Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Motion Poems' 'The Mother Warns the Tornado'

Below is a stellar new videopoem from MotionPoems. Watch, then read the text of Catherine Pierce's "The Mother Warns the Tornado". Pierce's wonderful poem captures beautifully the profound, visceral emotions a mother summons to protect her child, even against the ravages of nature.

The film was made by Isaac Ravishankara in partnership with VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.

Catherine Pierce and Isaac Ravishankara talk with Maggie Roy about the film. 

Catherine Pierce is the author of the award-winning collection The Girls of Peculiar: Poetry (Saturnalia Books, 2012) and Famous Last Words (Saturnalia, 2008). Her third collection, The Tornado Is the World (Saturnalia), is due out in 2016.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Muse: Poets on Poetry

Below you'll find a new edition of my occasional series Poets on Poetry, which highlights interviews or feature articles in which poets speak about poetry as vocation, ways that poetry differs from other kinds of writing or from recitation and performance, poetry in translation, and the meaning of poetry in their own and others'  lives.

✦ "Poetry is one of the largest, most beautiful, most intimate and most effective ways of participating [in public life]." ~ Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2015-2016

Juan Felipe Herrera's has written more than two dozen poetry collections, including, most recently, Senegal Taxi (University of Arizona Press, 2nd Ed., 2013).

Juan Felipe Herrera on FaceBook

✦ "I think poems are urgent. . . are necessary. . . Poems can save lives, they can change the way we see the world and the way we define ourselves. . . ." ~ Fatimah Asghar

Quoted from "Interview with Fatimah Asghar", The Blueshift Journal, June 13, 2015.

Poet, writer, performer, photographer Fatimah Asghar is the author of the forthcoming chapbook Medusa, They Would Sing (YesYes Books, Fall 2015). She also is co-creator of the "first bi-lingual spoken word poetry group" REFLEKS, a Kundiman Fellow, and a Young Chicago Authors instructor.

✦ ". . . Any story told for it own sake is not poetry it seems to me. We all have stories to tell. It's the complexity of the human heart that I think is poetry's subject—the complexity of the human experience. I think the best poets writing today represent that complexity in the broadest, deepest sense. . . ." ~ Marie Howe

Quoted from David Elliott, "The Complexity of the Human Heart: A Conversation with Marie Howe", AGNI Online. (This interview is from 2004.)

Marie Howe's poetry collections include The Good Thief (Persea Books, 1988), What the Living Do (W.W. Norton, 1999), and The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (W.W. Norton, 2008). She is co-editor of In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic (Persea Books, 1995).

Marie Howe on FaceBook

✦ ". . . The fatal problem with poetry: poems. . . ." ~ Ben Lerner

Quoted from Ben Lerner, "Diary: On Disliking Poetry", London Review of Books, Vol. 37, No. 12, June 18, 2015.

Ben Lerner's most recent poetry collections are Mean Free Path (Copper Canyon Press, 2010) and Angel of Yaw (Copper Canyon Press, 2006). His most recent novel is 10:04 (Faber & Faber, 2014).

✦ ". . . I believe poetry is also a bridge between solitudes. At its best, it transports us — through the nonlinear and irresistible persuasion of music and metaphor — into a state of receptive empathy, the closest thing we can get to truly understanding what it's like to see the world as someone else does, to live inside another's skin. . . ." ~ Elizabeth Austen

Quoted from Elizabeth Austen, "How Poetry Can Help Us Say the Unsayable", Opinion, The Seattle Times, May 9, 2015

Elizabeth Austen, Washington State Poet Laureate, 2014-2016, is the author most recently of Full Circle: My Journey Through Infertility and Miscarriage (Westbow Press, April 2015) and Every Dress a Decision (Blue Begonia Press, 2011).

✦ "Once in a while I get an uncontrollable urge to shatter the myth about the idea of fluency in translation. In my world of translation, fluency doesn't exist. My history is a misfit. . . ." and "I write my poems with the same tongue that I translate with, so my creative work and translation are closely intertwined. Translation often sticks its tongue out when I write my own poems. It's one of those unavoidable tics." ~ Don Mee Choi

Quoted from Emily Yoon, "An Expelled Tongue: Translating Kim Hyesoon" (Interview), Asian American Writers' Workshop, June 16, 2015

Whiting Foundation Award winner Don Mee Choi is the author of the debut collection The Morning News Is Exciting (Action Books, 2010) and the chapbook Petite Manifesto (Vagabond Press, 2014), as well as Freely Frayed,==q, & Race=Nation, part of Wave Books' Wave Pamphlets. Her second collection is the forthcoming Hardly War (Wave Books, April 2016).

