My Feet Will Be Praying -

Received this message this morning from a dear friend and member of our arts community, Cassie Premo Steele, and wanted to share it with all of you.

Dear Cindi,

I woke this morning with my heart heavy about yesterday’s events at the synagogue in Pittsburgh. I know you’re feeling it, too.

So I did what I always do when my heart is yearning for healing and change. I made something.

This image is a combination of two things from The ReSisters:

-Art by Amy Alley that depicts the Cherokee word for “fight,” which is not the kind of fighting we do now in our society.

-Dialogue between Hadassah, a theology professor, and Sanna, who knows that she is echoing the phrase by Rabbi Heschel, who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., at Selma.

I hope this little gift ripples out with waves of peace and understanding today.

My feet will be praying.png

Thank you to Cassie, and peace to us all —

Columbia's Favorite Poetry - Today, featuring Cassie Premo Steele

national poetry month.jpg

In celebration of National Poetry Month the Jasper Project invited several artists, writers, and leaders in the Columbia arts community to share with us their favorite poems and most of them generously accepted.

We’ve put together this collection of our favorite poems and will be sharing them with you, poem by poem, day by day, over the month of April. Some of the poems are old and traditional, others are new and inventive. Some are whimsical, others are insightful. Some rhyme. Some don’t.

What they all have in common is that someone you know loves that poem – and this gives us such lovely insight into the soul of our community.

Thank you to everyone who shared their poetry with us.

And Happy National Poetry Month from Jasper.

 

Our fist poem is from poet and author Cassie Premo Steele.

 

Cassie Premo Steele

 

"My favorite poem is For Each of Us by Audre Lorde. Audre Lorde's poetry has been important to me throughout my life, so much so that I remember being in my twenties and feeling like life was worth living because I hadn't yet read everything she'd written. I love this poem especially because it is fierce and wise and supportive, but with the paradox of truth that makes Lorde a poet-philosopher. Power and pain exist together. Preparing a meal is essential, but there is more to life. The best politics come when we quiet down and do the work. Nothing is eternal, even the deepest love. And yet, we go on loving and nurturing in a spirit of pride and strength."

 

FOR EACH OF YOU

By Audre Lorde

 

Be who you are and will be

learn to cherish

that boisterous Black Angel that drives you

up one day and down another

protecting the place where your power rises

running like hot blood

from the same source 

as your pain.

 

When you are hungry

learn to eat

whatever sustains you

until morning

but do not be misled by details

simply because you live them.

 

Do not let your head deny

your hands

any memory of what passes through them

nor your eyes

nor your heart

everything can be used

except what is wasteful

(you will need

to remember this when you are accused of destruction.) 

Even when they are dangerous examine the heart of those machines you hate

before you discard them

and never mourn the lack of their power

lest you be condemned

to relive them.

If you do not learn to hate

you will never be lonely

enough

to love easily

nor will you always be brave

although it does not grow any easier

 

Do not pretend to convenient beliefs

even when they are righteous

you will never be able to defend your city

while shouting.

 

Remember whatever pain you bring back 

from your dreaming

but do not look for new gods

in the sea

nor in any part of a rainbow

Each time you love

love as deeply as if were

forever

only nothing is

eternal.

 

Speak proudly to your children

where ever you may find them

tell them

you are offspring of slaves

and your mother was

a princess

in darkness. 

 

 

Cassie Premo Steele is the author of fifteen books, including six books of poetry, and her new novel, The ReSisters, will be out later this year.

 

Cassie Premo Steele

Cassie Premo Steele

Cassie Premo Steele Talks with Syzygy Poetry Open Call Winners Ann Humphries & Maggie Olszewski

 

Interview with Ann Humphries and Maggie Olszewski

 

Jasper asked Cassie Premo Steele, who adjudicated the Syzygy New Voices of the Eclipse poetry contest for new and emerging writers, to talk to the winners about their poetry and processes.

 

Maggie Olszewski, whose poem, “The Nature of Shadow,” was chosen as the contest winner, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and she is 16 years old. She has been writing ever since the age of 6, when she wrote her first piece—a Harry Potter fanfiction. This year she is attending South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, where she will further pursue her craft.

