Sunday, July 21, 2019

Thought for the Day

. . . Trust the heart's forgotten language /
to teach you. / . . . . //
. . . Trust moments of peace to surprise you. //
Trust love . . . /
. . . as you trust wounds /
to heal from the inside out, // . . . .
~ Nancy Paddock

Quoted from Nancy Paddock, "Trust" in Perfect Dragonfly (Red Dragonfly Press, 2011), pages 250-251

Nancy Paddock, Poet and Memoirist

Thursday, July 18, 2019

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Melissa D Johnston, reach, 2019
Digital Art
© Melissa D Johnston


Venturing into the digital, this month's Artist Watch spotlights the work of Melissa D Johnston, who studied literature, philosophy, and theology in undergraduate and graduate school before turning back to her other passion, art.

An emerging artist who has been working with her iPhone and iPad to create her art, Melissa has exhibited both in the United States and Canada.

Today's new Artist Watch feature at Escape Into Life showcases eight of Melissa's dream-like images and includes her Artist Statement and a brief biography, as well as her Website and social media addresses.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Thought for the Day

[. . .] You can spend a lifetime avoiding the mysteries
of relationship, relying on categories to save you. [. . .]
and call that connection. [. . .] 

Or sit with someone who is weeping and feel the exposure
of silence. Endure the stilted conversation. Share the meal.
Take the risk. Ask the hard question. [. . .]
~ Helena Sorensen


Quoted from Helena Sorensen, "The God Who Asks", The Rabbit Room, June 25, 2019

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Thought for the Day

[. . .] To ask a thoughtful and probing question
carries with it the burden of listening to the answer,
of focusing on another person's story and sitting
with the weight of her feelings. [. . .]
~ Helena Sorensen

Quoted from Helena Sorensen, "The God Who Asks", The Rabbit Room, June 25, 2019

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Thought for the Day

Nothing you'll find more orphan than the heart.
~ Anders Carlson-Wee

Quoted from Anders Carlson-Wee, "Lodestar," in The Low Passions: Poems (W.W. Norton, 2019), page 23

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Thought for the Day

I've done my best to immortalize what I failed to keep.
~ Joseph Brodsky

Quoted from Section XVI of Joseph Brodsky's "Strophes" in A Part of Speech (FSG, 1981), page 141

Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996), Russian-American Poet and Essayist; Winner, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1987

Thursday, June 20, 2019

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Patrick Dougher, Tightrope, 2017
Acrylic and Mixed Media on Paper
18" x 24"
© Patrick Dougher


I am delighted to present in today's Artist Watch column at Escape Into Life the work of self-taught artist Patrick Dougher.

Patrick, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, describes his art as "a genuine expression of all that I am." All that Patrick is encompasses not only art but also music, poetry, and reading. For more than 20 years Patrick has used the arts to "empower and support the socio-emotional growth of at-risk and disenfranchised youth" of New York City. He has been an art therapist, curator, teaching artist, and director of a huge community arts program for which he oversaw the creation of more than 300 public mural projects.

Today's Artist Watch showcases images of eight of Patrick's paintings, his Artist Statement, and brief biographical information, as well as links to Patrick's social media.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Thought for the Day

What we allow the mark of our suffering to become
is in our own hands.
~ bell hooks

Quoted from bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions (Wm Morrow Paperbacks, 765th Ed., 2018). The quote is the epigraph of Part I. Scar in Lee Herrick's collection Scar and Flower (Word Poetry, 2019).

bell hooks, Writer, Feminist Theorist, Cultural Critic, Artist

bell hooks institute

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Thought for the Day

You can live by water and still die of thirst.
~ Lee Herrick

Quoted from "A Thousand Saxophones," Poem by Lee Herrick in Here: Poems for the Planet (Copper Canyon Press, 2019), Elizabeth J. Coleman, Ed., page 89. The poem is from Herrick's collection Hurricane Blues (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2006)

Lee Herrick, Fresno Poet Laureate Emeritus; Educator

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Thought for the Day

On the last day of the world
I would want to plant a tree.
~ W.S. Merwin

Quoted as Epigraph of "Living" in Naomi Shihab Nye, The Tiny Journalist: Poems (BOA Editions, 2019), page 113. The epigraph comprises the first two lines of Merwin's poem "Place" in The Rain in the Trees (Knopf, 1988).

