Poems, Reconnaissance, Signed Copies, Uncategorized

the paraphrase of a quail egg

After Inspecting Brassaï’s Graffiti

At Musée d’Art Moderne
I notice the construct of silhouetted
stick figures juxtaposed above a door;
one’s triangular body tells me
to go into a different salle. There,
I find another version of graffiti
on the door in front of me as I sit down.
This is not art someone has written.
My bladder agrees, but against this angst
and all treachery of the world’s turmoil
another has revolted: Yes it is—
Art is what you make of it. Such words
delight me at first; they affect such openness,
pretend pluralism, and compel acceptance
of every sapling of discontent that arises
at seeing paint spread like entrails on the floor.
What you make of it . . . as if anyone could
wake and slither into anarchy and come out
with the paraphrase of a quail egg. I go out
and back to the exhibits, back to the violence
and spectacle of color and form. Seeking out
other dimensions, I walk into a room wrapped
in giant spools of gray, industrial felt.
At the end of one hall, a sculpture in straw
creates the illusion of an airplane; a thousand
pairs of scissors spear its shape. Art is
what you make of it? I need to go back:
digging into my bag and finding a pen
I scratch the last two words into blackness.

The poem is featured in Reconnaissance, published by Homebound Publications. For a signed copy (and free shipping), click the side menu and find “Purchase Signed Copies.”

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

30/30, Four Blue Eggs, Lune de Miel, Signed Copies, The Comet's Tail, Uncategorized

Read Local Author Fair

READLocalJoin me and 17 other authors from Connecticut at the Read Local Author Fair. Saturday, March 24 from 11-1:00 at the Riverfront Community Center, 300 Welles Street, Glastonbury, CT 06033. I’ll be there with copies of The Comet’s Tail: A Memoir of No Memory (in advance of its official release date!) as well as Reconnaissance, Four Blue Eggs, Literary Connecticut, A History of Connecticut Food, and A History of Connecticut Wine.  Come out and show your support for local authors. In the meantime, follow my poetry progress with Tupelo Press and support Homebound Publications. 

30/30, Poems, Signed Copies, Uncategorized

This may sound easy. It isn’t.

“A poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses [her] feeling through words. This may sound easy. It isn’t.”

E.E. Cummings (or e.e. cummings as he preferred) wrote this advice to a young poet, and my poetry teacher shared it with me when I first started writing. After 27 years, it’s still not easy, but I can’t stop, and starting next week, I will write one poem a day for 30 days.

I’ll be participating in Tupelo Press’s 30/30 project, and joining over 175 poets who’ve committed to writing 30 poems in 30 days. Four poets will join me for March, and I’m excited to get started.

We’re all inviting family, friends, and colleagues to sponsor us. It’s not a competition, but we’re all raising money for Tupelo Press, one of the best independent publishers in the country, and a great supporter of poetry. But I need a little more than a retweet or Facebook Like. Support my efforts with a donation.

https://tupelopress.networkforgood.com/projects/47224-amy-nawrocki-s-fundraiser

By sponsoring my 30/30 efforts, you will send me vital encouragement and help the Tupelo Press continue to put more poets into print. Here’s why it matters:

  • Independent literary publishers are mission-driven—they focus on publishing literature.
  • Independent literary publishers provide access to the voices of entire communities.
  • Independent literary publishers produce over 98% of poetry being published each year, and the majority of literature in translation and works of fiction by emerging writers.

Your sponsorship can be at any level; no amount is too small or insignificant.

  • For a donation of $10, I’ll send you a personized origami box, designed with one of my poems.
  • For $15, I’ll dedicate a poem to you.
  • If you can support me with $30 (just $1/day), I’ll send you a signed copy of either Four Blue Eggs or Reconnaissance.
  • For a donation of $60 (2 dollars a day), I’ll send you a signed copy The Comet’s Tail: A Memoir of No Memory before its April 10 release date.
  • Customize your donation. Birthday coming up? Need a wedding poem? New baby coming? Retirement? I’m in.

