Exhibition | Art and Ekphrastic Poetry

October 19 - November 19, 2023

The third annual Art and Ekphrastic poetry collaboration between Page Gallery and the Poets Corner. 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 are closed. Thank you for the 165 poems submitted! 

Poems selected as Poets' Choice will be read on Zoom with The Poets Corner 4-5:30pm Sunday, November 12, 2023

Poems selected as Artists' Choice will be read In-person at Page Gallery | 1pm Saturday, November 18, 2023

Poets' Choice poets: Charles Becker, Sarah Bitter, Margaret Haberman, Judy Kaber, Elizabeth Kuelbs, Cynthia Reeves, David Sloan, Maya Stein, Anna Warrock, Lucinda Ziesing. Read these poems at The Poets Corner.

Artists' Choice poets: Peg Bettcher, Isaana Chrispin, Marie Den Bosch, Kay Elmore, Chrys Hahn, Michelle Holland, Emily James, Hayden Lyman, Flynn Mitchell, Licia Morelli, Karen Hand Ogg, Whitney Schmidt, Amy Ralston Seife, Anna St Aubrey, Maya Stein, Lucinda Ziesing. Read these poems below.

See past poetry and art pairings here - 2022 Artists' Choice, 2021 Artists' Choice2021 Poets' Choice.

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Artists' Choice Poems

J.T. Gibson, The Back End of the Ocean, 1/5, kiln cast glass, 9x9x3"

Layers of Time
by Peg Bettcher

If only it was simply the back end of the ocean
Not just the middle of nowhere or somewhere in between
How could I believe it would last

Your marbled canyons might lead to new beginnings
Slippery and slivered with paths to troubled musings
How I could have seen what’s past

The sediment of the frosted mountains
Building layers of sacred lessons soon forgotten
How I believed this was ever ours

The volcanic rock cutting tunnels
Pulled taffy of confusion and direction
How I thought all was counted hours

I though time was a straight line
Swimming towards the shore or entering through the surf
Past the horizon to the distant land

Could we meet again at the back end of the ocean
Where time will swirl us around making all the present
A new day before it crumbles like sand

Nathaniel Meyer, Argent Moon, oil on canvas, 36x48"

The Argent Moon
By Isaana Chrispin

Argent moon, on the rocky cliff so high,
In the silent night, you grace the sky.
Your shimmering glow, a celestial tune,
In the land of dreams, we're softly marooned.

Silver light on the craggy stone,
As the world below in slumber's zone,
Whispers secrets to the sleepy sea,
In the tranquil night, a reverie.

Casting shadows on the waters deep,
In your tender glow, all secrets keep,
The argent moon, a timeless guide,
Through the quiet night, we softly glide.

Holden Willard, Quinn Sleeping, oil on canvas, 15x15"

Bring Me a Dream
by Marie Den Bosch

I had a dream about you the other night.

I heard once that dreams are a peek into another reality.
And in this reality, we were still together.

We hadn’t done what we’d done or said what we said,
in this place where romance wasn’t dead.

We looked happy there, and I was happy for us.

I wonder sometimes what would’ve happened if we never broke up.
If we hadn’t kept taking from each other's cup.

Would we have grown old together, the way we’d always planned?
Before we became people we couldn’t stand.

If we hadn’t had row after row,
Would we have had those kids we’d often talked about?

We’d have problems there, too, I’m sure.
As perfect as we may seem.
But anything would be better than this reality.

I know, I know -- what will be will be.
But, for now,
Sandman, oh Sandman,
bring me a dream.

Sarah Horowitz, Baba Yaga Weaving, 1/10, etching with gouache hand-coloring, 11.375 x 8”

Oh Baba Yaga!
by Kay Elmore

Baba Yaga
like Lady Gaga
comes from a lineage
reaching back to Madonna.

Cradle to grave
she worked like a slave
yet at some point it seems
she stepped away, free
into the forest
far far away.

It is said Baba Yaga,
sings her own chorus
and lives in a place
where reality is porous.
She learns from wood people
who came before us.
She’s a real nonconformist.

Ms Baba Yaga
tells her own saga
plays a morning raga
acts in her own drama
chants hare rama
makes a mean Babka
for breakfast before sunrise.

Zooming through trees
in her spinning cauldron
blowing up leaves
while searching out children
to pickle or stew
or make a strong brew.

Why does she weave?
To whom will she leave
the fine fabric
that flows from her fingers?
Perhaps it’s a net
into which she will get
her next meal as it squeals;
whose child will she steal?

