Galleries were colorful places, stocked with photos, paintings, gemstone jewelry, raku pottery and batik fabrics. My wood pieces covered many of the brown hues of the color range. Could I, with only words, fit into more of the spectrum? Could I write a poetry book worthy of a place within one of the galleries where my assemblages have been welcomed?
Challenge set, I went about selecting poems for the tome. Combing my files, I pulled out my favorites, some of them written more than 20 years ago. Recently, living and creating in the Verde Valley, my poems all fit into my theme of “color poems.” A brilliant sunset, a rainbow splashed across a panorama of black clouds.
As I read, reviewed, and reworked these poems I discovered another theme for my collection. They elicited the scenic glories of the area in which I lived. I have always enjoyed the reds and golds of sunsets, but watching these colors creep across the red rocks of Sedona adds dimensions to color not seen elsewhere. Rainbows have always seemed mystical to me, but when sprinkled across charred clouds and pockets of bright sunshine in a desert’s summer storm, they become even more special. These poems could become the foundation of a visual souvenir for visitors to this area.
Several years ago I studied several favorite poets including William Carlos Williams, Nikki Giovanni and Pablo Neruda. As I grew to understand their word-smithery I emulated them. These poems described music, dance and food. I reread them with an ear towards their unique colors. Certainly the fragrant sweetness of the honeydew evoked hues of golds and paled green.
A theme I return to over and over as I have written my poetry has been life experiences. Twenty years ago, in a conversation with my son, I described memory of the day Kennedy was shot. I wrote it as a poem, and entered it into a contest. The poem won that contest, and I collected the $200 prize, the first money I ever received for anything creative I did. I reread the poem. The contrast between Jackie’s pale pink suit and the ash gray of the professor’s suit evoked color.
Over time I have used my poetry to mark life-cycle rituals of friends and family. My grandson’s bris, the Bar Mitzvah of a nephew, the death of my best friend’s husband. All these were marked by poems. The moods, the ceremonies they accompanied conjured colors as well. I reworked these to take on a more universal appeal and stuck them into this collection as well.
I now thumb through my completed book. I relive and again taste the pleasures of a silvery moonrise, the dance of a maple seed. I am proud of this book. I believe it can stand proudly in an art gallery. Another challenge met.
"With all the beauty surrounding me here above the Verde Valley, how could I not create more beauty?"