Brenda Smith’s “Taos Winter” after Pat Viles

imageBrenda Smith is photographed reading her poem on December 3, 2016 at Art of Poetry. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.  

Brenda Smith
after “Taos Winter” by Pat Viles

On this ice slick trunk he built his treehouse
many-roomed confabrication, geometric and magical, both.
Bursting pink fire fairies for his waiflike daughter,
girl with an elsewhere mind exploding into pufflike possibilities.
Once detonated, her dreams floated her upward into geometry
places where you choose your own colors and shapes for dwelling.
One, a plain brown room, a precarious perch jutting off into air
a tiny brilliant red haven for those kinfolk craving color
a circular eyeball room, painted purple, round opaque window
emanating light into the dark green woodland
organic wing, pressed into sand-colored walls with ample holes
to see through, or fall through. Climb upward to the warm orange
family room, large enough to accommodate all who belong.
Drop down into blue ice room—all for fun, for seeing, for slipping,
for sliding down into the enveloping forest.

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Kelly DeMaegd’s “Origins” after Pat Viles

Art of Poetry’s Kelly DeMaegd shares her work inspired by artist Pat Viles on December 3, 2016 at Hickory Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Kelly DeMaegd
after “Back Road to Taos” by Pat Viles

I want to travel
the backroad into Taos,
want to experience
what’s real. Appreciate
expanses of ultramarine,
green needles of pinon,
stacked adobe dwellings,
roods erected against
raw umber walls.

I want to examine
history, understand
that artist’s paints
were once stored
in pig bladders,
that the eyebrows
on King Tut’s funeral mask
are the same color as sky,
that the cochineal beetles
found on prickly pear cacti
are gathered and dried
to make a potent red dye.

That the Spanish explorers
came for gold, glory, God,
failed to find gold or glory,
refused to give food
and protection until
the Indians professed
faith in Christ.
That the missionaries smashed
Pueblo artifacts, destroyed kivas,
planted their mighty crosses
painted with ancient black
pigment made by burning bones
of smaller animals.

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Katelyn Vause’s “Au Revoir” after Anne Fredley

imageAs we say goodbye to another year, Katelyn Vause shares her perfectly titled poem with the Art of Poetry audience at the December 3, 2016 Hickory Museum of Art event.  Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Katelyn Vause

after “Canary Sunset” by Anne Fredley

Staring at the sky,
you slip your hand in mine.
Trees, already stripped of
their autumn covering
stretch their bare branches
to the heavens, waiting.
Blue fades away, overtaken by
burnt orange and buttery yellow;
you squeeze my fingers,
grip softening,
your goodbye as quiet
as the departure of the sun.

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Nancy Posey’s “Impromptu Concert Before Cleanup” after Andy Warhol

imageArt of Poetry welcomes poets to be inspired by exhibits at Hickory Museum of Art from across the miles. Nancy Posey, who moved to Nashville last year, was inspired by this iconic Andy Warhol piece and shared this lovely poem with us. Art of Poetry’s Kelly DeMaegd is photographed reading the work at the December 3, 2016 event. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Nancy Posey
after “After the Party” by Andy Warhol

The last to leave are searching for their coats
and wraps, bestowing lingering hugs,
kisses wetter, truer as they say
goodbyes, false air kisses long forgotten,
their moods less melancholy now, wine-soaked,
their bellies full, their feet still sore
from dancing, high heels teetering in the grass,
their cars retrieved by college boys on hire
as valet parkers, beer buzzes less apparent
to the guests, far tipsier themselves.

Gathering the empty bottles, glasses,
Nico wets his finger, starts to spin it
‘round the wine glass lip, makes it sing.
His brother Marco sets his tray down
on the lawn, begins his circling too,
creates a sweeter note, an eerie harmony.
The other hired man, the one who kept
to himself, never said his name, begins
a steady rhythm, long dark fingers drumming
on the folding chairs, and for the first time
that night, his face relaxes in a smile.

A symphony of serving pieces, glassware,
clinking, singing, ringing, a steady bass line
rides beneath their melody, two parts doo wop
one part hip hop, wordless song ushers in
the real party, clean-up crew emerging from shadows,
then filling trays, transporting their makeshift
instruments into the service kitchen for the night.

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Beverly Finney’s “Just Below The Surface” after Fanjoy Labrenz

imageBeverly Finney reads her poem at the September 2016 Art of Poetry. This is the last post in that series. Check back next week to view poets at work in the December 3 event at Hickory Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.


by Beverly Finney
after “Orlando 49” by Fanjoy Labrenz

Atrocity has always lurked just below the surface
of our daily hustle and bustle, our habits, social
organizations, phrases, smiles.
–Czeslaw Milosz, poet and essayist

I do not understand us.

If it be true we hanker for connection,
why all the desire for separation?
If we believe in God, where is the action
speaking louder than our words?
If peace is our personal longing,
how is it we are so ready to fight?

I do not understand us.

If we say love is the answer,
what’s the reason for all this hate?
How can we insist those things we
cherish be denied to someone else?
Why is it we need an “other,”
to find the value in ourselves?

I do not understand us.

How can good people be seduced
to the horror of the unthinkable?
Where is the soul switch that
keeps us from crossing that line?
What can one lone person do
that makes any difference?

I do not understand us. And I wonder,
is it that we do not understand
Or that we do, and it is more
than we can bear
to see in the light?

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Doug McHargue’s “Tall Space of July” after Fanjoy Labrenz


Doug McHargue stands in front of the Fanjoy Labrenz work that inspired her poem at the September 17, 2016 Art of Poetry event.  The Art of Poetry gathers again at 2 pm, Saturday, December 3 at Hickory Museum of Art for a new tour of art through poetry.  It is free and open to the public, so please join us! Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Doug McHargue
after “Untitled” by Fanjoy Labrenz

The hot afternoon
taken to the floor’s
cool level plane,
let the day beat
too many wings
flailing, striking walls
like a bird in a stifling cage,
but mother not ironing,
stretched out, arm across
brow, steam iron demons
dancing through her Julys,
through the room’s mirage
I barely see, listless eyes
and dreamy head filled
with sounds, the drone
of little T.V.s
the constant soap opera
the mahogany fan
lifting layer after layer
of heat from our bodies
to old ceilings that stir
it up, mix it up,
take it.

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Betty O’Hearn’s “Miracle Lift Off” after Norma Suddreth

imageBetty O’Hearn reads her poem at the Art of Poetry event on September 17, 2016 at Hickory Museum of Art.  Betty’s poetry was inspired by a painting from the series of Norma Suddreth works based on her visit to the Holy Land. Photo courtesy of Roger and Ginny Sanford.

Betty O’Hearn
after “Synagogue at Capernaum” by Norma S. Suddreth

Located on the Sea of Galilee, it was
a warm day in April when I first saw you.
Touching your walls I closed my eyes
and placed myself in the presence of
the Christ.

This is the city where he called
home after he left Nazareth. It was
more suited to his energetic ministry.
He came to teach in this synagogue
on Shabbat.

Capernaum, the epicenter and
beginning of Christ’s miracles. It
is here that he performed his
first exorcism. It is here where
the centurion asked for the healing
of his servant.

Stand by this synagogue and
feel history. Listen to the Spirit
tell you its story. Many teachings
and miracles took place. The
sacred and ancient synagogue
asks that you touch and listen.

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