New Ohio Review Issue 11 (Originally printed Spring 2012) is archiving previous editions as they originally appeared. We are pairing the pieces with curated art work, as well as select audio recordings. In collaboration with our past contributors, we are happy to (re)-present this outstanding work.

Issue 11 compiled by Peter Russ.


By Tony Hoagland

Featured Image: Deer from Momoyogusa-Flowers of a Hundred Generations (1909) by Kamisaka Sekka

Set in the large public hallway and various spaces of a courtroom building. Drinking fountain, a pay phone on the wall, various benches where people eat their lunch or sit, and a few nooks and crannies where they stand and speak. The play is a sequence of monologues from alternate sides of the stage. All the speakers are connected to the trial, but nothing of the trial itself is ever shown.


(professional woman wearing glasses, reading from a clipboard, her voice bu- reaucratic and oracular)

Unicom officials denied knowledge of the events of June ’95. Somehow an entire forest had disappeared.


Those erasures were committed, they said, by an irresponsible subsidiary

who didn’t know the right way to make a jungle disappear.

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Old Love Poems

By Denise Duhamel

Featured Image: “Rozen” by Margaretha Roosenboom

I can burn the pictures, but not the poems
since I published them in books, which are on shelves
in libraries and in people’s homes. Once my cousin told me
not to write anything down because the words would be there forever
to remind me of the fool I once was. My cousin
was the little dog on the Tarot card, barking at the Fool’s heels
as I headed right toward the cliff.

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Clear and Cold

By Lisa Ampleman

Featured Image: “The Red Kerchief” by Claude Monet

Though already setting,
the sun in late afternoon

in late December revels
in its power—how it,

though meager, can set
red-brick façades ablaze,

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The Muse of Work

By Ellen Bass

Featured Image: “Portrait of Mrs Marie Jeanette de Lange” (1900) by Jan Toorop

If I could choose my muse,
she’d have red hair, short, spikey,
and green cateye glasses with rhinestones at the tips.
She’d wear a sleeveless white blouse, ruffled
over shallow scallop-shell breasts.
Can you see how young she is?
I think she’s the girl Sappho loved,
the one with violets in her lap.

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What You Find, If You Find It

By Jeff P. Jones

Featured Image: “Paris Map in Dutch” by Guillaume Delisle

As a letter carrier, she delivered non-urgent messages to people’s houses. Her work brought her past gates, across yards, onto porches, into foyers. She never looked in windows or rang doorbells but on request would hand mail to a resident encountered outside as she exchanged small talk. She would then move on, readying the next house’s letters and advertisements, imagining fingertips releasing sealed flaps, creases tearing, messages sliding into waiting hands.

Each week her teenaged son caused some new havoc. One night he stole her car and was stopped by police forty miles away, coursing a college town’s streets with three friends and a bottle of vodka. The four boys cleaned her gutters the next weekend as she grilled hamburgers and made jokes about her prematurely gray hair.

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Dispatches From the Interior

By Geoffrey Brock

Featured Image: “A Lone Child Walking Down the Street at Night“, Unknown Artist

Like the one where you stumble along happily drunk
after closing a bar and reach your car only to find it
surrounded by militia who take you in to question you
about why you left your son alone in the car so long
and you say I lost track of time though that’s not true
and Can I see him and they refuse and Is he okay and

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By Z.Z. Boone

Featured Image: “Breton Girls Dancing, Pont-Aven” (1888) by Paul Gauguin

I don’t know what happened, but last night I just lost it. Just fucking lost it.

It’s eleven o’clock at night, I’ve been doing inventory in my store all week, I’ve barely made a dime, and this is when my fourteen-year-old daughter decides it’s a good time for defiance.

“You have no idea what it’s like!” she screams.

I’m lying on my still-made bed, full dressed except for my shoes, and she’s standing with a hand on each side of the doorway as if to prevent my escape. I’m not going anywhere. I’m just trying to hear the TV, trying to get the news about how screwed up the rest of the world is, but I can’t make out a word.

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Zigzag. Yeah.

By Scott Kreeger

Featured Image: “Flowers on a Footpath from Bijutsu Sekai” by Watanabe Seitei

Zigzag down the stairs. Yeah. Zigzag to the trash can and toss the bag in. Yeah.

Zigzag through the gate and into the pool area. Yeah. Zigzag between the chaise lounges. Yeah. Zigzag down the steps and into the pool. Yeah.

Zigzag too cold, too cold. Yeah. Zigzag out of the pool. Yeah.

