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April 19, 2011

Tributes for Our Tributaries

 In 2009 and 2010, I created poetry posters to celebrate National Poetry Month (April in the U.S.). Although I had wonderful assistance on pre-press production from designer Jeff O'Dell, my posters were solitary productions. They included my poems, my photos, my designs.  This year's poster was different. Although I took the photo on the poster, it is of a dear friend's artwork.  Although I wrote the poem in English, my friend and colleague Patricia Melgar in Argentina re-created it beautifully in Spanish in a way I could not have done.  Jeff once again helped me with technical details. And another author colleague gave me meaningful input at different stages of the poster's creation.  It was a thoroughly satisfying experience, one of collaboration and cooperation.

My friend, artist Scottie Parsons died this year in January at age 85. A child of the depression, she grew up in a large family in Oklahoma.  She knew hardship--and she knew a love of the land as few people know it now.  She was not 5 feet tall and painted enormous canvases that towered above her on her custom-made easel. She said, "My paintings are my conversations with God."

Scottie was most definitely a tributary in the river of my life. Each visit to her studio was a source of joy, peace, and fellowship for me. And when someone pointed out to me that the poetry poster was also a wonderful tribute to Scottie (who was a lover of poetry and had a gift for writing, as well), it made me feel warm inside. I felt that in some way I had given something to someone who had given me a great deal during her lifetime.

If you would like to receive one of my posters, in English, Spanish, or both, or have one sent to a friend or family member anywhere in the world, please email me or leave a comment with your address.  (Comments  come to me before publication, so your address information will not be public.) So far, I have posters going to Texas, Florida, California, Nevada, Minnesota, Maryland, Spain, Argentina, Italy, Scotland, and Germany. 

In the meantime, think about those people who have been or are tributaries in the river of your life. If they are still with you, let them know what they mean to you in some way, even if it is just an e-note telling them how much they are appreciated.  If they are not still with you on this earthly plane, think of what you might do to pay tribute to them....a memorial donation, a letter to one of their family members, a candle lit in their memory, a day trip to a place that was special to them.  Or--a simple prayer, of gratitude, to the divine source of all tributaries.


  1. What a special tribute to your friend. Don't forget to add me to your mailing list...I forgot to mention that to you! (In English, please. You know I only dance in Spanish.)
    Thanks, Ysabel -