By Annie Newcomer:
Po-Art represents the angel who takes us to the bus stop, waits patiently, and then hops the bus with us on a journey of exploration into Poetry, a place where we can find solace and joy even in difficult and inconvenient times.
Po-Art is a concept that reminds us to cherish our histories.
Encouraging one another to pick up our pencils and begin writing our stories and creating art is my vision for Po-Art. The many unique ways we discover to share is the journey. This idea stems from my belief that our individual life’s work is blessed when we inspire others to share their stories too.
Begin reading the Po-Art Series here.
If you look carefully at this beautiful art piece, a textile mosaic by Sharon Tesser, you will find the Po-Art Angel symbol subtly embedded in it. Do you see it?
Po-Art is a philosophy that invites each of us to take time to look for the talents in our friends that may or may not be readily visible on the surface.
While dancing in their possibilities, Po-Art delights in finding beauty and is the spirit in which we choose to interact poetically with others. This requires an artistic literary life-path and involves reciprocity, for it takes time to observe and listen to others—searching for the unique talents we each possess and a hope that others will notice ours too. Like Love, Po-Art strives to be patient and kind and hopes for all things.
The pandemic has forced us to look at both old and new ways, and the new in old ways as we try to understand how to sort out our lives going forward. Writing helps us do this.
During difficult times, poetry has always served as a way of entering hearts and minds in unexpected ways. We are living in a Poetic Renaissance and not tied down solely by status quo rules. For example:
A poem doesn’t always have to rhyme.
A poem can be a narrative, a conversation even. Try having one with yourself on paper. Poetry isn’t intended to be stiff and abandoned in a cold, empty classroom. She wants to be understood and, yes, liked, perhaps even loved.
Therefore, I have chosen three poems to share with you that invite you to listen, observe, and process with a compassionate heart in this difficult time.
The first poem, "No Time To Write a Sonnet," was written by Trish Miller. In it, she explains how her life has taken on new purpose during the pandemic by sewing masks. The way the sonnet ends, on an abbreviated couplet, emphasizes the panic she feels and the needs she is trying to meet.
No Time to Write a Sonnet
By Trish Miller
I sit at my Bernina, a fancy new
sewing machine, sewing a straight seam.
Yards and yards of green stretch out before
me, a hundred percent cotton path.
It’s not a wedding gown I sew, nor
a baby’s christening gown; nor
a quilt with complicated stitching. Today
I sew, not for fun, but because I ought.
Nine by six-inch rectangles, quarter inch
elastic, to make the recommended
face masks. Can I make a difference?
I’ll never know. Pandemics
In this time of despair,
every mask is a prayer.
Backstory for "No Time To Write a Sonnet":
"I am home alone. Eleven o’clock Thursday night. My sewing machine needle just broke; I burned my finger with the iron an hour ago—it still hurts. Amazon is out of pellon. I just spilled the last of my Coke with no place to get more! Why am I doing this? I stop, pray, and reflect. Then I offer my sacrifice of a Coke at 11 P.M. and continue to sew face masks."
The pandemic strangles. Has there ever been a time when we were more aware of the rhythm of our own life’s breath? Breathe in and observe those around us. Breathe out and notice the global pieces of our world.
I met Brooke Herter James in Key West. We are members of the Key West Cigar Factory Poetry Critique Group. The images in her poetry are vivid, direct, and pure. Her poem, "Sheltering," explores the reality of awareness and how the pandemic has brought us emotionally closer although physically farther apart. Take a deep breath and notice our world.
By Brooke Herter James
Still life day 28
here in Vermont
a solitary junco
sitting on the branch
against a backdrop of pond
black rimmed with white
thank goodness for
the small red barn
in the lower right corner
of the scene
I imagine painting
over this canvas
puffy clouds a woman
in the foreground
faded yellow robe
leaning out her second
to hang blue towels
and flowered sheets
on one end of a
that travels from this hillside
to Milan then Barcelona
Wuhan Jerusalem Sydney
Seattle New Orleans New York
An endless clothesline
adorned with the fabric
of the world billowing