More About Starting From Here

Starting From Here is the result of an extraordinary collaboration. Jerome Freeman's poetry combines with Richard Bresnahan's pottery in a symbiotic relationship that must be experienced to be believed.

The two art forms seem antithetical at first glance, but the similarities become apparent as the reader turns pages and sees how each piece of pottery not only often illustrates the poem with which it is paired, but also is a kind of poem itself, an integrated, unique expression with its own logic and its own form.

Both a poem and a piece of pottery refer to some small element in the greater world, and both have uses that transcend their obvious utility. In the case of Freeman's poetry, there is an "isness," a sense of focus upon "the way things are," that matches the undeniable being of Bresnahan's work.

One can imagine each at work, the poet at his writing table, the potter at his wheel, each so absorbed in the act of creation that for some brief instant they become the art they are producing. Their work is sent out as magical extensions, each with a life of its own.

A further similarity between these two artists is the extent to which they both make use of materials which surround them, their connection to place. Freeman is a physician who happens to be a poet, and the images of the physician's world are plentiful in his writing, bespeaking the care and empathy that a doctor might feel for a patent. But he is also a person of the plains, delighting in its rhythms, its people, and its special sights and sounds in poems like "Prairie Runoff," "Vision Quest," "The Prairie Gentian," and "When Wild Turkeys Come Out of the Woods." For his part, Bresnahan, who had a long residence and apprenticeship in Japan, nevertheless insists that his work is "Minnesota pottery," and makes almost exclusive use of local clays, materials for glazes, and fuel for firing. Indeed, the adherance of these two artists to their homeland amounts to almost a tenet of faith.

Behind each of these artists is a strong belief in the ability of art to pull us together, to allow us to discover the common ground of our existence, the organic development which may be traced back to our shared beginnings.


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