About art (a poem)

While trying, I fear in vain, to tidy up and organize my poetry files, I came across this poem composed before 1997. Despite its flaws, I decided that rather than revise I should post it here, because it offers a narrative about how a person–shall I specify, this particular person–might come to love the wide, multicultural, historical, spiritual, experimental, transcendent “world” of art.

Melencolia_I_(Durero)
A Life Saved by Art

The library’s card catalog led me
to shelves of art books: oversized, glossy-paged,
crabbed with tiny, inarticulate commentary
about volume, form, structure,
perspective, light and shadow,
innovation and rebelliousness
and the emotive content of the line.

What did it mean? I was eleven.
I made a hagiography based upon
the beauty of still things, life arrested,
mid-gesture, on canvas, wood, stucco,
merging all my saints and artists into
a collage of stories as naive
as Rousseau’s jungle scenes–

but I believed Rousseau, and Breughel
and the intimacies of Rembrandt’s Bathsheba
and the endless processions of amazed Magi
through the narrow streets of precarious Italian towns
and Degas’ women tying up their hair
and the rich invitingness of Gauguin’s flowers
and the stark heart of Georgia O’Keeffe–12-01-05MagiFraAngelico

I believed I would learn to comprehend my life,
put it into perspective through
Giotto’s tiny and exquisite backgrounds,
Dürer’s precise grids, believed I would discover
an understanding of the abstract.
I wanted to be transformed through art,
the sanctity and structure of the line,
and, through them, out
of the coming confines of adolescence.

I forget so much of what I learned,
but still I possess Arles, and Athens,
the buff-colored pages of
Da Vinci’s notebooks, ink and ideas:
ink which now sprawls abstract upon the page
while I consider the emotive content
of each line–and brilliant fields of color
daubed in wild and perfect order:
a moment, a childhood, a life
saved by art.black-hollyhock-blue-larkspur-georgia-okeeffe

~ © 1997 Ann E. Michael

~

There are better poems about art (even by me); but I treasure the yearning outlook this piece suggests, and its tendency toward overstatement as well.

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Poetry readings ~ April

Eastern Pennsylvania Poetry Month events coming up next week.
Please join us!
~~

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Barnes & Noble Local Authors’ Night
7-9 p.m.

Ann E. Michael and 30+ other Lehigh Valley authors will be signing their books at Barnes & Noble of Southmont Plaza
4445 Southmont Way
Easton, PA 18045
(Rte. 33 and Freemansburg Avenue)

~~
Saturday, April 26, 2014

Whole Heart Home: Poetry & Song from the Real World
7 p.m.

Poetry and song group event hosted by Lisa DeVuono
Ann E. Michael and many others performing at:
Charles Brown Ice House/Sand Island
56 River St.
Bethlehem, PA
~~

Sunday, April 27, 2014
2 pm [in the second floor gallery]

Ann E. Michael and Dan Maguire
Fox Chase Reading Series
Ryerss Museum and Library
7370 Central Ave.
Philadelphia PA

~~

Michael and Maguire April 27th

An upcoming event. 🙂

Fox Chase Review

The Fox Chase Reading Series is pleased to present our Featured Poets/Writers Reading on April 27th with Poets Ann E. Michael and Dan Maguire at Ryerss Museum and Library, 7370 Central Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19111. Host: Rodger Lowenthal.  The reading will begin @ 2pm in the second floor gallery of the museum. The features will be followed by an open reading

michael

Poet, essayist, librettist, and educator Ann E. Michael is Writing Coordinator at DeSales University. Her work has been published in many journals, including Poem, Natural Bridge, Ninth Letter, Runes, Diner, Sentence, Slant, ISLE, The Writer’s Chronicle, Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts and others, as well as in numerous literary anthologies. She is a past recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. Her chapbooks include More than Shelter, The Minor Fauna, Small Things Rise & Go, and The Capable Heart. Her full-length collection, Water-Rites, is…

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New look!

I am rolling out a new professional website! At some point, this blog will probably “move” to the new site; for the time being, though, I’m continuing to occupy two zones of the internet’s vast web. However, please consider clicking on the link below to take a look at the redesign.

One reason I am so excited about this new site is that I worked closely with the young digital-graphics designer to try to compose a site that reflects a little better my public-professional-poet persona. I wanted easy navigation, an uncluttered look, informational text, and links to my books’ publishers. I also wanted the page to convey my interest in the environment and to focus a bit more on my books’ themes and styles. The site is still a bit under construction, but it is “live.”

Did I mention that the designer is my son? He graduates January 19th with a degree in computer science/digital graphics. He is initiating his way into the professional world, following his sister, who has been on her own and working since May of last year. I graduated from college during an economic recession in the 1970s, and I can empathize with the frustration my college students and my grown children are experiencing as they start to make their adult ways into the world of work. But I know they will find their paths at some point (heavens, my own path took long enough!)

Here it is. Please take a look: www.annemichael.com

Chapbooks still in print

I’ve had five chapbooks of poetry published, but as is not uncommon in the world of small press publications, only a few are still in print. Finishing Line Press published The Minor Fauna in 2006, and it is still available through Amazon.com. More info at www.finishinglinepress.com.

The Minor Fauna by Ann E. Michael

The Minor Fauna, poems by Ann E. Michael

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