illustration friday: reverse

February 8, 2011 § 3 Comments

I’ve been reading plenty of poetry this week, which creeps into my drawing. In particular this one’s inspired by Esta Spalding’s description of a character rowing out, in love with the ocean “To find the sea she had to turn her back to it, / stroke” (I like this idea of having to reverse blindly into vastness, trusting that your destination exists, unseen, over your shoulder.), and by Deryn Rees-Jones’ What It’s Like To Be Alive , which begins with the night sky and ends with the line “A boat rowed off the edge of the world.”

The Esta Spalding quote, by the way, is from her long poem August. As well as rowing women, it contains a trio of lovely stanzas that reference Chris McCandless’ journal from the months of his life that have now become Into the Wild. I’d recommend reading John Krakauer’s book if you’re interested – it’s engaging and well-researched, and doesn’t have the moments of mawkish sentimentality that mar the film.

Because Valentine’s day approaches, and because I love them shamelessly, here they are. (And yes. I know. Hopelessly sentimental. Poems are allowed to be.)

from August by Esta Spalding

I read the journal of the boy who starved

to death on the other side of a river

under trees grown so old he would not feed them

to a signal fire. His last entry:

August 12 Beautiful Blueberries!


Everything I say about desire or

hunger is only lip service

in the face of it.


Still there were days I know

your mouth gave that last taste of blue.



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