Monthly Artist Feature with
Each month we would like to feature one of the many gifted Christian artists in christians. Our artist of the month is LaBruyere. Her passionately crafted poetry and pros will stir your heart and warm your soul.
WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO DO THIS INTERVIEW! FIRST WE WOULD LIKE TO ASK, HOW DID YOU GET STARTED AND WHY DID YOU COME TO LOVE ART?
Thank you--I am honored to be a member of the deviant Mission, and I’m excited for the opportunity to share with the community. I started writing poetry at the age of twelve (though I had written a lot of silly little stories before that for years), and I remember it was August of 2000 that I wrote my first poem, for my grandmother’s birthday. The recognition it received from my family encouraged me to write more, and as I did so, I discovered there was a natural talent in me for rhythm and rhyme. I attribute that to my great-grandmother. I never knew her, but she was an excellent poet.
Composed in Burning PurposeOne sonnet from the hands that raise, alive
One syllable, one word, one turn of phrase
Like rolling waves, the moments, they arrive--
Like light and life crescendoed on for days.
So strike, composer, notes, and wave your hand
Through music in the air. And raise your eyes
You dancers on the stage-- now take a stand--
The lights, the orchestra, the thunder dies.
For this is all you ever fully loved--
This moment full of life that no one knows.
Oh yes, they see and hear and read enough
But you, alone, give birth in painless throes
To glory wrought in burning purpose. Give
Your everything to that for which you live.
HOW DID YOU LEARN TO WRITE?
In the same way that songs get stuck in your head, all the poetry I’d read in my childhood books, from Shel Silverstein, to Michael P. Waite, to Dr. Seuss, it all seemed to flow out of me pretty naturally, though there was little structure to my early works and the rhyming was a little weak. Learning the various forms of poetry, meter, rhyme, structure, imagery, and so forth, came from various English courses and a lot of reading of Victorian and Romantic era poetry as a teenager. As a young adult, I joined dA, and discovered a lot more poetry forms from my fellow poets.
4.27: SophiaWhy is it all my weary days are spent
In turning cowslips into rays of sun
And floating over blades of grass, unbent
And drawing four conclusions out of one?
No mercy hath the stone and wooden fence
All rimmed with perfect glass which holds the sound
Of freedom outside. Dominating sense
Will pin imagination to the ground.
Forbear. The time will come when wind and rain
Will wash away the mud and dust of youth.
To cling to hope which calls aloud again
Is to rely on dust to hasten truth.
I turn my days of sunlight scattered over
And know the truth comes soon to wisdom's lover.
DO YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR WRITING STYLE YOU IDENTIFY WITH? IF SO, HOW DID YOU DEVELOP THAT STYLE AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE IT?
I suppose if we were to look at my prose, I would call my writing style simply a love of storytelling. As a child and a teenager I had a vivid imagination, and filled dozens of spiral-bound, college-ruled notebooks with epic stories and short stories. But since I am primarily a poet, my poetic style is much more highly developed (though with much room for improvement, as all artists will say). My poetic style is rigidly traditional--I love modern art in the visual art realm, but when it comes to poetry, I’d much rather go back a couple of centuries. I find incredible beauty in rigidly structured poetry, with rules of meter and form strictly upheld. I can’t say why I started to develop that style. I guess I always saw free verse poetry to be cheesy and overly emotional before I discovered it CAN be written well, but by that point I was hooked on form poetry. When Shakespeare and Alfred Noyes and Lord Byron and Keats are your favorite poets, and when Tolkien and Lewis use form poetry in their works, you kinda just fall in love with it.
Rubaiyat: Space in My EyesMy, how lovely is this quiet sea,
Breaking on the shores and on the lea
Curling, tasting of the air and wind,
Taking with its waves a part of me.
Give it back: the pieces I rescind.
Night calls for the cobwebs worn and thinned,
Stretching in the grass--a well-loved place
Fulsome, empty, cold, replete with sins.
Beautiful your midnight frosted grace;
Fearful is the night moon on your face.
Say I, come and walk awhile alone;
Beaches, silence, glitters bright deep space.
Stars breathe miles away in heat unknown
Scent of space and call of night intoned
Split the air with grace, peel back the crust
Letting rocks and trees their praises groan.
Given that I mark the night unjust--
Broken cobwebs much like broken trust,
Thinned and glinting is the breath of dawn
Breathing interplanetary dust.