 

Ann Humphries is also from Columbia, where she studied poetry with Nikky Finney and Ed Madden at USC. Her poem, “An Eclipse and A Butcher,” was chosen as the honorable mention in the contest. She has also earned Ultimate Outsider status for visiting all 47 state parks — as the only blind person to finish. She has a guide dog and tree named in her honor.

~~~

Cassie: Since this was a contest for new and emerging writers, can you tell us a little about why you entered the contest and how it felt? This might be helpful to others who may be hesitant to submit their work.

 

Maggie: This prompt really hit home for me. As someone who is deeply invested and interested in the science behind the upcoming eclipse, the idea to convey my feelings towards it artistically hadn't occurred to me. It felt great to take the prompt and shape my own thoughts around it. 

 

Ann: I loved this prompt. I became deliciously lost in the research. I spun five poems about the eclipse. 

 

Cassie: Can you say a little about what the process of writing poetry is like for you?

 

Maggie: I usually sit down with a rough idea of where I want to go or end up—often a first line, a theme, or a story. I get my thoughts onto paper and revise in a couple of days.

 

Cassie: When you have a specific assignment, such as you did for this poem about the eclipse, is your writing process different?

 

Maggie: Yes. When I have a specific assignment, I don't wait to revise. I plan the structure of the poem before I start and make sure I have a stronger sense of what I'm trying to accomplish. 

 

Ann: I appreciate deadlines. I played in the research, asked myself what would be a unique perspective. What I especially admired about this contest is its intersection of science, visual art, poetry, even plays, culture, history, and technology. This contest took me to fresh reservoirs of writing.

 

Cassie: What's your sense of the poetry and arts scene in Columbia?

 

Ann: Bursting with life! And Jasper is a nexus for collaboration across the genres. By the way, I searched the country for comparable contests. All I could find were readings and plays in Oregon and Illinois. Good for Jasper! Bravo to the SC Humanities Council.

 

Maggie: I know quite a few actors and artists through my father, but not as many as more established writers might (obviously). From what I can tell, everyone seems to know everyone, and there's an immense amount of collaboration and supportiveness that goes on. It seems like a really cool thing to be a part of. 

 

Cassie: And if you could wave a magic wand and make something happen in the city, what would it be?

 

Ann: Bring back the Book Festival - or fully support Deckle Edge. I savored every morsel, would have pitched a tent. If only we could have clones to attend all the events.  

 

Maggie: Hm. That's a good question. I'd probably clear the city of litter. It's not too bad in my little corner of Columbia, but I've driven through areas that could really do for a cleanup. Maybe we could get all the artists together to clean up the city and make an art project from it!

 

Cassie: I love that idea! Anything else you'd like to share?

 

Ann: I'm becoming a Jasper Guild member.

 

Maggie: And I’m really grateful for this opportunity.

 

Cassie: Thank you both.

~~~

Jasper thanks Cassie for all her efforts in this project - from adjudicating the open call to participating as a poet in the Syzygy Poetry Invitational.

If YOU'D like to become a member of the Jasper Guild like, Ann (and thank you, Ann!), just click on "Store" at this website's main page.

Look for Ann and Maggie's poems in the Fall 2017 issue of Jasper Magazine.

Join us on Thursday, August 17th at 3 pm in the first floor auditorium of Richland Library to hear Ann, Maggie, Cassie, and a spectacular cast of South Carolina's most elite poets read their poetry in response to the eclipse at SYZYGY: The Poetry (free). Then join us at 7 pm or 10 pm at Tapp's Arts Center for the performance of SYZYGY: The Plays ($10).

 

Cassie Premo Steele is the author of 14 books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, including Earth Joy Writing (2015) and Beautiful Waters (2016).  She has recently completed a novel about mindfulness called The Lessons of Birds and is working on a poetry collection called Tongues in Trees. She works as a writing coach with women from around the world and lives in Columbia with her musician/web developer wife and laughter-inducing daughter. 

Cassie Premo Steele is the author of 14 books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, including Earth Joy Writing (2015) and Beautiful Waters (2016).  She has recently completed a novel about mindfulness called The Lessons of Birds and is working on a poetry collection called Tongues in Trees. She works as a writing coach with women from around the world and lives in Columbia with her musician/web developer wife and laughter-inducing daughter. 

