Saturday morning I went to a wonderful poetry reading at Calvary Episcopal Church on Shady Avenue (in Pittsburgh). It was a grand crowd of friends, fellow poets and family. Jan Beatty gave a marvelous introduction and then Liane read poems from her book. They had to get extra chairs! Afterwards there was lots of hot coffee and croissants, raspberries and blueberries and other delicious pastries. Her grandson helped sell the books and make change.
Liane Ellison Norman’s new poetry book is Breathing the West: Great Basin Poems.
On Monday December 3rd, one of her poems will be read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. How cool is that?
Here’s the link so you can listen to the reading of Tree by Liane Ellison Norman.
Two roads diverged on a city hill.
I really wasn’t sorry I could not take either of them.
No outlet, squared.
And when the light turned green,
I headed on over the bridge at the bottom of the hill instead of choosing.
Apologies to Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken
Convex traffic mirror. At the zoo. Not a monkey. Self- portrait.
Maybe I got the title after viewing the scary preview of the movie Snow White and the Huntsman which is coming out June first. No dwarfs to be seen. Definitely not for children.
Wikipedia says “Round convex mirrors called Oeil de Sorcière (French for “sorcerer’s eye”) were a popular luxury item from the 15th century onwards, shown in many depictions of interiors from that time. With 15th century technology, it was easier to make a regular curved mirror (from blown glass) than a perfectly flat one.”
And of course they mention the Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck which everyone is familiar with but may not know the painting’s title. See the convex mirror in the details if you click on the Arnolfini Portrait link and scroll to the section Mirror.
Okay, just trying to make a photograph of me a bit interesting to others. Convex mirrors seem interesting to me.
Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Dear Shiny Buick Man
in York PA,
You’ve lived in my upstairs hall closet
over two years now, in a frame and mat.
I wanted to tell you
I took your picture
one January Sunday
just before I pulled out of the lot.
I lifted my camera off the front seat,
shot you quick, no time to focus.
Your car caught in a lovely light,
a luster pristine-
and you in your tie.
Maybe you were coming from church.
Codorus Creek on your left,
but not the whitewater part.
The Heritage Rail Trail
(no trains that day)–
I want you to know
how I admire your fuzzy dice,
how they dangle still
frozen in that moment
from your rearview mirror.
I think you saw me.
But didn’t know what happened
so I thought I should write and tell you.
I hope you don’t mind.
A letter poem of address
to an unsuspecting man
who was just driving along
minding his own business.
from the archives- Found a special poetry book on the shelf in Poets House in New York City- Dorothy Holley’s Dream Quartet. Dorothy Holley was born 88 years ago today- May 15th. The poetry community of Pittsburgh misses her greatly.
I filmed a video of Dorothy reading her poetry in 2005, Quart Jar Poet. She was an inspiration, publishing her first book at age 82 and then three more books to follow. Here are a couple photos from Poets House. From the inside you look out onto the Hudson River. You can listen to Dorothy reading some of her poetry on YouTube, filmed by Barb Alsko, if you put in her name in the search. She was a good friend to me. I miss having tea with her. She kept a beautiful garden. Her iris are growing and blooming at Liane’s these days. Click here for last year’s postto remember Dorothy.
Someone placed a bouquet in the crook of her arm. Today’s post remembers friend and poet Christina Murdock who passed one year ago today, a week short of her thirtieth birthday.
from Let it Be by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary comes to me Speaking words of wisdom, let it be. And in my hour of darkness She is standing right in front of me Speaking words of wisdom, let it be. Let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
Christina Murdock was awarded the 2006 Sara Henderson Hay Prize from The Pittsburgh Quarterly Online, and her writing has been published in The 10th Floor Review, Collision, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Voices from the Attic and Pittsburgh CityPaper. She died in April just one week before her 30th birthday and is survived by her husband, Terry, and daughter, Sophia. A tribute reading of her work will be held at 1:00-3:00 p.m. on Sept. 18 at Kresge Theater, Carlow University. Free and open to the public. Sales of her book, Burying the Body,($12.95) will benefit a scholarship fund for her daughter. Sponsored by Madwomen in the Attic, a creative writing group for women @ Carlow University. If you would like to order a book let me know.
