March 11, 2006

Jennifer White
poet laureate and mad mad knitter!

I just love these photos of Jenn and her knitted wonders... Her work in knitting and felting will be for sale at our upcoming "Art to Wear/Home Decor" show on April 15, 2005.
She is standing before the painting she purchased last summer in our Poet to Artists Project - Ekphrastic Art I. It is by Mihee Yeom entitled "Reflections" Jennifer created a poem about it and purchased the art as well. In turn she has created a new poem for the second part of our series in which the poets (25 of them) have created a poem to submit to a roundtable of artists (25 of them) and the visual artists are now working through the year to make an art piece inspired by the poem of their choosing. The exhibition for this work will be in September of this year at artstream. It is most exciting to have literary arts and visual arts collide and collaborate in this fashion. Click through here for more photos of the actual reading and reception of the first stage of the project. It may have another facet of artistic interpretation involved - but that is still in the planning stages. This project is a joint effort between artstream and the Poets Society of NH. We are pleased to continue to be collaborating with artists of all kinds in our community at artstream through our special events and projects. We are also thankful for kind, intelligent, and crafty women like Jennifer White in our midst! See below for a few more samples of her work.

The word for the day is ... multifaceted ... like Jennifer White, a beautiful gemstone and life.

** below I have added the poem that Jennifer emailed me from the Ekphrastic Art I project:
Please do not reprint this without our permission. Thank you!

Lovesong for my Husband’s Feet and the Home I’ve Only Visited:
(after Mihee Yeom’s Reflection I in Oil)

In the end, this is what I reflected upon:
we are where we’ve come from,
even if we’ve left that place,
lost the accent, and somehow managed
to rise from the ash pile of our teenage lives.

For instance, Claude grew up on a hopeless farm in Maine
where a bare-footed boy risked accidental amputation
if he ventured past the perimeter of his attic mattress.

The legacy of all the rusty nails and glass
is that each night without fail he neatly aligns
his dependable shoes on the floor beside our bed.
While he sleeps they patiently await
the arrival of morning and their precious charges
like a pair of loyal dogs standing guard
until their beloved master’s return.

If he must be bare-foot, he tip-toes uncomfortably,
wincing and warning us girls while we scamper
without a care over gravel or pebbles or roots.
Shaking his head, he will say “I told you so”
if I stub my toe, or if one daughter or the other
gets a splinter. How can I respond? He’s right.
We’re terribly reckless, but it’s a risk we’re willing to take.
Know this: the invention of water-shoes
changed my husband’s life. It’s a wonder
he doesn’t wear them in the shower.

All of this reflecting came after I saw the painting.
I saw the painting after I’d been in New York City,
when its spell was fresh and I still giddily saw the world
through my love-sick New York lenses: that city
makes me dizzy with possibility—life, love, yes, this;
it lays its soul at my feet and it offers salvation
like the last golden ticket or two exquisite melt-proof
wings of wax or the iridescent hummingbirds flitting
among the lilacs of my lonesome childhood window,
or my husband, with his unblistered, uncalloused,
perfect feet like delicate pearl-pink shells
wrapped protectively in opaque origami paper.

I told myself I should see a pastoral waterscape—
a scene in Central Park or even Monet’s Waterlilies—
in the painting. How cliche. I hate cliches.
What I tried to suppress in the explosion of color
on canvas was the unlikely image of Times Square:
Manahattan’s ripest and most tempting fruit,
equal parts neon and electric humanity;
equal parts nectar and poison,
equally capable of enabling grace
or perpetuating a fall from it.

I hate to be wrong even more than cliches,
and—look at it—there is no steel gray
and metallic black in Reflection.
There is no repetion of vertical lines
and forms, no negative space.
There is no blaring din, no throng, no cruelty.

Of course, it’s a figure and its reflection in a mirror.
One of them has a heart of yellow heat.
That one is the sun at the center of their universe.
They are separated by a gulf of blue.
They are together and apart.
For me, it’s all about urgency.
Legitimacy. Fear of failure. Fear of loss.
It’s about purity and shame.
That’s where I’m from.

Jennifer White
Ekphrastic Poetry Project
July 2005

1 comment:

Mary Anne Davis said...

Great looking knit stuff! Veery fun-