By Evelyn Patricia Terry. (All photos of poets courtesy of Shogo Chida.)
My favorite three goals for 2011 are: 1) to be healthy no matter my age, 2) to amass art as money to pass to my progeny, and 3) to enjoy more. I’ve found a dependable formula for good health–including eating raw green things, staying physically active, taking supplements, and listening to “healthy thought” information. I am an art machine and money comes when I concentrate on who can benefit from my art and services. But enjoying more, in Wisconsin winters, is alien to my brain and definitely necessitates a new thought process.The day before the 2011 Woodland Pattern 17th Annual Poetry Marathon Benefit, I was invited to make a donation by poet Charlesetta Thompson. Along with presenting, poets were responsible for gathering contributions for this annual fundraiser. On the spur of the moment, I decided to attend. Many of the presenters thanked founders Anne Kingsbury and Karl Gartung for Milwaukee’s gem, Woodland Pattern, as “specialist in small press poetry” and for the well organized showcase opportunity.
After sitting down, I was smitten. From the very beginning, the presenters’ words, emotions, and delivery unexpectedly hooked me. I wanted to experience it all. As a visual artist, attracted to great communication and people watching, I found in this marathon a haven for straightforward, thoughtful, emotional, sexual, biological, biblical, geographical, psychological, sociological, political, and unapologetic existential “yearning for something more.” I felt a strong connection to the event. My artwork, although visual, is driven by its narrative nature, just as poetry appears to be driven by its visual nature.
As the marathon went on, toward the evening while desiring to lock into the intensity of the readings, I began to note in the white spaces of my brochure, the following secession of spoken words that evoked a range of images and emotions:Shiny city lights, diamonds, Juneteenth Day, dope, insects, cricket, Devils, God, Jesus, Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac, ancestor, brother’s keeper, old, young, bully, hospital, bacteria, disease, parasitic, swine flu, pray, hallelujah, anti-matters, tropical storms, family, incarcerated, gold, aluminum, cops, crime, allegations, sorrow, death, hunger, vegetarian, vegan, bifocals, Mother Africa, prose, foxhole, doom, mutants, cinnamon, jasmine, advice, ear lobes, heart, throat, lungs, muscle, tongue, douche bag, wine, elevator buttons, nervous breakdown, subway sandwich, black, sapsuckers, tiny red shoes, Mexican, sarcastic incantations, republican, Steve Harvey, Al Sharpton, JZ, finger, route, June, heaven, flatbeds, music, Mozart, guitar, violins, flutes, batman, accommodating, January, July, environments, America, humankind, belongings, sense of place, intimacy, despair, gratitude, writing sound, color, feelings, thoughts, post traumatic stress syndrome, tree stands, concealed weapons, war, crown, delusions, mulch, bed, mirrors, corners, ceiling, covers, windows, kill deer, weasel, possum woodchucks, bulls, horse, geese, horse, cat, dogs, wolf, chicken, sisters, twins, dreams, showdowns, tarot cards, bikes, cookbooks, roads, streets, mountains, beaches, Grand Canyon, parks, ocean waves, pandemics, no-thing, something, Google, Facebook, presenters from Chicago, racism, Cubism, Abstraction, Madison, and love letters. With the poet’s permission, I’m sharing this very short piece “Critique” from LOVELY, RASPBERRY: POEMS by Aaron Belz. It made me laugh out loud.
That’s not very good.
Try doing that differently.
That’s not very good either.
You’re not very good at this.
After missing only a couple of hours in the middle, I experienced great food, the event supported “art is money” and I accomplished approximately ten hours of pure enjoyment that cold winter day. Despite the tough political climate of our state, I am keeping my thoughts on what I want to multiply and give power to. I can honestly say, my year is on track.