Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Poetry, Art, and Odds & Ends

One of the reasons I like working with Hanna is that she brings many talents to this collaboration. One of those is poetry.

Drawing is often referred to as the "poetry of art"; I think there is also some truth in the converse: that poetry is the art of literature. It is written thought boiled down to its essentials. Like drawing, it is the simplest, most unadorned statement of fundamental beliefs about the world. When you read the work of an honest poet, just as when you look at an honest drawing, you are getting a glimpse of a very unprotected part of the creator's heart.

There's many forms of poetry, just as there are many forms of drawing. Some like elegance, some like meter & rhyme and formal construction; some like grand themes and some like looking at a blade of grass. It's all good, as long as it is honest.

Hanna has been brave enough to share some of her work with me; one of the surprises (though I guess it shouldn't be) is that her approach to writing is similar in many ways as mine to art; it's a reaction to, and an exploration of, experience. It's an attempt to grasp some little corner of beauty and understanding (and for me, real beauty is subjective, and comes through understanding) in a chaotic and often incomprehensible world.

So I have asked Hanna if I could illustrate some of her poems, and she has agreed. One of the things I have always liked is the combination of text and image into a single art form. In the ones I will be putting up(they are still in process) I work directly with her hand-written poetry - complete with crossings-out and rewriting; I find they work well with my drawings, complete with their erasures and re-drawings. You can't explore unless you are willing to take risks, and taking risks means falling down at times. But as Paula Smith (who suffered through several years of trying to teach me piano) used to tell me, "You have got to learn to play through your mistakes."

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