The risk is a part of the rhythm. One steps out of and into balance; one keeps on doing it….
— Edwin Denby, “Forms in Motion and Thought” (1965)
The title Two Dancers refers to dancers in a pastel by Edgar Degas (1834-1917) and to two young contemporary dancers, all of whom inhabit these poems. Though much, including a century, lies between us, these poems explore some of those separations: between dancer and audience, for instance, the one stage-lit, the other in darkness, and between them at once the infinite space of desire (eros) and death (thanatos), and the intimate space of limitless creation and love. In summoning Degas as a collaborative presence, the poems accommodate a late 1800s’ sensibility in language and image within a contemporary freedom of sonnet form. As in Edwin Demby’s description of the dance step (above), these poems step out of and into emotional and other balances, within both the poems and the spaces between them. But dance—the dancer—is always discovered at the center of their resolve and resolution. Each of the three sections of the book begins with my translation of a Degas sonnet written during a period of advancing blindness when he had briefly given up painting. His poems are directives for my own envisioning of dance in poetry, which draws from myth (Orpheus and Eurydice) and the lives of the artists and performers who appear here.
Charles Bremer’s photography has been exhibited in galleries, museums and art centers both in the U.S. and internationally. His art includes a diverse range of practice from photography and drawing to outdoor sound sculpture installations, memorial plazas and architectural projects. His his work explores a synthesis of the natural elements, the human body, architectural form and beauty. He has been responsible for creating numerous exhibitions on the theme of environmental forces and issues, as well as for designing unique educational programs. He lives and works in Otego, NY. He recently completed two terms as president of the Upper Catskill Community Council on the Arts, and oversaw the acquisition and restoration of the Wilbur Mansion as a home for the Council.