Friday, March 30, 2018

So Little Gold...

As Robert Frost reminds us, "Nature's first green is gold, / Her hardest hue to hold." That "first green" isn't quite visible yet here in New Jersey, after a month of one nor'easter after another, but today was a definite leap forward into spring: 50 degrees and rainy this morning, with birds singing as if to make up for lost time. The first few tentative blooms of round-leaf hepatica have appeared in the woods, although our nights are still cold.

Metaphorical gold is in short supply these days. Bad news—or worse, absurd news—reigns supreme, as it has almost since I began this blog over a year ago. Politics has sullied everything these past 400+ days. I retreat into literature and art to escape the public spectacle of a president so craven and inane, but then I read of John Steinbeck being attacked for writing about the conditions of farm workers in California in the 1930s, and then I watch Ken Burns's series on the Vietnam War, and realize, it was ever thus.

Nothing gold can stay. Gold is not an illusion, but it is also not a permanent part of reality. Spring will remind us of this; a few golden early summer days will remind us again; and of course the creativity and love we can foster in our personal lives will offer glimpses of what is truly worthy, truly of value. There are many golden moments in my classroom, as well.

Create some gold of your own today, and treasure it.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Museum-Inspired Thoughts

I spent the day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and as always, those hours in an art museum have stayed with me, coloring my mood, inspiring me to see shapes and curves and edges and surfaces and textures and space in new ways (new to me, of course). I was conscious this time of the layers of artistic possibilities at this huge museum: it is a wondrous place in which to take photos, with some areas full of light and some poorly-lit and challenging. There's the art, of course, but also the people, the shadows, the architecture. And there is poetry everywhere: imagining the discourse between works of art, or focusing in on a seemingly small detail of a larger work, or trying to evoke the thrill of wandering through the maze of galleries.

I was looking for the "found collage" created by the windows overlooking the European sculpture gallery. I had seen in the past how the morning light pouring through the glass ceiling of this gallery creates interesting patterns in these windows. How fun would it be to try to create an actual collage inspired by these reflections?

The museum—its walls, doorways, architectural embellishments, ceilings, light—is itself a work of art. It's easy to forget to see, when there's so much to see.







Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Break Collage Fest

As I make a collage, I begin to think about time. A collage contains all tenses: past, present, future, and all the variations (think: If it were possible, I would someday have regretted not having met you). The way I try to figure out which piece of paper gets glued down first, next, next. I regret occasionally that something new should be placed beneath the edge of something already there. With a potential metaphor like that, you see why I think of these as a form of poetry.

As I make a collage, I think about time. A collage contains all tenses: past, present, future, and all the variations (think: Someday I may regret remembering not having met you). I look through a tray of torn scraps, looking for just the right one to inspire or continue the work-in-progress. I tear little squares of paper into smaller squares. I wonder how much paint to add at the end.

The end is the beginning.

And then the collage exists, where a few moment before there had been no collage. And yet, all I did was assemble bits and pieces of things that were in the vicinity. And discard other bits, other pieces.

Another collage waits its turn.



Friday, March 16, 2018

Approaching Vibrancy: Exhibit at Morris Arts

Approaching Vibrancy at Morris Arts

Last night was the opening of the exhibit Approaching Vibrancy at Morris Arts. Many of the artists were there, and I felt a little out of place (but I'm a poet, after all), but I enjoyed myself and learned a lot. Artists—at least the ones at the opening—are a very gregarious lot! I was happy to be a wallflower and watch.

This exhibit is up through August; you can see it Monday-Friday. The link at the top of this page gets you to the details. If you are in the Morristown area, please stop in and let Morris Arts know how vital they are to the community.


Friday, March 9, 2018

...whole story...

This story tells



about a
who
and then

and of course
a journey
but the path

a memory
that proved
to be false

farewell
every story
has at least

and water
there must be
crossing water

or just
an ordinary day

someone singing

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Approaching Vibrancy at the Gallery at 14 Maple, Morristown, NJ

http://www.morrisarts.org/2018/02/27/gallery-at-14-maples-all-woman-artists-exhibit-approaching-vibrancy-opens-march-15-2018/

Two of my collages will be included in the Approaching Vibrancy exhibit at the Gallery at 14 Maple in Morristown, New Jersey. The open is Thursday evening, March 15, from 6:00-8:00. I am so excited about this!

I have learned so much in the past year, filling notebooks with small collages as a way to work out some poetic ideas (first with the Lavinia poems, then with the "ancient songs of us" poems). I'm still working on elements such as balance—but aren't we all? I have found collage artists whose work I admire, and I am trying to learn from them.

This little collage here is not one of the pieces in the exhibit, but it's one of my favorites. Hope to see friends at the opening! Hope to make new friends, too, and learn from the inspiring artwork.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

beautiful the dead

beautiful the dead


this is what memory does best

anointing ordinary days
into something royal and rare

royal and rare but ours once

ours
all sundrenched and purple

and of course it is a lie
but not a lie

once memory
gets ahold of it and

and what is the past anyway
but a journey that no one


never


--jel 2-17-18