NATÜRLICHER / VIS-À-VIS LAND, ANIMAL

By BRANDI KATHERINE HERRERA

Author’s Note

These “color swatch poems” are taken from a larger work in progress called Mutterfarbe, a book of experimental translations and poems using Goethe’s Theory of Colors as a primary source.

Each of the colors and their names were pulled from the landscapes and built environments I inhabited during my travels throughout France in early 2015. The nine images at the top correspond with each color swatch poem, and represent those landscapes/built environs. The “Anhang” (appendix) at the end features lines I translated from Goethe’s text on color theory—each numbered line corresponding with one of the color swatches to create a new poetic text.

 

ANHANG/TRANSLATOR’S APPENDIX

775 / It’s no wonder that the energetic, robust, and crude find this color so particularly pleasing.

796 / It simultaneously conveys an impression of both seriousness and grandeur, but also mercy and grace.

776 / It produces an unbelievable kind of shock to the system, and retains this effect even when it’s darkened.

771 / Through a slight, almost imperceptible motion, the beautiful impression of fire and gold is transformed to be perceived as filth.

783 / In reality, empty and cold.

802 / One doesn’t want to (and cannot) try to imagine something beyond it.

779 / In its appearance, then, it is somewhat of a contradiction of stimulation and tranquility.

791 / The high clergy have appropriated this unquiet color for themselves.

780 / Not because it penetrates, but because it draws us in.

 

 

A ltd. artist’s edition of Mutterfarbe will be published in 2015 by Broken Cloud Press (Portland, Ore.).

Source: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Theory of Colors / section: “Sinnlich-Sittliche Wirkung der Farbe”(Sensual and Moral Effects of Color). Translated by Brandi Katherine Herrera from German into English for the first time since Charles Eastlake’s 1840 translation.

Brandi Katherine Herrera is a poet and multidisciplinary artist, whose work in poetic text, film, and sound has been performed for Poetry Press Week, Pure Surface, and Free Verse, and featured in Poor ClaudiaThe VoltaOctopus Magazine, and elsewhere. 

Emma CroweNATÜRLICHER / VIS-À-VIS LAND, ANIMAL

Related Posts

chickens

Rustic Impression

SUSAN COMNINOS
No barrow depends on this/ trio of hens — or are they/ cocks?

sunlight

The First Day of Fall

SHANE CASHMAN
I fear that whatever’s making that sound wants to devour me or possess me. Or is it asking for help?

Flickr Creative Commons

After the War, in the West

POLINA BARSKOVA
"She is bewitched… / as Verlaine would have it / a gray rose / that sparkles and alarms / letting out a cartilaginous moan / instead of speech. / Her deformed gray matter/ clatters and things add up… / If this land / is descending into… / hell, whoever arrives with a sword / sword will be sweet..."