Dreams of the Turtle King: Poems Inspired by South Florida Beaches
You can find so much more than just sand on the beach. You can find people, animals, interesting and unusual objects, and occasionally, deep thoughts! In this collection of free verse poems, Denise Bossarte takes you on an adventure to explore the things you can find on the beach. Each poem's imagery is reflected in a paired watercolor illustration by award winning artist Nancy Standlee.
It had always been my dream to publish the poems I had written on my walks on the beaches of South Florida.
While living in Florida, I often went out walking on the beaches before the crowds arrived, when I could experience the beach intimately without having to avoid stepping on sunbathers!
I found particular images would grab my eye, and I would walk along the beach composing poems to capture the imagery.
Once I had enough poems composed that I couldn't remember any more that morning, I would go home and write them down.
I didn't want to use pencil and paper while walking on the beach but would let the poem be formed and edited in memory to keep the process part of the overall experience of the morning.
This was long before I became a serious photographer or learned about Miksang Contemplative Photography. I now know that these images were Miksang "flashes" and the poems were Contemplative poems.
Many years passed before the world of publishing became independent enough I could self-publish my poems.
I wanted to have illustrations for each poem. I decided against photographs, because (1) there was no way to easily recreate the images through photographs so many years later, and (2) I didn't want the reader to have a photograph that might be too "solid" and replace the imagery that the poems brought to mind.
When I saw Nancy's posts of her journaling in watercolors, I knew that I had found just the artist to do the illustrations for my book.
Such lively colors, so detailed, yet whimsical!
I reached out to Nancy and we worked through how to do the book. We were both novices at creating a book, so we just figured it out as we went along.
Nancy was doing a 30 paintings in 30 day challenge so the 24 images for the book fit right into that challenge.
She did research into each poems' subjects, like sea turtles, and worked to align her watercolors with the individual poems.
Quite a daunting task, but she was wonderfully successful. I've had people say they don't know whether the poems or the illustrations came first!
Once Nancy was done with a number of paintings, she mailed them to me to have a local printer do a high quality scan, then I mailed them back.
She was able to offer the originals for sale on her website and I had the images for the book.
I bought the cover image as soon as I saw it, as it was done in stunning color and metallic paints!
A local graphic artist friend of mine helped me put together the book cover which included the painting of Nancy's of the Turtle King, and Nancy and my head shots.
She was able to match the colors in the Turtle King painting perfectly to create a beautiful cover for the book.
It was published as a soft copy book and a Kindle e-book, both available on Amazon.com
It was really a dream come true to see the beautiful book that Nancy and I created out there for the world to read!
Reviews from Amazon.com
"Having been raised on the beaches of Southern California, I found myself back there through the eyes of this author and artist. I received DREAMS OF A TURTLE KING in my Christmas stocking. Such a little treasure chest of dreams and memories and sand under my toes."
"I grew up near beaches and both the author and illustrator captured the scenes and thoughts of beach life. As I was reading the words and looking at the lovely watercolors it even brought to my mind the sounds of the waves rolling in from the ocean. Lovely book Denise and Nancy."
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