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Throw It Up

By Suzanne Richardson

Featured Image: “The Fallen Angel Spreads His Black Wings” by Odilon Redon

Heroin made Tristan’s breath sweet like mangoes. When we kissed it felt like licking the inside of a kiwi: fragrant, indulgent, the tangy saccharine rolling around my tongue. I didn’t know why he tasted like that, but I liked it. At the time I didn’t know I was sleeping with a heroin addict. He would sit up in bed and scratch his arms and face for hours. I would call his name, shake him even, but he wouldn’t answer. In all four years I’d slept with him, he had never acted that way before. I would put on a robe and pace the apartment, or sit on the couch, and think about my family. My brother. My parents. I had never felt this scared with them despite our differences. Sometimes I would grab fruits or vegetables from the fridge and nervously practice peeling, or dicing until dawn. I think I did this out of some compulsion to better myself even in the darkest of hours. My mother could always chop and dice things perfectly. I taught myself to peel mangoes in one motion so the peel piled into one long strand in the sink drain. I couldn’t think of anything that would make him act that way. One night, lying on the couch, staring at the ceiling, I recalled a conversation I’d had at a party with an EMT.

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Dhaka Nocturne

By Tarfia Faizullah

Featured Image: “Tête-á-Tête” by Edvard Munch

I admit that when the falling hour
begins to husk the sky free of its
saffroning light, I reach for anyone

willing to wrap his good arm tight
around me for as long as the ribboned
darkness allows. Who wants, after all

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By David Gullette

Featured Image: “Proposed Broadway Underground Railway” by Unknown Artist

The first of February 1855
Thoreau skates up the river:
it swells beneath its crust
making a musical cracking,
running like chain lightning of sound
athwart my course.

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Birds In Cemeteries

By George Kalogeris

Featured Image: “Two Cockatoo and Plum Blossom” by Ohara Koson

It must be the shade that draws them. Or else the grass.
And it seems they always alight away from their flocks,

Alone. It’s so quiet here you can’t help but hear
Their talons clink as they hop from headstone to headstone.

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By Robert Cording

Featured Image: “Australian Pelican” by Elizabeth Gould

Last evening, another sunset party:
drinks, laughs, ironies, hidden desires.
All of us tanned and glowing, we exchanged
jokes and gossip, fresh and stale, self-conscious
that something larger was missing
when we turned to best watches, shoes, cigars.

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By William Kelley Woolfitt

I’ve been told Crow’s story so many times I remember it better than my own memories. It was my bedtime, naptime, and story-time story. I think my parents told it to each other too, in whispers, in each other’s arms, striped with moonlight coming in through the blinds, too tired to say anything new.

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By Eric Torgersen

Featured Image: “Study for “Le Bain”: Two Women and a Child in a Boat” by Mary Cassatt

You’ve got to act, and soon, but you don’t dare yet.
There’s one big load you don’t think you can bear yet.

You chose to dive this deep; it’s not for me
to tell you why you can’t come up for air yet.

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By Richard Schiffman

Featured Image: “Rendezvous in the Forest” By Henri Rousseau

Already morning ignites
the high wicks of the pine.
A few birds trilling,
don’t ask me their names,

or my own as I stumble
out of bed on sea legs,
rub my eyes until stars appear
like ships still foundering

on the reef of night.
But when I open them again, day
is fully rigged and sailing off
with me on it.

Richard Schiffman is an environmental reporter, poet, and author of two biographies. In addition to the New Ohio Review his poems have appeared on the BBC, in the Alaska Quarterly, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, Writer’s Almanac, This American Life in Poetry, Verse Daily and other publications. His first poetry collection “What the Dust Doesn’t Know” was published in 2017 by Salmon Poetry.

Originally appeared in NOR 11.


By Richard Schiffman

Featured Image: “Houses of Parliament, London” by Claude Monet

“It is not known why they were not finished,”
the curator noted of two hundred later canvases.
Turner’s work becoming increasingly unhinged—
cyclonic sunbursts, hills skipping like rams, crepuscular
curtains, reeling cliffs and brimstoned cities.

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Take Your Trash and Make it Fly

By Devin Murphy

Featured Image: “Shoes” by Vincent Van Gogh

One night a month, people in my hometown outside of Buffalo, New York, put their large trash items on the curb for the sanitation department to pick up the next morning. Our neighbors would drag out old Whirlpool appliances, ironing boards, and whatever else the weekly garbage route couldn’t take. On those evenings, my Dutch immigrant mother loaded me into her rusted-over white 1970 Chevy Caprice station wagon with its vinyl side panel, and we’d slowly cruise the streets picking through the refuse.

