POET: D. Le DOAN
About the Poet:
Dinh Le Doan is a Canadian residing in Beaconsfield, Québec. He has worked as an engineer and manager at a high-tech company in Montréal. He now devotes his time to writing poetry. His poems have appeared in Tower Poetry Publications, Montréal Serai, and Devour: Art & Lit Canada.
When did you start writing poetry?
I started writing poetry in 2006—but only after I had learned words and syntax from the novel “Brideshead Revisited” in 2005, and from literary books in the local library later.
Why do you write poetry?
I would like to quote the article by Halyna Koba in the Tower Poetry Newsletter dated January 2023…
WHY Dinh Le Doan WRITES POETRY
By Halyna Koba…
When Dinh Le Doan retired, his wife, Phung, suggested out of the blue that he is a poet. This was not the first time. While they were both students in Sydney, Australia, 33 years ago, Phung read a piece written in Vietnamese by Le (as he is usually addressed). She hadn’t known who had written it, since a pen name was used. She thought the writing carried feelings and sounded like poetry.
With her encouragement, Le, who had worked as an engineer in Sydney and Montreal, began writing poetry and was published by Tower Poetry. He commented, “That encouraged me a great deal to continue on this path.”
What is the best advice you have ever received and would share with new poets?
I can’t imagine any writing without reading, reading, reading.
Can you comment on your process?
Keep writing and a miracle will happen.
More Dinh Le Doan poems:
My wife took this photo of Tower Poetry’s poets listening to the “Colours of Grey” poem, which was read by the author, at the 60th anniversary in 2011. I wish to share this photo as it may have special sentimental values to some.
(You can view more archived photos and content, here.)
TEXTILE ARTIST: BECKY MENZIES
Becky Menzies is a Canadian artist living in Thorndale, Ontario. Inspired at a young age by the artistry and academia of her mother, Becky’s relationship with creativity continues to this day as she explores her imaginative nature through various medium such as textile art, mobile (digital) art, fused glass art, and painting (En Plein Air).
Becky has recently begun to experiment with ways of incorporating two or more types of art medium and use vintage family photos to reflect her views of a reimagined world, often through her abstracted representations. Her art attempts to capture her responses to the environment and the people she meets along her life’s journey.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THAT POEM?
The title of D. Le Doan’s poem “Colours of Grey” initially suggested an image filled with various calming tones and textures of the colour grey. However, once I dove into the poem, I was swept up by the great movement and rich colours, beyond grey, that Le Doan incorporated into the poem.
My husband and I recently moved to a small rural town and into a home that has ready access to a creek and wooded area. During the winter seasons, I have been intrigued by how much of nature’s colours can actually be seen through the overwhelming amount of white and grey.
For me, Le Doan’s words seemed to capture this winter intrigue of mine, and I began to wonder whether I could capture the same in a piece of textile quilt art.
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR PROCESS FROM IDEA TO FINISHED WORK? WHY THOSE COLOURS AND SHAPES?
The initial part of the creative process included outdoor walks, taking photographs, some very loose sketching of possible ideas, and hunting for fabrics, trim, etc. that might work well together. The “hunting grounds” included my own collection of items, as well as thrift stores and fabric stores.
I had also just completed an online stitching course that included the use of fabric paints, mark-making and stitching to create a small abstract. Using some of the same techniques from the online course, I created small individual grey and white abstract-shaped pieces and used them in the background.
The leaves and flowers were cut out from two different fabrics and appliquéd to the piece. With more time and practice using fabric paints, I might consider in the future painting the leaf and flower images onto fabric myself.
The different layers used included batting, the individual stitched pieces, the leaf and flower appliqués, multiple layers of different tulle, and coloured stitching.
The entire piece was sewn together using free motion stitching.
Buttons were finally added for additional visual interest.
WHAT WERE THE CHALLENGES? WHAT WAS EASY?
Creating for me is like riding a series waves. These waves undulate between “aha” moments during which a sense of ease flows for a while until a wave of “hmmm, that’s not working for me” arrives and off-project experiments begin which help me find the next “aha” moment.
Colours can become quite muted and dull when grey is added. The challenge was to create an image that attempted to show the impact of slow, wet snow on nature’s colours, as Le Doan described, without completely losing the colour and depth of nature’s shapes.
In terms of ease, I enjoy working in layers. I am also a mobile phone artist. In this medium, I use multiple layers of digital effects to create hidden backgrounds, or double exposures to manipulate the colours of an original photograph. Using a quilt art approach to create this piece, I was easily able to work with different layers to achieve the dimension and depth I was seeking.
Have you done this kind of project before? Would you do it again?
Not having done this kind of project before, I had to keep reminding myself that it was okay to create my interpretation of the poem as opposed to creating something that I thought the poet or others had imagined. It was a very good creative exercise, and I would do it again.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’d like to extend a huge thank you to the Tower Poetry Society and Lorraine Roy for supporting this artistic collaboration. Participating in the event was thoroughly enjoyable! I look forward to seeing the remainder of this year’s joint artistic submissions and participating in next year’s PoARTry event.
SIZE OF THE PIECE. HOW IS IT MOUNTED? PRICE IF FOR SALE. WHERE IS IT AVAILABLE?
The completed piece, “Falling to Pieces,” was stretched onto a 16″ x 20″ canvas and secured into a 1/2″ floating frame. The piece is not currently available for sale.
More Becky Menzies…
- An interview: https://theappwhisperer.com/2019/06/mobile-photography-art-intimate-interview-with-becky-menzies-from-london-ontario-canada/
- Paintings: https://www.gallerypaintinggroup.com/gallery/rebecca_menzies
- More Art: https://tumobart.com/album/becky-menzies/
Facebook: Becky Menzies
WE HOPE YOU HAVE ENJOYED THIS FIFTH DANCE OF POETRY AND VISUAL ART.
ARTISTS, there are poems still available to choose from and time to get in on the project… https://towerpoetry.ca/po-art-ry-poems/
POETS, stay tuned… we will open up submissions towards the end of 2023. As for what will happen with PoARTry, we don’t know.
This is an organic project, and we are thinking of a possible exhibit or publication. Who knows?! What we do know is that we have a lot of exciting work by talented poets and artists to share with you each month!