Also see the interview "The PEN Ten with Don Mee Choi", PEN America, November 25, 2014.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Thought for the Day

There is so much Everything
that Nothing is hidden quite nicely.
~ Wislawa Szymborska

Quoted from "Reality Demands" in The End and the Beginning (1993); Included in Map: Collected and Last Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015)

Wislawa Szymborska, 1923-2012; Polish Poet, Poetry Editor, Translator, Columnist; Winner, 1996 Nobel Prize for Literature

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saturday Short

Today's short is Avebury, by John Siddique, with music by John's musical alter ego beautifulnoiseskin. The piece was inspired by Derek Jarman's Journey to Avebury (1971) with music by Coil.

Friday, July 24, 2015

All Art Friday

All Art Friday

All Art Friday Spotlights

✦ In October, Graywolf Press will publish critic Sven Birkerts's Changing the Subject: Essays on the Mediated Self. Available to preorder through Amazon, the book examines the relationship of artistic imagination to attention and how digital technologies are affecting how we experience art and read literature. 

Sven Birkerts on Twitter

✦ The beauty created with feathers and a small scalpel is astonishing. Read about Chris Maynard's artistic techniques and browse his feather designs at Featherfolio. Maynard most recently exhibited at Patricia Rovzar Gallery in Seattle, Washington.

Featherfolio on FaceBook

✦ Glass sculptor Matei Negreanu, a native of Romania, views glass as "first and foremost the raw material" of his artworks. Never content to rest on his successes, he explores the potential of glass to be transformed.

✦ Painter Jeremy Miranda has a talent for creating images full of narrative possibility. He draws his inspiration, he says in his Artist Statement, from photographs he collects, as well as his own sketches, plein air studies, and memories. His most recent exhibition was at Parts Gallery in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (My thanks to friend Hannah Stephenson for introducing me to this artist.) 

✦ I first saw an image of Natasha Zeta's promising work at Blue Fifth Review. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh in studio arts and nonfiction writing, the emerging artist works for Aperture Foundation and for New York Foundation for the Arts' Immigrant Artist Program. In addition to drawing and oil painting, Zeta works in sculpture and photography. See her Tumblr and Behance sites for images.

✦ Leaves, stones, wood, and occasionally crochet as embellishment are the principal materials with which Susanna Bauer works. The German-born artist is exhibiting through August 25 in a group show at Le Salon Vert in Geneva, Switzerland. She'll also be in attendance at October's Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London. Bauer is represented by Badcocks Gallery, Cornwall, United Kingdom. Read "See Susanna Bauer's Incredibly Delicate Crochet Leaf Sculptures" at Artnet News, June 19, 2015.

Susanna Bauer on FaceBook and Twitter

✦ Meet paper artist Tara Galuska:

(My thanks to Ann Martin at All Things Paper.)

Exhibitions Here and There

✭ An exhibition of William Morris blown-glass and sculpted vessels, "William Morris: Native Species", from the George R. Stroemple Collection continues on view through September 6 at Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass, Neenah, Wisconsin. See selected works at the artist's Website.

Bergstrom-Mahler Museum on FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube

✭ Still lifes by Carol Thompson are on show through October 4 at Museum of Nebraska Art, University of Nebraska at Kearney. Taking their inspiration from nature, the serene oil paintings feature flowers, birds' nests, branches, and other finds from Thompson's farmstead.

Carol Thompson, White Still Life, 2015
Oil on Canvas, 30" x 30"
Artist's Collection
Carol Thompson on FaceBook

MONA on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Unique and beautiful examples of contemporary Japanese ceramics from the Carol and Jeffery Horvitz Collection continue on view through April 1, 2016, in "The Resonance of Clay" at Arizona's Phoenix Art Museum. Among the artists whose work is being exhibited are Fukumoto Fuko and Fujikasa  Satoko.

PAM on FaceBook and Twitter

✭ Opening August 2 at Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts, is "Little Dreams in Glass and Metal: Enameling in America, 1920 to the Present". On view through November 29, the first traveling exhibition in more than 50 years to survey the field, "Little Dreams" includes work by 90 artists, among them Kenneth Bates, Karl Drerup, Doris Hall, Edward Winter, Jade Snow Wong, Jamie Bennett, and June Schwarcz. The approximately 120 objects include wearable jewelry and large enamel-on-steel wall panels.

