Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Goings On and Events to Watch For

Hi all Monday Night Poetry fans and readers.
I hope you were all able to catch the most excellent story by Dyana Smolen of the Syracuse Post Standard about my work and life. We hope Dyana will come down to Monday Night Poetry and read--we welcome all genres of writing. She is currently at work on a pending piece about Sushi Blues. You can also find her stories online at
Upcoming events of interest include December 15 at 6 p.m. the Second Annual Bentley the Dog Auction to benefit the Chenango County SPCA. I will be there doing pet illustrations so bring your favorite photos for me to work from. A portion of the proceeds from art sold will also go to the shelter.
Don't forget to check out Emily Vogel's poetry open mic in Norwich on Tuesday evenings @ 7 next door to The Blarney Stone where a poetry slam takes place in fall during Chenango county's Colorscape festival.

April 2009 will have alot of goings on.
I will be giving a talk in Canastota at the Public Library on the art of doll making, doll collecting and particular doll and bear artists. A preview has already been sent to the library for their upcoming newsletter. There will be a display in the library in the month of June.

April 14, 4:30 pm. At the Colgate University Bookstore I will be giving a one-woman show and reading the title of which is "Word Pictures: Illustrations and Poetry by Rachael Ikins". I will be displaying my pen and ink work for sale as well as reading from published work and works in progress.

Also in April no date yet, I will coordinate an all-poetry reading event at which I will read also at Creekside Books in Skaneateles NY. Last month I participated there in a local authors events as I was born and raised in Skaneateles. We had a good turnout and excellent readers of many genres.
MNP will continue weather permitting through winter. Spring 09 we have on schedule so far Michael Czarnecki of Foothills Publishing and Phil Memmer with his latest prize winning collection of poetry.
Anyone has news of interest or poetry they d like to see in print online here, send it to me at
any blog readers in the Albany, Troy, Schenectady area who'd be interested in a poetry open mic event let's hear it. Founding one here or if there are groups out there let me know.
See you Monday!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Home Is Where The Barn Is

In August 2007, a friend invited me to come to her fiance’s dairy farm of approximately 1700 Holstein cattle to take pictures of the cattle and workmen going about their daily routine.

I was using my 35 mm Nikon F 4 with film at the time. When I had the rolls of prints developed, I was thrilled that several of the shots were top quality.

I received notice of an upcoming art show to take place in the new Lipe Art Park in Syracuse, NY in October 2007. The theme had to do with how agriculture is relevant to city could choose from such subjects as those related to the land, animal husbandry, compost practices and recycling. I chose the animal category and queried the curators. They indicated that they were unsure of being able to use photography as this was an outdoor multi-season show, but to go ahead and send them my entries.

They were thrilled with the pieces I both of which may be viewed on my website. We coordinated our efforts and the curators created wonderful weather-proof framing for the shots. The show as a big success.

For Christmas 2007, the dairy manager’s fiancĂ©e commissioned me to enlarge one of the same series for her in a unique composition I created with my partner, Erin Carraway, for his gift. Thus was born “Home Is Where The Barn Is.”

It uses both the photographs that appeared in the Lipe show and several others framed in a design replicating an old barn gate with distressed metal work.. I painted over the photographs which were then decoupaged onto the mat board.

January 2008 we asked permission to borrow the piece back and entered it into a state-wide art show sponsored by The Art Association of Oswego, Fort Ontario, Oswego NY. Early March we learned that we had juried into the show. It opened March 22 to a full house.
Sushi Blues & BBQs, Hamilton NY also commissioned a poster-sized framed shot of the cattle at milking time. It hangs in their permanent collection in the restaurant and is entitled “Bret’s Girls.”

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Erotic Photography


Floral Erotica in Photography: How to Find Sensuality in a Grocery Store Bouquet

What makes a flower erotic? Sharp crisp lines, seductive curves, warm enticing colors, ripe, rich textures..stiff parts seeking fertilization…It begs for photography.
A classic erotic flower picture should have simple composition.
One curve, for example, one swelling and two colors to invite the viewer to “fall into” the photograph. To ask the viewer to lick the teeth, swallow, to sigh. To create in the viewer a desire to stroke, to reach into the picture and participate. To remember. Simplicity and clean lines.
This is different than “dirty flower pictures.” While a blooming plant in a pot of soil may constitute a “dirty flower”, humor aside, I am talking about navigating away from the adolescent reaction of “Oh yeah, look! a tiny pair of boobies” snicker, snicker.
To consider a plant/flower/root/bud/leaf as a metaphor for human body or metaphor for human sexuality in all its starkness and magnetism.

