Melissa Hager’s “Musical Madness Menagerie” after Brian Lackey

imageArt of Poetry explored Brian Lackey’s Past Lives exhibit at Hickory Museum of Art on June 17, 2017. Melissa Hager was inspired to write about this piece. Photo courtesy of Gin Hurley.

Melissa Hager
After “Past Lives” by Brian Lackey

Big move forces one to declutter,
declassify contents collected.
From a life defined by music,
a box of ticket stubs floods floor,
memories, and tear ducts.
Concerts attended, some not remembered,
the extraordinary rendered tears.
A few made me scratch my head,
rub my wallet wishing the money would come back.
Glass Spider tour experienced Bowie, Peter Frampton on lead;
Boston, singing the words to every song;
Genesis tickets procured after four freezing
nights camping around the Dean Dome.
Billy Joel with Momma and Sister,
jostling for front row with my daughter at many more.
Two decades worth of Merlefest wristbands
represents the best in Americana:
sobs as Jerry Douglas, Victor Krauss and Omar Hakim
unveiled musical genius; witnessing the young son
of a Steep Canyon Ranger pretending
to play bass on the shoestrings of his Keds.
Screaming YES, YES, YES for my favorite band, Yes.
Electric tingles at #1 show, Sir Elton John,
as the haunting strains of “Funeral For A Friend”
fills the cool evening air.
The waste basket beckons.

imageThe Art of Poetry gang behind one of Brian Lackey’s creations at the June 17 event.

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Beverly Finney’s “Creation” after Jonathan Brilliant


It was a wonderful gathering for Art of Poetry on Saturday, June 17, 2017. This tour through Hickory Museum of Art explored exhibits by artists Jonathan Brilliant and Brian Lackey. We were excited to be joined by the museum’s new Executive Director, Jonathan Carfagno, as well.  Welcome aboard, Jonathan!

Our first featured poem for this session is by Beverly Finney and is appropriately titled “Creation”.  She was inspired by Jonathan Brilliant’s initial drawings of the museum space where he would create a one-of-a-kind sculpture using coffee sticks, lids, and various accoutrements. It is amazing to see, so stop by the museum and check it out.

Beverly Finney
After concept drawings for “The Hickory Piece, 2017” by Jonathan Brilliant

To see what
is not yet there.
Dreams not
yet dreamed.
To lift that dream
into being,
without doubt
or censor, following
the creative yen
to make the vision
real by simply

Always keeping
the dream
in focus even
as it veers,
glides, takes
you aside
for consultation,
pulling you
into its swirl
and swoop, until
you and the dream
are one.

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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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