With Crooked Legs of Hackberry

On Crooked Legs of Hackberry

At 21, I traveled through India for six months. My world-view had been scrambled, and writing about my travels helped me unscramble it. I had never seen people starving on the streets, their limp bodies scooped up in the morning by a front-end loader. I had never been surrounded by large groups of beggars or lepers. Nobody had ever pushed into my face a live cobra curled in a … [Read more...]

Poems by Doc Burkard


Out in Stoughton,a few ghosts illuminated by chorus of flickering jack-o-lanterns that edge the windows. I'm on stage, trying to move my fingers over the strings just a little longer. Fighting the pain in a hilltop bar, where our ancestors speak by the bend of the trees or the fumes blown from Toyotas idling in the gravel park. Wood floor covered by pull … [Read more...]

Eight paintings by Tom Melsen

Self Portrait )detail) - Tom Melsen

Artist's statement: What is important to me, is what I like to call "the art of destroying." I destroy a lot of my works. Most paintings I make feel like crap to me and only a few of the many paintings I make survive. I have no specific way of working; when a painting works out it's basically a lot of luck." … [Read more...]

A Consideration of Borges’ Poetics

Jorge Luis Borges - This Craft of Verse

I read Jorge Luis Borges' This Craft of Verse in one sitting. It is a collection of six essays originally given as lectures at Harvard University in 1967-1968. The tone is easy and conversational. Borges speaks about the reader's interaction with a poem, metaphor, the epic, translation and translatability, the relation between language and thought, and his own “poetic creed” as … [Read more...]

Some Kind of Dharma: Photographs

Some Kind of Dharma 1 (detail) - Steve Paul

“to just start at the beginning and let the truth seep out”Grant Street, San Francisco, 2009You can quite intentionally make a Beat pilgrimage in San Francisco, soaking in the aura, the coffee, the Bohemian spirit in North Beach nooks, bars and alleys. I did not do that. I chanced upon this sidewalk marker on Grant Street, Chinatown’s main drag, and it held me for a … [Read more...]

Three poems from Burma

Burma. Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/focusc/6511325865

WASO LAPYAEThis morningWaso Lapyae Brings blue skiesAnd a giant crow Perched upon the sill Of my squat toilet windowThis afternoonThe heavy rain Gives me a headache AgainNeither jasmine tea Nor red wine helpThis eveningI am drunk once moreLike a lunatic, I pace the parket floor Reciting poems by Li BaiYes TonightWe'll sit in silence The full moon … [Read more...]

Fully Aboard the Flesh Wagon: Tin House Writers Workshop, Summer 2014

Tin House Writer's Workshop / Randy Osborne

About a week before his fortieth birthday, virgin poet Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881) recorded in his journal that he ​​had “received a woman’s favors” at last.​ ​​His world was not rocked. ​“​Frankly, compared to what the imagination assumes or expects, they are a small matter,” ​​Amiel​ sniffed.But the deeply religious Amiel did not give up on lust – or on … [Read more...]

The Seventieth Year

Rembrandt - The Apostle Paul

Asia Air Flight 8501In a high rise hotel in Surabaya, a quiet week waiting like so much of life, my wife makes miniatures of snacks in clay for jewelry ideas and I download Nordic Noir.A trip to the gym to stay the decline, then I dream more vividly than I live and solve problems there I couldn’t understand awake, and feel stupid against it all.Can a thunder clap … [Read more...]

Poems by Ana Maria Caballero

poems by Ana Maria Caballero

The Stories of BedtimeI am the only mother And you are the only sonYour father He too is the only father The only manHis father and my father Are past fathers Stories to tell you Of men Who once walkedMy mother and his mother A photograph and a portrait We look to Upon the wallYou will have a sister And she will be the only daughterI a … [Read more...]

Forgiving Time

Wall, Mexico

He calls me kid I’m almost 34 now And have forgiven myself for getting olderI walked past and hopped down to the crooked street Where the short man with baby dark skin sells balloons And blue telephones hang lonely And lost my balanceMy ankles timid My mind many places Not here There are so many tasks that require tending to, if not completingHe calls me … [Read more...]

Drawing in Ink at The Peoples’ Beach, Sanur, Bali

Prayers for the Unbeliever (detail) - Ricker Winsor

Drawing in ink with reed pens and brushes was how I started forty years ago. It seemed miraculous to me right from the beginning and I have never wavered in my enthusiasm for it. I happily return to it now as a compliment to the painting I do in the studio. To be out in the landscape responding to nature, to life, in the most direct way, using ink which is not basically … [Read more...]

Poems by Michael Bernicchi

select meats

sideshow heartall the prettyprizes wait in light all secondhand and shunnedbut stitched / stuck on tongues just the same we dance alike and you a little girl again with balloonsticks andI try to win your heart with a sledge and I step right upplacing you down so I can let you go up uP UPthough you don’t look … [Read more...]

