Jane Shlensky’s “Horizons” after Fanjoy Labrenz


Poet Jane Shlensky was inspired by the Fanjoy Labrenz piece pictured above.  Art of Poetry’s Betty O’Hearn shared “Horizons” with the audience at the September 17, 2016 event at Hickory Museum of Art.  Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Jane Shlensky
after “Aurora 12” by Fanjoy Labrenz

What of earth is really sky?
What of sky has dropped to dwell
on mountain peaks, seas, valleys, plains?
What cloud gods live above,
fall down to rise again like mist,
their essence rose and gold at dawn
their blessing blueing, moonlight kissed?

The stuff of life rises and falls,
bright waves crashing on rocks and sand,
sweet hope reaching to take our hands
and guide us to look closely, cherish, hold
whatever kindness chooses to unfold.
Whether it raises us up or kneels us down
hardly matters. Gift is ours, now.
And now. And now.

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Joyce Brown’s “How Gardens Are Left Behind” after Charles Basham And Details for December’s AOP Submissions


Have a little help from our friend! Joyce Brown had written her piece around an artwork that had to be prematurely taken down, but trusty Art of Poetry attendees are always ready to assist.  Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Joyce Brown
after “Abandoned Garden” by Charles Basham

These old abandoned gardens
whisper stories of the women
who finally gave up, were themselves
abandoned, left to grow old alone.
The neighbors put up wire fences,
harbored tall trees against the past.
So many lost days! Foxgloves unkempt,
lobelia strangled by billowing grass,
wild cherry sprouting, uncontained.

My grandmother sold her fine
formal boxwoods after Henry died.
What need of such stiff companions
when here, against the porch
her irises bloomed royal purple,
her firebush flourished beside the fig?
Shoots of spirea overflowed in white
streams between the walnut trees.
All gone now, except a smallest twig,
a scattering of red dabs, iris blades
green and barren when April comes.
Only wild and golden buttercups
shine within the folds of pasture grass.


The submission deadline is November 19, 2016 and the reading will be December 3 at 2:00.

To submit, simply go to the museum and write poems about the works on exhibit. Please note the dates of eligible exhibits below. Submissions should:
-include name of the artist and the title of the inspiring work
-be typed in the body of an email (do not send attachments)
-be typed using 12-point Arial font, single spaced
-be sent to Kelly DeMaegd at geneandkelly@charter.net
-Art of Poetry will use no more than 3 poems by any individual poet
-Art of Poetry reserves the right to decline work that may not be appropriate in content, or of literary quality as determined by its panel of judges.

Approximately 20 poems will be selected to be displayed at the museum and to be read by the author (or selected substitute reader) at the reading. The reading is free and open to the public. Audiences have ranged from 15 to 45 people. After the reading, with permission of the poet and artist, poems will be posted on the Art of Poetry website at http://www.artofpoetry.net

Eligible exhibits are as follows:
·Pat Viles Retrospective (2nd Fl. Coe Gallery; September 3 – December 4)
-Whitener and Warhol: Juxtaposed (1st Fl. Whitener Gallery; Through 7/16/17
-Different Strokes by Different Folks: Works by the Foothills Painters (1st Fl. Regal and Gifford Galleries; 10/15/16 – 2/12/17)
-Innocent and Ethereal: The Visionary World of Paul Lancaster (1st Fl. Shuford Gallery; 11/19/16 – 3/5/17) Since this exhibit won’t be up before the submission deadline, you can ask for images of Paul’s work at the second floor desk.
·Discover Folk Art (3rd Fl. Ongoing)
·Glass & Pottery from the Permanent Collection (2nd Fl. Objects Gallery; Ongoing)
Hope to see you and/or your work at the next Art of Poetry!

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Kelly DeMaegd’s “Images, 1967” after Fanjoy Labrenz

imageKelly DeMaegd reads her poem inspired by the Fanjoy Labrenz work at the September 17, 2016 Art of Poetry event. The next event at Hickory Museum of Art will be on Saturday, December 3, 2016 and submissions for consideration will be accepted through November 19. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Kelly DeMaegd
IMAGES, 1967
After “Untitled” by Fanjoy Labrenz
(SX-70 Polaroids)

Hey, meet the swinger
Polaroid Swinger

I wanted that camera
wanted to draw with light
capture Barbie in her roadster,
green army men riding shotgun
photograph my brother hawking worms
from his corner night crawler stand

It’s more than a camera
it’s almost alive

wash the dishes, iron hankies
save my allowance, buy that camera
it could be my ticket out
desperate for travel, Detroit maybe,
try on hats at Hudson’s, work for the Free Press
make my way to 12th Street and Clairmount

It’s only nineteen dollars
and ninety-five

police raided a blind pig there, all hell broke loose
they called it a civil disturbance
Governor Romney deployed 8,000 National Guardsmen
President Johnson sent 4,700 paratroopers
Martha Reeves, Willie Horton tried to help
no luck calming the frenzied mob

