Writing a Poem Against the “Lone Struggle”: The Gatherings Project

One of the surprises, soul-saving surprises, of this pandemic has been the creativity and generosity of care shown by so many, including the artists and writers of this world. The Gatherings Project is the brainstorm of artist Lynda Lowe: 56 boxes painted by professional artists and then sent out into the world to see what gifts they would gather. The boxes have now been sold and the profits donated to arts funding organization/s with well-established relief funds for creatives. Here’s the story of one box.

A few weeks ago at the Arvada Center, my friend Trine Bumiller handed me a cardboard shipping box tucked into a ragged shopping bag. Inside that box was a beautiful gold-painted wooden box with an orchid (erotic, as Trine described it) by the painter Fred Lisaius

Box painted by Fred Lisaius

And inside that golden box was Trine’s delicate rendering of a pine tree, inspired, I think, by her current gallery exhibit in Alaska, In Memoriam

Trine Bumiller piece

And a poem by the poet Todd Davis about his mother in a memory care unit.

News from Mulligan Hollow for My Mother in a Memory Care Unit in Waukesha, Wisconsin by Todd Davis

And I could add anything I wanted to continue this cycle of receiving and giving during this isolation of a pandemic. And so I did from the poems and photos I’ve been taking during this pandemic. Here, the swallows I watch along the old gravel pits by the South Platte River.

my contribution: To the Swallow This Spring at the Nest Box

There’s something truly beautiful about artist and writers collaborating to bring some solace and support in a time of sadness for so many. See all the Gatherings beautiful boxes. And go to the Arvada Center to see the inspiring Pink Progressions: Collaborations exhibit of paintings, poetry, sculpture, installations, videos, and performance celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment.


A Collaboration of Writers and Artists : the PINKPROGRESSION in Denver

Just over three years ago, a sea of women in protest of the rhetoric and actions that permeated the 2016 election donned their pink pussy hats. They marched arm in arm with citizens of all genders and races in a breathtaking show of solidarity against the walls of misogyny and racism.  This historical march ignited artists and writers across the country to continue the movement in exhibits that showcase “human rights, equality, gender identity, and inclusivity.” 

Well, the PINKPROGRESSION is here, now, in Denver. It honors the fourth anniversary of the Womxn’s March and the centennial anniversary of Women’s Suffrage.  A week ago, Poet Carol Guerreo-Murphy and I, through google docs of all things, put in the last line breaks and the last fusion of images in our series of collaborative poems, Two Women Poets of (Certain) Age: Letters of (  ).

We’ll join over twenty fabulous Colorado artists, poets, and writers in the Poetry + art reading and book launch at theMcNichols 3rd floor gallery, March 14th from 1-3p.m. as part of the PINKPROGRESSION:COALESCE exhibit. The reading will be followed by a writing workshop, A Letter to My Mother, presented by Eriko Tsogo from 3-4 p.m. The book will accompany all 2020 exhibits.  

I know as we wove our poems together, through a surprisingly creative technology, that Carol and I thought about our daughters and our daughters’ daughters and their sons. My friend Monica Fuglei’s little girl, topped in the  pink pussy hat that Monica knitted for her, reminds me of the world of beauty and creativity and acceptance that we can’t just want, but demand for them. I am looking forward to seeing the worlds and visions my fellow artists and writers created in their collaborations.  I hope you will join us.

The PINKPROGRESSION:COALESCE exhibit continues through April at the McNichols Civic Center. PINKPROGRESSION: COLLABORATIONS exhibit, a fusion of narratives and mixed media  opens at the Arvada Center in June through August.  These exhibits include collaborative art exhibits, artist talks, workshops, readings, and book launches. Go to Pink Progression for all the details.