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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ekphrastic Poetry: Joyce White Sculpts the Heart

Sculpting the Heart’s Poetry
Subtitle: While Conversing with the Masters
By Joyce White
Publication Date: 2009
ISBN: 978-0-557-22371-8

Reviewed by Fran Lewis for

Ekphrasis poetry is said to be a conversation between two pieces of art. The poet or writer interprets the piece of art and creates a narrative verse that depicts or represents his/her reaction to that painting, picture or piece of art. This form of poetry dates back to ancient Greece. This type of poetry is used to describe something. The term Ekphrasis has often been referred to when describing works of visual art in a poem, not with a description in general, or with description of other kids of art. The poet responds to the direct stimuli of a piece of art together with his/her own experience in the moment. This type of poem can be a description of the artwork, a story that comes to the mind of the poet while viewing this piece of art, or a poem describing the scene or experience in which the piece of art is placed.

Author Joyce White in her book Sculpting the Heart’s of Poetry creates stories within her poems, elicits feelings and emotions in the reader as you take this journey along with her and learn about life, people, the masters, painters, real life experiences and much more.

Each poem has its own voice and its’ own special message conveyed by the author. As she relates how she feels about her mom who has passed on and her feelings of anger and frustration I can see the tears being shed and hear the screams that follow when she is angry. In the first poem she sets the tone for the many faces of every woman, her good, bad, recalcitrant, obstructive and unhappy. The moods she depicts in the first part of her anthology of poems helps the reader better understand the many phases that woman go through. I became enthralled with the picture of the hands. In my mind is depicted the generations of life from start to almost finish. As you look at the smoothness of the child’s hand and then move on in progression to that of the others as they age, you feel time slipping by and the many generations of a family depicted in each hand.

Next, the author introduces a second chapter as she speaks to the Masters of Painting and Art. As an artist shapes, creates, forms with precision a piece of sculpture so does the poet create and sculpt these vividly depicted and storytelling poems. From Picasso’s Cubism art with paintings that tell a story of their own with women that intrigued him, our poet paints a true picture of the greatness of this painter.

Van Gogh’s Starry Night is my favorite painting and I have a copy of it hanging in my living room. The picture depicts a small village on a cool night. You can feel the breeze, the chill in the air and smell the freshness that the painter creates in this beautiful painting. The swirls in the sky and the eerie feeling evoked cause the painter and the poet to express a feeling of despair, uncertainty and misunderstanding.
Emotions come through in the next chapter titled Comedy /Tragedy as the author compares tears to that of polliwogs swimming and looking through the eyes of a person functioning more efficiently. It would be great if we could wash away our tears and our sorrows and think of positive ways to make others happy. The other poem that I loved was Springtime Choices. You can smell the freshness in the air and the joy that embodies each of us when the leaves turn green and the world is so beautiful when Spring returns. The author goes on to write about Insects Compared to Man and she vividly describes the inner most thoughts of an insect, its physical appearance and how we are alike in many aspects making the reader wonder about why we are so concerned with light and even death. We need to enjoy nature’s beauty and embrace life more.

There are so many outstanding poems in this part of the book that you will have to read and enjoy each one and decide for yourself, which are your favorite. Mine is White on White. The world would be dull and bland if everything and everyone White or Black. The different colors of nature, the trees in fall, the painter’s pallet or even a box of crayons provides the variety that we need to make things our own and the world so beautiful. Imagine if all dogs were black and all birds were white. We could not tell them apart except by breed, we would all be the same and the differences we need to embrace in each other and the world would be gone.

Finally the author comes full circle in the last section titled The Circle of Life. Describing the despair of an Alcoholic and his dismal view of life, Hermit’s Poets and the dilemma of camouflaging himself from the world not to be noticed and his vague and depression outlook on life followed by Ribbons, Bows and Pink Lace which is really quite unique and varied in its subject. The author writes in the first person the evolving of a young girls and the changes that happen within her and the things that make her happy growing up and the same things that she loves as she ages. The poem Growing Love brought tears to my eyes since I just lost my sister, my best friend. As the author tells of her feeling toward her mom and how she feels about her loss and finally joining her, you can feel the love that will never be gone. The final poem you will have to read for yourself where it all comes to together and her true feelings about her mother and her life come together.

Author Joyce White sculpted, created and shares her Ekphrasis poems with the reader helping us enter a literary world that is unknown to many. These poems are interesting, each one tells a story of its own and the pictures speak to the reader/viewer and you can feel the emotions emitted in them as you read each poem and look at each picture and understand their true meaning.

Happiness, joy, sadness, sorrow, life’s mysteries and discoveries are just some of the emotions and events shared in this outstanding book. This is a book that everyone will enjoy reading. Every reader will get something different out of it creating his or her own perspective and viewpoint. For those teaching college classes this book would be a great resource. For those who want to write poetry that tells a story and interacts with the reader this is a great resource to help you understand the form of poetry and how to use pictures, stories and events to write them.
I really enjoyed reading this heartwarming, well written and vividly depicted events which allowed the reader to form her own mental images of what the poems are saying and how to visualize them in her mind.

Synopsis by Author Joyce White

Expressing myself creatively in my first book, Sculpting the Heart: Surviving Depression with Art Therapy, I felt like I’m way out there, a strange observer from a strange land. Everyone says what we know. I know from years of depression, it takes years of unlearning abusive behaviors. I also know words are healers whether we’re writing them or reading them. I kept my mind flexible and open to those like Picasso, Van Gagh and Jung who came before me. Many of my poems are in responses to their art. We who write poetry make everything a game. We like to play the game “what if?” We keep our ears open and our fingers busy. We like to replay the past and give it our own spin. We play connect-the-dots with words and feelings, playing close attention to the sound and flow of our memories, as well as their arrangement on the page. Joyce Carol Oates says,
”You may discover your best poems while writing your worst prose.”
My inner poet lived patiently in me until about my forties. After I finished my first book of prose, it was then like Joyce Oates says, “I broke out in proem.” My poems all grew out of intellectual irony, childhood memories, my faith and/or emotional attachments. I found as soon as you connect with your true emotions, you can sculpt your heart with poetry. Poetry is like short-handing prose. It is my opinion my own inner poet tries to help me embrace my readers in a cloak of proem armor.

I celebrated my new self-esteem in my new book, Sculpting the Heart’s Poetry, while Conversing with the Masters. I’ve learned to use writing, art and poetry to resolve inner conflicts, reduce stress, as well as increase my own self-esteem and self-awareness. I’ve replaced my fears of “not being a good enough” to fears of “not living long enough” to appease my inner poet. I’m called in several blogs, “Winged for Art Therapy,” I’m happy to be a writer, artist and author and I hope others will find their own divine purpose by celebrating mine.

Joyce White

Fran Lewis reviews for Read her reviews on face book on reviewers roundup.

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