Poetry | Birth of the Artist

By Anna Fischer, Senior Staff Columnist

Passing the threshold of her twentieth year

Woman must reckon with her place in the World.

Life praecox has been but a nascent rehearsal;

here and now the Gentileschi is born, painting herself

an Allegory, the heresiarch of art, for how can soft hands

give birth to such harsh chiaroscuro? 

Her aborted hopes seep from fingertips frenetically,

tumbling out from her loins, no man lays

claim to the title of benefactor of her art.


Passing the threshold of her twentieth year

Woman is free.

At the end of the first light, she rises, 

nude and beautiful and perfervid and brutish.

A prodigious metamorphosis. 

A metastatic duumvirate, infectious apostasy;

religion, science, reason and art of men

must reckon with this newborn nidus of humanity.

She demands respect and she will receive it.


At the inversion of dusk, the sun rises

on the Caravaggisti portrait of the artist 

as a young woman.

Allegory of Life,

She is born.


Anna Fischer writes about female empowerment, literature and art. She’s really into bagels. Write to her at [email protected].