Spinnin, weavin, snippin, you said. But I’m glad there’re three of us. I know, three means one is always ganged up on, like when you and Agnes left me out of that double-date with those guys from town, or when you both pretended to be mad that I was givin myself airs after Jean told Mother I bought rouge and she hit me with the belt. But I’m still glad. Two girls are always fightin, Mother said, bitter like greens after a frost.
I say if there was only two of us we wouldn’t look right. Just look at our hands, loopin and mendin and keepin place in the almanac. If there were just two of us I’d see you’re not readin the sheet. You’ve sailed ahead, somewhere past the canvas.
Helena Federalists is the author of Ecocriticism and the Idea of Culture (2014/2016) and many articles, essays, interviews, and poems. She is the editor of several journal issues and two books: You Are the River (NCMA 2021) and Close Reading the Anthropocene (Routledge 2021). She is Associate Professor of Literature and Environment at ECU, and currently working on her first book of poems.
At Holy Wisdom Monastery
Where is a blue heron balanced on one leg.
Do you see a fox standing on the hill.
I am in paradise, but the rain shatters my dream.
If I still wore my warrior spirit, I would dance
to lunch through the sparkling grass, but my warrior grows
toothless and is afraid to melt—like mother’s warning.
If I still wore my warrior spirit, I would hike
these muddy trails, careless of worms drinking
wet air, stay out too long, fry like spaghetti.
If my warrior spirit was here, I would write a poem
rescuing a blue fox with one leg caught in a trap, left
by some self-made Davy Crockett. I would write him
into the creek, caught in a web of plastic molds for beer cans,
stepping on a fork’s curved tines tossed into the creek
with his Taco Bell bag of limp hot sauce packets.
But I’m an old lady whose warrior visits only in dreams
of flying down the wind behind a boat, jumping the waves,
and dropping one ski.
This poem was written with Ulla Thynell's (Finland) Forgotten Garden 2021 in mind. We invite you to click here to see it.
Jackie Langetieg has published poems in literary magazines: Verse Wisconsin, Blue Heron Review.She’s won awards, such as WWA’s Jade Ring contest, Bards Chair, and Wisconsin Academy Poem of the Year. She is a regular contributor to the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar. She has written five books of poems, including Letter to My Daughter, and a memoir, Filling the Cracks with Gold.
Three A.M. at the Museum, by Alarie Tennille
Named Director’s Pick at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City
Regulars at The Ekphrastic Review know Alarie Tennille as a frequent contributor, guest judge, and consultant. All three of her poetry collections are featured on TER’s Ekphrastic Bookshelf. Alarie has loved art from early childhood, so it was not surprising for art to be a major influence in her writing.
She moved to Kansas City, Missouri, in February 1982, when her husband took a new job there. Alarie knew it would be hard to leave her job and everyone she knew in Virginia, the only place she’d called home. But the Relocation Specialist helping to sell them on KC was good at her job. She took them out for a lovely lunch and then to the Nelson-Atkins Museum, one of the great treasures of the Midwest. Alarie decided she could be at home there.
Chris has been a volunteer at the museum for 14 years, and he and Alarie have been members of the museum even longer. Sadly, the pandemic closed the museum to visitors for many months. One bright spot was when the Kansas City Zoo brought penguins to visit the museum and recorded a video of them waddling around the galleries, looking as though they thoroughly enjoyed it. Alarie turned that adventure into a poem in her book. The museum also figured in several other poems, so she sent a copy as a gift to the museum Director, Dr. Julián Zugazagoitia, in appreciation.
In early January, Chris was working a volunteer shift in the archives and attending a Zoom staff meeting. There was Director Zugazagoitia holding up a book. The archivist turned to Chris and asked, “Isn’t that Alarie’s book?” Yes! The Director went on to discuss what ekphrastic writing is, gave a shout out to The Ekphrastic Review, and read Alarie’s title poem.
Chris couldn’t wait to get home to tell Alarie the exciting news, but it got even better. A follow-up email with notes from the meeting shared the websites for Alarie and for TER. Then the Museum Shop Manager told Alarie that her book would be sold as a Director’s Pick.
Three A.M. at the Museum, by Alarie Tennille
Kelsay Books, 2021
with forward by The Ekphrastic Review!