Light breaks forth and brings all life foregone.
My, what is this journey I am on?
Scream, oh stars, as sunlight hides your depth.
I--I take the hill-road, grace withdrawn.
WHERE DO YOU LOOK FOR INSPIRATION?
My relationship with God has played into my work from the very beginning. There’s so much to marvel at in His character and what He’s done, and even as a teenager that’s almost all I could write about. I did write some humorous poetry, too. There was one about Jello that got pretty famous at school when I was 14 or so, and a few other nonsense poems. And nature, the always available poetic inspiration, has also been there for me. I was a pretty unromantic teenager, but when I met my husband, my poetry got a little more romantic as well. Probably the best method of inspiration for me is to be challenged. If someone told me, “hey, go look up forms of Middle Eastern poetry that sound ok in English, and write a bunch of poems using those forms”, I’d do it, and happily.
Had I Been Borne on Autumn WindHad I been borne on autumn wind,
I would have come no faster.
As one who has too often sinned
Will stand before her master,
So came I, too, to sunset glow.
The sun-and-hill collision
Pulled me beneath its undertow.
The burnt and golden vision
Seemed overwrought for such as I,
Who never once deserved
The way you come to satisfy
And leave me quite unnerved.
Had I been borne on winter wind
To meet you here tonight,
My spirit might concede to bend
To golden purple light.
The mist that settles on these hills
Obscure as days ahead
Invades my skin, heartily fills
My soul with ready dread.
But oh, the peace of knowing leaves
Though dead, are free at least.
Must I die too? How my soul grieves;
My steady will has ceased.
This was your plan: the sunsets grow,
Shall signal my surrender.
My plans have failed; I'm free to go,
No longer a contender.
I have been borne on autumn light
To be taught by sunsets, gently,
That I am called to die tonight,
And this is where you sent me.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE WRITERS?
I mentioned some above, who inspired my poetry, but as for those writers who haven’t necessarily inspired my poetry, but whose beautiful prose has inspired my admiration, I’d include Sibella Giorello, Georgette Heyer, Walter Wangerin, and I’ll say it again: C.S. Lewis. His book “Till We Have Faces” and his Space Trilogy have inspired more than one of my poems. But don’t ask me to choose any of my favorite writers on dA. I have too many to choose from.
April 6- Detox.In the wandering wood
I've come to a place
Where the shadows are lifted
And evil abased,
And my own inner torment
At last is erased.
By the side of the pool
At the end of the stream
By the old waterfall
I'm a dreaming a dream
And the terror's released
In a heart-wrenching scream.
After this, every sound,
Every tear, all the pain
That I harbor within
Is drowned in the rain
And the shadows have gone-
I won't see them again.
I take off the scales
And step into the pool
That's refreshing and deep
And surprisingly cool,
And I then realize
I am naught but a fool.
You give a great shake
Of your soft, golden mane,
And your deep-throated purr
Sounds a bit like my name,
And my lion, my lamb
Are now one and the same.
I enter the falls
And close my eyes tight,
The water pours down,
I'm deprived of all sight,
For all there is left
Is you, there's no blight,
No stain, and no scar,
No wound and no worry,
For they've all been replaced
By your peace and your glory,
And I've finally found
The climax of
YOUR FAITH IN JESUS SEEMS TO BE A COMMON THEME THROUGHOUT MOST OF YOUR WRITINGS. HOW DO SPIRITUAL THINGS COME INTO PLAY WITH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
As a child I was just so in love with God, and as I’ve gotten older, and marriage, work, and school has distracted me, I find that poetry is like a quiet little haven in which to remind myself in writing who God is and what He means to me. I feel a little like the writers of Psalms, who wrote the gamut of human emotion, from complaints to exaltation to questions to lamentations to total joy. God doesn’t mind my complaints or my questions, and writing them is like a prayer. God also loves my joy and my praise of Him, and writing it is often much easier for me to do than speak it. And so often, my work is written in spontaneous flows of joy or the depths of sorrow.
Sonnet of BelongingI feel you as a wall behind my bones
In quiet moments, lone or hemmed about;
Steady, silent, used to hold your own--
A penetration into rooms of doubt.
Yours the reassuring breath behind;
I belong to you. I am content
To travel highways from my heart and mind,
And take your sacrifice as it was meant.
