Garden of the Cosmos

I’ve been looking for poetry gardens–will have some to share soon. My fantasy would be to someday create one. Meanwhile, a friend sent me this, it is so just so amazing I want to share it.
The creator of the garden was a collaborator of Carl Sagan’s. (Yes, Carl was my cousin, second cousin once removed, but I knew his parents better than him).

This Galaxy Garden is in Kono, Hawaii.

Credit & Copyright: Garden by Jon Lomberg; Kite Aerial Photography by Pierre and Heidy Lesage
For Astronomy Photo of the day archive, go to

Is this Land Art or Cosmic Art?

Puerto del Sol Contest

Dear submitters and readers,

The editors of Puerto del Sol are excited to announce that we are currently holding our magazine’s first contest in poetry and fiction after several decades of publication. The poetry category will be judged by Julie Carr, author of Sarah–Of Fragments and Lines, 100 Notes on Violence, and Mead: An Epithalamion. The fiction category will be judged by Dawn Raffel, author of Further Adventures in the Restless Universe, In the Year of Long Division, and Carrying the Body.

The entry fee is $15, and includes a copy of our upcoming double-issue. Fiction submissions are limited to one piece of no more than 10,000 words per entry. Poetry submissions are limited to three poems of no more than two pages per entry. Prizes for fiction and poetry will be $400 for first place, $100 for second place, and $50 for third. The winning manuscripts will be published in our 2011 double issue, side-by-side with a selection of today’s most exciting writing and art. All submissions will be considered for publication. Please see for further details and guidelines.

Please also note that our new issue, which features the work of writers like Rick Moody, Joshua Cohen, Grace Krlanovich, Sam Pink, Annie Finch, Kate Greenstreet, and many others, is currently on sale at the website (, to be shipped as soon as it returns from the printer.

We’re looking forward to reading your work!

Thank you for your support,
The editors of Puerto del Sol

3 Questions for Lea Bradovich

1.What is you personal/aesthetic relationship to the artistic line in drawing and painting? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.

Manet famously said that ‘there are no lines in nature, only areas of color, one against the other.’ As a young artist I loved the ideas of Kandinsky, setting his lines free from his shapes, letting his color roam. The surrealist vision that I am pursuing now requires some of the methods of realism, however.
When I paint in gouache the media lends itself to linear qualities. The old tempera painters like Botticelli are known for their beautiful line. Less than a generation later Leonardo’s oil paint evaporated line like smoke, sfmato, in his words, “without lines or borders…” It looked real.
I draw with line, of course, but its at the service of the image I’m envisioning. Sometimes I transfer a drawing onto a panel, sometimes I rough in the design with paint, no line, massing darks and lights, refining it as I go along. I like dissolving flat, wet oil lines out into form, watching another dimension (or the illusion of another dimension) come into being. It gets me every time.

Do you find a relationship between painting and art and the human body? Or between your art and your body?

I am a body who paints the illusion of the body, if mainly the portrait. Studying the human form is a life long pursuit. There is so much to learn. We are endlessly expressive. I love good figurative art, there are many, many fine contemporary artists depicting the human form. I’m awed and humbled at their mastery. I even like mediocre figurative art. I adored the ‘bad’ painting of the 80’s, as long as there were figures involved. Wherever there is a human form there is a story, a narrative implied. I love a story.
Nature repeats all good functional forms, cross species, cross plant and animal kingdoms. I used to riff on the fractal similarities between human vascular forms and trees, roots and branches – consider the pulmonary system, two great trees within the lungs, respirating. (In one painting I used that theme as a big skirt) As within so with out, one could say.
A few days ago another artist told me that there seems to be evidence that the universe is furrowed, like a brain. (Do you remember “A Wrinkle in Time”?) The forms and functions that comprise the body may well be everywhere.
Since I only get to paint as long as I have a body I have a lot of incentive to care for it. Standing and moving is good while painting, later in the afternoon I’ll sit and work on some detailed section. I don’t need to pull back to see the whole effect then. While standing (or sitting) I try to employ the principles I’ve learned from yoga and tai chi, tuck the tail bone, pull up and in on the two lower energy centers, breathe, balance, unfurl the spine. If things are going poorly I check these principles, sure enough, I’m slumping, clutching, holding my breath, locking my joints. Returning to my body returns me to the moment.

