Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Witch Rhyme: An Acrostic

Witches on Broomsticks 
from The History of Witches and Wizards (1720)

Witch Rhyme: An Acrostic

Catch a broom and ride it high
On Halloween no witch be shy
Sail past moon in pointy hat
Trick the Devil silence black cat
Use spells malignant powers too
Magic potions among covens new
Early out and late back in
Swift spectral shapes toward Salem spin

2017 © Maureen E. Doallas

Some of my other Halloween poems:

"Bloodlust" (Acrostic) (2016)

"All Hallow's Eve" (2013)

"Witches' Wine" (2012)

"Mary Shelley Writes in Her Bedroom" (2011)

Also see "Monday Muse Asks Did You Know?" and "Facts, New or  Not: Halloween Edition".

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Thought for the Day

If you never ever close your eyes, you won't grow.
~ Yannis Ritsos

Monochord #88, Quoted from Yannis Ritsos, Monochords (Tavern Books, 2017), Trans. Paul Merchant, p. 24 (This wonderful book of 336 one-line poems is in both Greek and English.)

Yannis Ritsos (1909-1990), Greek Poet

Paul Merchant, Poet and Editor/Translator

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Saturday Short

On October 22, I headed to downtown Washington, D.C., to see the Renwick Gallery's remarkable exhibition "Murder Is Her Hobby: Francis Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death". Occupying the gallery's first floor, the exhibition, which continues through January 28, 2018, features Glessner Lee's miniature composites of true crime scenes; dollhouse-size, the models are incredibly exacting in detail and a true test of one's observational capacities (one look is enough to understand why the models are still used to train homicide detectives).

Susan Marks, a documentary filmmaker and screenwriter who has already made one film about Glessner Lee, Of Dolls & Murder, will be at the Renwick on November 18, when she will screen and talk about her second film about Glessner Lee, Murder in a Nutshell: The Frances Glessner Lee Story (2017), the trailer for which appears below. I hope to be there.

Sarah Zhang, "How a Gilded-Age Heiress Became the 'Mother of Forensic Science'", The Atlantic, October 14, 2017.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Thursday's Three on Art

Today's Thursday Three brings you a trio of art-related videos. The first two shorts are part of a series of seven films titled The Audacity of Christian Art, which addresses the thought-provoking question, "How do you paint a figure who is fully human and fully divine?" The series from the National Gallery, London, is narrated by Dr. Chloe Reddaway, the museum's Howard and Roberta Ahmanson Curator in Art and Religion. The third short looks at the subject of art valuation.

✦ Part 1 is "The Audacity of Christian Art: the Problem with Christ".

✦ Part 2 is "Christ Is Not Like a Snail: Signs and Symbols".

✦ If you've ever wondered how paintings are valued, What Makes Art Valuable? (Documentary Guru) tries to answer the question.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Thought for the Day

A life is a thing you have to start
~ Solmaz Sharif

Quoted from Solmaz Sharif's Poem "Beauty" at Freeman's Channel, Literary Hub

Solmaz Sharif, Award-Winning Poet, Stanford University Lecturer

Solmaz Sharif at Graywolf Press

Zinzi Clemmons, "The Role of  the Poet: An Interview with Solmaz Sharif", The Paris Review, July 27, 2016

Alexander Nazaryan, "The Weird and Beautiful War Poetry of Solmaz Sharif", Newsweek, November 6, 2016

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Saturday Short

You fear what you don't know.

So many recent events have pushed the war in Syria off the front pages, as is the nature of "news". It's important we keep some part of our attention there, because of the continuing loss of life and because of our government's determination to shut out those in need of America's help. Should you harbor doubt, please watch this short documentary, To Breathe Free, from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance:

To Breathe Free from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Redd Walitzki, The Butterfly Catcher (Detail), 2017
Oil and Mixed-Media on Laser-Cut Acrylic Panel
30" x "40"
© Redd Walitzki


It is a great delight to showcase today the sensual paintings of Redd Walitzki in my Artist Watch column at the online arts magazine Escape Into Life.

Currently a resident of Seattle, Washington, Redd was born in Germany and produces mixed-media works influenced by the rococo ornamentation of her native Bavaria, nature, and ideas about high-fashion, technology, and fleeting beauty. Primarily a figurative artist, Redd takes deep pleasure in experimenting with artistic media, techniques, and technologies that push the boundaries of her creativity.

For today's Artist Watch, Redd has provided six images from her "Stranger Than Earth" series of paintings, as well as three close-up images that reveal details that viewers might otherwise miss. In addition, you will find Redd's Artist Statement, a brief biography, and a list of social media.

