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Artist Statements

plutocracy revised proof

    In my accompanying essay, I discuss the continuing relevance of nineteenth century political economist Henry George’s discussion of the corrupting influence of money in politics. The decisive event in the history of money in US politics of the intervening years between...

Just out of graduate school, only a few reasonable publications under my belt, I landed a job at a small Lutheran College in the upper Midwest. That neither my wife or I knew that far, flat land of small towns, corn farms, and dying industry didn't matter. What mattered was that we were off on a new adventure, that we were starting this new, gainfully employed part of our lives....

My mother may have been the first American practitioner of feng shui. Before this ancient Chinese philosophy of bringing harmony to the home by moving furniture and other objects to create a balance – sort of an external chi thing – became popular among the trendy, New Age, upper-class, my mother was moving things around our home to restore balance and harmony. During the 1950’s when I was still in grade school, my...

Firefly Farms. A lovely named place, isn’t it? Like "Little-Piece-of-Heaven." Firefly Farms at Sundress Academy for the Arts in Knoxville, TN, recently hosted a workshop called, Let the Confluence of Rhythm Begin, by Sandra Marchetti. Among many lessons, I took away the reminder to sound-map poems to discover nonce forms: How many verbs are here? How is K an offensive letter? How is J stirring? L, soft? "Letters have different personalities," Marchetti urged. And...

Ritual 29

“Zen Amen” comes from an eighteen-month period during which I wrote seventy-two Abecedariums & Double Abecedariums, all in a metaphysical / occult vein. It was the first one I did, and with fantastic beginner's luck, it ended up as a finalist in the 2007 Hearst Competition.

...

In my universe of Belgian children, some were orphaned, but many were abandoned by families left destitute in a worldwide depression or by unmarried women ashamed of being “in the family way.” The nineteen-thirties in Europe, as elsewhere, was an unforgiving time. I was parceled out by my French mother to the L’Institut de Puericulture in...

Art doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It needs receptors and the more the better. As writers we are used to reading to each other and to other readers. That is our comfort zone, preaching to the choir. Step out of it. Kick your way out if need be.

Writers tend to overlook the visual, the auditory, the kinetic experience when considering readings....

“Brief History of Midwestern Civilization” clearly has its origins in nostalgia and memories of my beloved grandfather, who ran a series of hatcheries in central Illinois, the last in tiny Graymont, ten miles from the farm I grew up on. The warmth of those memories is complicated (I hope) by my adult awareness that what seemed a mundane, sometimes boring, arduous life on the prairie, filled with hard work and smelly chickens, was also quite secure and privileged...

Jeanne Emmons's poem "Polio Water in 1955" was the James Hearst Poetry Prize winner in issue 291.2, Spring 2006.

Notes from the author:

...

When you’re a writer, there are bad days and good days. Some days, you sit and write, and the words feel like they’re in someone else’s head; and some days, you write and the writing is fast and right, and you think that each word is a gift from some muse that really and completely loves and cares for you and what you have to say.

That’s the way it is for all of us, I think, but one of the things that I've come to feel about...

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