Periodically, the Artists’ Gallery in Columbia, Maryland hosts a show it calls Poets & Painters. Local writers team up with the gallery’s artists and a collaboration ensues. Writers match existing poems with favorite works the artists are interested in sharing for the show or the writers create entirely new works inspired by a particular artwork. The combination shows in the gallery for a bout a month, launched one evening with the poets reading their work at the opening.
For the initial Poets & Painters show in 2009, I had the privilege of working with Jing Jy Chen, writing a poem inspired by two herons in a night setting. In 2011 and the second installment of Poets & Painters I again worked with Jing Jy, this time writing two poems, one based on another heron image and the other on a wonderful cherry blossom nightscape. That year I also worked with a piece by Denise Tarbell, who specializes in glass work. Insomnia was a theme for two of those works, one corresponding to Jing Jy’s herons and the other to Denise’s work featuring a chessboard image. For the cherry blossom night scene, I wrote a tanka-like sequence repeating the elements of love, cherry blossoms and moonlight in stanzas that scope certain elements of life.
In 2013, the Artists Gallery hosted once again a Poets & Painters show. This time, Jing Jy shared two images of cherry blossoms she wanted me to work with. We met at the gallery and I took cellphone pictures of sketches she was working on, beautiful works in themselves that she unfolded and laid out unceremoniously on the floor — I almost snatched them up and ran away with them. Those images in mind, I wrote The Cherry’s Weeping, wanting something of a parable-toned piece, and Fury, a poem that addresses the inability to articulate after such a thing as Newtown.
The Artists’ Gallery
10227 Wincopin Circle
Columbia, MD 21044