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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 8: June 2021
Ekphrastic Prosimetra: 140 words [R]
  176 words [R]
  173 words [R]
Visual Arts: Paintings [R]
By Charles D. Tarlton

Three Entangled Abstracts
by Ann Knickerbocker


Fellini Goes to Fanore, Ireland 1

Fellini Goes to Fanore, Ireland: mixed-media painting by Ann Knickerbocker
Copyrighted © by Ann Knickerbocker. All rights reserved.

The highway led up to a view of the sea and then turned south. The Burren was all along the eastern side of the highway, the sea lay to the west. A very strange geometry, the rocks all irregular of form, always hinting at something more ordered like a regular pentagram, but twisting off wildly at the last minute into an infinity of shapes. A hardened geometry now, it was once, they say, the sandy bottom of the sea.

this jeweled pentacle 
sub specie aeternitatis 
bursting its chrysalis 
so beauty makes her escape 
from a misshapen dalliance 

a kaleidoscope 
born of a spider’s shattered 
dying carapace 
opens windows to the gods 
casts rainbows over tiled floors 

wispy black creatures 
from the old bestiary 
dreamed upon the world 
coughing up secret rubies 
crystals, emeralds, and gold 


Driving Through the Black Forest 2

Driving Through the Black Forest: mixed-media painting by Ann Knickerbocker
Copyrighted © by Ann Knickerbocker. All rights reserved.

The light snow of a few days lay dirty and gray along the side of the road. We passed hotel after hotel closed for the season, the parking lots empty, and the windows shuttered tight. As we drove through villages with their houses crowded up to the road, the dreariness of the winter day had worn away the colors of their walls and tiled roofs. Later and a little farther on, the pale sunlight faded entirely to dark and the interiors of passing rooms were like theaters in which brightly lit scenes were shown and which then spread out across the snow like finely jeweled Fabergé fans.

the road twisted up 
into an archetypal 
transalpine village 
everywhere were cuckoo clocks 
banging and chiming the hour 

we found this hotel 
on the side of the valley 
from inside our room 
you could see to the mountains 
where the sun fell into shards 

of sparkling color 
over the snow covered peaks 
and into our room 
emblazing all the mirrors 
setting polished wood ablaze 


A Bouquet for Manet 3

A Bouquet for Manet: mixed-media painting by Ann Knickerbocker
Copyrighted © by Ann Knickerbocker. All rights reserved.

It was likely the fault of his vision, you know. He would look at something ordinary, a tree or a woman in a café, but the leaves would clump together for him instead of each one standing out distinct and clear, and the woman’s details, the exact edge of her lipstick or the several hairs that had sprung loose from her coiffure, blurred. One still marvels at the way the viewer’s eye is drawn to the essence of the picture, to the way that even a hurriedly drawn figure excites the imagination and loosens our gaze rather than fixing it in finished details that kill the imagination.

dipping in pigments 
of every conceivable hue 
reds and greens and blues 
testing the macula’s bite 
with his quick evasive strokes 

when ordinary 
light strikes a glassy surface 
all the color leaps 
into our eyes, forces green 
where, perhaps, there was no green 

in the refracted 
paints tumbling all around 
there is no single 
red, another green, or blue 
but scattering everywhere 



Mixed-media paintings by Ann Knickerbocker were reproduced above with her permission. These links lead to additional information:

1. Fellini Goes to Fanore, Ireland (2018; acrylic, inktense blocks, and watercolor on paper)

2. Driving Through the Black Forest (2018; acrylic, inktense, pencil, and ink on paper)

3. A Bouquet for Manet (2017; watercolor and inktense block on paper)

—Prosimetra paired with paintings were first published in Tarlton’s book Touching Fire: New and Selected Ekphrastic Prosimetra (KYSO Flash Press, 2018), and are republished here with permission.

