From a Cabin in the Woods

Poems by Ron Padgett
Artwork by Sandra Meigs
Published by Gervais Jassaud, Collectif Génération, France
2016. Published in an edition of 12

About the artwork in the book

The poem is called “A Cabin in the Woods”. When I was doing a kind of psycho-therapy called EMDR, the therapist always said to have a safe place to go to, whenever things started to get scary in my head. She told me to visualize this place in vivid detail and to feel like I could go there any instant. My place was always a cabin in the woods, probably in Vermont in a summer when the sky is blue and birds are singing. So I felt right at home with Ron’s poems. I decided to make a flap book out of it since I always found flap books very magical as a kid, and when I read them to my daughter and I imagine myself to be a kid whenever I am in my imaginary cabin in the woods. What I did with the pages makes Ron’s body present because Ron reflects upon this presence in many of his poems. Lifting the flaps reveals the words of the poems. It also makes the reader’s own body imperative in the discovery of the words. Colour is very apparent in Ron’s poems, although I did take liberty, for example, not knowing if his pond is a mucky brown, grey, or azure blue, or if his wife has long golden hair.

The book reflects brilliance from all three of us: in Gervais’ use of staggered corners which shaped the pages for easy handling, and in his intuitive pairings of poet to artist; in Ron’s skill at simply stating his experience about the act of writing, longing, connection to place and people, and gratefulness; and for me, what I know about magic and visual form.