Sunday, December 30, 2018

Thought for the Day

What's invaluable in love is to help
each other reach the end of a long road.
~ Ha Jin

Quoted from Ha Jin, "Surprise" in A Distant Center (Copper Canyon Press, 2018)

Ha Jin, Chinese-American Novelist, Short Story Writer, Poet, and Essayist

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Art for Advent, Fourth Sunday

For this, the fourth Sunday of Advent, art historian Dr. James Romaine concludes his YouTube series Seeing Art History with a discussion of the tondo (circular) Adoration of the Magi (c. 1440-1460), begun by Fra Angelico but painted primarily by Fra Filippo Lippi. Found in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the painting may have belonged to the Florentine Lorenzo de' Medici. A  detailed essay about the work is found on the NGA's Website.

Thought for the Day

Roots define the future of the tree.
~ Joshua Choonmin Kang

Quoted from Joshua Choonmin Kang, Spirituality of Gratitude: The Unexpected Blessing (IVP Books, 2015), page 10

Joshua Choonmin Kang, Founding Pastor, New Life Vision Church (Koreatown, Los Angeles); Author; Speaker

Thursday, December 20, 2018

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Elise Ritter, Vienna Rose, 2018
Acrylics and Collage
© Elise Ritter


December's Artist Watch at the international online arts magazine Escape Into Life brings you the light-filled artworks of award-winning painter Elise Ritter, a resident of Arlington, Virginia.

Formerly a journalist and clinical social worker who turned to painting beginning in 2003, Elise has received numerous awards for her work, which has been published in a range of books and magazines here and abroad. She is a juried member of the local Arlington Artists Alliance and regional Potomac Valley Watercolorists. For inspiration, she draws on the beauty she finds in the stained glass windows of cathedrals, religious icons, and the gold-accented Symbolist art of Vienna, Austria.

For today's Artist Watch, Elise has shared images of her beautiful, spiritually themed paintings, her Artist Statement, and a biographical profile that includes links to her Website and galleries where her work has been exhibited or can be purchased.

Note: The image above is from Elise's "Vienna Gold: Inspired by Klimt", a group exhibition she organized, which opens January 27, 2019, in the Great Hall of National United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. In addition to Elise's work, the show features art by Jackie Afram, Elizabeth Hudgins, Kat Jamieson, Linda Maldonado, Anna Schalk, and Deborah Taylor.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Art for Advent, Third Sunday

As part of his YouTube series Seeing Art History, art historian Dr. James Romaine presents on this, the third Sunday of Advent, commentary about Rembrandt van Rijn's  etching The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds (1634), which is in the Rosenwald Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Thought for the Day

Activism is what love looks like in public.
~ John Grauwiler


Quoted from "Response to 'All the Dead Boys Look Like Me'" [by Christopher Soto] in Bullets Into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence (Ed. by Brian Clements, Alexandra Teague, and Dean Rader), Beacon Press, 2017; page 155

John Grauwiler, Cofounder, Gays Against Guns; Activist

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Art for Advent, Second Sunday

For the second Sunday of Advent, art historian Dr. James Romaine discusses Jan van Eyck's exquisite painting titled The Annunciation (c. 1434-1436) for his YouTube series Seeing Art History. Part of the Andrew Mellon Collection at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.,  the early Netherlandish painting is thought to have been part of a triptych, a larger, three-part altarpiece. As Romaine points out, it is both visually stunning and replete with religious symbolism.

Thought for the Day

What sort of sorrow will, when gathered up, become a force
depends on your love.
~ Duo Yu
Trans. by Steve Riep

Quoted from "Gathering Up",  Push Open the Window: Contemporary Poetry from China (Ed. Qingping Wang), Copper Canyon Press, 2011; page 267

Duo Yu, Chinese Scholar, Poet, Writer; Editor, Poem Time

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Art for Advent, First Sunday

For this first Sunday of Advent, the channel Seeing Art History on YouTube presents Quaker preacher and artist Edward Hicks's The Peaceable Kingdom. Victoria Emily Jones, who writes the blog Art & Theology, narrates. This year, art historian James Romaine concentrates on art of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Edward Hicks, 1780-1849

Additional Commentary on The Peaceable Kingdom by Victoria Emily Jones

Thought for the Day

Poverty is black ice. . .
~ Naomi Ayala

Quoted from Naomi Ayala, "Poverty" at Beltway Poetry Quarterly

Naomi Ayala, Poet, Educator, Arts Administrator, Community Activist

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Thought for the Day

Pain marks you, but too deep to see.
~ Margaret Atwood

Quoted from Margaret Atwood, "Sunbeams" (Quotations) in Sun, September 2012, Issue 441, page 48

