It has been quite awhile since I have joined the Poetry Friday community. I am glad to be back with a picturebook biography written in verse by two giants in children’s literature, Jane Yolen and J. Patrick Lewis.
It is also perfect for our current reading theme on memoirs and biographies. Thank you, Friendly Fairy Tales, for hosting this week.
Poetry by: J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen
Art by: Marc Chagall Published by: Creative Editions (2011)
ISBN: 1568462115 (ISBN13: 9781568462110). Borrowed the book from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
I have a special affinity for artists who regard the world differently. Marc Chagall, originally from Vitebsk, Russia, was one such visionary who “smelled colors” from the time of his birth (as poetically noted by Jane Yolen), until he passed away at the age of 97. And no, he was not born with seven fingers. What the title of this book means, I shall leave for you to discover.
I found it quite masterful how the poets J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen managed to weave Chagall’s life story narrative around his luminous, transcendental art. There are also a few lines after each poem providing more details regarding the art itself or certain pivotal moments in Chagall’s life.
While most painters are depicted to be polygamous and hopeless womanizers, Chagall was portrayed here as someone who was thoroughly besotted with his first wife, Bella Rosenfeld, a daughter of a wealthy jeweler. At the time of their engagement in 1909, Chagall was merely a poor apprentice to a painter and could barely afford a space of his own. Yet, somehow the marriage worked (until Bella’s death many years later, which Chagall mourned for a year), not to mention Chagall’s art which was gradually recognized by his peers.
My Poetry Friday offering touches on this tender love between Marc Chagall and Bella Rosenfeld – whereby scribbles of colour and love are enough. I took a photo of the page and edited it using an iPhone app to infuse it with the glitter of the cosmos and Chagall’s colour of love.
#LitWorld2018GB Update: 24 of 40 – Marc Chagall is from Russia and his hometown Vitebsk has figured prominently throughout the book.