Archives for category: Art


Patrick T. Reardon discusses his poetry collection, Requiem for David (Silver Birch Press, February 2017) and other writing in a Chicago Sun-Times feature published on July 20, 2017. Find the insightful article here.

Listen to a related podcast at this link.

Photo by Rich Hein, Chicago Sun-Times

The Last Muse
by Jacqueline Kirkpatrick

Pablo met Jacqueline when she was 27 and he was 72.
Though Picasso was known for having many mistresses, he only      married two women.
Jacqueline was the second.
In their 20-year relationship he created more than 400 paintings of her.

Down Chris’ right arm is my nickname, “Que.”
On the inside of Jon’s right arm is “Jack” in a heart.
He also has the sign of Cancer (my astrological sign) on his back.
He also has the date of our anniversary on his inner left arm.
Though he later covered it, Robert had the sign of Cancer on his      sternum.

An ex once wrote a song for me. It was simply titled, “I’m F-ing Your      Girlfriend.”
Another ex wrote a song about my name. It was called “Jacky.”

He called to tell me he felt like he was dying and that I had to come over to help him. I skipped class. I rushed over. He was kneeling in only a
t-shirt over the Bible opened in the middle. He had painted my face on one side and a bloody fetus on the other. He apologized, wiping acrylic paint down my arms, and told me that he couldn’t live without me.
I forget who I am.
I often look at myself through the eyes of those who look at me.
I don’t know where I am.
I don’t know how I got here.

And then they come
And I have purpose.
And then they leave
And I am alone.

IMAGE: “Jacqueline with Flowers” by Pablo Picasso (1954).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was named after Jackie O. but I never identified with her or even considered her as someone I’d ever relate to. At 13 I watched a special about Pablo Picasso, and I was introduced to the woman who inspired hundreds of his works — Jacqueline Roque. Since that documentary, I have had an obsession with the woman who became, but, more importantly, stayed Picasso’s muse until his death. To have that power to inspire is quiet a beautiful, striking thing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jacqueline Kirkpatrick is a MFA graduate from The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York. She has recently published in Creative NonfictionThought Catalog, and The Rumpus. Follow her on Twitter @thebeatenpoet or at

bathing-woman miro
Same Name — Sort Of
Joan Miró and Me
by Joan Leotta

As a child
when introduced to Miró’s work,
I thought he was a woman.
After all, his name was Joan.
My name.
I did not reckon with the Catalan
spelling of the Spanish, “Juan.”
As an adult, learning of
my mistake
invoked laughter and a study
of Miró at various DC museums.
I felt a bond with this
Catalan nationalist artist
through our almost-same names.

On a recent mother-daughter
jaunt to Turkey
my daughter booked for us—
writing, as always,
Joan Leotta, as her travel mate.
When we arrived at the hotel,
obviously mother and daughter,
our hotelier was visibly embarrassed.
“We made up a double bed,”
he mumbled.
We laughed at the mistake.
It’s ok, Mom and I can share,” she told him.
I agreed.
By the time we reached our room,
I realized what had happened.
Miro had taken his revenge!
On seeing the name, Joan
The hotelier,
More a fan of art than U.S. spelling,
The clerk had thought me, male!
Jennie and I chuckled.
Miró had taken his time,
but the great artist, so thinly related to me by name,
surely now was enjoying the last laugh!

IMAGE: “Bathing Woman” by Joan Miró (1925).

Jennie and Joan Leotta in Ephesus, Turkey, 2015

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I thought and thought about famous folks with my name. Sadly, I do not feel much of a connection with my patron saint — I have not been toasted for any cause. I was not named for Joan Crawford. Then I recalled that for sooooo many years, even after learning Spanish, I had thought Miro to be a woman! Not a fan of abstracts, I did not bother to investigate very much — for many years. It was not until I lived in Washington, DC, and visited several exhibitions of his work that I realized his spelling was the Catalan version of the Spanish “Juan” and that his most abstract works were a form of social protest. So, I came not only to know about him, but to love and appreciate his work — all because of our “shared” same name. And, truth be told, this past spring in Istanbul, I did truly wonder if the great artist was “tweaking me” for all the years I had thought him to be a woman.

