Matisse, The Bay of Nice

France and French things have been part of my writing life for a long time. I’m thinking of Nice today, so I’m posting a poem set in Nice, which is in Magdalena, my prose poem collection. Nice isn’t named, though I do refer to vieille ville, old town. Trains carrying sleepers The dolphins made me stay in […]

1866 closest

When I was in NYC, I spent time hanging out with Victorine. I just sat in the room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where Young Lady in 1866 is hanging, looking at the painting and watching other people look at the painting. I particularly liked seeing this young woman looking at Victorine because she […]

17

Victorine Meurent is just 17 years old when she meets Manet in Paris Red. (That was probably true in real life, too.) She’s a protagonist with all the strengths and gifts young women have. Does she also have weaknesses? I’m sure. But this blog post isn’t about that. It’s about the power and beauty of being […]

venice4.jpg

I began serious research on Paris Red in 2005. But my interest in Victorine Meurent and my connection to the material began much earlier. In 1986, I had a conversation with a friend about Olympia. He was studying art history, and we fell into talking about the painting one day in the dining room of […]

watercolorface

I’ve written before about the give-and-take between novelists and characters. I not only try to enter into the lives of my characters, but I also give them pieces of myself. Today I want to talk about this old watercolor painting I gave to Victorine: I painted it the summer I was sixteen. Not for any […]

website

I recently redid my website. In the last moments of finishing the design, I decided I wanted to add a line of text to my home page. At first I thought of saying, “When an artist meets his muse,” but when I typed it, something didn’t feel right to me. I’ve written before about how […]

muses2

This is another collage I made from a 1908 postcard I found of Mlle Rochet, a young dancer and performer. In this card, someone has tinted her shoes a brighter blue than in postcard #1, and they’ve given her a candy-pink body stocking. I love the thoughtful, unsmiling expression on her face, and I love […]