Unique and commonplace, wise and funny, wild and cultivated, the poems in LENS, by Grace Marie Grafton, invite readers to explore with her the faces, places, history and mythic imagination of artists of California from 1853-2010.
These quixotic, skillful poems display a sensitive respect for the art that inspired them. The author has selected sixty six pieces of artwork that collectively display the astounding breadth of art that California has evoked and that therefore afford her sufficient content to showcase her mastery of a refreshing variety of writing styles. As her poem, "Muse," from LENS, says, "she could spell the letters in summer shapes/ she could hold you down in a fight/ she unlocks the midnight door for you." Her poems will help you see art, poetry and California through a new lens.
Rather than describe the content of a painting, Grafton uses any given piece of art as a launching pad for imaginative excursions that are creative and frequently surprising. The reader accompanies her into the Sierra Nevada, the redwoods, the beach, coastal hills, valley farms, orchards, Depression-era streets, an internment camp, the weather. In response to figurative art, she writes narratively. With surreal art, a reader's mind is opened. With abstract art, her poem might be associative or break all over the page.
Welcome to the historical, environmental and artistic richness of California and Ms. Grafton's adventuresome poems.