My studio rarely looks like it does during the studio tour, workshops, meetings, or salons. It’s a mess, albeit a coordinated one. Here’s what it looks like a couple weeks before two workshops and a salon are happening. It’ll be nice and clean in a couple weeks, but I’m sure it’ll become far more chaotic before then.

This is what the studio looked like yesterday afternoon. It is an organized disorganization of neat project areas.

This is the area where I’m inking the linoleum blocks on my small etching press.

This is where I cut the linoleum blocks. It is a very safe way for holding the blocks still, which reduces the number of injuries. It is still out because I occasionally need to recut a line or two while I’m inking.

Right after I took this photo, I took these dry prints off the clothesline.

Here is another area, where I am making paper. The brown liquid contains the rest of the hosta pulp from paper I made earlier. I plan to add cotton linters to it, and it will make an entirely other type of paper from what 100% hosta pulp has made, which is a little brittle and hard to work with.

Here is the hosta paper dripping on the studio’s cement floor. Towels come in handy during the paper making process. The intention for this paper is for artworks, not books.

These papers were printed in my toner printer, and then I wrote quotes on them from The Big Burn book. I do not know if this artwork will be finished in time for the Allied Arts show. I have a plan, but we’ll have to see.

This is the newest project. It will be an assemblage when it’s done. It uses wood from old buildings and furniture around Bellingham. So far, I’ve cut, glued and nailed in the framing. The glass piece is just sitting there.

Back to the linoleum blocks, here is how I set up making prints: roller, glass plate for ink, linoleum block, ruler, and paper.

This is what it looks like when the ink has just been rolled on… a little shiny and opposite of the print.

Here are eighteen of the prints hanging near the heater to dry for a day or two. No need to rush, which helps the prints from smudging.


Well, now I better get back to work. Lots to do before I’m done.
—Anita K. Boyle

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Writing poems about current political events and ideas is one of the important responsibilities that fall to the poet, and it is not an easy task, and is the reason why I decided to host a couple workshops on this topic. Seattle poets Raúl Sanchez and Jed Myers are scheduled to teach workshops on how to create political poems that welcome your ideas­—and the crucial details of today’s prevalent events. The task is complex and sometimes dreadful, but is clearly a crucial element of being a serious poet. The goal of each of these workshops is to write relevant political poems people will actually want to hear and read. That this is possible is represented in many poets work! Think of Walt Whitman, Valzhyna Mort, Ilya Kaminsky, Allen Ginsberg, Sharon Olds…. Participants will learn from these two dynamic Seattle poets as they discuss methods to clearly portray your point of view in poetry. Jed Myers says, “If it’s true that the personal is political, then poetry must be able to capture the political in the personal facts of experience.”

Date: Saturday, March 9, 2019

Location: Egress Studio, 5581 Noon Road, Bellingham, WA

Workshops #1: Raúl Sanchez­—1:00–3:00pm

Workshops #2: Jed Myers—3:30–5:30pm

Registration: one workshop $25, both workshops $40

Please call Anita K. Boyle at 360-398-7870 or email her at akboyle@egressstudio.com

Registration Deadline: March 6, 2019.

The workshops will be held inside the creatively inspiring Egress Studio. Participants are welcome to walk around the five acres to clear their heads between workshops or even just to take a little break, if necessary, since sometimes politics can be a bit much.

Raúl Sanchez

 

 

 

Raúl Sanchez’s workshop participants will look at poems from two anthologies: Poetry of Resistance and Poets Against the War, as well as specific poems like Martin Espada’s “The Republic of Poetry,” Pablo Neruda’s poem “Anguish of Death,” Cesar Vallejo’s “The Black Riders,” and a bonus poem by Gloria Anzaldúa “To live in the Borderlands means you.”  During the workshop, attendees will point out issues mentioned in the poems that affect us and the people from other countries. From this information, poems will be created that reflect current political issues affecting our country and the world.

