Brenda Smith’s “Broken” after Noelle Rassmussen

imageArt of Poetry’s Betty O’Hearn reads the poem written by Brenda Smith at the March 18, 2017 event at Hickory Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford. 

Brenda Smith
After “Revelations” by Noelle Rassmussen

Dead and forgotten,
abandoned, neglected, leaning
so many dolmens in the field
Where are they now?
Spirits still hovering?
Dust, dirt, worms?
Old markers, their bodies
nourishing new life
casting shadows
shading wildflowers
stirring genetic memory
objects for a game
Leapfrog through the centuries
misspelled, misshapen letters
names echoing back through time
Descendants now living gaze on
wondering who was it
that left your marker so bereft
wars, hard times, sickness– all
march on into new springs
refreshed grass, tiny bluets
waving in the breeze
whispering with the wind
No, no we’re still here
Some memory of us
lives on, leans on in
this forgotten field.

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Kelly DeMaegd’s “Not My Story” after Kara Elizabeth Walker

imageArt of Poetry’s Kelly DeMaegd wrote her poem after the sculpted book by Kara Elizabeth Walker located in the upper left of the photo.  Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Kelly DeMaegd
After “Freedom: A Fable” by Kara Elizabeth Walker

I revere certain institutions:
concert halls, libraries, museums.

I speak in low tones, walk
delicately, sit or stand

quiet and thoughtful when presented
with another person’s art.

But not here, not today.
I want to smash this window,

crowbar the lock from this case,
grab the book, Freedom: A Fable

and hold it in my hands.
Thumb the pages, read the words,

try to understand what is meant
by A curious interpretation

of the wit of a Negress
in troubled times. I want to jump

inside, walk among
the silhouettes. I could do it,

no one would know.
I would be nothing

but a beige smudge next to
the laser sharp black.

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Beverly Finney’s “Victoria Louise at Fifteen” after Agnes Millen Richmond

imageBeverly Finney talks about the painting from the Woman Made exhibit that inspired her poem at Art of Poetry. She is photographed at the March 18, 2017 event at Hickory Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford. 

Beverly Finney
After “Victoria Louise” by Agnes Millen Richmond

Look at her here, take note if you please,
of the pink in her cheek, our Victoria Louise.
Sweet eyes, innocent, rest softly on you,
that honeyed pink pout, as fresh as dew

on the rose in the garden at the back gate,
the one that blooms both early and late.
I can see our Victoria is blossoming here,
and wonder if it will hold year after year.

If she could see what’s in store and know
how swift, dimly blurring, her days will go,
how her dreams will fade in the harried press
of time like the spun-sugar pink of her dress.

Would she look so pure, so undisturbed,
if she knew she’d be more a rock than a bird?
Not to say she’ll become either, or find
her bitters, her sweets, too much of one kind.

But with time, life becomes more complex:
matrimony, babies, housework, what’s next?
Up early to work, grab a quick bite of lunch.
Why do problems always come in a bunch?

I’m not inclined, though, to worry her now,
to steal her innocence, knot up her brow,
to lay out all that could well lie ahead,
worry her prematurely, taint her with dread.

Let’s give her now, our Victoria Louise,
in her favorite pink frock under the trees
on a lovely afternoon in mid-June,
on the cusp of womanhood all too soon.

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Details for Exhibits and Submission Guidelines for June Art of Poetry


Following are the details for the next Art of Poetry at the Hickory Museum of Art:

The submission deadline is June 3, 2017 and the reading will be June 17, 2017 at 2:00.

Eligible exhibits are as follows:

HICKORY STICKS: Jonathan Brilliant Installation; 2nd Fl. Coe Gallery ( Will be finished May 5th)
PAST LIVES: Brian Lackey Installation; 1st Fl. Shuford, Regal & Gifford Gallery (Up on May 6th)
Warhol & Whitener; 1st Fl. Whitener Gallery
Cher Shaffer Dolls; 2nd Fl. Objects Gallery
Glass from the Permanent Collection; 2nd Fl. Objects Gallery
Maud Gatewood; 2nd Fl. Windows Gallery
Discover Folk Art; 3rd Fl.

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
-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. Poems that are overtly political or religious in nature, or poems that are not appropriate for all ages, will not be considered for this program.

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

If you have any questions, please email Kelly DeMaegd at

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Melissa Hager’s “Mrs. Moon and the Land of Opals” after Elizabeth King

imageWoman Made’s exhibit has now left Hickory Museum of Art, but many of the images live on here at our website. Art of Poetry’s Melissa Hager is photographed reading a poem inspired by artist, Elizabeth King. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Melissa Hager
After “Mrs. Moon and the Land of Opals” by Elizabeth King

Australian aboriginal lass
among milky stones,
long separated from vast
humanity, two hundred
thousand millennia
from the matriarch who messed
her up. She surfs on the snake’s
back that brought her down;
eventide, dances with the devil
who keeps her leashed.

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Betty O’Hearn’s “Happy Flags” after Lauerman


Art of Poetry’s Betty O’Hearn rejoices for the arrival of spring in this poem inspired by the Josephine Moretz Shipley Lauerman painting, an artwork in the Woman Made exhibit at Hickory Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Betty O’Hearn
After “Yellow Iris” by Josephine Moretz Shipley Lauerman

Greek God of the rainbow
Iris, you are loved.
You are the most beautiful flower,
with radiant colors of the rainbow.
But golden has power.
You burst up first in the garden
Stealing the full beauty of spring.
Odorless, remedial beekeeper,
you self seed.
Invading with green swords,
hold your flags high!

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Beth King’s “Purpling Assertion” after Denise Lisiecki

imageBeth King shares her poem with the audience at the March 18, 2017 Art of Poetry event at Hickory Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Beth King
After “Aspects of Creativity” by Denise Lisiecki

Purpling Wads of Paper
Crumpled Carelessly in
Cat-like Clever Metaphors
Of Imagination; Floral; Enfolded
In Fabric Fiestas- Not Fancy or False

But Pure- – – Daffodil-Daisy Pure
The Child Mind is Pure
Before Adult’s Onslaught
Into Maturity.

I Color Myself a Child
I Use Crayons to Journal
I Use Crayons to Dream
I Use Crayons to Sign
My Name of Perfect Innocence.

I Refuse Induction into
the Snake Charm Oil-
Humbug Ruled Universe
Of Adult Maturity.

I Shall Lie on the Grass
Draw Flowers on the Clouds
Sing to the Butterflies
Hug the Trees and the Birds
And Holler-Sing to the Full Moon
With all the Red Cats of the World.

I Refuse Your Universe
Of Adulterated Adulthood
And Choose My Own

My Own Reality
Of the Free-Spirited Child
Forever and Forever

I Cast My Soul-Self Upon
The Altars of all Creativity
And Stand, No Play as a Child
Through Everlasting Eternity.

This is My Heaven.
What is Yours?

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