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Crossroads: a double dare
Hello, Poetry Friend
This is my last post about the joint art & poetry show I’m doing with artist Nan Henke called Crossroads: at the junction of Poetry and Painting. If you’re in Fredericksburg, Texas between now and Saturday, April 29, drop by the Fredericksburg Art Guild and check out our collaboration!
Just like the Grinch, Nan Henke had a wonderful, awful idea. She suggested that I paint a picture and she write a poem to go with it. Really, I have only myself to blame. She got the idea to do a dare from my book The Joy of Poetry, in which my my friend Nancy Franson and I did a poetry dare. So, fair’s fair.
Here’s how Nan describes the dare:
As part of our show, CROSSROADS: the junction of Poetry and Painting, local poet Megan Willome and I challenged each other to get creative outside of our comfort zones. In other words, SHE made a painting and then I wrote a poem to pair with it.
I hadn’t picked up a paintbrush since elementary school. Art is something I appreciate (I love First Friday Art Walk!), but art is not my playground. Nevertheless, I came to Fredericksburg Art Guild one Friday morning with a sketch, and Nan showed me how to turn it into a painting — something she does often with students in workshops. Confession: It was kinda fun.
I didn’t know the professional hanging the show was going center it, right above the display table.
(Nan’s on the right, I’m on the left).
But that’s what dares are for — stretching us. I never in my life dreamed of having a painting in an art show. Nan never dreamed of liking poetry, much less writing a poem and displaying it. But we dared together.
My painting is titled “Thursday, July,” and it’s about something I’m not yet ready to write about. Painting gave me the medium I didn’t know I needed. Nan’s accompanying poem, “Sneaker,” feels like it has layers too, with the sneaker we wear and the sneaker we can be, showing up somewhere unexpected on some random summer morning. Both our pieces of art include an element of mystery.
A good dare is not dangerous, but it is mysterious. Meeting and playing with Nan at the Crossroads has been a dare worth taking.
Why dare to paint? Why dare to poem? As I say in The Joy of Poetry, “you might as well ask why chocolate?”
Why ever not?
What poem are you afraid to write?
I dare you.
I double-dog dare you. C’mon, it’ll be fun!
If you like, email me what you write.
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