The sensual in nature surrounds us in especially in Spring in northern climates. Birds at their deepest most dramatic colors, sing rich songs unique to mating season. Lush plant growth of all colors after winter’s monochromatic white, tan and gray. Flowering trees and fertilizing bees at their cups, its all about sex. The way the Earth opens with a sharp shiny edge of a farmer’s plow, the waves of folded back, rich brown soil, that is sensuality at its most extreme. Flowers that lend themselves to this type of viewing are many,but the orchid family comes to mind first and foremost with its riot of shapes, long-lasting, stiff flowers, fragrances that attract and mesmerize..even the root growth slipping out the dormant end of a white stubby root with a shine of slick green new tip emerging.

All it requires to discover erotica in flowers and natural life around us, is a macro lens and patience. The viewer must be willing to have not only a “slow hand” to paraphrase the Pointer Sisters, and an easy touch. My years behind the lens opened an entire universe of sensuality and sensuousness to my eyes. Poetry as snap-shots. Point and shoot, yes, but don’t shoot and run.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Latest Poetry From MNP @ Sushi Blues

Here are a couple great poems by members who were unable to attend last evening,but whose work is well appreciated! Dean Dickinson has published a book of memoirs entitled "Corn and Me". The following is a rhyming poem he decided to write after being put off by vague and incomprehensible poetry that sometimes appears in the New Yorker magazine.

High School Reunion

Dean C. Dickinson

A high school classmate, Edna Mae Munday,
Found my address and wrote me last Sunday.
The reunion committee wants to see
Mount Vernon's graduates of '53.
They want to provide an invitation
to all their alums across the nation.
I'd left no trail but she Googled my son.
He gave the name of the street I live on.
Since our escape from dear old "MV"
we've had no contacts my school mates and me.
I don't want to see my old teenage friends.
We've all lived our lives; we're close to our ends.
Back in my memory they all appear
as youthful images, vital and clear.

Friend Howard, at sixteen, drove our school bus;
joined the jazz band and played tuba with us.
Ditton, the drum major, dressed up in braid,
helped me with many a band escapade.
Dick Kinsler, jokester, my best friend of all
brought lots of laughter to classroom and hall.
Willie the halfback, our varsity star,
drove the girls mad when the saw him afar.
Blond curly hair--handsome--heroic face!
Head ina helmet. Inside? empty space!
Pert Sally Condre hated chemistry.
To help pass her tests she sat next to me!
We took Latin from Miss Osie Trimmer.
Her old sour puss could not have been grimmer.

The group I hung with did not drink or smoke.
We were all sober, but fun-loving folk.
I ahd my own car and tooled around town:
my snappy blue Dodge with windows rolled down.
I drove to parties and social events.
A gallon of gas cost twenty-five cents.
When we were young and had nary a care,
each time we gathered we danced the rugs bare.
the young friends I knew are old and mature.
Let me remember them just as they were.

The Siren of Central New York
by Vi Ransel

The center
of Madison County
lolls languid in the lap
of the fat,
comely valley flanked
by the Sangerfield
and Chenango rivers
bordered by Adirondack foothills
wearing bedroom slippers
not hiking boots
refusing to loom
straight up, stiff and forbidding
in a dense armor of rigid pine,
rather reclining half-wooded,
half-maniscured and mown
seductively whispering
"Come up...
and see me

Compaints By A Blue Collar Stereotype
Susanne Farrington

Looking back on it,
Life was good on Earth
Until it got very much worse.

The weather became unbalanced;
deserts widened and polar ice-caps shrank.
Foreignors stole our oil,
and our government seemed unable to save it--
though I'd have made the bastards really suffer;
Guantanamo was too good for them.

Our spinelses Congress stood up for lobsters,
polar bears and caribou,
refusing to drill for oil
deep under rich tundra,
refusing also to cut taxes
and cap gas prices at $2.50 a gallon,
like we had in the 1990s.

So now no one can afford to drive--
except for the Fat Cats in their Cadillacs.
Damn hybrid-driving Environmentalists
for ruining the economy!
They got what they deserved.

(Complaints about a Blue Collar Steroptype written in the future, is a poem that voices my fears about poor choices and inaction to worsening environmental degradation and civil unrest (which includes blaming the messengers of warning. SF.)

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Come celebrate with us!

The turnout for the last meeting was fantastic. The "Munnsville Poets" and writers east contributed a stimualating timed exercise. It was so much fun that even the folks who came just to listen participated and had a great time.

April Events:

April 14th, 7:30 pm - ???

