Archives for posts with tag: Artists

georgia-okeeffe-red-amaryllis-c-1937
Treasure
by Mary McCarthy

Last night I missed my favorite gold chain
The one with the crab charm
We bought first time at the beach
And I took the house apart
Room by room
Unable to believe
It was gone

Sorting through pots and seeds
In the cellar
I found my last year’s Amaryllis
There in the dark
Where I’d left it cut back down
To the bulb
And forgotten

It had put up a long
Pale white stem
And a huge half open
Silk-red flower
Disregarded
Without light
Without water

Resurrected from its own root
waiting for me
like a pledge
of unexpected hope

IMAGE: “Red Amaryllis,” painting by Georgia O’Keeffe (1937).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem thinking about how we spend more time mourning losses than celebrating discoveries, both large and small.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary McCarthy has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. Her work has appeared in many online and print journals, including Earth’s Daughters, Gnarled Oak, Third Wednesday, and Three Elements Review. Her echapbook, Things I Was Told Not To Think About, is available through Praxis magazine online. She is grateful for the wonderful online communities of writers and poets sharing their work and passion for writing, providing a rich world of inspiration, appreciation, and delight.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The photo was taken during a break in our recent house-hunting expedition.

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What I Would Have Missed
by Gillian Nevers

That boy will come to no good in the end. Maybe, but
he was good in the beginning. Exuding this James Dean
persona, he was irresistible. He didn’t talk much, but
I didn’t want talk. It was enough to lean into him, press
my face against his back, feel his nipples harden
under my palms. The wind and full-throttle throb
of his bike blocked all admonishments.

It didn’t matter that he had a girlfriend. That night
on the golf course, the air thick with insect sound, the
sky sprayed with stars and us, folding and unfolding
into each other convinced me he would leave her.

I ran wild that summer: staggered into work late,
hung-over with love; broke curfew; just about broke
Mama’s heart. Some would say I lost my bearings.
That’s what you’re supposed to do at seventeen.
Otherwise, wouldn’t life be like always eating the olive,
but never drinking the martini?

SOURCE: “What I Would Have Missed” first appeared in Pirenes Fountain (October 2009).

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken in April 1961, in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. It was my junior year in high school, and I had just turned 17. I was appearing in the Spring play Our Hearts Were Young and Gay.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Several years ago, I was invited to write a poem in response to a work of art in “Poems for the Wicked,” an exhibition at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. I spent a Sunday afternoon strolling through the exhibition, looking for just the right work to inspire a poem. Earlier in the week, my writing teacher had given the class a prompt to take a cliché and turn it into something new and “fresh.” Several clichés were running through my head as I moved through the galleries, but when I came upon “Sin With Olive” (1970), a lithograph by the artist Ed Ruscha, one cliché popped out “like a flashlight in the dark.” *  —  That boy will come to no good in the end. This is something my mother used to say about some of the boys I went out with. Or, wanted to go out with, but was forbidden to. I was also forbidden to ride on motorcycles. Images of “Sin With Olive” can be found on the Web. Like many of my poems, “What I Would Have Missed” a combination of fact and fiction.  There was a boy with a motorcycle, and I was forbidden to ride on motorcycles. My mother never knew I rode on motorcycles, because I didn’t tell her. And, I really didn’t run wild enough, so as to break her heart.  There was a night, with a boy who had a girlfriend, on a golf course many, many years later, but it wasn’t the same boy.  It’s a composite. So, I guess it’s fiction influenced by fact!  In today’s parlance it could called “alternative facts.”

* Part of a note, from Ed Ruscha, in response to my sending him a copy of the poem.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Gillian Nevers’
poems have appeared in Silk Road, Miller’s Pond, Wisconsin People and Ideas, Pearl, Pirenes Fountain, Verse Wisconsin, Oak Bend Review, Right Hand Pointing, Architrave Press, Merida Review, and several other print and online literary magazines and anthologies. She won second prize in the 2008 Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters statewide poetry contest, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2011. Gillian teaches writing to adults as part of a team of teachers with the Road Scholar “Exploring the Writer in You” program. She also writes poetry with third and fourth graders in a local elementary school and is a guest poet/instructor at The Greater Madison Writing Project’s summer camp. Gillian lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband, Dan.

