Monday, October 15, 2018

Brenda Smith's "Four Extra For Survival" after Lewis deSoto

Brenda Smith photographed at Hickory Museum of Art on October 13 for Art of Poetry Catawba Valley's second tour of a Unifour art institution in 2018. 

by Brenda Smith
after Paranirvana by Lewis deSoto

I cannot say you blocked my path
massive though you are.
I can pass around you, beyond you
but I cannot ignore you
reclining on the hard wooden floor
soles of your feet staring us in the face
your eightfold path turned twelvefold.
You have too many paths, large Buddha,
too many spokes in your wheel.
You, the incarnation of the
twenty-first century journey
with its too many paths
diverging in a vacant lot.
This is what happens
to the trailblazer sometimes.
You launch out with a new wisdom
and lose your way in concrete
the city swallowing your meditation
the way it swallows nature.
No green to be found.
No soft path to tread.
You need those four extra spokes
to keep the sidewalk from bruising your feet
as you walk the cities of the world
heart wounded by what you see.

So here, exhausted, you lie.
The best place you could find.
Art, a sanctuary in the modern world
a bit of peace in the cacophony
of millennial life.
Sleep well, brother Buddha, 
for now.

15 poets contributed to the event's 20 ekphrastic works which are on display with the art works that inspired them. Many thanks to Hickory Museum of Art for hosting us! Subscribe and stay posted for future events.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Join Art of Poetry Catawba Valley's Tour of Hickory Museum of Art, Saturday, Oct. 13

Join Art of Poetry Catawba Valley as we tour Hickory Museum of Art on Saturday, October 13, 2018.  15 poets have contributed to the 20 ekphrastic poems selected. The works will be shared in front of the art that inspired them.

The tour begins at 2 pm in the front lobby of the museum. Admission is free and open to the public.  Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Jane Shlensky's "Fly Me" after Owen-Murakami and Van Ameyden

by Jane Shlensky
after Kites by Ginger Owen-Murakami 
and Vicki Van Ameyden

No one—not even she—remembered
her in that dress, too white and delicate
for people who work in soil, too prissy
for a boyish girl who liked rough games
and climbing to sky branches of Old Oak.
But here she is, the one picture of her 
in white lace and patent leather pumps,
stored away in a trunk, the yellowing dress
wrapped in tissue paper below it.

“Do we really remember such early events
or do we only think so because of pictures of them?”
she asks, looking into each of our faces. 
That spurs us to reminisce of Old Mack, 
the horse pictured with us astride him bareback, 
of Dan and Jeanie, the collies who half-raised us, 
of stern-faced aunts and red-faced tippling uncles, 
of a family band playing after cookouts,
those same brothers singing harmony, 
of catching fireflies and tadpoles 
with running hordes of cousins, 
each memory raising up others like smoke,
faces long harbored, experiences long edited,
floating images that exist nowhere 
but in the albums in our heads.

All that laughter at recovering
what can never really be gone, 
part and parcel of us, finding 
and embracing our Selves of long ago, 
fills us with longing and joy,
for here we are, growing old far apart,
but still tethered by some ghostly cord
that holds us fast as family, 
each fluttering on whatever wind that shaped us,
each flying in this willing quadrant of sky.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Submission Deadline Approaches for HMA Tour, Melissa Hager's "Mmmm Hmmmm" after Susan Greene

Saturday, September 29 is the final day submissions will be accepted for Art of Poetry Catawba Valley's tour of Hickory Museum of Art. The tour on October 13 begins at 2 pm and will explore Blow Up, Dear Paul Letters, Sugar & Spice, POP: Everyday Imagery As Art, and ongoing glass and folk art exhibits. 

For submission guidelines, visit the link at

Last week's featured poem was about Susan Greene's photographic collage Mourning Wrap - and so too is this week's piece by Melissa Hager. 

by Melissa Hager
after Susan Greene’s Mourning Wrap

Frogs - symbol of our home,
potteried amphibians, leapers
with tinkly bells to welcome
the visitor. Harlequin ribbiter
sits atop chimes to warn of high
winds, soothe with calm breezes
as a tadpole plant holder
now smokes butt ends
of son’s Marlboro Reds.
Olive frogs, red frogs, crystal
frogs a courtin’ upon broken
Christmas tree bough.
Frog with feathers, a fishing pole,
and failure - as one lay in pieces
upon ceramic tile floor.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Patricia Deaton's "A Day in the Land of Lethargia" after Susan Greene

Patricia Deaton photographed at Art of Poetry Catawba Valley's tour of Caldwell Arts Council - June 9, 2018. 

by Patricia Deaton
after Mourning Wrap by Susan Greene

Every hour finds you unaccounted for, alone
Light outside is freshly-made, but you don't look.
Problems brim like dew drops on bottom lids
Limbs feel wooden and put together with pins.

