A Night of Poetry

Cecilia Martinez-Gil isn’t just a poet–she doubles as a charismatic muse.

We first met on a weary Wednesday workday, my anticipation swelling as our appointment neared.  A colleague of my mother, I initially felt obliged to welcome her to an unknown city, but her vivacious voice on my answering machine later inspired a more innate curiosity.

Moments after arriving at her hotel, the quaintly historic Shafer Baillie Mansion, she burst from the bold oak door, embracing me with her magnetic smile and luminous eyes. Her petite figure engulfed by a red jacket and speckled wool cap, she resembled a local.  “Do you mind if we sit outside for a bit?” she asked, gesturing towards a set of Bistro-style chairs. After a week of bleak silver skies, the clouds had softened into white wisps, revealing a hopeful blue canvas and a hint of Vitamin D.  Thus, our conversation began outside while I finished photographing for one of my projects, the warmth of her accent dispelling the early evening chill of January Seattle.

We spoke of travel, love, and passions.  She, of Uruguay, with a softening tone that transformed a word I had always seen as awkward and fat into an unknown adventure, and of Brazil, Argentina, and Europa. I, of my grandfather and photography.  We traded tales for smiles, each exchange drawing me to the conviction that her poems would echo her enchanting energy.  And I was not to be disappointed.

Psaltery and Serpentines: a book of poems

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