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Straw Hat
by Kerfe Roig

I don’t remember
why I bought it. A straw hat.
I painted myself
wearing it: young, jaunty, full
of optimism. Moving
on to other dreams
beyond, past the unrealized,
I lost that self. My
self in that moment, that hat,
in that portrait. Who I was.
And now I draw on
memory. An inexact
rendering of time,
the intersection of lines
reaching forward and then back.

IMAGE: “Straw Hat,” self-portrait by Kerfe Roig.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’m working on 100 self-portraits inspired by other artists. This block print was based on a print by Vanessa Bell. When I saw her image, I immediately thought of the now-lost self-portrait I had painted in my twenties, a young woman in her straw hat. I tried to reproduce the feeling of it that remained in my mind, now wearing the hat on my present, much older, face.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kerfe Roig enjoys transforming words and images into something new. Follow her explorations on the blog she does with her friend Nina: methodtwomadness.wordpress.com.

AUTHOR IMAGE: “Self-portrait” by Kerfe Roig.

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Art Shrine
by Robbi Nester

In one corner of the living room we’ve made
a kind of family shrine, memorial to my family’s
efforts in the arts of painting, sculpture.
There on the stairs we’ve hung the painting
of my grandfather, Wolf Horvitch,
as a young, if balding man in spectacles,
an early oil by my great-uncle, Isaac Rosenberg.
And there, Wolf’s death mask,
product of no shaping hand but death’s,
its rough brown surface, like a spackled ceiling,
stormy sea, preserving his expression
better than a photograph could do.
Death is my relation too, my link to all who breathe,
an artist of a sort, whose practiced hand
lays bare the scaffolding beneath the skin.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Painting (left) of my grandfather Wolf Horvitch by my great-uncle Isaac Rosenberg and death mask (right), Wolf Horvitch.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This prompt (and others’ responses to it) set me to thinking about what objects I could not do without, and have brought with me over the years from one place to another. I settled on these things. It’s true there is more than one, but together, they make up a constant in my life, an “art shrine” that celebrates my family on my mother’s side.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robbi Nester is the author of a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012) and a full collection of poems, A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014). She has edited two anthologies, The Liberal Media Made Me Do It (Nine Toes, 2014) and Over the Moon: Birds, Beasts, and Trees—celebrating the photography of Beth MoonHer poems, reviews, essays, and blog posts have appeared in many journals, anthologies, websites, and weblogs.

Author photo by Charles Hood. 

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Old life adieu
by Mark Andrew Heathcote

When I was 9 yrs old, we moved house, upped sticks
Leaving the city for the countryside
I was brought along like the candlesticks
Unwanted baggage, I was petrified.

With nervous excitement I said goodbye —
“Old life” and welcomed a new beginning.
I’m going to climb huge oak trees and pry —
Into nests, my insides were now grinning.

With heart pumping, jumping out of my vest
I’ll chase brown butterflies and dragonflies
And like Huckleberry Finn I’ll digest
The stars the streams the forest as it sighs.

Wasn’t this going to be an Adventure—?
On arrival, it was my dreams come true
No parents or dumb teachers could censor
Old life adieu — off to the fields I flew.

IMAGE: “Dew Drenched Forest [England]” by John Everett Millais (1890).

