Sunday, February 08, 2009

Art, Multiplied

By sheer coincidence, on the same weekend in which "Art" became prompt #149 from Sunday Scribblings, I learned that a poem of mine based on a painting has been accepted for publication.

My poem "Frightening the Horses" has been accepted to Aoife's Kiss and will appear along with Marge Simon's poem "Painting Tomorrow Man."

For two years now, Marge and I have had an arrangement whereby we each walk separately through the art show at Necronomicon, the Tampa Bay area's annual science fiction/fantasy/horror convention. We each choose a painting, write a poem based on it, share what we've written via e-mail, and then make a joint submission. (Thanks to Marge for doing the submission legwork!)

"Frightening the Horses" takes its cue from Lubov's painting "Daybreak," visible here.

Marge's poem "Painting Tomorrow Man" takes its cue from Garret Dechellis's painting "The Convector," the second image here.

Our poems from the 2007 art show both appeared in Space and Time #104 last year. This new dual submission/acceptance continues the trend.

This particular poetic form is called ekphrasis -- poetry based on art forms. This article at gives more information.

Today also marked the first outing of the new group North Central Florida Writers, Artists & Musicians, which I recently joined. And it marked my first visit to the Appleton Museum of Art in Ocala. Seven of us took what one of the docents called a "trip around the world." The Appleton's galleries showcase African, American, Asian, pre-Columbian, European, and contemporary art and artifacts. A day is not enough to truly appreciate the permanent collections.

Today was the museum's "Community Day," which granted free admission to the public. The day included a terrific concert by flutist Donna Wissinger, accompanied by pianist Joy Myers and (from time to time) several audience members. "An American Tapestry" included but was not limited to works by George Gershwin, William Grant Still, Leonard Bernstein, Henri Mancini, John Philip Sousa, Native American traditional music, and the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts." Interwoven with the music were projected images of American art: Winslow Homer, Norman Rockwell, and others. It was a multi-media performance well-suited to the eclectic collection initially amassed and then donated by Arthur I. Appleton.

I enjoyed conversations with three docents, who did more than lecture about the artwork. In fact, there were no lectures. Instead, the artwork entered into our discussions like old friends, as the docents spoke to small groups of visitors or one-on-one. Dorothy and I could have spent the full day exploring Pierre Auguste Cot's "Day of the Dead," tracing his techniques back to William Adolphe Bouguereau, whose "The Little Knitter" hung on the opposite wall. Dorothy, who has been a docent at the Appleton for over a dozen years, is still discovering new layers in Cot's painting, it is that rich. And it is the type of painting that evokes a full spectrum of responses in its viewers due to its emotional power.

The Asian gallery also caught my eye, with its fabulous netsuke collection of detailed and whimsical ivory miniatures. I wish I had a list of artifacts and artworks (the museum sells a book reproducing its collections), because there's so much more I want to name. The Appleton, part of Central Florida Community College, also features an international film series, performing arts series, and "Appleton After Hours" concerts. And travel. "Community Day" also included a drawing for free entry to one of the museum's day trips. Thanks to North Central Florida Writers, Artists & Musicians group leader Charles Lawrence for arranging this adventure!

I can see myself returning to the Appleton, spending chunks of quality time with its collections, and writing -- either ekphrastic poems or prose inspired by what I see. Before I left, I picked up a copy of Gary Monroe's The Highwaymen: Florida's African-American Landscape Painters. Next weekend the museum hosts the A.E. "Bean" Backus Exhibition, honoring the Highwaymen's mentor.

[end of entry]

Covenant, the first volume in the Deviations Series, is available from Aisling Press, and from AbeBooks, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Territory, Borders,,,, DEAstore,,,,, Powell's Books, and Target. The Deviations page has additional details.


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