Occasionally, a poem by artist Florine Stettheimer

Today is Florine Stettheimer’s day of birth.

Florine Stettheimer (1871–1944), American modernist painter, designer and poet; credited as the artist who painted the first feminist nude self-portrait; in the 1930s, she hosted a salon with her sisters that attracted members of the avant-garde in Manhattan, and where she exhibited her work. Stettheimer created the stage designs and costumes for Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson’s avant-garde opera, Four Saints in Three Acts. She is best known for her four monumental works illustrating what she considered to be New York City’s “Cathedrals”: Broadway, Wall Street, Fifth Avenue, and New York’s three major art museums. 

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To read Florine Stettheimer’s poem “Occasionally” click

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Occasionally

by Florine Stettheimer

Occasionally

A human being
Saw my light
Rushed in
Got singed
Got scared
Rushed out
Called fire
Or it happened
That he tried
To subdue it
Or it happened
That he tried to extinguish it
Never did a friend
Enjoy it
The way it was.
So I learned to
Turn it low
Turn it out
When I meet a
stranger—
Out of courtesy
I turn on a soft
Pink light
Which is found
modest
Even charming.
it is protection
Against wear
and tears…
And when
I am rid of
The Always-to-be-
Stranger
I turn on my light
And become
myself.

 


“Occasionally” from Crystal Flowers, by Florine Stettheimer, first published posthumously by her sister Ettie in a privately printed limited edition in 1949

‘Self Portrait with Paradise Birds’ by Florine Stettheimer

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Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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