Her skeletal hands
weave malfeasant plans
Ay that look in her eye
like a falcon in flight
before it swoops down on its prey.

It is said she is schizo
may chop ‘em up itsy-bitzo
add a broth of miso
or turn one into chorizo.

Or she may find her soft heart
and give a head start
to a child who has lost its way
granting another day.

Of this be assured,
she will have the last word.
Don’t look in her eyes
you’ll be scandalized
by what you see inside.

Those eyes they do pierce
and often look fierce
they’ll cut you to size
before you realize
you’ve been vaporized.

Oh Baba Yaga
we all stand here gaga
over what you purportedly do.

That Baba Yaga,
you’ll never stop her
immortal she is
to this day.

James P. Abbott, Old Friends [right-angled screwdriver, vintage hammer, wrench, lock and key], found object assemblage, 12.5x10.5"

My Father's Toolbox
by Chrys Hahn

His first child was a daughter
but he saw that as no reason
not to use her as his helper
as he worked around the house.

Midway through a chore he ́d holler,
“Grab a screwdriver—No, not that one—
the Phillips-head”—or, “Leave that
folding ruler alone. It ́s a tool, not a toy.”

And so I learned the difference
between a socket wrench and pliers,
that a coping saw is used for trim,
how and why to use a plumb line.

He hammered into me that class
means more than social status,
that no work is menial
if it is done with dignity.

Proud that he could dress me up
on laborer ́s wages, once a week
he traded khakis and flannel shirt
for a suit and walked to church.

Then the screws that held his work loosened,
elegant clothes and casket could not hold him.

He should have been cremated:
His ashes might have rested in his toolbox.

Colin Page, Memorable Patterns, oil on canvas, 40x40"

Ease Our Minds
by Michelle Holland

A calendar and tarot cards,
tossed vestiges of orange sections,
create a zest of Matisse color,
shapes suggested as palimpsest stencils,
the patterns for words just out of reach.

We can read without an eye
for explanation, bits of lives
tossed on a table,
as nostalgic as the cross stitch
that has hung forever inside
the front door, above the ancient
coat rack, the one with the crackled mirror.

Every wave of a blue hand and bent body
might tell the story, as we smell
the coffee the cream pitcher is for.

Would that all our lives could be
light and airy, a lace of iteration.
Pick up an orange slice, read the title
on the playbill, break the patterns,
ease our minds of memory.

Susan Lichtman, Cyan Kitchen, acrylic gouache on panel, 9x12"

Woman’s Movement
by Emily James

Her work is never done.
After she sweeps the floor,
she does the dishes,
drying each piece of white porcelain by hand–
careful, carefully, not leaving a single streak behind.

She waters the plants,
feeds the dog and the cat,
each trying to steal the other’s food;
every day the same standoff ensues.
Then she must ready the room for dinner.

She chooses a shock of lime green for the tablecloth.
It’s her one rebellion of the day,
and she revels in it
the same way the cat revels in the slats of sun
flecked across the smooth stone tile.

Antonia Munroe, Textile fragment with Band of White and Blue Diagonal Flowers, pigment dispersion on myrobalan dyed linen, mounted on panel, 8x6"

Island Morning
by Hayden Lyman, CRMS Fifth Grade

I take a step forward.
The grass crumbles under my feet.
The dew of the morning is wet against me.
I pluck a strawberry from beside me.
The tartness fills my body.
When I look down I see the bright blue flowers.
When I look up I see the salty ocean waves and a small beach.
When I step on the beach the wet sand digs in.
I pick up a thin rock and skip it across the water.
I see the rock sink into the deep blue ocean water.
And it’s gone.

Gideon Bok, Meghan Brady as a Young Grace Hartigan, oil on linen, 23x22"

The Mess
by Flynn Mitchell, CRMS Fifth Grade

I get home, running to my mom,
Can I have a cookie? I think they make you strong.
No, my mom said, with a grumpy face.
How about you clean your room, as it’s quite a disgrace.
I head upstairs to my room and see,
The big mess in front of me.
I say out loud, who did THAT?
Was it a hurricane or was it a bat?
No, I thought, it was DEFINITELY my cat.
Then, all of sudden, my cat pees on my bed!
What’s next? Is it going to shed?
My cat admits to me in a human voice
It was you Mr. Flynn, it was your choice!

Sal Taylor Kydd, Study of a Butterfly, platinum palladium, 6x8"

by Licia Morelli

Do not take the dust
from my wings
and anchor me to this
Instead, let me fly into
the heat of fire
and come back to
the light inside myself.

