Sun in an Empty Room, 1963
“My loneliness reduced
to this empty room
in sorrowful walls filled
The vacancy of my heart.
Hurt, the shadow.
from Hurt, The Shadow by Carole Stone
What an inspiring evening! It is always a pleasure and a privilege to meet a writer who shares some of the mystery of how a creative work is brought into being. For me, meeting the poet Carole Stone and hearing her speak about her lovely book of poems Hurt, The Shadow: The Josephine Hopper Poems (Dos Madres Press, http://www.dosmadres.com, 2013) offered a revealing glimpse into a life full of shadows and longing. It also renewed , yet again, my appreciation for just how fascinating it is to bring a cherished idea — and a labor of love — to fruition.
An accomplished poet and essayist, Carole is also a Professor of English, Emerita, at Montclair State University. As she was completing American Rhapsody, an earlier book of poems, Carole conceived the idea of writing a collection of poems evoked by, but not captive to, some of Edward Hopper’s iconic paintings. But as she began researching her concept, Carole discovered more and more about Josephine (Jo) Nivison Hopper, who was Edward’s collaborator, model, wife — and also an artist in her own right. Ultimately, Carole chose to have the poems in Hurt, The Shadow speak in Josephine’s voice and to base them not only on Edward’s paintings, but also on Josephine’s. The result is a fresh and direct, yet deeply profound, series of poems that explore loneliness, loss, art, and marriage. How wonderful to meet the creator of such touching insights. Bravo, Carole! Write on.