Margaret Atwood, Canadian Novelist, Poet, Essayist, Literary Critic, Inventor, Teacher, and Environmental Activist; Winner, Giller Prize, Premio Mondello, Man Booker Prize, and Los Angeles Times Innovator's Award

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Thought for the Day

If another world is possible, what is
your role in making it happen?
~ Cynthia Cherrey

Quoted in Mark Nepo, "If Another World Is Possible" in More Together Than Alone (Atria Books, 2018), page 257

Cynthia Cherrey, President and CEO, International Leadership Association; Board Member, ILA; Fellow, James McGregor Burns Academy of Leadership; Recipient, Fulbright Scholarship

Thursday, November 15, 2018

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Lebohang Kganye, The nameless ones in the graves, 2018
Inkjet Print on Cotton Rag Paper
(Inspired by Athol Fugard's The Train Driver)

Copyright © 2018 Lebohang Kganye


This month's Artist Watch column at the international online arts magazine Escape Into Life showcases a series of photographs from South African photographer Lebohang Kganye, who has been described by Aperture magazine's Michael Famighetti as "a distinguished new voice in contemporary photography."

Lebohang, a relative newcomer to photography — her initial introduction to the medium was in 2009 — lives and works in Johannesburg. Since completing an Advanced Photography Programme in 2011 and university studies in fine arts in 2016, Lebohang has participated in many photography masterclasses and exhibited both locally and internationally in numerous group exhibitions. She also has received considerable attention in the arts press and a number of prestigious photography awards.

You will find in today's Artist Watch column images from Lebohang's series Tell Tale, which draws its inspiration not only from the work of South African playwright Athol Fugard but also from the stories told to her by the villagers of Nieu Bethesda, where Lebohang undertook a residency; you also will find there Lebohang's Artist Statement about the series and biographical information. A remarkably talented photographer, Lebohang is definitely an artist to watch.

Below you will find an additional selection of images from Ke sale teng (Reconstruction of a Family), that Lebohang kindly provided and that I am privileged to share. Much like Tell Tale, the images were made from silhouette cutouts of family members and other props arranged in a diorama, and explore the meaning of "family" and the histories and memories connected with family albums.

Re palame tereneng e fosahetseng, 2016
Inkjet Print on Cotton Rag Paper
64 cm x 90 cm

O robetse a ntse a bala Bona, 2016
Inkjet Print on Cotton Rag Paper
64 cm x 90 cm

Ke ile ka tswela pele ka ho tereka a ntse a bua, 2016
Inkjet Print on Cotton Rag Paper
64 cm x 90 cm

O emetse mohala, 2016
Inkjet Print on Cotton Rag Paper
64 cm  x 90 cm

All of the above have been produced in an edition of 5, plus 2 Artist Proofs. Go here for context by the artist.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Thought for the Day

[. . .] And as soon as a thing is said

it becomes true
if it is a poem

if it does not become true
it was not a poem
~ Alice Ostriker

Quoted from Alice Ostriker, "Reading Dan Beachy-Quick, Wonderful Investigations" in Image, Fall 2018, No. 98, page 22

Alice Ostriker, Poet, Critic, and Activist; Winner, National Jewish Book Award

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Thought for the Day

Years do odd things to identity.
~ Ursula K. Le Guin

Quoted from Ursula K. Le Guin, "Leaves" in So Far So Good: Final Poems: 2014-2018 (Copper Canyon Press, 2018)

Ursula K. Le Guin, October 21, 1929 - January 22, 2018

Obituary at The New York Times

Sunday, October 28, 2018

May Their Memory (Poem)

Gerhard Richter, Kerze ("Candle"), 1983
Oil on Canvas
95 cm x 90 cm


Joyce Fienberg, 75
Richard Gottfried, 65
Rose Mallinger, 97
Jerry Rabinowitz, 66
Cecil Rosenthal, 59
David Rosenthal, 54
Bernice Simon, 84
Sylvan Simon, 86
Daniel Stein, 71
Melvin Wax, 88
Irving Younger, 69

Tree of Life, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 27, 2018
May their memory be for a blessing.


