Inward to the Bones

Inward to the Bones

Georgia O'Keefe's Journey With Emily Carr

Book - 1998
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In February 1930, Emily Carr and Georgia O'Keeffe met at an exhibition of O'Keeffe's paintings in New York. Inspired by the idea of a bond between these two powerful women painters, award-winning poet Kate Braid has expanded the momentary meeting into a passionate, revolutionary friendship. She begins by imagining Emily Carr as an unconventional muse, and Georgia O'Keeffe as a woman in search of her inner landscape. In Georgia O'Keeffe's voice, Braid envisions what might have happened if the two women had visited each other in the landscapes that meant so much to them: O'Keeffe's New Mexico and Carr's British Columbia. Thus begins an extraordinary journey through landscape, art, and desire -- and inward to the bones.
Publisher: Victoria, B.C. : Polestar, 1998
ISBN: 9781896095400
Branch Call Number: C811.54 BRA 1998
Characteristics: 125 p


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quagga Oct 12, 2009

In 1930, Emily Carr and Georgia O'Keeffe met at an O'Keeffe exhibition in New York. Canadian poet Kate Braid wonders what would have happened if these women had become friends and visited each other in New Mexico and Vancouver Island. The result is a fictional account of a dynamic friendship between two iconoclasts in the male-dominated world of fine art, told in a series of original poems by Braid and brief excerpts from O'Keeffe's writings.

I found the first part, Solo, a bit slow - it is the background of O'Keeffe's life up to 1930 - but the momentum picked up once the friendship - the fictional part - began. At Ghost Ranch, O'Keeffe complains that Carr can see no other colour but green: "Her eyes drip curtains of tree colour." O'Keeffe, on the other hand, sees "the bones of hills / They shimmer in the heat - / amethyst, ivory and flame." When O'Keeffe goes with Carr to paint in Tofino, the rain almost drives her mad: "In this country, by day I sip the air / and by night I float." Yet she admires the visceral drive to create that fuels Carr's emotional work: "I am brittle and thin, starving / for what feeds her."

The afterword is a quote from O'Keeffe: "Art is a wicked thing. It is what we are." A perfect end for this verse novel and an excellent summation of why art is so important to all of us.

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