Featured Art: Gallery Hopping

 

Gallery Hopping embroidery

Carol Nipomnich Dixon, Connecticut Pioneer Branch  

Gallery Hopping, embroidered assemblage on felt, 13-inch square, framed

 

Statement from Carol Nipomnich Dixon: I have been drawing, painting, photographing, and experimenting with mixed media collages since I was a child. I like to think that the child in me still appears in the art I do, along with more mature “soul”, feeling, intelligence and wit, expressed through color, texture, shape and composition. For me, art needs to convey a personal, original point of view, along with strong visual elements and well-executed techniques. My inspiration comes from my own experiences and emotions, nature, varied cultures, historical eras, and art over the ages, ranging from Ming Dynasty squares to paintings by Klimt, Kandinsky and Krasner and collages by Schwitters. My most distinctive works are my small embroidered collages, which often incorporate contemporary papers, original photos, and found objects into traditional stitchery. I also owe a debt to my Russian-born paternal grandparents, my grandmother who taught me to embroider and my tailor grandfather who gave me fabric remnants from his shop.

Featured Poem: Writer’s Block

Barb Whitmarsh
Bayou City Branch, Texas

 

There I sit
Done with trees
Their rugged hide
Their fallen leaves

 

Ended the garden
At mid-lawn
With vibrant roses
And firethorn

 

Through with birds
On twig or in flight
Chirping in mornings
Hooting in nights

 

Finished with stars
Zodiac members
Burned out long ago
All that’s left – embers

 

No more verses
On oceans and waves
Their ships with cargo
And bereft slaves

 

All things come
Eventually to halt
It isn’t the plants’
Or animals’ fault

 

It is the pen
Though often a shock
But will entice again
To end writer’s block

 

 

Featured Poem: Slammed

Cornelia DeDona
Member-at-large, Kingston, New York

 

I slammed my heart
into love’s door
bloodied and bruised
it swelled
on the other side
of a reckoning
exacted its price
no change
forthcoming.

 

My head
knew
that
our days
would be
fractions
of a time,
our souls
divided.

 

Glad, I knocked
anyway.

 

Featured Poem: A Decision

Elizabeth Diane Martin
Pikes Peak Branch, Colorado

 

In turmoil and distrust
In the midst of fear and confusion
A decision to love
Changed a wandering
Wondering heart
Into one that found
Its roots
And began to grow.

 

It is the flow of love
That causes
New branches
To push out from
Its wizened trunk.

 

Solid and unmoved
Supporting and
Reaching
Toward
Its eventual fruit.

 

What a long, long
Journey
It seems
But, Oh!
The satisfaction
Of reaching
The destination!

 

Then its
Fallen seed
Sinks below,

 

And, if
Good ground
Surrounds it,
A new life begins
Its own journey.
Searching,
Winding,
Reaching,

 

Not knowing
But steadily returning to
Its programmed desire
For the fruit,
So beyond
The thought
Of its daily work.

 

Dear Reader,
Decide also
To love.

 

 

Featured Art: 19th Century Lady

 

19th Century Lady painting
Patricia Daly-Lipe, Jacksonville Branch, Florida
19th Century Lady, oil, 26 by 30 (includes frame)

 

Statement from Patricia Daly-Lipe: The portrait is based on an old photo of a friend of my grandmother (on my mother’s side). However, I do not know who she was. I was intrigued, however, with her look. So much can be read in those eyes.

 

Featured Poem: Circle of Time

Linda Farmer Ames
Columbus Branch, Georgia

 

I, mighty oak, have stood rooted here
for greater than one hundred years,
surrounded by brothers and sisters,
all of Mother Nature’s children.

 

We poked the skies, loomed over heaps of fallen limbs,
leaves and brush, and beneath all that made homes
for living creatures who died and decayed
to create a bounty of nutrients for growth, rebirth.

 

Now I stand alone, no longer part of a forest of kin.
My expanse of roots, gnarled and exposed from years of
wind and water, heat and cold, reach out and around.
I remain to give shade, disperse sun’s rays, cool the ground.

 

The expanse of grasses planted fifty years ago,
groomed faithfully, are fed, managed by
manufactured matter. My limbs have been trimmed
or removed, yet I remain firmly planted among

 

glass, bricks, mortar, cement and asphalt.
I have survived these ravages dispatched by mankind
who has lived strong and mighty, frail and weak,
who has prevailed. All vulnerable, we live and die in a circle of time.

