Archive for the ‘Artsy April’ Category

Tea + Poetry = Bliss

Tea + Poetry = Bliss

Tuesday was the last day of April, so that means it was the last day of National Poetry Month. I mentioned earlier that I had attended a poetry writers group at my local library for the first time. I was seeking input on one of my only recent poems–yes, the one about the harp. I’m not a prolific writer of poetry, but attending that one meeting has branded me as a poet.

On Tuesday evening, the library hosted a wonderful event. They were celebrating the publication of an anthology of poems from regional poets. A poem written by my friend Julia was chosen for the anthology! Julia, as well as two other women, read their poems for us. There’s something magical about hearing poetry read by its author.

Before the guest speaker was introduced, they asked each of the members of the poetry writers group if they had brought a poem to share. And they asked me first! I didn’t realize I would be asked and hadn’t come prepared. I was the only one who didn’t read a poem.

Todd Boss was the guest speaker. I didn’t know anything about him going into the event, but I walked away with a volume of his poetry. He read his poems, as the library director observed, with much mellifluousness. I would recommend his poetry to anyone. It was a pleasure to listen to him read poetry and tell stories. It was also a pleasure experiencing it in community and seeing other people’s reaction–especially to the funny poems.

I didn't take this photo, but the expressions are too good not to share! Photo Credit: Owatonna Public Library

I didn’t take this photo, but the expressions are too good not to share!
Photo Credit: Owatonna Public Library

Another blogger, Audrey, wrote a great account of the reading here.

As I was standing near the book table after purchasing Todd’s first book, Yellowrocket, Barb, a friend from church came up to the table to talk to him. She held up his second book, Pitch, which has a photo of an overturned piano on the cover.

“There’s actually a couple in Owatonna who had a piano fall off a trailer while they were moving it!” I overheard her tell him. I immediately jumped into the conversation–that couple is my parents!

When I was about five years old, my parents bought an upright piano. As they were bringing it home, it rolled right off the trailer and down a hill. And, as the story goes, it exploded. Just like that, my dreams of becoming a concert pianist were dashed. It’s a story that gets told every so often, and it apparently made an impression on Barb, although she didn’t remember just who it happened to.

We all had a good laugh, and I was glad that the story of the Boss Family piano turned out much better. He plays it to this day!

“Here,” he said, “Your parents need a copy of the book!”

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! [Two weeks early}

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! [Two weeks early]

What a generous and thoughtful gesture! If I hadn’t already decided that he was a new favorite poet, that would’ve sealed it. 🙂

On my way home, I stopped at my parents’ house to tell them the story, waiting until the end to reveal their gift. Of course, they loved it! Then, my dad proceeded to read aloud all four movements of Overtures On an Overturned Piano–a perfect end to National Poetry Month!

The poet and his gift.

The poet and his gift.


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April 15

April 15th: Finally–sunshine!

Spring has not yet sprung. It’s been a gloomy April, but tonight the clouds dispersed enough to allow for a brilliant sunset. It was good for this Minnesota girl’s heart, because the dreary, blustery cold has been downright depressing.

Last week, on a whim, I attended a meeting of the Poetry Writers Group at the local library. I don’t write much poetry, but I had one poem that I wanted some input on, one that I was determined to finally finish. I didn’t know what to expect, or if I would even be brave enough to read my silly rhyming poem to a bunch of strangers, who were most certainly Very Serious poets. Well, I did it–I read my poem to all three of the others who showed up. Even though all of them favor free verse, they were encouraging. They are also expecting me to show up to their monthly meetings, as well as a poetry reading later this month. Yikes!

On Saturday, I took my 4-year-old niece to the alpaca expo here in town. She just stared at the furry creatures and kept saying, “Wow.” Later she asked me why we went. I said I thought it would be fun and asked if she had fun. “Uh, I think so,” was her reply. I think she had more fun playing with my kitties, reading, coloring and watching Monsters, Inc. at my house afterward. 🙂 Here is one of her originals:

Here I am in my summer dress, with Dashwood on a leash. Belle is holding Zoey.

Here I am in my summer dress and teal crown, with Dashwood on a leash. Belle is holding Zoey.

Tonight after work, I stopped at the nursing home to visit with one of the residents. D is 47 and has been living in nursing homes since she suffered from a stroke at the age of 39. Tonight we watched news coverage on the Boston bombing (so sad!) and discussed, among other things, our favorite artists.

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Last night over coffee, an artist friend suggested setting rules for my projects. I thought that was a great idea! (Although I don’t know if I’ll always use rules…) Jennifer also introduced me to the Artsy Forager, which I perused today.

Tonight I started with gouache (rhymes with squash), which I haven’t used before. I decided to only use blue, yellow and white paint.


I drew a grid of 1″ squares and added some diagonal lines, with no particular pattern:


Then, I started painting, with no rule other than I didn’t use the same exact color in consecutive spaces:


And here’s the final painting:


I still don’t know if I’m properly working with the gouache. (Probably not.) It’s not quite like water color and is definitely different than acrylic, which is what I used in a Color Theory class that I took a few years ago.

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While I don’t call myself an artist, I have the inability to leave an art supply shop empty-handed. There’s just something about new supplies that makes me giddy. It brings me back to the days of my childhood, when a new box of Crayolas meant endless possibilities. I have quite the collection of supplies, which have mostly gone unused. I have good intentions, for sure. I mean to use them someday. This month, I hope to carve out some time for creativity, time to actually use the supplies that I have acquired over the years.

In addition, I also hope to seek out opportunities to experience art in a community setting, whether it’s music, film or theater. There’s a community orchestra concert this upcoming Sunday. (2 pm at St. John Lutheran Church, for those in the area.) I was invited to view and discuss The Life of Pi with some friends the following weekend. Two of my favorite musicians named Josh (Ritter and Garrels) will be performing in Minneapolis, within the same week. I most likely won’t be able to attend both, but I can dream for now. This piece by Lanier Ivester has renewed my interest in opera. I have since found out that the Minnesota Opera is performing Turandot at the Ordway this month. Oh, and the local theater also has a show this month. There is a calligraphy class offered through community ed this month, and I’m tempted to take it, especially after seeing this. (Among my supplies is a set of calligraphy pens and ink…)

I won’t be able to do all of the above, but it’s nice to have options, and that’s only this month! I may or may not post the results of all of my creative endeavors and adventures on the blog, but I hope to at least post some updates.

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