Skip to Content
Detail of the face of  the woman in the Woman in Interior, 2008 by David C. Driskell

Writing Salon Collaboration

A Tribute to David C. Driskell

 John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art

Image of a print of Woman in Interior, woman is wearing a hat and colorful outfit.

David C. Driskell, Woman in Interior, 2008, color screenprint on Rives BFK wove paper, Gift of Darrell R. and Karen L. Willson, 2008.108.1

Explore free-verse reflections on David C. Driskell’s Woman in Interior. These poems were generated during a virtual Writing Salon program, and we thank our participants for sharing their work.

Poems will be added to this page on Wednesday, September 16, and Friday, September 18.

With ancient strength I cradle your spirit
Life eternal dances through us
Steady, heady, we soar toward heaven

~ Margaret

The hand appeared
Out of nowhere and
Placed itself in my lap.

~ Kelly

So still, she sat; still life moved on.
Palm out, her hand rested–it reclined.
But, her fingers–a cradle–held her life so still.

~ Ebony

Fusion of finery, fancy and functional, classic and tropical.
Unflinching vision that sees and reveals, a wrought-iron design.
What does she hold in those photographed hands?

~ Veronica

Enthroned and monumental, Madonna directs her gaze
To meet us–and to survey the future. Her hand extends a
Welcome even as it cradles the sacred humanity within.

~ Kathy

Why is the hand so realistic?
While everything else is abstract?
Her arm and her hand shower her strength

~ Betts

In the galaxy of her body
A black hole cradles tenderness–
Feathers and fragments of love letters.

~ Terri

Flowers and chains
The gaze, that steady gaze
Beauty overworked sits with grace

~ Johana

She sits, balcony and city behind her,
Doors open to the night, chicken on her lap,
Watches, waits, for the next thing to come home to roost.

~ B.K.

Are her right hand and eye real?
So tired and worn they belie the strength of line
And liveliness of pattern and color with which she is dressed.

~ Nancy

Remnants of tropical breezes charge through the door and rattle the drapes.
Banana leaves from home.
Longing to trade the trappings of Victorian formality for the swaying canopy of date palms.

~ Chriss

Feeling so tired/overworked/dull/defeated/empty
Yet
Remembering this morning's powerful fierce energy, ready for battle

~ Jamie

Primavera arrives!
In the artist's studio
Pregnant with possibilities

~ Preminda

Round and warm, she offers her life - a box of Crayola
Crayons, the house on the hill, her unborn baby, still
Cradled, the blueberries, plump, past their ripeness.

~ Debbie

Sing, sister, sing –
Of stories still unspoken
Generations yet unamed.

~ Eugene

Trapped inside flowered dress
Blossom outside, blossom within
Better to be a mystery.

~ Carol

The hand of the printer is apparent here.
But it is his sitter who commands our engagement.
Speaking from her ordered interior of the lives in the houses that ring Logan Circle.

~ Anonymous

I, too, sit with my hands crossed
My gaze drifts passed her shoulder, while
I wonder where her mind wanders

~ Sarah

Sad, wistful, hurt, betrayed, and angry
I slip past the gate of the home that we used to share
Determined to mend my shattered heart

~ Colleen

She rests, dappled in the sunlight of her residency
Cradling the center, her womb
Anchoring the disarray of the space outside her

~ Caitlin

Cuffed hardworking hand
Cradles a heart? An infant? No, a rooster
Her gaze unflinching, a woman in a room alone

~ Anonymous

A tableau life: scenes
Of joy and grief float in her
Mind's eye as film clips.

~ Judy

Carrying my heart I sit patiently
Looking at the infinite world
Observing it go by day by day

~ Maria

Woman stately, elegant, knows her power
Guarded, strong hands protect her
Womb, rich as tobacco leaves

~ Ned

Stoic woman who brings life
She plants the seeds and watch it grow
Her tender care encourages all

~ Julia

Majestically floral lady of the night
Carries her past through windows of time
To become the newest resident at the Costa Rican Palace.

~ Lisa

Seated at the table, Madame Secretary no doubt knows work
She can grow the plantain, cook it, determine the value of the commodity
She is in the interior…department of.

~ Eleanor

Mama is warmly solid as she stares you down…
Mama’s hands are strong, child she say’s stop fooling around.
Mama as she sits on the Throne, discusses the past, she looks really serious as she tells us to watch out for what’s in the grass.

~ Starr

Behind the gates, inside a house that lies at a distance from me
My face subtly divided: one eye circumspect, on defiant,
Hands baking, watering, growing; but I am still.

~ Sarah

Emerge from pattern play
Emerge from behind, away
Look forward, forward, forward

~ Wendy

She sits, all mismatched eyes and spine tall as pine,
plants growing wild at her feet. She holds–bread? a basket? a baby–
lightly. (I am told it is a chicken. It will not fall)

~ Jacquelyn

I sit in my room
Surrounded by worldly possessions
I hold in my hands memories of my past and future

~ Evelyn

Woman sitting
Gazing steady
Wondering who sees

~ Beverly

A piercing eye from a bold woman
Colorfully dressed from head to toe.
What is she seeing what is she thinking?

~ Jane