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The Blanton Project Revisited   Leave a comment

The Blanton Project Cover (Oil Field Girls, 1940, by JerryBywaters) — Image by kenne

In 2009, Borderlands — Texas Poetry Review published a Special Ekphrastic Poetry Issue.

Founded in 1992, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review was created to respond to the Gulf War and is a literary journal based in Austin, Texas. They publish poetry, visual art, book reviews, and essays. The journal continues to garner a national readership, distributed across the U.S., with contributors worldwide. 

The 2009 special issue contains 89 ekphrastic poems written about works of art in the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin, one of the largest university art museums in the U.S. In March of 2009, the Writers in Performance Series at Lone Star College — Montgomery presented The Blanton Project, where some of the poets read their ekphrastic poems. One such poem was Oil Field Girls on the Jerry Bywaters painting, Oil Field Girls.

Oil Field Girls

Blue skies and the open road

until an hour and a half beyond San Angelo

and the highway yields to brazen curves.

It’s not their thumbs

that make you slow the red Road roadster,

nor even the vestal boots

that look to plant a few fresh kicks.

As stately as an oil rig

set beneath miasmic clouds,

they beckon restless wanderers

who never staked a wildcat claim.

These desperate locals travel lightly

yet do not need a map

to know which way is out.

Because it does not do to gawk,

you press your bootles foot against the gas

and hope next curve to find a Coke.

— Steven G. Kellman

After the readings were completed, the poets were invited to a reception at my home. 
Click here to see photos from the reading and the reception.

— kenne

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