This show makes connections between visual art and poetry to deepen our understanding of both.
We invite you to write poems in response to the images in this exhibition. Submissions of poems due by November 1. You can submit your poems here. Selections will be made by The Poets Corner and Gallery artists. Submissions are closed.
Thank you for the 170 poems submitted!
The 10 poems selected as Poets' Choice will be read on Zoom with The Poets Corner| 4-5:30pm Sunday, November 13, 2022
The 15 poems selected as Artists' Choice will be read In-person at Page Gallery | 1pm Saturday, November 19, 2022
Poets' Choice poets include Sheila Aldous, Matt Bernier, Beth Fox, Margaret Habermman, Anniliese Jakimides, Judy Kaber, Kathleen March, Robbi Nestor, Lindsay Rockwell, Nancy Sobonik, Meghan Sterling, and A Garnett Weiss. Read these poems at The Poets Corner.
Artists' Choice poets include Alison Angell, Sarah Bitter, Francis Boscoe, Katherine Brown, Andrea Lee Dunn, Margaret A. Haberman, Judy Kaber, Amy Lowry, Nancy Lloyd, Leslie Mathews, K.W. Perdue, Anita Poulin, Lindsay Rockwell, Nancy Wheaton, and Lucinda Ziesing. These poems appear below next to the art that inspired them.
What Holds Back the Light by Alison Angell
What a night to wake,
slight scent of peonies split open
by weight of late sun, and the air
hushed at last, stars bright
like dust in dusklight
as petals fall, a glove slips.
For a moment the moon,
although it is a freckle
of its size, holds behind its back
all the light of the sun. Even a small
thing standing aright
can turn back the push
of this bright for a while; even
a soul in the dark can hold still,
the weight of the day up ahead
held away, this early hushed exile.
Saccade by Sarah Bitter
I had wanted to tell you—
but then I remembered
—bending, the frozen
grass glittering and the sky
blue the sky that impossible
blue that happens to
New England in October. I wanted
to ask if you remembered
all that baby
that chicory weave of days. The last time
I saw that blue was
at the Shaker Village where beneath sutures
of cirrostratus I admired the old utopia,
slid my hands along split and polished
during that October
you hadn’t been dead long
—you hadn’t even asked
Anyway, I had wanted
to tell you how I went
to Edith Wharton’s house
and learned she wrote in bed
and tossed her manuscript pages
to the floor for someone else
to type up—because I knew you’d approve.
I wanted to tell you—but you—
that Edith had buried her dogs
in the most beautiful place—
view, sunbeams, trees turning
red and orange
against that blue sky—but I also wanted
to tell you her house
was deliciously fake.
A fake façade, some fake windows.
I knew you’d approve. This weft
of blue reminds me
it is late in the day late in the year.
Blue receding. No—
it’s the other stitch coming loose,
a dusty column of light,
there, then clouds.
What Lynn Knows About Her Namesake by Francis Boscoe
One, Ada Lynn Joplin was her great-great-great aunt
That's three greats
Her mother's mother's mother's sister, older by two years
Two, she died
In the Great Influenza of 1918
The same age Lynn was now
You are just doing normal stuff and then pow
You are drowning inside your own body
Three, she only went by Ada
But Ada Lynn sounds better
Four, Lynn's mom likes history and ancestry
Old stuff generally
She is the only Lynn in her school, maybe in any school
Five, Lynn's mom remembers her great-grandmother
How she still missed her sister
After sixty-some years
This means Ada is still a tiny bit alive
Since a person here today
Knew someone who knew her
Six, three things that belonged to Ada Lynn, passed down:
A photograph and two school books
In the photograph she is happy, no portent of fear
The family resemblance more or less clear
The books have her name penciled neatly, in cursive
Seven, Ada is who Lynn thinks about during the photo shoots
Tries to inhabit, even
The photo shoots can be long and slow
Arranging nine pins on a table just so
By which point the light has changed
But who else has a job like this?
Her friends work at the diner, mostly
Homage to the Mediterranean by Katherine Brown
Cyrus, Alexander, countless centurions
The beating, sloshing heart of empires
The alphabet was born on your shores
To Phoenician traders, ships low in your water
The vista of pharaohs and Minotaurs
Gibraltar standing guard
And here I lie
Warming on your sunny sands
To plunge into your cool arms
Blue Zone by Andrea Lee Dunn
No one here
worries the hem of a moment.
We don’t look over our shoulders
or play small—
palmfuls of sand
won’t be kept.
I’m remembering something.
Weren’t we meant to walk on water?
We are full of stardust and fungi.
We are salt kingdoms and galaxies
expanding and overflowing.
let’s stop turning our backs
Press breast and belly
to a liquid horizon
just in reach.
Embrace the blue bubbles’
greeting, foam peaks
kiss chin and cheek
then dance along and along.
Unstuck, we drift,
whether we stay
Black Oxford by Margaret A. Haberman
Gradually it is the apple trees
you remember. The luminous ordered
mess of a spring orchard back
in the Berkshires, west of Belchertown,
at the place called Two Tree Hill.
We lay beneath blossoms shimmering
at night and thought we knew something
about time and age, certain we could carry
the glimmer of the trees beyond that place
in our worn denim pockets.
