The Tenth Muse: Poems and Prose on the Arts

$10.00

by Leah Shelleda

Size:  6 x 9
No. Pages:  44
Published:  2021
ISBN:  978-1-952194-11-5

SKU: PB1127 Categories: , , ,

Description

Published poet Leah Shelleda’s newest chapbook is a collection of poems and blog entries reflecting her deep sensitivity and appreciation of the arts:

“If I feed her the Muse will work for attention, but her diet, her cravings, can be mysterious. Generally, she feeds on culture, but sometimes I have to make imaginal trips to specialty stores. For example, the prints of the Japanese printmakers Hiroshige and Hokusai are her sushi. She can make a main course out of a complex myth like The Crane Wife, or the rain forest. Sometimes it’s hot peppers and, on occasion, bitter herbs to remind me of those who are still enslaved.”

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Looking at Vincent’s Trees 
         
                      in all of nature   expression and soul 
                                Vincent Van Gogh
And in the beginning
the Mama sang a blue-green 
song and the invisibles
appeared
then she bronzed a reed
hymned a polyphony of pines
sent up a Chartres of seed 
a ninth symphony of fur
a war and peace of feather
and on this Day when you can say
atone-ment or at-one-ment
I call for the name of her muse
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This little book is a delightful outpouring of reverence and appreciation for the creative process and the artist’s response to nature.

About the Author

Leah Shelleda is Professor Emerita of Humanities and Philosophy at the College of Marin. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies. Her chapbook, A Flash of Angel, won the Blue Light Press prize, and Adorning the River won the Red Berry Press chapbook prize. Her book of poetry is entitled After the Jug Was Broken, and her anthology, The Book of Now: Poetry for the Rising Tide includes herself and six other women poets speaking to the current state of our world.

Leah has been a weaver of wall hangings as well as words, an ardent gardener, life-long seeker, social activist, and a crone-in-training. She is happily embedded in a large family, including eight grandchildren and a great-nephew.

Excerpt

Looking at Vincent’s Trees

in all of nature expression and soul 
Vincent Van Gogh

And in the beginning
the Mama sang a blue-green
song and the invisibles
appeared
then she bronzed a reed
hymned a polyphony of pines
sent up a Chartres of seed
a ninth symphony of fur
a war and peace of feather
and on this Day when you can say
atone-ment or at-one-ment
I call for the name of her muse

Reviews

On the poem The Tenth Muse:
This is among your very finest work – profound, playful, mature, uncanny. I love the idea of a Tenth Muse – and what a muse she is! Indeed, art is dangerous. And, as you say in the first verse, trying to block it is of no avail. And such wonderful new words: “warmwild woman,” “souldancing man”… And, finally, you put yourself in the picture: the one who doesn’t write epics or erotic poetry, but lyrics. There is much more. I want you to know how strongly you have spoken to me.
—Dan I. Slobin, Poet and Translator


Though Leah Shelleda’s poems are informed by her knowledge, they come in a spirit of play, in response to inner voices that insist on being heard – the voice of an enchanted child… of memory that demands respect for presenting her life in poems. She writes in response to art that moves her. The contemporary artist Kiki Smith is an important influence. She says of Smith that she is “continually metamorphosing among themes and arts” – so is Leah.
—Naomi Lowinsky, Poet and Author