About the instructor: Raúl Sanchez was selected to be the Inaugural Poet in Residence for the City of Burien 2018. He is also a translator currently working on the Spanish version of his poetry collection All Our Brown-Skinned Angels (MoonPath Press) nominated for the 2013 Washington State Book Award in Poetry. Raúl’s focus is immigration, discrimination, profiling, racism and social injustice, among other issues. He is a member of Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program. Currently, Raúl volunteers as a Poetry Mentor for the Pongo Teen Writing Project in the King County Juvenile Detention Center and a member of the Seattle Arts and Lectures Writers in the schools (WITS) program.

Jed Myers

 

 

 

 

Jed Myers’ workshop:

Jed Myers says, “If it’s true that the personal is political, then poetry must be able to capture the political in the personal facts of experience. We must be able to channel the currents of our culture’s disturbances and possibilities through our intuitive apparatus and create embodiments of our struggles that invite strongly felt resonances.” In this workshop Myers hopes to facilitate such a process—by offering some experiential exercises, by encouraging the psychic shift from concept and category to perception and sensation, and by tapping the group’s power to support its members in writing openheartedly through the self rather than from the self. Some worthwhile writing is bound to come of it!

About the instructor: Jed Myers is author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press, forthcoming), and three chapbooks, including Dark’s Channels (Iron Horse Literary Review Chapbook Award). Recent poems appear in Rattle, Poetry Northwest, The American Journal of Poetry, and Southern Poetry Review.

About this project: Anita K. Boyle creates art and poetry at Egress Studio. This poetry writing workshop event is in support of the larger Whatcom County poetry community. A minimum of 30% of all workshop proceeds will go directly to the migrants at the Mexican/US border as they continue their journey into the United States. The donation from will most likely be for non-profit group Angry Tias & Abuelas who are doing very valuable work right now at the Mexican/American border, work that reminds me of these lines: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” —Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, “New Colossus”. There is a link on Facebook, if you’re interested in learning about the some of the work they are doing.

Over the weekend, I put together another book. This one is titled “Journal of Bone Grit.” It has a coptic binding using an orange-colored thin-gauge electric wire. It’s the first one that I made using this wire, and it turned out pretty good. The binding allows the book to open flat (which makes it easy to write in), and shows the roughness of the handmade paper’s deckle edges on all sides. Along the spine are the vertical folds of the seven signatures of five sheets of paper each. That’s a total of 140 pages: 7 sigs. x 5 sheets x 4 pages. That’s the sort of math a book-maker does. I certainly hope I right.BoneGrit-7522

All of the pages are empty except for where I’ve inked in the title on the second page, so it’s ready for a writer willing to write on the handmade papers of a handmade book. BoneGrit-7523Making a book like this begins with making the natural dye for the paper. The interior papers were dyed with lichen, which turns an orange-ish color. You can see small bits of lichen and the bark it grew on in the paper. There is just enough to make it look interesting without drawing too much attention from whatever the writer will write. Instead, it may help to punctuate the writing. The end result will be a handwritten book, which makes the journal even more of an artwork than it already was. The finished journal would become a collaborative artwork between artist and author.BoneGrit-7524The cover papers include the grit left behind on a windowsill under a deer skull, hence the name “Journal of Bone Grit.” The deep brown dye used for the cover papers is not a natural dye, but an “upcycled” dye. I had a box of Ritz dye sitting around for over 25 years, no, probably more like over 35 years. The box was corroded and puffy, and in such bad condition that I had to use it or toss it. Over the years, I kept looking at the box, thinking I would use it for something. So I finally did! I left the paper pulp soaking in the dye long enough that the color came out surprisingly dark and rich.BoneGrit-7527

The photo above shows the skull, the bone dust on the cover, and the wire used to bind it together. I am a poet, an artist, a designer and a publisher. This book is made in my “artist mode,” and is a work of art that can be used by whoever becomes its owner. Let’s change “can be used” to “should be used” or “needs to be used.” I have discovered that most writers would love to write in a book like this, but making that first mark is so difficult, even frightening, that many writers keep this sort of journal blank forever. If you accept the challenge of owning a art-book journal like this, you can consider yourself courageous writer and my hero.

