An Ekphrastic Event with the Paintings of Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso
This poetry “event”—poets responding to paintings by Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso and then the painter responding back—is one of countless literary events that the Covid-19 pandemic bumped from in person to online. In the spring of 2020, the students in my Advanced Poetry Writing course at Southeastern University, along with myself and my poetry collaborator Anna Cotton, were scheduled to perform at our local art museum, the Polk Museum of Art. For the sixth year in a row, we would have delivered our poems aloud while standing on the museum’s wood floors, standing between the very works of art on the walls and a live public audience in the halls.
In losing that physical experience, we lost something important. But in moving online, we gained several important things as well. We gained the opportunity—thanks to the generosity of Lorette C. Luzajic in providing our event a digital home at The Ekphrastic Review--to have the work remain available beyond a single evening. We gained the opportunity for the poet Lisa Pegram and several of the students she led in an ekphrastic poetry event at the Smithonian over a decade ago, the very event that inspired ours in Florida, to join us. And we gained the opportunity for the artist Dellosso, whose work we were slated to engage with in person at the museum in an exhibit titled A Brush with HerStory, to be part of the event—by responding to our responses with a video included at the end of this page. In short, what we lost in immediacy we gained in mediacy—in the ability to have connections and conversations across time and space, mediated by technology, that we would not have been able to otherwise have.
I do not like to speak of a silver lining in a catastrophe. There are no hidden blessings in a pandemic of disease and death ravaging our planet. But there are so many people responding to the situation by discovering and developing new ways to connect and create. We’re so glad to be part of that conversation with this event.
Paul T. Corrigan
Hidden in Plain Sight
What sorcery is such to capture the moon,
place it in a gilded cage,
dangle the keys on foreign fingertips?
The hinge creaks
as she opens the door
to devour my light.
What alchemy swirls the spoon in the tea cup,
where my glow is channelled,
that she might drink until she is full?
In her wake, I am left crescent. Hungry.
I hum. Vibrate. Beam, even.
These are involuntary acts
like blink or breath. They supersede will.
These waves of sound. This constant
rhythm that beats so beautifully against the glass
she is compelled to dance. Drown
her own misery to the tune of mine.
This music brings her joy. She cannot reach these notes.
Or hear the crack inside.
My life force is drained. But a moon
will not be extinguished. Even as it suffers,
to shine is its nature.
I fade, then rest
before assuming my next form
Paso a paso, el remedio--
Step by step, the cure.
Lisa Pegram, MFA is a DC native living in Curaçao. A writer, arts integration specialist and personal chef, she is founder of the Shakti Brigade, an international women arts collective that juxtaposes literature, visual arts, music and wellness.
(Should your soul resemble a moon
shrunk lamp size or a sheet worn ghost thin
or a negative drying in a darkroom
or an infant cholicy gumming spoonfuls of gruel
or an owl old and caged watching out with one large eye
your symptoms require time
Paul T. Corrigan
Paul T. Corrigan teaches creative writing and academic writing at the University of Tampa. His essays and poems appear in a number of publications, including The Ekphrastic Review. Twice he won the Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge.
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