Those who knew the person will recognize the spirit, personality, character, and qualities of attention found in the poet being discovered here. Even those closest to her, who’d known the poet all along, lacked sense of the full scope, rich range & artistic achievement of makings she left behind.
Even she may not have known, living one making at a time, simply part of living, not of a literary or artistic ‘program.’ It becomes clear she respected & even loved the craft of whatever she did, especially the writing, but it was the substance & essence that drew her–sincerity, in some old Chinese texts, meaning without pretense; not the concept, but the practice of wholeness, attentive to what is (worlds within, around, connected).
Her visual artwork, especially later, was a kind of meditation, in this case a way of getting in touch, discovering, realizing, & expressing in outer color, movement & form what was primarily inner reality–visual, emotional, & dynamic. The variety is often startling–even more so in the writing just being discovered, one folder, notebook, page, pile at a time.
Only a small sampling or her writing has made it up on-site so far, most being transcribed (&/or, in the case of finely penned or brushed pages, scanned) into off-line files for organizing (in time; by type; for whom; on what; within musical & thematic sequences). A few who knew her well were familiar with her Basho-like gifts–gems of attention, sometimes called ‘haiku moments,’ a long practice, mostly in the background.
Fewer knew her deep love of music & dance, and of how both could play together in poetry. No one knew how many musical meditations, letters in poetry, or artistic tours de force she had completed, and then set aside in a drawer while going on with life. Like the natural world, the arts were part of living, nourishment received & experience shared. That was, of course, also part of her teaching–the art she practiced also as profession.
As a teacher of the ‘gifted,’ Virginia believed strongly that each & every child–as well as many, if not most, adults–, had been endowed with creative gifts, notable among them being the urge & capacity for discovery. Is it a song this little jumping spider is singing? She knew that looking closely was never a matter of the eyes only, or even primarily. Qualities of attention informed her science & poetry alike, while also expressing itself in ethical example, friendship & conservation–her network of relations.
People are accustomed to associating the sciences with discovery–those made in the past prelude to those all the more exciting on the verge of (& in the process of) just being made. Poetry, like sitting & walking in nature, or sharing with a friend, may begin with just paying attention, out of which discoveries happen as if by themselves. Poetry was one of Virginia’s vehicles for paying attention, making discoveries, and sharing with friends.
Now it’s we who get to make discoveries, including the excitement of finding a major poetic voice fully worth wider attention in its own right, for its own value to those who may appreciate such. Reinforced by the growing body of work, that discovery takes place in particulars–line, perception, craft, concept & experience of each part & whole.