Double Original Friday – Bird Watching

black and white monoprint of a skeletal bird and a haiku

The bird watching from the car is good.
Peregrine, kestrel, loggerhead shrike
Winter fog no winter has known.

I wrote this short poem while on a long drive through California’s central valley in the middle of January. Interstate 5 there is straight as an arrow and flat, plowing its way through hundreds of miles of farmland. It was bitterly cold and dry and a heavy fog hung over the fields. It looks for all the world like ordinary fog, except when you get out of the car and the mix of chemicals and animal waste hits you. By many measures, the central valley of California is one of the most polluted areas of the state, but it is also one of the breadbaskets of our nation and a place of startling diversity of wildlife – particularly predatory birds you can see from the highway. Poem and monoprint (ink on mineral paper) by me. Have a good weekend!

Short Poem Saturday – Haiku by Knoll

LadyBugsHaiku_KnollGoing back through the archives, I found this illustration I did last year and I couldn’t resist reposting it. Ms. Knoll’s haiku has the same positive effect on me it always has – and with the front page of the news pretty much universally gloomy, I didn’t think it hurt to post a happy, fun poem. I’m pleased to say Ms. Knoll continues to be extremely active, with a forthcoming poetry book for June 2017 and lots of new poetry focused on social justice and current issues. She always has new stuff happening – her website: http://triciaknoll.com/

Original text of the post:
This haiku puts a grin on my face every time I read it. And it never fails to launch me on an extended trip down memory lane as well – from the greenhouse in my grandparents’ backyard to one I visited once in Iceland. I consider this one of the superpowers of the haiku: they are a reservoir of memories stored in present tense words. Ms. Tricia Knoll is an award-winning poet working and living in Portland, Oregon. Her website, triciaknoll.com, has more of her wonderful haiku as well as links to many of her published poems and books – I definitely recommend a visit! Painting (acrylic on cardboard), digital collage, and composition by me. Have a wonderful weekend!

Excerpt Tuesday – Mars Being Red – Bell

IMG_4836 (1).jpg…In a red world, imprint
the valentine and blush of romance for the dark…
Marvin Bell (b. 1937)

It’s been a little while since I posted a new illustrated excerpt and it seems good timing to post this one – from Marvin Bell’s amazing short poem Mars Being Red (Mr. Bell is helping me continue a space theme after last week’s announcement of the discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets, you see). Marvin Bell is a widely decorated poet, including being the first state Poet Laureate of Iowa, and is very active in the poetry community with more than 20 books of poems in print. You can read all of Mars Being Red here. Monoprint on newsprint by me (it was so so good to be working in this medium again after a long break from it!).

Furthering our theme of exploration and discovery, Little Monster Girl invited me to participate in her Weekly Chat this week – and the theme of the questions is “World Traveler” and is part of Cee’s Share Your World Q&A. Head on over to LMG’s blog, compare our answers (there are some interesting convergences) and sample some of her comics while you are at it! (although, warning: they are not always safe for work)

Ever run out of gas?
No – although I was the passenger once in a car that did run out of gas. The gas gauge was broken and my friend’s system for knowing when to get gas mostly involved her “gut feelings”. We were on the freeway when the engine began to sputter and lurch, and she veered off the next exit. The engine died as we coasted to the top of the off-ramp. There was a gas station right there though and luckily for us, it was downhill.

Which are better: black or green olives?
I love olives, so both. You can’t pick one over the other – a ridiculous notion!

If you were a great explorer, where would you go?
I try to be an explorer in as many ways as I can be today – traveling, meeting people from all over the world who have lived such different and fascinating lives, and expanding our understanding of the natural world as a scientist. Like LMG, I too will be traveling to Southeast Asia in a couple of weeks (perhaps our paths will cross, LMG?), and so the adventure continues!

