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A little over 30 years ago, I had a dream about the man who wrote the poems in this book. We had just met for the first time the night before, and in my dream, he said with the sweetest and most sincere voice, “I’m here, I’m here.” I responded with a touch of NYC sarcasm, “What took you so long.”
One could say the same thing about this artist’s book, but in reality, the time for it to arrive is just perfect, as was the moment that Bob arrived in my life. Neither of us might have noticed each other, even just a week earlier. We learned that when it’s time for a relationship to be born, it is, and when it’s time for an artist’s book to emerge from whatever recesses it’s been hiding in, it does. We hope you feel it’s timely. A new friend, an activist artist whose passions mirror my own, said to me after hearing about this project, “we need work about love right now; it’s a tonic for responding to the trauma we’ve been going through.” We hope the words and images percolate some healing medicine and inspiration for you the reader, and that you share it with those who need it. We also hope it generates more energy for the resistance needed to shift things so that future generations can thrive. These are precarious times, and that means everyone needs to step into their place as activists.
More about the actual content: I started painting and drawing these images in the summer of 2018, just after moving into my new studio in Tacoma, Washington, and a few months before Bob turned 70. I chose 70 of his poems to celebrate that turning point. The poems were input here as close to their original format as possible, thanks to Kelsey Fein’s assistance. Bob has been writing me poems to honor birthdays, anniversaries, solstices, Valentine’s days and other special events for the past 30 years, so there were lots of good ones to choose from. Bob has not published much his work for over 50 years, so it is time to introduce folks to his gift and to the images provoked by his gift.
Short bios: As well as being a poet, Bob is an activist, healer, scholar, loving partner and co-parent. He his finishing up his doctoral dissertation in social ecology at the University of Roehampton in London, UK. Beverly is an interdisciplinary artist, author, facilitator of interactive workshops and rituals, and a professor of arts for social change at the University of Washington, Tacoma. She is the author of Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame, as well as two other artist’s books. Her website is www.beverlynaidus.net . They are the parents of Sam who is pursuing a degree at the University of Washington, Tacoma.
Not Just Words: A 30-Year Exhortation to Love and Resistance was produced in Tacoma, WA, USA. This artist’s book was printed as a limited edition of 300 copies for subscribers in 2019 with the help of Cyra Jane & Phil Bevis at NorthWestBookWorks. For more information or to purchase a copy, please contact Beverly Naidus at firstname.lastname@example.org