Posts Tagged ‘collaboration’

I didn’t stop what I was doing
to enjoy the exotic red fruity notes,
didn’t pause my busy mind
to cherish the bold dark leaves.
That’s not to say I didn’t love drinking the tea.
I did. Every velvety sip.
And as I pulled the final muslin sachet
from the classic black box lined with gold foil,
I thought of the woman
who had bought me such extravagant tea
and I fell even more deeply in love with her.

I tell myself it’s not wrong
I divided my attention
between the delicate tea
and the generous sun
and the work that I love.
I tell myself they spoke to each other
in the most beautiful morning voices—
all of them conspiring
the way a violin and cello and piano conspire,
the way a poet and a pianist and an artist conspire,
the way strawberry and cocoa
and dark leaves conspire
to create something more from the moment—
an alchemy that only comes when we say yes
in the moment to everything.

Now, when I read those words I wrote,
I taste in them Tibetan flowers.
They wear the fragrance of sunshine,
the bouquet of exotic lands.
Now when I see the empty drawer
where the tea is not,
I dream of how I drank the last cup
as if it would last forever.

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My dear friend composer/pianist/historian Kayleen Asbo and I want to offer you the video recording of our hour-long conversation about Vincent Van Gogh, loss and The Art of Creative Collaboration– click here.This project has been such an important part for each of us in holding on to hope and beauty during a dark and challenging time. If it speaks to a part of your own aching soul and you want to share it, you have our blessing to forward it to whomever you wish.

If you want to offer a donation in support of our work so that we can professionally record our project in both audio and video format, click here for our Go Fund Me account.

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Dear readers, 

As you know, I’ve been sharing lots of poems inspired by van Gogh’s paintings and the music of the incredible composer/pianist/historian Kayleen Asbo–and finally, a chance for you to hear her work!  We will have two events together: the first one is Monday, July 11 for a conversation about collaborating across the arts. We’ll share about the process of creating “Love Letters to Vincent,” piano compositions and poems all conversing with the art of van Gogh, who was, in turn, responding to other artists of his day. Join the big conversation! It will be practical and passionate! Donation based. 

for more info and to register, copy and paste this link:

The second event, “Love Letters to Vincent” on Friday, July 29, will have all the pieces she composed, all the poems I wrote, all the art, plus a chance for you to write your own love letter to Vincent. This online salon of love and memory on the anniversary of Vincent Van Gogh’s death will be a heartfelt communal ritual of creativity.

Available on a sliding scale donation and also recorded for later viewing. for more info and to register, copy and paste this link:

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I am a collaboration junkie–and I just LOVE what happened when musician Molly Venter (aka Goodnight Moonshine) took one of my poems and set it to a gorgeous and haunting minor-key melody. And her voice! Listen to the collaboration HERE, and subscribe to the Youtube channel if you like. Also, you can FOLLOW her duo “Goodnight Music” on Spotify, and/or check out her weekly recordings & blog at Patreon.com/mollyventer.com. Molly lives in New Haven, CT, with her husband & musical partner Eben Pariser and their three young children. 

Here’s the original poem, published in Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems (Grayson Books, 2017)

Still Life at Dusk

It happens surprisingly fast,

the way your shadow leaves you.

All day you’ve been linked by

the light, but now that darkness

gathers the world in a great black tide,

your shadow joins

the sea of all other shadows.

If you stand here long enough,

you, too, will forget your lines

and merge with the tall grass and

old trees, with the crows and the

flooding river—all these pieces

of the world that daylight has broken

into objects of singular loneliness.

It happens surprisingly fast, the drawing in

of your shadow, and standing

in the field, you become the field,

and standing in the night, you

are gathered by night. Invisible

birds sing to the memory of light

but then even those separate songs fade,

tiny drops of ink in an infinite spilling.

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What do a poet and a science writer have in common? A podcast on creative process! And in this episode of Emerging Form, Christie Aschwanden and I discuss collaborations–what makes them work, how they go sour, and what to do then! We also discuss whether collaborations need leaders, wemerging formhy listening is an essential skill for working with other creatives, Chinese food, the Jabberwocky, and how spontaneity can enhance a creative collaboration. And then we’ll wrap up our conversation by talking with musician/songwriter/video producer Christine Laskowski who will play our game of two questions. We’ll ask her 1) What makes a good collaboration? And 2) How do you deal with conflicts when they arise in a collaboration? You can weigh in on these questions yourself, either on our website or on our Facebook page. You can find Emerging Form wherever you find podcasts, or on our webpage here.


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Hi friends,

Yesterday my good friend Kyra Kopestonsky came over to play cello … she has a grant application due so we were making videos of collaborative pieces we’ve performed together before. What a great way to spend a morning hour, reciting poems and making music. It’s a little echo-y, but here’s a playful version of “Post Script”. I love the way the cello underlines all the fragility–proof somehow that through resonance we can support each other in our most vulnerable places. Good luck, Kyra, getting that residency!

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so much rain
all the rooks, bishops, pawns and kings
slip off their squares
into vast mud puddles, laughing
till even the hands that move them jump in

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a collaborative poem written with Matt Hayes

The poet says there is no hurry.
Time has wasted its soul.
I thought I knew what time was,
a constellation out of space.
We are the constellation
destitute of truth.
I thought I knew what truth was,
but mind and heart cannot contain,
the cage breaks, the bird forgets it has wings,
it drowns in the emptiness of space.
I thought I knew what space was,
but comets gain.
We are the comets,
the goodness of space.
There is no hurry.

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