May Their Memory

May they go on
dreaming, these
faithful eleven —

"the regulars"
who opened doors
to one and all,

whose voices stilled
before Shabbat
began. O Tree of Life,

your Star of David
shattered, your limbs
rent in the peril

of prayers unheard.
Let us name them
and remember

the front-door greeters,
the first-to-arrive,
the synagogue-goers

bear-hugging in aisles,
the ones who helped
with everything.

May their memory
be our blessing.
Having seen their tears,

Your sorrow I saw.

Thought for the Day

Something that is truly beautiful cannot lie to you—
but something that seems beautiful can. . . .
~ Lauren F. Winner

Quoted from Lauren F. Winner, "Alphabetic Art" ("Lying") in Image, Fall 2018, No. 98, page 8 (Adapted from Winner's Plenary Address at Glen Workshop, August 2018)

Lauren F. Winner, Episcopal Priest (Vicar, St. Paul's, Louisburg, North Carolina); Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality, Duke Divinity School; Author; Lecturer

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Thought for the Day

More than half the world is covered by water,
yet most of us are afraid of drowning.
~ Todd Davis

Quoted from Todd Davis, "First Thoughts about God after Spying a Speckled Trout Eat a Green Drake" in Image, Fall 2018, No. 98, page 102

Todd Davis, Poet; Professor of English and Environmental Studies, Pennsylvania State University (Altoona College)

Todd Davis at Image and Poetry Foundation

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Saturday Short

Enjoy this Saturday short, a look at Dana Gioia's "Progress Report". The poetry video is from Blank Verse Films and was made in California's Sonoma County.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Jeanie Tomanek, Paper Doll, 2017
Oil, 40" x 30"
© Jeanie Tomanek


It is my delight today to present in this month's Artist Watch column images of some of the unique and often-moving paintings of self-taught artist Jeanie Tomanek of Marietta, Georgia.

Jeanie, who began a full-time career as an artist at age 50, is drawn to literature, folk-tales, and myths that inspire her to explore the feminine archetype. She uses trees, flowers, birds, and snow as symbols for emotional states or story elements.

Today's Artist Watch column showcases images of eight recent paintings, Jeanie's Artist Statement, and a brief biography, as well as Jeanie's social media. Her commanding work rewards viewers willing to look slowly and carefully at the figures who represent "Everywoman".

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Thought for the Day

. . . Reading a life is like reading a poem—
full of ambiguity, which involves consciousness
that we are reading. . . .
~ David Mason

Quoted from David Mason, "Neruda's Voice" (Book Review), The Hudson Review, August 2018

David Mason, American Poet, Essayist, Editor, Teacher; Former Poet Laureate of Colorado

David Mason's numerous poetry collections include The Sound: New & Selected Poems (2018), Sea Salt, Poems of a Decade: 2004-2014 (2014), Arrivals (2004), The Country I Remember (1996), and The Buried Houses (1991). He also is the author of the verse novel Ludlow (2007; 2nd ed., 2010), the literary memoir News from the Village (2010), and the essay collections The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry (1999) and Two Minds of a Western Poet (2011).

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A funeral . . . (Poem)

A funeral can turn you

inside out,
leave you questioning

the love
you could measure

by distance traveled,
calls made,

the daily accounting
of weather.

Whatever's changed
should be forgiven

but tell me how
does the heart forget

it's been broken.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Thought for the Day

. . . [A] meter-high fence is not a sign of strength but a sign
of fear. A sign of the fear of being questioned. Fear of loss,
poverty, and death. That is our fear, and it is no different
from the fear of the people on the other side of the fence. . . .
~ Jenny Erpenbeck

Quoted from Jenny Erpenbeck, "Blind Spots: The 2018 Puterbaugh Keynote" in World Literature Today, July-August 2018, page 63

Jenny Erpenbeck, Award-Winning German Writer, Opera Director (Erpenbeck's most recent novel is Go, Went, Gone (2015; New Directions Reprint, 2017), awarded the Thomas Mann Prize and the Permio Strega Europeo.)

James Wood, "A Novelist's Powerful Response to the Refugee Crisis",  The New Yorker, September 25, 2017 (This article is about Go, Went, Gone, as translated by Susan Bernofsky.)

