Julianza (Julie) Shavin
Our March 2017 Featured Poet
Kentucky-born and Georgia-raised, Julie Shavin adopted the Rocky Mountains as home in 1993. She is a classically-trained pianist who began writing music at age 10. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Emory University and Ga. State University; her degrees are in Philosophy and English. A journalist, editor and licensed professional proofreader, she became disabled in 1987, and has since devoted herself to poetry, music and artwork, though she still sometimes freelances her former professions. Many of her artworks are enhancements of her photographs, drawings and paintings; she is also fond of the Sketcher application, which allows for creativity via the use of just one finger. She has four books of poetry; the last two collections are Of Mortality a Music and This Grave Oasis; she is at work on a fifth book. The Pikes Peak Arts Council has conferred upon her its annual Performance Poet and Page Poet awards two years consecutively. She has taken 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes in the National Federation of State Poetry Societies contests. In 2016 she won the Mark Fischer prize, out of Telluride, Colorado, and she publishes often in literary magazines. She currently serves as president of Poetry West in Colorado Springs and describes herself as a synesthete of the worst and best sort(s), has perfect pitch and plays cello with the city's community orchestra. She has been an animal welfare advocate and activist and has four rescue pets. She has two daughters, whom she considers her grandest masterpieces of all.
The Artist's Bookshelf
"The Artist's Bookshelf" is crucial to the creation of art. These are the poems, poets, novels, stories, authors, artists and art pieces that inspire their work..
Here are the artists/works on Julie Shavin's Bookshelf, that have inspired her work here.
The Artist's Bookshelf:
- Robinson Jeffers, T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, Conrad Aiken, Anne Sexton, Dylan Thomas
- Dogville, The Sweet Hereafter, The Sea Inside (movies)
-The Metamorphosis, Kafka
- Nausea, Being and Nothingness, Sartre
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
- House of Leaves, Danielewski
- Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury
- A Delicate Balance, Albee
-Picasso, Chagall, Heliker
- Leonard Cohen, Chopin, Bach, Gary Jules' "Mad World"
Collection of Poems by Julianza (Julie) Shavin
Most Stellar Now
Wrecked Stars...K. Poddar
What the stars see –
this pebble, Earth,
and what we see:
perfect pictures in a sleeping sky,
no things real
until we name them.
as sudden as love flown,
in the kaleidoscope night:
Orion's arrow slays Gemini twins,
Ursa's dippers foil Chariot's path.
do we betray ourselves
into a dream of heaven untorn?
Will our stars into their places
so far, so fixed, so chaste,
so forged of fire
we never burn?
For a breath of air,
I opened the back door
and saw that a giant swan had descended to our grounds,
initiating, possibly, a last winter together.
I got up later,
to see it still there,
a dumb and beauteous thing
my wishing for a gray day
so thick and congealed,
nothing could slice it
except, perhaps, another swan
come to shelter the first with mighty wings,
shutting all down for the day.
I resumed my dark vigil,
pondering dubious futures
and great swans
still and barely shimmering
beneath the brave and believing trees.
children tantrumming their boredom
the uncaring snow tantalizes our suicides
our homes heady shelters turn to prisons
walls disrobe their colors
a white house in white
one must remember the terrible impulse
that created our joy
that crowned their hairless heads
nothing is a childs fault
snow is not snow's fault
still, rebellion clutches the throat
an opportunity to change venue
sings from the sea
where palms grow and quick snails
inch to sustenance in snail time
when bound to another being
one comes to understand the snail
and not it may lust for thumbs
but it's doubtful a slime of night creeps up the white walls
and the mute and artful use of words
thunders in prison
a harmony of cobwebs
spinning and spinning midnight's promise
an outline for a tomorrow
wearing today's white name.
Within this solitude
my ghost-minions gather,
warp shoulders to a strange topiary.
I have known them forever,
their plumes of blue locution
let from pale lips.
A red-gray sky signals
how much more winter, though
winter is never the whole story.
I try and turn from things
that slink in at sleep onset, or at dawn
like a flower that awakens just then.
You come bedside, ask what I need.
Us, I think, that beginning,
every dark now a eulogy to day.
Since we are born of chains and
into chains, one would think
nothing matters and yet it does.
Soon the clammy night
will spill its pearl of day,
reshifting our solitudes, reckless,
without guile or relent.
Today the mouth is a white box
fisting its fury
but the problem is not mouth but brain, the black box,
and all the other boxes: prism of insides roiling,
this one anxious, that one afraid,
other in ribbons of regret.