You are sleepy or hungry, or both.
The bed is your conjoined twin who
can't live without its crumb-covered friend.
Undone things of yesterday, nothing done today.

Resolve as flat as matted hair and tangled sheets
dusk offers some relief from daylight's needs.
Night comes with its permission, once again
to lie in darkness, unwashed and guilt-free.

As one of  AOPCV's coordinators, Patricia invites poets to participate in the next event on October 13 at Hickory Museum of Art. Details can be found at:

Monday, September 10, 2018

Jane Shlensky's "Courtship" after Alix Hitchcock

Caldwell Arts Council executive director, Lindsay Barrick, shares the poem by Jane Shlensky at Art of Poetry Catawba Valley's first tour on June 9, 2018 in Lenoir, NC. 

by Jane Shlensky
after Alix Hitchcock’s Two Cranes

He stands gawking among marsh plants in shade.
She wades along the shore in streaks of light,
golden beams gilding cat tails and marsh grass,
giving him the illusion of a towering headdress
and her the fancy feathers of autumn sumac.
They cannot avert their eyes from one another,
so splendid are they at this angle of vision.

So mates of every species meet in gradations
of day and night, sun and shade,
each in a different world, dazzled
by kindred otherness as organic as a tree limb
downed and shimmering beneath the water, each
seeing precisely what light and imagination allows.


Submissions are currently being accepted for our tour of Hickory Museum of Art on October 13, 2018. Details can be found at this link: 

Monday, September 3, 2018

Betty O'Hearn's "Quick Walk" after Susan Greene

Poet Beverly Finney photographed as she reads Betty O'Hearn's poem in front of the inspiring Susan Greene collage. Art of Poetry Catawba Valley toured the exhibit at Caldwell Arts Council on June 9, 2018.

by Betty O’Hearn
After Edge by Susan Greene

The sun was shining dusting the top of the
water with light and shadows.
I had to go up to take a walk on the terra cotta stone.

My walks are quick.  It is dangerous to go up but
I live on the edge. 
It is courting season and I am exhausted.

Holding yourself vertical all day makes you wish
you could be like other sea creatures and
swim horizontal. 

I should be grateful.  People like us, as we are
an oddity.  I know horses above don’t have as
much fun as we do.

Oops. Someone is walking down.  I better jump
back to where it is safe.  And…  off I go, back
to the sea. 

That was fun!

Thanks, Betty, for your contribution! She, along with Kelly DeMaegd and Mel Hager, coordinated Art of Poetry through Hickory Museum of Art.  Please consider contributing to AOPCV when we return to Hickory Museum of Art for a tour October 13, 2018. Full details can be found at this link: -

We hope to see you and/or your poetry October 13!

Art of Poetry Catawba Valley
Melissa Hager and Patricia Deaton

Monday, August 27, 2018

Doug McHargue's "Unseen Kites" after Owen-Murakami and Van Ameyden

Doug McHargue photographed at Caldwell Arts Council on June 9, 2018 for the first Art of Poetry Catawba Valley tour of 2018. 

by Doug McHargue
After Ginger Owen-Murakami and Vicki Van Ameyden

My feet glued to ground,
it's hard to think
I've ever floated
in this life,
not so hard to see
the girl, innocent
smile, angel pure dress

Or the group of kids
laughter levitating
story book minds
above too-small rooms,
yelling people, too big.

But it's really hard
to see the old man
with the set mouth
who's sat too long
for the photo,
just wants to change
to overalls,
get this over with, dammit -
how he slogs through
flooded fields and swamps,
gossamer, light like ghost birds
at his back,
the mouth one day released.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Gena Williams's "All Dressed Up" after Sharon McCullough

Gena Williams photographed at Caldwell Arts Council on June 9, 2018 sharing her work beside Sharon McCullough's whimsical piece, All Dressed Up.

by Gena Williams
after Sharon McCullough’s All Dressed Up

I see you standing there,
All dressed up.
Tall and statuesque,
Your self-control amazing.
Your thoughts a mystery,
But your composure undeniable.
A woman to be seen and never heard.

Many a man would love to have
A woman like you.

