This is a post that has been upcycled from the old website. It is even more pertinent as some delicious soul managed to forward it to Theresa…. I was a little overwhelmed when that happened, a bit stoked because she really is a favourite poet. So favourite I have yet to reply and say thanks for her thanks. I will, of course when I can arrange the words between coffees and children. Until then I re-post this article (please note I am having difficulty loading some of the content and plan on rectifying that shortly, that’s the plan):
Thank You Theresa Bell
Every now and then someone: a painter, a songwriter, or a poet, comes along whose work seems to echo your soul. Their timing is perfect: the work turns up just as you need it and this coincidence brings a smile. Its shared and familiar truth brings a tear, a cup of tea for the soul; a pat on the shoulder, an ally, a comfort…. Teresa Bell, an Australian writer and poet, is that “someone” for me.
A couple of years ago a friend gave me a copy of Teresa’s book “36 Formless Writings”- I was immediately beguiled. The book is beautiful: elegant and concise. It’s front cover is decorated with a drawing by Joy Hester, a favourite artist of mine and further flicking revealed a reference to Kathe Kollwitz, another favourite so my sense of affinity was secured. Now, excuse me here as I digress a little: When I first began this blog I was very aware that I didn’t want to venture into the personal instead I wanted to keep it ‘art’ focussed. I especially wanted to avoid the “mother” thing, despite how much it informs my point of view. However, as I write this that line I drew in the techni-webby sand might be blurred. When I received my copy of “36 Formless Writings” I was in a vulnerable place. Struggling a little with the shift and adjustments called motherhood. Loneliness, sleep deprivation, mood swings, longings and vague dreams were churning and it was less then fun. Teresa’s writing was a door to a small bit of healing: familiarity can be so kind. Pieces like this became mantras…..
However, I must tell you that it is not just coincidental and the fatalistic nature of my encounters with her words that I value so much in Teresa’s books, in her poetry. Not by any means, because I also love the slip between dream and reality she creates. The poetic sense of magic realism she captures in her “real world” quotes. I love her awareness of the page, of the paper and how her poem sits upon it. Of the restrained and pared back use of images and typography. The lack of rhyme, but the ever present awareness of rhythm and repetition. Yup I learn a lot from Ms Teresa Bell and I wish I could thank her in person: you never know this might find her in the wide-weird-fatalistic-coincidental world of the web.