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Topic: Stephanie Bolster

On Stephanie Bolster's "Les Beaux Jours (1937)"

(How Poems Work, March 2006)
This poem stayed with me for days after I first read it: the overriding image of blue, Bolster’s restrained use of language, the sharp image of the greed of artistry.
The poem was inspired by a portrait by the same name by Quebec artist, Jean Paul Lemieux. Les Beaux Jours (1937) details an afternoon with his new wife, the painter Madeleine Desrosiers, in Charlevoix. The painting was praised for its harmony of colours in the blue-green palette, as well as the frankness of composition. The poem echoes this aesthetic, capturing not only the tranquility of the work, but also the assumption of intimacy effused within it. Here, Bolster uses understated lyricism–“her scarf,/ flicker of summer maples against river”–to portray both the beauty and the tenuous relationship between husband and wife.