Get your copy online:
Au Bain: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/63720
Femme nue a la jambe pliee: https://www.moma.org/collection/works/63859
Deux buveurs catalans: www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.39091.html
Taureau ailé contemple par quatre enfants: https://catalogue.swanngalleries.com/Lots/auction-lot/PABLO-PICASSO-Taureau-ailé-contemplé-par-Quatre-Enfants?saleno=2522&lotNo=327&refNo=764734
Sculpteur, modele accroupi et tete sculptee: http://www.artnet.com/artists/pablo-picasso/sculpteur-modèle-accroupi-et-tête-sculptée-from-ZwFR9uKXd_bw3O1JxGWjDg2
Paul Hetherington is a distinguished Australian poet. He has published 16 full-length collections of poetry and prose poetry, including Her One Hundred and Seven Words (MadHat, 2021), the co-authored epistolary prose poetry sequence, Fugitive Letters (with Cassandra Atherton, Recent Work Press, 2020), and Typewriter and Manuscript (Life Before Man, 2020), along with a verse novel and 12 poetry chapbooks. He has won or been nominated for more than 30 national and international awards and competitions. With Cassandra Atherton, he is co-author of Prose Poetry: An Introduction (Princeton University Press, 2020) and co-editor of Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry (Melbourne University Press, 2020).
Whistler’s Mother’s Son
The painting known as Whistler’s Mother gave birth to a son, a painting of the painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler. The painting of Whistler, in turn, painted a painting of its mother, the painting of Whistler’s mother. This painting, the painting of the painting of Whistler’s mother, painted by the painting of Whistler the painter, gave birth, but this time to a daughter, a flesh and blood daughter who turned out to be the real-life Whistler’s mother. This daughter, Whistler’s mother, gave birth to a son named James Abbott McNeill Whistler, who immortalized her in a painting known as Arrangement in Gray and Black Number 1.
This story was first published in Whistler's Mother's Son, the author's short story collection, Pelekinesis, 2020.
Called “one of the innovators of the short short story” by Publishers Weekly, Peter Cherches’ most recent book is Tracks: Memoirs from a Life with Music (Bamboo Dart Press). His writing has appeared in scores of magazines, anthologies and websites, including Harper’s, Transatlantic Review, Flash, Bomb, Semiotext(e), and Fiction International, as well as Billy Collins’ Poetry 180 website and anthology. He has published three volumes of short prose fiction with Pelekinesis since 2013: Lift Your Right Arm, Autobiography Without Words, and Whistler’s Mother’s Son.
I. Man on Verandah
I sit alone, except for one
standoffish piebald cat. But none
should pity me. I like this view:
the bay untroubled and pale blue,
a clear sky kissed by morning sun,
and fantasies my brain has spun.
In one I’m young again; I’ve won
a sailboat race. And though it’s true
I sit alone,
I see my Ruthie, almost done
with one more crossword. She would stun
me with the news. I think she knew
her odds were slim; I had no clue.
Although I thought we’d just begun,
I sit alone.
II. Dog and Priest
We take the painter’s word for it: a priest,
the title says. It’s plausible: hands clean,
clothes dark and neatly pressed—the slacks still creased—
but no clerical collar can be seen,
only the dog’s. The black Lab sits up straight,
alert beside the lounging man of God,
who may be idling here to contemplate
Creation in this lake. But it seems odd
that he should sprawl here in these formal clothes—
and though it’s likely he surveys the vast
blue water, that’s just something we suppose;
perhaps instead he keeps his eyes downcast.
The dog’s head, with its bright eye, mutely mocks
the vagueness of the man whose face it blocks.
The man’s broad back is what seduces me.
He stands between the ocean—vast and pale—
and that dark gun I wish I didn’t see,
its foreground prominence undoubtedly
a sign of trouble. Nobody could fail
to notice it, but what seduces me
is that broad back, the muscularity
and cool slouch of a strong and silent male
in trouble. And I wish I didn’t see
the man’s past in the gun’s proximity,
the evidence of some grim film-noir tale
he’s turned his back on. What seduces me
is how his posture hints that he can’t flee;
a breaker falls, but he’s known larger-scale
collapse, his future difficult to see.
I almost hear the soundtrack—the ennui
of smoky jazz, a riff on lives gone stale.
But still, the man’s broad back seduces me;
then there’s the gun I wish I didn’t see.
