Bending Toward Heaven

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by Sharon Mooney

Number of pages: 106

Publication Date: 2016

"We are surrounded by poetry on all sides,"" Vincent van Gogh (1853-90) once wrote to his brother Theo. His art was a reflection of this belief. In these ekphrastic sonnets, the author reflects on themes Van Gogh returned to over and over again in his brief but intense journey from evangelist and pastor-in-training to painter of peasants, still lifes and growing things. As these poems reflect, Van Gogh's poetic imagination was best expressed in blossoming orchards, starry nights, sheaves of wheat, final harvests, and in his signature sunflowers--a metaphor for his own life, lifting petals to the sky, bending toward heaven. ""Sharon Fish Mooney engages Vincent van Gogh's artistry within her poetic imagination as a sacred space shared between them. The reader enters the communal exchange through evocative images and turns of phrase applied like fresh brush strokes, extending to us the far reach of Vincent's anguished yet enchanted universe."" --Charles Davidson, author of Bone Dead, and Rising: Vincent van Gogh and the Self before God ""This paean to Vincent evokes the link between art and prayer: how his faith was as close to his canvas as brush and paint. Mooney's word-portraits of skilled form and visceral metaphor create a poetic breviary reminding that the inspired longing in the work of van Gogh is a holy one, and that words of a masterful poet such as this can be as vivid as the framed art of a great master."" --Annabelle Moseley, author of A Ship to Hold the World and The Marionette's Ascent ""Poets across the ages have written ekphrastic verse--poetry that responds to another work of art. In Bending Toward Heaven, Sharon Fish Mooney joins the company of such poets--including John Keats and W. H. Auden--with these well-crafted, beautifully evocative sonnets that translate paintings by Vincent van Gogh into music, rhythm, and words."" --David Middleton, author of The Habitual Peacefulness of Gruchy: Poems After Pictures by Jean-Francois Millet; Poetry Editor, Modern Age ""Mooney is transcribing painted prayers. And she accomplishes this ekphrasis with impeccable formality: the poems are Shakespearean and Italian sonnets all. Wearing that dignified vestment, the poems consider how van Gogh's art 'could lead to God as well as words.' Of course the facade of formal restraint dissolves as we read: these are intimate poems."" --Charlene Fix, poet; Professor Emeritus, English, Columbus College of Art and Design Sharon Fish Mooney teaches nursing research online for Regis University, Denver, Colorado, and Indiana Wesleyan. She won the inaugural Frost Farm Prize for metrical poetry. Her poems have appeared in various journals including RUMINATE, The Lyric, The Evansville Review, String Poet, Christian Research Journal, First Things, Modern Age, The Lost Country, and Common Threads. She is poetry editor of the Journal of Christian Nursing. Sharon lives in Ohio with her husband Scott, also a poet.

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