HEATHCOTE

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR/
FIRST-PERSON BIO: 

Well, I was born in Withington, Manchester, one of three children; I was the eldest and the only boy. We lived in a three-bed terrace house with no bathroom or indoor toilet. I lived there until the age of nine and was a quiet and unhappy child, but that changed when the family moved to the countryside, where I then had the freedom to explore nature at first-hand. I spent much of my free time climbing trees and swimming in lakes and rivers, making rope swings, stuff like that. I was looked on as a kind of Tarzan figure, that’s how all other kids saw me. I was never academic and was years behind all the other children at school. I struggled badly in high school and didn’t learn a great deal. I left school at age 16, taking dead-end jobs on local farms and then in factories. I left home at age 17 —  by then, there had been a messy divorce and relationships weren’t good all round and haven’t improved all that much since. So I moved back to Manchester, where I’m still residing now and have done ever since. I’m a father of five and for the past 14 years I’ve be employed as a learning disability support worker. I write a lot of poetry in my free time and enjoy music and gardening.

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into the spiral
by Kerfe Roig

shells singing
whispered memories
returning
calling me
I fall into the spiral
drifting with the tide

DRAWING: “Beach” by Kerfe Roig.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Weeks at the beach include longs walks with a bucket for shells or other gifts from the sea. I also take my sketchbook down to the beach and draw. Both the shells and the drawings help me keep the magic of the ocean in the city when I return home.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kerfe Roig enjoys transforming words and images into something new. You can follow her explorations on the blog she does with her friend Nina: methodtwomadness.wordpress.com.

Author portrait by Kerfe Roig. 

okeeffe_1958
Skill in Need
by Jacalyn Carley

I imagine
working night’s whetstone, honing
somnambulant pleasures —
falling asleep.

I imagine
dropping anchor in night’s harbor,
quieting unruly passengers in the brain —
waking up eight hours later.

IMAGE: “Ladder to the Moon” by Georgia O’Keeffe (1958)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was inspired by the prompt, pure and simple, thinking it might be possible to make poetry from restless sleep, to squeeze an iota of text from the sweats and doubts, the flotsam and jetsam, of bad nights.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jacalyn Carley is a writer, teacher, and former choreographer who lives in Berlin, Germany. She is On-site Director for Sarah Lawrence College’s Summer Arts in Berlin program, and has had poems published in Borders, Silver Birch Press, Painters, and poets.com. She has authored four books (all only available in German translation) and is working on a full-length collection of poems about the nude.

Hands of young potter
Throwing a Perfect Pot
by Tobi Alfier

IF I had an imaginary skill it would be as an artist. I would wear flowered sundresses and sandals, braid my hair, and have a booth at the long-gone Whole Earth Marketplace where I would throw pots all day. I would take them to my aunt, the REAL artist, for glazing beauty and then to a studio that rented kiln space. I would sell my work for what amounted to ten cents an hour, make friends with all the other hippie-types with their VW vans and a dollar fifty-two in their checking accounts, say “yes, I saw Ghost” a hundred times a day to all the “real” people coming to shop, and be perfectly happy. I would trade a bowl for a pair of dichroic glass dangling earrings, shave my legs never, and sing Joni Mitchell songs, or all the songs to Hair, in my head as my hands got strong and the clay did my bidding.

PHOTO: “Making a pot” by Best Photo Studio, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’m still a bit of a hippie. I still know the words to most Joni Mitchell songs and most of the songs to Hair. But the art is gone. Others in my family are blessed that they can call themselves artists. I can’t even pick out paint colors.

talfierABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. Current chapbooks are The Coincidence of Castles from Glass Lyre Press and Romance and Rust from Blue Horse Press. Down Anstruther Way is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press. She is the co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).

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Reincarnation
by Lee Parpart

To pluck words
from air like
winter grapes
shot through
with noble
rot, knowing
I’ll land every
line with the
pungent
clarity of a
Bordeaux
muscadelle.

To delight
party guests
with jaunty
ragtime riffs
when festivities
start to flag,
and to have
a good joke
ready in
French,
Russian, or
Cantonese
in case of
bored
Péquistes
or dull
visiting
diplomats.

To re-start
the wild
staccato
heart of a
struggling
passenger
somewhere
over the
Atlantic,
arriving at
Heathrow
a modest
hero, and to
cut a lean,
straight line
pirouetting
en pointe for
assembled
fans.

