Calligraphy of Intimacy: World Poetry Day 2014 – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

Mixed media digital art construction by Jaanika Talts.
Untitled Photographed Painting by Jaanika Talts shared by the artist on Facebook.(All rights reserved by the artist)

One need not, after all, call oneself an artist in order to embrace either the beauty that roses give to the world or the genius that one’s love does. (Aberjhani)


When viewing a recent untitled painting by Dublin artist Jaanika Talts a strange thought came to me. It was this: Between the elegant reach of an artist’s color-stained fingers toward her canvas and the haunted explosion of a soldier’s bullet inside his brother’s chest, somewhere a terrified soul is seeking shelter inside the warmth of a stranger’s voice, or an infant is squealing at the incomprehensible delight of discovering it is alive.

As I said, it was a strange thought.

Talts’ painting depicts a cluster of multi-colored roses in different stages of blossoming, nestled against the flesh of dark green leaves and framed by deep brooding shades of emerald, bronze, gold, ruby, and amethyst. There is no description of the medium but it appears to be mixed acrylic and might include photography as well as an actual rose or two.

The painting caught my attention only partly because it was accompanied by this quote: “Beauty will snatch us by the heart and love us until we are raw with understanding.” The words come from the poem “Calligraphy of Intimacy,” first published in 1996 in a small press magazine called Out of the Blue and later in the book I Made My Boy Out of Poetry. But the image drew my gaze mostly because it was something new from Ms. Talts and then because of what struck me as a sustained tension between persistent beauty and grace asserting itself while under fire. 


The poem “Calligraphy of Intimacy” is about how relationships anchored in mutual need and affection sometimes turn unexpectedly into battlefields. The relationship might be between two people or two nations, two dreams or two cultures. At their core, they are defined by a gravitational pull toward the best within each other but superficial externals repeatedly block or sever their connection.  That could, in many ways, describe the international community’s centuries-year-old waltz with peace and non-peace, and it consequently makes this poem a good one to share for World Poetry Day (March 21) and National Poetry Month (April) 2014:

Please click the link to enjoy the entire post and poem by Aberjhani:
Calligraphy of Intimacy: World Poetry Day 2014 – Bright Skylark Literary Productions.


Angel of Valentine Days and Nights: Editorial with Poem


Valentine's Day quote by Aberjhani from the book The River of Winged Dreams:

Varieties of angels, like varieties of love, are many. It is therefore not too surprising that the angelic imagery utilized to help celebrate Valentine’s Day tends to range from innocent blushing cherubs to winged beauties swagged out in erotic creations worthy of placement in a Victoria’s Secret catalog. 

Valentine’s Day itself, like most holidays in the modern era, has been heavily influenced by commercialism that focuses on the appeal of romantic fantasies. The effective marketing of Valentine fantasy movies such as Winter’s Tale (with Colin Farrell, Jennifer Connelly, and Jessica Brown Findlay); and the film Endless Love (with Gabriella Wilde and Alex Pettyfer) support that observation. Movies can provide tear-inducing or comically-entertaining representations of love but many agree that its deeper conflicting complexities often seem unfathomable. That is largely because different human hearts often interpret their experiences of love in different ways.


Classic and the Modern Notions 

Classic romantic love is an emotional attraction between two individuals in which they may share a heightened awareness of mutual adoration. Erotic love, traditionally, has been described as shared sexual attraction. However, at least two modern concepts have prompted forums in which participants rethink and redefine the nature of erotic interaction. One is sapiosexual, which denotes such interaction is based on attraction to an individual’s intellect. The other is demisexual, wherein interaction is desirable only after an emotional or spiritual bond has been established to one degree or another.  

Divinely Speaking 

Agape love is commitment to humankind based on principles of fraternal and filial affection. Divine Love may be described as the dynamics of delight which the Creator and the Created take in recognition of transcendent eternal beauty, grace, and power representative of each other and present in all things. 

To read the poem by Aberjhani and check out the video featured with this post please click this link:
Angel of Valentine Days and Nights: Editorial with poem – National African-American Art |

Text and Meaning in T.J. Reddy’s Poems in One-Part Harmony (part 3 of 4)

Author Signe Waller explores the costs of love and freedom in the book LOVE & REVOLUTION.

“…With endurance, laughter and a song
these walls of injustice can be torn down, light
can enter the rubble,
the road to freedom can become more visible…”
––T.J. Reddy from the poem “We Are Not Disillusioned”

In poems such as “On My Way Home from School,” “Black Child Watching Cartoons,” and “Four Black Children Walking the Streets in Charlotte, North Carolina on a December Night, 1968,” T.J. Reddy provides unsettling snapshots of the impact of racism and poverty on the psyches of African-American children. Anyone telling themselves this particular subject is outdated in the year 2014 need only recall the numerous dialogues that surfaced following the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Interviews with numerous black fathers and mothers revealed to the world how they prepare their sons to avoid violent interaction with “white authority figures.”

In “Black Child Watching Cartoons” the conflict is more internal than external but no less damaging:

I am a Black child of the fifties,
developing negative images of myself,
watching a cartoon about Africa and America,
seeing history manipulated and indoctrinating,
presented as funny and factual.
––T.J. Reddy

Stylistically, the poet most frequently employs free verse that gives his lines and voice an unambiguous clarity. Occasional rhymes reminiscent of Langston Hughes’ blues poems and dialogue that brings to mind works by Henry Dumas also help shape the poems. Ultimately, however, they are defined by the qualities of political outrage balanced with spiritual contemplation and romantic inclinations that inform his aesthetic sensibilities.

