The newest installment in Welcome Books' Art & Poetry series, Love's Exquisite Freedom pairs the lyrical grace of Maya Angelou with the exquisite art of Edward Burne-Jones. Angelou's poem of love's transcendent power finds a striking, sensual complement in Burne-Jones, a star of 19th century Britain's Aesthetic movement. Burne-Jones continually examined themes of love, while persuasively arguing for the value of art as an object of beauty. Fittingly, many of his works incorporate depictions of angels in various guises: as manifestations of love, redemption, and guidance, even as the Roman god Cupid.
In Love's Exquisite Freedom, Burne-Jones' contention that art reveals a "a light better than any light that ever shone" is tempered by Angelou's naturalism and earnestness. The combination is an enchanting, powerful exploration of the redemptive quality of love and the unbidden pleasure of emotion. Works featured in the book are exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Harvard Art Museum, among others.
"Touched by an Angel"
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
- Maya Angelou
Excerpted from Love's Exquisite Freedom by Maya Angelou. Copyright © 2011 by Maya Angelou. Excerpted by permission of Welcome Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
"Readers expect superlative performances from celebrated writers and artists when they present new works to the public. The most recent publication in Welcome Books' Art & Poetry series, Love's Exquisite Freedom, a love poem by Maya Angelou paired with artwor by Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones, exceeds those high expectations. It is a treasure, a feast for eye and ear...Love's Exquisite Freedom is a glorious book, one destined to lift readers' spirits each time they revisit it."
- Foreword Reviews