THIS BLOG IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL. PLEASE ENJOY WHAT IS HERE, AND DO LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU WISH. NORTH CAROLINA'S NEW POET LAUREATE IS CATHY SMITH BOWERS. SHE WILL SOON HAVE HER OWN WEBSITE THROUGH THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL SITE. I WILL BE SHIFTING MY ATTENTION TO HERE, WHERE I AM, (SEE SIDEBAR)USING IT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO WRITERS WHOSE WORK DESERVES ATTENTION. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT ME THERE.

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Go to http://www.yourdailypoem.com/, managed with finesse by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who says, "Our intent is to make visitors to Your Daily Poem aware of the joy and diversity of poetry."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

PAINTED LEAVES: Poems by Joyce Foster, Art by Jane Smithers



(For copies, contact Painted Leaves, P.O. Box 2332, Cashiers, NC 28717)

Joyce Foster's Painted Leaves, with art by Jane Smithers, is one of the most beautiful books I've ever seen, if not THE most beautiful. It is a collaboration among Foster, Smithers, and their friend Sue Blair, who designed the book, and I must say, this collaboration has worked --to the hilt! When creative friends come together on a project, all sorts of fabulous things can happen.

I met Joyce several years back in a workshop. She had just begun to write poetry, and I could tell that she had the gift for it. Her "Imprimatur for Pleasure," was one of the first poems she showed me, so you can see why I was impressed. As she says in the Afterword, "I was in my mid-60's and looking for the courage to make a profound change in my life. Poetry, or perhaps I should say the Muse of poetry, found me. ...Now I can't imagine life without it."

Joyce was born in Oklahoma of Cherokee, English, and German stock. She graduated from Emory University with a degree in Nursing and has worked for years in Public Health, as well as training and showing Morgan horses. She also worked for awhile as a model when she lived in Florida! She lives in Cashiers, NC, with her dog Wynston.



The artist whose work illuminates these pages is Jane Smithers (www.janesmithers.com). A self-taught artist, having chosen art "relatively late in life," she has lived in New York, London, Houston, and now in Cashiers, where she paints and teaches. Visiting Jane's website is like stepping into a world vibrating with image and color.

Here, then, is a display of the pages from PAINTED LEAVES. I hope you enjoy the visual feast. This would make a lovely Mother's Day gift, by the way. I'm giving a copy to my own mother.



Here is the first poem of Joyce's that I read. (Unless you are computer-illiterate like me, you know that clicking on these images will bring the poem into larger resolution.)


And these are the paintings that illuminate the poem.










Some times I will simply let this book lie open on my table, because looking at it gives me such pleasure.







Both Joyce and Jane would agree that it's never too late, as long as one has breath, a sheet of paper (or computer screen), and paint brush, to discover the poet and artist waiting to be found within.

3 comments:

Glenda C. Beall said...

We should be encouraged that both these women produced this beautiful book in the more mature years and not as youngsters.
When I get discouraged I will remember that Joyce did all this after the age of 60. I just love it when we prove that maturity is a plus and not a minus.

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

I'm really proud of Joyce Foster. She's published a beautiful book, and I can hardly wait to read it. I've studied with her many times at the John C. Campbell Folk School and I really like her work.

Pat Workman said...

This was a perfect collaboration. Joyce is one beautiful classy lady as well as being a superlative poet. Jane Smithers art is breath taking. I can't wait to get my copy so I can savor each page. Thanks ever so for the heads up.