Poetry. Art. This art and poetry book was created to accompany the art exhibit of Nina Talbot’s at the Brooklyn Historical Society (open until February 27, 2011). Talbot http://www.ninatalbot.com/ has painted portraits of several Brooklyn individuals, and these portraits are accompanied by “bio-poems” written by Esther Cohen and based on the subjects’ lives.
Esther Cohen (Book Doctor, Don’t Mind Me and Other Jewish Lies, GOD IS A TREE AND OTHER MIDDLE-AGED PRAYERS, and No Charge for Looking) lives in New York City where she is Executive Director of Bread and Roses, the national non-profit cultural program of New York’s union for health care workers. Winner of a Pure Visionary Award for a photographic project she initiated to give cameras and photography lessons to working men and women across the country, Cohen is a storyteller and humorist. Esther Cohen writes a poem a day: http://esthercohen.com/
From Esther Cohen’s About page on her website, http://esthercohen.com where you can read a daily poem, find her other books, as well as read her interviews and reviews.
“What’s often most interesting about all of us is what we do not say. Here’s what I can tell you, that you might like to know. I love to write, and always have: the way words fall out right onto a page, out from some mysterious place I do not know. I love stories, especially stories from strangers: the tall foreign woman who sat next to you on a plane, who tells you every single thing she can about her life, then vanishes at the Cleveland airport, leaving you with her story forever.
Many years ago, those could be the opening words of much of my writing because many years have been in my life, I started writing. My parents were Jewish bridge players and we lived in a small factory town in Connecticut. Several times a week they played bridge with their best friends, the Galens, and I would sit at the top of the stairs with a black and white spotted notebook and a BIC pen. We bought our BICS in big job lots at the BIC factory nearby, and we bought our Lenders Bagels the same way. My parents and their bridge companions would speak in the crazy elliptical language of bridge, and I, trying to understand what they meant, what they were really talking about, would make up conversations.
Mike (my father): Do you think a person could overdose on ice cream??
Sara (my mother): Never.
This went on for years and I became accustomed to making it up and writing it down. Those two activities have been in my life’s center forever.”