Sharon Lia Robinson/Sharonah Robinson
Experimental art, poetry, dance & film
I have always been on a pilgrimage. I have been a poet and a pathfinder my whole life.
My life has followed an unconventional path. As I share aspects of my life and creative work, my hope is that you will find some inspiration here, for your own journey.
My 1984 Master’s Degree from Goddard/Vermont College is in Theater and Creative Dance, with an emphasis on creating innovative roles that honor the lives of full-figured and unconventional women, such as myself.
Two DVDs about my life and work as an artist, My Journey Toward Wholeness (a memoir) and Edge of the Sea Gallery (1998-2003) ( a documentary of my former alternative art center) may be of interest for you.
I live in Port Townsend, Washington.
My creative life is influenced by my connection to nature, Spirit and the inner healing journey.
Additional themes reflect living as a full-figured woman, social and cultural marginalization, and early childhood loss. I have been been writing poetry, plays, essays, and fiction since the early 1970′s. The search to reclaim a sense of place, a sense of presence, and a meaningful way to connect with others often informs my work.
Inspired by cat companions, Simon and Simone and by work as a nanny, I also write short stories and poems for young children.
I was born in Santa Monica, California. At age ten, while living in a Methodist children’s home in La Verne, California, I attended the local Jewish Temple Sunday school. There I met Rabbi Michael and Ruth Robinson and their two young children. I became part of their family and later that year, we moved to Croton-on-Hudson, New York.
In 1973, I returned to Santa Monica, where I was a catalyst in the early years of the fat women’s liberation movement.
Between 1973-1977, I wrote essays and poetry for Sister! a Los Angeles feminist newspaper.
During these years, Vivian Mayer and I collected early drafts of the pioneering anthology Shadow on a Tightrope (writings by women on fat oppression). My poetry and essays are included in the book. The anthology title Shadow on a Tightrope is from a line in my poem, “whoever i am, i’m a fat woman.” (I wrote under the pen name Sharon Bas Hannah at the time).
Between 1974-1979, I connected with several Jungian therapists, and attended Jungian seminars in Los Angeles, California, in New Haven, Connecticut and Cambridge, Mass. The process of Jungian psychology became an important experience for helping me to discern my authentic self. I began to feel more self-validation in my creative writings.
During this time, I began to focus on my poems, creative dance and short stories, rather than journalism.
In 1976 I also wrote The Shadow of Fat, inspired by integrating Jungian concepts and body image. This unpublished five page essay is a unique Jungian perspective on looksism. I feel it is an important perspective. I would like to let people know that the essay is available. I will send a copy to anyone interested.
In 1977, I discovered the poetry of Paul Eluard and other writers. I began to feel that I am more of an artist than a political activist. I began to see myself more strongly in that light.
In 1978, having been accepted into the theater program at Goddard/Cambridge School for Social Change, I moved to Somerville, Massachusetts. My graduate work there focused on writing plays and poetry to empower full-figured women and to heal my own self-image. I also studied Middle Eastern dance and began to perform and teach. In 1984, I completed my Master’s Degree in Theatre and Creative Dance.
My archives are in The Schlesinger Women’s History Library, Radcliffe College, under my pen name, Sharonah Robinson. The collection there includes the early drafts of Shadow on a Tightrope; my 1984 Master’s project (Three Plays and Notes on Dance); poems, short stories, journal notes and DVDs.
I also donated to Radcliffe a copy of Esalen Journey (1986-1987), the journal I wrote during my four month stay at Esalen Institute. I continue to donate more of my writings to this collection, with gratitude that my work has “a safe home.”
More interests include:
I have worked for many years in the area of dance and self-healing, with a special emphasis on creating a supportive cultural atmosphere for all people, to give ourselves permission to experience the joy of creative movement.
Most recently, I have shared my poetry and creative dance in spiritual settings for celebration, prayer and meditation. This artistic expression is a form of prayer.
I have occasionally worked with musicians, for my plays and poetry. Sometimes, there have been either spontaneous or rehearsed performances.
There are song-poems in some of my plays, and I am interested in working with musicians to develop and to co-create the music for my words. The possibility of having a CD of my poems with music also interests me.
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My short stories and plays often reflect the lives of people who are unconventional outsiders, the search to find acceptance, and our mystical journey toward wholeness and spiritual redemption.
My poems and writings have been published in Minotaur, exhibition, The Higher Source, Talking Leaves, Perspectives (a journal of conscious living), Northwind Anthology, Shadow on a Tightrope, Fat Oppression and Psychotherapy, online, and in other journals related to the arts and healing.
In 1995, I traveled to India on a spiritual pilgrimage to visit the of Avator Meher Baba Center. I went to Meher Baba’s tomb and visited with His close disciples. After this journey, I began to exhibit my visual art and to reclaim that creative aspect in my life.
I have collaborated throughout the years with photographers to document my life. Beginning in 1997, (and ongoing), I collaborated with photographer Steven R. Johnson on Rubenesque Landscape, with photography by Steven and poetry by me. We have shown this collection in galleries and art centers, including Edge of the Sea Gallery and Centrum/Port Townsend, Washington.