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By Deborah Casillas

Featured Image: “Standing Bull” by Jean Bernard

The days dragged on, steady ticking of the clock.
My mother’s cancer; surgery, injections, drugs.
Long afternoons I sat in my grandfather’s library
looking at books. Shelves of books about bullfighting—
la lidia, combat; la corrida, the running of the bulls.

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The Swans

By Anamyn Turowski

Featured Image: “Woman with a Butterfly at a Pond with Two Swans” by Jan Toorop

She bought the swans because of the empty pond. Lonely; that’s why, really. She saw two swans in profile in a poultry magazine she’d picked up at the dentist’s. She paid $1500 for a pair. As if swans could change anything. Her husband says she needs birds like she needs a hole in her head. A lobotomy, she thinks, that’s what I need. Every time she stares out the window toward the pond, the empty water makes her cry. She charged the pair on a new credit card that came in the mail that day. What’s the interest on that card? You never read the fine print.

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Standing on the Desk

By Donna L. Emerson

I am twelve years old in Mr. Ody’s art class and he’s teaching me to use an
eraser on my watercolor of rain and sun. To make the sun stream like spotlights
through the clouds. He moves the eraser by placing his hand over mine. He rests
his hand on my wrist a little longer.

I start to back away.

He asks me to be a model for the class. He lets me stand on his desk. He says,
Don’t take your eyes off her. Let your pencil try to draw her without ever stopping
your looking and drawing. I’m glad I wore my new turquoise skirt and
flowered blouse. Mr. Ody pulls his chair out to see better.

While Danny Sessa makes jokes, I can feel Mr. Ody’s eyes. He’s staring. I turn
red, start to joke back and Mr. Ody says, Just stand still and be quiet.

This was the beginning of the first time.

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The Jaguars of Southtown

By Amos Jasper Wright IV

Featured Image: “The Repast of the Lion” by Henri Rousseau

Forty days passed without landing a sale. For a while, I felt sorry for myself, and then self-pity shifted gears and boiled into a rage that curdled everything   I touched. The BP spill down in the Gulf had put a damper on auto sales. The economy in general was in shambles, but this town hadn’t prospered much since the Red Mountain cut. Meanwhile, we’re dumping good, hard-earned USD into foreign countries and our Harvard-educated Kenyan president was doing all  of jackshit about it. Instead of buying new cars, people just drive them longer. Used to I could sell forty cars in a month. You don’t need a Harvard degree to do that.

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By Liz Kingsley

Featured Image: “Pattern from L’ornoment Polychrome” by Albert Racinet

First he slept with someone else and later while he was busy sleeping, she slept
with someone else. No, before he slept with someone else, she slept with the
lawyer across the street who gave good oral argument. She did not tell him
about the lawyer. Their time together was privileged and she knew her rights.

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The Farm

By Spencer Wise

Featured Image: “Poppy Fields near Argenteuil” by Claude Monet

We’re on our way to meet Charlene’s family for the first time, listening to Townes Van Zandt in the car, and Charlene’s saying, “‘Pancho and Lefty’ is me and my Daddy’s song,” when I suddenly smell fire. All along Highway 33, the smell of wood burning. She laughs. “Don’t laugh,” I say, “might be a forest fire.” She says, “First time south of the Mason-Dixon, and now you’re Woodsy Owl.”

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When People Watch You

By Nathan Anderson

Featured Image: “Tingletangle” by Edvard Munch

I’m not like those crazy people.
The people that watch me
are real. I can see them.

Never mind the mailman. That blue coat
nearly swallows him. You never know
what’s under there—and he’s, well,
rather strange looking,

like a boy with a bald spot
bent over thick black shoes
and that bag he cradles

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Stupid Sandwich

By Nathan Anderson

Featured Image: “The Grocer’s Encyclopedia” by an unknown artist

So yeah, we all have these moments that suck
because what they mean
is like a mystery, like the Mariners last year
good a team as any, traded
what’s-his-name, the fat one, for that Puerto Rican dude
with a wicked right arm
and didn’t even make the playoffs.

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By Shannon Robinson

Featured Image: “The Card Players (Les Joureurs de Cartes)” by Paul Cézanne

I called my mother and told her about my plan. My brother, Christopher, was visiting Ottawa for just a few weeks from Berlin, where he’d lived for the past ten years. He rarely visited, and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for us to talk to him, as a family, about his drinking problem. I explained how we would each write a letter beforehand, expressing our concerns, and then read them out loud to Christopher, one by one.

“Okay, dear,” she said. “That sounds fine.”

I was reading students’ workshop fiction when the phone rang. It was my older sister, Leigh.

“So Mum called me. She was really confused. She says she doesn’t know what you were talking about.”

