Opal Moore, Curator of Color + the Body, at Chastain Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia photo: Marie Thomas
Opal Moore, on the poetry of Wavelength
Color + the Body presents a poetry reading, including newly commissioned works, “in dialogue” with artist Deanna Sirlin’s exhibition, Wavelength, at the Chastain Arts Center and Gallery.
Why Color + the Body? I have always found the ekphrastic poem intriguing—a deliberate claim of intimacy between a work of art and a person engaged in a focused act of seeing. What is in that “seeing”? –remembering, questioning? Some sort of demand? Resistance or surrender? Whatever is involved, it is in and of the body. What we see is created by what we carry within, the way that light strikes the cones of the retina to break and blend three colors into multitudes. We enter ourselves; what emerges is a part of us.
There is, too, the artful mystery of the naming of works that forego the representation of a literal subject. Where do the titles of such works come from? How do the words—applied to conversations in color, shape, line, gesture—serve the act of seeing? Color + the Body, our program titling, is also a naming. It is a speech act. It reads, and it makes a demand on the way our lives have been explained to us.
The ekphrastic poem, it seems to me, seeks a particular kind of intimacy—perhaps it seeks the fingerprint ghosting the art that we view. Or, maybe, it offers just another chance to discover ourselves by surprise.
The poets invited to this poetry project come from very different geographies, as well as social, political and cultural conversations. I relied upon their eyes, minds and bodies to bring radiance to this invitation.
Please click on the poet's name to be directed to their poem and audio:
Opal Moore, a native Chicagoan, is a veteran teacher of creative writing and African American women’s literature. She is the author of Lot’s Daughters, a poetry collection that one reviewer described as “passionate slices of African American womanhood.” Her fiction and poetry have appeared in anthologies and journals, including the Boston Review; Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry, Notre Dame Review, Connecticut Review, Honey, Hush! An Anthology of African American Women’s Humor, and Homeplaces: Stories of the South by Women Writers.
Our artist support community: Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, Camille Love; Emily Fisher and Kevin Sipp. Karen Hatchett, Public Relations: Elevate Atlanta and the Chastain Gallery staff: Alma Kadri and Kimberly Shelton. Think and Ink’s Amanda Sorensen and her staff. And Deanna Sirlin, painter and installation artist—around the city and around the world.