Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday April 2, 2011 The Red Shoe Artists Book Project

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Red Shoes Project Redux
This is a repost from back in January called Red Shoes. It took some encouragement from Annell Livingston to convince me I could write a poem about shoes for inclusion in her artbook, The Red Shoes Project, but she ultimately prevailed, and without her this poem would never have been written. The book will include original poems and Annell’s lively artwork on the red shoe theme, discussed further after the poem. I repost it now as her work on the project nears completion.

I’m very grateful to have been asked to contribute, and feel lucky to be included with the many talented people involved.

Red Shoes

A Rondel

She danced through the night. Her shoes were red.
She rang her bell of tulle and ribbons, dress of dreams.
The master cued her moves and sewed her seams
and made her body over like a doll’s without a head.

He choreographed her pas de deux, a masque of the dead.
She must be only air, her bones hollow as moonbeams.
She danced through the night. Her shoes were red,
stiff her bell of tulle and ribbons, dress of dreams,

She danced through the night. Her shoes were red,
though cream when she began the final themes.
She rang her bell of tulle and ribbons, dress of dreams.
Violins bowed the razor while she bled.
She danced through the night, her shoes were red.

January 2011

Image by Annell Livingston,
Somethings I think About

Here is a bit more information on the project in Annell's words:

“ The artists' book is a work of art that is conceived as a book and doesn't exist in any other form or format… The Red Shoe book project is the seventh project in a series of artists' book projects I have completed...

Sometimes the stories that are told by book projects are secrets and go beyond words, but books are inherently optimistic; they express the belief that communication will be received later and sometime, and somewhere they will be read.

The red shoes are a symbol of creativity for women and our legacy. It is this legacy that The Red Shoes artists book project addresses.

I have asked sixteen artists to join me in The Red Shoe project. The writings of these women are diverse in language, style, approach and form. They each seem to be remaking, renewing, renaming, re- experiencing and recasting old ideas about the Red Shoes, and the meaning in their lives.

I conceived the idea of a Red Shoe artist book project, while reading the Madwoman in the Attic, by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar. They explain that the women of the nineteenth- century had what was called “anxiety of authorship,” --a fear that she could not create, and the act of creating would isolate or destroy her. The symbol of the red shoes is often used in fairly tales as the symbol for the creativity of women, i.e. Snow White, The Wizard of OZ, Cinderella and others."

If you'd like to read more of the poems in this project, you can visit Annell's website,
Somethings I think About, where she has posted some of the other contributions as well as more of her own artwork.

Thank you Joy so much for participating in the Red Shoe Artists Project. And you post is great!


Helen said...

This is haunting .. and lovely.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Joy, this is very very beautiful and says a lot......I love the haunting repetition..."her shoes are red"......and the "dress of dreams". Sigh. So very lovely.