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Opening the Cottage

By Christina Cook

Featured Image: “Houses and Figure” by Vincent Van Gogh

Jays scrap in the maple
while I sit with my absence
of sound, and a bottle
of last summer’s wine.

I should be bleaching
the mouse-scat floor,
scraping their fur
from the spaces

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Remembered Grace

By Jim Daniels

My mother rolls her walker through the rug
like pushing a dull reel mower through high grass.
She cannot see, so maybe the simile should be sound instead—
like bad jokes from a dull boor. The brittle thread of escape
snapped long ago, sewing kit trashed, needles only and constant
from pain—knee/back/hip. Blurry edges of God rim
her miraged vision. She burns a sandwich on the grill
but not herself—thrill enough to earn a pill. Today
she’s skipping church, and it’s just next door. She calls me
from the kitchen to carry her cup back to her chair—no free
hands. She must watch where she lands when it’s all freefall
and whiffs of Jesus not happy with her. I’m a tourist
with a bad map. She’s a local with time. She waves her hand
as she talks, one graceful thing. She flirts with air.

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Speed of Light

By Mark Irwin

Featured Image: “Blossoming Cherry on a Moonlit Night” by Ohara Koson

Married in Beijing, they had their names carved on
a grain of rice. Mai wore a yellow silk gown. He wore
a black suit. Embraced in the photo turned sideways
they resemble a tiger scrambling through strewn mums.
That evening they ate salted mango and shrimp. He
can still taste that, see the tortoise-shell clip sun-
splintered in her hair. That evening continues, stalled
like the sea-filled drapes in their room. For twenty
years he worked at a lab that accelerated protons. Here
are photographs of their two girls on Lake Michigan,
then in Zermatt, standing before the Matterhorn,
whose moraines, cirques, and ravines resemble those
through two names magnified on a grain of rice, or
of that shadow looming through the CAT scan of her brain.

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Everything Equal

By Joseph Holt

Featured Image: “Vintage European Style Key” by Paul Poiré

NOTE: When “Everything Equal” was posted to the NOR archives in Spring 2021, the author requested to revise and resubmit it to correct some issues of vulgarity and biased gender politics. His revision, titled “Futon Life,” appears below the original.

Three summers ago Ted Dexter flew standby to San Francisco with the vague intention of getting even with his ex-girlfriend. He and this girl, in only a couple months together, had argued, lied, cheated, had proven themselves in every way incompatible. Their final argument initiated with the most mundane of subjects—that he had worn “hideous, unstylish” carpenter jeans to the bars on a Saturday night—and escalated into a blowout that saw them thrown into the Cedar-Riverside streets, stumbling and shouting. At the sound of nearby sirens, Ted beat it back to his apartment and soon passed out drunk on his futon. He slept. The next morning he woke to find that sometime in the night this girl had come and gathered her belongings, most notably the blanket with which he had been covering himself. Sitting at the edge of his futon, slowly regaining his wits, he realized she had also gathered many of his belongings—his PlayStation, his baseball cards, his toaster, even the few bottles of Grain Belt from his crisper drawer. Also gone: his car. It would turn up several days later in Fargo, empty of gas and stripped of its stereo.

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Should I Take it as a Sign

By Sue D. Burton

Featured Image: “Ancient of Days Setting a Compass to the Earth” by William Blake

that the Don’t Bore God note taped
to my desk just fell to the floor,
that I dreamt you gave me
a sandwich wrapped in a glove
& I ate the glove,
that I was mortified even
in my dream?

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The Suggestion Box

By Billy Collins

Featured Image: “Cupid Inspiring Plants with Love from The Temple of Flora” by Robert John Thornton

It all began fairly early in the day
at the coffee shop as it turned out
when the usual waitress said
I’ll bet you’re going to write a poem about this
after she had knocked a cup of coffee into my lap.

Then later in the morning I was told
by a student that I should write a poem
about the fire drill that was going on
as we all stood on the lawn outside our building.

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By Billy Collins

Featured Image: “The Past and the Present, or Philosophical Thought” by Henri Rousseau

The fox collaborates with the chicken.
The motorcycle collaborates with the tree.
The knife collaborates with the throat,
and you want to collaborate with me.

Your watercolors and my poems,
side by side for all to see.
You say it will be interesting and fun.
There you stand, ready to collaborate with me.

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Preface to Making It Up

By Ron Padgett

Featured Image: “Antique Illustration from The Grammar of Ornament” by Owen Jones

I don’t remember who suggested the idea of an evening of spontaneous poetry collaborations by Allen Ginsberg and Kenneth Koch, but I think it came up during a taxi ride the three of us took, six or so months before the event, in which Allen and Kenneth started joking about and even parodying each other’s work. This playful conversation culminated in their public performance of Wednesday evening, May 9, 1979, at the St. Mark’s Poetry Project.

