Wednesday, June 29, 2016

art attack 2-- an exhibit at studio, on display until sunday, august 21, 2016.

a few weeks ago, studio b in boyertown opened its two-month long exhibit called art attack 2. the walls involve heart-tuggingly incredible art and also samplings of framed poetry, in some cases, blended with photography to match the words. dozens of the area's talented artists have their works in this show.

the reception is friday, august 19 from 5 to 8 p.m. the exhibit ends by sunday, august 21.

regular gallery hours are fridays, saturdays, and sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

and below are some a few eye-scoopings from art attack 2.

the curiously-hued feline painting below is by pamela hodges who has a blog called the cat who writes. on that blog, you can see harper hodges with his eyes pensively placed on his paws which rest on a typewriter. so fun ! hodges also produced a cat coloring book locally.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

a freshly popping tomato poem, thanks to b & h organic produce in morgantown, berks county.

gardens, especially ones where you can eat what you grow, are delightful idea-sparking kinds of places for poetry. below are the first matt's wild cherry heirloom tomatoes which i bought as a little plant in may, sourced from b & h organic produce in morgantown, berks county. at the farm, erica bowers-lavdanski kindly grows these and many other foods to sell in our region.

part of the perk to buy this plant involved the fact that one of my brothers is named matt, and i wanted to give him some of the first fruit of the season as a nice surprise in his overloaded workdays, like the lives of so many of us nowadays. a poem about these tomatoes and him is below.


garden children from b & h organic produce by late june
by jennifer hetrick

parade of sweet little bites
in the garden, these wild cherry
tomatoes are named the same

as my brother but heirloom.
matt, not quite as heirloom,
left our mother's body in 1969. 

i will take a bowl of them 
to him when he's in between
loading the back-ends of trucks 

with mulch, topsoil, or river
rock, and tucking the freshly
scored roots of rhododendron

or spirea into the soil of some
stranger's yard. slow down. eat
a tiny tomato. live. live truly.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

poetry in the park-- part 2.

the traveling poetry class we take into boyertown, pottstown, and phoenixville had another day at the boyertown community park in berks county in mid-june. next time, we'll be finally meeting alongside the schuylkill river in pottstown, an intention we've had for a while, but we were waiting for ideal weather so we can be inspired to write river poems by the moving water.

we went over several bird poems because of an upcoming deadline for a call for submissions of bird poetry through my first book's publisher, foothills publishing based in wheeler, new york. this is something we focused on after i shared a poem which i recently wrote, inspired by a video one of the students created and shared after working through the difficult emotions of processing some of the hard things happening in our world lately.

and we ate a lot of freshly cut fruit, too, as we sat under the shade of tall trees at the park. but sunlight did start to track us down, in time, so we moved to different spots at our picnic table to adjust to this and get a little less of a burn from its beating rays. and thank goodness for the fact that breezes show up here and there as a nice sort of reprieve for the senses.

here is the poem which i brought to class from my own brain, not of an initial kind of subject i normally get into, so it served as new proverbial territory and directness, except for the nature-y parts, which are steady enough in my history of themes.


an ode to what sam traten does when
our country is broken stabs of shards
by jennifer hetrick

when our world is mid-falling
apart with mass shootings
in gay night clubs, when

a young singer is gunned
down while signing autographs
at a table, and a two-year-old

is pulled into a pool of water
by an alligator at waltdisneyworld,
it is important to catalog

the beauty around us, to hit
record and snap scenes of swaying
silver maples, explaining why

they have their name, to talk
about a japanese maple seedling
which floated over from some

neighbor's yard eight years ago
and grew merlot-hued leaves,
several feet of a sturdy little

trunk, to mention that an apricot
tree will need to be pruned but
not just yet in this almost-summer

season, to note no longer spraying
a japanese apple tree anymore, so
that the fruit is mealy but incredibly

sweet per bite. it is important
to catalog the seen, the known,
the felt, as any hope for something

better for one soul after another
is dependent on sharing these
little yet wide-set observations of what

it is to be so alive, so raw, so real,
so open to the forgiveness of humble
wind. these necessities hold us, carry us.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

postcard poetry by heather h. thomas, the third poet laureate of berks county.

the idea of sharing poetry on postcards popped into my life twice in one week, thanks to barbara tucker and now also heather h. thomas. after i mailed her my moon garden haiku on a postcard, thomas mailed me some more moon-words in return, also on a postcard.

thomas is the third poet laureate of berks county and a retired english professor from kutztown university. since retiring, she taught poetry at t.e.a. factory in the city of reading, berks county. she also teaches poetry and other forms of creative writing at goggleworks, which is in the city of reading, too.

the opening lines on her postcard are inspired by  lalleshwari (in her proverbial day, people also knew her as lal ded and lalla) who lived in india from 1320 to 1392.

these postcard-inked words below are a perfect example of how just a few almost-sentences can tug at the spirit of the bones within us easily, quickly, and exactingly.

moon-thinking is always a benefit for the insides, at least from what i've gleaned. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

a birdz in the bath haiku by maryann neblock.

a friend named maryann neblock in downingtown, chester county, eye-perused this blog and stumbled across some of the haiku on here, and she also recently caught sight of whimsical scenes of winged ones in her backyard. since i am the one who points out this sort of thing (what you just said is a poem !! write it down ! ... no, i mean it. write it down right now so you don't forget it and lose it.) in any conversation because people often don't even realize they're saying something very rich in beautiful language tossings, i told her that everything she'd noted was her own poetry.

