Kelly DeMaegd’s “Years Later” after James Biggers



Art of Poetry’s Kelly DeMaegd released her first book of poetry this week, WISH AND SPIT. Rich in images from her past – and present – one can divine what has shaped this amazing poet. Congratulations, Kelly!  Above is a photo of Kelly at the March 2016 gathering reading “Years Later”, an almost prescient title for her forthcoming book. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Kelly DeMaegd
after “Untitled” by James Biggers

We talked about

the out-of-work sailors
standing at the bar
arguing about Nixon, price of gas

how we had no business there
underage, Thursday afternoon
laying down tens,
drinking pitchers of beer,
debating Mata Hari
exhibitionist or artiste
taking bets
who would be high
scorer on the Big Flipper

counting the number of times
we shoved quarters in the Rock-Ola
singing, Pack up all my cares and woes,
feeling low, here I go
while Miles blows the trumpet

taking one last look
at the jukebox
envious of its
sensuous, undulating curves
before stumbling into dusk
negative ten degrees

seeing the buck
eight points
swinging from a tree.

March 2015 AOP

Next Art of Poetry event at Hickory Museum of Art is Saturday, March 18 beginning at 2 pm. Please join us as we celebrate the WOMAN MADE exhibit.

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Brenda Smith’s “Campbell’s Scotch Broth Soup” after Andy Warhol and Reminder – Submissions Due for March AOP

imageBrenda Smith shares her poem inspired by the iconic Andy Warhol painting at Art of Poetry on December 3, 2016.  The March event at Hickory Museum of Art will begin at 2 pm on March 18, 2017. Submissions are due March 4 to be included in the series.

Brenda Smith
after “Campbell’s Scotch Broth Soup” by Andy Warhol

Andy, this oversized can of soup takes us back
to our youth, to those days we thought you cool, even groovy.
A can of soup could be art! You’re a genius.
You copy a can label with geometric precision.
A bit of history on the canvas, that eye-grabbing
descriptor—manhandler. No one chastised you
for such sexism. We just grabbed up the Scotch Broth.
What the heck is that anyway? 10 and 3/4 ounces of liquid lunch.
Condensed. Art and advertisement. Sexism and soup.
We sucked it all down without a thought.

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Katelyn Vause’s “Mama’s Recipe” after Susan Gant

imageKatelyn Vause is photographed reading her poem inspired by Susan Gant’s painting at the December 3, 2016 Art of Poetry event. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Katelyn Vause
after “Blue Jar with Lemon” by Susan Gant

Mama always said,
“When life gives you lemons,
you gotta make lemonade.”
I’d come home from school,
the wrongs of my classmates
mingling on my lips with tears.
I remember watching her
carefully slice the yellow fruit in two,
squeezing, the juice sliding
down her fingers before dripping
into the waiting jar.
It must’ve gotten on cuts,
seamstress and farmer’s wife she was,
but she never let on it did.
She’d pour sugar, always eyeing,
never measuring.
“The surprise makes it better,”
she’d say with a wink.
Mama always saved the water for last,
let me help her stir, smile as
I carefully turned the spoon, then kiss
the top of my head
as the sour turned sweet.

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Beverly Finney’s “Grandma Fish Had An Itch” after Pat Viles

imageBeverly Finney photographed at the December 3, 2016 Art of Poetry event at Hickory Museum of Art as she shares her poem inspired by the Pat Viles artwork. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Beverly Finney

after “Fishing Hole” by Pat Viles

My Paleozoic grandmother
was a fish
through water,
sifting oxygen through gills,
eating algae salad
with a side
of tiny crustaceans,
not knowing her body
had a secret longing,
or maybe
just an inclination
to take to the land,
kind of check out
the scenery,
change her perspective,
see who she might be
in another setting,
what it might feel like
to carry herself differently,
change up her diet,
add a little diversity
to her life.
She passed that along to me.

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Betty O’Hearn’s “Birdy Love” after Pat Viles and March AOP Details


For the month of love, it is perfect to share Betty O’Hearn’s poem inspired by the Pat Viles artwork.

Betty O’Hearn
after “Marble and Gray” by Pat Viles

Oak tree provides a ‘birds eye’ view in
the backyard world where we exist.
We have a wonderful life. My husband preens
his splendid crimson coat. The black mask
and crest is what attracted me.

We sing duets to each other. I know
he is true to me and quite the romantic
as he brings me morsels covered in
morning dew. He makes me feel special
despite my brownish shade with various
and sundry duller red wings and tail.

The days in the neighborhood observatory
can be fun watching squirrels, the children
playing after school, and a vigilant watch
directed toward the damn cat!

We live a beautiful life. The backyard
provides a wonderful place of tranquility,
activity, and is all we need.



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

The submission deadline is March 4, 2017 and the reading will be March 18 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 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

Eligible exhibits are as follows:

-Woman Made: Women Artist from the Hickory Museum of Art Collection (Coe, Windows and Objects Galleries ; Through 4/23/17))
*March is Women’s History Month so we’d like to concentrate our poems on this exhibit.
-IMAGE*INATION: Catawba Velley Camera Club Photo Contest (Entrance Gallery, March 3)
-Whitener and Warhol: Juxtaposed (1st Fl. Whitener Gallery; Through 7/16/17)
·Discover Folk Art (3rd Fl. Ongoing)
·Glass & Pottery from the Permanent Collection (2nd Fl. Objects Gallery; Ongoing)
-Solitude and Mystery: John Julius Wilnoty (2nd Fl. Objects Gallery)

The Art of Poetry – NEXT DATE – March 18, 2017 2PM at the Hickory Museum of Art 243 Third Ave. NE. Hickory, NC 28601

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Melissa Hager’s “Marriage Is A Bridge” after Pat Viles

imageArt of Poetry’s Melissa Hager reads her poem at the December 3, 2016 event at Hickory Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford. 

Melissa Hager
after “Bridge to Understanding” by Pat Viles

From the moment “I do” is said
a bridge is built connecting
two for the long haul.
There are times when one side
or the other will not wish to couple,

but it is always there, that bridge –
erected in finery, surrounded
by friends and family who heard
the vows, watched construction
span across emptiness.

Left of the bridge is not weighted
more than the right; the structure
eases consensus. The other side
possesses something needed
or a bridge would never have been built.

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Tracy Hawkins’s “Untitled” after Stephen Dee Edwards


Tracy Hawkins reads her poem inspired by the Stephen Dee Edwards glasswork at the December 3, 2016 Art of Poetry event at Hickory Museum of Art.

Tracy Hawkins
Excerpt from Untitled
after “Untitled” (bird face and hand) by Stephen Dee Edwards

Behold I send you forth in this direction
Trust MY Direction
By MY HAND I will lead you
You are MY sheep for I am your SHEPHERD
Sending you out in the midst of wolves
The wolf will come in many forms of people we may even know
Trying to destroy you
Trying to deceive you
Trying to kill you
MY HAND will guide you
As you fly as a harmless dove
Remember MY HAND on your wing
Loving you
Comforting you
Providing for you
Protecting you
Helping you fly FREE
I am the Almighty HAND

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