Only ten,
maybe twelve,
more turns
around the
board,
assuming
steady
forward
momentum
and no more
lives spent
rolling karmic
dung across
an endless
Serengeti.

IMAGE: “Scarabs” by M.C. Escher (1935).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: It would take a lot of lives to master all of the skills I greedily imagined in response to this prompt [lumped together under the single skill “reincarnation”].  And although the dung beetle is depicted here as a low point for a human facing the possibility of reincarnation, dung beetles are hugely beneficial insects, reducing greenhouse emissions and helping farmers by burying animal waste. I could do worse than to spend a couple of lives rolling poo around the desert.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lee Parpart won a typewriter in a Scholastic Inc. fiction contest in high school. It was a real workhorse, and she used it to write a bunch more poems and short stories, only to run away from creative writing at 18 after a guy in his forties who had published a couple of books invited her to lunch, insisted she try frog’s legs, and informed her that the prose sample she shared was “not great.” She recently returned to poetry and fiction after admitting both were central to her happiness and realizing she was insane to have listened to frog leg man in the first place. Her poems and stories have appeared in Hegira and Silver Birch Press, and her academic essays on cinema and TV have appeared in numerous books and journals. See leeparpartpoems.wordpress.com.

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By popular request — including from members of the Nancy Drew Sleuths fan club — we have extended the submissions deadline to Sunday, 5/22/16 for our NANCY DREW ANTHOLOGY.

Since her 1930 appearance in The Secret of the Old Clock, amateur sleuth Nancy Drew has inspired generations of girls — including this one — with her moxie, intelligence, determination, but most of all independence. After 86 years, Nancy Drew is as popular as ever — with avid fans around the world.

Let’s celebrate this female icon and role model with the NANCY DREW ANTHOLOGY: A Collection of Poetry, Prose, Art & Photography Featuring Everyone’s Favorite Female Sleuth. 

WHAT: Poetry, prose, paintings, drawings, photographs, and other work inspired by Nancy Drew.

TYPES OF WRITTEN MATERIAL: 

  • Poems (up to three — either original work or found/erasure poetry based on a Nancy Drew book)
  • Short stories (up to 2,000 words)
  • Essays (up to 1,500 words)
  • Creative nonfiction (up to 2,000 words)
  • Short plays or screenplays (approximately five typed pages)
  • Other literary forms (up to 2,000 words)

TYPES OF VISUAL MATERIAL (send jpg files of at least 1MB):

  • Photographs
  • Collage
  • Paintings
  • 
Drawings

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Sunday, May 22, 2016

ESTIMATED RELEASE DATE: Summer 2016

HOW TO SUBMIT: Please email written entries as MSWord attachments (title the file with your last name, e.g., Smith.docx or Jones.doc) and visual entries as jpg attachments to SBPSUBMISSIONS@gmail.com, along with your name, mailing address, email address, and one-paragraph bio written in the third person. (If submitting a found poem or erasure poem, provide the title, edition, and publication date of the Nancy Drew book. If the erasure is taken from one page, please also provide scan of original erasure.) For all submissions, write NANCY in email subject line. (Note: If you don’t have MSWord, send the submission in the body of your email.)

PAYMENT: Each contributor will receive a copy of the Silver Birch Press NANCY DREW ANTHOLOGY.

NOTE: The submissions will appear exclusively in a printed edition and will not appear on our blog.

SHOUT OUT: A heartfelt thank you to Jennifer Finstrom, whose poem “Nancy Drew’s Guide to Life” in our ME, IN FICTION Series and the subsequent enthusiastic feedback we received about it from readers, inspired this collection.

Cover image by Elizabeth Stark, used by permission. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: NANCY DREW is a registered mark of Simon & Schuster, Inc. This book and the contents thereof are not endorsed by, sponsored by or affiliated with Carolyn Keene, the author of the NANCY DREW series or its publisher Simon & Schuster, Inc.