Coming Fall 2021: Limestone Elixir, an artful recording project that is at once elegant, intelligent, accessible, light-hearted and cohesive. Limestone Elixir blends vocals, voice-overs and music—in alluring combinations that spring from the land and people of this beautiful place known as Iowa. Featuring percussion, piano/keyboard, flute and trumpet by great central Iowa musicians.
This culminating work of the inaugural journey of the Grant Wood Country Writers Forum will serve to introduce, or re-introduce, readers to the enduring legacy of America's iconic painter—from the pens and hearts of those closely associated with the history, the land and the people.This one-of-a-kind publication features short essays, poetry, and creative writing developed over the course of ten weeks by 15 contributors from the Anamosa, Cedar Rapids, Stone City, and Iowa City areas (and beyond)—all places significant to the life of Grant Wood. Held in conjunction with Anamosa Library & Learning Center, Rebecca Vernon, director and Elaine Dailey Mattingly, Forum facilitator and Chronicle editor.
NOW RELEASED—Grant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems, with support by The Arts Connection (of Jasper County, Iowa).
COMING SOON: Digital graphic and audio edition of Grant Wood Country Loose Leaf Poems--featuring new poems, audio recordings of poems, many of which feature original music under by John Mattingly. Others produced by the poet with the listeners pleasure in mind.
About the Collection (from the Forward by Sarah Cartwright):
Anyone who has not grown up Iowan—or grew up Iowan but somehow missed the venerated magic of Woods’ stomping grounds—will know it now, through the veritable heartbeat that courses through this illustrious collection of poems by Elaine Mattingly.
Ms. Mattingly has woven a rich, varied and life-affirming work, firmly rooted in Iowa soil. Her words celebrate; give witness to; question, tease, and dare. Above all, they feed—as well as free—our senses, with the sheer sensuousness and sensuality of being ALIVE. I just want to weep at this.
The loose-leaf format grants each poem a singular dignity, in time and place; presented individually to the reader, they are each their own gifts. The well-chosen typeface completes the hand-wrought aesthetic with a rough-hewn honesty, aligning itself with the bold—and exquisite—wood-cut cover.
These are beautifully written and timeless poems. I did not think I could so relish a poem in which the words are spaced unevenly, or scattered across the page as a field of wildflowers. However, in its entirety, this poet’s instinct for word placement is inventive, exuberant, and wonderfully disarming.
As a collection, these poems are truly the heart of the heart of the country. The landscapes and people live in Elaine, and she in them: this speaks to Ms. Mattingly’s profound receptiveness to her natal and ancestral environment and those who have dwelled within it; and outward further, to a greater humanity.”
ABOUT THE COLLECTION
Relying on my personal experiences as a Grant Wood Country native daughter, with several generations before me, and two behind me, I have worked to craft authentic poems that resonate to the nature of the people and places that are embedded in my very DNA. With a variety of poetic approaches, and in the spirit of Grant Wood's inspirational poet friend Jay G. Sigmund (with contemporary sensibilities and influences), I have written these poems to appeal to poetry enthusiasts as well as the poetry-shy. The collection captures the allure, as well as the all-too-human responses to lives lived, across generations, in Grant Wood Country (east central Iowa, encompassing Anamosa, Stone City, Cedar Rapids and the landscapes of Linn and Jones counties). This collection, decades in the making, will first become available in a loose leaf format. The format is intended to entice readers to pull out individual poems from the folio for their own enjoyment, for sharing with friends, as gifts, and for starting conversations about the special people and places of Grant Wood Country. Perhaps some will be inspired to post some on the family fridge or scatter them on coffee tables. Perhaps some will nod in recognition and others discover something they didn't realize about the character of the people and places of this most special of places. Scholars far and wide have sought to demystify the person and iconic artworks of Grant Wood. Rest assured; his influence is alive well. —Elaine