Wolfram Alderson with his mother Cella

Photo of Cella taken by Jasper Wood

We come here to love and to learn.

Cella Coffin

Cella Coffin (My mother – photos to the left and below…)

My mother struggled through her life challenges and manic depression with poetry and writing as her constant companion and self-implemented mental health program. As a single working mother of three children, my mother was an “outsider” to the mainstream of society. Her poetry and her many forms of artistic expression captured my attention and imagination and taught me to cope with my own life challenges and sadness in a similar fashion. I was, after all, born on her birthday.

My earliest memories in life were crawling around the artists’ studios (Adja YunkersRaphael and Moses Soyer, and others) where my mother modeled for painters in New York City.

Her poetry and art inspired me over and over again, creating moments of magic and places of rescue. She painted over our kitchen walls, and filled our lives with poetry and art. I’m not sure if I would have become an artist if it weren’t for her – but I do know she inspires me over and over again. If I lack inspiration, I just dip into some of her poetry, or remember they way in which she venerated artists like Kenneth Patchen. There are a number of links on this website with references to her:

In the museum of primitive art



Bus Song



Cella with a painting given to her by Adja Yunkers
Painting of Cella by Raphael Soyer
Painting of Cella by Raphael Soyer
Painting of Cella by Yolanda Gonzalez
Cella in blue by Raphael Soyer
Nude by Raphael Soyer
Cella – Glamour Pic
Portrait by Raphael Soyer

…my belief is that this poet who never wrote a word that was buried at the crossroads still lives. She lives in you and in me, and in many other women who are not here tonight, for they are washing up the dishes and putting the children to bed. But she lives, for the great poets do not die, they are continuing presences…

Virginia Woolf