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Monday, December 27, 2010

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Self-Portrait, 1847
"Picture and poem bear the same relationship to each other as beauty does in man and woman:  the point of meeting where the two are identical is the supreme perfection."

English Poet and Artist
1828 - 1882

Lady Lilith, 1868
Having spent over 35 years writing poetry and now painting for the last five years, I am fascinated by the point where poetry and painting meet.  Dante Gabriel Rossetti was trained both as a poet and a painter and spent a lifetime writing poetry and painting pictures.  He once said: "If any man has any poetry in him he should paint it, for it has all been said and written."  And yet Rossetti saw himself more as a poet than a painter.  He also said: "Painting being — what poetry is not — a livelihood — I have put my poetry chiefly in that form."  And I would have to agree with his last point.  While it may be difficult to make a living being a painter, it is even more difficult making a living from writing poetry.  

Is there a poem inside you asking to be let out?  Is there a painting inside you begging to be set free?  I strongly encourage painters to write poetry and short stories.  I think every poet and novelist should pick up a brush and spend a few hours painting.  Remember it is not about being financially successful.  It is about releasing your inner creativity.

Here is a poem by Rossetti:

The Honeysuckle

I plucked a honeysuckle where
The hedge on high is quick and thorn,
And climbing for the prize, was torn,
And fouled my feet in quag-water;
And by the thorns and by the wind
The blossom that I took was thinn'd,
And yet I found it sweet and fair.

Thence to a richer growth I came,
Where, nursed in mellow intercourse,
The honeysuckles sprang by scores,
Not harried like my single stem,
All virgin lamps of scent and dew.
So from my hand that first I threw,
Yet plucked not any more of them.

Here is a video on YouTube showing some of the paintings of Rossetti: