Brenda Smith’s “Young Mill Worker 1918” after Lewis Hine, Next AOP Details

Here are details for the next Art of Poetry, including guidelines for submission.

The submission deadline is September 6 and the reading will be September 20 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
-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

Eligible exhibits are as follows:
-Discover Folk Art, Third Floor Gallery, Ongoing
-American Art Pottery and Born of Fire, Second Floor Objects Gallery, Ongoing
-Qualities of Light, First Floor Shuford Gallery, April 26, 2014 – September 21, 2014
-7 Artists Launch 70 Years, First Floor Whitener Gallery, Now – October 5, 2014
-Wolf Kahn: Then and Now, First Floor Entrance Gallery and Second Floor Coe Gallery, Now – October 12, 2014
-Adelaide Silkworth, Evolution of a Christmas Card, Second Floor Windows Gallery, August 30, 2014 – October 19, 2014
-Margaret Curtis, Recent Work, First Floor, Gifford and Regal Galleries, Now – November 2, 2014
-Approach, Second Floor Archway, Now – December, 2014

If you have any questions, please email Kelly DeMaegd at

“Young Mill Worker, Lincolnton” by Lewis Hine

Brenda Smith
after Young Mill Worker, Lincolnton by Lewis Hine

He is a beautiful boy, gentle-looking soul of maybe twelve years,
Blonde hair, small nose, smooth, smooth farmboy skin,
Not looking at the camera (perhaps by order of the photographer) but instead
At the massive machine spinning white thread on an endless row of spindles.
His expression is solemn, or maybe just a hint of a smile showing,
Trying to ignore the camera like the photographer asked—a shot of him working,
Dirty white long-sleeved shirt, suspendered trousers,
Not sweeping at the moment, staring.
Will his eyes grow scales of cotton dust, so that he no longer sees, or
Blink 1,000 times an hour to keep from covering up with the cotton blanket
That floats in mites through the air coating all beings in sight?
Does he dream of freedom after work?
A swim in the pond? The occasional ice cream cone?
Of how he will manage to keep some of his pay for himself
After he hands the lion’s share to his overworked mother
Desperate to feed five children on her own?
Or of how to keep it from his drunken daddy bent on spending every penny?
Does he think about, after twelve hours of gloaming light inside the mill
How it will be dark by the time he leaves work and dark when he comes again in the morning?
Will he think of how his bones grow soft and his skin grey from day after day in the drear of the mill, sweeping, tending the spindles,
Of what he will be when he grows up,
Of others his age sitting in schooldesks learning of places worlds away, playing tag at lunch time
While he eats lard sandwiches on dusty steps and has no energy for play?

The interviewer revealed that he makes sixty cents a day for sweeping.
Was there pride in the boy’s voice when he said, “When I sweeps double space, I get ninety cents a day.”

About missmellibrary

A children's librarian who loves to excite youth about reading!
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