(I received a review copy of the box set this chapbook was a part of)
These chapbooks all have introductions and I've tried to read the poetry collection first, usually followed by the author biography at the back of the collection, and then back up to the front to read the intro. It turns out that Kayombo Chingonyi, the person that wrote the introduction, and I had one thought in common--Art Poems. I ended up envisioning paintings or the occasional statue while reading the poems within this chapbook.
From "The Dame With the Goat's Foot":
The two-stringed banjo plays
a theme to our aging, Old soaks,
we sit and talk out the weather,
our fortunes and the price of youth.
We sit in worn frills and garters,
holding on to our daughters
who sleep unhampered
by our laments,
our songs of love and folly
of men who carried us away
on the back of goats.
had me envisioning a couple of women talking/singing together, holding young babies or girls in their arms while sitting on goats and being led away by men. It's not something that usually happens when I read poems--it was a different experience that I enjoyed.
"The Blue Pot" had the couplet:
and a big blue pot
pressed on his head
that had me envisioning a blue pot sculpture, one made by something like a high school student in their school's kiln that has lots of shiny, glazed, blue paint.
Another that really had me putting together the image of a painting in my head was "The Angel":
The donkey was stubborn
and Mary dug her heels into its side.
But the mule was tired of walking
and now the baby was crying
with the obvious realization early on that this was Jesus and Mary which probably made the envisioning of a painting a bit clearer and quicker. I definitely found myself reading these poems a bit differently, just from the title alone. And my second read through was enhanced after reading this bit from the author bio:
"Amanda Bintu Holiday considers herself an accidental poet having been an artist and then filmmaker for much of her life." It led me to focus even more on a visual experience the second (and beyond) read through. The thing is, it works and I've picked up other collections or poems since doing so with this collection and have not had the same reaction, even when heading into my reading with that in mind, leading me to believe something about this poet's past artistic endeavors have affected the way that she writes her poems.