A book of poetry by Linda Monahan will be released in 2024, and after the poet saw a piece by visual artist Marilyn Nelson of Griffin, she thought it would be perfect for her book cover. 

Marilyn Nelson paintingThe painting pictured here by Marilyn Nelson, entitled "Good to be Alive Today", is based on a Michael Franti song of the same name.

According to Nelson, the publisher agreed.

“I'm not sure where she saw this. The image of this painting is part of the Regina downtown business alley Art Door project, and I don't know if she saw it there or if she was on the website and and saw it through there,” she explained. “She saw the image of the painting and thought it was perfect for her book, and when I heard about her poetry, I agreed. So she contacted the publisher, who is quite familiar to the Weyburn people, Ed Willett.”

“The poetry itself gives voice and honour to those living with mental illness, and it's something I'm passionate about as well,” shared Nelson. “It seems like a perfect match for her book, and I was very happy that they found it and contacted me.” 

The artist said the piece that was installed on the door in Regina was taken from a 4x3' painting entitled, “Good to be Alive Today”, which is one of her many paintings inspired by songs.

“In my art, I explore social equity and injustice and human rights in general, and I'm easily inspired by songs that refer to these issues, be they racial or gender related, economic, political, religious, or something else,” Nelson noted. “So the music I select, the artists are talking about these issues.”

“This painting was influenced by Michael Franti song of the same name, and he talks about all the issues caused by divisiveness and hatred in the world. I think you'd have to look at the lyrics yourself. It's a really strong song. I just love it. He talked about all the bad things in world and his dream is for all of us to be able to wake up sometime in a world that where we could say that it's good to be alive today.”

She shared that the rhythm, the story, and the mood of the songs are reflected in her paintings. 

“It just sort of comes together somehow. I don't know if it's intuitive or what it is. Every colour has its own mood, like, you know, anger you'd relate to red and and maybe joy would be yellow, love would be pink,” she explained.

“I haven't read the poems myself, and I'm really looking forward to reading them. But from what Ed told me, it's not all negative, and through her poetry, she's giving hope.”

Find a link to the book, available for pre-order now, HERE

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