Two poems by Michael Julian

poems by Michael Julian

Darjeeling Through My WindowMaybe you're eating lunch now, a plate of jasmine rice and naan. I can taste the chai you slowly sip and feel the mountain breeze on my arms. How deep in the Himalaya's shadows do you bathe with your bucket of cold water? Can you see Nepal from your window? Can you see me lying here in the dark, half a world away, half a … [Read more...]

A Night in Spain


A Night in SpainRemember when we were in spain? and we went to that little town? with the old monastery? and the good restaurant with the stew? and the roman ruins?You loved me so much then. You love me so much still. You think so much of me. It makes no sense.When I wandered through the city, the empty city, abandoned since you left me, staring at the strange, familiar … [Read more...]

The South as a Home as an Animal

Marshall Blevins

Artist's statement: Southern artist and photographer, making it up as I go along. Struggled through art school but survived, not sure which direction to go in, but certain and rooted in bayou country. The paintings I make deal with personal mythology, religion, and the importance of place. I draw on my own memories growing up in the land of the pines, the memories of authors … [Read more...]

Three poems by Michael O’Shaughnessy


ANEMONE OF THE STATEthe sea (all those parts pooled into one) upheaves and twists long rocks like dirty shirts on the beach. i jump over the laundry, balancing on a collar before slipping into the wash.the seagulls fell back to earth like water rockets in sex death arcs, thick Cheshire grins possessing me before forgetting everything and returning to the salty meat in the … [Read more...]

Poems by Conley Lowrance

poems by Conley Lowrance

ARCHITECTURE The stairwell is empty. Her steps ricochet off the cement. Around her, the air is filled with impossible odors: foxglove, traces of some unnamable chemical.“This door leads to another door, leads to a disinfected room.” But this can’t be right. She has arrived at a balcony—where the wind carries hooded birds safely through the city’s fog.Leaning against … [Read more...]

Too Dee: Drawings by Nathan Pietrykowski

Folly and Fortune (detail) - Nathan Pietrykowski

Artist's statement: Humankind seeks out meaning to overcome the fear of the unknown. When meaning is unable to be found we fabricate our own. Through the invention of my creation myth I examine how humankind searches and contrives truth. In my drawings I chronicle the history of a paracosm, an imaginary universe know as Too Dee. In this place colorful mask wearing explorers … [Read more...]

Poetry by Sam Silva

Street Flowers by Alexis Doyen

A SONG WHICH THE ARTIST INSPIRES Angel of my thoughts and dreams! Painter of my dusty soul in earthen portrait. Fire around the darkened coal lit alive by such desire.Love like this comes only once! No one else could take me there except for Jesus and his mother come with images that likewise strike me dumb among the words I write...not even Helen with her … [Read more...]

Rain Poem


RAIN POEMthe rain beats a rhythm against the windshield the wipers flail helplessly like a fish out of waterdemons to the left of medemons to the right of medemons in front of medemons in back of memy brain a barbecue pit feeds on the rolling thunder spits out bits and pieces of poemswords of emptiness words of despair shadow creatures … [Read more...]

Poems by Sarah Ghoshal

poems by Sarah Ghoshal

Bus to Big Band Barn For DrummersBoom, he says. Boom and snap and twiddle and pop and digida, digida, find a pillow, find a pot top, find a table top and a couple of spoons, spatulas, sticks, feet, palms, wicker broom looking apparatus with soft sound. Boom.A smack and a dab and a smooch through the spotted windows and you eat the stuffing pouring out of the seats … [Read more...]

3 poems by George Moore

Beach by Alex Talmon

The Order of ThingsIn the days before temptations, when the boys urged on by theirEverclear slip-drive madness, consumed everything in their path,I escaped to here, poet nested amid disorders, a post-holocaustHamlet, his final failure to remain detached from that which he hates.For me it was love. Liberal sprinkling vs. deep ecology. Somewherein-between, where … [Read more...]

An interview with Michael Guerin of the Diartspora Gallery

photo credit: Lori Waselchuk

Michael Guerin is the owner of the Diartspora Gallery, a private art collection focusing upon African-American art, and the art of the African diaspora. Collected over a period of over 20 years, the collection includes many pieces by self-taught and outsider artists, as well as some by those who are well-known.I had the opportunity to talk with Michael about the collection, … [Read more...]

The Consequences of Violence

Afghanistan Sky / U.S. Army

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. —Oscar WildeI’ve found it true in personal experience that being a target of life-threatening violence strips away everything that isn’t a core value or an innermost desire. Near the eastern Afghan village of Shkin in 2004, I huddled in a mud brick house with … [Read more...]

Fairy Poems by Laura Madeline Wiseman

Fairy Poems

Domesticity with FairiesYou keep pulling me to you and wrapping your arms around my waist. I’m standing in the kitchen with coffee as the morning wind shakes the red-gold from the trees and you’re squeezing me like I’m a stuffy, a baby blanky, a puppy before the first day of school. Have a good day at work, I say around your damp hair. After  dinner, when … [Read more...]