IMAGES: A Collection of Ekphrastic Poetry
by Sharmagne Leland-St. John
52 Pages ~ 29 Poems
Price: $18.00 US plus shipping
To order a personalised copy from the author please order
directly from Sharmagne: email: ALittleHawk(at)aol.com
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ABOUT THE BOOK:
IMAGES: A Collection of Ekphrastic Poetry, by Sharmagne Leland-St. John, is about
marriage. It is not about the marriage of flesh and bone, but about the marriage of earth
and sky, the intercourse between imagination and reality. It is about what happens when
brush and word hold hands walking beside the sea at sunset. Images was never a
marriage of convenience. To be clear, the courtship has lasted many years. Barely a year
has passed, over the last 20, that Leland-St. John has not written a great ekphrastic poem.
At last, the marriage has been consummated by collecting the best of these into a volume
that is certain to stand the test of time.
In IMAGES: a Collection of Ekphrastic Poetry, Sharmagne Leland-St. John responds to oil
paintings, watercolors, a pencil drawing, and even an embroidered piece. Here we find poems
inspired not only by such celebrated artists of the past as Vincent Van Gogh and Frieda Kahlo,
but also contemporaries, such as the photographer Peter Shefler and watercolorist Blanca
Alvarez, and to a piece of embroidery. She shares and responds to some of her own photographs
and paintings, demonstrating some of the breadth of her creativity.
Most of the poems are lyrical or narrative. Some are rhymed; others are free verse. You will
find love, joy, and lament. Leland-St. John uses numerous approaches of the ekphrastic poet:
description, interaction with the artist's life; imagining a narrative which includes someone
outside of the picture, putting herself (and her husband) into a painting, and sometimes drawing
the attention of the reader to social issues. Her multiplicity of approaches provides the book
with considerable variety. The words and the artwork are both treats for the reader.
—Wilda Morris author of Pequod Poems: Gamming with Moby-Dick
This collection of 29 ekphrastic poems is as sumptuous and as varied as the
art that inspired them. There are lines that literally jumped from the page
into my psyche, such as 'when minnows sang / the song of rainbows' (from
"Ascent") to poignant stories such as "El Camion" after "The Bus" by Frida
Kahlo and the snapshot of a young, barefoot mother with babe riding the bus
home after shopping. "Leda Remembers" gives us, 'The memory of the peck
of his bill lingers still…'. and if "Eulogy for Hector Pieterson" doesn't raise
your ire, and bring a tear with lines like, 'He will not speak in syllables now'
there is something sadly missing in your heart. Art of paints, art of camera,
art of words beautifully combined into art of book.
—Lenora Rain-Lee Good, author of Marking the Hours: A Collection of Poems
Someone has said that poetry is painting with words, while painting is poetry without
words. However one may view the truth of the aforementioned dictum, one thing is
certain: fortunate readers will be satisfied in equal measures with both the poetry and the
artwork in Sharmagne Leland-St. John’s latest collection. Through correlations between
image and word, she demonstrates that a poet is someone who feels deeply the highs and
lows of life. Through all her writing, Leland-St. John remains true to herself, true to her
own convictions about what matters in life; and, on that basis, extends a hand of welcome
to the journey.
—Michael Escoubas, author of Steve Henderson in Poetry and paint
In Images, Leland-St. John offers a delightful collection of ekphrastic poems accompanied
by their relevant photos, crafts, or paintings. Her lines are rich with romance, alliteration,
charm, and suggestion. Her syntax is spot-on. We travel with Leland-St. John to Spain, Italy,
Latin America, or wherever the artworks carry her.
—Carole Mertz, poet, author of Color and Line, and book review editor, Dreamers Creative Writing
Sharmagne Leland-St. John's IMAGES-A Collection of Ekphrastic Poetry is more than an assemblage
of ekphrastic inspired works, it's a deft unfolding of a poet's life, a polyptypic, each panel drawing the
reader into its multiplicities. What interests me as a reader is not just her encounter with each work
of art but the whole person she reveals as a result. Whether she engages the wintry senses of Monet
in Normandy or the ecstatic photography of Peter Shefler, these poems reflect a life well travelled,
well lived and well loved. When she speaks of Cezanne's Fly Fishing in January, Leland- St. John
is hip deep as she asks the reader to slip into . . . waders/and gingerly step/into the chilly waters,/wet
some line and cast out. IMAGES carries the lucid details of experience, lifting art off the page and
—Lois P. Jones, author of Night Ladder
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sharmagne Leland-St. John, 19 time Pushcart Prize nominee, is a Native American
poet, concert performer, lyricist, artist and film maker. She is the Editor-in-Chief
of the 19-year-old literary and cultural arts journal Quill and Parchment.com.
Sharmagne spends time between her home in the Hollywood Hills, in California,
her fly fishing lodge on the Stillaguamish River in the Pacific Northwest, a casita/
writer's retreat in Taos,nbsp; N.M and a mini villa in Tuscany. She tours the United
States, Canada, and England, as a performance poet.
She is widely anthologised and her poetry and short stories appear as well in many
on-line literary journals. She has published 5 books of poetry Unsung Songs (2003),
Silver Tears and Time (2005), Contingencies (2008), La Kalima (2010), A Raga for
George Harrison (2020) and co-authored a book on film production design. Designing
Movies: Portrait of a Hollywood Artist (Greenwood/Praeger 2006).
Sharmagne is editor of Cradle Songs: An Anthology of Poems on Motherhood (2012,)
winner of the 2013 International Book Award Honouring Excellence in Mainstream
and Independent Publishing as well as one of four finalists for the NIEA. (National
Independent Excellence Award).
FROM THE BOOK:
by Sharmagne Leland-St. John
(after the sculpture in the Bargello Museum in Florence,
Italy by Bartolomeo Ammannati)
Leda remembers the swan
as if it were yesterday.
The way he caressed her thighs
with wings of white plumage.
There was no point reporting it
they would have blamed her,
asked her what she was wearing.
She recalls, prior to the caresses
she was dressed in her favourite toga,
hitched up at the right shoulder
with a silver pin.
The memory of the peck
of his bill lingers still…