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  • Writer's pictureNadia Giordana

Poet-Artist Team Creates Tribute to Van Gogh

By Nadia Giordana

Laurie Byro’s poetry in her book, D’EUX & Other Sorrows, left me speechless, in the kind of way that only happens when one is moved to feel—really feel something. This collection begins with poems about Vincent Van Gogh and some of the people he loved and moves on to others, including Frida Kahlo. It helps to know something of their lives as I do, but even without that, the reader won’t escape the draw, the maelstrom of emotions, including madness, shared by many artists. Laurie’s words pop from the pages like a flock of Van Gogh’s crows, startled by the artist. One must read quickly, fearing they’ll disappear from sight carrying the deeper meaning with them.

My two favorites are “The Other Vincent” and “Poison Wood (Sien Nursing Baby 1883).”

I’ve long been enamored with Vincent Van Gogh and to my surprise and delight, I feel like I’ve learned some things about him and the others she writes about in this book, through Laurie’s poetic depictions of their lives. It’s no small feat to tread in Van Gogh territory, but this duo does it in fine style.

Illustrator Michael Byro’s art is featured throughout the book. He uses pointillism and captures the mood and feel of Van Gogh in his art without copying his painting style, producing beautiful versions of his paintings. We are delighted to have examples of Michael’s work grace both the front and back covers of this issue of WINK.

Laurie Byro has been facilitating “Circle of Voices” poetry discussion in New Jersey libraries for 20 years. This is her sixth book, it’s available on Amazon. (More about Michael Byro on page 24 in this issue.) I am a fan of both these talented people. Note: D’eux with the apostrophe means “of them” for both Vincent Van Gogh and Isadora Duncan. Without it, would mean two.

Villanelle with Vincent

And then Van Gogh learned that matadors

will cut off the ear of a bull to show courage

and present it to their lady…

A matador can never be afraid

unless his pride is given to the light.

And thus dear Vincent knew the price he'd paid.

For company and love, he always prayed.

He prayed soft fields would dazzle him with light.

A matador can never be afraid.

And with a final thrust his future made.

A swagger as he dances near the light.

And then poor Vincent knew the price he'd paid.

He gave his lady-love the gift he'd made.

It glistened like a star in morning light.

A matador can never be afraid.

In France, he learned of matadors who made

a show of taming passion with a fight.

Was then our Vincent knew the price he paid.

Crow-sunflower, he watched the colors fade.

A swirling cape, a star, both made of light.

And then dear Vincent knew the price he paid.

A matador must never be afraid.

—Laurie Byro, D’EUX & Other Sorrows


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