Immagine & Poesia, an international movement that publishes and exhibits poems paired with visual artworks, has published its second volume of collaborations. President of the movement, Lidia Chiarelli, along with editor of the ebook, Huguette Bertrand, have selected and presented contributions from poets and artists from 27 countries—from Albania to Venezuela. The goal of the work, they state, is to gather creative individuals from all over the world to celebrate together a "love of beauty and peace." A more laudable goal is hard to imagine, and art and poetry are certainly the right tools for the task.
Immagine & Poesia was founded 8 years ago, by Chiarelli, Aeronwy Thomas, Gianpiero Acits, Alessandro Actis, and a group of other artists, critics and poets, on the belief that when art and poetry are presented side-by-side, each has the chance to inform, enhance and interact with the other. The audience's response can be multiplied by more than the power of two, as imagery and words resonate separately or in harmony. This volume pairs an image on one side of the page and a poem on the facing page.
While a handful of artworks and poems are presented by the same individual, as in the first entry, by the French painter/poet Alix Arduinna, the majority of the publication pairs a poet and an artist in collaborations selected not by the editor, but by the poets and artists, themselves. This reflects a reverberation sensed by both creators of the works, and results in a broad array of visions captured within this slim but powerful publication.
Ann Bagnall's poem evokes a vision of flaming red poppies and her photograph captures a field of vibrant blooms.
American poet, Mia Barkan Clarke's, tender but haunting "Unnamed" speaks touchingly of defeat and loneliness—the gloom looms heavy overhead—while Ismo Jokiaho, a painter from Finland, captures a feeling of emotional surrender.
"Dreamers," Bebe Barkan
American author, poet and publisher, Stanley H. Barkan and his artist wife, Bebe Barkan have worked together for many years creating a remarkable list of books of poetry and prose. Here, Bebe Barkan's lively, elegant drawing, "Dreamers," swathes a resting figure in an oval of bright pattern. Stanley H. Barkan's poem "The Dreamers" evokes memories, passion, moments lost to time, but above all tenderness and love.
"Secrets of the Heart ... after Chagall (I and the Village)," Adel Gorgy
Artist Adel Gorgy, creates elegant abstractions that are conceptually based and both trace and reference the influence of artists of the past. Here, he presents "Secrets of the Heart," a cool, serene abstraction after Chagall. Stanley H. Barkan's celebratory poem, "Clouds," also references Chagall, in a beautiful pairing.
"Anemones and Pomegranate Tree Buds, Metulla," Helen Bar-Lev
Israeli artist and poet, Helen Bar-Lev's poem "March in the Garden" and her painting, "Anemones and Pomegranate Tree Buds, Metulla," both pay tribute to the beauty found in nature's cycle of rebirth.
"Enclave," Huguette Bertrand
Huguette Bertrand's lovely surreal image—a moonlit sky with what seems like melting ice, encircled by the bright colors of grass and flowers—accompanies her sensitive poem, "Enclave."
"Tribute to Magritte," Gianpiero Actis
Artist and poet, husband and wife, co-founders of Immagine & Poesia, Gianpiero Actis and Lidia Chiarelli often create truly collaborative works in response to each other. Here, Gianpiero Actis paints a new vision of Magritte—a sky-filled oculus surrounded by prisms of light and color. Lidia Chiarelli's poem "Land of Magic" speaks of being captured and astonished by the unknown, but entering with the rapture found joining in a dance.
"Timeless Rhythms," Marsha Solomon
American poet Natalie Florio tackles some of the biggest questions in her poem "Given Time." It's about time and chance—a subject weighty enough for the wisdom of Solomon and essential and enduring enough to still be provoking poets like Florio today. Her poem doesn't try to answer the question, but invites readers to consider it thoughtfully. Marsha Solomon's painting, "Timeless Rhythms," paired with the poem, reflects on the eternal nature of beauty and harmony.
"Eros and Aphrodite," Carolyn Mary Kleefeld
Fiona Green's contemplative painting and poem, "Vespers in Buckfast Abbey," add a spiritual element to the collection. Carolyn Mary Kleefeld's poem and painting add another sense of the spirit. "Hunger of the Wild" and her painting "Eros and Aphrodite" are all about unbridled passion—wild and free—as she says, likening her love to oceans and fires, soaring falcons and all that's wild.
"Temple of Zues, Athens," Alessandro Actis
Donna McGee's quiet, thoughtful poem speaks of peace. She pairs it with a beautiful seascape, "Calm Ocean," that does the same without words. Caroline Nazareno's "Immaculate Rebirth" hearkens back to themes of antiquity. The poem is carried to the present day and brought to clarity by photographer Alessandro Actis in his classically elegant rendering "Temple of Zeus, Athens."
"Illustration for Little Old Ladies," Helen Bar-Lev
Johnmichael Simon's lovely, touching poem "For the Very First Time" captures the excitement and joy of childhood through the lens of the wisdom of age. Absent are the cynicism and regret often encountered in looking back. Simon's are the observations of one who sees—and seized—life's real prize. Helen Bar-Lev's accompanying painting depicts a tender relationship, grown ripe over time.
"The Concert," Marsha Solomon
Marsha Solomon's color-saturated pen and ink drawing, "The Concert," is bright, lively, upbeat and filled with energy. Her accompanying poem of the same name, echoes the same vibrancy as she expresses gratitude for the beauty found in the "newly dressed trees" of spring.
Peter Thabit Jones, the accomplished Welsh poet, is paired with a painting in blues by Fotini Hamidieli. Thabit Jones speaks of Dylan Thomas in "Garden of Clouds." But he's really speaking about much more than that. The poem is a reflection on what's gained and lost through creation, success, art and living. There are those for whom each poem is like a blossoming flower, but others for whom, he writes "New poems dripped into / The wounds of your life"
It's a powerful, thought provoking note for a collection of art and poems.
Mary Gregory is a New York novelist and arts writer whose work appears regularly in magazines and newspapers.
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