This week our Friday Poem is ‘Self-Portrait with Monkey’ by Pascale Petit, taken from her 2010 poetry collection, What the Water Gave Me: Poems After Frida Kahlo.
The poems of What the Water Gave Me are narrated through the voice of the twentieth-century Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo. The collection features a diverse range of biographical verse poems: some are interpretations of Kahlo’s work; others are inspired by the painter but also draw on aspects of Petit’s own experience as a visual artist, where she can be seen to create art with words. Through her vivid style, which evokes a closeness to nature and an understanding of pain and redemption, Petit offers us a valuable insight into Kahlo’s life.
‘Self-Portrait with Monkey’ is inspired by Kahlo’s 1938 oil painting of the same name: the iconic Mexican artist sits with a monkey draped around her shoulder and ribbons in her hair, framed by a background of leaves.
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