Sunday, December 28, 2008

I can't resist an explanation

When I posted my last blog entry I thought I wanted it to stand with no explanation. However, I do try to stick with the topics of book arts and metalworking. So why is there a poem on this blog? Well, in the bigger picture it's potential material for a book. Or it's the background/inspirational stuff. The things that never come to fruition are just as important to me as the ones that do.

There was an interesting discussion on the Bay Area Book Artists mailing list this past fall about how much text to include in artist's books. How many words, if any, do you need to explain something? Can you trust the reader to "get it?" I think I often go too far. Mostly because I am so aware of how easily miscommunication happens.

We also had a BABA poetry session recently, which was very enlightening, and made me think further about the use of words. I don't consider myself a writer, but occasionally something pops into my head. That was the case for "My life in a photograph." Recently I went back to it and removed about 30% of the words. Then I thought it might be an interesting blog entry. The collage that accompanies it is very old - probably from 1986 or so. The subject of the collage is memory and loss, so it seemed appropriate for the poem.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My life in an old photograph

My mother holds me in her arms, smiling,
squinting at her father, the photographer.
She is very young, her hair in two braids
on top of her head, her cheeks would be rosy
if the photo was in color.
I am 3 months old, gazing away from both of them.
Behind us, a corner of the white clapboard garage,
green trim around the window. A glimpse of roses,
beech trees, and a compost heap
full of big fish-bait worms.
In my quiet studio I take fine-pointed scissors
from my workbench
and snip away the leaves on the trees.
Beyond I see a deep dark space,
filled with distant stars.
A black space to fall into forever.