The snail shell has become my talisman — a visual representation of how slow the writing process can be. An affirmation that it is not only okay to take my time revising, but essential.
I call the photo “Poem by Snail Light.” In 2004 during my first residency at The Hambidge Center in Rabun Gap, Georgia, I spent as much time photographing and drawing as I did writing. I wanted to explore how the processes interacted for me. One of the benefits of a residency is time to explore what feeds your art. And what feeds mine is time to look, walk, frame images, play with words on the page, and read. This is one of the many photos I took during that month. One of the few that has survived in constant use since then, though I often revisit images from my residencies there in 2004 and 2010. Particularly images of the Anagama Kiln Firing.
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Leatha Kendrick lives and works in Kentucky. She is the author of four volumes of poetry, the most recent one, Almanac of the Invisible (Larkspur Press, 2014). She co-edited Crossing Troublesome, Twenty-Five Years of the Appalachian Writers Workshop and wrote the script for A Lasting Thing for the World—The Photography of Doris Ulmann, a documentary film. Her poems, essays and fiction appear widely in journals and anthologies including What Comes Down to Us – Twenty-Five Contemporary Kentucky Poets; The Kentucky Anthology—Two Hundred Years of Writing in the Bluegrass State; Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia, and I to I: Life Writing by Kentucky Feminists, and others.
She leads workshops in poetry, life writing, and writing to heal at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington, KY, as well as at workshops and conferences in Kentucky and elsewhere. She is at work on a novel that centers on sisters, small town life, relinquishment and adoption.