a peek at monika forsberg’s walkyland

 

These days I’ve been loving Monika Forsberg’s wonderfully quirky art. I’m taken with her vivid colors and interesting compositions, as well as how she blends humor and fantasy with reality.

 

 

A Monika Forsberg design is bold, eye-catching and very distinctive.

 

 

Though she now lives and works in North London, she’s originally from Sweden. She grew up in a northern seaside town where it was almost always winter.

 

 

In her early 20’s, Monika moved to London to study art and animation at the Royal College of Art. Her boyfriend is also an artist and they are the parents of two boys. After the birth of her second son, she decided to pursue illustration.

 

 

Her work appears in books and magazines, on fabric and paper products (gift wrap, greeting cards, planners, stationery), and a variety of children’s products (games, puzzles, backpacks, baby clothes).

 

 

 

Her client list includes Anthropologie, eeBoo, NY Review, United Nations, Gorman Clothing, Oopsie Daisy and Unicef.

 

 

Monika begins her pieces with pen, paint, and paper — drawing by hand while sitting on her bed listening to audio books or radio documentaries. When she’s compiled a stack of drawings, she moves to her computer, where she scans them in before assembling the best ones in Photoshop.

 

Continue reading

“November” by Maggie Dietz

“La Belle Jardiniere – November” by Eugène Grasset (1896)

 

Ah, November!

The eleventh month often gets a bad rap. Sometimes described as “somber,” “gloomy,” or “dreary,” it’s neither here nor there.

October, with its splendid, crisp days and peak foliage is quintessential autumn —  a very hard act to follow. As Anne Shirley famously said, “I’m glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

Poor November. Shock of color gone, trees showing their bare bones, chilly winds — suddenly we’re reminded of year’s end, darkness to come. We reflect on our unmet resolutions, mourn the transience of time. At least December has much to distract us with its holiday cheer and bustle, a winter welcome tied with a pretty red bow.

And yet.

 

“Autumn Leaves” by John Everett Millais (1856)

 

Good things happen in November. It’s my birthday month (as well as Len’s, my dad’s and brother-in-law’s). It’s a time to honor veterans (like my mom), and of course, there’s Thanksgiving, when the house smells of spiced cider, roast turkey, homemade pies, squash and pumpkin everything.

A time for gathering in, but also gathering together. Expressing gratitude. Feasting. Who wouldn’t love a month where food takes center stage?

So I’m okay with this take stock, get ready, fortify yourself month. It’s my chance to bask in the fading light and exquisite melancholy. Shorter days? More time for reading and dreaming. 🙂

*

 

“November Freshet” by John Ottis Adams (1897)

 

NOVEMBER
by Maggie Dietz

Show’s over, folks. And didn’t October do
A bang-up job? Crisp breezes, full-throated cries
Of migrating geese, low-floating coral moon.

Nothing left but fool’s gold in the trees.
Did I love it enough, the full-throttle foliage,
While it lasted? Was I dazzled? The bees

Have up and quit their last-ditch flights of forage
And gone to shiver in their winter clusters.
Field mice hit the barns, big squirrels gorge

On busted chestnuts. A sky like hardened plaster
Hovers. The pasty river, its next of kin,
Coughs up reed grass fat as feather dusters.

Even the swarms of kids have given in
To winter’s big excuse, boxed-in allure:
TVs ricochet light behind pulled curtains.

The days throw up a closed sign around four.
The hapless customer who’d wanted something
Arrives to find lights out, a bolted door.

~ from That Kind of Happy (University of Chicago Press, 2016).

 

*

Maggie Dietz received a BA from Northwestern University and an MA from Boston University. She is the author of That Kind of Happy (University of Chicago Press, 2016) and Perennial Fall (University of Chicago Press, 2006), winner of the 2007 Jane Kenyon Award from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. Dietz has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, and Phillips Exeter Academy, among others. She previously served as director of Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project, coediting three anthologies related to the project. She currently teaches at the University of Massachusetts–Lowell and lives in New Hampshire.

