I have been enjoying Pascale Petit's latest poetry collection 'What the Water Gave Me'.
Pascale's poems are written in the voice of the famous painter Frieda Kahlo whose work has inspired me for a long time. I have Frieda's diary, with its glut of amazing colours, and devastating, furious sketches of her pain, her amputated foot, alive in the glory of bold line and bright ink.
But Pascale's poems drew me further and toured me around the sites of Frieda's calamities and inspirations: early polio, bus crash and relationship with the promiscuous Diego Rivera.
I was moved by Pascale's interpretation of Frieda's passion for the senusual, for her intimacy with nature, in its decay as well as in its beauty, and its ability to transform: 'Little deer, I've stuffed all the world's diseases inside you', 'my twentieth year is sliced open and offered to you, ripe as a pitahaya'. What a wonderful word 'pitahaya' is. It's the fruit of a cactus, and it looks amazing. The little deer is so sweet too. I googled this wonderful picture of Frieda with her pet. Don't they both look amazing? The camera angle makes it even more strange, the deer receding into a non-human world at the rear of the photograph.
Pascale takes us very sensitively through Frieda's surreal, pitiful, blazing, transcendent universe, which I found so disorientating in my early encounters. She is sensitive to those she is guiding as well as to the subject of her poetical landscape. I had nothing to relate Frieda's work to when I first encountered her peculiar lively landscapes. I think Pascale's poetry would have helped me enormously in those days. And today it helps me return and re-evaluate the way Frieda used her difficulties to create. What an example that is to all of us who suffer. And that's all of us.
Pascale has a blog and her books are available on Amazon. 'What the Water Gave Me' is published by Seren, www.serenbooks.com