PHOTO: The author (left) and daughter Jennie in May 2015 during their mother-daughter trip to Turkey.

joan leotta2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Leotta has been playing with words since childhood. Joan recently completed a month as one of Tupelo Press’s 30/30 poets. She has published or has work forthcoming in Red Wolf, A Quiet Courage, Eastern Iowa Review, Silver Birch Press, and Postcard Poems and Prose. Joan also performs folklore and one-woman shows on historic figures. She lives in Calabash, North Carolina, where she walks the beach with husband Joe. She collects shells, pressed pennies, and memories.  Visit her at and on Facebook.

by Michael Dwayne Smith

Because the painting has a life of its own,
he said,
I try to let it live. I glanced up
and watched the way in which Pollock was trying to do.
I think so, yes, in which he
wipes paint off
to begin again.
Pollock, a marvelous carpenter, built
several false starts before he hit this use
of foreign matter . . . not unusual in his work.

Would you
continue various objects?
I think so . . . possibilities,
it seems to me,
it seems to me
very much relate to contemporary painting.
I noticed over in the corner
something done.
Something about that?
He scattered onto the surface
mentions in his narration,
embedded very thick
wire mesh, glass pebbles, shells, string and plain glass.

A week to dry.
Squinting my eyes to Pollock’s house
and replied I wanted to show the artist at work
with his face in full view.
I sometimes lose a painting
but I have no fear of changes, because a painting
has a life of its own.
I finally figured out
how to lie on my back and photograph him from below.


Poem title: “A comment Pollock was known for—‘No chaos, damn it.’ He telegraphed Time magazine after they wrote some blurb about his ‘chaotic’ paintings.” Quoted from James Coddington, Chief Conservator, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in online interview.

 Poem body: “Through a Glass Brightly: Jackson Pollock in His Own Words,” Helen A. Harrison, New York Times, November 15, 1998.  The Harrison interview includes excerpts from Hans Namuth’s essay, “Photographing Pollock,” in Pollock Painting (Agrinde Publications).

IMAGE: Jackson Pollock photographed by Hans Namuth.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Process is what fascinates me, always has—even a hundred years ago in high school when I painted canvas and murals—so it’s natural enough to be fascinated by Pollock, and Marianne Moore, Frank O’Hara, any artist who happily abandons a conventional approach to work. This piece allowed me again to try and get at some small part of the man while trying also to get at some part of the observer. In other work, I’ve spent some time trying to translate Pollock’s “action painting” techniques into my own use of language; the quotes I plucked for this piece point to my own struggle to teach myself this invented process.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Dwayne Smith is publisher and editor of Mojave River Press & Review. Recipient of both the Hinderaker Prize for poetry and the Polonsky Prize for fiction, his work appears in excellent journals like The Cortland Review, burntdistrict, San Pedro River Review, Word Riot, Stone Highway Review, Monkeybicycle, decomP, and >kill author. His latest poetry collection, Happy Good Time News, is a collaboration with graphic novelist Evan R. Spears (forthcoming, Devils Hole Press). He lives near a ghost town in the Mojave Desert with his wife and rescued animals. Online he haunts and

by Daniel McGinn

The new needs need new techniques,
new ways and new means of making
the atom bomb, the radio, the culture,
the strangeness will wear off
and we discover
I think not look for
but look passively
and not bring what they are looking for

Paint it liquid,
the brush doesn’t touch the surface,
it’s just above
I don’t use the accident—
‘cause I deny the accident—
it hasn’t been created, you see
I have a notion of what I’m about
and what the results will be

SOURCE: Jackson Pollock interview with William Wright (1950).