Jean L. Kreiling
Jean L. Kreiling is the prize-winning author of two poetry collections, Arts & Letters & Love (2018) and The Truth in Dissonance (2014); her third book will appear in early 2022. She is Associate Poetry Editor of Able Muse: A Review of Poetry, Prose & Art, and a Professor Emeritus of Music at Bridgewater State University.
The new challenge prompt is up! Click on image above for more information and details on how to participate.
You may recall last week's responses to Sonya Gonzalez's artwork, Angel Production. One of the published responses was by Carol Lee Saffioto-Hughes. Carol and Sonya got together virtually and turned Carol's poem into a greeting card with the angel painting on the front. We love to hear about creative collaborations and members of our community working on projects together!
You can view more of Sonya's cards here.
The Liturgy of the Flesh
In November, in Poland,
when the drivers honk like madmen,
you often fantasize
about the end of the world.
Daydreaming about love and hate,
not about forgiveness,
but about the punishment,
you imagine how fire shall consume it all,
and how all shall perish and wither away.
The sinful to pay for their disobedience,
the faithful to be rewarded for restraint.
All to be resurrected upon the end,
led by that sound of the trumpeter.
All the masses for the people long lost,
paid for with money wrapped in envelopes,
with faith that what is invested here
will bring profits there,
and that the body is not lost, but will be made anew
for those who knew how to use it well.
Luca Signorelli painted the scene,
showing how they hoist each other up,
proud of being flesh again,
and Jorie Graham gave it voice,
describing the master,
who dissects and penetrates.
But my mind cannot simply mend itself,
buried in the open flesh, like a snail.
Michał Choiński (he/his/him) teaches American literature at the Jagiellonian University (Kraków, Poland). He has written two academic books - his latest monograph, Southern Hyperboles came out with LSU Press in 2020. Choiński's debut pamphlet Gifts Without Wrapping was published by Hedgehog Press in 2019. His poems and translations of poetry were published in journals in Poland, in the UK and in Canada. In 2022, he'll be at Yale University, as a Fulbright Fellow, writing his next book.
Bring The Ekphrastic Review to your local by Zoom!
By now you have heard about our online writing workshops. And we hope you'll join us for a few the great workshops in the lineup- we have Love Stories coming up, Ekphrastic Flash Fiction, Wine and Art Write Night, and many more.
But why not bring The Ekphrastic Review to you? Lorette will join you as a guest speaker on the joys of ekphrastic writing, tailoring a workshop or course to your needs. She has done online appearances, workshops, and full courses with various university creative writing classes, the Bath Flash Fiction Festival, Hong Fook Mental Health Association, and more.
Contemplating visual art and writing about it is fun, therapeutic, creative, and expansive. It is for professional writers and English lit students, but also for teens, senior centres, churches, museums, hospitals, community centres, cultural centres, and more.
Lorette will create a program with your audience in mind, curating art and conversation around the needs of your participants. For example, if she is working with a particular art gallery, selections will be from that collection.
Workshops can be single session or in series. Reasonable rates/flexible to your budget.
Contact Lorette at email@example.com. Put GUEST WORKSHOP in subject line! We would love to connect with and inspire your community!
Not sure where to bring the Review?
art school/art programs
classrooms (college, university, high school)
institutions (mental health, hospitals, addiction recovery, etc)
young writers groups
Lorette C. Luzajic is an award-winning, internationally collected visual artist in Toronto, Canada. She has a degree in journalism but always gravitated to creative writing. She loves writing from or about art, and her ekphrastic poems, essays, and stories have been widely published, as well as winning first place in a contest, being nominated for Best Microfiction, Best Small Fictions, and four times each for Best of Net and the Pushcart Prize. In 2015 she started The Ekphrastic Review, a site that has grown into the world's flagship ekphrastic journal, and an amazing community of writers worldwide. For many years, through the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health hospital, Lorette has been teaching art in person and online to communities with lived experience of mental illness. She also hosts regular workshops online through the journal, and has done ekphrastic courses, workshops or presentations at the University of Singapore, Trinity Western University, Hong Fook Mental Health Association in Toronto, Bath Flash Fiction Festival, and more. She also teaches ekphrastic flash fiction intensives with Meg Pokrass, and much more.
The Ekphrastic Review
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