Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Poetry in stillness

"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry."Emily Dickinson


Photos of Bric-a-Brac the book by Babeth Lolarga

While going through the heaps of digitized and re-sized photos saved on the hard drive of this computer that I'm using, I saw or "read" the book art made by Baguio artist and scholar Del Tolentino for his "Bric-a-Brac" exhibition over a year ago at Mt Cloud Bookshop. I had written about that show for VeraFiles.org (See http://verafiles.org/the-playful-the-serious-collide-in-del-tolentinos-book-art/)

These are the "out-takes" from that article, the photos not sent and that stayed behind.

While again "flipping" through the pages of the the book Bric-a-Brac (scrolling through the photos, I mean), I realized how the biography of a person can be told through a series of still life. There is the thoughtfulness behind the selection of what bric, what brac should go into a home. Clearly the man is an aesthete, too --from the books to the bookends to the lamps to each exquisite piece of china, textile, wooden figurine, basketry, earthenware.

There is also the intellectual history of the person in the book titles that remain on display for he is also known as someone who generously gives away the books he has read. But what remains behind--there's the telling tale.

We always thank writers, whether from the classic canon or those from the margins, who shaped what we were and are today. My sister wrote recently to say how she overstayed by choice with Nancy Drew creator Carolyn Keene for the sheer pleasure of it.

I thank a living book artist for "writing", through his images and some words, that there is poetry in the unnoticed spots and swirls on a leaf, in the profile of a wayang kulit puppet, in the light bouncing off the cheek of a waxed mask...and more!


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