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.

Friday, March 7, 2008


HOPE everyone saw the article in last Sunday's Post Standard about the debut of our group!
Thanks to this newspaper, we met a new poet. She is just beginning to stretch her poetry wings under the guidance of her English teacher. Please put your hands together for Ms. Cassandra Ballini. We hope one day she will join us in person @
MNP@SB to read for us, OR, as is ever the option, to ask someone to read from her words to the group.
in the meantime kick back, close your eyes, and fly with Cassandara Ballini's

The Comet of Fire and Ice
In the black abyss
of the universe
one star lights a trail.
A trail of fire,
a trail of ice
a burning, freezing trail.
A comet, a comet
lights the night sky
A comet, a comet
could cause so many to die.
A comet, a comet
an entire new race.
A comet a comet
in the black abyss of space.
It does not freeze.
It does not melt
yet made of ice
is its burning pelt.
Yet something strange
lurks in this verse
in the black abyss of the universe.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Continued Poetry Oferings From MNP @ SB

I would like to apologize for any name mis-spellings! and to remind everyone we welcome not just poets, but fiction, prose, memoirists aka-- anybody who has something to say and to read!
Don't forget to bring at least one copy for Rachael. We plan to have a "grab bag" after each meeting where head chef Candi Ramer will draw a poem out of the hat. The winning poem entitles the writer to a 5 % discount on any item on the Sushi Blues Menu!!!!

My Sister

by Abby Meeks

She is mine
like a middle name, a bra size
and I tote her name around on my tongue
show-and-telling her to the world
the face that launched a thousand memories
that are mine, collected
like trolls and American Girl dolls.

Our Secret:
a fishtail down the hill on Dakin Rd. in January
a vodka-Gatorade at the swim meet
two fingers down the back of my throat
a missed flight to Prague
golden rhinestone twins that pierced our umbilical scars
mine now rusting in a pipe somewhere and hers
shut out and outgrown
by a filler of flesh.

We ask Santa for dollhouses
in matching flannel nightgowns and
in the room with the upright piano
where she takes lessons from the woman from the land of the Philippines
we awake to discover hers, yellow, mine, blue
the first Christmas she stops beleiving in

I'm sixteen, armed and dangerous with learner's permit
she's seventeen and wasted off Alabama Slamma
at Paul D's later
I watch her sleep and she awakes to puke
in the metal bowl I keep bedside
we play American Girl dolls
I hold back Kirsten hair with Samantha hands
combing through blonde strands
I will crave sober fingers years later
when it seems impossible to untangle
my Samantha brown hair.

Her boyfriends are
Jay-Jay the Jet Plane! whose locker is next to mine in
Blue Hall
Adam the Head Lifeguard who laughs at our
Dwight Schrute the future Congressman who hates when I call him Dwight
her boyfriends are Boyfriends while
my boyfirends are "boyfriends"

She still sleeps with the light on and dreams
I am eaten by a shark
she watches helpless, standing only two feet away but
hears the carnage through the earpiece of her
cell phone
they say it is impossible for one to die in one's own dreams

It is impossible for me to live
in hers.

This morning I drove to school and somewhere
between Lebanon and Lally Lane
I sat with her on the dock of the bay
wasting time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

First Poetry Reading Smash Success!

Last night the poets gathered at Sushi Blues. By 8:30 the room was silent except for the readings of the poets who assembled to share their diverse work. The audience was enthusiastic and supportive, the writing discussions in between lively and provocative. We had members from the Colgate campus, as well as local life-long poets who live in these areas. We are eagerly looking forward to an even better turn-out on March 10. Please bring work to pass and post!

Rachael Ikins took photographs as the readings progressed through the night. A wonderful piece was read in duet form by a fabric and clay artist we are familiar with around Hamilton, Ms. Susanne Farrington, who asked Arthur Ramer to read with her.
Rachael Ikins read several of her current works preceded by Amanda Meeks of Colgate. Frannie Iacuzzi read two pieces in process from her Advanced Poetry writing class with Bruce Smith Andrea read a segment of a novel/memoir of women in the fifties which was so clear it felt not like decades ago but "just yesterday." If I left anybody out, I apologize. If anyone who did read would like their work posted on this blog, please email or give Rachael a copy and she will make it happen. Again, many thanks! to all who came and shared cookies, poetry, and laughter. See you next time! Life hones. Poetry abides! Read on....

