hope

Poetry of Resilience – Irina Ratushinskaya

Poetry can inspire by acknowledging a person, telling their story, celebrating their life’s witness.  I just came across a poem by Luci Shaw, which tells us another poet/person’s story, their persistence through harsh circumstances.  Encouraging.  Luci’s poem begins with her introduction to Irina, in italics.

Irina Ratushinskaya
—Russian poet and physicist who was sentenced
to seven years in a Soviet labor camp for writing about
freedom and God. We met at a conference in Oxford
and gave a joint poetry reading.

In the gulag, denied paper, she wrote her
words on soap, then rinsed them off into the icy air
like breathing hope into the world. The words
she held safe in the wide freedom of her memory.
They were words of faith and love and outrage.
They were like her children, held in her mind’s
embrace for all those years until she could
speak them aloud and own them without fear,
un-silenced and un-cowed.

I have her little gold pill box, a love gift, still
holding in its minor space a breath of her courage.

Luci Shaw

Irina Ratushinskaya

Irina Ratushinkaya‘s account of her gulag imprisonment and how she and the other women survived, supporting one another, is published in her book: “Grey is the Colour of Hope” (resissued Hodder and Stoughton, 2016, Sceptre imprint.  ISBN: 9781473637214 available as paperback and e-book/Kindle)

Part of Irina’s poetry, in the poem “I will live and survive” is quoted in the Guardian’s fascinating obituary:

And I will tell of the first beauty
I saw in captivity.

A frost-covered window! No spy-holes, nor walls,
Nor cell-bars, nor the long endured pain –
Only a blue radiance on a tiny pane of glass,
A cast pattern – none more beautiful could be dreamt!
The more clearly you looked the more powerfully blossomed
Those brigand forests, campfires and birds!
And how many times there was bitter cold weather
And how many windows sparkled after that one –
But never was it repeated
That upheaval of rainbow ice!

If you’d like to read more of her poetry, its books are titled:

  • “No, I’m not afraid”
  • “Beyond the Limit”
  • “Pencil Letter”
  • “Dance with a shadow”
Bookjacket "In the Beginning"

early formative memoir: Irina Ratushinskaya

She has written the memoir of her earlier years as: “In the beginning: The formative years of a dissident poet”.

Her novels are “Fictions and Lies” and “The Odessans”

Creative Takeaway

Do you know someone who you deeply admire for their persistence through life, despite great difficulties?  Perhaps they could be a theme to inspire your song/poetry/visual art/dance/craft.  You may find this an encouraging exercise, which strengthens your own resilience in life.

Advertisements

Quilting and the Community

OK, so this is a video hosted by giant company Google, applauding Youtube – BUT it’s still an amazing turnaround story: economically devastasted couple and village rejuvenated by – quilting classes online:  Missouri Star Quilts.

Long before I saw this video back story, I had seen Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt company in action on video, and was struck by how down to earth, warm and welcoming she was onscreen.  The quiltmaking taught was simple and yet effective. It needed to be.  I haven’t even learnt yet, was just attracted to watching the process and the putting together of various elements into a new form.  (ie much like curating a blog, the way that I do it.)  I had no idea that the business began from such difficulty.

(more…)

Calming words

Writer Anne Lamott before her 61st birthday sat down and wrote all the truths she absolutely knew.  They include the importance of radical self-care

“Being full of affection for one’s goofy, self-centred, cranky, annoying self is home; it’s where world peace begins.”

“Every writer you know writes really terrible first drafts – but they keep their butt in the chair… they do it by prearrangement with themselves, they do it as a debt of honour.”

“if people want you to write more warmly about them – they should have behaved better” (round of applause from the audience)

“Grace is spiritual WD40 or waterwings”

These are words specifically written for people feeling overwhelmed by complicated politics in their country, by rapidly changing world events.  Above all, they are humane and hopeful, positive and spiritual.

Kaleidoscopic mixed media – Jill Ricci (NY)

Just met Jill’s work this morning, and I’m a fan.

Jill Ricci’s one of a kind collages immediately stand out with their unique and playful shapes & figures.  – http://www.artisticmoods.com

Vim_and_Vigor_30x40-1-933x1280.jpg

Vim and Vigor  30 x 40 cm

“I am exploring the place between “high art” and popular culture, text and image, figuration and abstraction, past and present, and two and three-dimensional space.”

– Jill Ricci

Champion_10x2022-621x1280.jpg

“Champion” 10 x 20 cm

Jill Ricci is inspired by peeling walls, layered posters and says:

“I want the pieces to evoke the walls of Morocco, a Renaissance Church, a NYC subway wall, and a hint of Malibu Barbie all simultaneously existing on one canvas.” – Jill Ricci

Her website is at http://www.jillricci.com

If you’re in New York, you can call in at the gallery she co-owns, Parlor Gallery, Asbury Park.

 

 

Poetry vs depression

Rachel Kelly has a remarkable story to tell – it’s her own life – of her 2 mental breakdowns and how poetry helped her recover.

The love of my family, drugs and therapy were hugely important in the battle to recover from an illness so severe that the first time I was bed-ridden for six months, the second for a year. But it’s no exaggeration to say that poetry proved a lifeline.

Her story is grippingly told in her book “The Black Rainbow” – which I recently read through in 24 hours straight as it is so well-written and gripping – Rachel is a journalist (more…)