When "A Ghost Abandons the Haunted" was featured in Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry project, I had no idea how far-reaching its distribution would be, or how many people would read it. When I googled the poem, I was pleasantly surprised at how many small newspapers include Kooser's article, and that bloggers were getting in on the action as well.
When I saw the poem up at Larabee and Liza, though, I was beyond excited. Here was another way in which the poem was being translated, this time visually. The painting, with its expanse of white space, captures that feeling of disbursement or of non-being I was trying to evoke in the poem. But it also picks up on the poem's sense of the absurd. After all, being haunted by a ghost is not exactly a "normal" experience, but it becomes truly odd when you pretend like it is. There's something about the way the ghost (or is that the person being haunted?) is waving cheerily at someone or something just beyond the edge of canvas, that feels similarly absurd to me.
In fact, Laura, the genius behind the brush, has done quite a few "translations" of other poets, and her newer work takes the idea of translation in a whole new direction, as she paints and draws directly on old book pages, turning them into new pieces of art. Check out this wonderful transformational work on her blog and her shop.