We invite you to write poems in response to the images in this exhibit, as well as Sal Taylor Kydd's concurrent exhibit, Yesterday. This show makes connections between visual art and poetry to deepen our understanding of both. All artwork from the show is viewable in person at the gallery or online at the link below.
Thank you for the almost 100 poems submitted! The 14 poems selected as Poets' Choice were read on zoom with the Poets Corner on Sunday, November 14. View the recording here, and read the poems here. The 15 poems selected as Artists' Choice were read in person at the gallery 1pm Saturday, November 20. View the recording here.
Poets' Choice poets include Marjorie Arnett, Betsy Banks, Amanda Dzimianski, Beth Fox, Frank Boscoe, Paula Gocker, Margaret Haberman, K Roberts, David Sloan, Susan Tenney, Jeri Theriault, Katharine Weinmann, Cathy Wittmeyer, and Lucinda Ziesing. Read the Poets' Choice poems at The Poets Corner.
Artists' Choice poets include Alison Angell, Marjorie Arnett, Flower Conroy, Ray DiZazzo, Jack Kennedy, Carl Little, K Roberts, Alyssa Stadtlander, Jeri Theriault, Cameron Walker, Cathy Wittmeyer, Anne Harding Woodworth, and Lucinda Ziesing. Read the Artists' Choice poems below.
Frozen Streets by Alison Angell
Snow fell soon last night, streets––matted
with apple flesh and sallow leaves––
still warm enough to melt fat flakes
that when we woke: thick ice,
and skies that glow as if they're lit
from streets below, as if this brightness
beats up from earth, is caught
in a blue parachute above
the street we stand, the world we walk
of frost and leaves just yellowing,
where leavings hold on long
and arrivals come before we'd think,
even now, thaw not yet in our thoughts,
have this street only as it is, alit with light.
[Ekphrastic after Colin Page, Frozen Streets, oil on canvas, 16x20", $2,500]
Crows in a Cornfield by Alison Angell
A title tells so little anyway
and so I look above the crows,
come only for what's fallen,
their feet pressing sweet kernels
into summer's crust, full stalks bursting
with newer green beyond, and farther
off a few brush figures at field's edge,
hair blown and full and bleached,
leaning over the lip of a mossy pool
of late noon light, and just above
here comes another plot: three birds
too far away to tell their plumes,
nearing for sour corn, or for the pond,
or to carry some wonder we will never hear.
[Ekphrastic after T. Allen Lawson, Crows in a Cornfield, oil on panel, 10x14", $11,500]
Tempest by Marjorie Arnett
A dead calm afternoon.
Silence overflows with desire.
A tiny leaf quivers, one brushes another
warning of a breeze that conjures a storm.
Clouds begin to roll in, pile up
like sea foam building on a shore.
The air darkens, threatens as clouds
form an armada advancing on a plane of air.
Jags of lightning stage a wild unholy light.
Water pours from demon buckets.
Leaves rip off trees and the land
kneels down in disbelief.
The deluge continues then trails off.
Low riding afternoon sun filters onto land
with a promise of pale moon fragments
to mend and settle.
[Ekphrastic after Anne Emmanuelle Marpeau, Cosmos, ex-voto, 18x19x8", $8,800]
“Hello. We are Trying to Reach You About Your Vehicle’s Extended Warranty”
by Flower Conroy
Sometimes a window’s confused with a landscape
or widow & vice-versa so
that you’re never really sure if you’re gazing
into—or (with)in—a frame;
think fly on a mirror. Or that underwater
orchestra—a drapey form bent
over a violin, the violin acquiescing but not yielding
music. More of a moan a hard
kiss muffles—than chord mewing. When
I’m gone what will become of my horror vacui,
who’ll be tasked with emptying the closet, donating
the books? Who’ll claim the stamp collection?
I’ve a trove of reasons not to leave the house.
Or to keep me in. Devils. Pollen.
A ghost pouring tea. This world like
a disco ball in outerspace. Not because
it glitters or reflects
but because it dangles & smacks of immortality
unattainable. Which shouldn’t sadden you.
It’s a blessing really, that nothing lasts
forever. Just think how tired your bones get
waiting for the bus. No; better the party end, the guests
return to their own curtain-drawn chambers
on other streets in other towns, the headlights
bending impossibly into the hedges, cometting
across garage doors, leaving you
to play that record one last time as you load
the sink with smudged glasses & crumby forks,
flowered saucers & knives glistening your blurry
face back at you—but slivered.
