Bending Toward Heaven: Poems After the Art of Vincent van Gogh

Bending Toward Heaven: Poems After the Art of Vincent van Gogh

by Sharon Fish Mooney

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Overview

""We are surrounded by poetry on all sides,"" Vincent van Gogh (1853-90) once wrote to his brother Theo. His art was a reflection of this belief. In these ekphrastic sonnets, the author reflects on themes Van Gogh returned to over and over again in his brief but intense journey from evangelist and pastor-in-training to painter of peasants, still lifes and growing things. As these poems reflect, Van Gogh's poetic imagination was best expressed in blossoming orchards, starry nights, sheaves of wheat, final harvests, and in his signature sunflowers--a metaphor for his own life, lifting petals to the sky, bending toward heaven.

""Sharon Fish Mooney engages Vincent van Gogh's artistry within her poetic imagination as a sacred space shared between them. The reader enters the communal exchange through evocative images and turns of phrase applied like fresh brush strokes, extending to us the far reach of Vincent's anguished yet enchanted universe.""
--Charles Davidson, author of Bone Dead, and Rising: Vincent van Gogh and the Self before God

""This paean to Vincent evokes the link between art and prayer: how his faith was as close to his canvas as brush and paint. Mooney's word-portraits of skilled form and visceral metaphor create a poetic breviary reminding that the inspired longing in the work of van Gogh is a holy one, and that words of a masterful poet such as this can be as vivid as the framed art of a great master.""
--Annabelle Moseley, author of A Ship to Hold the World and The Marionette's Ascent

""Poets across the ages have written ekphrastic verse--poetry that responds to another work of art. In Bending Toward Heaven, Sharon Fish Mooney joins the company of such poets--including John Keats and W. H. Auden--with these well-crafted, beautifully evocative sonnets that translate paintings by Vincent van Gogh into music, rhythm, and words.""
--David Middleton, author of The Habitual Peacefulness of Gruchy: Poems After Pictures by Jean-Francois Millet; Poetry Editor, Modern Age

""Mooney is transcribing painted prayers. And she accomplishes this ekphrasis with impeccable formality: the poems are Shakespearean and Italian sonnets all. Wearing that dignified vestment, the poems consider how van Gogh's art 'could lead to God as well as words.' Of course the facade of formal restraint dissolves as we read: these are intimate poems.""
--Charlene Fix, poet; Professor Emeritus, English, Columbus College of Art and Design


Sharon Fish Mooney teaches nursing research online for Regis University, Denver, Colorado, and Indiana Wesleyan. She won the inaugural Frost Farm Prize for metrical poetry. Her poems have appeared in various journals including RUMINATE, The Lyric, The Evansville Review, String Poet, Christian Research Journal, First Things, Modern Age, The Lost Country, and Common Threads. She is poetry editor of the Journal of Christian Nursing. Sharon lives in Ohio with her husband Scott, also a poet.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625647849
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 02/11/2016
Pages: 106
Sales rank: 1,185,392
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Sharon Fish Mooney teaches nursing research online for Regis University, Denver, Colorado, and Indiana Wesleyan. She won the inaugural Frost Farm Prize for metrical poetry. Her poems have appeared in various journals including RUMINATE, The Lyric, The Evansville Review, String Poet, Christian Research Journal, First Things, Modern Age, The Lost Country, and Common Threads. She is poetry editor of the Journal of Christian Nursing. Sharon lives in Ohio with her husband Scott, also a poet.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface xiii

Bending Toward Heaven: Beginnings xvi

Sunflower in the Garden xvii

I First Love 1

Roots 3

Still Life with Bible 4

Shepherd with His Flock Near a Little Church at Zweeloo 5

Auction of the Crosses 6

The Bearers of the Burden 7

Prayer before the Meal 8

Child in Cradle with Kneeling Girl 9

II Painter of Peasants 11

The Potato Eaters 13

Weaver Facing Left with Spinning Wheel 14

Two Peasant Women Digging Potatoes 15

Peasant Woman Sewing 16

Peasant Woman with White Cap, Seated 17

Old Man by the Fire 18

III People and Portraits 19

Sien with Cigar 21

Sien with White Cap 22

Sorrow 23

Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin 24

La Berceuse (Augustine Roulin) 25

Marguerite Gachet at the Piano 26

L'Arlésienne (Madame Ginoux) 27

Self-Portrait with Dark Felt Hat 28

Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette 29

IV Still Lifes and Growing Things 31

Still Life with Earthenware, Bottle and Clogs 33

Vase with Poppies, Cornflowers, Peonies and Chrysanthemums 34

Vase with Irises against a Yellow Background 35

Blossoming Almond Branches 36

A Pair of Shoes 37

Wild Roses 38

V Holy Ground 39

The Angelus (after Millet) 41

First Steps (after Millet) 42

Morning: Peasant Couple Going to Work (after Millet) 43

Noon: Rest from Work (after Millet) 44

Evening: The Watch (after Millet) 45

The Good Samaritan (after Delacroix) 46

The Raising of Lazarus (after Rembrandt) 47

Pieta (after Delacroix) 48

VI Interlude in Arles 49

Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers 51

Rocks with Oak Tree 52

Willows at Sunset 53

The Sower with the Setting Sun 54

The Night Café 55

The Yellow House 56

Bedroom in Aries 57

VII Bending Toward Heaven 59

Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun 61

Wheat Field with Cypresses 62

The Irises 63

A Corridor in the Asylum 64

Wheat Field with Lark 65

Starry Night 66

The Church at Auvers 67

VIII The Harvest 69

Heath with a Wheelbarrow 71

The Harvest 72

Red Vineyard at Aries 73

The Large Plane Trees (Road Menders at Saint Rémy) 74

Landscape at Saint- Rémy 75

Wheat Field with Crows 76

On the Threshold of Eternity 77

Sheaves of Wheat 78

Credits: Credits for art and letter quotations related to poems 80

Additional references 87

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