Gail Spaien, Serenade 10, acrylic on linen, 44x41"

To Serenade 10, Traces
by Karen Hand Ogg

Unaware of what we forget
moments become dormant
seeds stilled in suspended animation

Holding the beyond
of once shared songs
in striking silence

With stunning sublimity
echoes reverberate
when blossoms burst

Hannah Berta, Exhale Salutations feat. Magnolia and Bitter-Berry, acrylic and oil on arches paper, 26x31"

there is
by Whitney Schmidt

something sweeter than water
uncaught and skipping with secrets
rolling out of control
through the covered mossy places
and always humming in the cracks
of green darkness just out of reach
you can smell it with your fingertips
taste it burning deep below your stomach
it makes your shoulders curl
and your thighs press together

something warming in the dark caves
that brings your hand out of your pocket
and into those holes
tracing the currents of last february's frost
searching for your face in the bark pictures
you know if you can't find yourself
outlined there in all that beauty
that you'll go mad

then you see it—you
rippling in the gray brown wood grain
knowing this tree for what it always has been
but you've never noticed
and you too become planted
staring transfixed and transfigured
reaching out from the dark caves hidden
inside your own branches

at the core of your circle of rings
all you want is to bloom

Gail Spaien, Red Chairs, acrylic on linen, 55x60"

For the People of Kfar Aza
October 7, 2023
by Amy Ralston Seife

I imagine for you
two chairs untoppled,
stained red with only paint,
their frail spindles intact,
seats spattered with the spray
of powdered sugar
from warm pastries.

I imagine for you
an ordinary day that will hold
no significance for your grandchildren —
the sun setting on nothing
more eventful than doing what
you did the day before
and will do again tomorrow.

I imagine you departed
from this room for no other
reason than to freshen
your cup of tea, or tell your husband
you found the puzzle piece
that has long evaded you
under the old braided rug.

I imagine, across a horizon
of glittering sand,
another couple
—your neighbors—
about to sit down
with tea and laughter
to ponder the same puzzle.

Anneli Skaar, Cod Head, oil on panel, 8x9.5" (10x11.5" framed)

by Anna St Aubrey

So this is how it goes:
your head up for grabs,
severed from its home
eyes still standing
for light’s receipt.
Is this how we go,
our bodies black
scaled, flat and bare,
bequeathed to nothing?
One final rendering:
to have given gladly, gone
to death’s dark knife
as liberation.
Seeing from the hollowed

cavern, all is here. Every-
thing that came before is lost

to hooks and flies.
Before the blade
comes down, life’s
sweet edge, remembered;
then the letting
go: into the stench, into
the fisherman’s hands,
into the next vast sea
or pile of bones.

Terry Powers, Our Basement, oil on canvas, 20x22"

first lines
Maya Stein

Sometimes, when my eyes fall to the kitchen table or the foot of the bed or the shelf
above my desk, it feels like everything’s a few clicks away from chaos. I tell myself I’m
making piles for later, stacking the still-to-be-dones so they’re more visible, and inspire
action, etc., etc., but the truth looks more like what’s the point, or like whatever’s there
can wait, and I find myself spurred instead by the urge to make rhubarb syrup, or fold
a piece of paper into the shape of a lighthouse, or watch birds scuttle across the lawn,
hunting for earthworms. All these methods of order and self-discipline, and my body
chooses the formless, chartless map, my heart glowing brighter the further from shore
I go. Away from the evidence of my neglect, it turns out I am seed, scattered by a breeze
whose only purpose is to tell the first lines of a story that doesn’t need finishing.

David Wilson, Sprite, acrylic on monkscloth, 24x20"

If you sprinkle some of the dust
into your eyes, you will see
but you will not be seen

A Shadow Play
by Lucinda Ziesing

It begins by a brook
in a world according to Sprite.
At the end of Harvest time
and the start of the long dark night.

The fires are lit.
A screen door hinged between the worlds.

It’s possible to travel both ways
were we not blinded by incandescent light.

The fly and moth mislead, too.
Now stuck and stenciled to a screen.

Our ancestors,
walk in darkness
to return sight.
They smell the pine.
They listen
for the mallard
navigating by moon.

The mystery appears:
As a black rose in the trunk.
As a stump alive,
yet felled three hundred years before.
As a shaded sapling
reaching the sky.

Trees live in an electrical grid
below ground
passing resources back and forth.
The young and old fed together.

Above the thunderstorm
an explosion of sprites.

To travel both ways
open the door
turn the porch light off.

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