Wisdom of the Heart: Book Review

Diana Coogle and Barbara Kostal

native american picture writing
The image represents a petition sent to the United States government by several Native American peoples.  The figures represent the petitioning tribes.  Approximate date: 1920. This image and further explanation may be found at: Wikimedia Commons, Wells American Indian Picture Writing. png


The authors of “Wisdom of the Heart,” Diana Coogle and Barbara Kostal, offer a vivid palette of verbal and visual art. Their response to stimuli is visceral, although it is evident that both women bring to their experience a honed sensitivity.

As Barbara Kostal (the painterly half of this collaboration) explains in the Introduction, her influences are many. These include, significantly, Native American traditions. I found the paintings with Native American symbolism to be the most memorable. That is my organic, not my intellectual response. I revisited several of these paintings as I perused the book. Among those that impressed me most were “Fiat Lux” and “Transcendence”.

Diana Coogle offers a verbal counterpoint to each of the images painted by Kostal. Coogle does not analyze the pictures intellectually. She allows them to find a place in her psyche and her heart. She is clear that her responses are the product of experience and intuition. While the reader may bring a different perspective to the art, Ms. Coogle’s observations enhance appreciation.

“Wisdom of the Heart” is highly personal. What makes the personal expressions in this book relevant to others is the intelligence and sensibility of the authors.

I recommend “Wisdom of the Heart”. Even the most determined pragmatists will find, after spending time with this book, that they have enjoyed peace and inspiration. That is time well spent.


A. G. Moore  July 8, 2017

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