[review + giveaway] Illusions: Poetry & Art for the Young At Heart by Charles Ghigna and Chip Ghigna

“Everything you can imagine is real.” ~ Pablo Picasso

 

Not too long ago, I featured a few word-gems from Charles Ghigna’s, Dear Poet: Notes to a Young Writer (Resource Publications, 2019). When I paired Charles’s words with his son Chip’s art, I didn’t realize that just a short time later they would publish a book together!

In Illusions: Poetry & Art for the Young at Heart (Resource Publications, 2020), these two incredibly talented creatives explore their fascination with dreams and illusions, as they delve into the mysteries of creativity and champion the innate ability of each individual to shape his own reality.

Geared towards tweens and teens (and as the title suggests, anyone who’s young at heart), the 22 poems and images encourage readers to think outside the box, celebrate the fine art of play, and be bold in envisioning all the possibilities.

If there is any “secret” to creativity and courting the muse, perhaps it’s all about accessing one’s inner child, for therein lies openness, intuition, spontaneity, and a direct line to the imagination.

 

Cover Art: “Tree of Hope” by Chip Ghigna

 

These are poems where daydreaming is actively encouraged, and communing with nature is a holistic, spiritual experience, rich with “Inspiration”:

It is the sound
of the wind
and the silence of the night.

It is the sun
and the moon
and the memory.

In the lyrically beautiful poem, “One,” we are reminded of the interconnectedness of all living things, that time is a continuum, and that there is wisdom to be gleaned by choosing to remain aware, alert, and engaged. Glory and wonder are ours for the taking.

There is clever wordplay, too, like in the whimsical poem, “Art”:

Art is undefinable,
A mystery of creation
Inspired by a pigment
Of your imagination.

Makes me smile every time. 🙂

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allyn howard’s whimsical world

 

Let’s celebrate the merry month of May with Allyn Howard’s lovely, winsome art. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Allyn is a painter living and working in Brooklyn, NY. I was immediately drawn to her pretty florals and charming animals. One can’t help but feel uplifted by her cheerful colors and playful, childlike designs.

 

 

 

 

 

Originally from Virginia, where she received her BFA from VCU in Communication Arts and Design, she went on to earn an MFA in Studio Art from NYU.

My work reflects my interest in the wonders of nature, often from the vantage point of small curious animals. I use water based acrylics on wood, paper and canvas, merging a decorative style with a colorful painterly one. My work is inspired by friendship, a sense of home and the discovery and sense of wonder observing the big beautiful world.

 

 

 

 

She excels in surface design; her fine detailed work lends itself well to fabrics, wallpaper, gift wrap, and a variety of personal accessories. Of course all her adorable animal friends brim with kid appeal (a selection of fine art prints, perfect for hanging in children’s rooms, is available via Oopsy Daisy).

 

 

 

 

 

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poetry friday roundup is here!

“In the cookie of life, friends are the chocolate chips.” ~ Salman Rushdie

Hello, Poetry-loving Friends!

Hope you’re feeling a little chipper today, because it’s National Chocolate Chip Day!

Thought we’d serve up a little comfort and levity to brighten your weekend. Please help yourself to as many warm-from-the-oven cookies as you like and a tall glass of milk — you certainly deserve it!

A few weeks ago, I received a nice thank you email from New Hampshire poet Jeff Friedman. You may remember that I featured his awesome “Poem for Ross Gay” back in December. I’ve never been quite the same since reading how Ross ate four Athena melons, an entire book of poetry, and all the eggs in the house, while refusing chocolate chip cookies and King Arthur chocolate onyx wafers (cause his body is a temple).

 

 

I didn’t need further convincing that Jeff is my kind of poet, but after he mentioned that chocolate chip cookies are the mainstay of his diet, there is simply no doubt.

So today, another Jeff poem — and yes, there’s chocolate in it. I’ve always wanted to work in or own a bakery. But the narrator in the poem and I just happen to be allergic to the same thing. Wrap your lips around this one, but save me an éclair. 🙂

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“Pastry Chef” by Chaim Soutine

 