It is such a day.
It is not up to the boxes,
not up to depth perception,
all those equilateral triangles
that tell us where we are, that we are,
but depth itself that fuels the white box
with its confounding
it will last, will not last,
worry not, worry more.
I want to crush the boxes,
but what is the I that crushes?
Another box, the God I fashioned from stars and sadness,
hope and demise,
flattened corners an earth to die for, live for.
I watch the sky on these sickest of days
as though only by watchers can a sky maintain,
one lid open like in ease of death
pupil fixed for the next fight,
if lachrymose over the fact
heaven seems to salute, even boxed,
as it is, by galaxy, universe
until finally rest comes, slow but gathering,
like those little deaths, but innocent,
pitpatting toddlers dragging their sleepers
through and through and through the rooms,
release from pain, sphere of warmth,
like love is a sphere,
lips close the circumscribed day,
now colorless, shapeless, sweet, sweet changeling,
the stories keep turning to us for succor,
the paths never leaning into forks
without imagination –
the trout may not be biting,
but some horse-sense ladders us downward
in the gene pool
and go we gladly,
a giddy decay.
Take the bouquet of face,
both a truant and true behest –
bright uncertainty dancing there,
a marionetting of trees
climbing multi-hued tides of sky,
of bodies –
and the loyal sea, ever with us,
exploding its white laughter.
Where Sleep Comes
The velvet-eyed jury
keeps its doe eyes fixed.
The judge menaces, innocent as charged. Lifer!
Preening our pass,
we dig up caskets and hancock them,
a surly prank,
dissing tired leaves, brown grasses of cynicism.
This was then.
Now, this ever and everness.
A god or devil's burden, it seems.
The moon slaps some of its dark side into the soul's light.
Lament, one thinks,
lament with joy the jostling bits of supernovae,
quarks of continents,
air and gases that make of day an everness.
But something naked of name spells sleep.
I say, this is my bed, where sleep comes to die,
forgetting the somber pledges ears made
when skin finally grasped infinity's edges.
Forest of Few
Even in this desert city of ozone,
a palm pierces the sky
spindly and green-eared.
I sleepwalk to imagined heaven
beyond the hotel railing. How far to air
we were fashioned for?
Huge lights scream FITNESS CENTER,
violating low mountains.
An ambulance sings its mordant purpose.
Rem sleep might change something.
Yesterday's nap combined the baby's laughter
with a jumping giraffe, a giraffearoo,
a kangaraffe, I'll tell her, savoring small moments.
At this pay-by-the-week,
grown sad people distract themselves
with sleep, food, drink, other.
There are some things we are allowed to say.
Outside the airplane window,
clouds had scudded like cottony dresses,
or no, the plane whisked - does it matter?
Back back and back, like dismissed lives
or happily dismissed lives.
The things that don't show up in nightmares
show by day, the city so rife with us
who hears a thing?
but all thoughts of suicide left me
when I found myself alone in the forest.
This very one.
The cat lies in his unassuming eternity.
On the shelf above him, a rabbit skull
plucked from the prairie.
So small...brain the size of a pea! I'd exclaimed,
jolly, my lover utterly drunk on me
in the forever sun.
Such a freedom in seeking the poor, poor dead,
which is to say, I was likely off by a pea, maybe two,
didn't care how many peas.
We prowled the tall grasses for bones:
bovine skull, goat with horns intact,
huge vertebrae in a perfect stretched S,
antlers white as sin is white
when it must be white.
I see him now, strange decorated hero,
Frankenstein thing of confused and threatening exoskeleton.
No one will ever love you like I do,
he said over and over again over time over time.
Four years gone,
and still no keeping him mortal.
the way messages carry oxygen across the pulse
such that fingertips
teach us a reaching
until we are still alone –
this is how I am delicate,
not strong enough to arm a judge
in a fight to the death with dementia.
Let me admit it:
I balter in the living room alone
before a chorus of trees,
which has gladdened me,
if not the universe. I ask,
don't plant me in a garden
without your selves,
that is the plea.
A subtraction is but hours
beyond our days
capillaries of dawns in which
we could lose ourselves –
this may be the afterlife,
you know, the only one,
as no one has done the math
we merriygoround now
it's all the horses know –
remember we tried reassembling the patterened wall
flexing the playground of our
and were lost, but lost,
let us assemble now,
and plant ourselves
in this life, this holy
and egregious sentencing.
Collection or Artwork by Julie Shavin
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