Monday, December 31, 2018

Doug McHargue's "Survivor" after Connie Bostic

Doug McHargue photographed at the October 13, 2018 tour of Hickory Museum of Art sharing her poem inspired by Connie Bostic.

by Doug McHargue
after Fit: Brownie by Connie Bostic

The artist has caught me
in days of pink resilience,
there’s nothing organdy starched
statue thick couldn’t solve,
when we still were parades
past statues, in shoes
that matched, Peter Pan
collar tidy lines tying
loose ends.

And there’s the Brownie, my first
camera to keep the world
of backyard kittens, overflowing
skinny inbreds drawn like
the chicken to cross the road
in the dark of night,
me, held together
with pattern pieces
of tissue, and skin,
ephemeral cloth.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Morgan Jenkins's "The Elephant in the Room" after Billie Grace Lynn

Morgan Jenkins shares her poem with the tour at Hickory Museum of Art on October 13, 2018. Billie Grace Lynn's sculpture was included in the BLOW UP exhibit.

by Morgan Jenkins
after White Elephant 1 by Billie Grace Lynn

The Elephant in the room.
It often keeps me up,
Wondering how different things might be
Without that Elephant.

Oh Elephant in the room,
Please teach me how to change.
I want to; I wish to, but I can't.
Not without you, Elephant.

Mr. Elephant in my room,
Why are you so bright? Are you a white liar? 
Or maybe trying to hide the pain deep inside?
I can't go on without knowing, my dear Elephant.

Dear Mr. Elephant in this lonely room,
Please be careful. Please watch over me.
Please don't step on me; I'm already walked over like a doormat.
Please Elephant, I can't do this without you.

This Elephant in the room,
It proves that better is coming; things are changing.
I might just change too. But I can't.
Not without that Elephant.

This Elephant in my room,
Promise me if I change, you'll change too?
Promise me you won't leave me all alone.
I can't keep going without my Elephant.

The Elephant in the room.
People start to notice you,
And they try to change you.
But please don't change without me.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Jaycey Deal's "Cold Hands" after Myrtice West

Jaycey Deal photographed in the Folk Art exhibit area of Hickory Museum of Art at the October 13, 2018 event.  She was inspired by folk artist Myrtice West.

by Jaycey Adrian Deal
after Myrtice West 

The love of her life
took the love of her heart.
From flowers on her birthday, 
To flowers on her grave. 
The death of a daughter,
The tears of a mother, 
All by the hands of a father.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Mikayah Parson's "Sugar and Spice" after Connie Bostic

Mikayah Parsons photographed on October 13, 2018 between the Connie Bostic works that inspired her at Art of Poetry Catawba Valley's tour of Hickory Museum of Art. 

by Mikayah Parsons
after Sugar and Spice by Connie Bostic

Sugar, spice, and everything nice. 
Surrounded by shapes, surrounded by life. 
They label me with numbers; 
"Stay still. Don't move."
They beg me, "Suck in. There can always be more room." 
Sugar, spice, and everything nice. 

They tell me to smile. I think that I do. 
"No, that's too much. Be simple. Be you."
I push my chin out, pout like a doll. 
This gets them cheering, "Now, do that for them all!"
Sugar, spice, and everything nice. 

I'm growing into my curves, 
But they make me insecure. 
"Don't be so prudish," they urge. 

"Be ladylike. Purge." 
During the break, I sneak away to eat,
But their eyes are upon me, forcing me to retreat. 
Sugar, spice, and everything nice. 

They compliment me. 
"Kid, you're doing great! Give yourself a pat on the back!"
But all I feel is hate, waiting for them to attack.
They shower me with flowers, with smiles and applause,
But deeper still inside myself, I'm hiding from their claws.
Sugar, spice, and everything nice. 

"Don't you want to be just like her?"
They crowd around me, ask me for my name.
I put my pen to paper, and smile behind my shame.
The little girls all smile at me, they show me how they pose. 
Too bad they'll never make it in the industry
If I'm one to suppose.
Sugar, spice, and everything nice.

In the dressing room, they whisper about me. 
Their tones are far from hushed. 
"I remember when she was a fat little thing.
Her hair was rarely brushed."
I tug my locks self-consciously. 
Their snickers make me retch. 
I hear my name from center stage. 
"Go on, little doggie. Fetch."
Sugar, spice, and everything nice.

