Book of Cranes

Book of Cranes – A Convocation of Artists, Poets & Cranes

A Book of Cranes is a collaboration between 12 New Mexico artists & poets: Vicki Bolen, Geraldine Brussel, Deborah Cole, Dale Harris, Stephanie Lerma, Lou Liberty, Margy O’Brien, Ginger Rice, Judith Roderick, Mary Sweet, Linney Wix, and Richard Wolfson.
The project took place in 2012 in Albuquerque, New Mexico over a year’s time. The poet artists awaited the cranes’ arrival, watched them in the fields and along the Rio Grande, and witnessed their departure. Throughout the year they exchanged poetry in a Japanese form called renga.

A Book of Cranes is a large, accordion style folding screen book that measures 24 in. x 32 in. x 5 in. with a 16 ft. open, extended length. 10 pages, including covers, with art on both sides are connected by book-cloth hinges and bamboo posts. A Book of Cranes is displayed in either an open position, standing upright on long tables so that viewers can walk around the book to see the art, or as loose pages housed in a specially made clamshell box.
The original art by 7 artists is a variety of silk paintings, watercolors, and woodcut
prints. Japanese style renga poetry by the artist poets is written in brush calligraphy beneath the art by Ginger Rice. The pages themselves are a heavy weight, handmade paper 23” x 29 1⁄2” especially created for the book by Stephanie Lerma. Covers are a mosaic inlay of colorful specialty papers with silk paintings of Sandhill cranes by Judith Roderick at the center. A Book of Cranes was designed and fabricated by Dale Harris. The clamshell box was created by Dale Harris and Mita Saldano from Against The Grain.
A Book of Cranes was first exhibited at DSG Fine Art Gallery in Albuquerque, NM, November 2012. It has also been shown at the City of Albuquerque Open Space Visitor Center, 6500 Coors Blvd. NW, Albuquerque, NM as part of their annual Return of the Cranes celebration. A Book of Cranes is featured in “Speaking to the Imagination, The Contemporary Artist’s Book” at Gerald Peters Gallery/Peters Projects in Santa Fe, NM, June 21 – October 24, 2019.
More about A Book of Cranes at and on Facebook at Book of Cranes. Contact Dale Harris 505.908.0574 with inquiries.
Twelve poet artists watch the skies. Soon the Cranes will arrive. Message bringers, wisdom keepers, the mythic made real.
Crane migration follows an ancient pattern of sun seeking & star navigation, a flight guided by instinct for the turning of seasons,
mapped both by history and present-day survival needs.

Cranes come annually to the Rio Grande Valley in great number over vast distances, their winging synchronized – truly an aerial ballet. The poet artists celebrate with images, write renga verses.
Their art and words are a welcome home to the Cranes.

Here is one of the renga written by the group:

Crane Ariake Renga

Answering instinct’s
call, you left to breed; now I
wait, long for return. L.L.

Fading traces of stragglers-
Sky abruptly blank and still. M.O.

I picture you
in the wet north, painted rust,
raising your colt. J.R.

I watched you leave last spring, a
long line of cranes flying north. M.S.

Like little cricket
hidden, your warbled voice in
passing, that I miss. D.C.

Hear you. Hear me longing
to see crimson-sharp vision. L.W.

Medicinal voices,
immigrant beauties return
over pond, over reed R.W.

Summer, you are far away —
no remedy for this longing. G.B.

Windy afternoon,
fluff from cottonwood trees
blows like lost feathers.

Yearning for October — then
soul at rest, briefly content. L.L.

In northern wetlands
young cranes grow, look skyward.
Here I wait, deprived. M.O.

Wishing I could witness your
mysterious breeding grounds. J.R.

Days fly by … summer
ebbs toward fall. Seasons turn – cranes
fatten, test their wings. M.S.

Stalks stretch skyward. Seed heads burst.
For you the field fills itself. D.C.

Summer’s dog days reign
Signs of autumn weeks away–
I remain still, wait. L.W.

If I could sing their sweet song,
those prophets from far-off lands R.W.

New moon, in my mind
painting cranes in pale blue sky —
await your return. G.B.

Thunder over the mesa.
Crane song after cool rain, soon. D.H.

Lou Liberty
Margy O’Brien
Judith Roderick
Mary Sweet
Deborah Cole
Linney Wix
Richard Wolfson
Geraldine Brussel
Dale Harris


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About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well ( The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

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