Dropped into the Middle of a Major Arts Month - What to Do Today, Tomorrow, Thursday and Friday

Hello Columbia Artists and Arts Lovers! I just got back a few hours ago from London and Ireland where the Bier Doc and I sucked up every last morsel of art we could cram into the two weeks we were there -- Five plays, three art museums including the very cool Hugh Lane in Dublin which houses the actual studio of Francis Bacon, three guided walks (Irish literary, history, and trad music), over 30 pubs, most with music - all with brew, and more sights and sounds and cliffs and sheep and ancient neo-lithic sites than I ever thought possible.

Francis Bacon standing in front of his Triptych

Yes, we got home exhausted, which is unfortunate, especially given the line-up of art and art experiences that April has in store for all of us. We're going to try to keep you posted via our Facebook page and this blog - What Jasper Says, but you should also pay close attention to the listings at One Columbia as well as at Indie Grits which kicks off Friday night with a smokin' hot  Block Party.

indie grits

Tonight, we recommend you join Yours Truly as I help out at the USC Art Auction at the Campus Room of the Capstone Building on the campus of USC. The auction starts at 7 with a lovely reception at 6.

(This guys knows not what he's doing and neither will I)

On Wednesday, we recommend you schedule yourself for the Closing Reception for Painted Violins from 5 - 8 at Gervais and Vine at 620 Gervais Street which benefits our beloved SC Philharmonic.

"She Used to Play the Violin" by Wayne Thornley

On Thursday, the highly successful (blushing) Jasper Salon Series returns with a presentation and discussion by local poet, author, and creativity coach, Cassie Premo Steele. We'll start out about 7 pm with drinks and chatting, then at 7:30 sharp, Cassie will begin the program.

Cassie Premo Steele

We'll be posting more sneak peeks at all the cool stuff going on this month just as soon as we unpack and get a day's work done. I'm looking forward to seeing you all where you ought to be -- smack in the middle of the Southeast's newest and hottest arts destination, Columbia, SC!

Cheers,

Cindi

(note: not sure what happened to the previous version of this post which was missing most of its text. Oops & sorry!)

 

Review -- The Pomegranate Songs by Cassie Premo Steele and Russ Eidson

pomegranate papers For the last few months here at Jasper, we’ve had a submission that we didn’t really know what to do with—a CD, a collection of something in between songs and poems, put out by poet Cassie Premo Steele and musician Russ Eidson, called The Pomegranate Songs. We reviewed the book of the same name when it came out, although this sort-of companion wasn’t mentioned, and I felt like this was inevitably going to be more of a spoken-word extension of that collection (with background music) rather than a standalone album in and of itself.

Of course, the easiest way to figure out the thing was to give it a listen. The results were a bit more surprising—there is far more of Eidson here, who does the majority of the singing and whose Americana-flavored guitar accompaniment and subtle keyboard and mandolin touches in many ways define the listening experience.  Steele reads some of her poetry, sometimes alone, sometimes in call and response to Eidson, and tentatively sings a few as well. The sense you get more than anything, though, is that these are poems reimagined through Eidson’s musicality, finding different rhythms and meanings, melodies and resonances, in reading a book of poems. Everything is doused in reverb and given a heavy, evocative feel, lending a reverential atmosphere to the proceedings.

And it’s well-done, for the most part, although the question of audience remains. These are not-quite songs, as even at their folkiest they seem to work better on the page than sung aloud. Most music fans, I imagine, would find these recordings charming and soothing, but with an odd balance of meditative and easy listening that does not create a whole lot of earworm stickiness. Poetry fans might be better served, particularly given the sense of process and re-imagination at work here, with a male musician giving Steele’s eco-feminist ruminations a startling twist. And the sense of exploration—and sense of daring—that comes from a poet tackling the vulnerable project of singing her words also has its own intriguing appeal.

In the most artistic sense, then, The Pomegranate Songs, as a recording, is a success, and worthy of at least your curiosity.

-- Kyle Petersen, music editor, Jasper Magazine

(editor's note: This is a revised version of the original blog post.)

