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  • Secrets Revealed
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    Full disclosure: I’m the author, so of course I’m biased! But I want to let readers know why I have special affection for the poems in Secret Formulas & Techniques of the Masters recently published by Brick Road Poetry Press. They were written... Read more »
  • Maroger’s Magic
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    Three mischievous monkeys perch on a roof in this large surrealistic scene painted by my mother, Louise Craven Hourrigan. I love imagining their gossipy conversation. She often put monkeys in her paintings, so of course I had to put a... Read more »
  • Lobster for Lunch
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    I’ve spent years trying to read the stories behind this scene my mother painted. An older couple sits before a lavish feast. Their posture is stiff—unnaturally posed and primitively painted—with hands hidden below the table. Do they even have hands?... Read more »
  • Perspective Dreaming
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    What’s real? What’s deception? What is the sad-eyed woman trying to say? In this playful Renaissance scene, my mother, Louise Craven Hourrigan, toyed with classical motifs. The painting inspired early drafts of my poem, “Perspective Dreaming.” Originally published in the... Read more »
  • Waiting for 5:00
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    My mother filled this enormous canvas with sins. Even the balloons have naughty details! Her painting inspired a poem that appears in Of Burgers & Barrooms, an anthology from Main Street Rag. The poem is included in my collection, Secret Formulas... Read more »
  • Still Life With Oranges
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    In a dramatic desert landscape, navel oranges form a whimsical pyramid on an African birthing stool. This painting by my mother, Louise Craven Hourrigan, loosely inspired one of the poems in my collection, Secret Formulas & Techniques of the Masters.... Read more »
  • Carnival
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    For many years, this bright yet foreboding carnival scene hung in my childhood bedroom. My mother applied the paint with a palette knife, slashing black lines across the canvas.  Drifting to sleep, I imagined the eerie echo of a calliope. One... Read more »
  • Old Woman with Goose, Reimagined
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    A goose struggles in the grip of a haggard old woman. With hollow eyes and enormous hooked nose, she might be a witch. Did my mother know a woman like this, or did she invent the ominous scene? In “Old... Read more »
  • She Snapped Sister’s Diary Wide
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    When assigned to paint a self-portrait for an art class, my mother made this nightmarish collage. A serpent, fabric patterns, flames, and octopus arms swirl around fragmented black and white photographs of her face. The picture is so disturbing, I... Read more »
  • Flight
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    As a child, I didn’t know what to make of my mother’s wild brush strokes. She didn’t title this painting, so the subject is a mystery. Still, I loved to stare into the flaming colors, and, like many of her... Read more »
  • The first sip flamed into another sip…
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    …like a sun storm— like an Olympic medal—like Pompeii— like Pompeii before lava made love groan beneath the weight of heat— So begins a poem published in r.kv.r.y, a quarterly online literary journal that explores recovery from addictions and compulsions in... Read more »
  • Tangled Family Tree
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    Paintings by Frida Kahlo inspired this surreal tree of life candelabra. The branches resemble intestines decorated with miniature figures  — grandparents, parents, lovers, children, pets. Years after my mother died, I began to unravel secrets she hid in her strange... Read more »
  • Perspective Dreaming
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    See the painting that inspired the poem > ... Read more »
  • Stopping by the Columbarium on a Sunny Afternoon
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    ... Read more »
  • Old Woman with Goose
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    ~Poem by Jackie Craven from Secret Formulas & Techniques of the Masters, Brick Road Poetry Press and Nimrod International Journal... Read more »