Thursday, January 9, 2014

Books Are Gifts In More Than One Way

 Donna of Mainely Write, our host today, began blogging at about the same time I did, nearly three years ago and what fun it's been to get to know each other.  She is a clever poet, as you will see from her welcome poem.  Visit her and all the other poets sharing today!  Thanks for hosting, Donna!

Don't forget to check out the Cybil's finalists, especially the wonderful poetry books!  You can find them HERE!   
                                                        -------------------------------------
Available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/JLu6DB

          I opened my mailbox last week and found one more Christmas gift, also filled with more gifts given within this family.  As a tribute to her father and his art, Margaret Gibson Simon (blogging at Reflections On The Teche) has published a book, Illuminate.  



          This book is filled with Margaret's poems of Christmas tidings, written as gifts for her father.  For many years, John Gibson, father and artist, has drawn cards for the annual family card (his gifts for family and friends).  In the preface he shares "it's important to the viewer to know that the drawings are not done with lines, as is the traditional way pen and ink drawings are done.  There may be an occasional line, but most of the picture elements are done with tiny dots made by a technical pen with a 0.05-mm. point."  I am reminded of the paintings of Georges Pierre Seurat, in the style termed pointillism.
       Margaret notes in her part of the preface that she began this work at a writing retreat and wrote from an exercise named "In My Mother's Kitchen".  "My Father's Drawing" opens with these words: "Dots of ink and graphite rise in tension with paper/to form a likeness of mother and child." Margaret later says "this poem expresses a longing in me to connect to my father through his artwork."  The book thus began and became wonderful gifts to each other. 
       Gift number three!  Yes, a bonus lies in the back of the book, a cd created of Christmas music and some original pieces by Margaret's brother, Hunter Gibson.  Here, even in January, I want to start Christmas all over again!
       Margaret granted me permission to post one poem with the artwork.  I chose "Outside Salzburg" as a favorite.  I have traveled on a train outside Salzburg, too, although there wasn't snow, and loved the memory this poem brought to me as well as its wish. 

Outside Salzburg
            May we all find peace, joy, and hope in Christ’s love.

From the train, snow-covered hills beckon
outside Salzburg.  The whistle echoes.
Trees stand tall and barren.
Weary travelers stare in wonder.

Somewhere in the distance,
a child is torn from his mother’s arms,
a beggar reaches out with empty hands,
Somewhere, a woman grieves for her lost lover.

But here-- on the road to Innsbruck--
a church glistens on the smooth,
unblemished snow, calling out
Let
       there
                 be
                       peace.


--Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

         And this is the beautiful drawing that accompanies the poem.  It is also the cover art. Click to enlarge as much as possible and you will be able to see the dots John Gibson spoke of.


    Many of the poems reflect some aspect of the Christmas story, and use Margaret's father's greetings on the cards, usually Bible verses, as epigraphs. There is more than one depiction of Mary and child, and several drawings of the animals spoken of on that holy night.  One additional favorite speaks of artists' usual depictions of Mary, veiled some way in blue.  In her poem, Margaret asks the question, "Would she want to craft us anew?/Cover us, too, in shades of blue?"
     Throughout the book, from both word and drawn images, Margaret and her father remind us of the spirit and holiness of Christmas for those who celebrate.  I'll leave with this line from a poem titled "Listen":  "Songs of heaven come to you/in mourning tunes of doves."

26 comments:

  1. Thanks for the intro, Linda! This is such a beautiful book, I think I'll have to order one for myself at least- maybe some for family. Thanks for sharing this. Stay warm!

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    1. You're welcome, Donna! I imagine you will like the book, and hope you get it soon!

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  2. "Outside Salzburg" is one of my favorites, too! The illustration is perfect -- peace at the end of your journey.

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    1. So glad you enjoy it too, Tabatha. It is a treasure!

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  3. Linda,
    Thank you for this most amazing and beautiful review of my book. Some things that are so close to the heart are difficult to share. The sharing of Illuminate has filled my soul in so many ways. Thanks for being my top commenter and for your continued dedication to this wonderful world of writing.

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    1. You're so welcome, Margaret! This book must be close to your heart!

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  4. Thanks so much for this beautiful review, Linda. Both poem and art are breathtaking. I've visited Salzburg, too, but not in winter. Knowing more of the backstory of this book makes it that much more meaningful. Must get a copy soon. :)

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    1. Thanks Jama, happy that you enjoyed hearing about Margaret's book!

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  5. Margaret's poem captures the peaceful quiet of snow. Thanks for sharing the drawings too, Linda. Wishing you peace in the new year.

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    1. Thank you Laura. I am happy to share this beautiful book! Best wishes to you too!

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  6. Thank you for "Illuminating" this book, Linda! I love how the art was created: "most of the picture elements are done with tiny dots made by a technical pen with a 0.05-mm. point". Amazing!

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    1. Hard to imagine the focus and dedication, isn't it, Bridget. Thank you for stopping by!

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  7. I was quite moved by Margaret's words and her father's illustration is stark and stunning.

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    1. I've spent a bit of time looking and reading and looking again. The book is such a beauty. Thanks Diane!

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  8. I have not been outside or anywhere near Salzburg. It's quite astonishing how Margaret's poem makes me feel as if it's all comfortably familiar to me. Thank you Linda for giving me an insider's view to this beautiful book.

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    1. You're so welcome, Michelle. It's a beautiful countryside, rolling hills, some forests, homes once in a while, tiny hamlets.

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  9. Linda,
    What a lovely poem! I will admit, however, that I couldn't read it without hearing Captain VonTrapp in the back of my mind saying "Do you mean to tell me that my children have been roaming about Salzburg dressed up in nothing but some old drapes?"

    Thanks for sharing!
    Tricia

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    1. Oh my, you're right-it's a second connection! Many stories are in that area, and of course music, too. Thanks Tricia!

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  10. What a beautiful book Margaret has put together. Thanks for sharing from it. And continue to enjoy your Cybils judging!

    Violet N.

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    1. Thank you Violet, and the books I'm reading are just wonderful, a privilege!

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  11. Margaret's poem and her father's artwork are lovely! I did have the same thought as Tricia, though :-) Thanks for sharing, Linda!

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  12. Such a talented family! Thank you for letting us see the magic of this book through your eyes.

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    1. Thank you Keri, I'm happy you enjoyed it!

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  13. Truly a beautiful gift, Linda. Such a heartfelt gesture and a very meaningful one too. Books make the best present, especially one ike this. :)

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    1. I agree, & had the pleasure of choosing books for my family at Christmas-such fun! Thanks Myra!

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