Life sure has been busy lately. Celebrating the recent holiday, preparing for the one coming up, working on projects for something that Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch has been cooking up and that I’ll be posting about soon, hemming and hawing about submitting work for juried shows, submitting work for said shows and other deadlines, crossing my fingers that my work will be accepted, and of course chasing after my little monkeys. My littlest monkey is 9 months old now and is never still! So much fun, but it is exhausting saving a little one from impending disaster at every turn.

All that to say that I have been behind in keeping my blog posts current with what is going on in my studio.

I recently finished a commission for Gesso Cocteau, a sculptor gifted not only with immense talent but also a generous spirit. After she received a journal that she purchased from amanobooks, she contacted me to create a journal for a project. And she sent me a poem to be the inspiration for the cover. I worked on three different covers at the same time, which I enjoyed doing. Keeps things loose and moving along.

When the Blackbird Flew
6×8 inch handbound blank journal

Among Snowy Mountains
6×8 inch handbound blank journal

Autumn Winds
6×8 inch handbound blank journal

Here is the poem:

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
by Wallace Stevens

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

I don’t think I’ve ever worked straight from a poem. I really enjoyed it and I hope to one day come back to this poem and create more pieces inspired by it. Perhaps 13 pieces? How fun would that be? Anyone up for that challenge? If you are so inclined to use this poem as inspiration as well, I would love to see what comes from it. Let me know if you do!


  1. Your blackbird journals are just beautiful! Thank you for sharing the poems too! There was an exhibition (I don’t remember where) in which poets and visual artists created using each others work as inspiration. It was a wonderfully interesting show.

  2. these are fantastic, and what a great idea to follow the poem as you did. yes, more, more!! 🙂

    are you listing these in your shop??

  3. Thanks everyone!

    kim- that sounds like a wonderful collaboration and exhibit!

    Anne- that one is my favorite too of the bunch. 🙂 Thank you.

    Mary- all three are already sold! thanks for asking though. I really hope to go back and make 13.

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