Yesterday my Aunt Edna had her 100th birthday. This morning I pulled her book about the poet Christina Rossetti off the shelf, and started reading it. I can’t remember how it came to be among my books, but I must have taken it from my parent’s home because it’s inscribed to them with a lovely note. Aunt Edna always has kind words in abundance for folks. The book was published, her doctoral thesis I believe, in 1985.
It’s simplistic to say that it is a book about Christina Rossetti. It is a scholarly work on literary criticism of Rossetti’s poetry during her life and at different periods of critical thinking. It makes very interesting reading if you’re interested in poetry and feminism, or poetry or feminism…
As a child my Aunt Edna was to me a smiling and kind woman who I had no idea was such a scholar, or lover of poetry. She married Saul, my grandfather’s cousin. The men in my family were the vocal and boisterous bunch, Uncle Saul and Grandpa maybe most of all, and their concerns were more mercantile in nature. But I am finally now giving Dr. Edna Kotin Charles my undivided attention, as well the work of Christina Rossetti.
I don’t think this is the definitive version of this poem, but since it’s officially election season… I feel like sharing this version that was recorded last April at the Greenville Public Library.
The characters in the collection of stories by Anne Elliot, entitled The Artstars, have art degrees. For each one you might say that Art is their life but, with one exception, not their livlihood. Any practicing artist in any medium will recognize the existential struggles of the mostly ordinary people who are the Artstars.
The collection of stories, and the lives of the main characters are intertwined. Each story is narrated by a different voice. In the first story, Light Streaming from a Horse’s Ass, the narrator addresses the main character as you. I wasn’t sure if she was talking about herself, or a variation of me or you the Artist. By describing the actions of the main character to the main character, she managed to convey admiration. The narrator is asserting that the process of creating and living with oneself and others is of interest, and might even matter.Continue reading