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Some Remarks on Collaboration

By Tom Whalen

Featured Image: “Capucine” by Maurice Pillard Verneuil

  • I’m trying to think what isn’t a collaboration, but when nothing comes to mind, I wander about my Arbeitszimmer, scanning the shelves, lost in thought, before returning to my remarks concerning activities requiring, if not a multitude, at least one other mind.
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Collaboration Queens (Or How the Chapbook, ABBA: The Poems, Came to Be)

By Denise Duhamel and Amy Lemmon

Featured Image: “The Seasons” by Alphonse Maria Mucha

As we wrote “Class Action,” our first poem together (alternating one line at a time, on email), Amy noticed we were writing in abba rhyme, which gave her the idea of writing tangentially about ABBA, the pop group. This lucky association led us to begin a series of poems with two constraints: the stanzas had to be written in abba rhyme, with a mandatory mention of ABBA, the singing group, in each. As we built up our confidence, we sometimes added a third constraint. In one poem, each line had to end in a long “o” sound; and in another, each line had to contain a palindrome, as ABBA is a palindrome. Although we stuck with the rhyme scheme (with allowances for occasional, or more-than-occasional, slant rhymes), we liberated ourselves from metrical restrictions. While Denise is comfortable in the prose poem and free verse, Amy tends to write almost unconsciously in a loose iambic pentameter or tetrameter. But we didn’t insist on uniformity of rhythm. This gave us the leeway to go with the flow, quoting lyrics or song titles, creating dialogue between characters, and injecting other bits of pop culture into the poems.

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Changing the Record: A Poetry Collaboration in the ’70s and ’80s

By Ron Horning and David Lehman

Featured Image: “Four Crowned Cockatoos” by Samuel Jessurun de Masquita

We met late in 1972, when we lived two blocks from each other on Riverside Drive. Though Ron’s room in his apartment was easily quieter than David’s room in “The Barracks,” thus named because of the decibel levels achieved by the inhabitants (David’s roommates were a jazz disc jockey and poet, a veteran of the Marine Corps just back from Vietnam, and a TV-watching, football-twirling specialist in East Asian studies) and their many guests, Ron’s room was also less private, more subject to interruption, and did not have its own bathroom. The first poem we wrote together was written at the Barracks, and so were most of the others in 1973 and 1974. From almost the beginning, the idea was to write a book of poems, but the book never really gelled, either because there were too many other things to think about or because we didn’t know what, if anything, the poems and lines we were typing and writing added up to. We had a working title, or at least we toyed with some candidates. (A Phone of One’s Own captured David’s fancy for a time.) Many poems we started were left unfinished, and even the attempt to write poetry together stopped abruptly in 1975, when we both married for the first time, David in January, Ron in July.

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The Story Behind “Penguins”

By Patty Mitchell

Featured Image: “Little Penguin” by Elizabeth Gould

Located in Athens, Ohio, Passion Works Studio supports collaborations be- tween artists with and without developmental disabilities. The studio began as an experiment in 1996: what would happen if I set up a collaborative art studio within a sheltered workshop, a supported work place for people with develop- mental disabilities? A grant from the Ohio Arts Council allowed us to put the idea in motion, and through additional grants and sales a second professional artist was added to the staff, Wendy Minor. Wendy and I brought to the table our understanding of materials and our art process; the participating individuals brought with them their unique way of experiencing the world and a natural ability of fearlessly jumping into art-making. For fifteen years now, Passion Works has offered a relaxed and informative environment for people to collaborate and investigate ideas. The synergy of excitement and discovery is conveyed in the resulting artwork: playful, vibrant, unpredictable.

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Where the Path Leads: Collaboration, Revision, and Friendship

By Lawrence Raab

Featured Image: “Path Through the Fields from Momoyogusa-Flowers of a Hundred Generations” by Kamisaka Sekka

Many years ago—and I really don’t want to remember exactly how young we were—Stephen Dunn, a friend but not yet a collaborator, was traveling from New Jersey to Yaddo, the artists’ colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. He stopped for the night at our house. During the course of the evening I recall bemoaning the fact that I hadn’t written a poem—maybe not even tried to write one—in over a year. I had writer’s block, I announced, as if it were an identifiable disease. I had not yet learned the wisdom of William Stafford’s famous—or infamous—remark that there is no such thing as writer’s block; all you have to do is lower your standards.

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