Saturday, April 8, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Happiness"

Hello and Happy National Poetry Month! Here it is, day 8 of ARTSPEAK!: Portraits, my National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets.

But first: be sure to check out the Mary Lee's line of our 2017 Progressive Poem over at A Year of Reading.

Here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today I have another woman for you -- and a self-portrait. The artist Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun was apparently a favorite of Marie Antoinette! I loved learning more about her in this Guardian article. I didn't read the article until AFTER I'd written my poem, so this one isn't specifically about the art or the artist. And isn't that one of the great thing about writing art poems? It can be whatever you want! I was drawn to the act of the artist creating a self-portrait, what an indulgence that must be (because it doesn't pay anything) and how rewarding it surely must be.

Here's what Elisabeth Le Brun told me:

in a Straw Hat" by Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun

Happiness is
this sunny
of unexpected

and a spring
of brushes

- Irene Latham


  1. Your 'sunny palette' lets me imagine that Le Burn enjoyed painting herself. It is a lovely image you've painted, too, Irene.


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