House of the Tomato

If a woman wants to be a poet, she must dwell in the house of the tomato. -- Erica Jong

Regional website for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, in partnership with the Reader's Loft.

GREEN BAY / NORTHEAST

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Poetry Reading

  • The Reader's Loft 2069 Central Court Ste #44 Green Bay, WI, 54311 United States (map)

Ralph Murre, Jenna Cornell & D. R. Clowers

Ralph Murre -- who comes without a degree or an apology -- is a sailor, a motorcyclist, an artist, and something of a jack-of-all-trades. He confesses to "messing about in books" and has written three small volumes of poetry and co-authored a fourth.  Murre says he is currently honored to serve as Door County’s Poet Laureate, and swears there really is such a thing and that he didn’t just make that up.

Odds

On the off chance
that we should meet again
given that there are billions
and, let’s say, in a different life

On the off chance
we’d be attracted to one another
and were of the same species
that is, I hadn’t come back

as your dog
or you, God forbid, if there’d be
a god, my cat
(not that there’d be anything

wrong with that)
On the off chance
we’d be on a planet
with breathable air

 and we’d survived acne
and alcohol and atomic
annihilation on that globe
circling a star, somewhere

On the off chance of love

what do you suppose
would be the chance
we two could get it right
learn the steps, dance the dance?

-- Ralph Murre


But We Were Beautiful, No?

In that illicit country of the uncountable injured
where we shivered in the heat of that night.
The height.  And the sky falling so close all around
there were constellations tangled in your hair.

Forget or remember, either way, there was salt
in the air a thousand miles from any ocean and
how could we not dance, listening to that music
and, (is it too easy to say?) glistening, in the liquid

in the languid of that place, and kneeling
at the altars of that nighttime nation, of that
small, defenseless nation, where we were beautiful,
no?

And how could we not make sacrifices to those gods
just over us there (that close!) and worry later, if we
worry at all, about those in the clover and grass
to which we go?

-- Ralph Murre

With her first story written at age nine and first published opinion article at age ten, Jenna Cornell has since seen her work published in The Northern Lights Arts Journal, The Manifest, Sheepshead Review, The Fourth Estate, Mauthe Center Magazine, Examiner.com, and had plays read at Theatre on the Bay. 

She submitted her short screenplay "Hunk of Burning Love" to the Canadian Short Screenplay Competition in 2014 and made it into the Top 50 Quarterfinals. In 2015, she released her first poetry collection as an indie author titled Fantastic Illusions of Life, Love, the Birds, and the Bees.

Fiction, screen writing, and journalism are one of the many things she involved in. She also writes fiction, poetry,  and music.  As a vocalist and wordsmith, Jenna spends part of her time writing songs. She intends to record in the near future.

Since receiving her BA in English, Creative Writing and Theatre from UWGB, and her MA from Southern New Hampshire University, Jenna has become a professor at Lakeland College and Lakeshore Technical College, as well as a writing tutor for Pearson Education. She can also be found on the radio airwaves for Cumulus Broadcasting.

 When she isn't writing, she enjoys nature photography, painting, spending time outside, and with her family. Jenna lives by the belief that art is the essence of life in creative form.

Midnight Sea

Let us dance across the midnight sea.
Where stars collide.
Where it’s only you and me.
Where fire-tailed eagles dive
amongst the celestial
bodies flow. A moonlit
waltz, to then fro amidst
the ever-present glow.  

The tango twist in raptured twilight.
Where constellations dare.  
Where arrows fill the night.
Where teasing whips of gas fare
amongst the giant
spheres abound. A sunlit
rumba swings hips round amidst
the silent-black sound.  

The quickstep flicker in dark blue night.
Where dreams surpass.
Where fairies and sprites ignite.
Where red dragons flash
amongst the stardust
hearts transfix. A starlit
samba where bodies kiss amidst
the heavenly-dotted mix.  

Let us dance across the midnight sea.
Where stars collide.
Where it’s only you and me.
Where star-crossed lovers glide
amongst the translunar
ocean. A moonlit
bolero pivots left motion amidst
the extraterrestrial devotion. 


Deeper Still

A mirror of water
rests silently
against glistening-white
borders.

Words echo
in the cloudy air.
Bounce off
black liquid
frozen forests
frost-laden grass
in over-embellished
tones. 

Ice crystals
fall delicately
invading
in stealth
resting upon
the scene
like a picturesque
romance. 

The water calls
me deeper still.
Erotic
twisted guiles
sing Grimm lullabies
hush my heart
stop my voice
envelope my breath. 

I fracture the mirror
break its shiny
black ruse
with harmonic hesitation
dancing to its waltz
eavesdropping
on its plan
to overtake me. 

Liquid trickles
into my lungs
conquers
the warm
tender air.
Deeper still
I enter in
contently
embracing
its frigid depths.

Inner glow
covers me
in sweet
surrender.
Summer days
flash on
then off.
Laughter
penetrates
my ears.
Sunshine
filters
through
my eyes. 

I float
beyond
white and blue
into golden-orange
sunlight.
Deeper still
I have emerged. Free.

After receiving his BA in English Lit and MA from the University of Michigan and teaching for three years at Drake University, David or D.R. Clowers switched fields and got a law degree from the University of Chicago. After practicing law for many years in Milwaukee, he moved to a self-build, rustic cabin in Door County’s woods in 2001 and lived there, off the grid, for nine years, while re-establishing his law practice in Sturgeon Bay. He has been the featured reader at the UUFDC's Dickinson Poetry series, and has self-published two chapbooks, Shedding My Three Piece Birthday Suit, and Doggysattva Love. His poems have appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Fox Cry, Knock, Your Daily Poem, The Peninsula Pulse, WFOP's annual calendars and in Ralph Murre's Re-Verse. Several of his poems have received recognition in the WFOP's Triad, the Gruetzmacher and the Hal Prize contests. One of his poems appeared in the anthology, Soundings: the Poetry of Door County, and two others in an anthology published by Duluth's Holy Cow Press in 2015, Amethyst and Agate: Poems of Lake Superior.  He performs in community theater groups, serves on several boards, teaches poetry writing and reading theater classes at Door County's LIR program. In his spare time he goes to the Y, swims, runs, bikes, skis, sails, practices law and does the Legal Aid Clinic for Door County.

The Speed Limit of the Universe

is supposed to be the speed of light,
and I guess it is if you want to know
how fast a photon can travel
but what about information
in the universe?
How fast does that go?

Let me tell you a story:
my love was in London
when I called to say
I was on my way
but wished I was already there
and not a continent plus
the Atlantic Ocean away.

“You are here,“ she began
as I felt something slide
across my shirt and over my heart—
I even looked down to see—
and then she said
I’m in your pocket, Luv!

-- D.R. Clowers


Critique of Pure Reason

An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex.
— Aldous Huxley

While my hands are fidgeting on your back, I think
about Jung saying that if you showed him a sane man
he would cure him for you—which
makes me wonder if anyone who is sane
can ever love, because love means losing yourself
in your lover. “Le petit mort,” the French have called it,
but then the French always have love
on the table with some red wine and a crisp baguette,
and Brecht could have been talking about love,
as well, I guess, when he wrote,
“First feed the face, and then talk right and wrong.”

But I think I’ve lost my place, my love.
Please take me around that curve on your body
that makes me stop thinking about everything
and puts me in touch with my hands.

-- D.R. Clowers

 

Earlier Event: January 28
Poetry Reading
Later Event: March 31
Poetry Reading

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