Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Fireblossom Friday : Edward Emerson Simmons

"Girl Reading" by Edward Emerson Simmons
Hello dear Toads and pond followers. Fireblossom here with a very special (to me) Fireblossom Friday, which requires just a smidgen of backstory. Not too awfully long ago, I had my DNA tested by one of those popular sites. My results weren't very surprising but one unexpected and pleasant result is that I made a connection with a cousin I hadn't known before. We dove into researching the family tree a little bit, and so I pulled out some materials I had. Way back in 1990, I thought I ought to ask my dad if he would tell me some stuff about the family history, because I knew he had researched it, and because he was already 78 at the time (I was a late-life baby) and I thought it's now or never, maybe.

"The Lightbearer" design by Edward Emerson Simmons, executed by Louis Comfort Tiffany
In January of 1991, I received 15 typewritten pages--not surprising at all from my newspaperman father. He loved a research project. Naturally, I read it several times upon receiving it. I found out all kinds of things, from my philandering great-grandfather who made three fortunes and blew them all on fast women (except the third--he died aboard ship while in the process of blowing that!), to his wife the long-suffering schoolteacher who died at age 89 when she caught herself on fire from the stove, ran out into the street and died, to my step-grandfather, a card-carrying socialist who lost his job at Ford Motor Company during the depths of the Depression for standing up to Harry Bennett, Henry Ford's henchman and right hand man. 

"Gathering Wood" by Edward Emerson Simmons
My father also mentioned a painter on his side of the family, but I had never heard of the man, and this was more than a decade before I would be connected to the internet, so researching him was something I never pursued--until, spurred by my cousin, I researched him quite recently. Lo and behold, he was a painter of some note! His work graces the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York, the Library of Congress, and several state capitols. His name is Edward Emerson Simmons. My father says he had a copy of Simmons's autobiography "From Seven To Seventy: Memoirs Of A Painter And A Yankee" but goodness knows where it is by now. Not in my hands, anyway.

"Melpomene" by Edward Emerson Simmons, Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington DC
My father was 19 when the painter died, but before that happened, Edward Simmons gave my father this bit of family wisdom: "We Simmonses are peculiar galoots but each one can usually do one thing good enough to get by." ("well" enough, Edward!) For Edward, it was obviously painting. For my father it was newspaper work. For me, hosting Fireblossom Friday perhaps? In any case, I probably have the "peculiar galoot" part down. ;-)

"High Sea" by Edward Emerson Simmons
To goose you to greater poetic heights, I offer the work of my relative, Edward Emerson Simmons, for inspiration. You may use any of these provided (public domain) or any you can find HERE. Then just link up and go visiting. Do please be sure to credit Edward for his work. :-)

 

25 comments:

Kim Russell said...

I love this artwork, Shay, and will find it hard to choose!

hedgewitch said...

I too love these paintings. Several of them promise inspiration someday, but I stuck to one motif today. Thanks for the challenge, Shay.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Very cool, Shay. Yay!

Fireblossom said...

See, Sherry? I'm up in May after all. :-)

Marian said...

Wow, Shay! Wow! What a wonderful thing to learn!

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Or possibly your thing is writing consistently brilliant poetry?

Sorry, I won't have time to write a poem, but couldn't resist stating the obvious.

Lovely artworks, and fascinating back story.

Ella said...

Shay, this is so, fascinating! Perhaps you should try your hand at some visual poetry! I agree with Rosemary-poetry is your gift~ So, exciting and what stunning art your ancestor has given the world!

Fireblossom said...

Ella, I love visual--or concrete--poetry, but find Blogger impossible for getting it onto the page, so they stay in my notebooks. :-(

Mama Zen said...

I am six kinds of crazy about the picture I chose. Loved this prompt, Shay!

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is so interesting, Shay. Thanks for sharing.

Toni Spencer said...

Thank you for this lovely prompt. I fell in love with the painting I chose years ago. I am choosing it again for my poem today.

Gillena Cox said...

Fireblossom Thanks for sharing ancestry and art work.

much love...

Margaret said...

So WAY COOL! I've been uber busy with weddings, graduations, and about to move a daughter up North... Haven't had a moment to catch up on my last three challenges I participated in (will be visiting and commenting tonight) let alone write anything. An AWESOME prompt to jump back into the pond with. Thanks and of course the Simmons family line would be fascinating.

annell said...

I am sorry I posted wrong. This is not the poem I wanted to post?

Margaret said...

Did you see this on Antique Road Show? http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/season/17/seattle-wa/appraisals/1883-edward-emerson-simmons-oil--201206A17/

Fireblossom said...

Annell--I removed the erroneous link. By the way, PLEASE start linking to specific posts, not just your blog's main page. It causes your readers to have to scroll and guess to find the right post, especially if a day or two has gone by. Thanks.

Margaret--yes, I knew about that! ;-)

brudberg said...

I love writing to paintings... it's a hard choice, but I think I know which one to choose... Will be back tomorrow.

annell said...

Thank you. Love the paintings!! Wonderful prompt.

gillena cox said...

Margaret i used your link. Great antique painting. Oh and related to Ralph Waldo Emerson how cool is that

Much♥️love

Sara McNulty said...

Love this artwork, and your story.

willow_switches said...

What an amazing discovery! Holy smokes! How utterly fascinating - and way cool. Great ideas for a prompt - and I'll get back to it - letting my mind muse on some of this, of course. Thanks for offering such an amazing and personal point of inspiration Shay.

Fireblossom said...

As of Friday morning, I believe I have visited everyone. If I missed yours somehow, please let me know and I'll swing by!

Linda Lee Lyberg said...

Thank you for such a great prompt! And how fortunate you have some family history.

Jim said...

What a story of finding the Fireblosom roots. It made for a fantastic reading, thank you. Many of may have parts of their heritage to match, none could have all (my great great-grandmother died aboard ship coming to America, I worked for Ford for 19 years).
I intend to use the stick gleaming woman for my picture but I can't do that with this old Galaxy 5 smart phone. So later using my computer.
..

willow_switches said...

I'm soooo late hear, my brain is applesauce - but I managed something for a 3 for 1 deal - think it works in all thirds.
Thanks again for hosting Shay.