Retired Couple Gossip
by Susanne Farrington by Rachael Ikins

When we retire Old purses's zippered pockets
we will get matching dogs. gap-tooth smiles, shoulder on.
Then, wearing leisure our twin leisure suits, Wrinkly gum-wrapper, stale mint,
we will walk our leashed dogs one 1986 copper penny's copper, blue;
around the block and to the park. an almost-full frequent buyer card
"A FREE BOOK" the store, long gone.

We will carry our camera phones They slouch
In case the grand-kids call. disconsolately from cellar pegs
And bring our I-pods and Blackberries on wall-board, pooched out lips, stretched
to enhance our gentle recreation. straps, abs gone to flab. Our cat hunts here
whispers among them, under them, through
We'll stop to rest on park benches. their inside-out secrets. I move them from
Then the dogs will sit one rusty nail to another. Their lips flap mutely.
Tell stories of the woman who toted
and not bark at squirrels. their weights, each like an infant (through Fire)
to this life. My right bicep bunches reflexively.
Skin there will always bear the scar.
Short Story
by Arthur Ramer

I'm reading a book of short stories
written thirty thousand years ago
in nineteen eighty-nine.

If there are veterans
they're dressed in jeans, wear beards
and long hair. Swig whiskey
from tall glasses and refer obliquely to
the 'Nam.

I close the book on my chest
and marvel at how many more
vets there are now.
All in the name of God
and country and family,
baseball and booze.

Time has slipped away,
wetting swamps and sands.
I'm amazed at how we've wasted away
the fortune of our future
into futility.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Open Mic Neighbors! Mark Your Calendar!

For all those poets and musicians heading for Sushi Blues on up-coming Monday nights, here are a few related events to put on your calendar as well!
In Earlville, New York, home of the famed Earlville Opera House, host musician Steve Blais will be holding open mic nights on the following dates Mar. 19, April 16, and May 21.
Sign-ups begin at 6:30 p.m. for 15 minute performance slots through until 9:30 p.m.
P.A. provided.
Piano available.
All styles of music welcome; poetry or other spoken word performance welcome.
$1 coffee; $1 baked goods. See you there!

MAD-art artists' co-operative in Hamilton, New York, just around the corner from Sushi Blues and next door to the Hamilton Movie Theater will be holding an performance event on March 15, Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. in honor of Women's History month and to celebrate womens' creativity . Last year 2007 MAD-art held the first annual HER-story event that was well attended. Co-op president Catherine Jones hopes that HER-story '08 will be, too. Poetry and other types of artistic interpretation and talent welcome. It will take place, as last year's, in the MAD-art space. Though the focus is women, men are welcome to attend, to!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Welcome To Monday Night Poetry @ Sushi Blues

NEW!!!!!!!Monday Night Poetry Events in Hamilton, New York

Please join us for poetry readings and slams every second and fourth Monday of the month at Sushi Blues Restaurant, Hamilton NY @ 7:30 p.m-9:00 p.m. The first meeting is Monday February 25.

Bring some of your own work to read for the open mic portion of the evening.

This bi-weekly event is co-hosted by Rachael Z. Ikins, central New York poet and photographer and Frannie Iacuzzi , Colgate undergraduate student and poet.

Many thanks to Sushi Blues and Candi and Arthur Ramer for providing us with a place to stand up and declare ourselves.

We hope to schedule special, invitational readings by local well-known poets and teachers of poetry writing as well from time to time, and to encourage writers of all ages to give us an ear!

Directions: from Syracuse, Manlius, Fayetteville--take rte. 92 E to the head of Cazenovia Lake. Turn left. Go through downtown Cazenovia and Morrisville on rte. 20 east. Turn right or south onto rt. 12-12B into downtown Hamilton. At the first stop-light, Colgate University Bookstore will be on the right. At the end of the next block on the right is Sushi Blues, next door to Hamilton Whole Foods. Free on the street parking.

From Norwich, Sherbourne, Smyrna etc. take rt. 12 north through Earlville. Sushi Blues is approx. 7 miles from Earlville on the left. One building up from the post office.