Welcome to a virtual exhibition of student work from the Summer 2021 class ART/RSP 299: Gathering in the Garden: Poetry and Studio Art.
The class was an introduction to two creative processes--the visual and the literary—in an intensive, week-long exploration with two guides, professors Rebecca Goodale and Lisa Hibl. Poetry and the visual arts have long been inspired by the garden; this course took inspiration from the natural forms, colors, inhabitants, and visitors to gardens. Working independently and together, students developed a control of structural elements within and between the two disciplines sufficient to write, illustrate, design, and collaborate on a final project. Workshops, lectures, and demonstrations comprised the course meetings, and in addition there were visits to public gardens and farms, as well as critiques.
- Visitors by Lindsey Bosk
- Admirers of the Garden by Tabitha Burgess
- Visiting the Garden by Ryan Guptil
- We, Three by Ginna Majka
- A Short Stay by Rachel Milne
- Dandy/Robin/Gardener by Sadie Pressman
- Three Garden Visitors by Vivien Russe
- ILJA by Paula Shevenell
- Floral Beauty by Sophia Squire
All works were photographed by students. Cover image contains a detail from a work by Ryan Guptil.
There is a need within us all,
just like this garden,
for water to replenish what is dry and wilted.
One drop falls from the grey-blue sky onto a leaf.
Another hits my brow, I smile.
Like me, the rain does not stay forever,
we are both visitors here.
The droplets of water pick up speed,
as if sensing urgency.
Thirsty plants lap up water,
the rain is welcome.
Unlike the rain, I serve no purpose.
I quench no one’s thirst.
Nonetheless, I sit in the center of it all,
as If I matter most.
Admirers of the Garden
I fly in as the sun rises
Fluttering to the beaming light
Of golden and red velvety petals
I touch down on the layers of the lilies
Admiring their similar colors
Breaking my concentration
A chirping sound in the distance
I feel the wind beneath my wings
As I fly to an area I’m familiar with
I land on the nearby fence post
My black and white feathers
Illuminated by sunlight
I look down at the nearby botany
The rows of greens growing from the soil
I seek out my next destination and take flight
As a shadow takes my light
I walk down the path as I do every time
I leave for a new adventure
I see a small chickadee fly off towards the trees
Walking over to the daylilies
Growing up to the top of the small fence
I feel lost in their presence
Until the bright colored monarch
Catches my attention
Visiting the Garden
Winter is gone
The sun is out
I open right up
I come right out.
My bright red complexion
My powerful aroma
Creatures come to see me,
Without a doubt.
They know my smell
They know my name
They know what I am
Not ever a doubt.
Every year I am the same,
But they always change.
Till next year my friends
Please stay the same.
I feel you looking
I never move, always still
Frozen like a rock.
I am as bright as a flame
And catch the shining sun.
You’re drawn to me
Like a moth is to a light.
I can be a slew of colors,
But my stem is always green.
My stem is short
With my added itsy-bitsy leaves
But my flower is mighty.
I will shine bright
As long as you gaze.
I am the soil, the mountains and oceans of life.
Mycellium colonies beneath my surface plunge up
up, up through the peat and the moss, the decaying leaves. They pray for the rain, the fruit of my earth.
Plantae nestle in, fragile and comfortable,
seeds sprout to eagerly gulp rain,
animalia flourish, consuming what I provide
only to come home, at the end, to me
to rejoin my earth;
we are one
I am the atmosphere, the sunny clouds and storms producing bounty to those below
I am the chaos in the lightning
I am the rainbow after the storm
Changing fearfully, I’m warmer and drier
than I’ve ever been before
connected to the ocean, cycling with the wind flying with magnificent wings; most organic some metallic
I love the magic of what lies below The planet loves me - needs me Yet lately, I don’t know
I may feel neglected
I am gliding with my own two feet over fresh, pungent soil packed down on the trail that savors my tracks--
Carrying my heart in my hand
Raised in a society who pays no attention
With blissful ignorance in humankind--
I turn my back to the destruction
I savor this land, this sky, this earth
I breathe in the bold Yellow Cap birthed over a rainy night whistle with twirling ferns nestled in the moss
smile with the clumsy toad who blends with mother soil, who watches curiously, and asks me, what we are doing to his beautiful home?
A Short Stay
Gracefully, she leaps over the fence.
Slowly, she walks through the yard,
Plucking low-hanging leaves for breakfast.
She lingers, as she eats
And suddenly –
Nails skittering on wood, a rush of air through the grass,
Her visit is cut short
She sends herself back into the woods
Just as the dog reaches the top of the hill
Their nest may be elsewhere,
But the pair frequently visit this place.