Naomi Shihab Nye, Palestinian-American Poet, Essayist, Educator

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Thought for the Day

What kind of life are you building,
and by whose power are you building it?
~ Joseph E. Gorra

Quoted from Joseph E. Gorra, "The Intentionality of Becoming Complete Human Beings", CCCA/Biola University Lent Project, April 13, 2019

Joseph E. Gorra, Founder and Director, Veritas Life Center, Writer and Educator

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Thought for the Day

. . . real love. . . changes outcomes
 and creates whole new people. . . .
~ Cynthia Bourgeault


Quoted from Cynthia Bourgeault, Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation, "Anointing and Anointed" at Center for Action and Contemplation, April 11, 2019

Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault, Episcopal Priest, Write, Internationally Known Retreat Leader

Thursday, May 16, 2019

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Jordan Nassar, The Future With Longing, 2018
Hand-embroidered Cotton on Cotton
22" x 22"
© Jordan Nassar


This month's Artist Watch at Escape Into Life showcases the exquisite abstract embroidery of textile artist Jordan Nassar.

A Palestinian-American born in New York City, where he currently resides, Jordan uses his meticulous hand-stitching to address such subjects as identity, cultural heritage, symbology, codes and language systems, and superstition and religious beliefs. The geometric patterning he uses and carefully maps out is adapted from Islamic symbols present in Palestinian hand embroidery.

Today's Artist Watch column features six images of Jordan's work, his Artist Statement, and a brief biography, as well as a link to his Instagram page.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

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 (The Ecco Press, 1992), page 1

Louise Gluck, Award-Winning American Poet; Former Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Thought for the Day

There is no country
left for the weaponless.
~ Carolyne Wright

Quoted from Carolyne Wright, "Flowers in Winter (XII)"  in This Dream The World: New and Selected Poems (Lost Horse Press, 2017), page 140

Carolyne Wright, American Poet

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Thought for the Day

There is always something to be made of pain.
~ Louise Gluck

Quoted from Louise Gluck, "Love Poem"in The House on Marshland (1975) in The First Four Books of Poems (Ecco Press, 1995), page 90

Louise Gluck, American Poet; Poet Laureate to the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (2003)

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Thought for the Day

Water is the shine moving, death does not flow.
~ Linda Gregg


Quoted from Linda Gregg, "The Heart Flowing Out" in All of It Singing: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 2008), page 127

Linda Gregg (September 9, 1942 - March 20, 2019), American Poet

Thursday, April 18, 2019

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Martha Ensign Johnson, What are we stripping away?, 2019
Zinc Etching, 12.5" x 12.5"
© Martha Ensign Johnson


I am so pleased to showcase in April's Artist Watch at Escape Into Life the marvelous work of printmaker Martha Ensign Johnson. The images are part of Martha's ongoing series Erasure, which speaks profoundly to the effects of environmental destruction.

A resident of Black Mountain, North Carolina, Martha is highly skilled in printmaking techniques, including etching, spit bite aquatint, relief printing (woodcuts), and chine colle. The recipient of many honors and awards, Martha has exhibited widely across the United States and abroad.

Today, my Artist Watch column includes seven images from the Erasure series, Martha's Artist Statement about the series, and biographical information. In addition, you'll find Martha's social media and links to current and upcoming exhibitions.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Thought for the Day

[. . .] Everything broken must be broken again. [. . .]
~ Benjamin Myers

Quoted from "The Reverend on Natural Theology" in Black Sunday: Poems (Lamar University Literary Press, 2019)

Benjamin Myers, Poet and Writer; Former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma, 2015-2016; Crouch-Mathis Professor of Literature, Oklahoma Baptist University

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Thought for the Day

[. . .] Perhaps grief is how we exhaust / our reach for things
that have gone, / and acceptance is how we slowly / learn
to hold ourselves in / the middle of the storm.
~ Mark Nepo

Quoted from "Though Loss Is Everywhere" in The Way Under the Way: The Place of True Meaning: Three Books of Poems (SoundsTrue, 2016), page 107

Mark Nepo, Poet, Teacher, Storyteller

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Thought for the Day

The deaf don't believe in silence.
Silence is the invention of the hearing.
~ Ilya Kaminsky

Quoted from Notes to "Deaf Republic: A poet writes deafness as a form of dissent against tyranny and violence," Multimedia Poetry Presentation, The New Yorker, February 11, 2019

Ilya Kaminsky, Poet, Critic, Translator, Professor (Kaminsky's most recent book is Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press, 2019).)

