Glass-blowing is at least one thousand years old. The tradition of glass defines the island of Murano which lies across the canal from Venice. Glass, to me, is magic and fascinates me. It’s a substance that is indefinable really. A molten liquid which is blown by mouth, spun by hand, baked in a furnace until it becomes a solid. Yet it is a solid that is fragile, often transparent, and can be amongst the most exquisite, ethereal objects known. Giampaolo Seguso comes from a family who, for more than six hundred years has created glass. Born in Murano, his father Archimedes and his uncle Angelo were the creative force who preceeded Giampaolo. Giampaolo is a passionate creator of glass and, it turns out, of words.
I was honored to attend a reading of his poetry book, The Home of the Heartbeats, on May 9 at the Italian Cultural Institute in NYC. To my amazement, each poem has its own piece of glass with the poem etched on the object. Seguso read about fifteen poems from the book and the pieces were on display. He is as passionate about his words as he is about his craft.
My favorite poem and piece of glass is SNOW. Here is a line:
Later, by the stove, we crumble our minutes amid smiles, staring eyes and embraces.
Another is I ATE MANY CHERRIES which starts: I ate many cherries in my grandfather’s garden…
He not only ate cherries in the garden, he learned his craft generation after generation. It amazes me and leaves me in awe, jealous that he has always known who he is and what he could be. He spoke of seeing himself as one in a long line of relay runners, passing the torch, one to another.