WORKING IN FLOUR
by Jeff Friedman

When I walked into the bakery at my usual time
asking politely for two marble cookies,
a fudgy chocolate drop rising from the chocolate swirls,
Ida Kaminsky, who came from strong Russian stock —
a hearty vegetable stew, spicy meats rolled in
cooked cabbage — winked and asked if I wanted a job.
She offered me two bucks an hour,
half off on the marble cookies, and anything
not sold at the end of the day might also be mine.
I put on an apron, pushed through
the swinging doors to help the bakers.
The smell of flour was thick
and tree pollen spotted the windows.
Tall and freckled, Max, the other assistant,
squeezed my hand, “I’ll show you what to do.”
He taught me how to use the cake decorator,
how to prepare the éclairs and put them in their doilies,
then pointed out the brooms and mops, the industrial
strength cleansers, the double sink
with rubber hoses coiled in it. “You don’t want
paste to harden in the bowls.”
From across the room, where he scooped chocolate chip
cookie batter onto a baking tray, Julius, the baker,
snapped, “Make sure you tell him: Everything
has to be spick-and-span.” The flies heard him
and flew off the lip of the sink toward the light fixtures.
Soon I began sneezing, my hapless ahchoos
running down spotted walls, glistening
on my face and hands as I pumped the custard
through a nozzle into the delicate éclair rolls.
Later, when I worked on cleaning the floors,
Max yelled at me for spreading the dirt
in circles with my mop.
I stepped back, kicking over the bucket of lye.
All in a day’s work, I thought.
The next morning, Ida Kaminsky cornered me,
“I liked you better as a customer.”
I folded my apron neatly without arguing back
picked up my bag of cookies
and walked out into the bright spring air,
where now I understood my mother’s comment,
“You’re allergic to work” and where, for a moment,
I stopped sneezing.

~ from Working in Flour (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2011).

 

Marbled Chocolate Chunk Cookies via The Monday Box

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Now, please leave your poetry-related links below with the charming and debonair Mr. Linky. Take some chocolate chip cookies with you, and enjoy your little foray around the blogosphere as you savor all the wonderful posts. Happy Poetry Friday, and thanks for joining us!

 

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More cookies for the road compliments of the resident bakers:

 

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“I love watching keep-fit videos while munching chocolate chip cookies.” ~ Dolly Parton

“If I had any choice in the matter, I’d stay in my comfy bed and eat warm chocolate chip cookies all day.” ~ Simone Elkeles

“I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.” ~ Nora Ephron


Copyright © 2020 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Something to make us feel happy, safe, and comforted:  charming watercolor and gouache paintings by Loré Pemberton.

Couldn’t find very much information about Loré online, other than she’s an artist who lives with her family in the northern woods of Vermont tucked between a mountain and a river in a place they call Cold Hollow.

 

 

Her style reminds me a little of Phoebe Wahl’s (which I adore), and features rustic woodland scenes, mothers, children and small animals.

There’s a lovely harmony with nature; children enjoy exploring the forest, catching fireflies, walking through the snow, and having outdoor parties.

This painting, called “Holed Up,” seems appropriate for these times. The three figures in red seem quite content in their cozy underground digs.

 

 

And this is Mr Cornelius’s favorite: “Mr. Bear’s House.” He would like to have his own little house with a mailbox with his name on it, and have Fuzzy the Fox peek in the window.

 

 

Loré fills her pictures with homey details like braided rugs, quilts, and the simple trappings of rustic living.

 

 

To purchase prints, visit Loré Pemberton’s Etsy Shop.

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cookie jar capers

“A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.” ~ Barbara Johnson

 

Did YOU take the cookies from the cookie jar?

Who, me?

Yes, you!

Couldn’t be.

Then, who?

 

Can’t fool me. I see crumbs on your face. 🙂

Don’t blame you, though. A cookie, at any time of day, always makes things better.

 

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THE COOKIE JAR
by Edgar Guest

You can rig up a house with all
manner of things,
The prayer rugs of sultans and
princes and kings;
You can hang on its wall the
old tapestries rare
Which some dead Egyptian
once treasured with care;
But though costly and
gorgeous its furnishings are,
It must have, to be homelike,
an old cookie jar.

There are just a few things that
a home must possess,
Besides all your money and all
your success —
A few good old books which
some loved one has read,
Some trinkets of those whose
sweet spirits have fled,
And then in the pantry, not
shoved back too far
For the hungry to get to, that
old cookie jar.

Let the house be a mansion, I
care not at all!
Let the finest of pictures be
hung on each wall,
Let the carpets be made of the
richest velour,
And the chairs only those
which great wealth
can procure,
I’d still want to keep for the joy
of my flock
That homey, old fashioned,
well-filled cookie crock.

Like the love of the Mother it
shines through our years;
It has soothed all our hurts and
dried away tears;
It has paid us for toiling; in
sorrow or joy,
It has always shown kindness
to each girl and boy;
And I’m sorry for people,
whoever they are,
Who live in a house where
there’s no cookie jar.

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