Is there anything you dislike about being an artist

I can get a bit isolated, quite inward, a studio cave woman. I almost never feel lonely, tho. It is necessary to leave words behind while drawing or painting and exist in the visual moment. I have an extrovert within that is very verbal, however. It has recently occurred to me that I need to allow the verbal extrovert more time and attention. Writing is very satisfying, and again, a solitary pursuit, so I am thinking of ways to be creatively social and interactive. Except I typically won’t take time of from painting to do so….

Come Hither Queen Bee
copyright 2011 Lea Bradovich

Homage To The Common Bird
copyright 2011 Lea Bradovich

“Sharing” Wireless

I enjoyed this piece in the NY Times, maybe because it speaks to…well, a similar experience! The author goes on to say most have wireless to spare, so why not share. I may still feel a bit guilty, but I’m glad to focus on gratitude instead.
Read it all at

Op-Ed Contributor
Won’t You Be My Wireless Neighbor?
Published: January 13, 2011

FOR a long time, I relied on my Brooklyn neighbors’ generosity — that is, their unsecured wireless networks — every time I connected to the Web.

So, to linksys of Park Slope, in 2005, for allowing me to do my first freelance work from home; to Netgear 1 and Netgear 2 of the same neighborhood, in 2006, for supporting my electronic application to several graduate schools; to DHoffma, from 2007 to 2008, for letting me pay my taxes online and stream new episodes of “Friday Night Lights” each evening for a whole winter; to belkin54g, Cooley and, above all, to the blessed Belkin_G-Plus_MIMO of Ditmas Park, from 2009 to 2010, for the ability to speedily reply to student e-mails, video-chat with my sister, keep abreast of the latest literary hoo-ha, “like” as many of my friends’ Facebook posts as I liked and learn all about lentil-sprouting or Prometheus whenever the mood struck: Thank you. And may you rest in peace.

Why Can’t I Write A Good Poem About Bosque del Apache?

Every time I go to Bosque del Apache I am inspired to write a poem. Thousands of snow geese. Flocks of sandhill cranes. Sunset. Water reflections. An almost full moon. How could I not be inspired?

Every poem I write about the Bosque is bad. Or if not downright bad, then…wrong. The poems don’t work.

Since I don’t want to stop going and can’t stop writing–I probably need to stop caring.

Albuquerque Museum

Little refreshes me creatively as much as a visit to a museum. Saw some wonderful things yesterday at the Albuquerque Museum. An extraordinary and very wild piece by Timothy Horn–part chandelier, part gigantic jellyfish, called Medusa:

It is made out of silicon, rubber, and lighting fixtures.
If this is unconventional, so in its way is Basia Irland’s Desert Fountain” in a courtyard.
An interesting note on the piece: “During the severe drought of 1999, this fountain, which collects precipitation in its 50-gallon storage tank, flowed, while all other New Mexican fountains had to be turned off.”
One of the main reasons I went was to see the colcha embroidery, which was stunning. Basically, despite the variety of designs, colcha is one stitch. I liked the instructions:
anchoring the thread
the long stitch
the small crossover stitches
It sounds like a poem.

And in the gift shop, what I coveted most were framed glass sculptures by Doug Gillis:

What Would Sharon Niederman Eat?

What Would Sharon Niederman Eat?