Ilya Kaminsky Profiles at Academy of American Poets and Poetry Foundation 

Read Garth Greenwell, "Still Dancing: An Interview with Ilya Kaminsky", Poets & Writers, March/April 2019.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Thought for the Day

[. . .] to fully live,
we must take the path and
keep sweeping it.
~ Mark Nepo

Quoted from Mark Nepo, "Being Here" in The Way Under the Way: Three Books of Poems (SoundsTrue, 2016)

Thursday, March 21, 2019

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Kaetlyn Able, With Only Butterflies to Brood, 2018
Scratchboard Drawing and Mixed Acrylic Painting Media on Claybord
12" x 18"


I'm delighted to present in my new Artist Watch column at Escape Into Life the exceptional work of Kaetlyn Able, a Bozeman, Montana, artist who looks to old photographs and wildlife images for inspiration.

Kaetlyn's thematic ideas reference American and European folk tales, the history and mythology of the American West, and human connections to nature. Her experiences as a mother and as a breast cancer survivor have helped shape her most recent work.

Today's Artist Watch column features eight images of Kaetlyn's mixed-media work, her Artist Statement, which explains aspects of her artistic process, and a brief biography.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Thought for the Day

It is easy to be beautiful; it is difficult to appear so.
~ Frank O'Hara

Quoted from Frank O'Hara, "Meditations in an Emergency" in Meditations in a Emergency (Grove/Atlantic, 1957; reissue 1996)

Frank O'Hara (1926-1966), American Writer, Poet, and Art Critic

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Thought for the Day

God comes to you disguised as your life.
Blessings often arrive as trouble.
~ Teddy Macker

Quoted from Teddy Macker, "A Poem for My Daughter" in Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems (Grayson Books, 2017), eds. Phyllis Cole-Dai and Ruby R Wilson, page 113

Teddy Macker, Poet, Essayist, Short Story Writer, Translator; Lecturer, Creative Writing and Literature, University of California at Santa Barbara

Teddy Macker Profiles at Academy of American Poets, Orion Magazine, and White Cloud Press

Interview with Teddy Macker at Santa Barbara Independent

Friday, March 8, 2019

A Poem at Escape Into Life

Today is International Women's Day, and the international online arts magazine Escape Into Life is celebrating with poetry and gorgeous art by Artist Watch artist Pooja Campbell

The honored poets are Risa Denenberg, Rose Hunter, Angela Narciso Torres, Luisa A. Igloria. I am so pleased to note that I also share a bit of space with these wonderful writers. 

My poem "Free-Diving's Queen" is dedicated to Natalia Molchanova, a Russian champion free-diver and multiple world record holder who vanished on August 2, 2015, while teaching a free-diving course on an island near Ibiza, Spain. She was only 53 years old. In 2013, the extraordinary athlete became the only woman in her sport to break the 100-meter barrier.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Mortal | Ever-Living (Poem for Ash Wednesday)

Mortal | Ever-Living

Mark on our foreheads
the ancient sign

Out of the ashes
we each have come

from earth that yields
the bread we eat

to earth that receives
the wine we make

From life to death to life
we come

of dust to dust returned

Also see my "Prayer for Ash Wednesday", "Ash Wednesday", and "fear not the rub of ash".

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Thought for the Day

[. . .] only the arts are forced to justify their place
in our schools. We never demand [. . .] justification
from the sciences, from history, or from math.
~ Ellen Winner

Quoted from Monica Moses's Interview with Ellen Winner in American Craft, February/March 2019, pages 70-73

Ellen Winner, Ph.D. (Winner, a developmental research psychologist and professor at Boston College's Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences and Senior Research Associate at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education, is the author, most recently, of the highly rated How Art Works: A Psychological Exploration (Oxford University Press, 2018). She directs the Arts and Mind Lab, which explores cognition in the arts in typical and gifted children, and adults.)

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Thought for the Day

[. . .] a house without humans is a place you don't go, [. . .]
~ Hannah Craig

Quoted from Hannah Craig, "Abandoned House" in Poet Lore: A 2nd Century of New Writing, Fall/Winter 2018, page 55

Hannah Craig, Prizewinning Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Poet (Craig's debut collection is This History That Just Happened (Parlor Press, 2017), which won the New Measure Poetry Prize and is available online from the press and Amazon.)

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Saturday Short

Enjoy today's short, the poem video It Is Not, from Blank Verse Films. The poem used for the video, which was shot in New Mexico's desert, is by Valerie Martinez, who narrates.