Sponsor Amy Nawrocki

Tupelo Press is a prestigious non-profit press, for seventeen years their mission has been to publish new voices. They are giving my work some exposure, which is sometimes hard to come by.

“If,” continued cummings, “at the end of your first ten or fifteen years of fighting and working and feeling, you find you’ve written one line of one poem, you’ll be very lucky indeed.”

I’m very lucky indeed to have had such great support throughout my writing career. Keep it going and kick off March with me. I’ll post my first poem in just over a week. Follow my progress.

Donate Today

My very best,

Amy Nawrocki

 

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Sponsor me with a donation of $5 for your very own origami box, personalized with one of my 30/30 poems!

 

 

 

 

Poems, Potato Eaters, Signed Copies

Escaping the hook

I’m looking forward to an upcoming post-Christmas family reunion. Here is one of my favorite poems from Potato Eaters, my first chapbook from Finishing Line Press. The photo, too, is one of my favorites, found in an attic box years ago. That’s my mother, on the right, and two of her brothers on the left.

Click the yellow BUY NOW button found at the bottom of the page (or this link) to order a signed copy.

Fishing with My Brother

My brother, who is prone to nosebleeds
hasn’t the efficiency to heal wounds;
on his left arm burn marks permanently
blister. His chin bears the scar of the second
fall on the steep hill below the house.

You can’t get any better than that
he says, pushing the fishing line
into my face. Of all the fish ever
to swim in this pond or that, this
one decides to end life on a hook,
its flesh torn and gaping. We
could take a lesson, learn when to give
up, when to know enough is enough.

dana-john-ferne-swingsetHe throws the fish back. How did he become
so elemental? How did he know
the average heart cannot drown
itself too deep, forgetting its purpose?
I want to tell him walk a bit with me
and we’ll cry to the birds who nest by us
in the fairy tale. He’ll listen, I hope.
I can’t wait to see him plant fields, discover
electricity, and cut a strong path
through jungles. But there will be time for that.
Nine times out of ten, it is speed
that breaks us; we grow too fast
trying to fly, or escape the hook.

Reconnaissance, Signed Copies

First Editions

To celebrating the release of the second edition of Reconnaissance, enjoy this poem about first editions. Click the title to order your own first edition at a special discounted price.

The Thief

I apprenticed well. For a sixth grade project,
Mrs. Montecalvo taught me the worth
of a good forgery when she assigned
the footnoted history of a painter
and encouraged an attempt at imitation.

Seeing Monet’s Westminster Bridge reprinted
in Reader’s Digest, I modeled my own
with schoolgirl brushes and an aptitude
for blending. I typed his biography
on a blue Remington, stenciled a title page,
punched symmetrical holes and glued
the masterpiece into a pocketed folder.
I never got the stink of acrylic off my fingers.

 

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After Monet: Westminster Bridge, Acrylic on paper, circa 1985 

 

Audacity and small victories: these
are gateways for any scavenger.
Once one is secure in the false flat
of a sloped horizon, transformations
are easy: an open book, so to speak.

I pocketed the Collected Poems
of ee cummings wholesale, tore
the bar code from the last page
and slipped its frayed spine between
loose-leaf sheets of unlined
but perforated notebooks. Long after,
the card catalog entry went away too.

Like other trophies, I just stored it,
held it in a box of pressed flowers
and half memorized poems, among
generous piles of pens and paint brushes,
newspaper clippings and dirty love letters
scribbled on the backs of postcards.
For these corruptions I’ve paid only
in callouses and broken pencil tips.
Despite my best calligraphy,
slippery pens have crossed out
entire lines carefully typeset in Linotype
or Century Schoolbook, my marks bleeding
through pages now unreadable.