In the last two posts, I shared images of the cabin and of Summer Lake, Oregon, from my Playa residency in August 2017. In this post, I’ll share photos from my walks up the hill across the road from Playa.

The hill is a foothill on the edge of the Fremont National Forest. You walk through Playa’s wooden gate, cross Highway 31 (a fairly quiet road), go through the metal gate, and then walk up and up the hill along a steep gravel road. The first thing I noticed was being greeted by a variety of butterflies.

A bright orange and black Thistle Crescent (Mylitta Crescentspot) can brighten even the sunniest day.

I am not an expert on any insect, but I would guess that this one is a ratty example of a Thistle Crescent. I like the striped antennae.

I’d guess this little flitter is a Checkered White. It flutters around tiny pink flowers, and others, too.

Here’s a Slivery Blue butterfly with its white-rimmed wings.

If I’m good at guessing, this butterfly might be a West Coast Lady.

I can’t even guess at the name of this butterfly, but I like the colors and lines in this photo, and how the butterfly is hanging tight in a light breeze, antennae on alert.

This is another blue butterfly showing the underside of its wings. Beautiful patterns.

My best guess here is that this butterfly may be a Great Basin Wood Nymph. I love the filigreed pattern and the dark eyes on the wings.

If you can take your eyes off the butterflies, the view of Playa from the hill is spectacular.

From here, Playa looks like an oasis with its green trees and red-roofed cabins. There were forest fires in Idaho and Montana, as well as Oregon, Washington and British Colombia this year, so the sky was sometimes a dull gray, and you could smell wood burning far off.

Here are a couple of Playa’s cabins, and my VW Beetle in the parking lot. This view includes the boundary fence and several shade trees who welcome visitors.

Further up, there is a small group of evergreens shading a picnic table, and an astounding view of the broad flatness of Summer Lake and beyond.

This is a row of Elderberry trees shading the tall grasses, and sometimes deer.

 

Large clusters of blue berries droop like grapes from the small orchard.

Elton John drank and then sang about these berries. Later in the summer, they’ll all turn to an almost black purple.

Short sunflowers will feed the birds a few weeks after this photo was taken.

I’m pretty sure this is goldenrod, which lives up to its name. The butterflies love it.

Obviously, goldenrod attracts more than just butterflies.

Yellow flowers are the rule on this hill, though there are plenty of white, blue and pink to play backup.

The roadway is jumping with Pallid-winged Grasshoppers. Their coloring makes them all but disappear in the rocks.

Dragonflies enjoy resting on the tips of grasses.

Mammals on the hill include deer. I woke this trio from an afternoon nap. The buck was still napping. As soon as the does roused him, they headed up the hill across the way.

Even though I felt a little guilty, I decided to take their photograph anyway, after they ran a safe distance up the hill.

This is a very large buck. I could say I shot a ten-point buck—with my camera. He was magnificent. So were the does.

There are reptiles, too. This Western Fence Lizard enjoyed getting his photo taken. He posed here and there and over there. I finally had to walk away, I had so many photos of this creature.

This lizard has a beautiful scale pattern. I especially like the blue spots on the back, and the teal belly.

These grasses were everywhere. And like the lizard, kept wanting their picture taken.

A bird. I have no idea what kind this is, but may be some sort of a flycatcher. Other than the hawks racing back and forth, there were only a few birds on the hill. The bird sanctuary up the road has some stunning birds. But that will be in another post.

This close-up of the ridge shows that once the hill had many more evergreens, and that they were taken by fire. Still, it is a lush hillside.

There are some flat areas between the rolling hills. The tree growth is sparse, and the grasses are tall.

Returning from a walk near dusk, I “ran” across this long reptile, a bull snake. Harmless, but alarming, until you can see there are no rattles on the end of its almost four foot long tail.

This very handsome snake was laying straight across the road, and I was lucky not to step on it. Since it was cool enough that it didn’t run off right away, I took a few more photos before heading down the hill.

