20 April 2009

A Poem for Dorothy

How the carving looks through my magnifying glasses

See the little repair on the ascender of the word at the bottom right? Superglue!

I mentioned a few posts ago that I've been auditing a Smith College course this semester called "Material Culture of New England." The class takes place in Historic Deerfield, a museum and historic village, and most of the objects we study are from the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts and Vermont. In one of our readings we encountered a poem written by Lucy Terry Prince who was the first known African American poet. What struck me about the poem, and I think this is true of all early American poetry, is that it has such a strong meter and rhyme. Nothing wrong with meter and rhyme, but the poem is about a horrible battle in Deerfield, so the sing-song rhythm and rhyme seem totally out of synch with the gravity of the topic.

One night as I was falling asleep during the planning stages of the Dorothy May print a little poem popped into my head and I've decided to include it in the piece. The poem, in a style similar to Lucy Prince's poem, is this:
On a bright sunny day
while her husband was away
Bradford's wife Dorothy May
slipped overboard into the bay
and drowned.
I considered omitting the text, but because this is not a story that most people are familiar with I decided it was an important thing to include.


Ellen Shipley said...

I think the poem is a great idea. You're right, it clarifies the tale. And your carving of the letters is amazing.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

I imagine Dorothy is quite touched to have someone trying to understand her....Ditto ES re: your letters....

Sharri said...

I was wondering where the text was! It is such an integral part of your work's evolution. And, then bingo! here it is, appropriate and beautiful, not sentimental slosh, but instead, very meaningful.

Lana Lambert said...

Oh! Oh! Oh! I love seeing people's carvings of text! I really loved the other print you did with the text scrolling into the waves. Good job and neat poem. I imagine it will weave itself perfectly into the image you've created.

Terry Sargent Peart said...

I love the font you use. I'd like to hear more about how you made the repair. And I agree, the poem makes the print more alive and heartbreaking at the same time.

Robyn Sinclair said...

Brava, Annie - such a beautiful print and so successful emotionally. The poem is so precise and elegant and the carving of the text leaves me speechless.

Wonderful and inspiring printmaking.