By Tamar Russell - October 19, 2006
a moment of animation, Brooks Robards with her poem "Anniversary" on
the wall behind her, read five of her poems relating to inspiration.
Photos by Ralph Stewart
The Romans of old used the word, "adflatus" in referring to a breath or
breeze that was believed to be blown into writers and artists from some
divine source, giving them inspiration. The Italians then used the word
"inspirare" and our English equivalent is inspiration. This breath was
the focus of the show Saturday at the Louisa Gould Gallery in Vineyard
Combining visual pieces with poems from
various Island poetry groups and writers, the event brought out a group
of well-dressed poets and artists of all shapes and sizes. In a most
organized fashion in the small space Saturday afternoon, a poetry
reading began and everyone settled in with drink in hand to listen and
wait their turn to read. The poets read from pieces on themes familiar
to all of us - the sea, family, politics, love, and specifically, from
whence their inspirations came.
Gallery owner Louisa Gould said this was a way to "be with other
creative people" in the off-season. Since many local venues are closing
and the Island is filled with a plethora of artists, Ms. Gould
recognized the need to fill the lull in the art world that often comes
with fall. But unlike past times, this time she wanted to be inspired
by words, not images.
E. Marks, poet and co-producer for this word-art show, opened the event
with an introduction and a piece on inspiration, titled the same.
mix of artwork with the poems was also a new idea for the existing art
work in the gallery, names such as Jules Worthington, JB Lamont,
Marston Clough, Lanny Macdowell, Stephen Hart, and Jeffrey P'an to name
"While curating the show I viewed the
paintings, mixed media, and photography in a different light, as if to
add dialogue to the artwork, to tell a story about what might have
been, is, or could be or happen," said Ms. Gould. She added that
putting the words with the images added another layer.
Many of the word pieces were well matched with visual pieces, for
example Gray Park's expansive "Sengekontacket Pond" happily sat above
Jane Brown's flirtatious "Love Poem." Another nice union was Brooks
Robards's poem "In Jaffa" with two of Louisa Gould's black-and-white
female body prints.
Ms. Gould's co-producer for the show, which included a filming of the
readings for MVTV, was William E. Marks. Mr. Marks, also a poet, got
the event started by reading the first piece, entitled "Inspiration."
A few short lines of "rich" verse by Nancy F. Phillips entitled "Easter" accompanied by one of nature's gifts.
was a nice change of venue for the poets, according to Mr. Marks, who
said he looks forward to doing this type of event again in other
locations on the Island. This gallery show using word art combined with
visual images is the first time the two have been unified here on the
Island, though this is the ninth event for these poets. Many of the
writers came from one of three poetry groups: The Chilmark Poetry
Group, The West Tisbury group, and a group sponsored by Featherstone
Center for the Arts. Among the individual poets were Ann Bassett, Ruth
Cochrane, Brooks Robards, Judith Neeld, Ellie Bates, and Jane Brown.
Mr. Marks said that he was pleased to see poetry given this kind of
consideration and added that poetry received much less attention here
in the United States than it does in Europe. Asked if the poets found
it intimidating to be filmed, he replied, "In the beginning you could
see these poets shaking, but eventually they get used to it." He said
that many of them enjoyed the chance to have family and friends see
them read on television. The film will be edited and the event shown on
MVTV next month.
Though the room was crowded on Saturday with a group of individuals
keenly into their verse, the Scottish drawing room atmosphere,
including an interested feline appearance, made the first hour of the
show work for me. These poets were surely inspired.