We love artists at The Wild Word.

Our Artist-in-Residence page provides a space for artists to showcase their work and to spread their creative wings.  In their month of residency, invited artists are encouraged to collaborate with other contributors within the magazine, to experiment and develop new projects, while giving us an insight into their creative process.

Our ALL FOR ONE Artist-in-Residence is the poet Hiram Larew.

All for One

What commons us to rally?  What pulls our many strings together?  What’s me that’s also you?   All for One is a call, a rouse, a deep instinct to lend a hand and heart.  It also conveys time; it spotlights the spirit of our forebears as they struggled alone and together to move ahead.  And, it implies that we are more when arm-in-arm than when standing alone.  Its neighbor—and One for All—echoes this power of offering up, of joining in, and of seeking oneself in the collective.

So, how does an All for One approach in poetry call us?  For me, the notion of shoulder-to-shoulder speaks directly to the amazing influence we have on each other as poets.  How your work shapes mine.  And, how time doesn’t matter at all—we stand alongside and are so remarkably shaped by all of those who have gone before.

What do you think?  How does All for One beckon you?

If it helps, here’s are a couple of prompting questions—What would a poem that begins with you alone but ends with an All for One point of view contain in its middle?  Or, can you imagine a cause, a challenge, a wonderful joy that needs our “one another?”  If so, write it.

My thanks to The Wild Word Founder and Editor, Kusi Okamura, for this chance to serve as an online Artist in Residence.  Over the coming month, I hope to learn from readers like you about the theme of All for One, your current imagination, and how The Wild Word site helps.  I also hope to write some new things with both my thoughts and yours in mind—and to share rough drafts that may result.

Most important of all, I hope we journey for a little way together.  And, that we take the chance to reckon, to enjoy some brights and some news.  And that we grin—most of all, that we grin.

Thanks,

Hiram Larew

LIFE WITH A CANDLE

I want to marry this field
Truly and simply
With its wings curving the corners
And its smoothness stunning my knees
All of my heart is here far around me
And there’s humming and leaning –
Even the trifling breeze

I want this field for my living
To vow to its edges
That nothing comes true
Without greening
Nothing seems as bold as my longings
Except sloping
Nothing wakes on my shoulder
But rustling
I hope the strangest hopes in this field
Ever bending

From here
I know that this much of my all is clear –
Before there were hills
Or even eyes to up over
There was a distance beyond us
A long far away that can never come near
There was wishing

I want to carry this field
In my arms
By its being
To a maybe that’s certain
So our future can flicker on grasses
And our children will wave from the clouds.

This poem first appeared in Innisfree.

CUFF

The last thing I was was bad
And the next thing I’ll be is worse
I’m foregone and predestined
Like rusted scissors
So it doesn’t matter if start stops
Or girls boy
I’m natively wrong
And my punishment is
To have a string run from
My mouth up to the very sky
So that I have no secrets at all and
So that I really do know better

My idea of perfect is confusion –
Flies finding a carcass
Lips trying to yell under water
Or gravity crazy mad at its equal
I like messes
And whatever throws a fit
I like mud even up on the ceiling

As I’ve said
Just give me one good reason
Why I shouldn’t enjoy fumes or snakes
Or anything that’s out of control
Tell me why disaster shouldn’t be a friend
You see here’s what it really comes down to –
My dead is better than yours
And I’ll bet the whole stash on it
Even as all of the big brown cows
Go floating down by us
In the river.

This poem first appeared in Rhino.

BOY HOWDY

Modern life hurts me –
Would that I could die in the arms
Of seed catalogues
Or turn over in a bed and feel
Snow coming in the window
My father taught me to wave at life from
Cherished corners
His coat pockets were really my teenage years
Carry on is how I feel now –
So may these lines become as strikingly handsome
As hands on shoulders
May they cause strangers to look up again and again
May the hope in these lines age well like chewed pencils
Or turn into stale crumbs
That birds will fight over.