Poet Valerie Martinez is the director of the history and literary arts program at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. She is also an educator, facilitator, and collaborative artist. Her collections include Each and Her (University of Arizona Press, 2010), And They Called It Horizon, Santa Fe Poems (Sunstone Press, 2010), World to World (UA Press, 2004), and Absence Luminescent (Four Way Books, 1999). On March 30, 2019, Martinez will participate in a panel discussion titled "The Art of Trauma" at the AWP Conference.

Valerie Martinez on FaceBook

Valerie Martinez Profile at Poetry Foundation

Thursday, February 21, 2019

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Julie Shelton Snyder, fuji-san is a girl, 2018
Silkscreen Monoprint
30" x 22"

© Julie Shelton Snyder


Today's new Artist Watch feature at the international online arts magazine Escape Into Life offers images of recent work by painter and printmaker Julie Shelton Snyder.

Julie, who was born in West Virginia and now makes her home in Brooklyn, New York, learned woodblock printmaking techniques in 2018 while an artist-in-residence in Japan. She aims to express in her work both the ineffable and the invisible, and views abstraction as her best means to do so.

Visit Artist Watch to see eight images of Julie's work and to read her Artist Statement and a brief biography. The column also includes Julie's social media sites.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Thought for the Day

Attending to life is an act of love.
~ Katie Rubinstein

Quoted in "Word for the Day", January 2, 2019,

Katie Rubinstein, Associate Director, A Network for Grateful Living

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A Hershey's Variation (Poem)

A Hershey's Variation

Wherein Hershey recalls those Cutie Pie
lips of his beloved Baby Ruth,

remembers how his sweet Kisses
were hers to win at the Mars Bar's

contest the summer before last:
He'd sworn he could count out

all his competition, first faulting
Juicy Fruit for making a mess

of his girl's Hot Lix lipstick, then
asking LifeSaver to disqualify

Junior Mints on account of the boy's
delicate youth. (Hershey's no Dum Dum.)

He'd watched Good and Plenty take
on Atomic Fire Balls and Hot Tamales;

shook his head when they upped his
odds by 100 Grand. But no worries.

When he saw among contest registrants
Sour Punch and Goobers and Nerds,

he just laughed, calling them
3 Musketeers with Cotton Candy hair

and Jelly-Bellies — traits no Perugina
he knew would dare call Amazin' Fruit.

True, Hershey didn't have a body at all
like the bodies of the Chunky Singles,

or hair the color of a little Bit-o-Honey,
and Rolo had, truth be known, eliminated

Heath Bar to advance to finals, beating
Almond Mounds and Smarties, too,

who'd had to sit out the second round
after bragging about their Whoppers.

If he played things right, Almond King
and that too-old Sugar Daddy would

be gone in a heartbeat. As for Mr. Good
-bar, well-known for mean, dirty dealings,

he'd go the way of the Jolly Ranchers,
a gang pretending to be Charleston Chew,

and those Airheads who'd made a play
for Peeps After Eight and Peppermint

Patty. Don't you know? Their reward
was a couple of Tootsie Rolls and a boot

straight out. Original Herb, judge
for the "Best Kisser" round, kicked

Nestle's Crunch from the bunch,
citing too much rippling muscle in those

carameled arms to deserve little
Baby Ruth's affections. Soon, Kit-Kat

withdrew for reasons unknown, then
Butterfinger missed his lady's mouth

by a wide margin of error. Hershey,
alone now, and the last one standing,

gave it his everything. And what a PayDay
it turned out to be. Just that one look

into Baby Ruth's eyes — they were pure
Starbursts — and Hershey was smothering

her (but gently) in dark chocolate Kisses
to wild applause. And Baby Ruth, who

once again proved she could tell
a winner from a loser — she'd taken

her cues from Sweetarts', after all,
that doll who'd had Dots for Kit Kat,

the contest's runner-up who'd marked
the occasion with a riot of free Snickers

and a side of Twix — she wrapped
herself 'round Hershey in Ricolo hall,

pledging him both heart and soul.
O Henry! she moaned. Let's Take 5!


