On this blog, a companion to "ArtSoPotent," I will write about the connection between visual art and other art forms, including cinema, dancing, poetry, and specifically music. This space will also serve to display images of my commercial work: Calligraphy, Collage, Note Cards, Hand-painted boxes, Handmade books,and other mixed-media works.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Poets Read and Loved/ Part I

As both an artist and a humanist (as I believe many artists are), I am a lover of visual art as well as other art forms, including music, dance, literature, cinema, theatre and poetry. Having always felt these disciplines to be similiar in purpose but different in expression, I embrace them all as stemming from music, especially poetry.

In choosing these poems from books in my library, presenting some of my favorite poets, I open by sharing my view of a poem:


This is a poem

And I don't want
To say that.
Nor do I want
To say that.

This is a poem
So I don't want
To say it that way.
Nor do I want
To say it that way.

This is a poem
And this is what
I want to say.
And this is what
I want
To say.

This is a poem

So this is how
I want to say it
And this is how
I want to say it.

And this is how
I want to say it.
This poem.
This way!

copyright 2009, Georgette Jones

Small Wind

Let my being whistle down the corridor of your memory
Like a small wind under a door it cannot enter
Though you many never know that you are listening
You may still turn your ear a moment sometimes
To catch the love I will always be singing
And understand the music
However lost the words may be.

from "Pink Ladies in the Afternoon"
by Naomi Long-Madgett


We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise
And then, if we are true to plan
Our statures touch the skies

The heroism we recite
Would be a daily thing
Did not ourselves the cubits warp
For fear to be a king.

from "Emily Dickinson Poems/1866"
by Emily Dickinson

Final Curve

When you turn a corner
And you run into yourself
You know that you have turned
All the corners that are left

from "Selected Poems of Langston Hughes"

Ballad of the Man Who's Gone

No money to bury him
The relief gave Forty-Four.
The undertaker told 'em,
You'll need Sixty more.

For a first-class funeral,
A hearse and two cars-
And maybe your friends'll
Send some flowers.

His wife took a paper
And went around.
Everybody that gave something
She put 'em down.

She raked up a Hundred
For her man that was dead.

His buddies brought flowers-
A funeral was had.

A minister preached-
And charged Five
To bless him dead
And praise him alive.

Now that he's buried-
God rest his soul-
Reckon there's no charge
For graveyard mold.

I wonder what makes
A funeral so high?
A poor man ain't got
No business to die.

from "Selected Poems" of Langston Hughes

Love Sonnet IXXXIX

When I die, I want your hands on my eyes:
I want the light and wheat of your beloved hands
to pass their freshness over me once more:
I want to feel the softness that changed my destiny.

I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep.
I want your ears still to hear the wind, I want you
to sniff the sea's aroma that we loved together,
to continue to walk on the sand we walk on.

I want what I love to continue to live
and you whom I love and sang above everything else
to continue to flourish, full-flowered:

so that you can teach everything my love directs you to,
so that my shadow can travel along in your hair,
so that everything can learn the reason for my song.

by Pablo Neruda, 1904-1973

There is
who closes
You will

from "A Poem Traveled Down My Arm"
by Alice Walker

For Poets Read

Lines from poets past lull me
Into a mindset that I might blend
With icons whose words please me
Inside an arena where I might contend
To set forth in stone, authentic emotion

To imagine poems, then to write them
At once a struggle and a delight
To commit to paper, or recite them
With exquisite focus, to re-write
Roots so grand from seeds of notion

Then today, an offering divine
A path to discover what is mine

The succinct line this spirit sought
Seemed to stubbornly elude my request
In the climate created, refused my thought
But suddenly poured forth at its own behest
Heaven rendered from poetic devotion!

copyright 2009, Georgette Jones

Of the poets chosen for this post, Langston Hughes is the most entertaining while making  strong statements about serious subjects.  This is art.  In my opinion, the entertainment factor is most overlooked in much of today's contemporary poetry.  Heavy subject matter doesn't necessarily have to be heavy.  It is important to engage the reader.

Pablo Neruda's poetry is simply elegant, captivating and literary.  The above poem is one of my favorites by him.  Here is a man who truly loves his woman.  Ah, to be loved like that!

Like her novels, Alice Walker's poetry is courageous and biting.  She tells the truth with the voice of someone who has experienced what she writes - or at least thought deeply about her subject matter.   Her view of God is my own.

The book from which I chose Emily Dickinson's poem was filled with hundreds of her works.  I chose this one because it is well known and because everyone can relate to the subject matter.  Whenever I read Emily Dickinson, I am amazed at the paradox of simplicity and enigma in her words,  yet her overall meanings are always on target.             


Liquid & Tunsie said...

Great post. The poems are very nice. But I think they are all art don't you?? Music, Literature etc. Good music or Literature appeals to me and captivates me just as a well thought up painting would. They are so amazing.

Georgette Jones said...

Oops! Sorry, Liquid and Tunsie- I just now saw your comment. Yes, they are all art, that is my point exactely. Thanks so much for your comments.