Mindscapes is a 61-page poetry collection by Lee Woodman combining myth, magic, fairy tale, and ordinary life. Concurrent themes of rebellion and tenderness thread the work. The poems often start in familiar landscapes— the ocean, the moon, an airplane, the subway—but take off into mindscapes of the imagination. The subjects are universal (love, nature, dreams, fears, longings), venturing into the territory of the heart. Scary dogs, white lies, wild colors, and swimming with squid can remind us all that fantasy and beauty—no matter how strange or different—can be found in unexplored alleys and unexpected corners.
Lee Woodman is the winner of the 2020 William Meredith Prize for Poetry, the Atlantic Review International Poetry Competition MERIT AWARD 2021, First Prize in Carve Magazine's Poetry Contest 2023, and an Independent Press Award for Distinguished Favorite in Poetry 2023. Her essays and poems have been published in Tiferet Journal, Zócalo Public Square, Grey Sparrow Press, The Ekphrastic Review, vox poetica, The New Guard Review, The Concord Monitor, The Hill Rag, and Naugatuck River Review. A Pushcart nominee, she received an Individual Poetry Fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities FY 2019 and FY 2020. Her poetry collection, Mindscapes, was published by Poets’ Choice Publishing on January 9, 2020, Homescapes on May 22, 2020 by Finishing Line Press, Lifescapes on June 1, 2021 by Kelsay Books, and Artscapes on January 11, 2022 by Shanti Arts. Woodman is a longtime artist and media producer, whose radio and film awards include five CINEs, two NY International Film Blue Ribbons, and three Gracies from American Women in Radio and Television. She worked for 20 years in leadership roles at the Smithsonian, was Vice-President of Media and Editorial at K12, Inc., and Executive Producer at Lee Woodman Media, Inc., with clients including The Library of Congress, The World Bank, Public Radio International, NPR, and the Fulbright Program.
An early childhood in France and India through age fourteen sparked her love for language, art, theater and dance. She now lives in Rhinebeck, NY.
My favorites are poems based on paintings by Delacroix and Chagall. I particularly like the Delacroix because the poet imagines herself in the scene, at a dramatic moment, rather than simply admiring the work from afar. I look forward to reading this again.
How to say the obvious, I've know Lee for 50 years since college and have followed her adventures all these years. No one asks why read a poetry book when we have so little time, and the answer is because itis to ride on the chariot with the gods. The first two poems acquaint you to the matter at hand, rising from the ocean is the mystery, and associating with the gods, the elevation to matters of the divine. That being understood there are many poems of some alacrity of insight, oddly the poet is a woman so we gain the soft touch of love from a woman's senuous report, and a reminder of the odors of a harem, and children too, and many more thoughts revealed by the extensive work the poetess learned from years making programs for The Smithsonian all over the world, as if growing up in India was not enough to mold the round orb of her intuitions leading to expression. I have said, after reading Cento: The Self the Soul the Body (authors of influence), her poem Strange Currency is brilliant, and the finale Mindscapes, reassuring...but why spoil it? Get this for there are other poetry books coming to read.
Whether it is the arousing sensuality of “The Orchid,” or the haughty indifference of the goddess’s Shade In “My Dinner with Athena,” or the knowing innocence of “A Child Asks,” or the comic revulsion of “The Sweet Dirty Smell of Children,” Lee Woodman’s MINDSCAPES’s emotional and intellectual power startles the sunlight. I wallow in the lines and scape to the vibrant images between them. Emerson said, Poetry succeeds when it astonishes and fires us.” MINDSCAPES is a gift of both. BK
The poems are easy to read and still complex enough to challenge your imagination. I gave everyone in my book club a copy of this collection to read in parallel with selected novel. A lot of the discussion focused on the ways in which the poems created a different context for understanding the emotions and behavior in the novel.