The Next Big Thing - by Cindi Boiter

I feel a little guilty using What Jasper Said to post my answers to The Next Big Thing, the hot new meme going around our community in which writers tag one another and ask that they write about their newest projects. But given that my newest project was published by Muddy Ford Press and that MFP underwrites Jasper Magazine, there's a sweet symbiosis to it that I cannot deny. Here's how it works -- after having been tagged (my thanks to Cassie Premo Steele for tagging me), the newly tagged author is required to self-interview, answering 10 pre-determined questions. After having answered these questions, she tags another five writers to do the same.

Here goes.

What is the working title of your book?

The Limelight -- A Compendium of Contemporary Columbia Artists, volume 1

What is the genre of your book?

Essay collection

Where did the idea come from?

Columbia, SC is a city that is reeling with a multitude of artists from different genres, particularly the literary arts. We have an inordinate number of professional writers here, yet we don't really have a sense of ourselves as a writing community -- though we are. I'd love to play some part in helping us to form a more unified community of writers. I want Columbia to be known as a "writers' town." To that end, I invited 18 local writers to contribute first person narrative essays about another local artist -- writer, visual artist, musician, dancer, theatre artist, whatever -- who had influenced them in some way.  I had the pleasure of editing the essays.

Clearly, one volume is not enough to represent the artists and authors we have here, so I decided to serialize the compendium with the plan of publishing it on an annual basis.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Columbia, SC essayists sing the praises of Columbia, SC artists.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I issued the call for essays in the summer of 2012 with an autumn deadline. We went to press in February 2013.

Who or what inspired you to write it?

The community of Columbia artists.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My book was published by Muddy Ford Press.

What other books would you compare this book to within your genre?

I don't really know of any other books with the same model.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Well, there are 36 "characters" if we include both the contributors and the subjects of their essays.

The essay I wrote was about the artist Blue Sky, so, naturally Clint Eastwood would play Blue. For me? Lisa Kudrow or Terri Garr.

Ed Madden would be played by Jon Cryer and James Dickey by Jon Voight.

Jeffrey Day? Woody Allen, of course. James Busby would be played by Channing Tatum (that's right, I said it.)

I'd like to cast Christopher Walken to play someone, but I'm not sure who ... a much older Chad Henderson, maybe? Just for kicks?

Patrick Wilson would play Kyle Petersen with Sheryl Crow playing Danielle Howle (though I like Danielle's voice far better).

Billy Murray would play the part of Stephen Chesley and the part of Susan Lenz would be played by Julia Louis Dreyfus.

Vicky Saye Henderson would play herself.

What else about your manuscript might pique the reader's interest?

Some of the first lines are spectacular. For example, poet Ray McManus opens his essay about Terrance Hayes with this, "When you're a boy growing up in rural South Carolina, and you want to be a poet, you should first learn to fight."

And ballet dancer Bonnie Boiter-Jolley's first line about her mentor Stacey Calvert is brutally honest when she says, "When I first met Stacey Calvert over a decade ago, she explained to me how being a dancer is a very selfish thing."

And there are 16 more.

~~

That's the end of the interview and I have to admit that it was fun. In an effort to share the fun and keep this meme going I'm tagging Aida Rogers, Don McCallister, Debbie Daniel, Kristine Hartvigsen, and Susan Levi Wallach. And I'm inviting them all to post their answers to me so I can share them with our readers. I think there's something about Wednesdays and deadlines also as I was tagged on a Wednesday and told to blog on the next Wednesday. So, by next Wednesday, I hope to have even more Next Big Things to share.

Thanks for reading,

Cindi

 

 

 

First Lines -- an invitation from Jasper

"As she sat stunned in her car on Charleston's rickety old John P. Grace Memorial Bridge, trapped precariously 150 feet above the swift-moving waters of the Cooper River, ..."

~

"When you're a boy growing up in rural South Carolina, and you want to be a poet, you should first learn to fight."

~

"It was a Tuesday night in the spring of 1988 and I decided to head down to Pug's in Five Points for the weekly jam session."

~

"This essay is not an act of revenge."

~

"Bastille Day 2001, personal date of independence."

