
exists   that it still goes on   implacably   without us
without any trace of us   thought of us   need of us

no one would try to build a Wal-Mart on this spot
nobody would shop here if he did   come morning
only a solitary hawk rides the thermals high above


                                     "Meanings Dart Away"

                 WAYS OF KNOWING

what's speakable diminishes year after year
until just a few  small  wordy  islands  remain
thrust up like summits of submerged mountains

here's a peak that praises the first green shoots
heralding spring   their lean   tight   eager buds
intrepid daffodils already probing the chill air

another's transfixed by a mourning dove's cry
one long note   two short   intimate as waking
I can't decide where they leave off and I begin

not that my heart finds less and less to move it
rather   what happens strikes deeper   stranger
meanings dart away   a swarm of luminous fish

I breathe with the ocean now   not the land
with huge   empty   wordless   heaving   spaces
with night   which can never explain all its stars


    If you'd like to see many more examples of the work of writers who are also artists, I recommend THE WRITER'S BRUSH: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture by Writers, by Donald Friedman, 2007, Mid-List Press, ISBN 978-0-922811-76-2.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bob!

    Glad to have you back! We enjoy your poetry and art! Your poetic words and artistic visions are inspiring!

    Jesse Bretthorst
    Joannes Sikora