Paintings by Betsie Miller-Kusz
Dreaming Earth’s Body is a remarkable collaboration that seems to spring from a single consciousness.
Carol Alena Aronoff’s poems evoke the spirit of nature as well as the personal inner spirit. She reflects deeply on the nature of everyday experience and the transformative opportunities offered by listening to and acknowledging Gaia. The text is spare and direct, yet lyrical in its perfect descriptive beauty, as in “Dance with Me” which begins: “Sky sweeps the stars off its face.”
Betsie Miller-Kusz’s stunning paintings are powerful visual evocations of Earth’s beneficence and beauty. They form a kind of narrative cycle that reveals itself simultaneously with the text. These powerful symbols of the female spirit inspire the same awe and appreciation for natural life and its healing potential that Aronoff’s poems provoke.
This work of devotion, so clearly offered as a gift to the reader, is one that I will open with anticipation again and again.
from the Introduction by William Torphy, poet, author, art critic, and curator
"In the pairing of poet Carol Aronoff and artist Betsie Miller-Kusz, earth, sky, body, and spirit become companions of the reader on the journey toward greater understanding of the universe and the self. Dreaming Earth's Body is the perfect experience of ekphrasis in which the sapphired cloak of Aronoff’s words and the promiseful guardian figure of Miller-Kusz form an embrace, offering solace and sanctuary." Andrea L. Watson, co-editor, Collecting Life: Poets on Objects Known and Imagined and Malala: Poems for Malala Yousafzai
“Dreaming Earth’s Body, so appropriately titled, is a vessel of inspired imagery from two perfectly matched artists. Carol Alena Aronoff’s poems subtly link the heart of love, the heart of nature and the heart of memory. Images of creation, gestation, rebirth and other transformations express an acute connection to the realm of 'source.' The great guardian figure of Betsie Miller-Kusz’ paintings resides in this source realm, interceding between earth and spirit. She comes from the fire of transformation and brings the colors of life, also evident in Aronoff’s work, to nature’s voice. In perfect unison, the works of these two artists fuse to make a sum greater than its parts." Donna J Caulton, Taos, NM painter and printmaker
"Dreaming Earth’s Body is a luminous collection of poems and paintings, a spirt-quest that seeks the tension between creation and destruction and choices we must make for peace, for harmony. These artful works explore a duality of self and dream-self and the spiritual tie we have with a universe rushing toward Somethingness, as the veins of a maple leaf mark a trail toward living. Aronoff writes in 'Dark Waters,' You can spend a whole life skirting/around small upheavals,/surrendering any hint of bliss/for the safety of apparent order. From that place beyond ordinary knowing, this beautiful book teaches us that we must face our own darkness in order to walk in the light. To be free." Bill Brown, poet, teacher, author of nine poetry collections including Elemental
Table of Contents
Dance with Me
Cloaked in Mercy
Casualties of War
The Shape of Things
Praying for Freedom
Easy to Forget
Thoughts of Peace
In the Time of Quiet Before Dawn
Slipping between cracks in the animate world,
she awakens his heart. She has loved his peaks,
wandered mint julep valleys, mourning the loss
of dappled pasture, the scent of daffodils.
Full-bodied Amazon with emerald
heart and rooted heels, she listens
to the Sirens, looks back over a proud
shoulder, protecting her sphere.
Flaming strands of Ceres’ hair arch
heavenward to sweep the stars. Eyes of fire
opal illuminate fir trees resting on the soft
mantle of earth’s back, keep watch
over dreams of holy ones. She is supple
as alder in storm and sends the wind
down startling tunnels through mountain’s
mind, always stopping at small streams
to bless their stones with peace. Her clouds
form soft nipples feeding rain’s nectar
to swallows that nest below her hips. Her feet
poke holes in our braided stories.
Pelican Pond Publishing, 2015
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