Monday Night Poetry at Sushi Blues, includes open mic! Remember, get 10% any menu item for anyone who has the courage to stand up and read their work (or someone elses!)

April 18th, Birthday of Canastota Writers Group Moderator, Tish Demauro-Dickenson. We wish her a GREAT one. We thank her for her efforts in coordinating with me a poetry soiree at Sushi Blues that will showcase the combined talents of the Canastota Writers & the Monday Night Poetry forum.

April 19th, 2:00 pm, Award presentation of the 2008 National Penwomen Art & Poetry contest at May Memorial Unitarian Church, E. Genesee St., Syracuse, 13214. The winning entries will appear in the Syracuse Post-Standard, this contest includes writers and artists of all ages. The National Penwomen of America is the oldest womens writing organization in the United States. It has over 200 chapters, nationwide. I will be reading my first prize poem "Deja Vu" and my honorable mention poem "A Summer's Grief".

Currently on display at the Downtown YMCA 2nd Floor Gallery on Montgomery St. in Syracuse, is the monotype exhibit of artist Matt Morris "TV Dinners". A call for submissions was issued for any genre of writing on the topic of TV Dinners. My poem, "Book Club" was among those chosen as well as Canastota Writer Olin Davis' story, "What Would Grandma Say". Downtown writers friends, Noni Bristol and Sally Lloyd also read their works at the Artists reception. The artwork and writings will be on display through April.

Book Club

Thursday nights, when
my father went to Rotary club,
Mom and I ate TV dinners.
Sometimes frozen pizza or Mexican,
sometimes Stouffers Mac & Cheese
balancing on knees. Dented tray,
my brother and I in front of Sesame Street
re-runs, his small heels pushing his rocker
slightly backward to gaze at Kermit
as he chewed Mrs. Swanson’s chicken pot pie.

I never liked mixed peas and carrots.
Don’t like 6 p.m. TV. I love books.
Loved Thursday Night Specials.
My mother’s shoulders huddled illicitly as
she and Hercule Poirot hunched over the body,
her ash-tailed cigarette lying limp in a lumpy creation
my brother brought home from art class next to her fork.
Me, co-conspirator with my best pal Nancy Drew,
Or wandering beside Gandalf…Reading aloud
To my brother the adventures of Richard Scarry

Dad’s rule at our house: “No reading at supper.” Nor
elbows-on-placemats, no open-mouthed chewing. (No
conversation these Thursday jubilations) just our rustling
Infidelities! Reading at the table.

April 28th, 7:30 pm - ???
Monday Night Poetry at Sushi Blues.

We are thrilled to welcome our first guest speaker, poet Philip Memmer. He will read from a selection of his works. To learn more about him, read on...

Philip Memmer is the author of the poetry collections Sweetheart, Baby, Darling (Word Press, 2004) and Threat of Pleasure (Word Press, July 2008), as well as three chapbooks. His work has appeared in such journals as Poetry, Poetry Northwest, and Southern Poetry Review, and in several anthologies, including 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day. He is the poetry editor for the journal Stone Canoe, associate editor for Tiger Bark Press, and director of the YMCA’s Downtown Writer’s Center in Syracuse. He lives in Deansboro.

A closing contribution from Adam of the Monday Night Poetry Group:

s.p.s.p.s "only the poet, disdaing to be tied to any such subjection, lifted up with the vigor of his own invention, doth grow in effect another nature, in making things either better than nature bringeth forth, or quite anew, forms such as never were in nature, as Heroes, Demigods, Cyclops, Chimeras, Furies, and such like; so as he goeth hand in hand with nature, not enclosed within the narrow warrant of her gifts, but freely ranging only within the zodiac of his own wit."

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday Night Poetry @ SB & BBQs Friends!

We'd like to welcome a new poet to Monday Nights at Sushi Blues.!She hales from the Big Apple so her words come to us long distance. She has written a quatrain. We thank her for sharing. The Sun by Joy Ramer The yellow thing in the sky! it is the sun, my,oh my! It shines almost every day, but when it rains it goes away. I heard a rumble as hard as balls hitting pins. Then I realized the rain soon begins. I ran inside as fast as I can, turned on the TV to see the weatherman. "The storm of the season is here!" he said. Turned off the TV and ran straight to bed. Is tarted crying and praying too that the sun would come back in just a few. A day later, the rain decided to pack, I was so happy, the sun came back! I went outside and said with glee! "The sun is back, yippee!" So as you can see, I love the sun. She is so beautiful, she's number one! Unfortunately, she has to say goodbye, and shine on the children passing by.