J. Esteban Perez, Burning Sunset, 1970
Enamel on Copper, Silver Wire, 9" x 9"
Photo Credit: Courtesy Enamel Arts Foundation

Fuller Craft Museum on FaceBook and Twitter

Notable Exhibit Abroad

✭ The United Kingdom's Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, continues through November 1 "Listen to the World", featuring the intricate paper cuts and screen prints of Rob Ryan. The show includes new work being shown for the first time, along with such significant works as The Map of My Entire Life (2012) and Can We? Shall We? (2010). A YSP exclusive, a limited-edition, multi-colored laser cut, Our Sub Atomic Love Story, is available through YSP's shop. (See Ryan's post of July 2 on his blog for details and images or visit the YSP Shop.)

Here's a sneak peek:

Rob Ryan on FaceBook and Twitter

YSP on FaceBook, Twitter, and Vimeo

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thursday's Three on Art

Today's column offers a trio of quotes, among many others I've marked, from photographer Sally Mann's memoir Hold Still (Little, Brown, 2015), Nancy Princenthal's biography Agnes Martin: Her  Life and Art (Thames & Hudson, 2015), and Annie Cohen-Solal's biography Mark Rothko: Toward the Light in the Chapel (Yale University Press, 2015). I read all three books recently and recommend them to anyone interested in these artists' lives.

✦ ". . . a sense of disappointment and defeat is the essential state of mind for creative work." ~ Agnes Martin, quoted in Agnes Martin (page 258) from Martin's "On the Perfection Underlying Life" in Writings (page 68).

✦ ". . . when we allow snapshots or mediocre photographic portraits to represent us, we find they not only corrupt memory, they also have a troubling power to distort character and mislead posterity." ~ Sally Mann, quoted from Hold Still (page 308).

✦ Mark Rothko ". . . aimed to offer the public not just a painting but also a whole environment, not a simple visit but a true experience, not a fleeting moment but a genuine revelation. This compelled him to innovate. . . ." Annie Cohen-Solal, quoted from "The Long-Awaited Chapel" in Mark Rothko: Toward the Light in the Chapel (page 193).

Agnes Martin (1912-2004) at Pace Gallery

Mark Rothko (1903-1970) at The Art Story

Annie Cohen-Solal Website (The Website includes a number of interesting videotaped interviews with Cohen-Solal, whose biography of Rothko was first published in 2013 in French.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Writer L.B. Gschwandtner recently posted on her Facebook page a Tom Hanks narrated film, Boatlift: An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience, about the lower Manhattan evacuation by boat of some 500 million people on 9/11. Produced and directed by Eddie Rosenstein, it is an extraordinary testament to Americans' ability to come together in a crisis.

The stirring film, made with support from philanthropist Adrienne Arsht, premiered September 8, 2011, on the tenth anniversary of that horrible day. 

The "9/11 Tenth Anniversary Summit: Remembrance | Renewal | Resilience" launched a national movement, Road to Resilience, a Website with much to offer.

I think it's important to watch this film. To remember. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Burden (Poem)


The mattress shifts,
its weight the least of the burdens
on the back of the man who is crossing
the border he has re-crossed
a thousand times in his sleep—

Syria to Turkey, Syria to Serbia, Syria
to Hungary, to Romania, to Croatia:
Name anywhere bordering land
with no ocean to cross,
where barbed wire cut in the haze
of the mortar smoke falls suddenly,
like wounded doves.

The mattress slips.
Its protective plastic wrap sweats,
and the man from the town of Tal Abyad
can't help but recall how the hands
of his wife and two daughters slipped
their only gold rings
into the purse of their smuggler.

The mattress is
what the man carries—
not always the welcome home
upon the old snail's back.

2015 © Maureen E. Doallas

I have always been struck by the images of many millions of Syrian refugees carrying their mattresses on their backs as they seek to flee the violence in their country. The English newspaper The Guardian recently featured just such a photo, occasioning this ekphrastic poem.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Muse: New Wyoming Poet Laureate

My poetic philosophy is to communicate
in as few words as possible a poetic idea.*
~ A. Rose Hill

Wyoming's new Poet Laureate is A. Rose Hill, appointed by executive order July 9. She is the seventh person to assume the position, and the third to be named by Governor Matt Mead.