All I wanted was to be a good girl, the kind they talk about in the movies and on TV. 
All I ever wanted was to be happy.
But they took my dreams and used them against me, 
And the standards became like family. 
I look in the mirror, stroking my face.
"One day, little princess. One day, one day."
Nothing else will suffice.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Beverly Finney's "Home Place" after Douglas Grant

AOPCV's Patricia Deaton reads the poem in front of the Douglas Grant painting that inspired poet Beverly Finney on October 13 at Hickory Museum of Art. The poem feels appropriate to begin this holiday week. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

by Beverly Finney
after Over Yander by Douglas Grant

Up the winding road around the curve of the hill
where the land flattens and spreads a meadow
under the hickories, maples and oaks,
stands the place that will always be home.
Not just the structure, its two-story addition,
a slightly sagging roof, the old stone chimneys,
but the way it always meets me with arms open,
invites me in with warmth, offers me sanctuary.
In its corners, soft sepia memories linger
like the smell of hickory smoke primed
in the timbers, its windows, muted paintings
of pastures, fields, fences and sunsets.
The porches still whisper stories dropped
in the dark cracks between planks, and occasional
echoes of laughter sift in shafts of sunlight.
Up the way on Turkey Knob, hemlocks and pines,
now sparse, still keep watch over all that wakes
and sleeps below lulled by the simple music
of Sweeten Creek weaving easily in and around,
then under the narrow bridge to the next field.
It is the place I come to drink from the clear spring,
climb the Knob and look out over what matters
when everything else asks too much of me.
It’s where I remember who I am and where
I come from, the place I go to get right with myself.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Patricia Deaton's "Box Step" after Stephen Dee Edwards

Art of Poetry Catawba Valley's Patricia Deaton shares her poem inspired by glass artist Stephen Dee Edwards on the October 13, 2018 tour. The sculpture is part of the permanent collection at Hickory Museum of Art. 

by Patricia Deaton
after Untitled (Ballerina) by Stephen Dee Edward

Instead of two left feet-
three imagined spindle legs
bereft of metatarsi-
he moves, stiff as glass

balance tenuous, at best.
Long past adolescence
I’m locked as if suctioned
to my partner’s chest.

Unaccustomed to contact
it seems that steam blasts
from a spout on his head.
Sweat rings ruin my taffeta dress.  

Despite a fervent desire for instruction
I will never be able to follow his lead.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Jane Lucas's "Overblown" after Momoyo Torimitsu

Jane Lucas reads her poem inspired by Momoyo Torimitsu's BLOW UP exhibit piece at the October 13 Art of Poetry Catawba Valley event at Hickory Museum of Art. 

by Jane Lucas
after Somehow I Don’t Feel Comfortable by Momoyo Torimitsu

“Somehow I don’t feel
comfortable,” you say.
And I say, “does any bunny?”
speaking just a hair’s breadth
from a hare’s breath.
Be veh-wee qui-yet.
They may be hunting us.
Scared behind our smiles,
no bounce house
or warren to warrant
our comfort.
No labyrinth for
burrowing, except in our dreams.
Only there can we parade over Macy’s,
only there flying free
from our inflated sense of self.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Abigail Rodriguez-Meneses's "Sugar & Spice" after Connie Bostic

Abigail Rodriguez-Meneses photographed at the Art of Poetry Catawba Valley tour of Hickory Museum of Art on October 13, 2018.

by Abigail Rodriguez-Meneses
after 8th Grade Picnic by Connie Bostic

Mother nature reveals its appearance floating in water 
Displaying a free flowing bright red fluid
Circulating and intertwining within the skin of her hand.
Through it all, stands a pale woman expressing an
Act of openness and realness.
Should you strip away the pond,
The result would be a woman going through
The terrible beauty of womanhood.
Should you strip away the woman,
The result would be the aftermath of a terrible shark attack.

It is difficult to distinguish whether the woman is discontented to be
In the water as her body language speaks otherwise.
The facial expression delivered on the woman's profile suggests
A regular blank look. However, the movement with her hands delivers
An expression of freedom and calmness. The mixture of the two exhibits
Level out the reality of menstruation and the various moods that follow.  

Monday, October 22, 2018

Brianna Friday's "Concerto" after Ella E. Richards

On Saturday, October 13, 2018, Brianna Friday kicked off the tour at Hickory Museum of Art with her poem, inspired by Ella E. Richards. The painting is located in the Dear Paul Letters exhibit in Whitener Gallery.  

by Brianna Friday
after The Violinist by Ella E. Richards

When she draws her bow and plays
Sliding, somber trills arise

Worn and weary so she seems
Without an accompanying melody

Although at rest, her weapon’s poised
Her prestige persists

For in her eyes and smile
Are remnants of the former chorus

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.

Betty O'Hearn's "Homes of Crayons" after Diane Podolsky

Art of Poetry Catawba Valley's Patricia Deaton reads the poem by Betty O'Hearn at the tour of Alexander County Library on July 1...