As a poet, one doesn’t get (or expect) a lot of assignments, so I find this annual event especially enjoyable, if nerve wracking. As a lover of visual art, especially paintings, I appreciate being challenged to view, respond to, and write, in a very short period of time (this year, just four days), about new work on exhibit now at the Water Street Gallery in downtown Douglas, Michigan.

DoilneyDetail (1)I’m working on a poem that engages two pieces from Acoustic Abstractions: “Arabesque,” by Toni Doilney (detail left), and “Ebb and Flow,” by Ezra Siegel. You’ll find a photograph of “Ebb and Flow” in the website slide show for the show.  (Click here.) I’m not quite sure where my poem’s going to end up, or if it’s going to end up anywhere that will interest anyone, but that’s half the fun! In any case, as agreed, I’ll be handing in the version I’ve made by this coming Monday. Gulp.

The theme of this year’s Expressions in Ink exhibit gives me a chance to test my long-held belief that abstract paintings and lyric poems often have a lot in common. Abstract work which viewers are invited to link in their imaginations with sound sends me right down the path I travel in the poems I enjoy reading (and writing) best: inventive imagery and musicality.

If you live within driving distance, I encourage you to go visit Acoustic Abstractions in person. Sunday, July 19, would be a good day, because that’s the day other Expressions in Ink writers will be at the gallery to share their verbal responses. The reading begins at 1. Other featured writers include Susan Ramsey, Colleen Rae, Linda Nemec Foster, David James, Robert Kenagy, Jacqueline Carey, Deborah Ann Percy, Arnold Johnston, Kathleen McGookey, Marion Boyer , Tim Penning, and Elaine Seaman. Alas, I can’t be there, but my poem will be. I’d love to hear what you think. I’ll put the poem up here the next day.