Thursday, May 7, 2020

Artists and Poets Respond to the Pandemic (4)

Drawn from the online exhibition hosted by my parish, "Artists and Poets Respond to the Pandemic," the artwork and poem I'm highlighting today are, respectively, painter Elise Ritter's "Hope Is a Gift We're Given" and poet Marjorie Maddox's "Hope: April 2020." The word "Hope" served both as inspiration for their contributions to the exhibit.

[. . .] become / the dawn crack / of Eden on replay /
and maybe—hope against hope—/ become/
the "warm breasts, bright wings" / of Spirit hovering, [. . .]
~ from "Hope: April 2020"

Elise Ritter, "Hope Is a Gift We're Give"
Acrylic and Alcohol Inks
14" x 20"

The poem is accompanied by the epigraph "Hope is the thing with feathers . . ." (Emily Dickinson).

Marjorie also reads her poem for us in a recording found in the exhibit section titled "Poetry in Response to the Pandemic."


Elise Ritter is an award-winning member of the Arlington Artists Alliance, Arlington, Virginia. She paints with acrylics, inks, and watercolor. Her art, which is represented in collections throughout the United States, Germany, New Zealand, and China, reflects her love of luminous and opalescent jewel-toned colors and the magical properties of light. Read more about Elise in the Artists' Biographical Information section of the exhibition.

Majorie Maddox is a professor of English and creative writing at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania. Her publications include 11 poetry collections, four children's books, and more than 500 stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies. Her poetry collections include Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Wipf & Stock, 2018) and the forthcoming I'm Feeling Blue, Too! (2020), with illustrations by Philip Huber, and Begin with a Question: Poems (2021). Earlier this year, Marjorie published Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Reading Poems with Insider Exercises (Kelsay Books, March 2020). Read more about Marjorie in the Poets' Biographical Information section of the exhibition.

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