Photo: Gwendolyn Soper. Harriman Bird Refuge, Idaho

IN MY MIND, writing poetry and writing music share something:  knowing where to put black ink on paper. Just the right amount. That, and an awareness of space—where to leave space alone around the lines and dots. While good music gives the performer space to breathe, the listener also benefits. They can mentally inhale and exhale.

What, then, of good poetry?

Honestly? Lungs don’t have the monopoly on breathing. The sound and shape of words on a page not only let the listening ear breathe—the reading eye breathes as well.

In 2005, I suffered chemical poisoning on-stage while rehearsing my role as Queen of the Night for Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute. The wood in the theater had just been varnished. Sadly, the ventilation vents were covered with plastic. I didn’t know at the time I have a genetic condition called MTHFR. I know—when you see it on paper it looks like mother effer, the very thing I tried not to say during years of illness that followed. 

Like the aria, “Der Hölle Rache,” which I performed many times on-stage, I often wondered if hell’s vengeance, for some unknown reason, had come for me. After that day I was unable to participate in music or much of anything for over a decade. I could write, though. Thankfully, after ten years of meeting with many doctors, my husband found one in Kansas City who properly diagnosed my condition and treated it as well as possible. It’s something I still manage daily.

But, back to poetry. Being a musician, it was natural for me to turn to writing. I have a passion for black ink on paper and how it can draw color out of a person, whether it’s a grace note, arpeggio, or words.



Thanks for stopping by! Here is a link to more of my writing. You’ll find some of my poetry, and my published commentary about current events & basic human rights.

[Black and white photography by me. Home page image: Spring City, Utah.
This page: Harriman Bird Refuge, Idaho.]

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