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Thought for the Day

[. . .] Love is a door.
~ Daniel Priest


Quoted from Daniel Priest's Poem "I Stand and Knock" in Image, No. 97, Summer 2018, page 86

Daniel Priest, Austin-Based Poet, Associate Editor at Borderlands, and Master Arborist

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Thought for the Day

[. . .]we now pass on, so that even at the end
of time, even in what looks like silence,
even in the quietest sense of disappearance,
even in the far distance of times beyond
our present understanding, we will be remembered
in the way others still live, and still live on, in our love.
~ David Whyte

Quoted from David Whyte, "Everlasting" in The Bell and the Blackbird (Many Rivers Press, 2018)

David Whyte,  Poet, Author, Speaker; Associate Fellow, Said Business School, University of Oxford

Listen to David Whyte's interview at the Poets Cafe, July 29, 2018.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Gail Nadeau, Collage No. 1

Gail Nadeau, Collage No. 2

© Gail Nadeau


This month's Artist Watch column at Escape Into Life presents images from illustrator Gail Nadeau's lovely Dresses series. 

Gail, who grew up on her grandfather's farm in Voorheesville, New York, is best known for her photography and mixed media work, which includes 100 Angels, a portfolio of small, over-painted photographs, and Notebook, a series of enlarged and re-worked images originally collaged in a watercolor notebook.

Today's Artist Watch presents seven images from Gail's Dresses series, her Artist Statement, and a brief biography.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Thought for the Day

[. . .] the edge is a creative place to be—
a place from which to see the whole field—
and to empathize with those who are not sure where they belong.
~ Barbara Brown Taylor

Quoted from "A Conversation with Barbara Brown Taylor", Interview, Image, No. 97, Summer 2018

Barbara Brown Taylor, Writer, Speaker, and "Spiritual Contrarian" (Episcopal Priest)

Taylor's forthcoming book is Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others (HarperOne, April 2019).

Barbara Brown Taylor on FaceBook

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Thought for the Day

What seems most outlandish in our autobiography
is what really happened.
~ Steve Abbot

Quoted from Steve Abbott, "Elegy", in Noel Black, Uselysses (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011)

Noel Black, Writer-Producer, Poet

Steve Abbott (1943 - 1992), Poet, Critic, Editor, Novelist, Artist

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Thought for the Day

[O]ne of the duties of the spirit is joy, and another is serenity . . . .
~ Thornton Wilder


Quoted from Thornton Wilder's 1930 Letter to Paul Stephenson

Thornton Wilder (1897 - 1975), American Playwright and Novelist

Robin G. Wilder and Jackson R. Bryer (Eds.), The Selected Letters of Thornton Wilder (HarperCollins, 2010) 

Thornton Wilder Letters, 1927 - 1965, Special Collections, PennState University Libraries

Robert Gottlieb. "Man of Letters: The Case of Thornton Wilder", The New Yorker, January 7, 2013

Richard H. Goldstone, Interview with Thornton Wilder, The Art of Fiction No. 16, The Paris Review, Winter 1956

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Thought for the Day

If I had the right dream anything could be possible.
~ Jeffrey Joe Nelson

Quoted from Jeffrey Joe Nelson, "Relaxing in Armor" in Road of a Thousand Wonders (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011), page 70

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Thought for the Day

You can never
persuade one person that another
is a liar. People prefer the liar.
~ Fanny Howe

Quoted from Fanny Howe, "Passage" in Come and See (Graywolf Press, 2011), page 27

Fanny Howe, Award-Winning Poet, Novelist, Short Story Writer

Interviews with Fanny Howe at BOMB (2018), divedapper (2016), LitHub (2016), and The Paris Review (2016)

Thursday, August 16, 2018

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

David Ehrlich, Singing for My Supper*

© David Ehrlich


We are in summer's fullness, and that means we're celebrating our annual Dog Days Artist Watch at Escape Into Life. This month's feature presents the work of fine art photographer David Ehrlich, whom I've had the pleasure to meet and watch in action with his subjects.

David, who got a start in photography at age 13, operates a portrait studio in Arlington, Virginia.

Today's Artist Watch column showcases eight images from David's portfolio of dog portraits, as well as a brief Artist Statement and a biography. Make a point to see all the images for the column and then head over to David's Website (it links to his Dog Art Gallery) for more treats that will take your mind off August's heat.


* The captions given to David's images are my own (with his permission).

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Thought for the Day

To watch a heart being emptied
of trust and desire is to see something
elemental: not a worm's turning
but a tide's. [. . .]
~ Sam Willetts

Quoted from Sam Willetts, "You and St. Kevin and the Birds" in New Light for the Old Dark (Cape Poetry, 2010), page 48 (The collection, Willetts's first, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize, the Costa Prize, and the T.S. Eliot Prize.)

