Thursday, March 22, 2018

Common Good Books Poetry Contest 2018 Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Common Good Poetry Contest, and thank you again to all who entered. 
Here is one of the four winning poems.
He sits hunched over on a camp stool
under the arching dome of gray plastic
that nearly disappears in a wilderness
of gray ice.  He is creating a quiet place,
a chance to collect himself or think
of nothing at all.  There is only the muffled
sound of a winter wind and the slight slap
of water at the hole.  He could easily buy
a fish at the market, but it would be only 
a fleeting moment, whereas fishing lasts
until he wishes to leave, and the fish
is really not the most important thing.

--Norman Holen
Here is one of the losing poems.

                                       Come and Gone 
by Richard Stryker 

It was my first winter in St. Paul; 
At just 15, I was walking tall. 
I worked at the St. Clair Theater 
Taking tickets from guys and girls. 

Every week I'd change the marquee 
Tannounce the title of the new movie. 
On an old ladder I would stand, 
Wool jacket, hat, and gloves on hands. 

Flash ahead 50 years; nothing's the same. 
The life hack apps are not what they claim. 
Never bought a Bitcoin 'til it rose higher, 
Nothing much saved for when I retire. 

So this winter I ask my dog, "Why?" 
My old Scotty looks up with a cry, 
And that answer is his last sad song. 
full life has quickly come and gone. 

So be kind, be humble, and wise in your way, 
And be glad that winter always ends one day. 
Soon it will be spring again, my dear, 
After I shed an occasional tear.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition

I was lucky enough to get into the Minnesota State Fair show this year.  A nice man from Indianapolis, IN purchased the painting.  So happy and thankful for the sale.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Plein Air Grand Marais

I think this is my seventh year participating in this event.  I always stay in the Mangy Moose Motel.  A nice couple, Bill and Danielle, are the new owners.  Their kindness and the charming motel (all of the 10 rooms are different) help to make the visit fun.  The weather was ever changing and always beautiful.  All of our meals were delicious.  Walleye fish at My Sister's Place, cod fish/chips and coleslaw at the Dockside Cafe, white fish and lake trout at the Angry Trout, breakfast at the Naniboujou Lodge and frozen custard cones from Sidney's while watching a thunder storm with lightning over the Sawtooth Mountains.  We took our annual pilgrimage to see the Spirit Tree in Grand Portage and felt the past memories of the previous visits over the course of 35 years.  I did six paintings in three days.  The "quick paint" and "night paint" are still challenging, but not as stressful as the first few years.  I've learned to do the "night paint" in my car.  Sitting in the passenger's seat I duct tape the canvas board to cardboard and then duct tape that to the dashboard.  Then small led lights are attached to the visor, rear-view mirror and ceiling handle.  The "quick paint" went well except for the fact that three other artists decided to paint the the same yellow boat parked in the owners side yard.  All the paintings were done from different angles, but mine paled in comparison.  I sold one painting at the opening reception!  A total of 60 artists and over 250 paintings created in a few days.  I luckily ran into all of my artists acquaintances, that I mostly only see once a year.  Which is, highly unlikely considering how big the Cook County boundaries are.  I didn't get a very good photo of my "night paint" (Robin's favorite.)  But, whenever I'm having a bad day, I can remind myself I have painting in Grand Marais next September to look forward to.  Then everything will seem a little bit better.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Poetry Contest

Poems of Experience:
The Fifth Annual Common Good Books Poetry Contest
We’re are now accepting entries for “‘Poems of Experience: The Fifth Annual Common Good Books Poetry Contest.” Sharpen your pencil, and tell us what’s happened to you. Ten poets will receive prizes of $250 each for their poems of particular merit. Entries to “Poems of Experience” may be any poetic form. Mail your poem to Common Good Books, postmarked no later than April 15, 2017.
The rules at a glance:
  • Entries must be mailed to Common Good Books (38 S Snelling Ave, St Paul MN 55105), postmarked no later than April 15, 2017.
  • Please send two copies of your poem.
  • Entries must be a single poem.
  • The entries must be original work, previously unpublished, and the author must have full rights to the material.
  • Only one entry per person is permitted.
  • The contest is open to anyone living within the United States.
It's that time of year again.  Here's my poem for this year.

Step by Step

Before dawn
When the cardinal begins to sing
Before I lift my head from my pillow
I need help.
I'm fearful of all
Things beyond my control.

When I feel the warm water
Streaming down my neck and back
I lather, rinse, and repeat
And this helps me.

The minty taste of the toothpaste
Takes my morning breath away
And I part my hair in the same place.
This also helps me.

Quietly I descend the stairs tom the kitchen
Begin the Mr. Coffee brewing
And peel an orange, as always.
This helps me, too.

My Scotty's nose nudges my leg
So off we go on our morning walk.
He pulls me past the property line
Into the chaos of the fearful unknown.
I hope no one I love
Dies today.