This poem first appeared in Broadkill Review.

Hiram Larew is in wicked love with poetry.  His work has appeared in​ journals and collections, most recently, Amsterdam Quarterly, vox poetica, Honest Ulsterman, Little Patuxent Review, FORTH, Viator and Every Day Poems.  Nominated for four Pushcarts, he organizes poetry events, activities and conclaves that showcase wide poetic diversity and insights.  A global food security specialist by training, he lives in Maryland, USA. See his page on Facebook.

‘Artist Fear Not’ by Caryl Henry Alexander

Here’s to a second week of ALL FOR ONE!  If you haven’t already, you may want to sit down with a friend, a coffee or a shady tree to enjoy this month’s issue of The Wild Word.  The kaleidoscope of work that’s featured includes short essays by Maria Behan, Jami Ingledue, Annie Mark-Westfall, Irena Ioannou, James Prenatt, Tim Clark, Daniel Blokh and Rev. Rachel Kessler – all centered on our ALL FOR ONE role as  citizens, friends, parents, writers/artists and neighbors.  And then, there’s the showcased fiction by Thadd Simpson and Leif Ecklert – both pieces are especially consequential in challenging deep biases about living and loving.  The poetry section is a box of chocolates, with a variety of pieces by Jeremy Nathan Marks (also presented as the vox poetica featured poet on July 24, 2017), Sergio Ortiz, Wendy Thornton and Devon Balwit – again, all with an eye towards the mysteries of the common cause.

In synch with the theme, I was recently given the gift of working with seven other poets who all glow with their commitment to the craft, their concern about these trying times and their trust in all energies, innovation and laughter that come from rubbing shoulders.  So, to Nan Meneely, Sharon Olson, Carole Stasiowski, Gray Jacobik, Lawrence Wray, Ruth Foley and Anne Harding Woodworth, a “gratitudinous” grin from me for proving that the call of ALL FOR ONE is powerful and fun.

For this second week’s posting, Caryl Henry Alexander, a terrific artist with purpose and nearby friend, provided some of her images that evoke the spirit of ALL FOR ONE.  Learn more about Caryl and her work at the following sites – carylhenryalexander.com, carylhenryalexander.blogspot.com or facebook.com/groups/Artistwithpurpose.

Over the coming week, I hope that you’ll share your thoughts on what ALL FOR ONE means to you.  How does it sing to you – or not?  What makes it hard to do?  Why would you encourage young people towards it?  How can we use our art to break down walls that separate us and prevent collective efforts?

Finally, with this second posting, I’m sharing a few more poems.  Feel free to let me know if they are opaque or interesting, or if you have any other kinds of reactions?  Thanks!  Send feedback to HLAREW@gmail.com

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

How can you look so such in profile?
How do you conjure up each and all
By nodding?
You provide every by-way with
The edges of wings.
How can you be years’ abound by simply turning to say
And not know it—
A going that’s never fully—
A sliver slice of ever?
How does this crowded room suddenly become
Such an of course in your silhouette?
And how does an arrow start from inside you?
Why are you this almost and that fleeting?
Most of all
Why is so fully
Just half?

‘Meet My Friend, Creeping Alexander’ by Caryl Henry Alexander

LUTES

Shout alarmed, like when you see fire suddenly.
Shout as if you’re wild in pain.
Or, if you’re called up on stage, shout like that.
Just as much too, shout the way you would
Being a prisoner –
And again, the way you must have
When you first heard lutes.
Terribly shout because of being grabbed from behind.
Then, shout hard just before parents fade.
And of course, always whisper to anyone bending towards you.
Only shout, then above that, shout as soon as you feel wings.

This poem first appeared in Seminary Ridge Review.

‘Possibilities, Joy and Love’ by Caryl Henry Alexander

WHAT WITCH

How many more sleeps before we kettle?
How much more salt over this stew?
Who are the onions, the gristle, the answers?
Follow the bubbles, follow the clues.

