What do poems and paintings have in common? What happens when poets wrestle with images created by visual artists, and visual artists listen to the word images spoken by poets? For the months of April and May Borderland members sought answers to these questions, creating new visual images and new poems as a result. We are deeply appreciative to local poets Genean Granger and Stella Hansen who were willing to share their poetry, discuss differences in writing style and commonalities with the visual arts.
From Ms Granger’s poem, Renvazuru, these opening lines created images of sandhill cranes and origami cranes for Melisse Carr:
“Fold, bend, crease.
25 strings of 40 cranes each.”
Genean Granger lived with a mixed media composition, “the Unfinished Laundry Line” by Melisse Carr, and wrote a poem, a portion of which follows.
“Cascading colors: poppy, lime, blueberry, and apricot catch my eye.
They jockey for position, “me” first, “no me” first, “no” pick me.
I taste their colors, as they peek-out from windows in my mind.
Unfinished art hangs high on a taut gray clothes line.”
Using the same process of “call and response, as a folk singer leads an audience, Stella Hansen’s poem “the Calling” begs me to see through the empty windows in the sandstone relics at Fayette State Park. I want to pick up my brush and respond to the gull…”what secrets do your walls echo?” or “who lived here”. More importantly, my imagination picks up on the poet’s last line, “the changes come to all of us, she (the gull) mutters and turns to face the sun.”
After an evening of sharing like this, there are hours of studio work that can be gleaned.
— Melisse Carr
THE CALLING by Stella Hansen
The shell of your life is faded yet sturdy
structure that has given itself to time.
The sky abides and waits.
The life within your walls has let go now,
Stone walls calling their roof, pale and crumbled.
The opening has rebuilt your spirit.
A sentry stands open now entering
stages of unbeing.
Who were you? What secrets do your walls echo?
The gull lights for a rest in the sunshine
Who lived here she asks?
The changes come to all of us she mutters and turns to
face the sun.
The following are more examples of images inspired by poetry for this project
MANICURE by Stella Hansen
Not sure how it began, maybe it was patent leather shoes that were too tight for my growing feet. Or it was the petticoats that scratched and chaffed when I sat down. “Go have your Dad tie the bow” religiously every morning I’d report to my father who would tie the sash bow of my dress behind me. I hated dresses and petticoats and all that they stood for.
Then came the combing – snarls, and snags and pulls. “stand up straight” “Look up now.” Okay, did you brush your teeth? Time to go now, the bus would be here soon. Out now hurry ..
From there it was taunts and teasing on the yellow school bus. Having to begin my day of sitting. Sitting in school, trying to learn, the teachers exasperated sent me over and again out to the hallway. One face stands out: Mrs. Edwards – grouchy, ugly and so terribly fed up with me.
“Out in the hall” I’d stand till she would come out. Her eyes blazing as she grasped me by both shoulders – shaking me back and forth.. How I had better learn to keep my mouth shut and quit talking and sit still.
I resented it all. The sitting still, the “act like a lady” talk, the petticoats, and frilly dresses that needed some grown up to allow me in and out like a dog on a short leash.
Finally it was bus time and the first one on was always the last one off. Most days there was our sweet Golden Retriever waiting for me and we would tumble after one another home.
Then there was freedom: woods, play clothes and dirt and the most humongous leaf pile from the golf course across the road. There in a mountain of leaves and grass the earth was warm and filled with lots of worms, my friends. The worm patch, the woods, the leaves.
There was no manicure here. Only squirrels, and birds, my dog and myself. This refuse was my refuge