Friday, May 6, 2011

The Baron Journals

I am privileged to be working on a project that involves the fusion of artwork, calligraphy and poetry. 

My friend Chris Baron is a poet. His body of work includes writings about Romanian roots and his identity being raised in a Jewish home in Brooklyn, writings around his impressions of a trip he took to Israel and Palestine, and writings that concern history including the holocaust.

I will attempting to interpret selections from a series of his poetry, and in the process working with programs like Adobe inDesign in order to create a more finished presentation and also to explore the fusion of digital images with the artwork in order to enhance the effects. I have worked on this project for a class, and will continue to work with Chris over the next six months or so to add poetry and artwork. I am using the large watercolor journals I love to work in, with artwork in mixed media including acrylic paint, ink, graphite and colored pencil. Below is our first prototype that includes the initial poem I have selected to begin the volume.

Chris' "Life Unworthy for Living”, seemed to be the text to begin this journey. The concept of the smooth stone emerges in this selection, and I have begun to attempt to explore the significance of stones; they correlate closely to Chris’ poetry as symbols of reverie, remembrance and memorial. This symbol will carry through the volume to tie pages, poems and themes together.

In this volume, I asked Chris to write an intro to his first poem; because the text in the book will be harder to read at the size of the preview, I have included the intro below, as well as the poem. Be sure to click on the full screen icon in the bar below the book to view at the larger size. 

I hope it speaks to you, and I will look forward to posting updates as new poems are completed and included over the coming months. - RH

In a Brooklyn apartment on Ave P and Quentin, a seven year old boy, after a long and guttural Hebrew prayer, is sent to play in his Grandparent’s bedroom. He waits at the door and listens. In the stillness, the sounds of words wrapped in tears turn to a slow hum and a desperate pleading. They are watching a film about the Holocaust. They are remembering. His young eyes are not allowed to see them, but the sound overwhelms him. Soon enough, he would see it, and the images would break him. They are mothers and fathers. They are children like me. Trains, and dust, and smoky starlight. After, his father walks in, holds the boy in his arms, and he whispers, “Never forget.” He never did, and the truth of his heritage became real.

Life Unworthy Of Living
- “lebensunwertes Leben” -
©2007 Christopher Baron

I am quiet
in my own history.

I walk a smooth stone
between my fingers
along my hand
in utter silence
writing poems
about the Holocaust.

It’s been six decades
I wasn’t even there, yet
my mind won’t let me believe
what my heart is living through.
The memories rise
in the voice of my grandfather,
so I go there again, and this time,
as children. This time
not alone.

I’m on my knees holding you.
You are looking into me.
It is cold,
but we are outside,
and our coats are torn.
There is a man in a dark hat,
his eyes are made of wood,
his hands are clothes pins.
He is hanging us on his line one by one
Tells us that we are...
“life unworthy for living”.
I pull you close to me,
whisper in your ear
at that same moment
not to be afraid.
“G-d will look after you.”
But in this deep place
of utter silence
I can only hear
the scrape of the train
coming in,
over the voice
of the clothes-pin man,
the iron wheels grinding,
and the shreiks of the train whistle
so loud that it is utterly silent.
Yet even in a memory
which is not my own
I follow the steam up and up
where it circles against a dark sky
and for a moment breaks the clouds
where starlight pours
into stillness,
a silence that veils
a people, visible, invisible,
who have always lived
who will always breathe
in the still
and sovereign
glory of life
worth living.

this time, not alone... by Christopher Baron, Randall M. Hasson | Make Your Own Book

Many thanks to Alice Hancock and Michael Clark for taking the time to give me much needed feedback and input on the layout process!

1 comment:

  1. When will The Baron Journals finally be available for purchase?