But what if our slurps get answered in poison?
And how do such spells turn into glue?
Why does the moon sly?
Why does pure joy cry?
Who’s making sure that all of this firewood
Gets split into two?

‘Out of Your Comfort Zone’ by Caryl Henry Alexander

HEAP

For the life of me
I can’t believe
How so much
Depends on glances or
For that matter
On giving up
But there it is –
Even all of history
And most of what’s to come
Is shaped by
Bending grasses and
Some morning’s chill
Above us
And all my plans are pauses

If I’ve been anything
I’ve been sloppy
With rules like puddles
And with love diced up for the ages
In fact said best
I’ve been an onion
And still resent deeply
What’s proven and known

Enough is enough
By the time you get this
The moon will have changed completely
I’ll be a ghost
And farmers
Wonders that they are
Will have started all over again
From scratch.

This poem first appeared in Connections.

Caryl Henry Alexander is a visual artist whose passion is to create safe space in communities for people to unleash their imagination and creativity. She is a medicine woman who supports her co-creators to move energy in the service of their personal and collective wellbeing.

In the studio Caryl works as a painter, sculptor and mixed media artist. Most recently she has been following her love of nature, and gardening by integrating natural materials into her pieces.

Henry Alexander is also an educator, activist and a free range Unitarian Universalist. She is originally from Oakland California and currently lives in Maryland.

Hiram Larew is in wicked love with poetry.  His work has appeared in​ journals and collections, most recently, Amsterdam Quarterly, vox poetica, Honest Ulsterman, Little Patuxent Review, FORTH, Viator and Every Day Poems.  Nominated for four Pushcarts, he organizes poetry events, activities and conclaves that showcase wide poetic diversity and insights.  A global food security specialist by training, he lives in Maryland, USA. See his page on Facebook.

Detail from ‘Middle’, acrylic & ink on paper, 40x40″, 2017, by Karen Jelenfy

A third week’s venture!  The concept of an online Artist-in-Residence is pretty enticing for the chance it provides to hold forth, to collaborate and to engage.  It’s not the same, of course, as a writing retreat, a workshop, or a reading/conference.

An e-AIR is, in fact, a different kind of ticket.   It’s a new way to travel along poetry.  It’s a trail-blaze that hoots at the notion of anything anymore being “place-based,” that zooms across time zones like stars, but that is calmed down a little bit by the sequencing and pacing of weekly interactions.   Said much better, an online residency is mighty exciting.

My friend from Maine, USA, Karen Jelenfy, is a wonder artist and poet.  Her sharp/soft images captivate my very socks.  I hope, in an ALL FOR ONE spirit, you’ll find them as moving as I do.  Learn more about her at facebook.com/karen.jelenfy.

I’m excited to offer short notes here about why I worship poetry, and why I hope to someday become one of Emily’s dashes.  Looking back, I will never ever forget how, as a kid, I suddenly grew five feet in one jump at first encounters with G. M. Hopkins’ “downdolphinry”, and another two when I saw as a teen Ferlinghetti’s Coney Island of the Mind performed on TVThe poems I wrote when younger were written by another me, not now me.  Of course, the poems I write today are not much wiser, wider or further.  But they are surely grounded in grateful, each one, for the incredible permissions that all poet wonders near and far have provided over the years.  If ever I was, I just can’t imagine being fenced in ever again.

And then there’s this…Without knowing why and for as long as I can recall, I’ve always loved the taste of poetry—its greenest twigs, its frozen blossoms, its roots and snags, and all of its sweet rambunctions.  Poetry has been—and will always be—my peaches. These days and times, I find needed solace, power and will in all the lifted voices—young and old, pink and green, loud and soft, up and down. The poetry of witness commands!