[Ekphrastic after Gideon Bok, Uncle Charlie (Damn and Welcome to the Afterfuture) oil on linen, 35x24", $8,500]
Winter Gulls at Dusk by Ray DiZazzo
of the principles of lift
or why a level sun goes red
one by one
above the cliffs
held aloft on blusters
off a gray Pacific
January swirls, curling up
the wisps of sand, wailing
through the slatted fences
rolling inland on the waves
of yellow shore grass.
Ham Sandwich by Jack Kennedy
open to speculation
like an old time shop
on the comer in NYC
run by a Greek who
can't stop smiling no
matter how hot it gets.
[Ekphrastic after George Pearlman, Ham Sandwich, glazed porcelain, 11.5x7", $1,500]
Light Shapes Life
by Jack Kennedy
Tendrils of Light
means liberal child
finding right side of
the buoy returning
Littoral literal libatious
light, youth personified.
[Ekphrastic after Jessica Lee Ives, Light Shapes Life, oil on panel, 40x40", $5,800]
Strawberry Pickers by Carl Little
It’s pick-your-own at the farm,
three figures focused on
gathering that berry that goes so well
with cream and confectioners’.
One kneels almost in prayer,
another bends from the waist
to make your own back tighten,
the third stands to review
what’s in his tray.
There is no color here,
just rows of bushy plants
leading you across the land
to distant trees and birds.
Here and there small flags flutter
where pickers stopped
to allow the next person claim
to a fresh patch. Courtesy and calm
reign as fingertips go rosy and
the biggest berry you ever saw
reveals itself among leaves.
Later, you’ll make a tart
or carve that one huge fruit
with your teeth, sweet blood
dyeing your blank chin.
[Ekphrastic after Siri Beckman, Strawberry Pickers, wood engraving, 4x5", $$500]
Luna Volta by K Roberts
Heaven is off by herself tonight
and that cut-purse, time
sorrows my pride – my impounded pride
and my passions overcast.
Graymalkin on the out-wall
anatomize for me
this indigested hunger
this cheese-grater, this breath
of garlic-and-onions, this sea-smoke grief
congealing like grease.
My wandering as yet was a craving –
a youth hatted with clouds, a crumpet-head,
a meringue in the making, eager for whisking;
a lordling with a twelvemonth reign.
Somber lights are slumbering
over the rooftops of candle-snuffers.
Are they sparks, or flints –
the stars are a sieve to all sweetness,
multiple hearts move in my groans.
[Ekphrastic after Brenton Hamilton, Night Fruit, gilded cyanotype, 30x22", $2,200]
The People in Darkness Have Seen A Great Light by Alyssa Stadtlander
I arrived this morning, half-
dressed and dying
to feel you, something,
anything to assuage
the bitter thunderstorm of anxiety
in the harbor of my longing.
I knelt in the sliver of sunlight
slicing through the cold
glass, watched as the generous,
gentle sun covered my body
with her delicate fingers of warmth, softly,
knowingly, and I watched her,
kindest star, rise up, up, over the icy rooftops, over
the spindly trees, into the great sky
of her life, all the while
giving away her gift, all the while
lighter for it.
[Ekphrastic after David Graeme Baker, Historical Society, oil on linen mounted on panel, 24x36", $9,000]
sea grass makes a lovely bed
by Jeri Theriault
you lie together
as the wind whips
the standing stalks
far above your heads
that same wind scudding
clouds you will always
remember as sun-
stunned. you swallow
your need so insatiable
you leave the rest of us
a gasp bleached
this white tangle.
[Ekphrastic after Hannah Berta, Fog Day Grass, cut paper, 20x20", $1,800]
by Cameron Walker
Be grateful for the days that bleed
into other days, the list gone through,
the rolling forward of hours into sleep.
And then the Sun again, first:
Through the front windows, then hot
along the pale granite until
it slips at the day’s end through
the three glass panes: sea, sky, and tree.
Parallelograms of light make landfall
as gold filters through the canopy
and outlines the fence of mountain.
