Friday, September 16, 2016


How to coax a poem out of hiding was the general theme of last week’s poetry interactive at Artspace At Untitled. I was joined by Ben Myers (Oklahoma Poet Laureate) and Chad Reynolds (of Short Order Poems and Penny Candy Press) in talking about methods and meanings of our own practice of poetry.

Special thanks to the writers and artists who came out to listen and who wrote fascinating pieces of their own right on the spot!

To add to the fun of the evening, our favorite influences showed up in spirit as we traded tips and threw out prompts. It seemed as though William Wordsworth, Ted Berrigan, Richard Hugo, Bernadette Mayer, and even, for a moment, Doctor Who showed up.
 I was reminded of my first poetry teacher, Betty Shipley, who often focused on gathering language, and continually wrote the code “ww” on my paper. Wrong Word. She was such a believer in finding the just-right-word. She was a proponent of the scavenger hunt.  Just go look on page 52 of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, Betty would say. She played the sheriff and the seer and other funny juxtaposed authorities.

 So, in this spirit of play and happy exchange, I’m inviting you before time runs out (Sept 22) to come downtown (1NE3 street) and participate in A Hiding Place. As Betty would say, there is something in that gallery you need to know. Just be open to it and let color, shape, contrast, language, texture, sound, story, movement, talk to you like an old teacher.

And for your scavenge pleasure, here are 8 evocative lines from the participating poet which you can look for on the finely letterpressed poems mounted on the wall.

Ben Myers, Jeanine Hathaway, Chad Reynolds, Julia McConnell, Anita Skeen, Jane Vincent Taylor

The result of my body’s friendly fire///once fresh cream now pinked by Oklahoma dust// / duppies good and ornery vex me here///you have chosen not to open///the labyrinth of wrong turns taken///we break for higher ground///on an altar of cardboard box///we each imagine on the other side///

Before you leave, please thank the Gallery geniuses, Rebecca Bloodworth and owner, Laura Warriner, for bringing us all together in this way. 

Then make something. You know you want to.

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Hiding Place

A Hiding Place: Artists Respond to Poetry!current/c1xt1

This exhibit at Oklahoma City's beautiful gallery, Artspace at Untitled, will be up until mid September. We, eight poets, wrote poems with a hiding place in mind. Each poem was offered to a cluster of artists who used the themes and images to create a unique work of art.

I would love to hear what you find most compelling about this collaboration. Please send me your comments after you tour the show.

Support Art!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

PENCIL WORK: notes for a future poem

Drawing by Jefferson Vincent (Jake) LeForce

Today I’m thinking back to A., writer-in-residence in the 1990s. I enrolled in his class in poetic forms. Each Monday night we brought forth a freshly manufactured sonnet, villanelle, or triolet. The best part of a class with A. was his odd and clumsy entry, his abrupt recitation of a favorite poem. Didn’t he love the Irish and the Welsh – Yeats and Dylan Thomas? He was pretty keen on Roethke. He knew that Lawrence poem about the snake by heart. 
 But he was not in love with us, his needy budding poets. Early on, he told us he’d moved beyond poetry. Mr. A. was working on a novel about gambling and the people who can’t live without it. Nevertheless, it was in his contract to teach one poetry class, thus these traditional forms, scansion, training the ear to the foot -- iambic, trochaic, spondaic.

Reciprocally, there was not much to love about Mr. A. When I saw him running in his sweats around the campus sidewalks in the snow he looked like Rocky played by Steve Buscemi. Like he’d lost something, he was trudging along eye on the old clock tower in case that slipped-away-thing reappeared on the hour, or off the hour.

At the single one-on-one conference he allowed, A. scoffed at my attempt to write a ghazel. Leave the Persian forms to the Persians or to the wise old Bly, I thought, or he said, or I’m thinking now.

Eye contact did not come easy to this visiting writer, but I asked him in an intimate voice, “Why, really, did you scrap poetry?”  “It got too easy”, he said, puffing himself up slightly. “I could write a poem at the drop of a hat.” Or, I thought, at the roll of the dice or the spin of a wheel, with the speed of a horse. Bingo, he could apparently make a poem fit into the squares of a card of random numbers.  Amazing.
Later he told the class that he wanted to write a money-making novel.  I saw it some years ago on a remainder table in The Strand. There certainly was no book of mine there on any table, sale or otherwise. So never mind a pay-back silly scoffing.  
I must have learned from Professor A.: how form works and doesn’t work, what one cannot live without, what to love enough to know by heart.
My other teacher, Time, taught me not to cheat or bluff or dope the thing.  For most of us, the novice or the longtime practiced, making a poem get out the gate then cross the finish line with just the right amount of sweat, no more, no less, is hardly ever easy. And the rewards are hard to calculate. You just walk back up to the window and put your earnings on a another horse that strikes your fancy.  













Sunday, July 12, 2015


Last week the poet, Sandra Soli, tagged me on Facebook, challenging me to write five poems a day for five days, or something like that. Though I had been enjoying this project’s posted poems, I was not entirely “knowed up,” as the folks in western Oklahoma like to say. More to the point I wasn’t “geared up.” Gosh, no!  was my first thought. My second thought and best excuse was that I was late getting my syllabus into Ghost Ranch for the Fall Writers’ Festival course: Writing Rituals. Oh, wait: practice a writing ritual, or think up potential writing rituals for others to try out?

