Crater of Popocatépetl, Jean-Baptiste Louis Gros Artist's Statement

by MARIA ROUPHAIL

Honorable Mention, 2016 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition Hot breath sulfur reek red as a shark’s mouth, stone teeth magma studded I was born into the French nobility. My father was Napoleon’s official painter of heroic scenes. Myself? I preferred strange landscapes I was named First Secretary of Ochre scumble colonial scabs on earth flesh roads for the varicose legs of mules and their drivers the French Legation. That’s when I climbed the snow-capped volcano with my friend and fellow painter Daniel Thomas Orizaba smokes in background haze the starved land chokes Edgerton. I was also a photographer. Or should I say, I was one of the earliest experimenters in a new visual medium Time is coming ¡Arriba, Popo! for the capture of light. You could say my approach to El Popo was cinematically telescopic King’s men will slide from your vertebral back ¡O Popo, Arriba! avant la letter. Fascinated by aerial perspectives, my eye— as though conveyed by balloon or helicopter hovered over this strato- bones crushed in your jaw Volcán! volcano from the Pleistocene age. During the 1830’s it belched hot ash only occasionally. I pressed this massive natural object into a small canvas. Mastered it from above, you could say. Indeed, You will wipe your mouth with the emperor’s flag high on an impasto ridge. you could say I nailed it.

MARIA ROUPHAIL is a member of the faculty of the English Department at North Carolina State University, where she teaches courses in World Literature and serves as an academic adviser. She holds a PhD. in literature from The Ohio State University, and is a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network and the North Carolina Poetry Society. She has won recognition by the NCPS, having twice been a finalist in the Poet Laureate competition. The author of Apertures, which won Honorable Mention in Finishing Line Press’s “New Women’s Voices” competition, she has published in Pinesong, International Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, and One. She has garnered Honorable Mention in the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Festival competition. Second Skin is her newest collection of poems.