~

"It's a particularly hot summer day, even for Columbia, when I parallel park my car on Washington Street and notice a tall, lanky gentleman as he moves stiffly to reposition an over-sized canvas by the curb."

~

"It began with a gift."

 Ahh, first lines.

Every literary adventure you've ever been on began with one.

Please join the Jasper and Muddy Ford Press family today as we celebrate the first lines above and more than a dozen more when we launch our newest book,

The Limelight – A Compendium of Contemporary Columbia Artists,

volume 1,

with a launch party from 5 – 8 pm at Tapp’s Arts Center on Main Street in Columbia.

The $15 admission to the event includes a copy of The Limelight ($18 after 2/24/13), music, food, and the opportunity to gather signatures from authors and artists in attendance at the launch. For couples wishing to share a book, admission is $25.

There will be a cash bar.

The Limelight, published by Muddy Ford Press, LLC, is the first volume in a serialized collection of 18 first-person, narrative essays written by professional Columbia authors and artists about professional Columbia authors and artists. It is the sixth book to be published by Muddy Ford Press since February 2012.

Edited by Jasper Magazine founder and editor Cynthia Boiter, The Limelight – A Compendium of Contemporary Columbia Artists, Volume 1 is a serialized collection of first person narrative essays written by Columbia, SC writers and artists about Columbia, SC writers and artists. As the Southeast’s newest arts destination, Columbia is bursting with visual, literary, and performing artists whose work has caught the attention of the greater arts world at large, and these essays tell the stories of how the influence of these artists has spread. New York Times best-selling author Janna McMahan, for example, writes about spending a day touring Beaufort, SC, the hometown of literary giant Pat Conroy, with the writer himself. Poet Ed Madden writes about the disconcerting words of advice he received from dying poet and professor James Dickey when Madden took over teaching the last academic course of Dickey’s career. Music writers Michael Miller and Kyle Petersen share insights on saxophone great Chris Potter and contemporary singer-songwriter Danielle Howle, respectively, and poet Cassie Premo Steele writes about the inspiration stemming from her friendship with nationally-known visual artist Philip Mullen.

These 18 essays include works by and about poets Nikky Finney, Terrance Hayes, Marjory Wentworth, Ray McManus, Cassie Premo Steele, Kristine Hartvigsen, Colena Corbett, and Ed Madden; visual artists Philip Mullen, Gilmer Petroff, Blue Sky, James Busby, Stephen Chesley, and Susan Lenz; musicians Chris Potter and Danielle Howle; dancers Stacey Calvert and Bonnie Boiter-Jolley; actors and directors Robert Richmond, Greg Leevy, Chad Henderson, Vicky Saye Henderson, Jim and Kay Thigpen, and Alex Smith; and writers and editors James Dickey, Pat Conroy, Janna McMahan, Aida Rogers, Michael Miller, Jeffrey Day, Kyle Petersen, Robbie Robertson, Don McCallister, Robert Lamb, August Krickel, and Cynthia Boiter.

For more information or to order online please go to

MuddyFordPress.com.

 

 

New Music: The Hollerin' River Talkers + TONIGHT = Jasper #006

   

Our magazine release parties (if you’ll forgive me for saying so), have had some fairly awesome live performances. And while I have written about our headlining band The Restoration in the past, I want to take some time before the party tonight to tell you about a new, lesser known act who is also capable of blowing your mind.

The Hollerin’ River Talkers, a diverse project-group of singer/songwriters spearheaded by Shallow Palace leader Greg Slattery, is dedicated to reviving classic old folk and blues tunes into a modern context. This task is something that, to put it simply, they blow out of the f***in’ ballpark.

Marshall Brown is the lead-off singer in the troupe, and contributes a (for-him) relatively straightforward vocal that still brings the Donovan-esque psychedelia he is known for to “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home.” Daniel Machado (of the The Restoration) makes a banjo-led attack on “Mary,” an old folk tune about how cheating on your wife ain’t gonna get you to heaven, while Aaron Berg and Slattery both take a gorgeously dirty stab at the blues standards “Catfish Blues” and “Death Room Blues.” Todd Mathis rounds out the set with a dirty rock take on the gospel tune “Wade in the Water,” the only tune which fully makes use of drummer Steve Sancho’s presence.

