Monday, 13 October 2014

"I Introduce Penelope Gwin" by Elizabeth Bishop and creative work by Inês and David

“I Introduce Penelope Gwin…”
I introduce Penelope Gwin,
A friend of mine through thick and thin,
Who’s travelled much in foreign parts
Pursuing culture and the arts.
“And also,” says Penelope
“This family life is not for me.
I find it leads to deep depression
And I was born for self expression.”
And so you see, it must be owned
Mis Gwin belongs to le beau monde.
She always travels very light
And keeps her jewelry out of sight.
“I will not let myself be pampered
And this free soul must not be hampered
And so besides my diamond rings
I carry with me but two things:
A blue balloon to lift my eyes
Above all pettiness and lies,
A neat and compact potted plant
To hide from a pursuing Aunt.
(Just as they took my photograph
I saw one coming up the path.
That’s way my eyes are turned away,
I mostly look the other way.)
My aunts I loathe with all my heart
Especially when they take up Art.
And anything in the shape of one
Can make me tremble, turn, and run.”

Miss Gwin will give a little talk
And tell of her amusing walk
Through country lanes and sixty states
At really quite astounding rates –
With running water, nice hot tea,
And chats with Europe’s royalty.
“Once in the gardens of Tuileries
I met this dear friend in the trees.
With flowers and little birds galore
She quenched her thirst for nature lore.
She fed grilled almonds to the birds
And spoke to them in honeyed words.
Notice her frank and honest eyes.”
(It is Miss Ellis in disguise)
“Once on the Tiber catching fish
I chanced on Madame Dienis.
You recollect her, I suppose?
(Notice the parasol of rose
To keep the sunlight from her nose)
But Russia was, I bring to mind,
The place I made the biggest find.
A Russian Aunt-Eater it was –
Large appetite – and lovely jaws.
An Aunt will look at him and faint,
Even the kinds that sketch or paint.
Of course, while in Romantic France
I met with Cupid and Romance.
One glimpse at my rejected suitor –
He was a handsome German tutor.
But no! I would be no man’s wife,
The stark reality of life
For me, and he was past his prime.
His mouth hang open half the time,
It gave my senses quite a jolt
To find he had begun to molt….
I leave you with this little thought:
‘What is not is and what is not’
(Spoken by General Richelieu
In case you didn’t know) Adieu.”

I’m sure we all admire Miss Gwin.
How very sweet and kind she’s been….

in Edgar Allan Poe & the Jukebox. London: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2007. p. 3-4.

Série fotográfica: "We Introduce Penelope Gwin"
O intuito deste trabalho foi captar em registo fotográfico uma paisagem ineterior de Elizabeth Bishop, colocando a Penelope Gwin em primeiro plano ou como figura central, de forma a evidenciar a distância entre a personagem principal e a narrativa que decorre em seu redor, tal como é caracteristico na escrita de Bishop.

A fotografia retrata Penelppe Gwin enclausurada num universo claustofóbico, habitado por figuras que traçam o mapa nonesense da sua vida, num tom cómico e irónico.

Nas fotografias acima estão representados personagens compõem o poema “I Introduce Penelope Gwin...”acompanhados de alguns objectos com que são caracterizados no mesmo, como uma Tia que gosta de arte e o Comedor-de Tias Russo que a molesta; o digno e rejeitado
tutor de Alemão; Miss Ellis e as suas amêndoas tostadas, disfarçada com uns óculos e um vistoso chapéu; Madame Dienis e o seu pára-sol e, a própria Penelope Gwin, acompanhada de um balão azul e uma planta num vaso, dois objectos sem os quais não consegue viajar. Estes objectos criam uma contradição irónica: por um lado, o balão azul simboliza o voo, a vontade de afastamento daquela realidade; por outro, a planta simboliza o inevitável enraizamento de Penelope Gwin àquelas personagens.

O nome Gwin, vem da palavra francesa Guin (derivada da palavra Pinguim) calão da época para lésbica, alusivo aos trajes masculinos usados por circulos de mulheres homossexuais. Penelope é retratada com um traje masculino associando-se assim a dupla conotação de Pinguim, que, por um lado representa a mulher lésbica e, por outro, uma ave que não consegue voar, o que reforça a ideia de Gwin como mulher cuja fuga lhe é negada.

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