Sam Willetts, English Poet

Sam Willetts Profiles at Next Generation Poets 2014 (Poetry Book Society) and Poetry Foundation

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Saturday Short

Film Poster

Inspired by Andrew Solomon's excellent book Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity (Scribner, reprint 2013), the documentary of the same name currently is making rounds in theatres across the country. An IFC Films production directed by Rachel Dretzin, the documentary offers an insightful look at "exceptional" children and the challenges they present to their "ordinary" families.

Here's the official trailer:

IFC Films on FaceBook

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Book Spine Poems

Following are 18 collections of poetry, some published this year, whose titles are revealed in book spine poems. The author of each collection is noted, line by line. (Links are to the books available on Amazon or through the publishers.)


A Spell to Bless the Silence
Long Love
Esperanza and Hope

Line 1 John Montague
Line 2 Judith Barrington
Line 3 Esperanza Snyder


If You Have to Go
A Memory of the Future

Line 1 Katie Ford
Line 2 Sue D. Burton
Line 3 Elizabeth Spires


A Quarter of an Hour
Of Marriage
Beyond All Bearing

Line 1 Leanne O'Sullivan
Line 2 Nicole Cooley
Line 3 Susan Delaney Spear


Pulling Down the Heavens
Strong-Armed Angels
Secure Your Own Mask

Line 1 Barbara Bloom
Line 2 David Allen Sullivan
Line 3 Shaindel Beers


bury it
Anything on Earth
Invented by the Night

Line 1 Sam Sax
Line 2 Ken Weisner
Line 3 Len Anderson


Forgive the Body This Failure
Someone is Breathing
During the Music

Line 1 Blas Falconer
Line 2 J. Morris
Line 3 R. Soos

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Thought for the Day

The past is set in daylight, and it can become a torch we can carry 
into the night that is the future.
~ Rebecca Solnit

Quoted from Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities (Haymarket Books, 3rd Ed., 2016), page xxvi

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Thought for the Day

Loss is the self emptying back into silence.
~ David Wevill

Quoted from David Wevill, "In the Jardin des Plantes" in A Christ of the Ice-Floes (Macmillan, 1966; Tavern Books, 2016), page 83 (Wevill is a marvelous poet but, I would hazard, largely unfamiliar to many readers of poetry. The Tavern Books reprint offers an excellent first-experience of his work. Also see the reprints of Wevill's Where the Arrow Falls and Collected Translations, both part of Tavern's The Living Library; see, in addition, To Build My Shadow a Fire: The Poetry and Translations of David Wevill (Truman State University Press, 2010), edited by Michael McGrieff.

David Wevill, Award-Winning Poet, Translator, Editor, Retired Teacher (University of Texas at Austin)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Thought for the Day

. . . community builds when a kindness is given
and a voice is heard, and when something is built 
together that can't be built alone.
~ Mark Nepo

Quoted from Mark Nepo Interview, "A Conversation with Mark Nepo About His New Book, More Together Than Alone: Discovering the Power and Spirit of Community In Our Lives and in the World" (Atria Books, July 17, 2018) 

Mark Nepo, Poet, Spiritual Writer and Guide

Mark Nepo on FaceBook

Thursday, July 19, 2018

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Mark R. Pugh, Boy at the Edge of the World, 2018
Oil on Panel
30" x 48"

© Mark R. Pugh


I'm delighted to introduce in today's Artist Watch column at Escape Into Life the award-winning painter Mark R. Pugh.

Born in Utah, Mark, who holds a bachelor's degree in psychology, works full-time as an artist. Instructed in art at the Bridge Academy in Provo, Mark has developed a style that, in his words, draws from both realism and surrealism to create a dreamlike aesthetic. His work continues to betray his early interests in, indeed a passion for, fantasy and illustration.

In addition to showcasing nine images of Mark's strong work, today's Artist Watch includes Mark's Artist Statement and a brief biography. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Thought for the Day

. . . When you build a wall between yourself and others,
you are basically saying that you have stopped listening
and seeing. You have cut off contact. And how can there
be understanding without contact?
~ Helon Habila

Quoted from Helon Habila, "The Separation Wall" in Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation (Harper-Perennial, 2017), Edited by Michael Chabon an Ayelet Waldman (This is an excellent, eye-opening series of essays.)