All of these tunes are ragged and sparse, but that’s not what makes them great—it’s the fact that each contributor never forgets the feeling that these songs first inspired, with lust, laughter, and longing all mixed up in equal measure. It’s a short collection, but I guarantee you’ll want to hear it again and again.

To listen/buy all of these tunes: http://rivertalkers.bandcamp.com/

Come out and see us tonight at Tom Law's Conundrum Music Hall on Meeting Street in West Columbia. We're starting at 7:30 with poetry from Kristine Hartvigsen and Cassie Premo Steele, three short films by Wade Sellers, the Next Door Drummers, a set of classical guitar from Amelia Mau, a solo set from Rhodes Bailey of the Whiskey Tango Revue, then the Hollerin' River Talkers and The Restoration, who will be missing their drummer so they'll be laying down some pretty damn good blue grass. JoeTurkaly will be making supper ($) and two bars will be open. The event itself is free. All to celebrate Columbia's badass arts scene and the release of Jasper #006 -- a solid year of bringing you the magazine we said we would, when we said we would, and in the best possible shape we could get it to you.

You can count on Jasper.

Christmas Wishes for and from the Columbia Arts Community, Part II

(This is a continuation of a blog posted on Christmas Eve -- please start your reading here, and then join this blog post in progress.)  

 

from Cassie Premo Steele

An inner sense of validation of one's self, spirit, health, and creativity. We no longer need to look outside ourselves to know that we, ourselves, and our work are valid. We can be who we truly are and create from that shining place.

from  Noah Brock

Santa should bring the arts community the power to stand together to remove the confederate flag. The arts community should resolve to do the aforementioned so that artists and performers we enjoy and love will be more willing to play in Columbia. IT’S 2012! LET US GET IT DOWN THIS YEAR!

 

from Susan Lenz

I'd love for Santa to bring an arts calendar to Columbia ... something easy to navigate, used by all individual artists and organizations ... on a permanent Internet site (not just on Facebook) ... updated regularly ... better looking and more complete than "welcome to the weekend" ... and with images. Maybe Jeffrey can be Santa again ... or at least be part of the present ... with the rest of the gift being the funding that would make it all possible!

 

from Coralee Harris

Access to Bill Gates checking account so we can fund the myriad of projects that currently exist only in the minds of our talented artists. . .and in the absence of that, we probably need to do more classes on grant writing for the artists and performers so they can have a better shot at getting more funding.

 

from Robert Michalski

I want Santa to bring the Columbia arts community inspiration and financial success!

 

 

from Tracie Broom

For the young orgs, funding for paid staff and infrastructure would be pretty fantastic. For everyone? A few more hardcore, dedicated super-volunteers who take the lead and get things done well. Those folks are like human gold.

 

 

from Bonnie Goldberg

I wish for Santa to bring a continued love of the arts to a community already filled with curiosity, creativity, and love and support for one another where we will continue to gather and grow and make our Columbia one of the premiere art destinations in the world....happy holidays, Columbia artists!

 

Look for New Year's resolutions from Columbia artists and arts supporters coming soon. To add your own wish for the New Year, please comment below or send your resolution to

editor@jaspercolumbia.com

 

 

 

 

 

Get your groove back via Cassie Premo Steele

It happens to all of us, whether we're artists or artisans (two decidedly different classifications) or amateurs. Sometimes we just get stale. We can't find our groove. The juices aren't flowing. We freeze up. For those of us who build with words, we call it writers' block -- and it is the scariest, most frustrating sensation in the world. Other times we're plodding along just fine. Cranking it out. Meeting our deadlines. Getting the job done. And our work is fine. Just fine. Nothing special, nothing innovative, nothing earth-shattering. It's fine.

If you're a writer and you ever find yourself in either of these two situations, it's important to keep your head about you. Your world probably isn't coming to an end. But you may, in fact, need something of a tune up. Luckily there's someone in town who has perfected the art of stimulating creativity -- poet, author, academician, and creativity coach, Cassie Premo Steele.