The path is road-wide and easy to follow, even on a very hot afternoon. Bring water, a camera and a journal. You’ll be inspired and thirsty.

Playa is inspiring for many reasons. The landscape is a big part of that, as well as the residents who live on that landscape—the fauna and the flora. And the calm quietness. As an artist and a poet, I came away filled to the brim.

2. Summer Lake

My last post was about the cabin I stayed in during my residency at Playa. This one is about the beautiful landscape of Summer Lake that makes the eastern border of Playa. Right out the windows of my cabin, I could see the wide, flat basin of Summer Lake with a foreground of tall grasses, a few trees, and the dry, cracking shore.

A day at Playa begins with the clouds spreading color like jam onto the lake. Maybe that’s why coffee tastes so good in the early morning.

This is the view from the deck of my cabin. It is remarkably relaxing to sit with a cup of coffee and a book or journal with this landscape as a backdrop.

To get to the paths near the lake, it’s best to walk past the large pond that has a dock and a canoe. The pond is full of fish, and you’ll see ducks, muskrats, herons, praying mantises, and other creatures near the pond.

Short prickly grasses grow along the edge of the wide dry shore.

A line of black rocks, an art installation, greets visitors as they enter the cracked summer landscape of the lake’s drying bed.

Up until the lake’s beach turns into muddy clay, it is a pocked with cracks and crevices, fissures and things that get stuck in them, like moths, seeds, feathers.

The cracks are rather deep in places. The seeds of prickly grasses sew themselves when a breeze blows them into these natural furrows. The awns of the spikelets hold them in place.

Windblown sage, or other plants, create an alien landscape on the flat mirage of the shore.

This is a late afternoon view of the Playa grounds as viewed from the lake side.

Dragonflies and grasses are abundant in August.

The clouds are as dramatic as the sky. The lake is large, but shy in summer. No one can actually walk to it in August. The mud acts like a moat, and the grasses are like brambles, they are so thick, spiky, and sturdy.

With the shore so flat, the sky becomes its own terrain. The hills in the distance support the vastness the sky describes.

I’m not sure what sort of grass this is, maybe a type of bunchgrass, but it came back home with me in every pair of socks I wore near the lake. The lines they draw between themselves create wonderful abstract artworks.

This Preying Mantis was as curious about me as I was of this creature. His head swivels and tilts, making this insect almost as cute as a puppy.

The walk near the shore is quite flat, but the hill on the other side of the road from Playa is one that can take your breath away in more ways than one. The cabin you see there is #6, the one I stayed in.

Those two trees standing together like tourists are in a lot of photos that crept into my camera. They must be best friends.

The dragonflies rest neatly at the tops of the tall strands of grass. This one has a green sheen.

Dusk brings forth a violet hue. The small dots of shorebirds speckle the shore.

The serene sunrise is something you wouldn’t want to miss very often at this place. The slowness of the climb above the line of horizon is awe-inspiring.

The tall grass grows in a wide swath before the shoreline. Paths are mown for easy walking, for exploring the environment, and to gain access to the lake shore.

Sometimes the paths will take you on a straight and narrow journey. It’s almost as though you’d end up in the sky.

This is the Playa setting under the foothills viewed from the cracked bed of the August lake shore.

A person could walk for miles on the fractures of the flat lake bed. This is mid-August. The lake will refill the cracks with water as the season changes.

 

Another view of the pond with the canoe and the dock. You can go to the far end of the pond, and then keep going, because the pond is bigger than it looks from here. Fish were jumping all day long in August.

Near dusk, the landscape gathers a dramatic sky.

Walking back to the cabin just after the sun dips below the western foothills sheds a slightly different hue to everything.

Sunset over the hills glows like fire. This is the sort of place that is especially inspiring in many ways.

 

1. The Cabin

Just before my horse-related head injury back in early February, I was working on a submission for an artist’s residency at Playa, which is beside Summer Lake in the northernmost part of South Central Oregon. Somehow, I finished the submission and sent it off soon after the accident. I received a call to attend for two weeks in mid-August. Lucky me, since it was during those two weeks that the 2017 solar eclipse was happening.