We really ought to make that up as a bumper sticker for the Toyota–What Would Sharon Niederman Eat? That is because for years we’ve followed her recommendations as to where, how, and what to eat throughout New Mexico–from obscure byways to Albuquerque neighborhoods.
Now the general reader can profit from her expertise, as Niederman has written NEW MEXICO’S TASTY TRADITIONS: Recollections, recipes, and photos (just out from New Mexico Magazine). The volume is a handsome one, featuring the author’s vivid photographs full of light and life.
This book is fun! Niederman visits Pie Town (for pie of course), farmers’ markets, and festivals. Among the more unusual chapters are one featuring latkes (I have it on good authority that the recipe is perfect) and one on urban gardeners who transformed an ordinary lot into vegetable paradise–well before the current fad. There are some intimate moments here–harvesting backyard chokecherries, a view of Navajo stirring sticks–as well as panoramic road trips.
The strongest impression the book gives is of New Mexico’s vitality and variety. The statement I most associate with Sharon Niederman is “I could live here.” She seems to try on every hamlet and roadside place to see if she could stay. The truth is, she does live here–New Mexico–in many of its guises. And eating locally has never seemed more of a treat.
Follow the author’s schedule of events on

Sari Notebook Haibun

I was tidying up my stack of blank notebooks when I came upon a small one that had been written in. It was bound, charmingly, in used sari silk–orange and gold.
My nieces must have been visiting, for we’d gone up to Ojo Caliente:

hotspring QUIET ZONE
the little girl
goes on chatting…

As always, when writing a bunch of haiku, I was thinking about my old friend Elizabeth Lamb, and her poetry. Also, something else we had in common:

how I miss her
reading the last
Harry Potter book

the postcard
I can no longer send
address unknown

This little book also took me back to the time when my daughter was a teen-ager and her friend, my unofficial foster daughter, also lived with us from time to time.

midnight loud crickets
still no sound
of the key in the lock

It wasn’t the easiest time.

the sick cat
cuddles up to
the budding apricot

Interestingly, when the cat who was “mine” died the little tuxedo cat who belonged to everyone else in the household bonded with me.

in my window
the cat
wants to chat

And the kids did come home, although in their own time frame.

using cellphones
as flashlights
they sneak back in

Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge and Jonathan Skinner To Read at Acequia Booksellers

Acequia Booksellers
4019 4th St. NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107
505 890-5365



Poets Jonathan Skinner and Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge will read from their works at Acequia Booksellers (4019 4th St. NW in Albuquerque) on Sunday, January 23 at 3pm. The reading is free and the public is invited to attend.

Jonathan Skinner’s poetry collections include Birds of Tifft (BlazeVox, 2011), Warblers (Albion Books, 2010), With Naked Foot (Little Scratch Pad Press, 2009) and Political Cactus Poems (Palm Press, 2005). He founded and edits the journal ecopoetics (, which features creative-critical intersections between writing and ecology. Skinner also writes ecocriticism on contemporary poetry and poetics: his essays on the poets Ronald Johnson and Lorine Niedecker appeared in volumes published by the National Poetry Foundation and by University of Iowa Press. His essay “Thoughts on Things: Poetics of the Third Landscape” appeared recently in the Ecolanguage Reader (ed. Brenda Iijima). Skinner teaches in the Environmental Studies Program at Bates College, in Central Maine, where he makes his home.

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge (born October 5, 1947 Beijing, China) is a contemporary poet. Winner of two American Book Awards, her work is often associated with the Language School, the poetry of the New York School, phenomenology, and visual art. She is married to the painter Richard Tuttle, with whom she has frequently collaborated.[1]

Berssenbrugge was born in Beijing of Chinese and Dutch-American parents in 1947, but grew up in Massachusetts. She was educated at Barnard, Reed, and Columbia University. After receiving her M.F.A. from Columbia in 1974, she settled in rural northern New Mexico, which has remained her primary residence ever since.
After receiving her degree, Berssenbrugge became active in the multicultural poetry movement of the 1970s along with her good friend Leslie Marmon Silko as well as Ishmael Reed, theater director Frank Chin, and political activist Kathleen Chang. Berssenbrugge taught at the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, where she co-founded the internal literary journal Tyuonyi.

Traveling frequently to New York City, Berssenbrugge became engaged in the rich cultural flourishing of the abstract art movement, and was influenced by New York School poets John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, James Schuyler and Anne Waldman, and then the Language poets, including Charles Bernstein, as well as artist Susan Bee.[2]

She currently sits on the contributing editorial board to the literary journal Conjunctions.