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.

Excerpt Wednesday – I dream of being a weed – White

Idreamofbeingaweed_2.jpgI was immediately impressed by Ms. Jana White’s poem I dream of being a weed, posted way back in February. I’ve read other poems about weeds, both literal and metaphorical, but her take on these hardy little plants is both beautiful and unique. She also created a lovely drawing to accompany her poem (a poet after my own heart!), so I decided to let this one sit for a while and incubate in my imagination. I wanted my illustration to be different and complementary to hers. A photograph of a grasshopper, taken by me on a recent run, became the inspiration to return to this poem and create a photo collage. Ms. White’s blog, Poetry of Light, is wonderful and I encourage a visit over there to experience some of her poetry. To hop directly to the full text and original illustration of I dream of being a weed, click here. Photo collage by me. Have a great Wednesday!

Excerpt Wednesday – (anyone lived in a pretty how town) – Cummings

anyonelived_cummings.jpgWomen and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain
E.E. Cummings (1894-1962)

I distinctly remember struggling with E.E. Cummings’ experimental poetry in school – i carry your heart (probably still his most popular poem) presented no challenge, but much of the rest of his work seemed so strange: it was my first introduction to abstract poetry. I also remember that when I finally read anyone lived in a pretty how town, this was the moment I felt like I “got it.” Oh, that’s what he’s doing, I said to myself with a sigh of relief (for my grade in the class). No longer under the threat of a term paper, I have since come to truly appreciate Mr. Cummings’ experiments with language. But anyone lived in a pretty how town is still my entry point to his work and experimental methods. If you would like to read the whole poem, click here (there is also an audio file of Mr. Cummings reading the poem!). Collage (mixed media on newsprint and digital) by me.

Short Poem Saturday – The Written Word

Today’s poem is another one from the poetry mystery folder. The credit for writing these snappy six lines of good advice has bounced around over the years, occasionally credited to Madeleine L’Engle or Elizabeth Yates. Both authors have cited the poem as inspiration, but there is no indication either of them wrote it. The first record of publication I could find was around 100 years ago, but otherwise the authorship remains obscure. I revisited my illustration for this poem: I decided I liked the medium of photocollage that I used in the original but wanted a more abstract take on it. Photos, collage, and composition by me.

Interested in helping to solve any of our other poetry mysteries? Information is always welcome!

dead center by Ann Atwood

In the Mohave by Patrick Orr

A Hallowe’en Haiku by Clement Hoyt 


Excerpt Wednesday – Lucifer in Starlight – Meredith

LuciferinStarlight.jpgDespite finding financial and critical success as a novelist, George Meredith always considered himself first and foremost a poet. This self-identification seems quite fitting now since his poetry has endured and remains accessible today in a way that his novels have not. Unlike many Victorian authors, his long-form work has not enjoyed a resurgence, although his considerable influence can be felt – he is mentioned by name by Sherlock Holmes and in an Oscar Wilde play. If you would like to finish reading of Lucifer’s brief, but theologically dense, sojourn under the stars, click here. Digital collage and composition by me (sneaked this one in just under the wire – it may be late on Wednesday, but it is still Wednesday!).

Illustrated Poetry Links from All Over, Volume 3

SLKC5431.jpgI took the photo above inside Fallen Star, a site specific sculpture by Do Ho Suh located on the University of California, San Diego, campus. A visit to the “house” is a disorienting experience – and it is meant to be. It is a meditation on Mr. Suh’s experience emigrating from South Korea, leaving behind everything he had ever known. The house is mounted hanging over the ledge of a tall building, tipped at a 5% grade inside and a 10% grade outside. For reference, the chandelier hangs perfectly perpendicular.

It has been a little while since I shared some of my favorite illustrated poetry links from my travels around the internet and WordPress, in particular.

