Tag Archives: Art

Listening / William Stafford


My father could hear a little animal step,
or a moth in the dark against the screen,
and every far sound called the listening out
into places where the rest of us had never been.More spoke to him from the soft wild night
than came to our porch for us on the wind;
we would watch him look up and his face go keen
till the walls of the world flared, widened.My father heard so much that we still stand
inviting the quiet by turning the face,
waiting for a time when something in the night
will touch us too from that other place.


art by Mark Rothko

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as if it mattered



the night tears away
like a match, billowing
and booming in
movie stills —

the mind, a hand turning
images, sepia
and azure blue.

something slips on nights
as these, the track of being?

i sat in the car all night
nearly frozen, alone
surrounded by the machinery
of worry –

she had left

this storm is dark, I am
a character looking for a line –

what is the meaning
of this storm and rain
and why is my mind
fixed on it?

as if it mattered.



poem by chris woodhull / art by mark rothko

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on the surface of things




In my room, the world is beyond my understanding;
But when I walk I see that it consists of three or four
        hills and a cloud.


From my balcony, I survey the yellow air,
Reading where I have written,
“The spring is like a belle undressing.”


The gold tree is blue,
The singer has pulled his cloak over his head.
The moon is in the folds of the cloak.

poem by Wallace Stevens / art by Danielle van Ark
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the window


A storm blew in last night and knocked out
the electricity. When I looked
through the window, the trees were translucent.
Bent and covered with rime. A vast calm
lay over the countryside.
I knew better. But at that moment
I felt I’d never in my life made any
false promises, nor committed
so much as one indecent act. My thoughts
were virtuous. Later on that morning,
of course, electricity was restored.
The sun moved from behind the clouds,
melting the hoarfrost.
And things stood as they had before.

poem by Raymond Carver / photograph by Shinzo Maeda

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For Love in a Time of Conflict / by John O’Donohue


When the gentleness between you hardens
And you fall out of your belonging with each other,
May the depths you have reached hold you still.

When no true word can be said, or heard,
And you mirror each other in the script of hurt,
When even the silence has become raw and torn,
May you hear again an echo of your first music.

When the weave of affection starts to unravel
And anger begins to sear the ground between you,
Before this weather of grief invites
The black seed of bitterness to find root,
May your souls come to kiss.

Now is the time for one of you to be gracious,
To allow a kindness beyond thought and hurt,
Reach out with sure hands
To take the chalice of your love,
And carry it carefully through this echoless waste
Until this winter pilgrimage leads you
Towards the gateway to spring.

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who knows where


who knows where
we will be in a year
but now, here,
on this small ledge

a mountain porch opening
into the night with listening
pines and a cathedral moon
i hold your hand

that made the tea and
for the first time
the thrill of love
returned to me,
without stain —
it could have been a

our souls, my soul is a
feathery invisible breathing,
lifting and panicking
with delight —

why here and why now?
who made this,
who made us,
where will we be in a year?


chris woodhull

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Fine and Mellow / Billie Holiday


My man don’t love me
Treats me oh so mean
My man, he don’t love me
Treats me awful mean
He’s the lowest man
That I’ve ever seen

He wears high-draped pants
Stripes are really yellow
He wears high-draped pants
Stripes are really yellow
But when he starts in to love me
He’s so fine and mellow

Love will make you drink and gamble
Make you stay out all night long
Love will make you drink and gamble
Make you stay out all night long
Love will make you do things that you know is wrong

But if you treat me right daddy
I’ll stay home every day
If you treat me right daddy
I’ll stay home every day
But you’re so mean to me, baby
I know you’re gonna drive me away

Love is just like a faucet
It turns off and on
Love is just like a faucet
It turns off and on

Some times when you think it’s on, baby
It has turned off and gone

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Love of Making

#cover U #magazine

Where is joy? I’ve been struggling with this. Studying art as an undergraduate can make you either a robot for craft or concept. And even if you excel at both something feels missing. I think it’s love.

I’ve never attended a critique where the love an artist puts into a piece is discussed or perceived. Instead we drill down into the formal and conceptual aspects of the piece. I think people get uncomfortable with love. And talking about love under the umbrella of art feels ambiguous.

Recently I had a conversation with a friend and they left me with this quote from Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet”:

“You ask whether your verses are any good. You ask me. You have asked others before this. You send them to magazines. You compare them with other poems, and you are upset when certain editors reject your work. Now (since you have said you want my advice) I beg you to stop doing that sort of thing. You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you – no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself.”

So what I’ve been insisting myself to do is this: encourage my love for making. My love for putting pen to paper. My love for thinking. My love for the process. My intense desire to create a window to the world.

So to all the artists and tender creatures out there; peace be with your heart, soul and weary hands.

Go get your love back!


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Top 10 (In no particular order)


Here are the top ten albums currently bumping through my speakers.



1. Gregory Porter Liquid Spirit

2. Lupe Fiasco Tetsuo & Youth

3. Robert Glasper Black Radio 2

4. J. Cole 2014 Forest Hills

5. Luther Vandross The Essential

6. Logic Under Pressure

7. D’Angelo Black Messiah

8. Kendrick Lamar good kid m.A.A.d city

9. Flying Lotus Until the Quiet Comes

10. Esperanza Spalding Radio Music Society

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A Letter to Rejection

a letter to rejection image

Rejection isn’t something we want to talk about, it’s embarrassing. We don’t like knowing that someone thought we weren’t capable enough.

I recently applied to a degree program. It was like a “DIY” degree program of sorts. I was so sure that this was the program that would solve all of my problems and answer all my questions about how to turn my interests into a job.

I slaved away on my application for months, talking with the director of the program, different professors and students trying to formulate a kickass curriculum for myself.

The day finally came for my interview. I walked in with confidence and spoke with confidence. I laid all my cards on the table, showing my portfolio and everything I have ever been involved in and why.

I thought I had done splendidly. And then two hours after the interview I was in class when I received and email saying that I was not accepted into the program. I walked at warp speed to the bathroom and sobbed in a stall, calling my mom repeatedly until she answered.

I had never experienced rejection like that. What was I going to do? I was so sure that plan A would work out I hadn’t even thought to formulate a plan B.

After having a sad day I woke up the next day furious. I wanted so badly to march up to the committee that interviewed me and say, “You missed out!” Alas, I didn’t. It was just a wonderful daydream that helped me deal with my feelings.

Just like most experiences (good or bad) I learned a few things.

First, feel what you’re feeling. Get mad and say a bunch of words your mama wouldn’t approve of.

Second, accept that some people won’t see your vision, as you know it is.

Third, know that you have a right to affirmation. For some reason we’ve got it stuck in our heads that looking for affirmation is “weak.” Well, I’m tellin’ you it ain’t. It’s called being a human.

And lastly, remind yourself to keep doing, keep making mistakes and keep getting rejected, its bound to be acceptance eventually.


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