The Fates gave me big ears, the better to listen to poets read their work.  So, here’s to readings, to recordings, podcasts, and webcasts.  Here’s to performance poetry, slam poetry, glam poetry, goth poetry, rock poetry, gutz poetry, barn poetry, and your poetry.  Here’s to the delightful variety of sadness and gladness that’s poetry.  And, of course, here’s a hiccup of a toast to the poetry that in forever unknown ways changes even how our hair grows.

All For One,

Hiram

HLAREW@gmail.com

Texture of Things, oil on canvas, 42x42″, Karen Jelenfy

LOOK HERE

Sooner or later
Over some breakfast
We’ll realize what’s what
About our place in the world.
In fact if we’d only stare at milk more often
Or get treated by the wind
Now and then
Like loose leaves
We’d really see
And might even become that house out there
To itself
In the middle of flat way off land.

The best plans to make
Come from the spots we don’t get to—
They shimmer ahead
And act like a man about town.
Put simply
Whatever’s far away from us
Says exactly why we should be trying.

You see
Nothing is as sure as what’s combed back
Or rooster ready
And luck is never ever even.

CHIRP

Be be my through into be sky
Take as me this as beginning see
Once in keen light is your so ever I
When by alive my new else is—
How then to make us as we are like this
When where we must be such might seeds—
O see this is most by also try need
Say then above as all time is—
Be be as clear
Be be as near
Be be as here as the why is.

This poem first appeared in Every Day Poems.

ADVICE

A friend calls me who’s crying about a boyfriend
And I can’t say much to help because—
Because most of my time is quiet and I like flat land
Because I prefer pencils
Because I still don’t have a microwave
Because all of my aunts were unmarried
Because I wear sheets like sarongs
Because I’m stooped
Because I’ve never been really poor or quick
Because I’ve never learned to order pizza out
Because I think tone of voice is important
And because wherever I go I always pack a vase.

I can’t give much advice because
Those kinds of relationships
Are mysteries to me
Like sugar dissolving or cars that backfire.

This poem first appeared in The Evergreen Chronicles.

She Stopped By, oil on canvas, 36x40″, 2017, Karen Jelenfy

IF HE NEVER HEARS THIS

There’s no pattern to what disappears
Nothing to make sure that our ideas are everlasting
Or repeated
In fact we can’t predict what stays or lingers
Or leaves
It may be that wishing wells
Especially their walls
Know the secret of this yearning to endure
Somehow fireworks do too coming down
But mostly we know that everything we know
Is just water
And all we are is snaps

Never ask anyone anything directly
Be a swan’s neck
So that you find out everything by guessing
And for balance
Imagine loving someone so much that it feels like
You are opening the lid of a jar
And then going

The boring point is this
The best friend to make is chance—
Do whatever it takes
To wake up tangled in the arms of maybe
Start to trust what you’ve done
For as long as a blink
Mostly think like a windy corner.

This poem first appeared in the washington review.

GOLLY

I don’t know about you
But when a leafy branch comes in the window
I love it
Beyond common sense
In fact I love anything that’s where
It’s not supposed to be
And all the air around it

And what I live for more and more
Are the things that shouldn’t happen
My best friend is the uh oh sound
Everyone makes
When a glass breaks
And my hero is whispers

One of these days
What I hope to notice
Before anything else
(Even before eyes)
Is shoulders
Because just like hills
They make me guess
At what I’ll never know.

This poem first appeared in Facets.

Karen Jelenfy is a painter and writer currently living in mid-coast Maine, USA.  Her paintings and drawings are direct responses to the forests and seacoasts around her home. Observation becomes squeezed and battered by memory; the tangled world takes on color. Nothing and no one is at rest.

Hiram Larew is in wicked love with poetry.  His work has appeared in​ journals and collections, most recently, Amsterdam Quarterly, vox poetica, Honest Ulsterman, Little Patuxent Review, FORTH, Viator and Every Day Poems.  Nominated for four Pushcarts, he organizes poetry events, activities and conclaves that showcase wide poetic diversity and insights.  A global food security specialist by training, he lives in Maryland, USA. See his page on Facebook.