During March and April 2004, I was pleased to have a very
special exhibition at the Emmanuel d'Alzon Library at Assumption
College in Worcester, Massachusetts: twenty-one reciprocally
inspired painting/poem sets from a larger group of thirty-five
that make up my manuscript, Reciprocity: Selected Paintings
and Poems. It was thrilling for me to see poster-sized copies
of my poems displayed next to their reciprocal partners.
What sets these works apart from the hundreds of other paintings
and poems that I make? There are times when a phenomenon which
I call "reciprocity" occurs---I finish a painting,
but experience a lack of emotional resolution and satisfaction.
The painting itself feels resolved, but I need to write in order
to quiet my muse. If the poem should come first, it gives meaning
and substance to a subsequent painting. In their mutual relationship,
they eventually become a singular and reciprocal way of expressing
myself. I understand that reciprocity will happen when it needs
to, when the urge to continue becomes insistent. So I listen
to the work and let it lead me. I trust that something might
be waiting for me on the other side of the process, as it has
thirty-five times over the past six years.
I believe I am working within a tradition because there are
many renowned poet/artists, such as Jean Arp, William Blake,
Marc Chagall, Leonardo da Vinci, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Marsden
Hartley, Michelangelo, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Dorothea
Tanning. Edgar Degas composed a sonnet to his "Little Dancer,
Aged Fourteen." However, if they experienced a sort of
reciprocity, they did not write about it. My manuscript contains
a preface and endnotes, in which I explain my experience.
was honored to receive a fellowship in support of this project
from the Worcester Cultural Commission/Massachusetts Cultural
Council. And, as happy as I was to design the Assumption exhibition
and see the manuscript "come to life" on the walls,
now it is over, and I continue my search for a publisher who
will transform the manuscript into a book.