Helon Habila, Award-Winning Novelist, Editor, and Publisher (Cordite Books) of African Crime and Detective Stories

Helon Habila's books include Oil on Water, Measuring Time, Waiting for an Angel, and, most recently, The Chibok Girls: The Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Saturday Short

Today's Saturday Short is a video of poet Dana Gioia reciting his poem "The Stars Now Rearrange Themselves", from Daily Horoscope, Gioia's first poetry collection, which was published in 1986. (Additional poems from that collection and other books can be read in the Poems section of Gioia's Website.)

The video was made by Blank Verse Films, which produces a new poetry video weekly.

Dana Gioia on FaceBook and Twitter

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Dateline: Syria (Poem)

Dateline: Syria, June 25, 2018

how to explain
with unwilling lips

how to un-see
the flies still harvesting

the boy being raised
from the indelicate balancing

of body meeting metal

first there is the turning away
the fire on soft skin spreading

and the quickening cold
of two small hands

insufficient protection
against what rains

from the war zone's drones

amid this indecent violence
comes love of the father

for his only son

the child who one last time
returns home

wrapped in a blanket
strapped to the handlebars

too wide to hug close
what remains

behind stone-black motorcycle exhaust

© 2018 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem is my response to a deeply moving photograph out of Syria of a father attempting to maneuver his motorcycle while trying to balance on the handlebars the body of his preschool-age son. During a bombing by Assad's military forces, the boy sustained injuries so great he could not be helped by medics in the area, who lacked any of the necessary supplies to even attempt to save his life.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Thought for the Day

Every author does not write for every reader.
~ Samuel Johnson

Quoted in Jane Yolen's Take Joy: A Writer's Guide to Loving the Craft (Writer's Digest Books, 2006)

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), English Poet, Essayist, Editor, Critic, Lexicographer

Jane Yolen, American Writer of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Children's Books, and Poetry

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Thought for the Day

Why do you stay in prison /
when the door is so wide open?
~ Rumi

Quoted from Rumi's Poem "A Community of the Spirit", Translated by Coleman Barks

Read the text of the poem at The Line Break blog. The poem is included in Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems (Grayson Books, 2017), edited by Phyllis Cole-Dai and Ruby R. Wilson. (Watch the trailer for the latter, which is a particularly lovely collection of poems. Also see Poetry of Presence Website.)

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Thought for the Day

It is terrible to survive/
as consciousness/
buried in the dark earth.
~ Louise Gluck

Quoted from Louise Gluck, "The Wild Iris" in The Wild Iris (ECCO Press/HarperCollins, 1993) (This collection won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize.)

Louise Gluck, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2003-2004

Louise Gluck Profiles at Academy of American Poets and Poetry Foundation

Gluck published American Originality: Essays on Poetry in 2017.  Her most recent collection of poems is Faithful and Virtuous Night (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), which received the 2014 National Book Award for Poetry.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Manal Deeb, Cordoba, 2018
Acrylic and Watercolor on Canvas
24" x 30"
© Manal Deeb


When I first came across Manal Deeb's paintings on LinkedIn, I knew instantly I wanted to invite her to be featured in my monthly column at Escape Into Life. Today, I am pleased to say, I am showcasing her work in Artist Watch.

For Manal Deeb, who holds a bachelor degree in interdisciplinary studies in the psychology of art, women's faces, along with calligraphy, feature prominently in her multi-layered and mixed media paintings. Described by one art critic as a "Palestinian artist who paints life" in visual metaphors, she follows no particular school of art. Her subjects include feminism, identity, religion, and philosophy, among other interests.

You'll find in today's new Artist Watch column images of seven of Manal's paintings, her Artist Statement, and a brief biography, as well as her social media links. If you are in Virginia, plan a visit to Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, where you'll find Manal working in her studio, #1011 in building 10.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Thought for the Day

Light every morning dawns through the trees. Surely
this is worth more than one life.
~ Marilyn Nelson

Quoted from Concluding Lines of "A Charmed Life" from Carver: a Life in Poems (Front Street/Boyds Mills Press, 2001), by Marilyn Nelson, Winner, 2017 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature (University of Oklahoma/World Literature Today)*

Marilyn Nelson, American Poet, Children's Book Author, Translator; Chancellor, Academy of American Poets; Poet-in-Residence, Cathedral of St. John the Divine; Professor Emeritus of English, University of Connecticut; Former Poet Laureate of Connecticut (2001-2006)

* An excerpt from "A Charmed Life" including the quoted lines is in Marilyn Nelson, "Bowled Over — A Life with Poem: The 2017 NSK Prize Keynote", World Literature Today, March 2018.