Did you choose this life of silence,
Of paralysis and steel?
Do thoughts of freedom run through
That pretty little head?
If you could, would you jump down
And run far away?
At night, when no one’s looking,
Do you dance?

Monday, August 13, 2018

Brenda Smith's "Summer, Fall, Swaying, Bending" after Alix Hitchcock

Brenda Smith photographed at Caldwell Arts Council in front of one of the four Alix Hitchcock pieces that inspired her poem for Art of Poetry Catawba Valley's inaugural tour on June 9, 2018.

by Brenda Smith           
On four prints of the same titles by Alix Hitchcock 

As the bird flies so do I fly
I know I am tethered to the earth
She is not
I know this
But I fly all the same
In my twisted way, I fly
I was in a leap
in mid-flight as I was caught
made into wallpaper
as was the bird
run over by the printer’s tool
We in flight

I was in mid flight
when fall came too
with its stripping of branches
limbs white and barren
my flight pressed to the earth too
my limbs hitting the earth
We falling

I, caught by the thin white wind
am bent backwards
Trees as tall as mountains with me
bent back, shot through the air
My friend curves low
out of wind’s reach
She, and the wall of greenness
are below the wind
Beyond the wind

Golden wind with brains and guts
makes a corridor through the darkness
pulls me up by my core
limbs bowed downward
Gravity still rules
the paper bamboo sways
with the heart and bone
Rhythm of the wind

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Art of Poetry Catawba Valley Announces October Tour At Hickory Museum of Art

Art of Poetry Catawba Valley is a newly formed Art of Poetry which began as a program of Hickory Museum of Art in 2013. AOPCV melds art and writing in the form of ekphrastic poetry with tours throughout the Unifour's museums, coffee houses, arts councils, and libraries. In June, Art of Poetry CV journeyed into Caldwell County for its first outing of 2018.
Our next tour will be at Hickory Museum of Art on Saturday, October 13, 2018.  HMA currently has three exhibits in which Art of Poetry CV will participate – Blow Up, Dear Paul Letters, and POP: Every Day Imagery as Art.  There are also the permanent exhibits of folk art on the 3rd floor and the glass exhibit about which poets may choose to write.
To submit, simply go to Hickory Museum of Art and write poems about the works on exhibit.   The submission deadline is September 29, 2018 and the readings will be October 13, beginning at 2 pm in the front lobby of Hickory Museum of Art.
Poets’ works will be posted beside the artworks for this event at Hickory Museum of Art.
Submissions should:
-include name of the artist and the title of the inspiring work
-be typed in the body of an email (please send attachments if line breaks do not translate)
-be sent to Melissa Hager at
-Art of Poetry CV will use no more than 3 poems per individual poet
-Art of Poetry CV reserves the right to decline work that may not be appropriate in content. Poems that are overtly political or religious in nature, or poems that are not appropriate for all ages, will not be considered for this program.
Approximately 20 poems will be selected to be read by the author (or substitute reader) at the reading. After the reading, with permission of the poet and artist, poems will be posted on the Art of Poetry Catawba Valley website at
The reading is free and open to the public.
Hope to have your poetry at Hickory Museum of Art this fall!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Steven D. Lightspring's "Free Flight" after Alix Hitchcock

Steven D. Lightspring photographed with the Alix Hitchcock art that inspired his poem at Caldwell Arts Council on June 9, 2018. 


by Steven D. Lightspring
after Through The Air by Alix Hitchcock

We long to live
In fullest flow
Of air, of stream,
Though here below

Our highest dreams
We walk about
With hopes that heave us
Up and out

Within our dreams
Of day or night
We hunger for
Our hearts' free flight.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Jane Lucas's "What Remains" after Ginger Owen-Murakami and Vicki Van Ameyden

Jane Lucas photographed at Caldwell Arts Council on June 9, 2018. Art of Poetry Catawba Valley toured the center in Lenoir, NC for their first event.  

by Jane Lucas
after Cairn by Ginger Owen-Murakami and Vicki Van Ameyden

Piled in with the faces,
a monogram on a screen door.
Not her grandmother’s,
but a sudden reminder . . .
One letter of cursive metal
evokes another
and the porch
where she finds herself again,
tracing the C in her mind
and waiting.

Brenda Smith's "Four Extra For Survival" after Lewis deSoto

Brenda Smith photographed at Hickory Museum of Art on October 13 for Art of Poetry Catawba Valley's second tour of a Unifour art inst...