Some of you may remember "Hershey's Got No Baby Ruth" in which the candy made its first appearance.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Thought for the Day

If you aren't learning, you have not been paying attention.
If you have nothing to say, it is because your heart is closed.
~ Tony Hoagland

Quoted from "Application for Release from the Dream" in Application for Release from the Dream: Poems (Graywolf Press, 2015)

Tony Hoagland (1953-2018), American Poet

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Thought for the Day

[. . .] the things that burn worst in one heart
one must keep silent to keep. [. . .]
~ Christian Wiman

Quoted from Christian Wiman, "The Parable of Perfect Silence" in Poetry, December 2018, page 234

Christian Wiman, Poet, Essayst, Editor, Translator; Professor, Practice of Religion and Literature, Yale Divinity School

Christian Wiman Profiles at Academy of American Poets and Poetry Foundation

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Thought for the Day

Life is what waters you each morning.
~ Tony Hoagland

Quoted from Tony Hoagland, "Fortune" in Recent Changes in the Vernacular: Poems (Tres Chicas Books, 2017), page 89

Tony Hoagland (1953-2018), American Poet

Tony Hoagland Profiles at Academy of American Poets and Poetry Foundation

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Poems from a Twitter Poetry Party

Tuesday, January 15, was cause for a reunion of sorts when Tweetspeak Poetry, part of T.S. Poetry Press, sponsored one of its famed, fast-paced Twitter poetry parties. Following are a few of the small tiny poems and remixes I created from words found among the hour's tweets, including my own. (And yes, I took a wee bit of liberty for reasons of grammar and meaning.) My thanks to Prasanta Verma for all her retweets throughout the evening and to player-contributors L.L. Barkat, Laura Lynn Brown, Sonia Joie, Sandra Heska King, L.W. Willingham, and Glynn Young. Go to Tweetspeak Poetry on January 29 and February 5 to read what Glynn has done with the tweets.

I hear the silvery trill
north of cold,

feel the chill of moon,
the frost of maple.

Elms whisper,
and all the woods


When a willow turns
red, it is time

to shed
what autumn foretells.

The fall of rain on moss 
is nearly silent. 

Not the voice of a mother,
keeper of small poems.

Her weeping — no song
that lights upon the lips

like a gift of strawberries —
tastes like the ash

of fires long gone cold.


The gift of returning
makes fair each day

of a husband's absence.


The gift of weeping 
clears to understanding.


Beyond some invisible boundary,

where still-bare branches
trace the grammar

of animacy, the mother
weaves her stories —

grown long
but well-balanced and -constructed —

while braiding sweetgrass
at the hems of twined moons.

like circles and circles and circles,

she braids, humming

her gratitude, her allegiance
strong as a pecan shell.


The mother sighs,
losing her way

through the stories,


Do you hear the willows,
how their sounds of being

whisper the consolation
of water lilies?

Let me settle you. 
Let me settle you.


When is it easy,
this searching of earth?

More north,
the pines yield no secrets —
not of the keepers of fires,
nor of time

that draws to night.

The answer lies
in the space between

where light that shines

upon the asters and goldenrod

offers the secret
of happiness:

a way back home.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Thought for the Day

[. . .] if the heart has devoted itself to love, there is
not a single day of emptiness. [. . .]
~ Mary Oliver

Quoted from "Honey Locust" in  Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume Two (Beacon Press, 2005)

Mary Oliver, 1935-2019; American Poet, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award Winner

"Listening to the World", Mary Oliver at On Being

Thursday, January 17, 2019

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Maggie Taylor, A World of Her Own, 2018
Archival Inkjet Print
© Maggie Taylor


I'm pleased to introduce as January's Artist Watch artist at Escape Into Life the work of the highly accomplished and widely exhibited and collected Maggie Taylor.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, and a resident of Florida since she was 11, Maggie makes an art of digital composites, employing computers, flatbed scanners, and small digital cameras to combine, recombine, and alter her layered images.

Today's Artist Watch features eight of Maggie's skillfully created images, her Artist Statement, which explains her artistic process, a biographical statement that includes some of the numerous museums that have collected Maggie's work, and links to Maggie's Website and social media.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Thought for the Day

[. . .] Consider that there is no/
Grief or fear, but only forward movement/
Until movement is no longer possible. [. . .]
~ David Orr

Quoted from David Orr, "Inflatable Pool" in Dangerous Household Items (Copper Canyon Press, 2018)

David Orr, Poet, Columnist for The New York Times Book Review, Professor of Poetry and the Practice of Criticism, Rutgers University

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Thought for the Day

Denial splits the mind, making one part
invisible to the other.
~ Chase Twichell

Quoted from Chase Twichell, "A River in Egypt" in Things as It Is (Copper Canyon Press, 2018)

Chase Twichell, American Poet, Professor, Publisher (Ausable Press)

Chase Twichell Profiles at Academy of American Poets and Poetry Foundation