Thursday, January 27, 2022

Artist Date with Marilyn Nelson

Happy Friday, Poets

Look at us running into February. 

I had an unexpected and wonderful artist date this week. On Sunday, I was catching up on e-mails, cleaning out my inbox when I came across an invitation for a free talk by Marilyn Nelson about her new book: Augusta Savage: The Shape of a Sculpture's Life (Christy Ottaviano Books. Jan 22). 

I registered for the event and tuned in. 

Listening to Marilyn Nelson was such a treat. I adore her work. She's published many works and she is at the top of my list of geniuses.  Prompted to visit her website...I bumped into this poem and now love her even more. 

The Dimensions of the Milky Way

  Discovered by Harlow Shapley, 1918


Behind the men’s dorm
at dusk on a late May evening,
Carver lowers the paper
and watches the light change.
He tries to see earth
across a distance
of twenty-five thousand light-years,
from the center of the Milky Way:
a grain of pollen, a spore
of galactic dust.
He looks around:
that shagbark, those(read the rest here)

In her talk, Ms. Nelson passed on some appreciated craft advice. I've added it to a photograph of Augusta Savage from this magazine article from Black Past, Augusta Savage

Foster, C. (2007, August 15). Augusta Savage (1892-1962).

I've ordered Nelson's book and eagerly await its arrival. Go on over to Live Your Poem. Irene is graciously hosting our round-up today. Thank you, Irene!

Thank you, Jone for the marvelous postcard exchange. I am enjoying the beautiful words and images of New Year greetings. Stay tuned for a presentation of them.

For stargazers, there's a new poem on the padlet inspired by the Poetry Pals challenge. It originated with something in an interview of Biologist E.O. Wilson who passed away in December. An earlier interview of him with Ira Flatow was re-aired on Science Friday (Jan 7th) in memory. In the interview, Wilson said: The Ideal scientist thinks like a poet and works like a bookkeeper.


  1. Dear Linda, thank you for sharing so much goodness! I'm excited about Marilyn's new book... and E.O. Wilson has long been an inspiration to me... I gave his love of ants to Jopa in D-39! Thanks for all! xo

    1. What a delightful nugget! I LOVE Jopa and his ants!!

  2. I had many thoughts while reading this. One was: I need to start doing artist's dates again! Another: I love that poem! ("Imagine that.") And another was that I'd like to read that book about Carver. I'm adding it to my (enormous) list.

  3. Thanks for sharing the excitement and quotes. I'm with you peeking out the window awaiting my copy of Marilyn Nelson's new book!

  4. Oh that does sound like an inspiring talk! Thank you for sharing your take-away quotes and some of her work with us. I love that quote about the ideal scientist - wonderful!

  5. "creating something you don't already know" -- I just love that!

  6. This sculptor is one I "discovered" as an adult - and was disappointed I never heard about as a child. I just am so excited there's a book about her now!

  7. Oh, I love those quotes! They perfectly capture why I love poetry! And the last two lines of that poem,; to fill the world with praise... Yes! Thankyou for sharing. 💛

  8. There is much to savour here Linda. Enjoyed the introduction to Augusta Savage's work and the Marilyn Nelson quotes and poem. Thank you for these gifts, Linda.

  9. Linda, your research skills are so well-defined. You send me down rabbit holes of delight. I love all the add-ons today and especially enjoyed going to Marilyn Nelson's website where I found an amazing poem about Emmett Till (I watched the first episode of Women of the Movement and intrigued that school children have not heard about this young boy in classrooms. I also love your stargazers; padlet. Thank you for always introducing me to new stars of wonder. (I have to ask you a favor. Because I am involved in my punch list for my 11-month inspection and trying to put away Christmas decorations, I misplace your poetry postcard. I hope you can send me a photo of it so I can share it at Poetry Friday. I absolutely loved it and have looked in many spots with no luck. Thanks, Linda.)

  10. Thank you for Marilyn Nelson's and EO Wilson's wisdom...and for your delightful take on elementary school brilliance!

  11. Sounds like a wonderful event. Love how you paired Nelson's advice with the Savage photo. Thanks for sharing Marilyn's fine poem and for the heads up about her new book!

  12. Marilyn Nelson is gentle yet fierce in her passion for poetry. Thanks for sharing and giving me something else to dive into.

  13. A poet is in partnership with form. YES. Marilyn Nelson is a treasure. I have CARVER on my TBR pile. I'm going to put it on top to read.

  14. I would love to read this book about Savage. I read Carver a few years ago and thought she really nailed his character and his work. It is a beautiful book.

  15. Those are all very helpful tips and advice. What a treat it must have been for you to attend that talk. I've read a few of Marilyn Nelson's books and agree that she's a genius. I have to admit, though, that it is the 'form' and 'structure' and occasional rigidity that makes me sometimes steer clear of poetry. :)

  16. Thank you for sharing Marilyn Nelson's brilliance, Linda. Her advice about 'entering a partnership with form' is intriguing in that, for me, it gives me comfort.

  17. Linda, thanks so much for sharing these excerpts from your Artist Date with us. I'm afraid I've had little discipline when it comes to poetry so far in 2022. (Which is why I'm commenting on this post so long after the fact.) I'm a great fan of Marilyn Nelson's Carver book and her poetry in general. Thanks for the reminder of her marvelous The Dimensions of the Milky Way,
    I'm going to print out these quotes to help me get back on track.
    Your Ideal golden shovel poem is terrific!


Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!