Mercy by the Sea
140 jingle shells arranged on wooden table
12 x 14”
An interest in formal rhyme schemes and an interdisciplinary exploration of the interweaving of poetic and visual arts structures influenced the development of Sound (sonnet). The in situ work was conceived and installed during the 2015 Poetry by the Sea Conference in response to a workshop offered by collaborators poet Terri Witek and artist Cyriaco Lopes.
Collected from the New England Sound beach just outside the Conference site, I used the Jingle shells with their sonic sounding classification as a basis for the poetry. Placed on a writing table near a bank of windows that faced the water, the shells were first sorted by color and then arranged visually to accentuate the beats of similar colors - mimicking the way text can look or sound alike or whose shared meaning provides symbolic or metaphoric connections. Using the sonnet as a formal structural basis, the work developed much as a traditional sonnet using 10 “beats” each, per 14 lines. The term sonnet is derived from the Italian word sonetto (from Old Provençal sonet “a little poem”, from son “song” and from the Latin sonus “a sound”).
Sound (sonnet) is a metered meditation on time, motion and memory and inspired later interdisciplinary explorations such as the Cadence Series.