Redd's wonderful paintings can be seen from November 18 through December 3 in the group show "Lush" at Bein Art Gallery in Brunswick VIC, Australia.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

'The Island' (Videopoem)

"The Island That Is Hard to Find in English" is a poem by  British-Jamaican poet, spoken-word artist, educator, and editor Raymond Antrobus. It is read by Antrobus in the video below, which was animated by Maya Horton. The subtitles are by Phillip Louden-Carter and the music by Jonny Whalton.

Antrobus, a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellow, is the author of the chapbook To Sweeten Bitter (Outspoken Press, 2017), Shapes & Disfigurements of Raymond Antrobus (Burning Eye Books, 2012) and, forthcoming, his as-yet-untitled debut collection about deafness, the Diaspora, and language, which is to be published by the London-based Penned in the Margins.

Raymond Antrobus on FaceBook

Raymond Antrobus Profiles at Brain Mill Press and Poetry Foundation

(My thanks to Peter Hayoe and Helen Dewbery for the link to the short.)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Thought for the Day

You are born alone. You die alone. The value of the
space in between is trust and love.
~ Louise Bourgeois

Quoted as Epigraph in Sharon Salzberg's Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection (Flatiron Books, 2017), Chapter 24, p. 279

Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010), French-American Sculptor

Sharon Salzberg, Co-Founder, Insight Meditation Society; Author, Teacher

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday Short

Readers may recall my May 2016 post that introduced the remarkable photographer Kirsty Mitchell. Recently, Mitchell's Wonderland came to the Paine Art Center and Gardens museum, Oshkosh, Wisconsin (the show continues through October 29), where Mitchell made a short showing the gorgeous installation and some of the visitors she met.

This second short relates some of the preparation for the exhibition, which presented 19 of Mitchell's large, wholly unforgettable pieces (the series numbers 74 images):

An additional "bonus" video:

For more installation shots, see Mitchell's blog post about the exhibition.

Kirsty Mitchell Website

Copies of Mitchell's Wonderland book (2nd edition) are available for purchase. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Gratitude (Poem)


The lemons in lemonade
remind me

of daffodils and forsythia
in daddy's dusty greenhouse,

and the dappled glitter of the sun
in its slant over Chicago.

I could celebrate it—
the single bluet

that makes lunch an odyssey
of tastes, plums not too green

to plunder, the cool water
in the red urn flowing oceanic,

better than the blackberry wine
so beloved by Beyonce.

In a cathedral of the imagination,
there are no impediments,

no one is bored, and the albatross
isn't a burden to any sailor.

Persimmons nevermore go missing,
nor snowy owls ply their dialect

like a drunken skunk.
Whereas, in gratitude, I hustle

to welcome the buzz
of the humble fly in paradise,

its canto as phenomenal as the kaddish
of the raven, or maybe the nightingale.


In creating this found poem, I used a selection of words from a FaceBook post by Kaveh Akbar about the words poets "own". That post (originally a tweet) turned out to be a great prompt. (Also read Kaveh's post at Literary Hub.)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Thought for the Day

. . . our bodies measure distance in bed.
~ Alyssa Kelly

Quoted from Alyssa Kelly's poem "Unforgivable" in "When You Have Forgotten Sunday: The Love Story" in The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks (The University of Arkansas Press, 2017),  p. 215

Alyssa Kelly, High School English Teacher, Poet, Singer-Songwriter

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Waiting Rooms at Mandalay Bay (Cinquain)

Waiting Rooms at Mandalay Bay

The heat
in the desert
unseams clothes, sears silence.
Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat. Waiting rooms

© 2017 Maureen E. Doallas

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Two Tarfia Faizullah Poems (Videopoems)

In the video below, produced for Voluble/Los Angeles Review of Books, Tarfia Faizullah reads two of her poems: "Feast or Famine" and "Love Poem Ending With the Eye of a Needle". The music is by Brooklyn Shanti and Robin Sukhadia; editing is by Shanti. Footage for the second poem is from Sita Sings the Blues.

My thanks to Poets & Writers for the link.

Tarfia Faizullah is the author of the forthcoming Registers of Illuminated Villages (Graywolf Press, March 2018). Her debut collection was Seam (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014).

Tarfia Faizullah Profiles at Academy of American Poets and Poetry Foundation

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Thought for the Day

. . . always let us let love's gaze crowd tightly in. . . .
~ Liu Xiaobo

Quoted from "Liu Xiaobo's Last Text", The New York Review of Books, September 28, 2017

Liu Xiaobo (1955-2017), Poet, Literary Critic, Human Rights Activist, Nobel Peace Prize Winner (2010)