Archive for August, 2016

Golden Shovel Poems

Studio 2

This is a photo of my “studio.”  I took it to accompany a poem published by Postcard Poems and Prose.  Actually, I rarely sat here; I am at my computer most of the time.  But the idea of a desk with a typewriter and a few favorite things is very appealing to me.  Note the old Princess style phone and the Valentine made by an artist friend.  And the gargoyle from Oxford, England.

All of this has been upended by water in this basement room from a storm on July 21 that dumped three inches of rain in an hour.  Drywall had to be removed, insulation replaced and the carpet pulled up.  Repairs are underway, but it is doubtful this configuration will be repeated.  I have used the time to sort through things and make decisions about what to keep and what to toss as I re-prioritize what is important to me and what I need to have near.

As I write this, I know that people in Baton Rouge and other parts of Louisiana have lost everything due to torrential rains.  I do not feel sorry for myself at all for this minor hassle. I am grateful the damage here is contained and we have the resources to repair it.  Plus, I have had the opportunity to find many things to donate to St. Vinnie’s, The Sewing Machine Project and the local library.  If I did not want to part with something I thought maybe I could use, I kept a little and shared the rest.

This clean up has not particularly inspired poetry.  But I ran across a poem that was written in The Golden Shovel style that did inspire.  Golden Shovel poems rely on the words of a line of poetry, used as the last word of a line of new poetry.  If the line chosen has seven words, then the new poem will have seven lines.  I chose Emily Dickinson’s “Tell all the truth but tell it slant -“

A Golden Shovel Poem After Emily Dickinson

I’m here to tell

you all

that the

only truth

I know is mine but

if I tell

you, it

will be slant.






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Memory Cloths


Memory Cloths is a movement started originally in South Africa by women who felt their stories had not been told during the truth and reconciliation period after Apartheid.  They started writing and drawing their stories on cloth – Memory Cloths.  The idea was picked up here by fiber artist Leslee Nelson.  I attended a workshop led by her and started my own story in stitch.  It shows the states I was born in (SD) and raised in (ND) and the Northern border with Canada, Western with Montana and in the East, Minnesota.  The coin in the upper right hand corner is the state coin for ND.    Leslee, being an artist, is more comfortable than I am with stitching small drawings.  I tried a cow and it was bad.  I am more comfortable with words.  When I stitch a poem, I will be sure to share it!



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