Hayan Charara, "Reinventing and Reimagining the World: A Tribute to Marilyn Nelson", World Literature Today, March 2018

Sarah Rebecca Warren, "Telling It Slant: A Conversation with Marilyn Nelson", World Literature Today, March 2018

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Saturday Short

Today's short is a quick look at the award-winning and beautifully hand-illustrated Gorogoa (Annapurna Interactive, 2017), an interactive game created by Jason Roberts in which players move panels of art to "read" the storybook and solve the puzzle.

Jason Roberts on FaceBook

Jason Roberts on Vimeo

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Thought for the Day

Closing the distance between one's self and others opens us
as it breaks down barriers. Learning how to do that, in one's
art and in one's life, is the true freedom. It helps to lead us
out of suffering. It's an act of love. . . .
~ Margaret Gibson

Quoted from "A Conversation with Margaret Gibson", Image Journal, Spring 2018, No. 96, page 63

Margaret Gibson, Poet; Author, Most Recently, of Not Hearing the Wood Thrush* (forthcoming September 2018)

* Read a selection of poems from the collection.

Margaret Gibson Profiles at Academy of American Poets and Poetry Foundation

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Saturday Short

Today's short is the launch trailer for the documentary Whistle Words (Red Sparks Films), a film that traces how women with cancer reclaim  their voices; specifically it follows poet Charlotte Matthews's experience of breast cancer, diagnosed as stage 3, and of her post-treatment efforts to reclaim through her writing her sense of self. The trailer is based on Matthews's poem "The Greatest Show on Earth". Matthews's third book of poems is Whistle What Can't Be Said (Unicorn Press, 2016).

Additional film clips are available at the Red Sparks link above.

Read Nin Andrews's interview with Matthews at The Best American Poetry Blog (June 4, 2018).

Charlotte Matthews on FaceBook

Whistle Words on FaceBook

Red Sparks Films on FaceBook

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

You Swim Until You Can't (Poem)

You Swim Until You Can't

      for Scott Hutchinson,
         lead singer, Frightened Rabbit

You swim until you can't
see land. So gone from shore

we become a foreign substance
in your eye you can neither rub

nor let alone.

Not meant for easy oblivion.
Not meant for that long slog

to eternity where you pledged
your forever presence to love

once everything's been worked out.

We hear no distress call, eye
no hand signaling how you'll go

missing from what some called
a messy life. Water sweeps away

even a trace of your footsteps.

© 2018 Maureen E. Doallas


Scott Hutchinson (b. November 20, 1981) died May 10, 2018. Just 36, he left his last words in a tweet: ". . . I'm away now. Thanks."

The poem's title and opening line are a variation on "Swim Until You Can't See Land" from the Glasgow band's album The Winter of Mixed Drinks (2010).

Read Marc Hogan's May 14, 2018, article at Pitchfork, "Why Losing Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchinson Hurts So Much". Also see "Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchinson Dead at 36", also at Pitchfork.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Thought for the Day

[. . .] everyone's grief is different, and [. . .] differs in
in small and subtle ways, according to the circumstances of loss.
~ Richard Lloyd Parry

Quoted from Richard Lloyd Parry's excellent Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan's Disaster Zone (MCD, 2017)

Richard Lloyd Parry, Asia Editor, The Times, Foreign Asia Correspondent; and Author

Richard Lloyd Parry on FaceBook and Twitter

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Saturday Short

. . . your voice is not a feather I can hold//
but a thought i draw/
across my  throat when I close my eyes—//. . . 

Today, Saturday Short brings you "Asterism", a film of a poem by Keith S. Wilson presented at MotionPoems in partnership with Cave Canem.

A selection of Wilson's poems is available at his Website.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Thought for the Day

To conquer a beast, you must first make it beautiful.
~ Chinese Proverb

A variation on the proverb is used as the title of Sarah Wilson's book First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety (Dey Street Books, April 2018). Wilson first came across the proverb while reading Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind.

Sarah Wilson, Author; Entrepreneur; Founder, IQuitSugar (Wellness Site); Former Journalist

Sarah Wilson on FaceBook

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

One Story of Gaza (Poem)

One Story of Gaza

You never leave the same
as when you arrive.

