alight and aligned
and beyond our selves
Creators' note: Our hybrid prose/poetry project (unpublished so far) entitled Black & White and In-Between chronicles our twenty-year friendship and explores our differences in age, professional status, and racial identity. The final chapter was inspired by a third partner, African-American artist Jean Berry whose mixed media collage Leap 3 led us each to put words to the expressive imagery of her art. The syncopated triple movement of Leap 3 visualizes for us the interconnectedness of our words & works of art, as it celebrates the inherent hybridity of people, poems, prose, and art that surrounds and sustains us, especially in the age of Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter.
Jan Gross is a retired college professor of French; H. L. Viravong is a college administrator. Beyond their academic careers, they discovered creative writing as an outgrowth of their initial contact as mentor-mentee at the same academic institution. They now live far apart (H.L. in Pennsylvania; Jan in Iowa), but continue their poetic collaboration in Black&White and In-Between, a memoir of intergenerational and interracial friendship. Their discovery of African-American artist, Jean Berry, inspired them. Jean began her art career late in life. Her pieces in charcoal and pastel mine the depths of human emotion and celebrate the graceful beauty of black bodies in movement. Iowa-based, Jean has earned international acclaim for her timeless images. http://jeanberryart.com
The Ekphrastic Review
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