"there's a bluebird in the birdbath and a goldfinch on the feeder," neblock said.

see ??? poetry. absolute poetry. 

the alliteration of the b-b and the f-f, along with the rest of the sounds and rollercoaster movements and shapes of the letters in the words in the painting out of all of this in what she vocalized is just richly poetic and easily heart-hugging.

( while this is not a bluebird feather, a blue jay 
feather served as the closest blue-ish feather to 
photograph for this since sticking around at the bath
wasn't too likely for too long for any winged ones. )

not long after this, neblock sent me a haiku which she wrote from these observations in the minutes of her afternoon. she noted that the title of the haiku is a play on the 1991 film boyz in the hood, starring cuba gooding, jr. hear it ? boyz in the hood. birdz in the bath. then there's also an amusing acoustic reworked version of an eazy-e song by dynamite hack from 2000 which has this name as its title, too.

here is neblock's freshly penned haiku.


Birdz in the Bath
By Maryann Neblock

Birds flit in the bath, 
the sun dries their wings in flight. 
Blue and yellow awe.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

poetry from a postcard.

a student from my traveling poetry class, barbara tucker, recently visited her family in wisconsin and kindly obliged my request for her to send me a postcard. anyone who knows me also knows that i am a big letter and postcard sender, despite these almost-artifacts often being tricky to find when you want to buy one while on vacation or elsewhere. i also upcycle art gallery opening postcards and craft new ones out of the fronts of greeting cards sometimes, too.

i did not guess, but perhaps i ought to have figured it would turn out this way the madison + ice cream postcard i received in the mail yesterday is brimming with poetry.

this reminded me a bit of braided creek, which is snail-mailed correspondence in the form of very short poems back and forth between friends ted kooser and jim harrison. kooser served as the u.s. poet laureate from 2004 and 2006. i donated a copy of braided creek to the boyertown community library  a few years ago through my local publication called news, not blues. i'm not sure but think the mailed poems may have been mostly on postcards or perhaps a combination of letters in envelopes and also postcards prepared by kooser and harrison.

but now for some ice cream cone postcard eye-candy.

here are some of the words, spelled out from the postcard itself.

from the pen, hand, life, & mind of barbara tucker:

i am, as you know, visiting
sisters in wisconsin 
beautiful lakes, rivers,
fields of corn, wheat, 
prairie grasses, cows  
blue skies  pale colors
talking, reading,
watching old DVDs.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

poetry in the park. literally, though, in boyertown.

a small traveling poetry class i've been teaching in cafés and coffee shops took some well-grounded roots in a park setting in the initial moments of june, and we'll be meeting there again next week before chancing a day of two hours of lessons alongside the schuylkill river in pottstown in the near future. 

in the heat of this early june  afternoon, we kept shelter in the kinder shade under the main pavilion at boyertown community park in berks county.

we're also open to expanding the group, as it's a small class, and we like it that way, but we wouldn't mind some other brains joining the pull of this poetry, too.

our lesson for this class involved the concept of writing letters to poems, which we may explore more in the future.

my student barbara tucker had some wonderful samples of pre-line break freewriting pieces she put together just before class, and they are captured in photographs below in blue link. some of first sets if lines in one poem are also below, following her handwritten words in the first version of these ideas on paper.


your body * instant zen
an excerpt by barbara tucker

wash the dishes, the magazine article said, 
it's calming, all you have to do is scrub mindfully, 
focus on the now, not your to do list, not 
the 1,030 people who drowned from a leaking boat fleeing 
murder and rape and hunger in the sea, all of them 
in one week, nowhere to go, no place safe to be, 
children, skinny, ragged, women with bloated bellies, 
old men, women in tattered shawls...


Thursday, June 9, 2016

moon garden haiku.

in 2013, i began one of my most absolutely fun writing jobs for vanduzer design & marketing. it involves farm blogging for weaver's orchard in morgantown, berks county, and wolff's apple house in media, delaware county.

this week, i wrote about moon gardens for wolff's apple house and interviewed holly cusumano of phoenixville, chester county, about this topic. i've mentioned before that cusumano visited my pull of poems class as a guest writer when we focused on moon poems.

below are some scenes from cusumano's moon garden plant children, including elderberry, dianthus, and valerian root from camera moments in her backyard. then...more haiku. always more haiku lately !

cusumano is the chairman of the herb society of america's philadelphia unit. you can eye-peruse her recent moon garden reflections and design suggestions on the blog for wolff's apple house, here.

yet again, a haiku popped out of my brain-box. it is apparently the week of haiku in my life, given the stuffed grape leaves and heirloom tomato children haiku of recent days.


blooms mingle night talks
under beams of moon-glitter:
salt-pearl garden light