I learn that highways lead to your embrace,
And bitterly, I find them incomplete;
You show me paths that set my heart to race,
And then reach out to pull me to my feet.
Your arms about me prove my fear was wrong:
To you I have and ever shall belong.
PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL WORKFLOW
If I am presently working on a poetry challenge, such as National Poetry Writing Month in April, the December Form Challenge, the May Sonnet Challenge, or whatever, I’ll typically research the form of poetry of the day, read a few samples of it, and then either ponder a topic on which to write, or start with a single sentence that pops in my head or comes from a mood I’m in. If I’m not writing for a specific challenge, or for a grade in a creative writing class, I’ll typically just feel the poetic mood come upon me, and make a cup of tea or curl up in a chair outside with a pen in hand. I rarely find poetry to be work.
I am what I amNot without effect: that's what your grace is,
While I wander here to there and place to places.
And I have this tender soul that craves you, you, Lord.
But this war waged in me is not fought with sword
But with prayer. What a wretched soul I am!
I tear my heart wholeheartedly from the "I Am."
And I fight you
And I crave you
And I lose you
And I have you
I spit on you
And I flirt with death
And I revile you
With every breath
But your love to me sinks deeper than my skin
As I open bleeding wounds and let you come in.
What a wretched soul I am! I don't do
What I would do. What I would not do, that I do.
And this has left me drained and weak. I long for
WHAT TOOLS DO YOU USE?
I used to work solely with paper and ink, but in this modern age of word processors, I’ll most often just hop on Sta.sh writer or Microsoft Word. I can’t use background music because it interrupts the rhythm and meter in my head. A thesaurus and a rhyming dictionary are extremely helpful too. Other than that, feedback from fellow poets keeps me sharp. Being told my rhyming is weak or my meter is off is, for a perfectionist like myself, more than enough motivation to improve.
Sonnet to the Cheesecake ManAnd what is art? I ask, for none can say
If taste and decadence are just the same
For what is baked as much as painted; nay,
The culinary art is not mis-named.
Thus mastery is relative by art
As sweetness becomes relative by form.
For who can pick ingredients apart
In cheesecake, just baked, savory and warm?
Its splendor sees the beauty of Monet
And raises it cream cheese and chocolate chips.
Bold flavor is an art of every day
Pure decadence glides gently to the hips.
Aesthetically, the joys of food defeat
The visual where tongue and spoonful meet.
WHAT IS YOUR DAILY ROUTINE LIKE? DO YOU HAVE ANY HOBBIES OTHER THAN WRITING?
The current chapter in my life is comprised almost entirely of work and grad school. I look back fondly on my carefree days of reading two novels a week and writing historical fiction stories, and look ahead to perhaps doing it again soon. I work full time at a Christian school and take full time grad school courses at Southern Evangelical Seminary, where I’m working toward a Master of Arts in Philosophy. I’m also a wife, mentor, and soon a small group leader of middle schoolers. If I had more time, I’d go back to my hobbies of drawing and digital painting, and read a few more of the 500 free books currently sitting unread on my Kindle. I’d also love to be a published fiction author, but there’s no telling if that will happen.
Blowing KissesThough discontent, I bide my time,
And spout my words in a hurried rhyme,
And wish for wistful happenings
That should be found in a million things,
Like morning dew or sunset glow,
Or the graceful fall of powder snow.
And I must wait. Discontent am I
To just blow kisses at the sky.
To be gazed upon, and feel the fire,
That draws me in and lifts me higher,
To feel the warmth is not enough;
I must be burned by this growing love.
In restless hurting and thirst for more,
Im wishing youd break down my door,
And despite the gaze Im not satisfied
With just blowing kisses at the sky.
Theres not enough of you with me
And I must go on, unhappily,
And never see what I want most-
Tis fleeting, obscure, like a ghost.
And life stampedes in glassy blur,
And of only one thing I am sure:
Theres not enough of you, so why
Must I blow kisses at the sky?
Is there a reason I must wait,
Be always from you separate
And only feel you fleetingly,
Wishing you were here with me
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL CREATIVE OUTLETS?