 

 

Featured Poem: English Class

 

Donna DeLeo Bruno
Ft. Lauderdale Branch

 

I stand before my teenage students
    Speaking of Homer’s “Odyssey,”
Of Penelope, Ulysses’ faithful and long-suffering wife
    Who waited twenty years for reunion with her husband.
Before me sit kids who fall in and out of love each week.

 

I laud “The Bard”
    Shakespeare and his masterpieces.
The boys see only the curvaceous “masterpiece”
    Of the svelte but buxom female blond
Who floats across the room.

 

I speak of poets
    Byron, Shelley, Keats.
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
    They nod approvingly
As the same female student
    Demonstrates “poetry in motion” in her walk.

 

“Remember John Donne
    who wrote ‘No man is an island unto himself’?”
And with that quote, they recall the hijinks
     Of last week’s boozy island beach party
With bombed-out babes.

 

Do I “cast pearls before swine”? I wonder.
    The bell rings — class ends.
A student approaches and requests that I peruse his poems.
    I take them home; that night I read them.

 

Can it be that this sleepy-eyed, tattooed boy
    Has actually “heard” me?
He writes of “a thing of beauty”–
    The Statue of Liberty that welcomed him from a distant land
Ruled by some “MacBeth-like” tyrant — ruthless and ambitious.

 

And identified with “No man is an island”
    When a church group sheltered his family
And led him to this place
    Where in due time, he plans to “march to his own drummer.”

 

And so my teacher’s “heart leaps up
    when I behold” not Wordsworth’s “rainbow in the sky”
But rather one student
    With whom these works have resonated,
Words that will be woven
    Into the “masterpiece” tapestry of a life.

 

 

Featured Art: Confetti Mountain

 

Confetti Mountain painting

 

Katie Turner, Central New York Branch

Confetti Mountain, watercolor on paper, 18 by 24 inches

 

Statement from Katie Turner: Exploring abstract patterns formed by nature is part of my interest here. The simplicity of a rugged landscape balanced with hard crisp edges speaks of internal relationships to me.

 

Featured Poem: Love’s Little Park

Bette J. Lafferty
Tampa Branch, Florida

 

It has been years since we first came to this little park,

where young saplings with limbs so strong

reached to the heavens to catch the popcorn clouds.

I remember our visit as if it were yesterday.

There was that hidden swing where love rose up

and gentle hands pushed against the breeze

and caressed my wounded heart.

You offered me a safe place to be free,

to laugh and to be loved again.

How sad to see the potholes riddling the lane

that once led to a lifetime of intoxicating tomorrows,

days filled with mountains climbed,

where sun-drenched beaches continued for miles and

hours of imaginary fantasy thrilled the child within us.

Now, aged with time,

the mighty oak trees hold only our memories

locked in the circles of their trunks.

Covered with blue-green fungus,

weakened branches cling precariously

waiting for the next strong wind

to take them down.

I know this little park was but for a season.

Yet, I’m thankful for it offered us a lifetime of hope and joy.

I linger for a moment longer,

hesitant to say goodbye

to you and to my dear little park.

But time calls for me to seek a new path

where untold memories are waiting to be made.

And who knows, perhaps, a new love.

 

 

Featured Art and Poem: Garden of Ethos

Garden of Ethos painting

Oil on canvas (90 by 50) by Dianne Lynn Benanti, Palm Springs Branch, California

 

Dianne Lynn Benanti is a self-taught artist who creates large scale contemporary works as well as traditional portraits. Besides being an artist, she composes music and has written a children’s book. She highlights NLAPW on her website, and says, “I’m very honored to be a part of such a great organization.” Her art, book, poetry and songs can be viewed at www.benanti.com.

Carol Mann is a poet and author in the Palm Springs Branch. Her poem was inspired by Diana Benanti’s painting of the same name.

 

 

The Garden of Ethos

 Carol Mann, Palm Springs Branch

 

together we gather in the garden

worried, contemplative

stoic, sad

our world view guiding our thoughts

our life experience

bonding us

 

sisters they call us

bearers of the oral story

of man and his tradition

of beliefs in a god   or not

 

teachers they call us

bearers of society’s mores

culture, the written word

 

mothers they call us

bearers of children

nurturers of body, soul

family guide in crisis and joy

 

daughters they call us

our mothers’ students

learning ways to cope

to keep dreams alive

 

wives they call us

joined in ceremony

partners through life’s

trials and uncertainties

 

But mostly they call us women

governors of our own destiny

strong, problem solvers

ever emerging

 

they call us women

finding strength in our sisters

in times of sadness

finding strength in our sisters

in times of great happiness

finding ways to go on…

Always