Hymn to the Chesapeake by Robert P. Arthur and A. Aubrey Bodine
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The Chesapeake region has inspired and nurtured humanity for millennia. Long before the crossing of the Mayflower to this region, native Americans lived in harmony with the bounty of the land and seascape. The Pilgrims sought refuge in the new country when they landed in the marshes of the Chesapeake. Challenged by the thick forests, the climate, disease, the incredibly strong nature, the early settlements nearly died out. Humanity has been drawn to the natural beauty and bounty of the Chesapeake for as long as we can remember. Pirates, settlers, presidents, inventors, artists, poets, writers, musicians, farmers, fishermen, immigrants, people seeking refuge, livelihood, homestead, a way of life, their place.

            Robert P. Arthur grew up in Melfa, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and Norfolk, Virginia, and is the author of over twenty books, including poem plays, poems, and plays, many of which focus on the Chesapeake Bay region. His works have been performed nationally and internationally, notably in St. Petersburg, Russia. He was a finalist for Poet Laureate of Virginia in 2008 and 2010, and is a Writer in low Residence at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. He has taught Creative Writing at the University of Richmond, and other Virginia colleges, and has won awards for poetry, plays, poem/plays, novels, short stories and criticism. He currently lives in Virginia Beach with his wife, Gray, and currently serves as an Executive Director of the Poetry Society of Virginia. This special edition of Hymn to the Chesapeake is a full realization of the author’s vision. Begun in 1973, and first  published by Road Publishers in 1991, it became the best-selling book in the history of Road Publishers. This new edition contains new works conceived over the past twenty years, along with revisions, and numerous additional photographs by A. Aubrey Bodine, whose work inspired much of Arthur’s poetry.

            It is inevitable that the words of arguably the Chesapeake’s finest poet should come together with area’s finest pictoralist. Bodine “painted” with his camera rather than using conventional photojournalism; he a favored soft focus analogous to Arthur’s remembrances and was, likewise, a romantic rather than an objective chronicler. A pictoralist’s first concern is to  create fine art rather than producing hard-edged photographic records. Bodine worked from 1927 to 1970 for the Baltimore Sunday Sun; its Sun Magazine became his gallery. His genius in the darkroom is legendary. He liberally retouched elements of his photos, deepened shadows, manipulated images. Viewers of his work are sometimes surprised that elements of his compositions are altered or come from diverse sources. A cloud hovering over Baltimore might actually be from Maine. A lowing sky may be fitted over choppy water. Workers on a dock are made to look heroic, like bronze statues caught moving. Bodine exhibited his work in an astounding 30-plus foreign cities and countries, won numerous major awards, and in 1965 had a one-man show in Moscow. One notes that Bodine’s fame as a fine artist was achieved by displays of his work in a newspaper, which seems barely conceivable.

            Personally, the Chesapeake is for me, a place of removing barriers, exploring frontiers, self-expression, personal freedom, self-actualization, celebration of nature and friendships. With this in mind, I give you Arthur and Bodine’s “Hymn.”

  • ISBN13:: 9780933316454
  • Item #: 2000
  • Manufacturer: Rolling Olive Press

Hymn to the Chesapeake by Robert P. Arthur and A. Aubrey Bodine

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