Most mornings, coffee in hand, I open Emily Gibson’s essays and nature photography in Barnstorming: Seeking Sanctuary in the Seasons of a Rural Life. I’ve followed and enjoyed her beautiful, reflective blog for years. So when I heard that she and Whidbey Island poet Lois Parker Edstrom had recently collaborated on a book of ekphrastic poetry, I ordered it before my next meal.
The book arrived a few days ago, and I’ve been keeping company with Almanac of Quiet Days ever since.
It’s a tender book. A peaceful one. And if the term “ekphrastic poetry,” has you scratching your head, let me add that, true to form, these ekphrastic poems draw from literal elements in Emily’s photos and then muse about them, expanding each photo’s potential interpretation. In these pieces, poet Lois comments on time and personal history; rural life and the natural world; relationships, beauty, awe—subjects photographer Emily regularly considers. A perfect poetry form to bring this photographer and this poet together.
You’ll find no dense, cryptic language here. Ms. Edstrom’s straightforward observations make her poems accessible and thought-provoking, even for those who typically dodge other forms of poetry. Their wide appeal, I suspect, led Garrison Keillor to read some of her earlier work on The Writer’s Almanac. Her poems are simple without being simplistic, and they’re peppered with turns of phrase that I found myself repeating and savoring:
“. . . the twine of possibilities. Tug a frayed edge, your life tumbles out.”
“. . . birds tuck their songs into the case of a wing.”
” . . . a filigree of dewdrops. . .”
“. . . black-tipped wings played chromatic scales in octaves of sky. . .”
“. . . wind will page through a catalog of leaves.”
If you’ve ever considered dipping your toes in poetry, spend some time with this book. The water’s warm.
And now for the rocks . . . pics posted earlier this week, most of the craggy Snake River canyon, taken from offshore.
(Rocky Mt bighorn sheep – Hells Canyon)
“He enables me to tread on the heights.”
Lost in translation.
(Petroglyphs, Hells Canyon, ID).”
You are a letter from Christ . . . written . . . with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
—2 Corinthians 3:3
Volcano Art . . . or a music box drum.
(Snake River basalt).
“Jesus replied, “I tell you, if these [people] keep silent, the stones will cry out [in praise]!”
—Luke 19:40 AMP
Waiting for goslings.
And coming your way August 3 . . .
Welcome friends. So glad you’re here!
Watching Nature, Seeing Life: Through His Creation, God Speaks