"ECLIPSE ILLUMINED is an extraordinary three-way dialogue between lyric poets Cathie Sandstrom and Thom Cooney Crawford, and Cooney Crawford’s contemporary paintings and sculpture. '…an exquisite Rilkean meditation…' "—David St. John
Lyric poets Cathie Sandstrom and Thom Cooney Crawford, in turn, each address a poem to a series of 17 contemporary paintings (and one sculpture) by artist Cooney Crawford. The series “Eclipsed Faces,” along with the closing wall sculpture, give rise to a dialog that creates an experience of transcendence using symbol, mythos, Jungian archetype and everyday life in the visual, spiritual and cosmic realms. In the words of poet Dorothy Barresi, “ECLIPSE ILLUMINED is a book of soul-making, a book of uncommon prayer shaped from the elements of everyday life.”
Poetry. Hybrid. Art. Nature.
“Reading ECLIPSE ILLUMINED I am reminded of the observation attributed variously to Rilke or to Paul Eluard—’There is another world, and it is this one.’ In their gorgeous exploration of nature, mythos, art-making and grief, Sandstrom and Crawford have assembled paintings and ekphrastic poems that see deeply, allowing access to something stranger, more stirring, often surreal, a bridge from the surface world into fleeting moments of spiritual knowledge: ‘I grow from root / into an arc of comprehension.’ In this light, nothing diminishes the potential for revelation, ‘the dark prima materia of our lives / transformed into a lantern held high / to illuminate one step then the next.’ Even a broken body mourned after death is transfigured into a Jacob’s Ladder, ‘threshold of the mind / a fractal of the inner // life of the cosmos: / galaxies slow-wheeling / their long dazzling arms / around a core of light.’ ECLIPSE ILLUMINED is a book of soul-making, a book of uncommon prayer shaped from the elements of everyday life.” —Dorothy Barresi, American Book Award winner, author of What We Did While We Made More Guns, and American Fanatics
“ECLIPSE ILLUMINED is a meditation of Rilkean resonance interleaving the poems of Cathie Sandstrom with the poems and paintings of Thom Cooney Crawford…visionary reflections looking both within and without the self, seen through the lenses of Cooney Crawford’s images and creating this dialog echoing the twinned passage of their braided individual passions. In this double vision, one can’t help but see a newly illumined world.” —David St. John, The Last Troubadour: New and Selected Poems
“Thom Cooney Crawford’s art engages our instincts and feelings. In modes that connect to J.M.W. Turner and Vincent van Gogh, his paintings transcend the secular character of modern society and restore contact with both natural and cosmic processes…a world that is alternatively dynamic and contemplative, potent and receptive. Harmony results from the unfathomable balance of those forces. Crawford’s work urges us to engage with those mysteries and through them to discover more about ourselves.” —Robert S. Mattison, Professor of Art History, Lafayette College
Thom Cooney Crawford’s Website
Thom Cooney Crawford, painter/sculptor/poet, earned his MFA in painting at Syracuse University and did graduate work in sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design. He began his 40-year career in New York with two back-to- back shows at Tibor De Nagy gallery. Of 34 solo shows, 16 of them were in New York City. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. A recipient of an NEA grant, New York CAP Grant, Open Studio Award and Cill Rialaig Residency Award, he has taught at Middlebury College, Parsons School of Design, Binghamton University and Lafayette College. In the early 2000s he left the art world and college teaching to "clear the bramble" from his head, living in Bavaria, then for four years on Ireland's wild west coast on the Ring of Beara. On his return in 2010, he went into his studio and worked in isolation for a decade until his most recent solo exhibit "The Inner Eye of Art / The Outer Spark." His poem "Flutter" appeared in Chronogram 2019; his visual novel Raising of the Heart was published under Thomas M. Cooney. He relocated his studio to California in 2020.
Cathie Sandstrom is a Los Angeles-based poet and writer. Her poems appear online at the Academy of American Poets (poets.org) and have been published in The Southern Review, Ploughshares, Lyric, Ekphrasis and other leading literary journals. Anthologies include Coiled Serpent and Wide Awake (Tia Chucha Press, 2016), among others. Of two nominations for a Pushcart prize, one was from The Southern Review. Her poem "You, Again" is in the artists' book collection at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles and at the University of Southern California. Two of her poetry manuscripts have been finalists in several prestigious book competitions. Her essay "Braiding the Dreamscape" was published online by the C.G. Jung Society of St. Louis, and her essay "Getting Broken" appears in Master Class: The Poetry Mystique by Suzanne Lummis (Duende BoAuthor City: SIERRA MADRE, CA USA