As mentioned, I enjoy reading, drawing, and writing fiction, and I’ll also add papercrafting with notecards and stamps, and writing letters to my college friends and my grandmother to the list. Letter writing is a real art, and writing notes on coffee cup sleeves, tea bags, ticker tape, or whatever is handy, and then sticking glitter or confetti in the envelopes is a delightful way to surprise those who receive them, all while keeping in touch. And I have to say that one of my favorite things to do is discover new locally-owned coffee shops and write there.
DFC XV. Glosa: The Lips of JuneMerry, merry England has kissed the lips of June:
All the wings of fairyland were here beneath the moon,
Like a flight of rose-leaves fluttering in a mist
Of opal and ruby and pearl and amethyst.
Come away in twilight and let the echo ring
We haven't any cause to fear, but oh, much cause to sing.
Hasten now your footsteps for the dawn comes all too soon--
Merry, Merry England has kissed the lips of June.
Blue-eyed infant soldier, leave aside your cares
And follow goblin market-calls for any soul who dares
Awaken earth and night-time mist, laden with a tune;
All the wings of fairy-land are here beneath the moon.
And we are full of mettle, we without a home
Amongst the mortal dreamers, sleeping in the gloam.
Steal into the fairy rings and hear them coming--hist!
Like a flight of rose-leaves fluttering in a mist.
The silent air explodes with mirth for we are of this place,
And hearts belonging to this world will see through time and space.
Quickly now, the dawn comes--we'll dream of midni
WHICH ONE OF YOUR PIECES BEST DEFINES YOU?
There are some older pieces of mine that were written in times of greater clarity and better understanding of who I am, but I think I have to choose “Magnum Opus,” which is essentially my writer’s manifesto--that poetry, being what it is, is less likely to leave its mark on the world than probably most art forms today, but if all I can do is make someone think, or glorify God, then that will do for now.
NaPo XXIII. Magnum OpusI will not reach my best before I die.
Perhaps upon my passing, I'll confer
A greater worth to all my pen supplied
And maybe one or two will be preferred
By readers who come after. But not yet--
Oh no, I've miles to go before I sleep.
Four hundred fifty years, and they'll forget
I ever lived, for poems may not keep.
But maybe one will turn up on a page
Folded in a journal, faded ink
And read by my descendants in an age
When such archaic words will make them think.
I'll raise a glass of tea to that and pray
That future daughters give their best this way.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A CHRISTIAN ARTIST AND WHAT IS THE WORST?
The best thing about being a Christian artist is to be able to participate in that passionate expression of creativity which models our own Creator. We were created to create, and to do so in a way which also encourages others and points them to Him, that’s the very best thing. Probably the worst is the knowledge that the likelihood that I’ll ever be published is nil. Poetry itself is hard to sell, let alone Christian poetry, in today’s world. But I’m okay with that--sometimes our greatest passion isn’t what brings the income. Even the Apostle Paul was a tentmaker on the side.
DFC XVII. Ottava Rima: AbyssYour silence holds the earth in stark white snow
Already fallen, sleeping in her bliss.
We're unaware of fire's long-burning glow
Deeper than the solid earth's abyss.
For down below the demons wrestle. Woe.
You have betrayed the mountain with a kiss.
You hear the silence rampant in the woods
And sink beneath your head in snow for good.
IN CLOSING, PLEASE TELL US 3 TIPS THAT ARE CRUCIAL FOR A CHRISTIAN WRITER.
A Christian writer of poetry OR prose should:
1. Remember that excellence is always better than half-heartedness, even if that means constant revision (something I have to tell myself repeatedly).
2. Remember to be correct in your theology, even in creative writing. Don’t misrepresent the Truth or God’s character if you’re writing for an audience.
3. Articulating your faith clearly through words is not something everyone can do. Remember what a gift it is to have both purpose and talent, and don’t be afraid to share it. You may be shy about showing off your work, but think about it: if it has the truth of God’s love written in it, why would you hide it?
NaPo XXX. You Know My NameThe universe is full of matter. Black
And formless and without substantial being.
Years exist between the stuff of stars
And time and consciousness have little meaning.
Warmth and light exists each million years
As light, compelled to travel, pierces space
With nothing in between but unknown stuff
And here a little planet holds its place.
And on it matter takes the form of beings
And in it hearts are made of tissue, strung
Between the bones and blood of sudden life
Alive and full of something. Mind is hung
Upon the soul imparted with a need
To know you and to fall within your aim.
This matter with a mind exists in space,
And in all the universe you know my name.
Skin by SimplySilent