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Bodies / Shields book coverBodies / Shields

by Margaret Randall

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Handbound chapbook, 32 pages

Illustrated by Barbara Byers

Bodies/Shields is the fourth in a series of small, single-poem, hand-bound chapbooks by Margaret Randall. Size: 5.5 x 7 inches.

Bodies/Shields is a powerful cry for both inner and external peace, a call to replace passive acceptance with "war's gentle opposite." Randall's poem echoes in language what Byers' art does by creating a womb of words where inner peace can grow and mature into a force more powerful than war. Humans have been creating "peace shields" for millennia — protective symbols of personal, tribal, and cultural significance drawn in sand, carved into stone, painted on leather. Poet and artist collaborate here to create what might be called un objet de la paix, a small, almost heart-sized shield against injustice and cruelty. As Randall writes, "the corrupt and deviant mind can always / go farther, invent something worse." Joy Harjo once wrote that "the real revolution is love." We raise this small ekphrastic pairing of art and poetry not only as a shield but as a call to raise the holy revolution of peace.

From the poet:

We love and nourish one another, live together, and for each of us our art is the focus of the physical space we inhabit: two working studios side by side. So it is only natural that from time to time what one does motivates an ekphrastic response in the other. Like the proverbial chicken and the egg, though, we would be hard put to say who is influence, who responds. Rather, in Bodies/Shields, as in our earlier Beneath a Trespass of Sorrow (both chapbooks beautifully produced by Wings Press), two artists working in different genres give voice to shared concerns: maps of desire, a belief that manifestations of life and its creative forces exude a positive energy, that there are no answers, only questions, and that it's up to all of us to override hatred and violence with connection and the joy of making something new. The poem's first stanza reads: "In the gaping socket of her eye / a small black bird fights / with another for a worm. / Both birds are called War." The vividly evocative peace shields are as old as time and as present as Barbara's eye and hand. My poem speaks just below the surface, accompanying the peace shields on their journey deep into our feeling unconscious and out into a world that needs their explosion of color and glyphic power.


— Margaret Randall

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Buy This Book : $14

ISBN 978-1-60940-493-2
US $14.00
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