And here they come again: the hours
that host doves in the morning, the midday
mockingbird, and then after the sunset,
house the owl that calls while I am
again checking off the day’s list, making
the same one for tomorrow. Someday
there will be an hour and a day and
a life unlike this, or none at all.
A jewel unwanted, inherited
from the future to shine on today.
What birds. What light.
[Ekphrastic after Nathaniel Meyer, Sunset House, oil on canvas, 36x48", $7,000]
Crow Island Offering by Cathy Wittmeyer
When my boy failed to come home tonight,
I looked to the painter holding up to the light,
in a right hand, a purple aster as viewfinder.
Is the painter seeking answers in the slate-
blue bay, in deeper depths or morning glow’s
reflection on the gentle waves? What is there
in the starburst streaks of heliotrope & white?
The faded lavender stripes in a baby’s blue iris?
The yellow-tinged green leaves, his eyes turning
clever? The stem is a frame within the artist’s
border within the framer’s matte and frame.
It is a map. A divining branch seeking a way
from a rocky shore beyond the islands at the
horizon’s lit up edge. Flower petals become
transparent in the sun, held up like a candled
egg to see through, to see one through, to
get through this. Go on! the painter says in his
shades of grey and blue acrylic on canvas. Go!
[Ekphrastic after Christopher Mir, Crow Island Offering, acrylic on canvas, 32x48", $13,000]
Glads for Sale by Anne Harding Woodworth
The mere sight of one of those roadside signs
during my childhood summers was all it took
for my mother to vituperate against gladioli,
as she drove us kids in the gray Ford Fairlane
to the swimming place. The gladiolus, that curious combo
of brilliant bloom and rigidity, an unbendable stalk,
has a touching grace and a certainty of goodness. But it was
that very stiffness my mother didn’t like about glads.
And she’d say, “Who would buy gladioli from a bucket
at the side of the road? And what does one do with gladioli?
They aren’t good in arrangements.” Then too she would rail
against the glads in Mrs.Waldorf’s finely tended garden
across the street, ungrateful, my mother, for the old woman’s gift
of vibrant reds, pinks, and yellows to the neighborhood.
Mrs. Waldorf had no children. But she brought her glads to life,
nourished them, as if they were a work of art.
And they danced, those glads, they danced and were reflected
in a gazing globe that doubled their beauty. My mother
never thought of gazing into a globe, never thought of looking
at her own unyielding spirit among glorious gladioli.
[Ekphrastic after Peggi Kroll Roberts, Gladioli, watercolor on paper, 11x14", $720]
Homage by Lucinda Ziesing
The H is silent
When you say it
the jaw drops.
A sound laments
from your gut, “aa-mage”.
You’re an honor guard.
Your lace drapes
over the remains.
when every town in America
had its Elm Street.
You stood watching
a parade under shelter,
flush with pride.
After the great planting,
streets were lined
with the American Elm.
Magnificent fluted vases
of leafy limbs allowing sun
to speckle the ground.
Like ballerinas, they beckon you
into a republic of shade.
In a blue pram
my Mother’s pushing me
on rolling white wheels.
Einstein walks by us.
His head down.
He’s on his way home
under the elms.
“What we did to Japan
That was in the early 50’s
When they declared
the age of the great Elm is over.
77 million dead from a fungus,
brought from Europe in logs
to make furniture.
There’s no cure
once a tree’s infected.
They were never meant
to be planted
so close together.
So reckless for enchantment.
The H is not silent in Human.
When you say it
a sound laments
from your gut, “ aa-mage”
A western shawl drops
down her back.
shot by a prop gun on set
at the Bonanza Creek Ranch.
The feeling in her legs is gone.
She floats off her saddle
across a hot desert.
into the light and texture
of her brilliant mind.
to the icy military base
of a childhood
in the artic circle
where she first dreamt her escape.
Her window open.
She floats above mothballed soviet subs
with the reindeer herd
through chalk strands of northern lights
Sensing where she needs to go.
Restless dreamer, mother, wife.
capturing brutal beauty in her lens.
It was an accident.
Losing life making art.
Negligence put a bullet in
where blanks belonged.
The H is not silent.
Hollywood lit candles in glass jars
for their fallen, rising star.
When the lady of the apparitions appears to you.
You sink to your knees. You follow.
You cover her in lace.
You pay Homage.
[Ekphrastic after Sal Taylor Kydd, Homage, photogravure, 9x7", $800]