Cultural Atlas of a Displaced Life: Embellished Errors (cover)

copyright Bonnie McClellan-Broussard 2012 all rights reservedI’ve started working on my ‘Sketchbook Project 2013’. I tried once in 2010 (starting late) and couldn’t finish in time. Maybe I’ll make it this year. I chose the theme ‘Atlas’ because I’ve been considering Cultural Atlas as the theme for IPM 2013.

We all come into our adulthood with a series of images, advertising jingles, cartoons, and some language appropriate icons from pre-school coloring pages that helped us learn our alphabet, equivalent to “A is for apple and B is for Ball”.

How the houses were built where we grew up, what form the windows took, the layout and width of the streets and how much of the sky’s expanse could be seen, all form part of an internal cultural atlas that we carry with us. We may remain unaware of how deeply etched these ‘maps’ are until they are challenged by living in a different cultural context.

The image above is a small panel of black steel on which I drew with white gold leaf and rust converter. The image is of the sky, something I love watching change where I live in Northern Italy and also something I miss from my birthplace, Texas. I tore the soft, cardboard cover while trying to insert the rigid panel and then glued the torn bits back together and sewed over them with turquoise thread.  Thus, the subtitle of the book, “Embellished Errors” refers both to my way of making art – often so impatient to see the results of an experiment that paper is torn, fingerprints are left where glue and ink have smeared that are then ‘fixed’ by pointing out their presence and letting it become part of the work, sometimes even the focus – and the series of, sometimes painful, decisions that have made the beautiful and densely embellished ‘stuff’ of my life so far.

I hope that my readers will enjoy the upcoming ‘visual poetry’ and that poets interested in submitting poetry for International Poetry Month next January will keep this theme in mind.

By bonniemcclellan

Mother, poet, american ex-pat from Texas living in Northern Italy.

1 comment

  1. Your book is so beautiful. I have never seen a Northern Italian sky but I have lived under Texas sky so I understand missing it. Very much!

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