 

*

The beautiful, talented, and exceedingly clever Michelle Barnes is hosting the Roundup at Today’s Little Ditty. With bed head and election results, she’s somewhat of a basket case this week, sharing fab poems with commentary. And do I love all the bear talk? Why yes, yes I do. Check out the full menu of poetry goodness and have a delicious Novemberish weekend.


Copyright © 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Don’t forget to vote in today’s critical midterm elections!

This cool poster was created by Missouri artist Mary Engelbreit and is available as a free download from her official website. The image fits on an 11″ x 17″ size sheet.

*

2. Some of you may know that my mother served in the Women’s Army Corps during WWII. She was one of the first 59 women from Hawai’i to enlist (she wrote about her experiences in this short chronology).

Just so happens Maryland author Ann McCallum read my post about Margaret not too long ago and asked to include her in a new book she was writing about women in the U.S. Army. This past summer, I shared more information and photos via email with Ann, who wrote a chapter about Margaret.

Ann recently shared the final cover of the book on social media — what a surprise to see Margaret’s photo right on the front! I know my mother would be thrilled and amazed. Women Heroes of the U.S. Army will be published in July 2019 — can’t wait to see it! Pretty cool, no? 🙂

*

3. Speaking of notable women, check out this cool print by Massachusetts illustrator Karen Hallion. Her first “She Series” collage features these 9 kickass role models:

Wonder Woman
Rey from Star Wars
Mulan
Moana
Princess Leia
Anne of Green Gables
Angelica Schulyer from the musical Hamilton
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Okoye from Black Panther

You can purchase this 11″ x 14″ open edition print at Karen’s Etsy Shop — a great place to browse, especially if you’re a Star Wars, Harry Potter, Buffy or steampunk fan. Each of these female heroes is also available separately as small 8″ x 10″ signed Lustre prints.

*

Continue reading

poetry friday roundup is here

“The right is ours. Have it we must. Use it we will.” ~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton

 

Happy November and Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup!

Here we are,  just a few days away from the most important midterm elections of our lifetimes.

It is a difficult, frustrating, disheartening, enraging, frightening time to be female in this country. Yet it is also an empowering, illuminating, pivotal moment for us.

The 2017 Women’s March was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history, with an estimated 3 million people participating across the country. With the current #MeToo movement, we are finally seeing some real-world consequences of the longstanding, widespread problem of sexual assault and harassment.

 

 

Where the system failed, when there are wrongs to be righted, women have and will continue to step up to the plate — and ultimately to the polls. Let’s not forget the courageous women who battled over half a century for our constitutional right to vote.

Anger + Anguish → Activism

On Tuesday there will be a record number of female candidates on the ballot — running for Congress, governorships and other positions in state legislatures. Several are poised for major breakthroughs for women of color.

 

🇺🇸 Big Blue Wave coming, powered by fierce women. 🇺🇸

 

Art copyright © 2018 Matthew Cordell

 

Because corruption, hypocrisy, misogyny, entitlement, racism, cruelty, oppression, subjugation, abuse, assault.

 

The right is ours:

to speak, to be heard and be believed
to peacefully protest
to advocate for reproductive, workers’, religious, and LGBTQ rights, healthcare and immigration reform
to fight for environmental protections and common sense gun laws

“Women’s Rights” are HUMAN RIGHTS

 

Turn the Tide Vote Blue original wave by Melissa Iwai/Pen and Ink Brigade 2018 (click to purchase)

 

It’s time for the old guard to step aside. Powerful individuals in elected office have been paid big bucks to run the show for a long time and they’ve messed things up royally. Congress is broken. All three branches of government are now controlled by one political party, a party that once stood for family values and “high moral and ethical standards.” Now splintered, corrupt beyond reason and totally unrecognizable, this party has been hijacked by an immoral, destructive, crooked con man who profits off the presidency. What happened to checks and balances? What happened to the honor of public service, civil discourse and common decency?

