Ruth Bavetta is a widely published poet and a talented artist whose work is infused with a powerful starlight. I first ran across her work through the Women’s Poetry List-Serv (WOM-PO) and fell hard for her visual poems. Our first selection, “The End and the Aim”, is one such example.
Find more lovely pieces in the visual poetry section of her website.
But beyond those eye-catching beauties is a whole body of work that is more traditional but as equally captivating. At least, in the fine way that the painter’s delicate brushstrokes are woven into its words.
Fugitive Pigments (from Future Cycle), a gorgeous collection of Ruth’s ekphrastic poems, is not surprisingly my favorite of her current publications. Our next selection is one of Ruth’s favorites from the book:
Memories Suspended by Filaments
-in the voice of Joseph Cornell
The house is small, but it has room for dreams.
For birds, books, stamps, stars, marbles, butterflies,
balls, dolls, my brother Robert, maps, romance,
playing cards, lace, lobsters, small sticky hope.
Eyes down, I walk the streets of Manhattan,
eat pastries, sweet, stale, talk to pigeons, find
orphaned desires in gutters, in dime stores,
in second-hand shops with dusty windows.
I discover, gather, magpie away.
My treasures hibernate waiting, sleeping
in basement shelf rows, labeled by heartbeats
slowed to a drip. When my dossiers have lived
together long enough, I take them out,
let them speak, cherish them in my boxes,
where parrots talk of sunsets, and clay pipes
float and fill with a summer of bubbles.
Behind glass, my birds and my women sing,
locked into universes I create,
where lovers are dancers, princesses, queens,
secrets detained in shining glass bottles.
I sing the juene fille Lauren Bacall,
slender Botticelli, silent in blue,
construct a pink palace with sapphire stars.
I mediate history for the Prince
of the Medici, give him a compass
so he finds and he follows true love. Oh,
Bebe Marie, you are so beautiful,
pale pink, hidden among silvery twigs.
Also available for your enjoyment is Embers on the Stairs (from MoonTide Press), her second collection. A third book, No Longer at This Address is on its way later this year. Can’t wait to snatch that one up!
**Readers, have your own favorite poet-artists? Please share your recommendations. One can never have too much poetry in this life, somebody once said. Picasso? Or maybe Naomi Shihab Nye. Post your thoughts on that too. Looking forward to hearing from you!!