Kelly DeMaegd’s “Escape From The Bolshevik Revolution” after Anya Fisher

Art of Poetry’s Kelly DeMaegd reads her haunting poem inspired by Anya Fisher at the March 18, 2017 event at Hickory Museum of Art. The Fisher art piece was part of Woman Made, exhibited through April 2017. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Kelly DeMaegd
After “Female” by Anya Fisher

Fifteen years old
weaver, Lazarev
Textile Factory, Moscow.
Worked twelve hour days
for thirteen rubles a month.

Slept shoulder-to-shoulder
with other girls
on wooden pallets,
crusts of rye bread
no longer available
they ate acorns,
weeds, tree bark.

There were whispered rumors
of deceased relatives
ground into sausages
starvation killed thousands,
typhoid fever ravaged.

She would not describe
how she escaped,
what was required
of a young, desperate girl.

She fled with nothing
except a scrolled amulet
and bolt of cobalt cotton
color of the Baltic Sea.

Join Art of Poetry this Saturday, June 17 at 2 pm at Hickory Museum of Art. We gather at the museum lobby entrance, then venture through the museum to explore current exhibitions through poetry. Hope to see you there!

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Beth King’s “Barren Trees of Winter” after Betty Garrou

Beth King shares her poem inspired by the Betty Garrou painting at Art of Poetry on March 18, 2017 in the Hickory Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Beth King
After “Two Groves” by Betty Garrou

Barren Trees of Winter with Shining Stars Above

Your Tendril Branches do not Frighten Me

Nor Seek to Possess Me

I Do Not Shriek from You

Or Taunt You Like Dorothy

No! I Applaud and Praise Your Goodness

As You are the Guardians of the Night

The Protectors of the Darkness

He and She Who Keep the Evil Away

The Stars Above You Make You Shine

With Incredulous Intensity

Luminous Against the Seeming Dank and Wicked

Drapes of the Nighttime Stillness

As the Creatures of the Wildness Sleep

You are Their Dreamcatcher

Dear Barren Trees of Winter

Let the Sparkling Stars Light Your Way

Although You Shall Live Forever and a Million Days

A Place in Heaven’s Everlasting Eternity

Is Reserved for You

A Place Where You, Also, Can Dream in Peace

Until the Sunlight of the Dawn Returns

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Douglas McHargue’s “Pretend Parade” after Maude Gatewood


Douglas McHargue paints another lovely picture through her poem about the Maude Gatewood piece from the WOMAN MADE exhibit. She is photographed at the March 18, 2017 Art of Poetry event at Hickory Museum of Art.  Submissions to be considered for the June 17 stroll through the museum are due by Saturday, June 3, 2017. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford. 

Douglas McHargue
After “Umbrellas” by Maude Gatewood

Rain falls like stringed silver.
The woman does not see,
it is an annoyance
to her day, her life
on city concrete
that turns her face
to stone, her arms
granite slabs that feels
nothing, not even the man
who brushes against her
as they pass, umbrella shields.

Rain like this fell
in my old picture book,
kids walking to school
on shining sidewalks
past quaint shops,
laughing, talking,
a pretend parade
of people they were not yet,
but could be, nurses,
firemen, policemen,
fathers, mothers.
They called out Hayfoot,
Strawfoot, for left, right,
and marched together
into class where,
the story goes, they turned
into girls and boys again.

And what will this woman be
someday, that day when
she can feel arms,
what will she do with them
on that day of an unlocked door,
a folded umbrella.

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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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