At Your Service


 

    This year, as you probably know, marks the bicentennial of the publication of Pride and Prejudice.  And, if Jane Austen could only see what an industry she has spawned.  The Amazon listing for books related to – or cashing in on — this title spans 101 pages.  There are sequels and “variations” and “re-tellings” as well as “re-imaginings.”  There are journals, graphic novels and a whole spate of murder mysteries, including one by P.D. James.   There is a version set on Mars and another one set along the Hudson River.  There is Pride … Continue reading At Your Service

Something Besides Silence


 

At one point in the graphic novel Maus, Art Spiegelman’ chronicle of his father’s life before WWII and in Auschwitz, and the author’s own difficulty dealing with that history, Spiegelman is speaking with his therapist, who is also an Auschwitz survivor. Spiegelman is having great difficulty writing the second part of his book, which concentrates on the father’s time in Auschwitz; the holocaust, as a subject, is too large, too complex, too evil to even address, to the point where both men are struck dumb. Eventually the therapist quotes Samuel Beckett, saying “every word is … Continue reading Something Besides Silence

Let Them Read Poetry!


 

    I once heard another poet say, “Only poets read poetry.” My reaction was half- pshah! that can’t be true! and half- ah, how true! Personally, my reading list is split pretty equally between poetry and fiction/memoirs- recently it’s Matthew Dickman’s All-American Poetry and Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild. One is on Oprah’s book club list and the other isn’t.   The above claim- only poets read poetry- ruffles my curiosity. I know many non-writers who read poetry, but usually, they have some other personal connection to the arts. What about the person who read … Continue reading Let Them Read Poetry!

Letters, We Get Letters


 

But do we? Do you still get letters?  Sometimes I find myself wishing I did. Of course I get mail. Everybody gets mail. But is the monthly statement from Belk’s to be considered a letter? I don’t think so. I know they love me. They’ve told me so many times with their catalogs and wonderful offers, but somehow, I don’t think it’s personal. Same goes for Dominion Power (without the special offers) and the doctor’s office. They use my name to keep from confusing me with somebody else, but it’s just not personal. Oh, e-mail. … Continue reading Letters, We Get Letters

Ants on the Wall by Jabeen Akhtar


 

I calculated as my hair fanned across the scorched, crumbly asphalt: 5.5 pineapple vodkas since 12:13pm, four in the privacy of my kitchen, one and a half since I had been out in the sun, and a beer. I was a spectacle, another drunkard attempting to dance to the live jazz that had overtaken our streets. Are you ok? they all asked. Seriously, are you ok? Canned pineapple juice trickled up my throat. A pebble had lodged itself in my left earlobe. I turned my face to the afternoon sky, opalescent from the heat radiating … Continue reading Ants on the Wall by Jabeen Akhtar

A Clean-Swept Room by Raennah Mitchell


 

For days after her mother’s death, while adults move around her making funeral and guardianship arrangements, Sarah stands by walls. Her six-year-old fingertips search the wallpaper in the day care where they have placed her. Peach-colored blossoms overlay faint gray stripes. She turns away and leans against them. Across the room, other children color, drive toy trucks through a box of rice, dress in capes and felt hats. Sarah rolls her head from side to side, imagining she can fall backward into her mother’s arms, the paper flowers closing over them. The squat woman who … Continue reading A Clean-Swept Room by Raennah Mitchell

Eyeclops by Grace Maselli


 

His single working eyeball strained left to meet my gaze, protruding slightly from the taught skin around his eye. Walter the electrician and I stood diagonal to each other, looking through the glass door of my rental house. “I’m here to check the wires,” he said, muffled through the glass. Not long before he showed up I had sent an email to my property manager: “A snow storm is on the way. My kids have no heat or lights in their bedrooms. It’s been three days since I called you with the problem. Three days … Continue reading Eyeclops by Grace Maselli

In Your Own Backyard

Avery Lawrence
 

I could argue that there is, in fact, an art to the garage sale – I’ve certainly claimed more than a few cheap treasures – but I wouldn’t imagine scouting for such in the hushed halls of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Tell that to MoMA curators who recently launched “Meta-Monumental Garage Sale” in the museum’s open and noisy atrium. Here donated items were browsed – and bought – as they might have spilled from a friend’s front porch or wide backyard. Had I been an art participant all these years and never known … Continue reading In Your Own Backyard

Art by Avery Lawrence

image of worker with blue box on back
 

  Charlottesville performance artist Avery Lawrence recently claimed the Grand Prize of Art Takes Miami 2012 competition. The “edgy,” contemporary SCOPE art fair was held in early December concurrently with Art Basel. Lawrence’s interactive, winning show, Arranging Suitcases, is an imaginative mix of painting, film and performances based on “personal memories” turned into “visual yarns.” His first daily performance, Assembling the Instrument, was inspired by his paternal grandmother “who picks up with a new man and a new life after her husband’s death (from a brain aneurysm).” Lawrence reenacts a video scene dramatizing his grandmother’s … Continue reading Art by Avery Lawrence

Between Worlds; Wavering Place by Diana Pinckney


 

Between Worlds for Margie   Her arms flutter, as if                     to flee her body, the milk   glass hands skimming sheets                     like autumn wings:   thumb and fingers open and close,                     perhaps to pluck a word,   sometimes pointing to say                     a name or spread   into a trembling fan as lungs surge                     inside her chest, the way   that burst of sparrow, trapped                     on my sun porch, charged   the frantic air, beating,                     beating against God’s hard light.   Wavering Place   I’m slowly bringing things back, … Continue reading Between Worlds; Wavering Place by Diana Pinckney

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