Last night I attended The Nature of Words (www.thenatureofwords.org) annual literary festival’s evening of “Guest Author Readings”. This local literary festival’s guest author evening included readings by two poets: an Oregon Poet Laureate, Professor Lawson Inada and a National Slam Poet, Karen Finneyfrock.
While listening to these wonderful poets and the other guest authors perform their poetry or read excerpts from their novels, I began to think about the “nurture of words”. Reading poetry and literature nurtures our souls and stimulates our creative spirits whether they explore complex painful emotions or humorous and joyous experiences.
Eventually my thoughts turned to quilting and creating handmade items (as my thoughts always do). Quilts are nurturing – they keep you warm, they make you smile, they say ‘someone cares about you so much that they took hours and hours (and hours and hours) of their time to make you a substantial gift’.
Quilts and quilting can be also thought of as poems. We carefully select a pattern for our quilts (as a poet might select the Haiku poetic form) or we create our own unique design (a free-form poetic structure). As we make our quilts, each section of the quilt we piece is essentially a stanza of our poem. The final product is something that we choose to share with the world, a private individual or just keep for ourselves (as poets do). My friend who is a talented long-arm quilter essentially creates beautiful poems on her customers quilts with thread as her poetry composition medium. The process of creating a quilt, quilting a quilt, and/or giving someone a quilt as a gift, can be as nurturing as beautifully crafted poignant words on a page of prose or poetry.
I wanted to end this post with a short poem about creating a quilt, but I am not a “written word poet”. Instead I will leave you with several images of one of my textile poems: Central Oregon is Central to Me.