A pox on self interest, big egos, personal agendas, revenge politics, gaslighting, attacks on the free press and blatant, toxic, pathological LYING. A pox on rich, hypocritical, complicit officials and Supreme Court nominees playing the victim card.

 

 

When a woman summons up the courage to tell her truth, testifying under oath, why isn’t her word good enough, but a man’s is?

When a woman speaks out against injustice, she’s considered a shrill, hysterical shrew. When a man does the same, it’s an act of bravery.

Men don’t like being called out for what they’ve gotten away with for centuries. And the guilty ones stick together.

A time of reckoning has arrived; women will not be silenced.

Let’s transform our rage into a tsunami of VOTES for positive change.

Do not dismiss us, or relegate us to the corner sitting in kiddie chairs. We will decide for ourselves.

*

 

 

MY MOTHER GOES TO VOTE
by Judith Harris

We walked five blocks
to the elementary school,
my mother’s high heels
crunching through playground gravel.
We entered through a side door.

Down the long corridor,
decorated with Halloween masks,
health department safety posters —
we followed the arrows
to the third grade classroom.

My mother stepped alone
into the booth, pulling the curtain behind her.
I could see only the backs of her
calves in crinkled nylons.

A partial vanishing, then reappearing
pocketbook crooked on her elbow,
our mayor’s button pinned to her lapel.
Even then I could see — to choose
is to follow what has already
been decided.

We marched back out
finding a new way back down streets
named for flowers
and accomplished men.
I said their names out loud, as we found

our way home, to the cramped house,
the devoted porch light left on,
the customary meatloaf.
I remember, in the classroom converted
into a voting place —
there were two mothers, conversing,
squeezed into the children’s desk chairs.

~ copyright © 2018 Judith Harris

*

Art by Monika Forsberg

 

It’s no longer a matter of red vs. blue, but of right vs. wrong. How we vote on Tuesday will determine who we are as a country.

*

Now, please leave your poetry-related links with Mr. Linky below. Don’t forget to put the name of the poem or title of the book you’re sharing in parentheses after your name. Enjoy the delicious variety of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere this week. Thanks for joining us!!

*

*

 

Art copyright © 2018 Ashley Wolff

 

 

“The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls. Every truth we see is ours to give the world, not to keep for ourselves alone, for in so doing we cheat humanity out of their rights and check our own development.”

— Elizabeth Cady Stanton (from an 1890 speech to the National American Woman Suffrage Association)


Copyright © 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

love me some richard adams

With Richard Adams’s work, it was love at first sight.

I’m such a sucker for British charm and quirkiness.

How I’d love to step right into his paintings and explore the bucolic villages, sample the food at the open markets, stroll along country lanes, peek into thatched cottages, and best of all, chat with some of the fascinating characters who dwell in his halcyon world.

Adams was born in Hampshire (1960) and grew up in Wiltshire amidst the south Cotswold countryside, a landscape that would have a lasting influence on his work. He received a BA Hons in Graphic Design from Leicester Polytechnic, then worked as a freelance illustrator in London for clients such as BP, the Radio Times, and Penguin Books, before moving to Rye in Sussex, where he lives now. He has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally in Madrid, Washington, Sydney and Bremen.

At first glance, one is taken with the enchanting beauty, brilliant composition, and wealth of detail. On second glance, one catches on to Adams’s puckish sense of humor (he characterizes his work as having “a subtle light-heartedness”). While studying the chock-a-block cross-section of his Dolls House, for example, one might be distracted by the man doing a headstand on the front lawn and miss the naked woman casually sitting on the sofa making polite conversation.

With Adams, a liberated, freewheeling loose boob or two seems par for the course. Why not frolic in the field, mix the playful with the pretty, and surprise the viewer in the best possible way? 🙂

Continue reading