Stella Nickerson

One Day When the Hills Wake Up

One day, when the hills wake up
and walk with rocky feet along
the highways, when the cars that lie
abandoned by their masters hatch
and give forth creatures dripping oil
and flaking rust, and when the white
and ragged dogs patrol the yards
you'll lock your door behind you as

you go. I don't expect to stand
with you, or to have seen you for
a while and while. If on that day
you see a girl with wavy hair
and hear my name inside your head,
that is enough. Away in my
own city, I'll negotiate
a treaty with the locusts and

their newly pieced-together mind.
I'll stake my nightly camp inside
the kudzu-covered memories
of homes, and when a curling storm
the color of your eyes rakes at
the walls, I'll wonder where you are.

Waking at Noon

Mid-day heat makes dreams go stale and stick
among the rat and tatter of your hair.
You stir. You stand. You think: "If I were quick
to rise and go about my business there
might be a decent chance of fixing things."
Tomorrow morning, or perhaps next week,
you'll start a better, sharper life like kings
start wars--decisively. You'll snap. You'll seek
enlightenment through six-part VHS—
those perky tapes that teach you how to "ohm."
You'll clean the house. You'll call your mother—Yes!
You'll energize, a human atom bomb.
But oh, that late-day light makes dreams go strange,
and stuck as tar, and so, so hard to change.

Every Wanting

Every wanting clinging to the red
inner surface of my skin, and each
wilted would-have been, each almost-said
or barely-heard left in the air to leech
the oxygen away, and all the pains
un-pained, the joys un-joyed, the futures still
dissolving in these dusty desert rains,
the groaning gap dividing won't from will—

It builds. The other night I drove out from
the clotted lights and rumble of this town.
I thought of him and him and the other one
and shivered with the pulse, the engine thrum,
as desiccated minutes counted down.
With every year there's more I've never done.


Stella Nickerson currently lives in Arizona, where she is pursuing a doctorate in engineering. Her poetry has appeared in Strong Verse, Strange Horizons, and Cicada. Her writing can be found at www.stellanickerson.com.


Deborah Arnold
Sylvia Ashby
Meredith Bergmann
Carol Dorf
Melanie Figg
Sophia Galifianakis
Nicole Caruso Garcia
Jennifer Glancy
Dolores Hayden
Kjerstin Kauffman
Katrina Kostro
Michele Leavitt
Susan McLean
Ann Michael
Sally Nacker
Stella Nickerson
Samantha Pious
Rita Rousseau
Renée M. Schell
Leslie Schultz
Katherine Smith
Rebecca Starks
Myrna Stone
Chelsea Woodard (Featured Poet)
Marly Youmans


Jenna Le, Anne-Marie Thompson, and Chelsea Woodard join editor Kim Bridgford at the tenth-anniversary Mezzo Cammin panel at the Poetry by the Sea conference.

Sophia Galifianakis was the recipient of the Mezzo Cammin scholarship.

Corpus VI was formed in 2003, when six women figurative painters, who studied together at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, united to curate, exhibit and present our work to the public on our own terms, and launch our artistic careers. The name was chosen because it reflected our shared commitment to figurative representation. Clarity Haynes, Elena Peteva, and Suzanne Schireson were three of the founding members of the group, which organized an inaugural, self-titled show at Philadelphia's Highwire Gallery in the spring of 2005. The exhibition essay was written by Jeffrey Carr, Dean of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The exhibition was very well-attended and reviewed in several art publications.

The experience of working together to successfully realize this exhibition, as well as the continuous dialogue and exchange of ideas on contemporary figuration, has proven to be greatly valuable to us. Ten years after graduating from PAFA, as our careers have taken us to different locations across the United States, three of the original members, Clarity Haynes, Suzanne Schireson, and Elena Peteva, have come together to reinvent the collective by inviting one artist each to be part of this exhibition that will begin at the New Bedford Art Museum in fall 2015 and travel to other institutions.

Holly Trostle Brigham, Stacy Latt Savage and Laurie Kaplowitz are professional figurative artists, whose strong artistic visions enrich the collective's range and explorations of contemporary representation. We are excited at the prospect of seeing our work all together in new configurations, creating new dialogues. Holly Brigham creates imaginative, narrative watercolors, which tell a feminist story, inserting her artistic persona into art historical narratives and mythologies. Laurie Kaplowitz uses textured paint to create personages that hint at the soul within, alluding to rituals of marking, scarring and adorning the body as an integral part of our human identity and presentation. Stacy Latt Savage combines figurative elements with fabricated structures and shapes to create objects that capture what it looks like to feel human and the complexities of our human condition. Clarity Haynes casts new light on ideas of beauty, femininity and embodiment through her realistic painted portraits of the female torso. Elena Peteva creates allegorical representations of our individual and social states through the human figure and subtle, charged, incomplete signs that invite the viewer's attempt for interpretation. Suzanne Schireson is influenced by her great-grandfather's autobiography as an early plastic surgeon and her paintings examine contradictions surrounding the birth of cosmetic surgery, such as the power to heal and the fostering of insecurity.
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