And the hermit trees out near Deer Isle,
dwarfed by succession and neglect,
sour and mottled apples falling before
their time, a carpet of what’s left behind.
Still reaching, marking the path
of an abandoned farm. Stopping, listening,
hoping for an answer–that the old tree
will tell you how you got there.
Or the Black Oxford standing guard
at the home you were so desperate
not to leave. For decades we fought
against the things that made it weak–
picking off the strange beetles that dropped
to the ground as the shadow of a hand
came near; gently carving holes with the tip
of your knife into bark, dislodging unwelcome
bearers of fragility and disease.
That fall, before we left, defying the past,
the apples came in multitudes, spheres
of black burgundy, slivers of green, each
branch holding the impossible. You remember.
We sat in the grass just beyond, slicing
an imperfect fruit into little moons,
passing them between us, reveling
in the mix of sweet and tart and what it took
to get there.
Dream-deep in flannel pajamas Judy Kaber
Once my mother took my hair
in her hands, stroked it
with moth-fine movements
with a soft-bristled brush,
working well-deep love
into each strand.
Once she wrapped each thin
lock around a pink rubber curler
looking for waves like streaks
of sun in the tenderness
of who I was.
Once she braided tresses,
folding one over the other,
down and down, as if
she could capture harp-song
and drown my sorrow.
Now I find I don’t cut my hair,
Instead pull it back, cautious
trying to retrieve the warmth
and healing, binding it with a band—
red, yellow, blue, white—
joyful colors from my mother’s life.
Reaching for a Nightingale by Amy Lowry
Lucid dreaming in the house of the golden bracelet
Floating weightless in a rain of ash,
Chasing echoes of my past, tracing
Lines that I have not yet
Drawn in shades of celadon &
Egyptian blue in search of
The muse who was
After PE Multi 12 by Nancy Lloyd
fractured autumn light
your lustrous hues
pool green deeps from swells to forest walls
splash pale spring promises on coolest days
jump rouge reds from watery beds to living leaves
mist white cloud white
Deer Isle Thorofare by Leslie Mathews
Even in the heat of a Maine day as sun beats
On boulders and flies’ wings
A little bit of night
Is tucked in the forest:
A dragonfly’s iridescent dream.
Bright blue sky edges
Up to conifers standing
Shoulder to shoulder,
Whose cloak of purple blackness
Is stitched with lichen and
Scored with ashes of bonfires.
These rocks, whose grooves have been a salt lick
For the tongue of the sea
Stand steady and smoothed,
Basking in memories of tides, moonglows, and phosphorescence
Each leaving its trace in turns,
In a bit of clinging sea, sure footed, green.
The bright sea
The quiet forest.
Waves with Birds by Leslie Mathews
The sea rests
On the lip of the Earth
Offering itself up
In moon rhythms
This moment is spray
And wind and rising air
To be lifted
Sea and birds meet
As surely as rock and feather
Are inherent in one another
Blue Kitchen with Sweet Corn by K.W. Perdue
When my hose gets caught in the kitchen, it must be pulled up just so.
Visiting guests, locked us out of our bedroom
and so we can be seen changing our clothes in the kitchen
Next to the corn on the table
when the evening falls
and the sun ends its brilliant work of the day
The man with the blue hat is home
Bringing the paper
and parking his car out front
It's true I left the door open
Tempting fate, you might say.
Tree with Swing and Birds by Anita F Poulin
Spectacular— To Be Made from Marrow by Lindsay Rockwell
Spectacular— To Be Made from Marrow
the burning world
& how sun startles
black bottomed clouds
then sky becomes
catches my breath off-guard
& sun drenched too
sometimes I lie face up
in open water
& I count
& lose my skin
& as I reach for air
here & there
I only wish
I didn’t feel
the burning world so much
I swim & swim
in open water
how many times
my heart stops
Life on the Edge by Nancy Wheaton
I sense the necessity of life
in the woods. I need constant
reminders of the leaves in me
shimmering in the afternoon light.
More tangible than deadlines or visits
where I forget the smell of the applewood
or the birch or the waves that sprawl
and kiss the shore nearby. I am never quite
sure of anything unless I walk on discarded
needles. Unless I touch a trunk. Find a crow’s
feather. Know the great weight of life outside of me.
I return to cook dinner for a hungry husband,
feed the Labrador. I dither remembering
the pines; select orange linen napkins
to nourish the stained and sanguine narrow
beach of my heart.
Seaheart by Lucinda Ziesing
Seaheart, swaying in cool brine
way out above our heads
in the littoral zone.
Your wisps of rubbery rockweed
weave shelter for the herring,
Your alchemy purifies the ocean’s water.
You nourish our bodies.
Seaheart, with a cowlick of ultramarine,
you wake the longing for blue in us.
the more blue you become
the more you call us towards the infinite.
I’m looking through
your transparent chambers
to a rose dawn of the unknown.
You float in me so lightly at first.
A silver eel rolling in amniotic fluid.
I see your profile at 20 weeks,
so vulnerable and serene.
Your eyes shut.
Your tiny fists clutched to your chest.
A black and white portrait of the beloved
growing in me.
Seaheart, I know your place of origin.
We are of the same.
I too once breathed under water.