In the gray area between homage
and sacrilege, I thieve too much:
red wheelbarrows pile full of leaves and dirt
and burnable logs pressed into the pulp
of scrap paper or woven into stretchable
canvases. Little I see in nature
that is my own. I stole van Gogh’s sadness
and painted it on my shoulder.
Like Olympia, I learned how to stare.

Next time, let me mimic the syntax of bridges
and throw sand over wet, stolen ink.
Let me trust in surveillance. Once the thief
learns to discern original from run of the mill
everything is a first edition; everything
is one of a kind.

 

 

Four Blue Eggs, Poems, Signed Copies

Origin Stories

Watching the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop,  I again considered the junction between permanence and artistic expression. The film which is about, among other things, street art, made me wonder about the image (or object), the artist, and about what happens to both when the image is done. Gone or preserved. Momentary, like the croak of a frog or lasting like the croak of a frog through the forest of time. dsc_0367

For a while now, Eric has been encouraging me to see the origami I make as more than just folded paper. I know origami is much more than folded paper; it’s ancient, expressive, precise, colorful, intricate, disciplined, beautiful, worrisome, elegant–both object and idea. My pieces mean a lot to me, and I save them. They’re made, crafted with skill (varying levels in my case). While I’m following a pattern, each piece is built with my choice of paper and pattern, creased by a few sensitive fingers that create mountains or valley folds, which become cranes, boxes, pinwheels, decahedrons, fish, turtles, and flowers. Eric thinks they’re amazing. What to do with them?

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First, we thought of photography as a means to document and also preserve them. (I’ve also tried lacquer, but not so good). Then the photos become art too. Or do they? What about creating a new art form? How . . . maybe why? So far, I’ve come up with versigami–combining poems, shapes, and photography. It’s a work in progress. Here are some of my first efforts.dsc_0402

Poems “Accountability” (crane) and “Losing the Summer” (box) took shape when I printed the text onto the paper then folded it. New? Maybe.

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As part of the process, I had to figure out how to get the text to anticipate the folds, not as easy as I thought it would be. More to the point, I had to start to see ahead to the folds. Where the words appeared on the paper was important. Without the dexterity of a good design program, this proved more complicated than my four-o’clock self really could handle. After a few print outs (and font fun), I could find a balance between words and no words. My poems are more permanent to me in print–for this project I want typed words, not handwritten ones. dsc_0411

There was also the matter of what the actual poem says. I want the words to mean what they mean as a stand alone poem, but also in this new manifestation of versigami. “Losing the Summer” worked well because it’s about, well, loss–the missing pieces. I liked that as a visual theme as much as a written one. dsc_0430

I would like to experiment more with shape, text, process, and finality.

The poem was featured in Four Blue Eggs and recently cited in Gaylord Contributions so maybe versigami a way to reinvent it, update and give it additional life.

Amy Nawrocki was on summer break from her freshman year at Sarah Lawrence College in June of 1992 . . .  [Read more

Origins. Versigami, transience, permanence, folded and unfolded. “Such a thing is not /

“Such a thing is not / dsc_0428a deformity, but a bud.”

Four Blue Eggs, Poems, Signed Copies

Gratitude

Gratitude

 

If we could have read the moon’s face
through the falling snow
that night we drove into its absent shadow,
it would have told us that the cold
sometimes melts things, too.
The train station, under hazy yellow lights,
fills with travelers arriving for Christmas.
We drive home with our father,
a faint smile crooked in the low end of his mouth.
Because the road hides so much,
more than once, Dad mentions black ice
the way he’d repeat an argument
until we understood. But when the car,
spins momentarily toward the guard rail,
he anchors us—and we are held
by his steadiness, which, for so many years,
we mistook for other things—
discipline, scolding, but mostly anger.
It’s time now to take this lesson
and file it safely under black ice,
reluctant blessings, how our father,
silver haired and breathing slowly,
saves his children’s lives yet again.

A poem from Four Blue Eggs, images from London