Friday, November 5, 2021

Here’s to Corita Kent and PLORKING!

My website's beginning words declare,

“Lucky me! I spend my days doing what I love and loving what I do.”

Little did I know, until I read Matthew Burgess’ and Kara Kramer’s Make Meatballs Sing (Enchanted Lion Books, 2021), the picture book biography of Corita Kent, I was plorking!

For those unfamiliar with this artist, educator, nun and activist, as I was until I read this gorgeous and spirited biography, Sister Maria Kent of the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was born Frances Elizabeth Kent. She served the church for 30 years, especially as an art teacher, and took the name Corita Kent at age 50 in 1967 when the Catholic church released her from her vows.

A new adventure beckoned.  New work awaited.

"Corita,” Burgess writes, “was serious about PLAY. She believed the best work is done when play and work are one. She even created a new word: PLORK.”

As in PLAY + WORK.

Corita believed makers – i.e. plorkers - are a sign of hope.


What could be more hopeful than the rainbow LOVE USA stamp the United States Postal Service commissioned her to make in 1986?

                       (UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Hammer Museum)                                

I quickly learned, from visiting the website of the Corita Art Center in Los Angeles and reading the book Corita Kent co-authored with Jan Steward, Learningby Heart – Teachings to Free the Creative Kent (Bantam Press, 1992/Allsworth Press, 2008): Plorking and making are all about becoming and the Joy - with a deserved capital “J” – that process brings.

As Matthew Burgess shared in his Author’s Note, “Corita invites us to discover the spark of spirit within the most ordinary things.”

To do so while working can only bring play.

See and listen for yourself.

Lucky me to be a plorker!

Happy Plorking to YOU!

Esther Hershenhorn


I’d been reflecting on “play” in various and sundry ways, thinking on this post, when I fortuitously came upon Make Meatballs Sing and Corita Kent’s newly-invented word plork.

No wonder I find joy in what I do, I realized!

For most of my Little Girl Years, I played school and library.  I imagined my way into becoming a teacher, a librarian, a children’s book author. 😊


Thanks to Tabitha Yaetts at The Opposite of Indifference for hosting today’s Poetry Friday.


Sarah H. said...

Thank you for posting, Esther—I was a little familiar with Corita Kent because of her printmaking work, so I'll be interested to read this book. Good video, too!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Esther. I never heard the word "plorking" before. I look forward to reading this book to learn more!