Monday, February 8, 2016


Karen Bourque
Karen Bourque, glasswork artist
When a writer/poet commissions Karen Bourque to illustrate the theme of a book by creating a new glasswork, Karen responds by bringing all of her intuitive gifts to the project, and the resulting cover for the book is a masterpiece.  I know because she has rendered glasswork pieces that I’ve photographed for the covers of four of my books of poetry. Karen, who works in a studio behind her home in Church Point, Louisiana, not only creates the glass piece, she always writes an accompanying text that explains the symbolism of the stones and other objects contained within the artwork. I’ve begun to include a Note By the Artist in the books for which she creates covers, and I feel they enhance the themes represented in the poetry.

In a few weeks, Street Sketches, perhaps the only book of poetry that I’ll produce this year, will be published, and for this volume, Karen created a brilliant glass piece entitled “Lumina.” Karen says that this piece is entitled “Lumina” because it is compositionally and metaphorically about light, and “each source is a beginning point for further contemplation, a possible departure point in a meditation
 front cover of Street Sketches
on light: a red light as a signal to stop, look and listen to what is happening on or in street lives in cities and towns across the globe that often go unnoticed…the moon, a yellow jasper cabochon, a stone of endurance, perseverance, and tenacity…attracts others for friendship or to help with a goal…a street lamp, an agate cabochon which is a stone of strength and removes and releases energies of resentment and bitterness…a final source of light in the work emanating from the steeple of a church at the end of the street with a small cruciform encased in paler glass surrounding it. The steeple, the cross and the surrounding light suggest the power of spirituality or connection to a higher power…”

Each time I obtain the glasswork of this talented artist, Vickie Sullivan and I enjoy a visit with Karen and Darrell Bourque, her poet husband (former poet laureate of Louisiana) and we’re immersed in visual and verbal art for at least three hours. Each time before I visit, I say that I’m not going to write any more books, and each time I leave the habitat of these two inspirational artists, I return home, pondering a theme for another book…

Border Press describes Street Sketches in the following blurb:

“Alleyway, cobblestone, asphalt or concrete, streets are shared by all types of people who engage in diverse interactions; they are places of commerce or are residential in nature where aggregates of cultures gather. In Street Sketches, Moore captures the atmosphere and people who traverse streets that she has lived on or visited… from the busy streets of Ahwaz, Iran where she lived and observed beggar street people spreading their household goods on an Oriental rug and using it for a residence… to the elegant boulevards of Paris, Munich, and New York City, places where contrasting life in an urban environment takes place. She also probes the “Thoroughfares of the Mind,” “troubled roads winding among weeds/beside the ruffled waters of old lakes/and back alleys inside the brain. /Scandals and undisguised tragedies/mingling in closets of paranoia.” The concluding poem, “All Roads Lead to Home” reflects on her homesickness for streets everywhere she has lived and visited, lamenting that she “would probably spend a lifetime sitting at a window overlooking the streets of all those places, sketching what I viewed with words that express languishing nostalgia…”

Street Sketches is available on or can be ordered by writing to Border Press at or P.O. Box 3124, Sewanee, TN 37375.

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