Your mother's womb is
no longer safe from

bombs or bullets, and Israel

still cuts the grass. The buffer
zone is expanded, the fences

reinforced. What once was
taken — house by house —

calls for "deliberately inflicted
life-changing injuries."

Your return to land beyond
the pocked, sand-dusted berms

is deemed an "infiltration."


You stand out, are spotted.
They fire — no warning given.

You tumble, get up,
persist in your "Great March"

against their appropriation.
At the barbed border

dividing them from you,
wherever they aim,

somebody else goes down.


The body of ten-month-old
Layla Ghandour is carried

home from the hospital,
placed in a pink plastic basin,

washed by the light of cellphone,
wrapped in white shroud wrapped

in your flag. So small this bundle
in red and green, white and black.


On this, the year's bloodiest
day, you hear too well the wails

rising amid struggles amid smoke.
Sixty times one more of you falls.

Don't take this as your call to prayer,
you tell your mourning wives.

"It's God's will." "Have faith in God."


To be displaced is "Nakba."
What happens at their fences

where everything is used
to stop you and you and you

is catastrophe times two
on this singular sliver of land,

this Gaza stripped of peace
this land denying your claim,

and roused again to resistance.

© Maureen E. Doallas

The inspiration for this poem and some of the quoted material is "What the Gaza Protests Portend" at New York Books Daily, May 15, 2018.

The phrase "still cuts the grass" refers to an Israeli strategy of tolerating a level of violence from Gaza and then re-engaging, without ever finding a solution or creating peace; in other words, maintaining the status quo. I first came across the description in a 2014 Vox article about Palestinian fatalities.

Read my other poem "They Call It 'A Great Day'."

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Thought for the Day

I still don't know what dogs know.
~ Chase Twichell

Quoted from Chase Twichell, "The Second Arrow", The American Poetry Review, May/June 2018, page 38

Chase Twichell, Award-Winning Poet and Teacher, Author Most Recently of Things As It is (Forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press, October 2018)

Chase Twichell on FaceBook

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Saturday Short

Cover Art

Today's short is a trailer for Roshi Joan Halifax's new book Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet (Flatiron Books, May 2018).

Joan Halifax, Ph.D., Zen Priest, Buddhist Teacher, Anthropologist, Writer; Founder, Abbot, Head Teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Joan Halifax at Flatiron Books/MacMillan

Joan Halifax on FaceBook 

Watch the trailer at YouTube.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Carola Schapals, Sink Down the Green, 2018
Oil on Canvas
140 cm x 170 cm
© Carola Schapals


I am delighted to present the work of painter Carola Schapals in today's new Artist Watch column at the international online arts magazine Escape Into Life.

Currently a resident of Bremen, Germany, Carola, who holds a master's degree, exhibits widely in Germany as well as The Netherlands and in Spain. She has received many awards, including an artist residency at Vincent van Gogh's birthplace in Zundert, The Netherlands. In addition, she is represented in numerous private and public art collections.

Today's Artist Watch features images of eight of Carola's beautifully painted canvases, an Artist Statement, and a brief biography.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

They Call It 'A Great Day' (Poem)

They Call it 'A Great Day'

When will they learn?
None is a David against Goliath,

and "every country has an obligation
to defend its borders."*

The man in the wheelchair
readying his slingshot takes a hit

before his stone can find a mark.

The youth desperately backhanding
his tennis racket lobs too late

to return the sniper's serve.

Ivanka stands clapping — she's sixty
miles away — while Mnuchin pulls off

the big reveal: the president's name
writ larger than the thing it dedicates.

We see it all, live, this Nakba, the burning
tires, the streams of tear gas, a baby

grounded, inhaling dirty smoke in Gaza.

What is not breached is the barb wire
fence that both contains and ignites

these thousands of sources of injury.
The women in black abaya still wave

their colorful flags, their sons flinging
projectiles. Kicking up a dust cloud,

one of them even risks a selfie.

© Maureen E. Doallas

* Benjamin Netanyahu at the dedication of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and the protests in Gaza.

"Nakba" is "Catastrophe".

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Thought for the Day

What happens at eye level gets its start in the depths.
~ Dan Chiasson

Quoted from Dan Chiasson, "Jenny Xie Writes a Sight Seer's guide to the Self", The New Yorker, May 7, 2018

Dan Chiasson, Poet, Critic, Professor English at Wellesley College

Jenny Xie, Award-Winning Poet, Author of Eye Level (Graywolf Press, 2018)

Jenny Xie on FaceBook and Twitter