You can catch the full read by Aberjhani by clicking here:
Text and Meaning in T.J. Reddy’s Poems in One-Part Harmony (part 3 of 4) – National African-American Art |

Text and Meaning in T.J. Reddy’s Poems in One-Part Harmony (part 1 of 4)

Cover of poet-artist T.J. Reddy's classic antiracism volume

T.J. Rdddy’s “Poems in One-Part Harmony”: A rediscovered classic by a hidden treasure of American art and literature.

“And the syndrome goes on;
this is only a poem,
wondering when to our senses
we will come home.”
––T.J. Reddy (from A Poem About A Syndrome)

Most of the more celebrated names among African-American authors, poets, and artists are known to the world because of their association with specific cultural arts movements. The recently-deceased  Amiri Baraka has been identified as a hero of both the late 1950s Beat Movement and the 1960s and 1970s Black Arts Movement. Poets such as Gwendolyn Brooks and Sterling Brown remain renowned for their link to the Harlem Renaissance.

One of the more powerful qualities of such movements is that they often inspire more creative genius than the world takes time to recognize. Or sometimes they produce creative thinkers of a type that “others” tend to fear and consequently attempt to destroy. It is possible both these scenarios may be applied to the poet, visual artist, human rights advocate, and educator known as T.J. Reddy.

A Select Catalog Listing

As a painter, Reddy’s work reflects the traditions of the Harlem Renaissance and the colors of the tropics––blazing reds, yellows, oranges and turquoise––assembled to present absorbing visual narratives on the culture and history of people of African descent. As a poet, he occupies a self-constructed space that bridges the aesthetic qualities and cultural concerns of fellow wordsmiths such as Haki Madhubuti, Etheridge Knight, and Henry Dumas. As an advocate for racial and social equality, he holds the uneasy distinction of having been one of “The Charlotte Three.”

His first book of poems, Less Than a Score But a Point, was published by no less than Random House’s Vintage Books imprint in 1974. That singular event literally placed his name in a select catalog listing beside some of literature’s most noted pens. They included those of: Langston Hughes, W.H. Auden, Albert Camus, William Faulkner, Sylvia Plath, Marcel Proust, Jean Paul Sartre, and Quincy Troupe.

To read the complete powerful story by Aberjhani please click this url:
Text and Meaning in T.J. Reddy’s Poems in One-Part Harmony (part 1 of 4) – National African-American Art |

Sensualized transcendence: Editorial and poem on the art of Jaanika Talts (pt 2) – National African-American Art |

              Image detail from video for “Be Still My Heart” by Paul F. Xaiver with art by Jaanika Talts.

“The Universe said, ‘let me show your soul something beautiful.’”
––Aberjhani (from ELEMENTAL, The Power of Illuminated Love)

If emergent expressionism lends chromatic form and substance to in-between states of metamorphosis, then transformative impressionism may be described as endowing such stages of transition with metaphorical narrative. These are images by Jaanika Talts in which her literary inclinations are most apparent and they evoke a clear theme, scene, symbol, or principle.

The artist’s depictions of mythology’s (as well as history’s and literature’s) Venus and Cupid, The Siren’s Dream, Ophelia, and Salome are a few of the canvases and digital art compositions which borrow cues from classic stories. What makes them uniquely engaging is her own finely-honed perspective, which seems as culturally expansive as it is aesthetically versatile. She is equally comfortable with more contemporary references in the mode of Hollywood screen legends like Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardener, and Sophia Loren. Their images at her touch take on a quality of regal finish that is both innovative and archetypal.

With Talts’ ability to produce highly-original art which speaks as eloquently to the heart and soul as it does to the intellect, it is not surprising that her labors have begun to inspire efforts by creative talents in different mediums. The poet Richard Michael Parker  has paired several poems with work by the artist. Videos on YouTube (and posted with this article) have both employed her art as background imagery and focused on the art itself as the video’s subject. The following original poem, titled Realms of Emerging Light (and written by this author) is presented in that same spirit of inspiration begetting inspiration. It is also shared in honor of the forthcoming World Poetry Day, March 21:

To enjoy the accompanying poem by Aberjhani please click this link:

Sensualized transcendence: Editorial and poem on the art of Jaanika Talts (pt 2) – National African-American Art |

A Bouquet of Light upon Light – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

World Poetry Day poster featuring quote by Aberjhani:

                                    (poster courtesy of Bright Skylark Literary Productions)

Recently the following quote from the poem A Poet Is a Clinton D. Powell, also known as “A Poem for a Poet,” has been making the rounds on the Internet: “A poet is a verb that blossoms light.”

The poem was written to commemorate my friend Clinton’s inspired life and early death on January 2, 2011. That others have been gleaning some small inspiration and motivation from the phrase seems appropriate enough. He would have liked that because although he was not particularly prolific as a poet, he was an extraordinary champion of the art and those who practiced it. There were few venues in Savannah, Georgia, where he did not turn up for open mics or other poetry showcases (including  classrooms on every educational level) to lend his support.

There is at least one art graphic that I’m aware of with the quote on it already but that one uses an image of me in support of National Poetry Month. I don’t have a problem with that but I also wanted something more illustrative of the words’ original purpose. 

You can read this full post from Aberjhani by clicking the link:

A Bouquet of Light upon Light – Bright Skylark Literary Productions.