These wonderful images are from students in last semester’s Color Theory class at SFCC with Sudeshna Sengupta. They are on six of the campus poetry posts: two in central courtyard, two at west entrance (upper & lower) and two in smoking area towards west of bookstore and cafeteria. I’ll be documenting the rest of the posts next–done by book artists. Enjoy this beautiful melding of words and color.
Your land is a tapestry of ribbon
and rattlesnakes, sky stitched
above it like an untouched stream.
Mornings, I collect eggs from your basin,
my fingers powdery and warm all day.
It’s impossible not to see the shape of a woman
in a mountain range, here a mound of breast,
there an aching for rivers long dead.
Check out 10 posts on SFCC campus for this poem and more!
FRAMED! There is new project for the Poetry Posts on Santa Fe Community College campus.
Santa Fe Poet Laureate Elizabeth Jacobson, along with Miriam Sagan who originated the posts, will curate 12 poets in the next 24 months. Expect a gathering of voices and some fresh poetry. There are ten posts for a walkable literary experience. The inaugural installation is poetry by Elizabeth Jacobson, to celebrate her appointment. It’s up July and August!
The poetry class at SFCC is starting to maintain the poetry posts–take a look when you are on campus!
On a street in Portland, a wood post stands at the edge of a yard, with a sheet of paper sharing a simple poem for each passerby to enjoy. The Poetry Post is what the phrase suggests – a pole with a box containing a sheet of paper with a poem, prose or photograph; it might be well-known or obscure; it could be self-composed. Whoever passes by can stop and read it. If they like it, they can take a copy from the box. If they have a favorite poem they’d like to request, they can do so. Next week a new poem appears. And all of this is anonymous – no names are exchanged unless neighbors choose to. Richard Lewis, of Portland has a Poetry Post at his home in Northeast Portland “”It’s a bit like the village post,” Lewis said “It’s this place people go by on a regular basis. They stop, they read, they take away something meaningful, maybe an idea or an image, and that kind of thing should happen in our lives.”
That’s all there is to it. Simple. Easy. Self-maintaining. Community building. Hardly any cost, beyond initial post construction. Want to try this where you live?
Innovation – the introduction of something new, or a renewal or change – is a concept celebrated by the Community Tool Box. Every community has innovative ideas, and we would like to help share them with the world by encouraging you to share your community ideas with us. We’re looking for simple ideas – small in scale, low in cost, easy to do, undemanding of time, and replicable elsewhere – ideas especially suited to this day and age.
Can you send us one of your own ideas, an idea from your community that’s captured your own imagination? We’ll aim to publish the stories of innovation and community we receive. Just write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information:
Drought and isolation—talk about themes with resonance this summer! Of course, when the fiction writers from SFCC’s intermediate fiction class embarked on this summer’s flash project last spring, we had no idea the summer would include massive forest fires and days on end spent inside with the windows shut and the fans blowing! (I can’t help but wish we’d chosen “fire” as a theme).
Writers from the class, in groups, chose themes for this summer’s work (drought and “the outsider,” were two prominent themes for this round of flash), although these themes, ultimately, served mostly as prompts, rather than strict frameworks for the pieces. Still, Pat Barnes‘ piece hits home!
By Pat Barnes
The windows on the west looked out on the parched high desert plateau as strong stubborn winds blew dust that clouded the sky from limb to limb.
The plants had withered in meek submission and all sense of green had died a gruesome death.
Tumbleweeds rolled across the flat spaces like hellish heathens hurling their disgust into fences, agoras and whatever stopped their path.
A pair of birds forgot to chirp during the morning moments.
Swirling mirages loomed far into the distance suggesting some movement remained.
Dry tongues panting could not be heard.
The fury of the sun spread across the land with demonic dances of delight.
This was the punishment for the misdeeds of mankind.
Drought, deadly drought, will this be the end?
In addition to the pieces by Barnes, McPherson, Mobley and White, the second round of flash includes several pieces by Meg Tuite, who also published, this summer, the very fine collection, Domestic Apparition.
The pieces will be on display through the summer on the campus of SFCC (click here to view the map). Hey, you’ve been shut inside most of the summer—time to get out and about!
Apparently, while drought and alienation are not necessarily stellar goals for mankind, they do apparently make for decent writing conditions. After watching my students turn out numerous pieces of inspiring flash fiction, I also played around with the form while shut in my house with the windows closed. I find it very challenging to tell a story so briefly, but here’s my flash fiction for the summer of 2011 (it’s not very cheerful!)
By Julia Goldberg
Her bruises look like flowers, symmetrical strangled purpled fingerprints, like a choking necklace of faded rubies strung on the princess’ neck before she’s lain in the ground and covered by dirt, ash, blown leaves and rising grass.
For 20 years they were Marlee and Lauren, one cell divided: physically inseparable and identical; acerbic and docile; obsessive and laconic; suspicious and trusting. Lank light brown hair, hazel eyes, 5’5,” swimmers’ shoulders from a childhood of man-made lakes; strong legs from early morning and twilight bike rides and sprints in the woods by their home.
At 25, though, He showed up.
One bridesmaid, one bride. Two hundred guests on the lawn of their parents’ home. A waning moon, a lilac cake with frosting that tasted like lollipops.
“No,” Marlee screamed in her head. “No. No. No.” She stayed silent, drank champagne, watched the late summer cirrus clouds cross the flattened, celadon sky and her parents’ anxious eyes.
