Last night I took part in a reading at the Wickford Art Gallery that focused on the paintings of Vermeer. Each of the poets was assigned a Vermeer painting and then asked to write a poem that somehow represented the painting. It was a wonderful exercise because it also meant doing a lot of reading about Vermeer and learning about his painting style, his life some 350 years ago and the stories behind his paintings. It’s a great way to explore artists because you step into their lives so completely to write the poem.
My painting was Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, and my poem is below. The poem is told from the point of view of Vermeer’s wife, who supposedly was pregnant 15 times with some 9 to 11 living to adulthood. Vermeer died at age 42, and his wife had to sell his paintings to pay their bills. It would seem she had something to say about her husband’s choices.