1. Artpoems by Ms. Jacqueline Davis – her whole blog, Driftless Page, really, is a breathtaking (and inspiring) exploration of calligraphy, word art, and book arts. It’s probably good she doesn’t have the “like” button enabled on her posts, because I would push it many many times!

2. Two illustrated poems by Ro? Comic – Ro? Comics are not usually poetry based, but the artist, Stay Square, has illustrated two poems, Momentos, 1 by W.D. Snodgrass and In the Desert by Stephen Crane. In the Desert is one of my favorite short poems, so it is awesome to see it made into a poetic comic strip.

3. Bustin Garin makes mixed media collages that often feature words, text, and script. His blog is in French, but his work needs no translation. The sheer variety of his art inspires me to recycle everything into a collage! If only mine would come out as good as his…

4. And the NYT needs no publicity, but I did find the link to the archives of their “A Picture and A Poem” column. I did my own response to one of the poems featured in April (click here to see it!)

Enjoy the links and may your house be always level!

Short Poem Saturday – Haiku by Knoll

LadyBugsHaiku_KnollThis 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,, 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 Wednesday – In The Third Year Of War – Treece

IMG_2865Henry Treece was a published poet before World War II, so it is fitting he documented his experience as an intelligence officer in the Royal Air Force (from 1941 – 1946) in poetry as well. He wrote In The Third Year Of War from the center of a conflagration for which he could see no end. We have the benefit of history to know that in ~ 1944 the end of the war was indeed coming, but it does not lessen the despair we feel coming from his poem. After the war Mr. Treece focused on fiction and is primarily remembered today for his historical fiction novels for children. Mixed media collage and composition by me. To read the entire poem, click the “read more” button or scroll down.


Double Original (and collaboration!) Friday – Phase Transitions

intermediary s.jpgIn a flash the first two months of 2016 are gone and winter is nearly over! (Well, at least the calendar says “1st day of Spring” in just under two weeks.) For our seasonal poetry/collage collaboration, Kerfe Roig and I decided to tackle the transition from winter to spring. I am thrilled to present the results here – Ms. Roig’s collage above and my poem below. I learned from Kerfe that the two-faced Roman god Janus was invoked for all transitions and not just the new year; I found that particularly inspiring for my poem as he is a truly appropriate starting point for thinking about all kinds of transitions, from the intensely personal to climate change. If you have not dropped by Ms. Roig’s blog, Method Two Madness, lately, it is my hearty recommendation that you do! Kerfe and her dear friend Nina make inspiring and collaborative art on a daily basis. Collage by Ms. Kerfe Roig, poem by me. Have a wonderful Friday evening!

Phase Transitions

It’s the transitions
that get you
my boss said
the day before
he fired me.

I sat there
thinking of bulbs
in freezer bags,
California grandmothers
trying to get
daffodils to grow.

But the hard freeze
doesn’t come
anymore –
Mild winters turn
into ambiguous springs,
and I don’t know what to do.

Perhaps it won’t
rain again
for 10 years,
headlines will read:
winter ends for good
in Greenland.

I got in my car
and drove west
looking for work
on the fourth of July –
there was snow melting into
the harbor.

The seasons used
to be easy
they are now
a year round
going out of
business sale.

Short Poem Saturday – Lines for a Christmas Card – Belloc

Belloc_epigram2The impertinence and satire oozing from this epigram is a not-so-subtle glimpse into the career and life of the writer behind it. Hilaire Belloc was one of the most prolific British authors of his time – he wrote in every genre except drama – and was fiercely passionate about all of his political and religious views. Many of those views were controversial and unpopular in his own day; for instance, he stridently opposed British Imperialism in its heyday and favored a return to a single European Catholic monarchy à la the Middle Ages. Some are considered flatly unacceptable and outdated today. As a result, Belloc is mostly remembered for his witty poetry and a series of popular books of satirical children’s verse. You can access and download one of those books, Cautionary Tales For Children, complete with its delightful illustrations, for free from the Gutenberg project – click here! Photo collage and composition by me.