I Dug Up the Iris
in Dorothy’s garden
to plant in the soaked
soil of mine, memorial
to her each spring
when they’ll open
and flourishes, purple
or blue with speckled
throats. They’ll rise
out of rhizomes
sprawling at soil’s
surface like the joints
of my old hands
anchoring the tall
stalks and frilly petals.
in the brief breath
of cool I dug shallow
trenches for this legacy,
this pantry of pollens
the bees prospect,
insects with lives
beyond what the mere
Liane Ellison Norman, a Madwoman in the Attic, has published two books of poetry, The Duration of Grief and Keep (www.smokeandmirrorspress.com). She has published poems in 5AM, Kestrel, North American Review, Grasslimb, Rune, Voices from the Attic anthologies and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Her poem “What There’d Been” won the Wisteria Prize in 2006 from Paper Journey Press.
About 5 years ago, my friend Lara E. framed the poem in the newspaper, adding the crayon paper peelings around it. Last night at my final video class I scanned it and uploaded it to the blog while I waited for the screening to start. This years crop yielded lots of crayons. The most whole crayons at the end of the year are violet ones.
A slideshow, remembering Dorothy. Blackberries on Greek yogurt. Roses, iris and tulips from her garden. The back porch where we’d sit, have tea, watch birds feed and bathe. She wrote poems after viewing the photos of the Mill at Night and The Cider Press. She baked fresh bread and gave me some to take home for Steve. She’d slice tomatoes and make summer sandwiches to share. She contributed many comments on the blog. She showed us how to live life with courage, grace and love. for Pittsburgh Post Gazette obituary click here
Service at Calvary Church Shady and Walnut, Friday June 11th 6:00PM
*NOTE to poet(s) not knowing HTML code I am restricted by the format of this blog template and or the limits of Text/Edit from word.doc to Mac? and the poem will not publish in the original format. It is a five stanza poem and the breaks occur after -out. -Way. -human. – eternal. Hence the hyphens for space and breath.
Originally there were eleven Commandments
Moses, perhaps confused by the unfamiliar
snow, ice, and sidewalk,
botched one, and left it out.
But Buddha said that though Life is Pain,
falling on ice is gratuitous pain
and those who cause it, by neglect,
should never escape the Wheel of Rebirth;
and Lao-Tzu agreed, for those who will not
clear the path will never find the Way.
Zoroaster, in the endless war of light
against ice, demanded diligence;
claimed that those who surrender
the public way to the Enemy
have empty souls,
can scarcely be regarded as human.
The Prophet, regarding sidewalks and snow,
is silent; but his sura
Sand Drifting Against the Caravanserai Gate
is thought to apply. The condemnation there
is brutal and eternal.
Plato counted safe sidewalks as fundamental
to the ideal Republic, noting that those remiss
in this clear duty lacked all character;
and his pupil – perceptive, immortal Aristotle-
further declared, famously, that
lack of character
Timons Esaias is a writer and poet living in Pittsburgh. His short stories, ranging from literary to genre, have been published in fourteen languages. He has had over a hundred poems in print, including Spanish, Swedish and Chinese translations, in such markets as 5AM, Bathtub Gin, Main Street Rag, Willard & Maple, Elysian Fields Quarterly: The Literary Journal of Baseball and many others. He has also been a finalist for the British Science Fiction Award, and won the Asimov’s Readers Award. His poetry chapbook, The Influence of Pigeons on Architecture, sold out two editions. He is Adjunct Faculty at Seton Hill University, in the Writing Popular Fiction M.F.A. Program. This poem was originally published in hotmetalpoets.com when it existed.
If you were to study this photo, write down everything that came to mind, a list of words, classmates remembered turning their back to undress for gym? Perhaps the the start of a poem/short story. We used to polish KEDS. try to not let the white rub off onto the marroon gymsuit, which had to be inspected for the ironing, the embroidered name above the left pocket. Like the military. Girls danced the Mexican Hat Dance to scratchy records, and square dancing,too. We actually marched around in formations on rainy days.
Attended first class at Silver Eye Center for Photography on Carson St with Wedding Photographer John Craig.
Must answer fifteen questions for homework!
Who is my audience for this blog?
Brevity seems key.
Why blog? Get the word out about my work, what’s new and “use time wisely” during time off from school.
Thinking about entering possible shows. One about all things mechanical and the other about childhood. Submitted for the G20 exhibition.
Doing something with purpose seems essential. OR why bother?
Are readers “blogged out”?