Friday, August 25, 2006

Book of Hours - the Hour to Ask

I haven't been blogging much, and much about work is on hold.

While on holiday, I discovered the wonderful work of painter Alfredo Castañeda, who in 2005 published his first book of poetry, each poem matched to beautiful paintings. Check out his Libro de Horas/Book of Hours, a book of 52 poems and paintings published in 2005, both in Spanish and in an artfully crafted English translation by Margaret Sayers Peden. I couldn't recommend it more highly - I just loved it.

The poems are as wonderful as the art, all graceful, thoughtful, and short - never more than a page, typically featuring the artist himself, most often in a tophat and ZZ Top style beard. Each painting illustrates the accompanying poem in humorous, often surrealistic ways. (I suppose that's what the academics call "multidisciplinary.")

Opening it again after a not-so-great week I see the text of the first poem in the book, the "Hour To Ask," the larger illustration from which the cover art is taken. In full, it says:

And how do we find a way to get in?
we asked him.
Then he came up to us and, smiling,
pointed first to our hands
and then to our hearts.

How's that for a kick in the pants telling me to start writing? I really loved Castañeda's poetry, plus his obvious masterful artistry on the canvas, even the book's layout, paper choices, everything about his "Book of Hours." It's a delightful artistic work from seasoned artist and a wise man. I couldn't recommend it more highly.

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