Featured Art: Water, Water, Everywhere

Bonnie J. Smith, Santa Clara Branch; textile, 74 x 63

Over the years, Bonnie J. Smith watched as the California drought lowered the level of the San Luis Reservoir in Merced County. She wondered if she would ever again see green grasses growing around it or water lapping up the sides of its vast bowl.

Finally, rains started and never seemed to stop. Highways, rivers, salt marches and homes flooded. Smith was excited to see how well the reservoir held up under the torrential storms.

It was a glorious sight to see so much water! When the rains let up, she knew the water would eventually make its way through the Santa Clara Tunnel and Conduit, through the Coyote Pumping Station in the Santa Clara Valley, then finally to her home.

The idea for her textile artwork, “Water, Water, Everywhere,” sprang from her being a witness to such an abundance of rain in a land of drought.

Featured Poem: Sea Oats

 

Fern Overvold
Atlanta Branch

 

Tall and slender
the sea oats
bow to one another
without breaking.
Something in their sandy
shoes allows them to
tilt from their toes,
lean West with the wind
at sunrise, and stand
straight again at vespers.

 

Like graceful old ladies
with a crown of seeds
dry at summer’s end,
they drop each kernel
for tomorrow’s purpose—
binding the sand
holding the dunes
saving the shore.

   

Featured Art: Spring


Spring by Anne Yates

Anne Yates, Portland Branch, Oregon

Acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas, 8×10

Anne Price Yates is a West Coast neo-impressionist artist working in oil, acrylic, and watercolor. She was drawing people by kindergarten and received encouragement and recognition of her talents from teachers very early on.

She studied at Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh from fifth grade. By age 12, she was experimenting with oil, acrylic, and casein paints. At 14, she was among the youngest of 16 students selected to research, design, and paint four large backdrop murals for a Medieval and Renaissance Arms and Armor exhibit at the museum.

As an art major at Florida State University, Yates focused on figure drawing and portraiture.

After painting with a plein-air oil painting group in Provence in 2000 and 2001, her focus shifted to landscapes and her style evolved toward impressionism. Monet, Sisley, Pissarro, and Wolf Kahn have influenced her work.

Featured Poem: Blizzard

 

Carolyn Aune
Minnesota Branch

 

 

Ah, the late January malaise.
How about a rip-roaring blizzard
To break the monotony!
How about a blizzard so grand and fierce
That it would shake our world
As though the ruling Norse Gods of the clouds
Were beating their hairy chests, howling in rage,
And tearing to shreds their bright white tunics,
Hurling the bits to earth as a curtain of new snow.

And how about if, the next morning,
The dawning sky would flame hot pink,
With misty streaks of magenta and pumpkin orange,
As if the gods, now calm and spent,
Were coloring outside the lines.

Your Poems Wanted!

By Karen McAferty Morris, Poetry Editor

I’ve been poetry editor since November 2018, and I love to open my email and see poetry submissions. If you’ve been thinking of submitting something for an upcoming issue or online publication, polish it up and send it along to me. 

Karen McAferty Morris

As you know, only a few poems are accepted for the Pen Woman magazine (generally four to five) due to space constraints (maximum line length is 36). The online publication also has a wide audience, and it is an honor for a poem to be accepted for publication here, too — with no maximum line length.

Writing poetry takes effort. Reading and selecting creative work require effort, too, and I will consider each submission carefully.

Some things I look for include:

  • An intriguing title
  • A strong beginning
  • Effective and purposeful line breaks
  • Fresh imagery
  • Polished style (including spelling, grammar, and concise expression)
  • An ending that may surprise or provoke
  • An overall sense of something extraordinary in craft, mood, or enlightenment. 

I appreciate a poet’s effort and dedication, and I look forward to reading your work.

Here’s a little bit about me: I’m a member of the Pensacola Branch of Pen Women, where I serve as secretary and poet laureate. I am the letters competition chair for the 2019 Florida State conference.

My chapbook “Elemental” was awarded second place in last year’s Vinnie Ream Letters competition, and as I say in its preface, I am inspired by nature, by the plight of vulnerable people, and by the emotions that result from loving others.

