dear totto,
georgia on my mind.

androgynous. severe. erotic.
enigma of your times.
independent by design,
plainspoken in style.

red canna. female genitalia?
we think, you denied.

energized by the big apple,
southwest weathered and drawn.
artist who became,
photographers’ canvas.

middle name unknown to most.
artistry praised by many,
alive beyond your death.
i remain,

an admirer




Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today, Bjorn asks us to write a letter poem. S/he is inspired by my visit yesterday to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA to see a Georgeia O’Keefe exhibit. Photos above all appeared in the exhibit, in addition, to one erotic nude photo of her (taken by Stieglitz), behind a very sheer curtain. Her middle name was Totto. These are all photos of her. You may be familiar with her abstract depictions of brightly painted flowers and leaves. Feminists believed her red canna flower series were abstract representations of famale genitalia, which she adamantly denied. She is also famous for her landscapes of the Southwest. Post written in all lower case, to exemplify her simplistic clothing choices and style. 

She moved to New York City and married Stieglitz, a famous photographer who would take over 300 photos of her. Midway through their marriage, she began to travel between New York City and New Mexico. When Stieglitz died in 1946, she moved soon thereafter, permanently, to New Mexico. She was also good friends with the famous American photographer, Ansell Adams. I would love some day, to visit the Georgia O’Keefe museum there. 

23 thoughts on “s/he

  1. Adda February 28, 2018 / 8:45 pm

    I am about an hour away from the museum. I learn so much from your writings. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 1, 2018 / 2:19 pm

      Are you in New Mexico? My dream to gt to her museum! Take some photos and put on FB for me 😉


      • Adda March 1, 2018 / 9:58 pm

        Yes we are. I am just outside of Sabta Fe today. Hope to get into the city this weekend after some hiking tomorrow. Will take pics.


    • lillian March 1, 2018 / 2:20 pm

      I was amazed to see her middle name….reminded me of Dorothy’s dog Toto in Wizard of Oz….thought about going there but then the Ray Charles song Georgia came to mind 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • qbit March 1, 2018 / 2:24 pm

        I picked up the Toto echo, but had to read the narrative to understand it.


  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) March 1, 2018 / 2:13 pm

    Love all the references, and the way her images have captured our minds for such a long time… never heard her middle name before… The title is excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 1, 2018 / 2:23 pm

      Thank you, Bjorn. In a senior moment, I thought yesterday was today (are you following that?) and posted this yesterday (Wednesday) and in the comments afterwards it contained my usual posted for dVerse where today Bjorn is asking us to write a letter poem. Suddenly realized it was Wednesday and would have given away the prompt a day in advance….deleted that part from the notes but have just added it back in so it refers to you, has the link to dVerse etc. Major goof on my part….but very glad you enjoyed the post! I truly was an amazing exhibit and I learned much about her. Most interesting were her hand sewn clothes…so plain, simple….she was of the earth whether in NY City or New Mexico!


  3. kim881 March 1, 2018 / 3:13 pm

    You do get around, Lill! How wonderful to visit a Georgia O’Keefe exhibit. I didn’t know that about her middle name, either. I love how what you discovered about her is woven into your letter poem.
    The ‘georgia on my mind’ is a lovely reminder of Ray Charles.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. kanzensakura March 1, 2018 / 3:38 pm

    You do get around! but then, Boston has so much stuff to see and do. I love how you wove all you knew about Georgia O’Keefe into your letter/poem. Steiglitz was actually my favorite photographer. I have a print of the nude of her framed, on the wall. Extraordinary poem! Love the detail about the hand sewn clothes.


  5. Blue M. March 1, 2018 / 4:29 pm

    I have read this fabulous poem several times. I love it as much as I love her.


  6. Grace March 1, 2018 / 7:24 pm

    Much to be admired Lillian! I would love to visit the museum some day!


  7. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar March 1, 2018 / 9:13 pm

    I too want to travel to New Mexico and see her home, her work. The whole area is beautiful in the spring and fall… Loved her long, graceful, youthful neck.


  8. rothpoetry March 1, 2018 / 10:11 pm

    She is a wonderful artist! You spoke to her very well!


  9. memadtwo March 2, 2018 / 7:21 am

    She was always a mystery and contained many worlds. Your letter reflects that. (K)


  10. Mary (tqhousecat) March 2, 2018 / 7:45 am

    Thank you for the background story. Makes the poem easier to understand. My husband likes her paintings.


  11. lynn__ March 2, 2018 / 10:49 am

    Thanks for the notes, Lilian, which helped with interpretation. Excellent write…I admireO’Keefe’s art too. Where is the museum in New Mexico?


  12. Vivian Zems March 2, 2018 / 3:05 pm

    A beautiful ode to Georgeia. Her art is enthralling.


  13. Mish March 2, 2018 / 7:04 pm

    My husband is from New Mexico, so during the long distance part of our relationship, I was fortunate to see many areas of it, including Sante Fe. I don’t believe we went to the museum but I remember one shop in particular that featured much of her work. Her work resonates with my love of the Land of Enchantment. I like the factual style of your poem….thanks for sharing these interesting tidbits about Georgia “Toto” O’Keefe.


  14. merrildsmith March 3, 2018 / 7:43 am

    Thanks for the interesting poem and facts about O’Keefe. I’m sure my daughter in Boston would love to see this exhibit, if she can get there. She seems to have done many different types of art.


  15. purplepeninportland March 3, 2018 / 7:56 pm

    What a perfect title! You have to go to that museum. If you are an admirer (as am I),
    you will love it. Wonderful poem.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s