The Artists’ Salon

On Saturday night, I attended the first meeting of Steve and Katy May’s “salon,” with a number of other writers and visual artists. Steve and Katy run Plan B Press, which specializes in poetry chapbooks of astonishing, handmade detail. We passed the chapbooks around, admiring the hand-stamped letters on covers, pressed-flower linings, and of course, the stunning poetry within. It is rare to find books that celebrate both the visual and literary arts.

The writers in attendance read samples of their work, the artists presented work from their portfolios, and many questions were asked. I’ve written a number of ekphrastic poems based on paintings, and it was fascinating to discover the mental processes and physical techniques behind creating a drawing or painting. We all came away from the meeting flush with the discovery of new colors, words, perspectives.

On the mystery of creation, I love this excerpt from “Poetry” by the Spanish poet Luis Garcia Montero (translated by Katie King):

Perhaps [poetry] serves also,

if water is death,

to part the water with a dream.

And if time grants us its unique matter,

it serves possibly as a blade,

because a clean cut is better

when we open memory’s skin.

With broken glass

desire

leaves ragged wounds.

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