The deadline for the Spring 2019 magazine is Feb. 15 but if you miss it, don’t hesitate to send me your work now for a future edition. Send your submission in the body of the email or as an attachment, and please include your branch name.

Finally, please visit the NLAPW.org website often, look at the featured poems, and leave comments — all poets like to feel they’re being heard. Or subscribe to receive notice when new entries are posted.

Featured Poem: Skin

Lois Batchelor Howard
Palm Springs Branch, California

 

I just read that the African spiny mouse
has the thinnest skin in the world.
That’s interesting.
I thought I did.
And this mouse can regenerate
missing body parts, much like the snake.
The snake can change its skin
several times a year…and why am I
suddenly interested in these creatures?
Well, because I am looking at my arms.
The skin here is a battlefield of ridges or,
kinder, if pulled very tight, it might pass
as crumpled corduroy or a flesh maze
with no escape route. Actually, much
like the mouse and snake, my skin
moves both warily and slitheringly,
as if it might just slide right off…but, no,
even though it cannot be regenerated
my skin continues to keep my insides in!
Granted, it’s a different wrapping from
when I first came, the same but older…
I must be bolder in appreciating what
I have, not only skin, but
clothes with long sleeves!

 

 

Featured Poem: Morning Prayer

Dorothy Kamm
Vero Beach, Florida

 

 

Most mornings I pray

when I drink coffee

but today I’m watching

seven grackles at the edge

of a neighbor’s roof

puff up their chests

and lift their wings

as they call out

a dawn chorus;

suddenly a few take flight

followed by their flock

synchronized in twisting patterns

resembling a Mobius strip;

and then the neighborhood bully –
a red-shouldered hawk –

lands on the peak

of a neighbor’s roof

perfectly perched, looking for prey;

hopefully, an alarm has been sounded.

Featured Poem: Legacy of Love

Anne Bonner
Cape Canaveral Branch

as the old lady stares into space
slender twig bent and broken
I remember Mama
a beautiful young blossom
role model in days past
admonishing sister and me
pretty is as pretty does

remember those not as fortunate
urging us to become good citizens
using our minds and creative abilities
a kaleidoscope of dreams
patchwork of portraits
assurance of self-worth

mothers  grandmothers  great
grandmothers second class
citizens in days long ago
surrounded by barriers of barbs
visible and invisible boundaries
never forget your roots

unsightly deeds covered by
apologetic men as women today
take their rightful place in the world
sympathy for the downtrodden
providing sustenance to husbands
children and to themselves
to thine own self be true

thank you, Mama
and those ladies before you
legacy’s tapestry is woven
into my heart
golden threads of love



Featured Art: Passage to the Past

Watercolor, 24×18

Geri M. Davis, Columbus Branch, Georgia

Geri Davis’ life is dedicated to creating, promoting, teaching, and counseling with art.

She has taught art for over 40 years. Many of her students have incorporated her philosophy of art into their personal lives: “Know your subject well, plan your journey, then enjoy the trip.” 

At age 52, Davis returned to college and got a master’s degree in counseling and human development. Her specialty is using art in a therapeutic manner.

Davis has served as NLAPW Georgia state president and vice president, branch president and vice president, and programs chair. 

Featured Poem: Pictures of Me

Val Weaver
Des Moines Branch, Iowa

Pictures of me…

taken in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s
show me always with a cigarette in my hand

held between
the fore and middle fingers
the epitome of
sophisticated style.

I turn the pages
of the photo albums
and crave the comfort of
that mentholated burn.

Bob Pace plays something funky in the background…

I inhale.

Pick up the glass of Jack and seven,
hold it to the candle
and gaze into its
soft amber
glow…

I exhale.

And take a sip.
Love the sound of ice
against the glass.

I inhale…
    
My lover says something strangely funny and
I laugh
smoke drifts across the table into his eyes.

I cross my legs, lean forward
and say, “Sorry.”

I take another puff

and I am the star

of my own

1940s

Bette Davis

movie.