The Salon of Writers and Artists

A very kind shout-out and collaborative nod from artist Chris Ludke, whose work inspired the poem at our Literary salon last week. You can check out her work here— the painting’s title is Poe’s Enchanted Garden. More info on upcoming literary salons in Richmond can be found on the James River Writers’ site, here.

Sisterhood of the Muse

This is the Patrick Henry Pub, where the Salon took place. This is the Patrick Henry Pub, where the Salon took place.

This poem was written by Joanna Lee.

On Hearing the History of the Poe Gardens at the Literary Salon in the Patrick Henry Pub

(based on the painting by Chris Ludke)

Nestled in a backdrop of chatter and raven windowpanes,

of sweating whiskey and melted rocks, light

plays on water and the pale of crepe,

of periwinkle. A sun plastically brightly cuts

the hard edge of a shadow that could stand

on it’s own, lonesome and unnatural.

And I remind myself this is about connection, that we,

rose-less, are a hundred variations of the same thorn.

Joanna hears her muse! You can look her up at

This is the Poe Museum. This is the Poe Museum.

I thought the Salon was great! The 1st person to speak told the history of the Poe garden. It’s been through a lot of changes. It was…

View original post 159 more words

ghosts always come out better in black and white

This poem came out of the ekphrastic workshop we did at Crossroads Art Center last weekend, and was inspired
by the untitled piece by photographer Mel Talley above. To see more of the artist’s work, check out

“Koi grow exponentially to their surrounding, as artists do.”

There is a poem just outside
the frame of the photographer,
its filter heavy-lidded, its contours
soft-lit and stark. It is covered in a sheet
of memory, like a Hallowe’en costume,
dense and grainy and a little
sad. It has questions like

What regrets do you hold
by cobwebbed brass handles,
only half-wanting to let go?
What doors do you wish
you had left
open? What good is your strong left
arm against shadows, black
on black?

i remembered the fish
in the pond to the side
of the philosopher’s path,
orange and glowing. Then
i read this today, and
“Make no apologies for your breathing.”

There is no coyness
in creosote dreams.
(You cannot connect.)
The poem will laugh at you,
and still you will try
to catch it costumeless, naked.
Always fuck with windows
open. Always end with a jab….