Inspiration – Words, Images, and Spirit in Dialog

The word, inspiration, is derived from the latin to breathe in. It shares a root source with the term spirituality indicating attention to the spirit or breath or source of life.

At Anawim Arts we have been paying attention to the inspiration of art in its various forms and how those forms influence each other. We want to promote the dialog between the written and visual arts as well as the capacity of those art forms to connect us to the breath or source of life.

Our recent Creating Space interview with the artist and poet, Dorothy Bury Shaw provided us with an excellent example of this dialog and now its our turn to enter more fully.

To begin, there are several practices to consider. (See links at the end of this page for more information.)

  • Lectio Divina or “Holy Reading” is an ancient practice of reading scripture with the “eyes of the heart.” This practice has also been applied to reading poetry.
  • In addition, there is the practice of engaging with visual art through Visio Divina or “Holy Seeing.” Both of these practices are a starting point for setting oneself before a text or image and paying attention to what is inspired in you.
  • Another form of dialog can be found in Ekphrastic Poetry or “vivid description” which is poetry that is inspired by visual art.
  • And although there is not a specific term for art inspired by poety, but there are many excellent examples.

Several members of the Anawim Arts International Steering Committee have accepted the challenge of engaging with a particular poem by Rilke (see related post) and we look forward to sharing their work in our community conversations forum. We welcome and challenge you to join the dialog through any of the practices mentioned above and to share your resulting written or visual art. You can reach us at to share your work.

Headerphoto: “we also saw the rainbow itself” – portion of the wall at the American Writer’s Museum edited in Brushstroke – Cari Shields


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