by Reggie Michael Rodrigue
The Grand Coteau “Welcome” Sign
My second article for the Acadiana Center for the Arts Blog has been published on the site. It’s a look into the fascinating, extraordinary and vital literary scene emerging in Grand Coteau, LA at this moment under the aegis of Patrice Melnick and her Festival of the Arts Cultural Collective. If you’d like to read the article, please follow this link to the ACA Blogsite:
LUBA ZYGAREWICZ, “Petrified Time: 12 Years of My Life, Folded and Neatly Stacked,” sculpture/stacked dryer lint, tags and rope
Last month I hosted a meeting of the Acadiana Wordlab thanks to the graciousness of the lab’s founder Jonathan Penton who also publishes the literary journal “Unlikely Stories.” During the lab, I exposed the attendants to a wide variety of my favorite contemporary works by artists from Louisiana and discussed the merits and relevance of them and their works.
It was great pleasure, and I personally got a lot out of the lab due to the quality and variety of ekphrastic responses I received from the attendants. If you’re wondering what an ekphrastic response is, you’re not alone. I had no idea what one was until I hosted the lab. Once I found out what one is, I felt a little stupid. It’s what I do here all the time – literary responses to and commentary on art. Unfortunately, I had never come across this phrase in any of my studies. Considering, I’ve been doing this for years now, I felt like there was a little egg sliding off my face after I was told what the phrase meant. The moment was certainly humbling, but not beyond the scope of my life as a critic. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through my experience is that you can know most of a topic of interest, but you can never know it all, which is why I love hearing other peoples’ responses to art and the world around them.
My current and favorite ekphrastic response is a poem from Clare L. Martin. An Acadiana poet of growing renown in South Louisiana and beyond, Martin recently published a ravishing book of her work titled “Eating the Heart First.” She also writes a blog about her work and life titled “Orphans of Dark and Rain.” Martins’s work generally is invested in digging deep into the darkened corners of her life. Through poetic excavation, she brilliantly manages to uncover great sensuality, beauty and enlightenment in the shadows and emotional wreckage of her life.
When I spoke about Zygarewicz’s sculptural tower of packed and tagged dryer lint which she saved from her own family’s clothes dryer for 12 years, something connected with Martin on a spiritual, psychological and temporal level, and “Of Lint” is the result of that connection. I hope you enjoy this pairing of art and word as much I do!
after LUBA ZYGAREWICZ, “Petrified Time: 12 Years of My Life, Folded and Neatly Stacked,” sculpture/stacked dryer lint, tags and rope
The blood of our days, sweat
and tears that flowed between us
all washed clean.
But the mud of wrath
never comes out
even though my knuckles
are raw from scrubbing.
I have formed this narrative
into an ominous tower.
Kneaded the soft pulp
into small bodies
piled upon small bodies.
My own body hardens
with an emotion
I cannot name.
My children grew and went away.
I do not know where to find them.
This strange, looming thing
marks their existence,
and by chance, my own.
I could burn it. The smoke of it
rises into leafless trees. Or bury it,
until that which still breathes
Who are we if we forget
where we have been?
Who are we if we forget
the true living we have done?
This artifice is evidence
of something cherished, and not—
Evidence of something felt,
something keenly known.
– Clare L. Martin
Clare L. Martin’s blog: Orphans of Dark and Rain
Acadiana Wordlab’s site on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/acadiana.wordlab?ref=ts&fref=ts
Unlikely Stories’ website: http://www.unlikelystories.org/