I recently started a new job with West Virginia State University as the “Extension Service Interim Assistant Director for Development” — long title for fundraising and marketing.
It feels good to be back on campus — the place I wrote Valley Girl, A Poem For Pia inspired by the juxtaposition of a chemical plant and college. It was here, at WVSU that I started to develop a passion for environmental issues, in fact it was a class assignment that I wrote Valley Girl, the poem.
Because of that class assignment (thanks Dr. Ford-Ahmed) the Director of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC) was present and published my first poem in the OVEC newsletter. Thirteen years later, I serve on the OVEC Board.
Things come full circle – or maybe there is a lesson here at WVSU I missed as a student and am back again. I’m not sure where this road is going, but everyday as I pull into the parking lot I recognize (again) the sheer genius of another WVSU alum – the artist for my book, Heidi Richardson Evans.
I totally am, for sure to the max, a Valley Girl.
Heidi Richardson Evans is a Valley Girl too, she’s also a fine artist, designer, and blogger, who created both the cover art and poetry text layouts for my book.
Heidi says, the cover art is a “Chemical Valley Sunset” and is a composite drawing of chemical plants in “Chemical Valley,” in Kanawha County, WV with textures of oil slicks and metal corrosion and acidic colors against natural textures. She used this technic to illustrate the tension in WV between industry and the environment.
Heidi is amazing, she “gets” me and I love working with her because it’s an intuitive process for us. And, she loves paper and text as do I. She explored typography in the interior of Valley Girl- she is very well known for using digital fonts and hand lettering in her art to create a visual expression of the rhythmic patterns in my poetry.
The interior text was important to me because I needed her visual expression of rhythmic patterns for people to “get” my cadence on the page. We used text and font like musical notes to clue the reader. We made music with Valley Girl.