Suddenly, this seemed perfect, but in a different way.  I decided to join in but play the game like my granddaughters do:  make up new rules to suit the situation. As a daily ritual, I would post not a poem but a video clip of simple daily life in hopes one of these recordings would provide a sensory seed for a poem before the week was out. (I realize this minimized the challenge significantly!)
The first one I uploaded was just rain, a torrent of rain I had captured one evening on a friend’s screened in porch a few days before. And, I already had a line that went something like “rain at happy hour percusses like whisky bottles… “
The next day l tried to get my eleven year old grandson to sing and dance and let me video him. Quickly it became clear that was not happening. Like a good director and sympathetic grandmother, I revised my request:  read some of this Star Wars book and move rhythmically while doing it. This consisted of Desmond peddling on an exercise bike and reading to me about the clones, but it produced a lovely, random moment which spoke to me of time and youth and the “outer rim of”

Day three I had to go to work. I’m cataloging and building a database for Laura Warriner’s art books at Untitled Gallery. This work puts me into the most creative light/dark space while doing what I love, routinely. Before I left for the day I took a minute to film the bookshelves, the volumes holding their own among the treasured art. When the windows are open, as well as when they are closed, that loft has a sense of wide open spaces.  “When prairie wind blows in the high gallery windows all the spines and skin and pigment turn toward the natural air. Kinetic everything. Everything kinetic.”
One the fourth day I returned to my summer 2015 obsession : the non-rattler, but no less frightening snake that tried to stare me down at dusk one night. I was going to trap it. I was going to have it caught and killed. I feared it was under my bed at night or hidden in the ironing basket after coming through some leaky pipe of plumbing. Apologies to all of you who listened to me illogically rant reptilian. I’m over it now. Now I look for it in my overgrown yard. I state conditions: don’t sneak up on me, don’t cross the back porch threshold. A minute videoing snake habitat while safe behind my pointed camera has cured me of this irrational fear. Plus, now I have a silly snake poem called HISS.


Here he is again in slithery daylight, rounding my door.
I would never be tempted to follow him out of the garden.
Snakes are potent, kingly with diamonds, sneaky.
Some drop them into poems like charms.
Sans hysteria, my neighbor says get a gun, get a hoe.
Sickened by the thought, I
sand my porch again with Snake Shake .
Satan, I say, don’t trick me into sin, venial though it be.

Here is it day five. Today’s minute-made movie is called, Preparing to Work, or Watch Out, You Might Get What You’re After which is really pretty boring because it's just me heading for my workspace to write while listening to Talking Heads. I think video art is not my forte, but the week was full of play and close looking.  Hooray, I have drafts to work with.  My notebook is happy. Thank you, Sandra Soli, and all you hard working poets who inspire me.







Saturday, May 16, 2015

Pencil Light: Poems
now available.

If you do not want to order my new book from Amazon I will send you a signed copy directly from the homeplace here in Oklahoma City. 

Email me at

You can sample it and see what others have said at

Local folks are all invited to the book launch/art exhibit at
at Untitled Gallery in OKC,
Thursday, May 28, 6:30.

Other readings to be announced.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Poetry Workshop at Turtle Rock Farm


Saturday, May 2


Scribble Poetry

(and other fun ways to spring into poems)



Dear Friends,
Bring your favorite pencil or pen to Turtle Rock for a day of new writing and fresh poetry. Surprise yourself by playing a game of scribble, or brain scramble, or erasure writing. Ground yourself at this amazing sustainable farm. Talk to the chickens, question the blue sky, visit the pond. Make spring work for you. With us.  With lunch provided. With pleasure.

  • three different ways to generate a poem,
  • three ways to enhance a poem
  • three ways to offer a poem to the world
Turtle Rock Farm (near Billings, OK)

Who: Jane Vincent Taylor, poet & fan of the Farm
When: Saturday, May 2, 2015
   -   9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
How much: $75.00  
How to: register online


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dear October,
Three days gone and already I miss you. You sent so many letters and surprising enclosures. You are my favorite mail carrier, sender of leaf and the crisp page. Do you see my notes of gratitude roosting on the line waiting for the perfect postal wind?

Your generous days offered me a plethora of lucky numbers. 4 was the Love-day under my pergola, a story-slam of vows with mints and buttery kisses all around. There was absolutely no kind of bluster.  Thanks for that, plus the picture light.  

Oh, October, I know you are connected to the eternal eight, but for Ghost Ranch you were right to send me nine.  
Dear Past, Dear Future was shuttled into a rec room made for younger folk, but we stole pillows and found and took our comfort slow. By day 3 we’d kicked off our shoes, unfolded ourselves, and became no small ordinary envelopes. We wrote to the living and the dead and maybe to the threshold spirits in between. We were letter boxes opened and gently riffled through.

Thank you, October, for the blood red moon, the matrimonial trail, for the rain and umbrellas and for those beneath them. Thanks for Aunt Irene, for the Inuit Inuksuk inspiration, for the Guthrie girl, for dear Brett.  Thanks for Willa and her desert sister surrogate. I loved Stanley Kunitz and his dancing partner.  Also, thanks for the big heart with her big pockets, and for all the brave asking. What is a letter if not an act of faith.  
Say, could you please look after any letter poems hidden under rocks? Ask November to deliver them if they languish in the sage.

October, you did not leave me much to long for except, of course, more. Please come again, and wear that gorgeous mesa gown. We’ll be ever grateful.

Yours, forever newly older,