Friday, March 19, 2021

Poem on Blue

Problem solved! I can upload images again! Google Chrome saves the day; thank you, benevolent (for now) overlord Google.

So, anything new happen since my last blog post?

These are, for me, the days of haibun, prose poems that end with a moment of haiku (sometimes an awkward transition between the two, sometimes making perfect sense, at least to me). One friend is writing narrative poems that capture a time and places that are in his past but also not the past, memories with ongoing lives of their own, a parallel universe into which the poems allow us to step. Doorway. Hole in the ice. Light from a window. Clearing in the woods. Prose to poem. Incomplete passage, because we want to step back and forth between. 

Onward we go.

poem on blue, 3-5-21

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Museum Memories

On the last day of January of this year, George and I went to the Dia in Beacon, New York. I love contemporary art for its challenging, thought-provoking ways of deconstructing and reconstructing the world. Little did I know that would be the last time I visited a museum in...a year? years? 

Thinking of Richard Serra's Torqued Ellipses and Michael Heizer's North East South West (you can google these artists/titles, and in fact almost the entire collection of the Dia is viewable on this museum's website), I see the common themes and effects of these works on my way of thinking. Serra's metal cylinders are inviting, yet create a sense of vertigo. Heizer's geometric holes descend like wells, or like the subconscious. Both works are metaphors for what we are going through in these days of the Covid-19 pandemic: Spaces we thought we knew now seem out-of-balance (or its lack of balance has been revealed); the the paradox of absent/all-too-present is on us like a physical weight. 

Thank you, Dia, and all art museums, for asking us to stand and stare and wonder. Thank you for offering to shore up our inner resources, for when we need to make sense of the senseless. Thank you artists, for the new ways of thinking about the world. 

artwork: altered page, "In the Museum," 4-29-20, by Jean LeBlanc

Friday, March 27, 2020

Notes on a Small Planet

Lichens or lichen? Where does one lichen stop and another begin? Well, I'll leave it "lichens" in this haiga.


The pileated woodpeckers seem unusually active this spring, or perhaps that's just because I've been taking more and longer walks. Have you seen one, a woodpecker larger than a crow with a flame-red crest of feathers and white stripes on the wings? Go out and watch. It's okay, even, if you live in town, because once in my backyard I looked toward the busy street and there, on a telephone pole, was a pileated woodpecker. One may see anything anywhere.


More closely than ever, marking the cycles of rain sun, rain.


One may see anything anywhere. But there are ways to increase the odds.


Recent trees: beech, black cherry, white pine, chestnut oak, hemlock. Maples, but I need to see leaves before I say species. Same with the hickories (mockernut? pignut?), though I should be able to tell from the shells halved and piled up by squirrels.


Pay attention to the trees.


A fine country, if one looks to the lichens, mosses, ferns for guidance.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Adaptation Notes

Notes to Self:

Adaptation is not the same thing as capitulation.

Poetry doesn't simply still matter; it matters more than ever.

This is what it feels like to live in the Age of Extinction. Every species is vulnerable, including our own. Tell the story.

Things do not "happen for a reason." Those who are adaptable learn from what happens and find—maybe even MAKE—a reason to go on.

Five thousand books to read; five thousand poems to write. Go!


lichen and fern
is it really so easy
to adapt to stone

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Radical Sacred

The act of creating a piece of art—visual, verbal, physical, aural—is RADICAL, from the moment of being drawn to the drawing board or opening the journal or taking brush in hand. Creating art is a SACRED act in this profane world. To visit a museum or flip through an art book or listen to a song is a VITAL part of the radical sacredness of art; to visit, view, listen are PRECISELY the things this profane world seeks to curtail.

Go create something, and/or go admire some creative work from the hands and mind and vision of someone else. Be a part of the radical sacred. Make "radical sacred" your mantra.

the poem
where the pen runs dry
the page still listens

Monday, December 2, 2019

December Thoughts...

Does poetry and art matter? I keep writing poetry and making art. That's not exactly an answer to the direct question of whether or not such things matter in this downward-spiraling world, but the very act of creating something is a response. I have spoken before about poetry and art (and music, dance, photography, sculpture, etc.) being the creation of order amidst the chaos. What little I can do (along with teaching), I do—mostly for my own sanity, but that's no small thing, either.

A new poetry collection is due out in 2020. I am the featured artist in the current edition of The Cascadia Subduction Zone, something I found out was going to happen back in June, and now has become a reality. Small things such as this (well, actually it's a huge thing for me) keep me going. I hope such things keep you going, as well. May our creative spirits see us through.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Featured Artist

Featured Artist—I never thought I'd have that phrase applied to me. Mark that as one more thing I'm wrong about! I'm the featured artist in the new issue of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a quarterly literary magazine put out by Aqueduct Press. They know my work because they published my poetry collection, A Field Guide to the Spirits, in 2015.

Please consider purchasing a copy. You can download one for $3.00, or order a paper copy for $5.00 Here's the link.

Thank you for all your support of my poetry and art. More posts coming soon, I promise!