IMAGE: Abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) at work in his studio. Photo by Hans Namuth.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniel McGinn‘s work has appeared numerous anthologies and publications, his full length collection of poems, 1000 Black Umbrellas was released by Write Bloody Press. He recently earned an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He and his wife, poet Lori McGinn, are natives of Southern California. They have 3 children, 6 grandchildren, two parakeets and a very good dog.

author bio circa 2014
by John Grochalski

john grochalski lives in brooklyn, new york
with his long-suffering wife,
the poet and novelist, ally malinenko
and their 15 year old cat, june
who simply refuses to leave this plane of existence

when he isn’t listening to every subtle nuance of noise
made by neighbors, vehicles, barking dogs, and garbage men,
or being distracted by the wide variety of internet porn made available
grochalski attempts to write poems, stories, and novels

subsisting on a diet of pizza, tacos, coffee, beer, scotch,
and cheap chilean red wine
grochalski works full-time as a public librarian
which has only served to lower his opinion of librarians
and the general public as a whole

dealing with a mild case of OCD
grochalski refuses to believe that that the oven is off
and the windows in his apartment are truly shut

he has traveled extensively in europe
coming to the conclusion that every place is different
in exactly the same way

grochalski often confuses trapped gas for heart attack pains

he believes beyond a shadow of a doubt
that the founding of the united states of america
was some kind of cruel joke played on humanity

in his spare time he hates children, teenagers, republicans,
democrats, hockey, onions, 21st century american art,
cell phones, and anyone who calls him a luddite for hating cell phones

he thinks the work of hans fallada
is currently the bee’s knees

IMAGE: “The Drinker” by Billy Childish (1996), influenced by Hans Fallada‘s novel The Drinker.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press, 2013). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he constantly worries about the high cost of everything.

by Carol Berg

Should I go running today? Should I
climb trees? When should I shower

and how much time should I spend on
the computer? How much time should I spend on

my son? Keep trying to teach him how to tie
his shoelaces but I get so impatient.

It doesn’t get done.
I tell him the laces are too long.

But I am baking the bread today mixing yeast
with warm loving water adding sugar and salt

for the yeast to feed on change into bubbles
like laughter under water and then the King

Arthur’s Flour, no, wait it’s the on-sale crappy
flour. Three teaspoons equal one capitalized

tablespoon since I lost our only silver
measuring spoon. Threw it away, probably, in the trash,

mixed in with beet skins and egg shells.
There is a wire fallen down onto our mailbox

an electrical mistake. If only our bills
would catch on fire sizzle and snap into something

I can’t possible send back. Consider all downed wires
to be energized the National Grid website says and oh if only I were

considered as dangerous when I was down.

IMAGE: “Gizmo 2” by Leah Saulnier. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carol Berg’s poems are forthcoming or in The Journal, Spillway, Sou’wester, Redactions, Pebble Lake Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and Verse Wisconsin. Her most recent chapbook, Her Vena Amoris, is available from Red Bird Chapbooks.

by Tamara Madison

This body is the vehicle
by which I navigate the world.
Here is a photograph
of its younger self
crouched on a rock.
Those feet are the feet
by which I have always
trod the earth, but the photo
was taken before living
had given them
bunions and fungus.
The hair that falls
in a hazy fan
down the shoulder
is this hair before it took on
shades of silver and gray.
The face in the photo
is turned away, watching
the winter sun drift down
behind the mountains
while the future
crouches behind the rock,
waiting to climb up
the young back,
this same back with the turn
in its spine which forms
the little hump where
for six decades I have stored
my slights and sorrows.
My body’s scaffold of bones
is the same, but all the cells
are brand spanking new.