Hill succeeds Echo Roy Klaproth, whose term of service began in January 2013. Information about the honorary appointment is contained in my Monday Muse post dated April 26, 2010, which profiles David Romtvedt, the state's fourth official poet.

Hill gives many poetry readings and conducts poetry workshops.

* * * * *
I wanted to write memories for my family. And poetry
was the easiest way to get those memories on paper.**

A. Rose Hill has been a writer since the mid-1970s; however, she has not published a full collection of poetry.

Hill's poetry, written in free verse reflects her focus on family and community, life in the West, and nature. (See the section in Resources titled A. Rose Hill Poems Online.)

Hill's work has been published in Emerging Voices: Journal of Literature and Art, a publication of Western Nebraska Community College. (See the section below titled A. Rose Hill Poems Online.)

Two anthologies that include Hill's work are Leaning into the Wind: Women Write from the Heart of the West (Houghton Mifflin, 1997; Mariner Books, Reprint, 1998), containing her poem "Chokecherry Jelly", and Woven on the Wind: Women Write about Friendship in the Sagebrush West (Houghton Mifflin, 2001; paper, 2002), containing "The Gift" and "Barefooting Summer". Hill's poetry also is in the chapbook Wyoming Journeys (Volume 2) (WYOPoets/Wyoming Writers, 1995)

Hill received in 2015 an honorable mention in the annual Neltje Blanchan award competition of the Wyoming Arts Council. She was named 2012 Wyoming Senior Poet Laureate by California's Amy Kitchener Angels Without Wings Foundation. Hill's poem "Chemo" received honorable mention in the 2008 free verse poetry contest of Wyoming Writers. In addition, Hill was given in 2002 an Emmie Mygatt Award, which is presented to a Wyoming Writers member for outstanding service.


Photo Credit: Wyoming Poets

* Quoted from Wyoming Poets Profile

** Quoted from James Chilton, "Sheridan Woman Named Newest Wyoming Poet Laureate", Wyoming Tribune Eagle, July 11, 2015.

Office of the Governor, "Governor Mead Names Rose Hill of Sheridan as New Poet Laureate", News Release, July 9, 2015

"Governor Names Rose Hill of Sheridan as New Poet Laureate", Press Release at Basin Radio Network, July 9, 2015 

"Governor Mead Names Rose Hill of Sheridan as New Poet Laureate", Wyoming Arts Council, July 9, 2015 (This comprises the governor's press release, which was picked up and published in many news outlets throughout the state.)

"A. Rose Hill Named as Wyoming Poet Laureate", Wyoming Tribune Eagle, July 9, 2015

A. Rose Hill Profiles Online: Wyoming Poets and Writing Wyoming

A. Rose Hill Poems Online: "Grandma Tol' Me Long Ago" at Wyoming Poets; "Song of Wyoming" at Wyoming Public Media (Audio Only); "Painted Ladies" (Page 60) in Emerging Voices (2011; pdf); "Grandma Tol' Me" (Page 5), "A Search In Vain" (Page 14), "Cassie in the '40s" (Page 31), All in Emerging Voices (2009; pdf); "Commitment 1990" and "Afterword 1993" (Page 29) in Emerging Voices (2006; pdf)

Windbreak House/The Wind Anthologies (This site provides information about the two anthologies mentioned in the profile above.)

Writing Wyoming (A photo of the governor's office when Hill was appointed is here.)

Wyoming Arts Council (Photos are available on the council's FaceBook pages.)

Wyoming History (Wyoming State Historical Society)

Wyoming Poets (FaceBook)

Wyoming Writers Inc. (Hill is a charter member of the organization, a nonprofit devoted to educating and encouraging writers in any genre, professional or not.)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Thought for the Day

An enemy is one whose story we have not heard.
~ Gene Knudsen Hoffman*

* The quote is attributed by some to Gene Knudsen Hoffman. Others attribute it to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Leah Green of The Compassionate Listening Project cites in her tribute to Hoffman a 2001 letter in which Hoffman wrote that she'd found a motto for the project: it was the title of one of her essays.

Gene Knudsen Hoffman, 1919-2010, Pioneer of the Concept of Compassionate Listening; International Peace Activist; Poet, Essayist, and Author, Compassionate Listening (Friends Bulletin Corp., 2nd Ed, 2013)

The Compassionate Listening Project on FaceBook