Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Take Heart – A Winter Solstice Poem

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Hart to Heart  Carol Wax 2023

Every December I eagerly await the small white envelope arriving in the mail with exquisite handwriting that lets me know it’s the annual Solstice poem from Carol Wax, an extraordinary artist who makes her home in Peekskill. 

Wax, who originally trained to be a classical musician at the Manhattan School of Music, fell in love with printmaking. After a brief music career, she began engraving mezzotints and became a professional artist/printmaker when renowned print dealer Sylvan Cole asked her to exhibit at Associated American Artists Gallery. In the ensuing years she has expanded her repertoire of mediums beyond printmaking into other works on paper and painting. 

Earlier this month, she was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art signing the updated second edition of her book, “The Mezzotint: History and Technique” which was published by Schiffer Books. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York and Boston Public Libraries, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Library of Congress, and Smithsonian American Art Museum are some of the illustrious museums where her prints are on display.  

There is a rich tradition of artists making holiday art, especially among printmakers. Wax celebrates the season by creating Winter Solstice prints. Early on, she created images using the mezzotint engraving process, but in 1998 she began etching her designs into copper plates that could be printed in relief, much as one would print a woodcut or linoleum print.

 Wax told the Herald she challenges herself each year to compose an image containing three elements: snowflakes; deer; and the color blue. “Rather than feel constrained by these self-imposed parameters, I’m continually fascinated by the endless possibilities,” she explained.

 Inspiration is drawn from a wide array of sources. Some years her images reference current events, as in the print Missing Peace, that was created in the wake of the World Trade Center tragedy, or as in the following year’s print, Glad-Tide-ings, which reflects her move in 2002 to Peekskill. In other years, friends suggesting titles, patterns on a silk tie, or deer prints in the snow have sparked ideas.

Wax describes Dr. Seuss as her favorite poet – which explains her rhyming schemes. In her 2022 poem, “All Things Considered”, she invited the reader to consider what they saw when they looked at deer: 

This year’s poem, Take Heart, sums up ways to increase light as the darkest days of the year slowly diminish.

About the Contributor
Regina Clarkin, Editor and Publisher
When the Peekskill Herald weekly newspaper ceased publishing in August 2000 it was the first time in the history of the city that there wasn’t a local newspaper.  The award-winning weekly was often referred to as the ‘glue’ of the community. Founded on January 9, 1986 by Regina Clarkin, Kathy Daley and Rich Zahradnik with a $7,000 credit card line, the paper filled the void created when the daily Evening Star was sold to Gannett and moved out of town. Founding publisher Regina Clarkin continued to live in the Peekskill Cortlandt area and turned her attention to other life endeavors.  Through the ensuing 19 years, Clarkin was frequently stopped in town and asked when she would start up the Herald again. In January 2019, Clarkin decided it was less labor intensive to deliver a weekly blog than a print newspaper so she began posting one story a week about life in Peekskill. After a successful crowd funding campaign in 2020, the Herald was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in July of 2021. Peekskill Herald is a digital relative of the former print edition, featuring many of the favorite aspects of the beloved Peekskill Herald such as old pictures, personality profiles and well written stories about newsworthy events. Regina Clarkin is the editor and publisher of the site. Photo by Joe Squillante