Bardic Poetry and Artwork Exhibition

The Seven Spiritual Gates

Bardic Poetry and Artwork Exhibition

by Joseph S. Plum

Three Questions:

1) What do you/we mean by wild?

Wild is a lightening strike
from within a smile. A question
whose answer is balanced
all the while on your ability
to decide what impulses coincide
with elements derived from within
the Mother Ocean of our natural mind.

2) What changes are needed for us to live within the bounds of sustainability?

We must create personal ceremonies
to connect through the seven spiritual gates
to our own ancestors and spiritual guides.
These are the gates where poetry
becomes incantation and we are opened
to the possibilities of guidance for how
to live more sustainably with Mother Earth
and be present in nature.

3) How can we create a wilder, more beautiful, more biologically diverse, and a more enduring Mississippi River Watershed?

By aligning our life with the seven spiritual gates,
we can model how to live a clean, sustainable
lifestyle that exists in harmony with nature.
By making changes within our own hearts,
we can make changes within Iowa,
the heartland of the continent.
These powerful heart changes,
it will lead to changes in the extremities
surrounding the heart,
encompassing the Mississippi Watershed,
the main artery of America.

Summary of the Project

Poet and artist, Joseph S. Plum will create a series of seven paintings with quotes from his Bardic poetry. The paintings and poetry will explore how the concepts of wildness, sustainability, and biological diversity work together to create a communal artistic space. The paintings will be shown in a public exhibition, which Joseph will attend and be available to speak with the visitors. Joseph will ask the visitors how they relate to the paintings, and then do a series of Bardic poetry performances based on the public’s relationship with the paintings.

Each of the paintings will represent one of the seven spiritual gates. Each painting has a corresponding human kind directional color. And, each painting also has a corresponding spiritual guide. Lines of Joseph’s Bardic poetry will be incorporated into each painting to be used as an open doorway that will illustrate us as individuals to the spiritual community as a whole.

The painting size will be approximately 12×16 inches, vertically aligned. The seven gates and corresponding colors and spirit guides are as follows:

  1. West Black Thunder / Turkey Vultures
  2. North White Ancestors / Wolf
  3. East Yellow New Beginnings / Deer
  4. South Red Milky Way / Birds
  5. Earth Green Feminine / Stars
  6. Sky Blue Masculine / Clouds
  7. Internal Purple Self / Karma

Artist Bio

Joseph S. Plum is a direct descendant of Cherokee Grandfathers and Welsh Bards. He lives in rural Southern Iowa within a group of trees, where he composes and presents poetry of original nature. Joseph has been composing Bardic poetry in the forest for over fifty years. He lives in a small cabin without running water or electricity, and maintains a sustainable lifestyle based in the natural environment he calls home. Joseph has eight books of poetry published with Dreaming Deer Press, and has presented his poems in live performances across the United States and Wales.

In addition to being an accomplished poet, Joseph is a talented artist. His artwork has been used for the cover art of his poetry books, and spans decades. Joseph hopes the future will move his artwork from a private to a public forum. He envisions a new series of seven paintings representing the seven spiritual gates.

Visit Joseph’s Website


Equipment including artwork canvases, paint brushes, paint, sealant spray, artwork hanging materials, and a display arch on which to hang the artwork will be needed to complete the project. The artwork /poetry exhibition will be displayed at a minimum of three gatherings across Iowa that will be free and open to the public, or any specific attendance that is part of receiving the grant. Each gathering and reception will be booked in diverse locations so as to serve a diverse population of Iowans. Gallery and reception expenses are anticipated, as well as travel expenses for Joseph to travel and stay in each of the Iowa towns.


Painting Supplies: $500
Display Arch and Artwork Display Items: $500
Travel: $150/mileage + $100 lodging x 3 receptions = $750
Joseph S. Plum: 7 paintings x 10 hours per painting = 70 hours x $25/hr = $1750
Reception Rental and Gathering Food: $500 x 3 = $1500
Total: $5000