Archives for posts with tag: Jackson Pollock

by Jennifer Finstrom

The woman my father is dating wants
to know what the teacup in a poem
I wrote ten years ago means. I don’t do
a good job of explaining it to my father.
I try to tell him how truth works in poetry
and how the speaker of the poem might
not even be the poet but might be
someone else, a fictional character or
a figure from history. I tell him that
the teacup is metaphorical, not real,
and that it is one of several details
chosen to work together to create
the world of the poem. He also asks
about the spindle, and this, I say,
alludes to Sleeping Beauty. He doesn’t
ask about the men in the poem, but I
think that if he did, I would try to lose
them in the wall of thorns gathering
around my explanation—after all,
that is where I have left them, anyway.

IMAGE: “The Tea Cup” by Jackson Pollock (1946).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Finstrom teaches in the First-Year Writing Program, tutors in writing, and facilitates a writing group, Writers Guild, at DePaul University. She has been the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine since October of 2005, and her work appears in After Hours, Cider Press Review, Midwestern Gothic, NEAT, and RHINO, among others. In addition, she has a poem forthcoming in The Silver Birch Press The Great Gatsby Anthology.

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.