Jasper has had the pleasure of both attending Cassie's creativity workshops and hosting them, so we're taking this opportunity to spread the word that another series of workshops will be taking place soon. It's nice to take a moment now and then and just tend to one's creative core. It's sort of like tidying up your desk -- it needs to be done anyway and, in all likelihood, it'll help you work better. Jasper recommends it.

We're bold-faced copying and pasting info about Cassie's upcoming creative writing class below, as well as one of her lovely poems below that. If you decide to sign up for one of her classes, please tell her Jasper sent you, and let us know how it worked out. We'd really like to know.

Here's the spiel in Cassie's own words --

In October, I will be offering a lunchtime Creative Writing Class on Tuesdays from 12:00-1:00 at The Co-Creating Studio in the Forest Acres area of Columbia.

We will cover the fundamentals of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction, and the primary focus will be to help you generate new material and stretch yourself to write with greater emotional depth and clarity. Also covered will be the fundamentals of revision and how to... submit your writing for publication.

The cost is $100 per month to be paid at the first class of the month or $30/ per class.

Class size will be limited so everyone can get individual attention, and spaces are already filling, so if you are interested, feel free to email me at cassiepremosteele@gmail.com or call or text 803 420 1400.

All best wishes, Cassie Premo Steele

For those who don't know me, I am the author of eight books, a Pushcart nominated poet, and a writing & creativity coach with two decades of university and community teaching experience. You can visit my website at www.cassiepremosteele.com for more.

 

And here's one of Jasper's favorite Cassie poems --

 

Sometimes at night I dream I am pregnant again*

Sometimes at night I dream I am pregnant again but with a book,

not a baby, and my stomach extends not roundly but with four

corners, sharp edges and the fear of splinters, cuts and wood.

 

When I wait in the rain before dawn for the rest of the world

to awaken, I imagine the eggs still within me are pearls.

What I hold is a jewel of beginning again, something softer

 

than scarves and more precious than music playing in the dark.

Sometimes I rise and go to the window and make myself take

a look.  The baby is there, and the book, looking down from the moon.

 

They sing me a lullaby.  Their words say there is always enough time,

enough space, more than enough room.  I fall back asleep in this world, dreaming of what is

beginning in me to the sound of this tune.

 

(*A certain member of Jasper's clan has been dreaming lately that she, too, is pregnant, though she is far too old for another child. We're wondering if the dreams will subside after Jasper debuts in print form on Thursday night?)

 

 

 

Poet Cassie Premo Steele responds to artist Bonnie Goldberg

Last year at one of Mark Plessinger's multi-disciplinary arts events at Frame of Mind, the local writer and poet, Cassie Premo Steele, created poetry in response to some of the paintings by artist, Bonnie Goldberg, whose work you saw in Jasper's last message. At Jasper, we love it when artists come together to inspire one another and share their gifts with each other and those of us who are lucky enough to stand and watch.

Here are two of the poems Cassie wrote for that night. For more of Cassie, please visit her at www.cassiepremosteele.com.

 

Look this way

 

Look this way, he said,

as she turned her head

away from him, again.

 

Her own shoulder

makes a better bed

than his ever did.

 

It took her years

to believe it, though.

His hard bones,

 

she thought,

were the best

she could do.

 

Hand on hip,

she finally said

the words: We're through.

 

For Goldberg's Drawing 202, ‘nude female standing.’

 

Your daughter turns from you

 

Your daughter turns from you daily now,

with the grace of a dancer, and somehow

you learn to accept it, that carpet she weaves

and walks away upon each day.

 

You knew this day would come, even

before she could walk and you spent

hours drumming on her thighs and

humming lullabies. You were preparing.

 

You saw flashes of it at two and ten,

her rage slicing the way for her to cut

away from you. You were smug

and thought you knew wisdom.

 

Becoming daughter to mother, we learn cutting.

As mothers, we learn waving goodbye and staying.

The lesson of grandmothering: Crying. Smiling.

Never saying how hard it is to see them leaving.

 

For Goldberg's Painting 145, ‘promises.’

Cassie Premo Steele is the author of eight books and teaches writing and everyday creativity at The Co-Creating Studio. Check her out at www.cassiepremosteele.com