Kerfe Roig

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.

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.

Double Original Friday – Hudson Valley Rest Stop in the Fall

roof rack white s

Hudson Valley Rest Stop in the Fall

The father reties the roof rack

while the family watches nearby.

There is an Amish boy selling syrup.

~Marcy Erb

The final poem in the fall collaborative series with Ms. Kerfe Roig of Method Two Madness. I always (a tad selfishly) slip one of my own poems into the mix and hope that she doesn’t notice and illustrates it alongside the far more luminous poets we begin the series with! This short poem was born of exhaustion: a coffee break halfway through a 10 hour drive to Cleveland in the pouring rain rendered me the observer of some rest stop interactions. Kerfe captures the scene perfectly. Collage by Kerfe Roig, poem by me. Have a lovely Friday and a great fall weekend!

Collaboration Tuesday – Second Autumn – Savage


Today I am so excited to present the second illustrated poem in the fall collaboration series with Ms. Kerfe Roig. Written during his time as a German prisoner of war (from 1941-1945) Mr. Savage’s poem, “Second Autumn,” was initially published in 1947 and then again in the anthology The Terrible Rain (The War Poets 1939-1945) in 1966. I came to be the proud owner of this book during a stop in Hay-on-Wye while on my Welsh hiking trip (click here for a trip down blog post memory lane). When Kerfe let me know that this collage included a fair bit of stitching, I knew it would be amazing – and I was right. I think Mr. Savage’s words and Ms. Roig’s collage together speak in the here and now of displaced peoples around the world who find themselves under a strange sky. Collage by Kerfe Roig (to see her art and process on a daily basis, I highly recommend that you follow Method Two Madness, her collaborative blog), composition by me. To learn more about Mr. Savage’s interesting life, both before and after WWII, you can read his obituary in the Daily Telegraph. The text of the entire poem is below.


Collaboration Tuesday – Splinter – Sandburg


One of the best parts (if not the best part!) of blogging for me are the collaborations that have emerged from it – and the ongoing illustrated poetry conversation between myself and Ms. Kerfe Roig is one I cherish a great deal. To my delight, it has become more or less a seasonal occurrence and is now a way I mark their changing. Our fall series begins today! Collage by Kerfe Roig of Method Two Madness (click over there for a visit, you’ll be glad you did), poem by Carl Sandburg, composition by me.


On the Death of an Infant – Turner – Collage 2

like an arctic flower s

On this blustery Blizzard Tuesday, may I present the second collage by Ms. Kerfe Roig illustrating “On the Death of an Infant” by Frederick Turner. I featured the first collage for this emotional poem yesterday (scroll down or click here).

On the Death of an Infant

Latecomer, first to go,

Like the small arctic flower

Between the snow and snow,

The fragrance of an hour.

Turner’s elegant quatrain presents to us an uncomfortable and difficult theme, but one which has always been a part of the human experience. In doing research recently for a class, I learned that child mortality in the United States is estimated to have reached nearly 50%  in the years before antibiotics became widely available. The master artist Francisco Goya lost 6 of his 7 children before they reached adulthood. President Calvin Coolidge lost his young son to a septic infection that started from a foot blister.  Even today, medical science understands precious little about what causes most miscarriages, premature or still births. Poem by Frederick Turner (his website is here) and collage by Kerfe Roig (her blog is here). May everyone weather the winter storm safely!

On the Death of an Infant – Turner – Collage 1


The second in our winter themed set of poems is Frederick Turner’s “On the Death of an Infant.” This poem packs such an emotional punch into 4 lines that it couldn’t be contained by just one illustration. This is the first of two collages that Kerfe Roig created for this poem. I loved them both and so wanted to give each one a chance to shine – and for the effect to build; I’ll be posting the second one tomorrow (blizzard permitting). Mr. Turner has an extensive website with information all about his life and work, with many more poems – I encourage you to pay it a visit – Stop by MethodTwoMadness while you’re at it to see all of the amazing art and posts by Kerfe and Nina!

Excerpt and Collaboration Tuesday – Winter Ocean – Updike

WinterOcean_1Ms. Kerfe Roig (of the amazing Method Two Madness blog) and I had so much fun with our collaboration last year (you can review all the action here, here, and here), that we are at it for Round Two! And I am really just jazzed that she agreed to work with me again and create some more poetry themed collages. This time, appropriate for the season, the theme is “winter” and the first one is a dense (and high-quality) quatrain by John Updike. Enjoy! Collage by Kerfe Roig, arrangement by me.

Double Original Friday – Evidence – Haiku

RadishHaiku_try2This second week of December has been a week of collages – which is a medium I adore, but in which I have always struggled to express myself. But recently I have been inspired by amazing collage artists like Ms. Roig (over at Method Two Madness), Ben Stainton (his awesome blog: Hello, Fig) , and Charles Wilkin (check out his work at his website). I decided to revisit the first collage I posted on this site, one that had gone with a haiku I wrote. I tore it apart and reimagined it. Here you are! Enjoy and happy Friday! Collage, haiku, and composition by me.