Woman with a Fan: On María Blanchard
poems and essays by Diane Kendig
Poet and writer Diane Kendig’s Woman with a Fan is about Spanish painter Maria Blanchard, a contemporary and friend of Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera, Juan Gris, and other artists in Paris in the early twentieth century. Feminist critics have recently resurrected her reputation on the grounds that it was overlooked due to her gender and disability, and her most famous painting, Woman with a Fan, now hangs next to Rivera and above Guernica in the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid. Kendig’s book presents eighteen poems as well as three essays to broadly explore the complexities of Blanchard’s art and life. Several full-color plates of Blanchard’s art are included, expanding this book’s visual appeal to artists, art enthusiasts, collectors, and the curious.
ART / General
ISBN: 978-1-951651-85-5 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
Diane Kendig has worked as a poet, writer, translator, and teacher, and has authored four poetry collections, most recently, Prison Terms. She also co-edited the anthology In the Company of Russell Atkins, a tribute to the ninety-three-year-old poet and musician. A recipient of OAC Individual Artist grants and awards from Yaddo, the Fulbright Program, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Kendig has published poetry and prose in journals such as J Journal, Wordgathering, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and Under the Sun. As an undergraduate, Kendig studied English and Spanish and lived a year in Segovia, Spain. She began her college teaching career at Cleveland State, then taught at the University of Findlay for eighteen years, founding its creative writing program, including a prison writing program. She taught translation at Central American University in Managua, Nicaragua, after publication of her collection of Nicaraguan poet translations, And a Pencil to Write Your Name. After living ten years in the Boston area, Kendig moved home to retire in Canton, Ohio, to be with her father, who died in 2019. She bought the house he built himself when he returned from WWII. There she is writing again, alongside her husband, Paul Beauvais, and her Scottie, Robbie Burns Beaudig, and she curates a web blog with four thousand subscribers for the Cuyahoga County Public Library. dianekendig.com dianekendig.blogspot.com
“In this focussed collection, Diane Kendig uses her poems like a fan to foreground, flourish, and underscore the life and work of María Blanchard. Friend to Picasso, Gris, Rivera, but less lauded, less recognized, Blanchard worked to overcome her poverty, gender, and disability. Artist, not housekeeper; friend, not lover; creator, not muse; Blanchard makes her place. As she says to a younger artist, ‘Take another canvas and go further with the same subject.’ Kendig reminds us ‘how far art can take us,’ her shining gauze of words shifting over Blanchard's oils: ‘It's a line that unfolds to a staircase, / a keystone that spreads into an arc—-central, womanly.’”
“About María Blanchard, the woman, one could underline her almost heroic courage and that she was always ahead of her time. As an artist, to be modern, she was just true to herself. There was no imposture in her, nor in her work. Kendig’s book pays tribute to the powerful expressiveness and the humanity that emanates from Blanchard’s.”
“The visionary paintings and the remarkable life of María Blanchard have inspired poet Diane Kendig to produce some of her most engaging and insightful work yet. And, as befits a book so enveloped in artistic obsession, I look forward to returning to these pages often.”
Sandra J. Lindlow, Review, Kaleidoscope Magazine, Summer/Fall 2022, page 65
Diane R. Wiener, Review, Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature
“Interview with Diane Kendig: Woman with a Fan (On Maria Blanchard),” Ekphrastic Journal, September 4, 2021
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