The work I wanted to do has been waiting for me to get to it for quite a while: to organize, edit, and revise the poems that were in my computer(s), and to write a few new poems, too. When I returned from the residency, there were 397 poems that I had at least looked at and organized. Some were edited slightly. Many others went through a rigorous revision process. A few needed to be typed out from handwritten notes. I put many hours into this project. And now, picking which poems will go into two or three manuscripts will be much, much simpler.

During the fourteen days of my residency, I took-in several different landscapes from this area: the lake, the hill to the west, the bird sanctuary fifteen minutes north of Playa, as well as the cabin I stayed in, and the solar eclipse. There was so much to see in each of these places, that I decided to make one post per place. This, Post #1, is about the housing.

I loved the cabin I stayed in, #6, which was spacious and well-outfitted—a very comfortable place to stay and to work. Okay, at first, there was an operatic toilet that sang arias in soprano at odd hours, and the distinct tapping and scratching of tiny rodents during the night, but after just a few days, those things were taken care of by Michael, who is the groundskeeper. Then the silence of the place permeated everything.

The Dining Room is just inside the front door, with the kitchen to the left. There was a view of the high foothills to the west of Playa from both windows.

The Kitchen was clean and fully functional. I brought along my espresso machine, because I like to spoil myself when I’m working very hard. I also brought along a chocolate bar that was sent to me from the dentist who will be putting posts in my mouth so I can continue healing from that injury.

The Living Room had a comfy chair on one side and a great view of the landscape of the lake.

The Living Room is large. I worked many hours at that table in front of the window.

The view from the Bedroom is also of the Summer Lake landscape (and there’s a hot tub in the little room beside the bedroom).

A horse shoe coat rack hung from the wall of the kitchen, reminds me always of my love for horses.

The view to the east of the cabin is full of foothills—the habitat of many insects, reptiles, mammals, and flora. A fabulous stick-fence in front of Playa runs between the quiet highway and tall shade trees.

Sunrise view from Cabin #6 is quiet and calm. I’d wake in the early morning just to see the light unfold.

The fence along the front of Playa is terribly beautiful.

This close-up shows details of its construction, with the use of bolts and philips-head screws, and railings, pickets, and posts from the limbs of the tree with the bark still intact.

This is Cabin #6 on the last evening I was there. The wind was blustering, and the night quite dark, which made the cabin seem even cozier.

As you can see, Playa has excellent lodging. It’s too bad I didn’t take photos of the other cabins, studios, or the Commons, which has a great kitchen and dining area, and a library, meeting room, an office, and a few other helpful accommodations, such as mail, trash collection, cabin supplies, piano, wi-fi, etc.). The second installment about the Playa residency should be ready for posting sometime in the next week or so.

I am often asked questions about how to put a small publication together. So I wrote out what I know, and made a little book titled Elements of a Polished Poetry Chapbook. Then, last September, I gave a workshop at LiTFUSE in Tieton, WA, where participants folded and sewed copies of this book, discussed its contents, and then made another book with a wrap-around outer cover.

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Elements of a Polished Poetry Chapbook

Elements of a Polished Poetry Chapbook is intended to help poets put together a chapbook of poems that would have a professionally finished look and feel. We often see books that are beautiful and thoughtfully created. And we see others that are lacking in some respect. With just a little more attention to detail, these books would develop into the fine quality that the poems deserve.

Elements-4679

Copyright and table of content pages

This brief book covers a number of details, from choosing a press name, to poem layout, to limited editions. The book shares information about each detail from the front cover to the back.

Elements-4678

Pages about limited editions and what can go on the back cover.

Toward the back of the book, signed and numbered limited editions are explored. A limited edition book is a handsome way to present the poems as the valuable artworks they are. For poets who want to self-publish, I strongly suggest making their own handmade, limited editions. Maybe this book can help. It is available on my website.