Swing it up (yeah yeah)
take the shot (yeah yeah)

tanks and machine guns
43 dead, including
Jason Jones, Clifton Pryor,
Fred Williams, John Leroy,
Tanya Blanding, Roy Banks
no crimes committed, they were in the way

count it down (yeah yeah)
zip it off

10,000 rioters, 100,000 spectators
2,536 guns looted from stores
2,000 buildings destroyed
1,189 injured, 7,200 arrested
buried in the newspaper
images and words, black and white

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Brenda Smith’s “When The Time Is Right” after Pat Viles


At Hickory Museum of Art on September 17, 2016, Brenda Smith shares her Pat Viles inspired poem with the audience at Art of Poetry. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Brenda Smith
After “Monet Garden Series” by Pat Viles

In total darkness beneath the soil
A tiny dark seed stirs
A sprout emerges yearning toward the sun
A flower head forms and ripens
Bright blooms break forth
Seed potential now complete
The herbal balms and healing salves
ready to give up their secrets
to the hedge witch’s caress
if she but sits and waits for
the plants to call to her.

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Tracy Fields “Untitled” after Fanjoy Labrenz

Tracy Fields shares her poem inspired by the untitled work of Fanjoy Lanbrenz at the September 17 Art of Poetry event at Hickory Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

UNTITLED by Tracy Fields
After “Untitled” by Fanjoy Labrenz
(photo on aluminum – woman standing alone)

Is being alone really lonely?
How do I stand alone?
I am physically alone
But I am not spiritually alone
I know GOD you are with me
This I do believe within me
Looking out this window
I see so much YOU created for all to see
I want to share this view with the one YOU have chosen for me
I want to be loved
I want to be touched
I want to be cherished
I don’t want to be alone, LORD
I know these walls have many faces
Now empty with so much space
Forgive me for all I have done that was a disgrace
My thoughts consume me
I must renew my mind, carnal I cannot be
Will it be LORD, just you and me?
Longing to know what you will have me be
I desire to be his help mate
To the godly man you have chosen for me
What I know you have created me to be
I wait on YOU LORD
I shall never stand alone
I know I am under YOUR wings at YOUR side
As I try to not silently cry inside
For he is worth the wait
YOU won’t forsake me
Therefore I dream of holding his hand
Anticipating you LORD upholding us in YOUR hands
I will continue to stand with YOU
Believing in love, that can come true LORD, YOU would never leave me feeling so blue
I trust your promises are all true
Cause it will forever and always be, me and YOU

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Beverly Finney’s “So Much Love In Those Hands” after Stirling Thompson


Wonderful audience for our Art of Poetry event on Saturday, September 17 at Hickory Museum of Art.  We will be posting poems from this AOP in the coming weeks. Thanks to all who joined us.


Beverly Finney shares her poem at the June 18, 2016 Art of Poetry. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Beverly Finney
after “Love” by Stirling Thompson

Hands reaching out, touching, caressing,
cradling a beloved face for a kiss.
Gently cautioning, beckoning, offering,
encouraging and celebrating.

Hands wringing in worry, signaling
stop, pushing away what threatens.
Soothing a fevered brow, holding a cup
to dry lips, cleaning up after sickness.

Consoling hands, reassuring, forgiving,
praising and quietly praying.
Hands slicing and dicing, mixing, stirring,
gently shaping a crust, deftly fluting its edge.

Hands that dust, sweep, clean toilets,
wash the sheets, fold underwear and socks.
Plant dahlias and daffodils, pull weeds,
gather bright bouquets for sharing.

Hands that sign get well cards, write “Happy
Birthday,” “Merry Christmas” and “I love you.”
Hands turning pages in a favorite shared story,
pointing to pictures with exclamations.

Tucking in for the night, stroking tousled hair,
smoothing the pillow, turning out the light.
Slapping knees at a funny story, keeping
time to the music, waving hello and goodbye.

Hands. Busy hands and firm ones, those soft
and tender, strong and weathered, frail ones.
Hands that speak with expression, quiet hands.
Hands open, warm and welcoming even strangers.

Hands for working, connecting, and caring.
Hands for lifting up and living every moment.
Hands for reminding what matters in the end.
Hands, so much love in those hands.

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Doug McHargue’s “The Red File” after Suzy Hart

imageDoug McHargue reads her Suzy Hart inspired poem at the June 18, 2016 Art of Poetry event.  Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.  

The next Art of Poetry is just around the corner! Please join us at the September 17, 2016 event at Hickory Museum of Art beginning at 2 pm in the front lobby of the museum. It is free to join us as we experience art through poetry.

Douglas McHargue
after “Frank Mason on an Evening Walk” by Suzy Hart

Frank saw one bird
he’d never seen before,
didn’t even write it down,
the black and red so real
it flew into his mind
right beside red silk
Mattie wore that night
he first unfastened
a row of buttons, twenty-five,
a universe more than one.



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