Georgia Banks-Martin walks us through an art gallery. We view art, which she has processed and questioned, through her lens: Lawrence, Monet, Van Gogh, Beardon, Sargent, Degas, to name a few of the artists. She challenges the reader to face slavery, grief, and joy, to feel the weight the South bears, to examine art across centuries for lessons. These poems revive what has been omitted in our history books—individual life stories. She uses sound, music and voice to make imagery pulse in these ekphrastic poems. In her poem “Railroad Station,” after a Jacob Lawrence: “Those leaving the towns where father and mother/labored in fields without being offered a yard of thread spun/from the cotton they pulled, have assembled./Packed: Hopes of work, three bedroom homes/water heated in water tanks, classrooms.” As memories populate her poems, so does the theme of hope permeate her book; in Death Dancing, after a Max Slevogt: “I wish memories could be buried as easily as bodies.” Rhapsody for Lessons Learned or Remembered is a book you will read again and remember as you stand face to face with art.
This is a wonderful book of poetry that takes you on a look through an art museum.
Each poem is written specifically about a different piece of art. It is through these poems that you can visual the concept behind the art.
In the back of the book is a listing of each poem and the painting that is represented. I thought that was great so if you did not know the painting by name, you could easily look up who painted it and find a representation online.
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