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Idealism is an attractive flower, Oneida Morningstar Cramer
Background of the Author and Book:
“I first had the idea for this project when I was working as a journalist in the
‘90’s, writing articles for People Newspapers in Dallas. I wrote the text of the
articles and also took photographs to accompany them. Over time, I became
distinctly aware of how the presence of a picture next to an article subtly affected the text, how the nature of the picture changed ever so slightly your perception of the words and of the article as a whole. I had been writing poetry, and I began to be intrigued by the idea of putting poetry together with pictures, in order to explore this interesting dynamic between word and image.”
Idealism is an attractive flower, the first published collection of
poetry/photography by Oneida Morningstar Cramer, contains 87 individual
“photopoems,” which is a term introduced by Cramer to describe the form of her works combining original poetry and photography. Officially released 12.31.14, the book is available through the publisher’s website, Amazon, iBooks (in ebook form), and at select independent bookstores. The book won Gold in the poetry category of the 2015 Feathered Quill Book Awards.
Cramer was born in Staunton, Virginia, and raised in Maryland. She attended
college and graduate school at the University of Maryland, earning a doctorate in physiology with a specialty in neuroendocrinology. She moved to Dallas -where she still lives- with her husband in the 1970’s to work as a scientist at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Her career path changed, and in the ensuing years she worked as a homemaker, grade school teacher, and journalist. She later worked in the non-profit arts business world in volunteer capacities and also professionally, overseeing the New Conservatory of Dallas, a prestigious music education organization, as the principal business administrator.
It was the urge to try something new that led Cramer down a path of poetic
innovation. “I’ve always loved playing with words,” she says, “and I’ve written a
lot of poetry in a variety of styles. When I first began experimenting with the
photopoem technique, I had a hard time finding the right approach. The balance of forces that exists in the photopoem format is fundamentally different than that of conventional poetry. The ideal flower, of which the poet speaks, is not here just any flower, is not the perfect flower; it is a flower that is strangely present and actual, and that affects the way you can write about it.
“My approach to photography has changed as well. I have found a new freedom
to take lots of different kinds of pictures, to exercise the versatile power of the
photograph to create not just views but spaces, however small, for the voice to
reverberate; spaces as varied as the experience of life itself.”