This is a collaboration with the artist Maggie Umber. I took a photo during a quiet moment in the Fall, capturing a lone swan majestically making its way along the still water. It inspired me to write a poem, and I posted both the photo and poem online. Maggie saw this post and was inspired to paint the image, and during the process, the swan disappeared. I was then inspired to write another poem, and create an image of the photo, artwork, and poems, side by side.
It really resonated with me how the swan disappeared in Maggie’s painting. Was it a mirage? Pure imagination? A dream? Or just life — there it is, and then it is gone. And yet the moment lives on — in memory, a photograph, artwork, and poems. The smallest, quietest, fleeting happenings have a way of just going and going, and perhaps that is what truly binds everything together and helps us make sense of our lives and the mystifying world around us.
Maggie is a truly amazing artist making all kinds of innovative work, including one of my favorite graphic novels — Sound of Snow Falling. Her forthcoming graphic novel — Chrysanthemum Under the Waves — is one of the books I am anticipating the most. The disappearing swan piece she painted is available as a print via her website.
Thrilled to be featured on Eat the Storms, a fantastic poetry podcast hosted and produced by poet Damien Donnelly. I read an interconnected poem that begins with finding and then walking through a secret door in New York City. The other poets on the podcast are stellar, and this poetry podcast show overall provides a much-needed reprieve from the stress and news of the day. Poetry helps soothe, but it also helps us process — in a very unique and creative way — the urgencies of our times. Big thanks to Damien — a true force of poetry. Learn more and listen here.
Sara Teasdale wrote many poems about love, longing, and New York City. Here is a poem that combines all three, with the moon gazing down in wonder at the electric, always-on lights of a city that never sleeps. These are lights that inspire and energize, that widen the eyes and keep you seeking and striving and hungry for more of whatever it is your are looking for.
(From Rivers to the Sea, 1915.)
Are you heading towards the lights?
NOTE: This is excerpted from my twice-monthly newsletter The Falling Dream, which features some of the key ingredients for dreams. Subscribe here.
This is an ominously rich poem in which the dreamer, and only the dreamer, stands before a once-glorious chateau, now ruinous and frightening — willing and wishing to enter… only in dreams. Walter de la Mare began writing while working as a bookkeeper in the 1890s. He wrote poetry, stories, and novels, and gained renown for his work in children’s literature. Themes of dream-like imaginations and visions are a consistent through line throughout his entire body of work, most especially pronounced in his poetry.
Have you visited a dark chateau, in your dreams?
This is excerpted from my twice-monthly newsletter The Falling Dream, which features some of the key ingredients for dreams. Subscribe here.
I had to make a collage about Kevin Sampsell, because he’s the one who inspired me to start playing around with collage-making. If you know Kevin’s work, this collage (“Kevin Sampsell Is Always Puttin’ on the Ritz”) will probably make sense. If you don’t know anything at all about Kevin, I encourage you to check out his books, writing, small press publishing venture, and yes, collage art. In fact, he has a book coming out from Clash Books this summer featuring a collection of his poems and collages. Great creative groundbreaking projects all around, and I recommend checking out all of it.
Whimsy by Shannon McLeod is a wonderful novella, an emotional story about a young woman who is dealing with scars both internal and external. A tragedy has happened in the past, a traumatic experience that haunts her — but the dramatics of that event and the immediate aftermath are in the distance. What this story explores is the quiet echoes and jagged ripples of guilt that continue to impact how she experiences and perceives where she’s at right now — the usual goings on in life — work, dating, family. I was impressed with this exploration — so thoughtful and raw and nuanced. Most definitely worth a read.