Your recent prompt for blog entries about art struck me for the number of ways it matched my thought process while writing my poem, “Perspectives.” When my daughter, Kailey, sent me this yoga selfie, I was transfixed by the difficulty of any person finding the point of balance in this position and wondered why someone would do so in the first place. Treating that body-balance as a metaphor resulted in a poem.
In the poem, I integrated concepts from my own field of music. To further the mixing of arts, Jay, a composer friend of mine, chose the poem as the basis for a chamber music piece he will write for me and my husband, Kennen, to play along with a singer, Tracy. (When Kailey heard about this, her comment was: “We are such an artistic and collaborative family.”) To add one more level of complexity: the composer’s wife is my yoga teacher, Kristin. This brings the arts full circle and brings together the people who create them, (yoga-photography-poetry-music-yoga.)
A circle of arts reminds me of the astonishing “telephone” project created by my friends Tess and Scott. He wrote a piece, which they performed. They gave the recording to poet who wrote a poem based on it. The poem then went to an artist, who painted a picture in response and then passed the painting on to a bead worker. There were many contributors until the chain finally ended with another composer who wrote a piece, never having heard the original piece. No artist saw anything but the work right before his/her turn. The works of music, literature, and art will be unveiled together on August 3, 2014 on Mackinac Island and I cannot wait to hear/read/see them.
I just thought of another circle. My original contribution to Minerva Rising Literary Journal was a poem about my daughter’s birth based on a photograph my husband took the night she was born. And now here she is, 21 years after that birth, trying to find that ephemeral point of balance.
Joanna White is professor of flute at Central Michigan University. She publishes many music articles but after performing with a poet, she returned to an early love of creative writing, studying poetry with Robert Fanning and Jeffrey Bean. She has poems forthcoming in The Grey Sparrow Journal and recently had poems in The Flute View, Central Review, Imitation and Allusion, Ars Medica, Minerva Rising Literary Journal and the Naugatuck River Review as a finalist in its fifth annual narrative poetry contest. She lives in Mount Pleasant, MI with her husband and has a daughter and son in college.
Kailey White is a senior studying sociology of education at the University of Michigan. When she happens to have free time (which isn’t often) she balances upside down in all sorts of tricky inversions. Being upside down sometimes feels more normal than being right side up.