Icelandic E-Book Is Out! Enter the Creative Womb of Darkness with Mother and Daughter Team of Poet and Photographer

Poet Miriam Sagan and artist Isabel Winson-Sagan went to Iceland to experience the Arctic night near winter solstice in early 2014. They shared experiences such as searching for the northern lights and swimming in thermal pools, and responded in words and images. These photographs and poems were produced during the trip, and edited and shared later. Together, they express an elemental experience where such forces as celestial bodies, light and darkness, weather, and the points of the compass are embodied.
It is not that usual for a mother and daughter to collaborate, but our experience has deepened our understanding of both place and of each other–two women of different generations and sensibilities. From SIM guest house for international artists to the Hotel Fron to the sky viewing pavilion of the Northern Lights Inn–Iceland proved not only hospitable but inspirational.

Here’s the link to Amazon Kindle for SWIMMING TO REYKJAVIK

Poems in which I knit and Isabel naps, photos of volcanoes and laundry, darkness is our creative womb and where are the northern lights?

The e-book is also FREE at free at

Poem Inspired by 1/4 Mile of Art by Jeanne Simonoff

Chance it, hand it over, put it up.
a faceless walk
a silent wish
that I might find you on a wall
not random, but coming face to face
after fifty years.
I still love you.

jeanne simonoff

Some Concrete Poetry at SFCC’s 1/4 Mile of Art!


At the SFCC Gallery: Prayer or Cell Phone?


Cartoon by R. Cate.

Wow, that’s cool! Is grandfather saying his evening prayers?

No, he’s just trying to catch a signal on his cell-phone.

Why I Am A Poet or Pop! Goes The Weasel

I was recently on a panel where I was asked the usual question–how did you become a poet? The unvarnished truth is, I have no idea. But that doesn’t float socially. So I have answers ready, hopefully informative about creative process or at least charming.
However, I have been thinking about “Pop Goes The Weasel.” I’ve always loved it. I often sing it. Was my love for it as a child a sigh that I was going to be a poet? Or did it inspire me, in some mysterious way?

All around the cobbler’s bench
The monkey chased the weasel;
The monkey thought ’twas all in fun,
Pop! goes the weasel.

A penny for a spool of thread,
A penny for a needle—
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop! goes the weasel.

I loved much of Mother Goose, and old rhymes, particularly this next one. In it, disobeying one’s mother, gypsies, travel, and rhymed quatrains all conspired to whisper “freedom” in my listening ear. Something I care about more than poetry, I think. And something poetry must encourage.

My Mother said, I never should
Play with the gypsies in the wood;
The wood was dark, the grass was green
Along came Sally with a tambourine.

I went to sea – no ship to get across,
I paid ten shillings for a blind white horse.
I up on his back and was off on a crack,
Sally tell my mother that I’ll never come back.

京都 高桐院 | Kyoto Kotoin 2014.03.27.

Miriam Sagan:

In my memoir class, we read some selections from “Essays in Idleness” which is really about reflections in leisure. It is a mosaic form, associative bits put together, which particularly seems to inspire today’s students making sense of our often cut-up world.
Yoshida Kenkō (吉田 兼好?, 1283? – 1350?) was a Japanese author and Buddhist monk. His most famous work is Tsurezuregusa (Essays in Idleness), one of the most studied works of medieval Japanese literature. Kenko wrote during the Muromachi and Kamakura periods.
These images, with the same title, caught my attention–enjoy!

Originally posted on 文写真 | photo essays in Idleness:




View original

Maelstrom Project by Doug Bootes

IMG_2577Don’t Shoot the Messenger- The Maelstrom Project
By Doug Bootes
I stand over the Rio Grande rift, feeling my legs being incrementally pulled apart with the continent, paintings on one side, words on the other, me in between, disappearing into both.
Poems, paintings. I began with a concept, maelstrom, a general reference to the undertow created by the insidious disparity of wealth and power in our free society and its devastating consumption of millions of lives, of generation after generation. Not an easy topic, not a well-articulated idea even. No, I didn’t want to respond to myself with a poem interpreting what’s depicted on canvas. No, I didn’t want to paste, paint, scribble or scratch words onto the canvas, no more than I want to decorate the words on the page in illuminated text or illustrate the stanzas.
So for three months I painted and wrote, separate, but parallel in context; whatever came to mind when I repeated the word, maelstrom. Liberated from the confines of form, the project took on a life of its own, a space where I can breathe deep and reach out in all directions, a space I can’t possibly fill.
Ten paintings and twenty poems. A collection of thoughts arranged around the idea that true beauty and character thrives in the vast southern underbelly of America stretching from Florida to California along interstates, on street corners, in alleys, in human beings pushed to the curb of consciousness, the people behind the card board signs with complex stories and lives that led them to the periphery of our vision.
Upon closer investigation, their environmental and socio-political backdrops are equally layered with neglect and ignorance of undiagnosed ills, decay and abuse. In words and paint I depict despair in the context of the freedom that comes from survival, from overcoming, from the liberating knowledge that we all bear the same light within us, no matter how deeply hidden. Chaos juxtaposed with transcendence; to only depict one or the other is incomplete, perhaps even irresponsible.
In the beginning, an exploration of society ills, in the end, an exploration of my own pale reflection.
In days when publicly funded police gun down the mentally ill and addicted as preferential treatment, when politicians speak endlessly of change which only occurs in their pockets and bank accounts, its time to realize that if we continue ignoring the problems staring us in the face begging for change, if we don’t join them in the streets to challenge the status quo, we doom all of our children to dwell in their chaos.

See, feel, contemplate. What I’ve ended up with are ten paintings and twenty poems encompassing humor, tenacity and resourcefulness.

Conceived on the winter solstice of 2013, the first installment of the Maelstrom project includes ten paintings and twenty poems interfacing each other. The ten paintings were done in a progressive succession of twenty six steps, each step photographed after its completion. The resulting two hundred and sixty images were then combined with thirty five detail images to compile a slide show documenting the process from the first scratch of charcoal on the canvasses to the last wash.
The twenty one minute slide show will be projected onto a screen during the reading of the poems, first forward, then backward after a brief intermission. A chapbook of the poems and images of the paintings will be released during a reception in Santa Fe prior to the opening of the show in New York featuring several of the original paintings.


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