Friday, September 16, 2016


Last evening about dusk, I went into the dining room of our home in Sewanee, Tennessee and noticed that despite the shadowy room, three glass pieces by Karen Bourque of Church Point, Louisiana, hanging in the windows overlooking the woods, had captured the last light of the day. Two of the pieces, “Lotus,” and “Ibis and Crow” had been created as commissioned art for my personal collection, but the third one entitled “Beneath the Surface,” was one I had asked Karen to create for a book cover and seemed to embrace the room, and the woods viewed through the windows, in a soft light. (In the photo above, it's the glass piece on the left side of the screen.)

Karen explains that her glass piece, “Beneath the Surface,” is a “message of new beginnings and happiness.” The stone used to represent the wild ranunculus (yellow flowers) in the piece is prehinite, “a stone that illuminates the path forward to spiritual growth through attunement to divine energy,” according to Karen. Prehinite is also used by stone healers as a stone of vision “used to access higher levels of awareness.”

Karen relates all of the above and more in a special afterword to my book of poetry, A Slow Moving Stream, from which I’m scheduled to read next month as one of the selected, featured poets at the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The oak tree in the glass piece is the most dominant feature, and Karen says that the oak, a protector and stabilizer, is ever present in Louisiana Acadian iconography. The stark image aptly represents a poem entitled “The Mind of Trees” included in A Slow Moving Stream.

Karen, who worked in the field of medical technology for years, began creating glass art as a hobby, but soon achieved a professional level of success with her work, both as a glass artist and as a writer of sensitive texts that describe the glass pieces. Her biggest admirer is husband, Darrell Bourque, former Poet Laureate of Louisiana and Louisiana Writer of the Year, whose latest poems, paired  with the paintings of Bill Gingles, are contained in Where I Waited, published by Yellow Flag Press.

Karen has created covers for four of my books of poetry, as well as a book of essays: A Strand of Beads, A Lonely Grandmother, Street Sketches, Porch Posts, and the latest volume of poetry, A Slow Moving Stream. Several of the books have included either an introductory description of Karen's glass piece, or an afterword describing the work on the cover especially written by her.

I loved the afterword about “Beneath the Surface,” in which Karen says: “Spring, either as time measure or as metaphor, marks that time when the soul awakens inside the crossing of a water barrier, that time when unconscious mind and conscious mind surface and co-exist in the balance of renewed beginnings.”

I also have five additional glass pieces hanging in the dining room of my home in New Iberia, Louisiana. The pieces remind me that although many glass artists require special lighting or running water to showcase their work, Karen’s creations require neither of these elements and illuminate a room with natural light that helps the viewer to “grasp higher, more abstract concepts and facilitates inter-dimensional communication.”

Yesterday’s encounter with Karen’s glass images inspired me with enough light to anticipate “new beginnings and happiness,” and I’m most grateful for her artistic gifts. The one poem I’ve written lately, which will appear in the fall/winter issue of The Pinyon Review published by Gary Entsminger in Montrose, Colorado, will have to suffice to inspire Karen to create a glass piece entitled “Pandora’s Legacy” that I hope to acquire next year.

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