His little, crimson body darts over the yard,
Her subtle, tawny feathers hide away in a tree.
A constant in the garden,
They are a pleasant sight to those in the home
This one does not visit as often
It has so many gardens to see
But this one is nice for a rest.
Pausing at as many flowers
As it can along the way,
Before flitting away to grace another garden
I’ll be so direct by saying, if I may, that here is simply, absolutely, the best place to be. Here,
where the rolling hill plunges towards the ocean. Here, where the sight of the Bavarian blue sky
makes my insides feel endless. Here, where, watching as I so often do, as the white cotton
shape-shifts before my eyes, summer-time in suspense. The sun’s rays suspend from the sky,
dangling like the hands of time. They caress me. A pocket watch in the sky, the sky's the best
accessory. Here, where I am more popular than I could ever have once imagined. Here, I am
special; the first food of the season available for the bees, the robins stop by and peck at me
searching for seeds, the children don’t disregard me, in fact they are gay and giddy, giggling
while they pluck me from my roots to make a bouquet, a bouquet of wild things. Here I can be,
simply serene, no more of an eye sore than the scorched grass.
Where do I start to make the point that I’ll be making?
The seeds were bountiful,
the worms, plenty.
The fence was just the right height,
the breeze ruffled me just to my fancy.
But I digress.
Perched atop the blockade, though I am not the gatekeeper.
Leave that job to the cantankerous gardener who fusses over his plot.
He is doleful in the way he sows his seeds,
groaning at the sign of things that he decided should not be seen:
a dandelion in his plot,
the lazy, fat, orange cat from the quarter 3 blocks away.
Although I am not the gatekeeper, I contest that which the gardener decides is and isn’t allowed
within the parameters of diamond shaped wire.
Anything that is life,
or that therefore contributes to it,
should be, without question, allowed.
A garden after all, is where one goes to grow.
I go to sow
and someday I will reap
that which I grow
Not so unique is my garden plot from the rest
we are indeed, not very different from one another
raised beds and turning heads
I didn’t intend to cultivate for the looks
but no one is looking at me
not anymore than they look at a dandelion
I had a dream last night
the robin in the garden was talking to me
singing for me
I sat for a while on the splintery wood chips that surrounded my plot
I listened closely
as I had promised myself to do
looking for nuance in the bird’s song
wordsless, but not without understanding
together we understood
or so I thought.
Three Garden Visitors
Beside a cup of tea, I am a spotted leopard on pajamas.
Outside in the garden, this early summer morning,
Staying sly, quiet, not wanting to draw any attention from the neighbors.
A birdie is hidden in the Emerald Green Arborvitae,
After lunch, Owen comes over, asking politely if he can come into the yard to find it.
I reply, “Certainly, you can retrieve anything that lands in the yard without asking”.
Coming unannounced, no matter when, full of presumption
It comes with the lightest, gentle touch or the hardest hit, knocking flowers off center.
Below the fine roots rejoice or weep.
I remember you
sitting in the woods,
Gathering in the children
Gathering in the
sights and sounds.
warm, kind patient
as the children crawl over you.
Sitting on this rock
breathing in the scent of the woods
Trying to bring in
the calm I see in you
Amid the chaos
Of children befriending you
Of parents attempting
To capture the moment
With their devices
Of plastic, wires and glass.
An appreciation for chrysanthemum
Took bloom within her soul during
Her early years of life and began
To flourish as time went on
Passing slowly, the years whisked
By and things would grow all around
Her as her hair drifted down past
Her slim shoulders – long brown
“I wish to grow my roots, soon,
In one place where I can stay
Becoming stronger within myself
Until it is time for me to wither away
I’ll make this body a lovely space
For my spirit of flora to grow and
Thrive, with windows all around to
Let sunshine onto my petals every day”
The flower child’s fiancée watched her
Petals turn in during the night times as
She grew towards light in the daytimes -
A spirit always reaching towards warmth
He liked the way she’d turn to him
As if he were the source of light himself
It felt very special to be the source of
Someone’s deepest endearments
“How can a flower love me more than
Anything else?” He wondered inwardly
“More than the saucer or soil it grows in,
More than the sunlight and space?”
“She makes this home her garden”
He thought to himself while caressing
Her arms that are as soft as the deep
Green leaves on her house plants
“I’m her home” he realized as he
Drifted sleepily into an afternoon nap
She has everything she needs
Including my loving company
With water in the bottom saucer of
A begonia, its leaves unfurling –
Their soil is rich and fervent for
New stems to shoot out brilliantly
The two lovers grow together
Two stalks intertwined
Leaves curling against each other
Opening outwards to greet the day
A quaint young girl and partner
With such deep love for flora
That each would oftentimes
Imagine themselves as one