Favorite 3 Quotes
(it is very hard to choose 3, I’d like to say)

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.” – Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)

“Above all, it is a matter of loving art, not understanding it.” – Fernand Léger (1881 – 1955)

“Find what you love and let it kill you.” – Charles Bukowski (1920 – 1994)
I even did an illustration for this one a little ways back!
OROD4154
Bonus Question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week I was so grateful to be able to go out with some dear friends to hike in the desert and take 100’s of pictures of wildflowers. We went to Anza Borrego State Park, which is a simply fantastic place and a hidden California gem (no entry fee, no fee to camp in 95% of the park). The visitor center was staffed almost entirely by volunteers, who took the time with each one of us in waiting in line to send us to the best flower viewing locations. It made me grateful for our national and state park systems, which are always sadly underfunded, and the army of volunteers which keeps them going!

Next week I will be teaching a science workshop for high school students and I am looking forward to their infectious enthusiasm! It never gets dull to get excited about science!

Thanks again, LMG for inviting me to participate!

Short Poem Saturday – Haiku – Roig

photograph of Roig Haiku collageunleaf me and go
your shadows are ghosting me
lost blurred indistinct
– Kerfe Roig

I have been introduced to so many of you through Ms. Kerfe Roig’s amazing collaborative blog, Method Two Madness, and vice versa, that it almost doesn’t need an introduction. But if by chance you found your way to Illustrated Poetry by another means, I do strongly recommend you head over to Ms. Roig’s blog and check out the art and poetry posted daily by both Kerfe and her best friend Nina.

Ms. Roig sent me this haiku way back last July, in preparation for a possible series on seasonal transitions. I knew immediately what I wanted to do for an illustration – a textured, layered collage. But two things happened on the way to this post: I needed to take my blogging hiatus and I also kept wondering, “how do I photograph/scan/etc that piece for display on the internet?” These last few weeks, I have been making a lot of new starts, and I am so glad I made this one of them. The world is going through so many transitions, and while they may not be seasonal, this poem still feels timely. Haiku by Kerfe Roig, collage (mixed media on cardboard) by me.

Found Poetry Thursday – Detectiverse

Every weekend in January my neighbor put out a large printed sign that said “FREE” on the sidewalk in front of his house. Beneath it was a blue tarp piled high with mandarin oranges. Our block is a main thoroughfare for walkers and joggers, who often leaned over and took a few oranges as they went by. But it was almost comical, from my vantage point across the street, to see cars driving along, minding their own business, then suddenly jerk to the curb and screech to a halt. Doors would fling open and sometimes several people would pop out to scoop up armfuls of the fruit.

A glance at my neighbor’s house clearly yielded the source of his problem – a towering orange tree that was sagging with fruit. But my neighbor also used this bounty as an opportunity to give away other things as well; books, nicknacks, magazines, and spare parts were brought out from the bowels of his garage in boxes and plunked next to the bright orange lures.

Like many others, I went for the fruit but stayed for the boxes of free books and magazines.

In general, I was pretty good about saying “no” (you would understand how remarkable that was if you saw my bookshelves), but how could I say “no” to four issues of a mystery magazine, two from 1977 and two from 1978? Thus I acquired my first copies of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. The short stories were good, but the real surprise for me was when I found the mystery poetry!
IMG_4560.jpgI consider poetry “found” when it pops up in unexpected places. True, many literary magazines take both short fiction and poetry, but mystery isn’t a genre I often associated with poetry. That misconception has now been corrected!

Ellery Queen is still in publication (their website is here) and still accepts poetry submissions for “Detectiverse.” They are, in fact, the longest running mystery magazine in the world. I couldn’t find much information on the poet, Mark Grenier, other than his publications in Ellery Queen and Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine (SciFi poetry too!). He was featured in a 2006 article in the Irish Times for conducting poetry workshops for patients at several Irish hospitals. (Side note: “Grenier” is a very poetic last name, it turns out – there are several other published and famous poets that share it.) So, the author of this mystery poem is mostly a mystery himself, for now…