IMAGE: “Red Hills, Lake George” by Georgia O’Keeffe (1927).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tamara Madison teaches English and French at a public high school in Los Angeles. Raised on a citrus farm in the California desert, Tamara’s life has taken her many places, including Europe and the former Soviet Union, where she spent fifteen months in the 1970s. A swimmer and dog lover, Tamara says, “All I ever wanted to do with my life was write, and I mostly write poetry because it suits my lifestyle. I like the way one can say so much in the economical space of a poem.”

by karla k. morton

I am more Roman than Greek;
one-tenth Neanderthal;
in love with the white wardrobe;
the toga,
laurels tied to dark hair;

acres of olives;
vineyards older than
all ancestors.

I dream in mosaics –
bits of pottery and shell
pieced into lions;
the cool blues and greens
of tiny squares;

the transience of pearls
at my neck;
a belief in gods who chariot the sun
across the sky;

drawing up words
in endless buckets
from the wells.

Were we gods ourselves,
we wouldn’t bother
with such simple tools –
the alphabet, the ink, the papyrus

but late at night,
the stars begin to hum;
the moon rounds her mouth
and whispers
everything she’s ever seen.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wake every morning excited about the possibilities; wondering what miracle will reveal itself throughout the day. Always there is something – a glimpse of lizard changing from black to emerald; a research pearl; a poem that gets stuck in my head. It’s the blessing of being able to do what you love – the excitement of a blank sheet of paper; words pulled down from the sky.

IMAGE: Roman mosaic of young woman, available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: karla k. morton, the 2010 Texas Poet Laureate, is a Councilor of the Texas Institute of Letters and a graduate of Texas A&M University. Described as “one of the most adventurous voices in American poetry,” she is a Betsy Colquitt Award Winner, twice an Indie National Book Award Winner, the recipient of the Writer-in-Residency E2C Grant, and the author of nine collections of poetry. Morton has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, is a nominee for the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and established an ekphrastic collaborative touring exhibit titled: No End of Vision: Texas as Seen By Two Laureates, pairing photography with poetry with Texas Poet Laureate Alan Birkelbach. Morton’s work has been used by many students in their UIL Contemporary Poetry contests, and was recently featured with seven other prominent authors in 8 Voices: Contemporary Poetry of the American Southwest. Her forthcoming book (her 10th), Constant State of Leaping (The Texas Review Press), arrives Fall, 2014.

Author photo by Bill Mackey

self-portrait as Salvador Dalí
by Jax NTP

rationing out mistakes, you must devour them slowly,
and you must systematically create confusion — it sets
creativity free. the way a blank book seeks the writer
for a long-term relationship. the Metamorphosis
of Narcissus, the hands cupping a soft-boiled egg,
strangulating sexuality. supported by the privity
of osseous for crutches, the female coccyx exposes
seven tantric drawers — each compartment
is a disambiguation of tikkun olam — how to surrender
the need to know.

emmenez-moi au bout de la terre. il me semble
que la misère — serait moins pénible au soleil.
take me, not the Burning Giraffe, i am the drug.
take me, not the melting Camembert clock,
i am the hallucinogen. the urgency of optical illusions,
the human skull consisting of seven naked women’s bodies.

to preserve my madness from oblivion: there are days
when i think i am going to die from an overdose
of satisfaction. intelligence without ambition
is the Woman with a Head of Roses, Madrid
without the architectural peninsula — where
skeleton ships become men and men become voyages.

false memories are the most authentic. redolent
of nightmares, not dreams, embalm the broken
portico of your heart before delirium plants elephant
on stilts. Language is a source of misunderstanding — forged
in a kiln that cannot go north after summer. act the genius
and you shall become one. if you understand the painting
beforehand, you might as well not paint it.

IMAGE: Salvador Dali with a starfish on the beach in Cadaques, Spain (c.1960).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jax NTP holds an MFA in Creative Writing – Poetry from CSULB. Jax was the former editor-in-chief of RipRap Literary Journal and associate editor of The Fat City Review. Jax has an affinity for jellyfish and polaris and a fetish for miniature succulent terrariums. Visit her at