Friday
Apr142017

Where Art Is Made


Where Art Is Made


We are builders, makers, hopers, doers.

From clunkers and junkers,

out of shards and clay,

we shape and frame, sort and stir.

Each of us turning grime into gold.

 

Against fence and lock,

a door swings, a window opens,

a sunflower reaches for a fresh day.

 

Everything is always growing.

 

Dirt dusts places not yet alive

and in this gravel of possibility,

we honor the old and worn, the faded and frail,

know that good bones are worth holding.

 

Deep against rock, trains clack and roll,

we press into paper, scissors and paint,

splattered, gathered, mixed.

 

With each ding-ding-ding, solid freight

floats our dreams and we clatter, wide awake

in dark, in light, in love and hope.

 

The day opens, the sky widens, you are here.

Hand in hand, arm in arm, each grip

is a dare to you declared:

 

Breathe, work, sear and sculpt.

Sew and hold, paint and saw.

Mix and mingle. Break rules, break ground.

Create your self, your world, your now.

 

On the bridge of progress, we dance and dive,

wonder, wander, taste and make.

 

With each how and why and what next?

we dig in and reach out

to build in the mind,

a step, a ladder, another sky.

 

Let’s scaffold the unknown.

In every thing, promise.

 

— Drew Myron

 

"Where Art Is Made" by Futuristic Films

For the River North Art District (RiNo) in Denver, Colorado

Conceived by Tracy Weil, RiNo Co-Founder/Creative Director

Narrated by Toluwanimi Obiwole, Denver's first Youth Poet Laureate (2015)

Poem by Drew Myron 

 

 

Wednesday
Nov042015

Thin Skin 

Thin Skin, poems and photos by Drew Myron

Paperback, 99 pages
$12 - Buy at PushPullBooks.com

Every book of poems tells a poet’s life story. Thin Skin tells the story of a poet’s troubled life buoyed by her own compassionate acts, a life emboldened by the resiliency her own empathy gives her. Although marked with the indelible blear of many sunless days, Drew Myron’s world makes …"a large leap into a saffron sky." Her lyric poems map the demanding yet potentially rewarding routes people must take—…"the terrain/ of this generous world."

 — Paulann Petersen
Oregon Poet Laureate

 

This unique volume adds photos and “backstory” snippets to enhance the understanding of and impact of the five thematic chapters of the collection. Individual poems give the reader some room to roam, but each section is meant to define and convey a particular aspect of the poet’s life on the way to her current state of grace.

Myron’s work admits a lifetime of struggle against a world that rewards boldness. While many can achieve confidence, or at least ease, in something as natural as one deep breath, she has struggled for that same air.

This collection confesses a vulnerability that has fostered a proud strength and authentic voice of empathy in its author. “Thin Skin” exposes the reader to life’s harsh elements, but also shows the way to refuge."

 — Brian Juenemann
Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association



She is the poet laureate of vulnerability!”

— Molly Spencer
The Stanza

 

$12 - Buy at PushPullBooks.com

Wednesday
Nov042015

Writing Up the Gorge

 

Writing Up the Gorge is an annual literary event in which writers spend five days writing at five different locations throughout the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, located along the Columbia River dividing Washington and Oregon. 

Self-guided and self-paced, Write Up aims to trigger the writing mind with fresh perspectives. In 2016, locations included a bed & breakfast, a history museum, an airplane and auto museum, a winery, and a riverfront park. 

The Write Up culminated with a gallery exhibition and literary reading at the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River, Oregon. The following poems were inspired by and written during the Writing Up the Gorge experience: 


The therapist tells my sister to make memories now

While you still have your husband, she says.

While there’s still time.

 

And I imagine

a factory churning out a long line of memory widgets the size of

chocolates with dark shells and soft centers.

 

My sister is overwhelmed,

manufacturing memories to replace diagnosis, prognosis,

and a timeline too short.

 

And on this same summer day,

my husband and I paddle across placid water, toward suede hills,

and we are silent, stilled by magnitude.

 

And we swim

in the river and laze in the sun, can feel our faces tighten and pull

with heat and fatigue and we hold hands, wordless.

 

And when I ask his favorite memory of us,

he looks to the mountain that centers our view. 

This and this, he says, sweeping his hand across

the landscape, then turns to me, and this.

 

On the way home

tired and sad, we slip into quiet.

We know love is solid but fragile too. We know how to hold.

 

But we don’t know

how memory will shape and fade, and what will,

in the end, keep us whole. 

