Where text meets image. Where the visual intersects the literary. Often posting 1st drafts and editing in (almost) real time.

Month: March, 2013

Lough Ree by Colin Carberry




blu flame

A trout flares at dusk,
silver scales
in the heron’s ears.

blueish a

new blue

Colin Carberry is an Irish-Canadian poet and translator and the director of the Linares International Literary Festival (Mexico).


I am struck, reading this haiku, by the heron hearing silver scales. I imagine sunset splashing chaotically on thin, reflective surfaces and the heron’s acute sensors turning and tuning. I remember summers (it seems long ago) driving cross-country, through the night, listening to the radio. Car radios were manually operated. With your free hand you would find the spot where there was no static, bringing in the station clearly. Adjusting the dial frequently to receive the perfect reception. Ambient static would slowly creep back in and you would fine tune again listening carefully. Though, unlike the heron, your aim was enjoyment not survival. Surely our ancestors knew the life and sounds of water, within and without, like a heron. The poet, crafting this poem, brings us to the edge of our deepest memories.

Paul Klee by Paul Eluard – translated by Nancy Kline


what is to come

On the death-­dealing slope, the traveler makes use

Of the favor of day, the slippery frost, no small stones,

And eyes blue with love he discovers his season

Be­ringed on all fingers with stars.

white whirl


monumental whirl

On the beach the sea has relinquished its ears

And the sand digs the spot for a beautiful crime.

underwater book


Torture is harder for hangmen than victims

Bullets are tears and daggers are signs.

brightly dark


Capital of Pain, Black Widow Press, 2006

translated by Mary Ann Caws, Patricia Terry, Nancy Kline

originally published 1926.


I was apprehensive about applying my images to a poem about Paul Klee. Klee is one of my favourite artists for many reasons. He used line masterfully. His sense of colour and texture was both magical and visceral. He was intellectual as well as full of child-like wonder. He experimented imaginatively while rigorously creating an expanding body of work. This poem by Eluard is like a prism capturing various realities & dimensions one might encounter in Klee’s art. I wanted to depict the sensibility & feel of the poem but I wasn’t sure how I felt about making images about somebody who made images. And I didn’t want to copy Klee in any sort of obvious manner. I shared this concern with Nancy Kline, the translator of this poem & many of the poems in Capital of Pain. Nancy suggested that one visual artist interpreting another might be an worthwhile experience yielding interesting results. And with this encouragement in mind I worked on composing images that hopefully come near the boundaries of ‘Klee-ism.’ 

The Pageant by Penn Kemp

a. penn text water

On the Moon after Solstice
you dream of hiking contours
to cathedral carol service.

b. transcendental
Singing in the cavern of nave,
omphalos to the world, you curve
on rounded meridian of joy to outer
space, linking with others of like mind.

O.dance of the red skirtsP. oval
You race to catch the authors
to know the next act.  Old tales
are told and tell themselves new.

d. stones in a bowl
You connect fragments, dropping
your lines, dropping me a line
in the cheer of retrieval.

e. darkly

1.double page chapbook imageg. three days
Rings of companions collaborate,
not wanting to recapitulate
events of the day merely or
invent night’s happenstance.

golden huecandlelight
Something’s given, something
larger than the single self.
Presently you’ll know the story
as it is happening to you.

the soilold carnival
Singly or together our dreams
direct us, as if night-given leads
to true script.  What is real
agitates dream into action.

q. altered mss


Penn Kemp is London, Ontario’s inaugural Poet Laureate.

l. abstract ex.

In 2012, Penn Kemp and I published the chapbook Dream Sequins with Lyricalmyrical Press in Toronto. The title refers to Penn’s poetry manuscript. My contribution consisted of 18 ink drawings. I sent Penn a number of scans which I thought related or tangentially connected to her words and she made the final selection. Drawing can be an automatic process, as spontaneous as dreaming, with line unfolding connections not crafted by the conscious mind. My body of drawings 2009 – 2011 expressed a number of intertwined themes & at a certain point Penn and I connected. We were independently working in close enough proximity to our ‘source’ materials that text & image, both floating on a warm parchment paper, felt synonymous. This post was inspired by the idea of using Penn’s words as a design element in constructing digital images while referencing one poem & drawing from the chapbook.

K.C. by Steven McCabe

boy and space 2

boy in space

Seeing the unseen between my eyes and outer space

new eye space

I was a boy painting my sparkling new bicycle

With house paint

now this

Squinting in the shade of a sunflower

Wiping soil and lumps of melted star off the brush

the sumerian flower

Aiming for that white-as-a-skeleton-invisible-sky-hourglass

Concept of two gods becoming one

sumerian lad

Me and my bicycle at the intersection –

Red lights fading my pupils dilated

triptych 2eye seven

from Jawbone – Ekstasis Editions – 2005

When I was a boy in Kansas City, one summer, I studied the sky. It was a dull white far off in the distance, and yet up close ‘it’ was invisible. So it dawned on me to paint my new bicycle white; up close the bicycle would be invisible, at a distance everything would seem normal. My mother was more than happy to keep me busy and found the paint and a couple of large brushes. I threw myself into the task, painting the seat, the chain, the handlebars…everything! Sadly the next day the paint flaked off and my experiment failed. Several decades later I was reading a creation myth about two gods battling in the sky. One god lost a foot to a sharp knife and black ‘blood’ (night of course) filled the sky. I remembered painting the bicycle, and decided to harmonize both ‘sky’ narratives, intertwining them in a poem. My editor reviewed my work and, being a minimalist, took out her pen; underlining, crossing out, and circling lines. In the end I had a nine line poem.