Five years of whispered phone calls and broken dates. Their face separates like an egg yolk. Eyes shadowed and distant, cheeks gaunt and gray. Her muscles lose their strength and memories. Her arms are thin and bruised.
The door is unlocked. The phone beeps, never replaced from the last phone call she placed. The hour-long drive at 85 miles an hour was too long. It was forever. Marlee pants as if she ran it. Her heart beats painfully against her ribs, the way it used to when they swam too far across the lake. Then, they would pull themselves out of the warm summer water onto the bank, haul themselves onto the scraggly grass and laugh into each other’s arms: entangled, together, the same.
Outside: March, drizzle, a sky bleached by storm. Inside: A dirty yellow linoleum floor. Lauren’s eyes stare and do not see. Spider webs of blood vessels mar her gaze. Marlee closes them with her shaking hand, covers her own bile-dry mouth, holds Lauren’s fish-cold hand and pulls the diamond ring from her sister’s finger.
I am a greedy reader, a pleasure reader, a literary hedonist. I want my coffee strong and my novels long. I want to escape for days on end into story and character. Some of my favorite writers are those such as Kate Atkinson, Ellen Gilchrist or Richard Ford, whose works include recurrent characters whose stories continue over spans of years in short stories or novels. I normally eschew food metaphors but, in this case, devour would be the apt verb to describe my relationship to fiction. I do not want taste a morsel, no matter how exquisitely prepared; I want to ravage.
So at first glance, flash fiction, micros, compressions, suddens, whatever you want to call them, struck me as yet another blow against expansiveness. As a journalist, I would consider myself as having been on the front line of the “short, shorter, shortest” campaign of the last several years. Yes, the power of 140 characters to topple a dictatorship, gather followers or keep everyone updated on your mood is, indeed, impressive. But, you know, some of us still like to read!
I needed a quick and radical adjustment to my attitude during the Intermediate Fiction course I taught at Santa Fe Community College this spring, after Miriam Sagan asked if I would be interested in curating a collection of flash written by my students for the poetry posts on campus. I liked the idea of the project, but didn’t think I could appropriately inspire my students with a tirade against abbreviated thought.
So I plunged in and read a whole lot of flash: the classics, the award-winners and the very, very new.
As a reader, I do not anticipate a huge change in my habits (for instance, when I fly to Europe this summer, I don’t anticipate I’ll bring 80,000 pieces of flash fiction versus a few long books). But as a writer, and a teacher, I have come to see the value of the form and have abandoned my view of it as yet another trendy excuse to shorten my already shortened attention span.
The students in Intermediate Fiction divided into groups and chose various themes for their flash projects: drought, family loss and The Outsider. The extent to which all the pieces adhered to these themes varied from writer to writer, but the resulting group of 20 pieces, which will be on campus June 1-Aug. 26, show, I believe, the amazing versatility offered by the form. The pieces range from writing I might characterize as prose poetry to simply short fiction. They also show the challenge of instilling the various attributes of fiction writing (character, plot, story, for example) into such short works.
Here are the writers for Summer of Flash, and their works. You can find a map of the poetry posts here.
Installation 1, June 1-July 14: Benjamin Lucas Buck, Meg Tuite, Ana Terrazas, Sarah Velez, Alona Bonanno, Lisa Neal, Tina Matthews
Installation 2, July 15-Aug. 26: Meg Tuite, Ree Mobley, Ken McPherson, Pat Barnes, William White
Post by Julia Goldberg
I had fun yesterday morning walking around SFCC campus and putting new poems in the frames on the posts–although the wind nearly snatched a few! So new posts are up, students from Joan Logghe’s poetry class.
A bit of a preview:
Today, it was the courtyard that reminded me of
The importance of family or communal connection
While there were other plants in the courtyard,
None other seemed to possess such a depth of knowledge as this tree.
Also poems by Lib O’Brian, Ashley McNeely, Kathamann, Ursula Moeller, Jessica Homeyer, Kathlyn Gish, Erin Brooks, Judy Mosher, Jennifer Fresques, and a cool collaboration between Sara Schwebke ans Sarah Velez.
There are two poles in campus center, two in west wing parking, one in the alcove to the left of the Fine Arts Building, one in courtyard C, two on the Fitness Center path, and two in the wild area outside the cafeteria to the west of the building. Come take a look!
Ten “poetry posts” have just gone up on SFCC campus and will be displaying a changing exhibit of poems, often curated by the creative writing classes. The inaugeral poem, which should be up by the end of this week, is a collaboration of four women poets (Sudasi Clement, Miriam Sagan, Barbara Robidoux, and Joan Logghe) called “You Are Here.” There are two poles in campus center, two in west wing parking, one in the alcove to the left of the Fine Arts Building, one in courtyard C, two on the Fitness Center path, and two in the wild area outside the cafeteria to the west of the building. Come take a look!
These photos by Sudasi show me in an altered state of joy. This project has taken almost a year. It was Ana’s initial idea, based on the ones in Portland. Last November, she took me to see them. Dan Stubbs consulted on them, and then John Egan of Santa Fe did such a beautiful job of designing, building, and installing them. I was able to translate the idea for campus. Margaret Peters, my chair, and Bruno Gagnon, Dean of Liberal Arts and Core Studies, helped make the idea a reality. Jon Carver, in charge of art on campus, was a huge help. Full text and more formal photographs will be up soon. I’m so happy.