 

- Drew Myron

 

 

Because everyone is sick or dying

 
My mother, who has shrunk to bone and brittle,

limps to the kitchen to make a fancy dessert

with a fancy name only she can pronounce and

will pour into fancy glasses and present to us,

her falling apart family, in an effort to fill us,

feed us, love us.

 

And we are greedy for this sweet,

this smooth easy end. 

 

- Drew Myron

 

Wednesday
Nov042015

Quiet: My Favorite Sport

 

Turn Up the Quiet


A dense forest,

a long road,

the hush of a pew.

Between each swell

even the ocean churns

out a rush of silence.


At home the refrigerator

hums in a steel envelope

of calm. When an ice cube drops

an after-silence descends that we

would not hear but for the fall.

This blanket, on this couch,

wraps a quiet that does not

bend as much as billows

and pillows and tucks

into my every sharp

angle.


I am a quiet

person in a quiet

life and still I crave

silence the way a

drunk craves the cocktail

that will change every promise and past.

In silence, thoughts gather,

divide, settle in quiet corners

to wait patient as Sunday

for a maybe

for a yes.


—  Drew Myron



Drew Myron is a poet, writer and head of a marketing communications company with a focus on hunger, homelessness, literacy, and health.

She is the author of Thin Skin, a collection of photos and poems, and her poetry appears in a variety of print and online journals. She is founder of Push Pull Books, a publishing company, and serves as director of poetry for the Denver County Fair.

Raised in Colorado, she now lives in Oregon. She writes a blog, Off the Page, and hosts writers and artists at 3 Good Books.

A note from Drew about the poem:

Much of my life is quiet, or the craving of quiet. Though I bike and hike and swim and ski, my real sport is reading. My favorite word: quietude.

Maybe writing a poem is the planting of stillness, a harvest of quiet.

 

— from Poem of the Week, a literary email produced by Vicki Hellmer. To receive a poem-by-email each week, contact Vicki Hellmer at: vhellmer@ottenjohnson.com 

 

 

Monday
Oct262015

Book Review: The History of Steel

The History of Steel: A Selected Works by Rick Campbell

A Book Review by Drew Myron

 

From the start, The History of Steel roots us to place:

This is who I am; this is where I come from—my river,

my barges, my mill, my smokestack, my town full of soot.

Setting a tone of pride and declaration, this themed collection is both a love song to Pittsburgh and a striking personal history. Though he’s previously published four solid poetry collections, this is Rick Campbell’s most intimate and inviting work.

The pages ooze with slag and smog, in poems vivid with memory and mood. “No one danced in our soot-gray streets,” he remembers in “Drinking Rum and Coca-Cola.”

In a manner similar to friend and mentor Philip Levine, Campbell shares poems from his working class roots. He sinks back into the city’s mills to create a poetic reflection of get-by and grit.

The language here is distinct to the region— slag, smog, smoke — and the imagery is vivid enough to pull us with him to the river’s foul banks in “The Poem in the River”:

our world began here and it’s come to this—

the mill burning the black sky, cranking, screeching,

hissing through the night. The beauty

of the fire and light dancing on slick water.

These are poems strong and sure, thick with muscle and ache, but it’s the essays — just two, I wish there were more — that set this book apart. In these straightforward mini-memoirs, we get ballast for the poems.

“We lived in a steel town in a steel valley,” he writes in “The New World.” “Everything we had and most of the things we wanted or hated came from the mill across the river or mills up river.”

When his mother attempts suicide, it’s Campbell and his brother who must save her, and then carry of mix of anger and guilt when she is committed to a mental hospital. The childhood hauntings pore from Campbell in a grainy but fevered film, and as readers we feel the heft of these confessions. They both give weight to Campbell’s more opaque poems and provide pause for compassion — his and ours — to rise and hold.

In another essay, “Last Parade,” he offers a candid accounting of his father’s life and death: “I never liked my father,” he admits. “He made me nervous.”

Primarily a showcase for previously published poems, these selected works — not to be confused with a collected works — provide a curated Rick Campbell retrospective.

At 63, Campbell is too young for a swan song collection, but with poems divided into Discovery, Exploration, Settlement, and Redemption Songs the book carries a distinct sense of looking back.

And it’s only natural that Campbell, an accomplished poet, professor and publisher, would take stock. He served as director of Anhinga Press for 20 years, and has taught at Florida A&M University for nearly 30 years.

The History of Steel gives us two histories really, that of poet and place. This collection is a mix of heartache and pride calling from miles and years away. You can’t shake your history. Campbell says so himself in the sobering villanelle “Elegy”:

We live here, where we were always bound.

Steel towns have ways of calling home their own.

Too many of us come back to this town.

 

 

This book review appears in Kestrel, Issue 34, Spring-Fall 2015