December 19, 2007

The Pointed Shoes

The Pointed Shoes

Tiny feet with pointed toes

graced with pointed shoes

Jewels of the lotus pressed inside

Red silk upon red soles

A purple robe, a backward chair

Blue room where beatniks roamed

Manhattan memories of golden skin

With only leaves to wear
-Janet Kozachek

The painting to the right, "The Pointed Shoes," was part of a project entitled "Monologues." I painted a hundred of these small square paintings featuring a single person in a simple geometric interior. At one time, I had started writing essays (some published) about each work. My ambitions were to create a small monograph of essays about each painting but eventually abandoned the idea. Quite recently, however, I have revisited this body of work - it pays to review incomplete projects - you never know what you might find when looking with fresh insight. It occured to me that the reason I had abandoned the essay project was that my writing at the time overstated the painting's content. After a few weeks of listening to poetry at the newly established Orangeburg Writer's Group I decided to go through the Monologues again and write short poems for each instead of essays.
I am not a poet, so this is a challenge for me. It just seems that poetry instead of prose is more suitable for this project. But I am pacing myself with the writing of one poem a day, with occassional days off for good behavior.
My poetic inspirations come from exposure to two traditions. The first was my training in Chinese Art at the Beijing Central Art Academy. Poetry is an integral part of Chinese painting because painting requires a calligraphy text. The two art forms developed an interesting symbiotic relationship as a result. My other source of inspiration comes from J.D. McClatchy, from whom I took a graduate course in Poetry and Painting. McClatchy had edited a volume of poetry on paintings, aptly entitled "Poets on Painters," which I'll be consulting throughout this project. I have it somewhere but I believe it will arrive more quickly from interlibrary loan than it will from my book shelves.

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