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Picturing a World

Blue kimono haiku

My earlier post on Marie Danforth Page mentioned this self-portrait. Looking at it again, I was struck by Page's slightly amused, slightly challenging gaze out of the corner of her left eye. The side glance is explained in part by the painter's need to look in a mirror over her shoulder for a three three-quarter's pose, but it set me thinking about how she might be interpreted as a character in a story. First result: three Imagist haikus (with apologies to William Carlos Williams).

For a story that probes the experience of a woman artist:
So much depends on
A blue kimono and cup
Held in a mirror.
For another kind of story, shift the gaze around to meet the viewer's eye:
So much depends upon who
Sees the woman in
A blue kimono.
For a move even farther away from the painting itself:
The man saw her in
A blue kimono.
So much depended on why.
Next steps toward inventing a story: Choose one haiku, look for further pertinent clues in the painting, then widen the scope to a fictional world outside the picture.

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