Ann Knickerbocker
Issue 8, June 2021

is an abstract painter who has shown her work in New England and on the West Coast and overseas; she has been a member of several galleries in Amherst, Massachusetts; Essex and Guilford, Connecticut; and Point Reyes Station, California (Gallery Route One). She also holds an advanced degree in literature.

For links to her galleries and blog, Artist in an A-frame, please visit: www.annknickerbocker.com

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Art Maker: Ann Knickerbocker, an interview by Kathleen Mellen in Daily Hampshire Gazette (25 February 2016), in which the artist discusses her creative process. An excerpt:

KM: How do you know when the work “feels right”?

AK: If I am open to new ways of working, then accidents (“serendipities,” to use a more positive word) show up and work into the painting, looking, then, like intention, and I learn something new. When my mind and hand are open, then I make far better paintings....

A sampling of other prosimetra by Charles D. Tarlton paired with the artist’s paintings:

Crane by Ann Knickerbocker in MacQueen’s Quinterly (Issue 5, October 2020)
Artifact With Steam (2019) by Ann Knickerbocker in KYSO Flash (Issue 12, Summer 2019)
Ann Knickerbocker’s Interrogation II in KYSO Flash (Issue 8, August 2017)


Charles D. Tarlton
Issue 8, June 2021

is a retired university professor of political theory who lives in Old Saybrook, Connecticut with his wife, Ann Knickerbocker (an abstract painter), and a Standard Poodle named Nikki. He is the author of three books of prosimetra published by KYSO Flash Press: Touching Fire: New and Selected Ekphrastic Prosimetra (2018), Get Up and Dance (2019), and Carmody & Blight: The Dialogues (2019).

His most recent book, Peaches and Roses: Episodes in the Navajo Degradation, was released in January 2021 by Silver Bow Publishing (New Westminster, British Columbia). He also has a poetry e-chapbook published in the 2River series, La Vida de Piedra y de Palabra: Improvisations on Pablo Neruda’s Macchu Picchu; an experimental prosimetrum in Lacuna entitled Five Episodes in the Navajo Degradation; “The Rock in a Jar,” an extended prose poem in several parts in Gone Law 32; and “The Turn of Art,” a short prosimetrical drama pitting Picasso against Matisse, in Fiction International.

Tarlton has been writing poetry and flash fiction since 2006, and his work is published in numerous literary journals and magazines: Abramelin, Atlas Poetica, Barnwood, Blackbox Manifold (UK), Blue and Yellow Dog, Book Ends Review, Clackamas Literary Review, Contemporary Haibun Online, Cricket Online Review, Dark Matter, Fiction International, Haibun Today, Ilanot Review, Inner Art Journal, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Jack Magazine, KYSO Flash, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, London Grip, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Muse India, Palette Poetry, Peacock Journal, Prune Juice, Randomly Accessed Poetics, Rattle, Red Booth Review, Red Lights, Review Americana, Ribbons, Shampoo, Shot Glass, Simply Haiku, Six Minute Magazine, Sketchbook, Skylark, Spirit Wind Gallery, Tallow Eider Quarterly, The American Aesthetic, The Ekphrastic Review, The Houston Literary Review, tinywords, Tipton, Unbroken Journal, Undertow Tanka Review, and Ink, Sweat, and Tears.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Artifact With Steam (2019) by Ann Knickerbocker, ekphrastic tanka prose in the e-collection Get Up and Dance featured in KYSO Flash (Issue 12, Summer 20189)

Featured Author Charles D. Tarlton, with six of his ekphrastic tanka prose and an interview with Jack Cooper, in KYSO Flash (Issue 6, Fall 2016)

Notes for a Theory of Tanka Prose: Ekphrasis and Abstract Art, a scholarly paper by Tarlton residing in PDF at Ray’s Web; originally published in Atlas Poetica (Number 23, pages 87-95)

Three American Civil War Photographs: Ekphrasis by Tarlton in Review Americana (Spring 2016)

Simple Tanka Prose for the Seasons, a quartet by Tarlton in Rattle (Issue 47: Tribute to Japanese Forms, Spring 2015)

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