Ekphrasis: Poets Ponder Photographs

Ekphrasis Banner

June 4 - July 17, 2010

The term "ekphrasis" dates back to ancient Greece. It refers to art generated in response to other art. The Benton County Historical Society presented an exhibition of poetry in response to photography. Three professional Oregon photojournalists--Andy Cripe, Scobel Wiggins, and Casey Campbell--exhibited a few of their favorite photographs. Members of the Marys Peak Poets composed poetry in response to the submitted photographs. The exhibit also included a display of many of the Benton County Museum's cameras.

Artist Be Herrera first envisioned this exhibition several years ago. Be is a poet herself, and as an artist, she appreciated the broad talents of the influential photography team at Gazette-Times and Midvalley Newspapers. The resulting exhibition is a labor of love for many dedicated volunteers, including Be Davidson Herrera, Andy Cripe, Casey Campbell, Scobel Wiggins, Martha Fraundorf, and the Marys Peak Poets. The 12 Benton County poets are Courtney CloydLinda GelbrichBe Davison HerreraSteve JonesJ.D. MackenzieBetty McCauleyMarjorie PowerJoanna RosinskaLinda Varsell SmithAnn StaleyJessica Varin, and Roger Weaver.

Ekphrasis Exhibit 3

Ekphrasis: Poets Ponder Photographs


Ekphrasis Exhibit 1

Photographs, Poetry, and Cameras


Ekphrasis Exhibit 2 

Moreland Auditorium and Gallery



Andy Cripe

Over the past 22 years, Andy Cripe has worked for six daily papers in Oregon and one in Northern California.

Andy Cripe's personal blog: http://andycripe.wordpress.com  

Casey Campbell

Casey moved to Corvallis in 1995 to attend Oregon State University where he earned his BS and master's degrees in speech communication with a focus on media studies. During his time at OSU he spent a lot of time studying video production and documentary theory, but would soon trade in the video camera for a still camera near the end of his master's program.

After graduating from OSU, he had the good fortune to be hired on at the Corvallis Gazette-Times where he worked for four years. The time he spent at the GT allowed him to see all of Corvallis, Philomath, and the surrounding areas and meet some of the most amazing people. Sharing people's stories and informing people about their community was a blessing. Opportunities to help those in need through photographic storytelling made all of the hard work and long hours worth it. 

Now, Casey works in Tualatin as a web designer, communications assistant, and photographer at the Oregon Nurses Association. While he isn't doing photography as a career full-time, he still keeps a camera in his hands for much of the time. He still maintains ties to Corvallis too as he does a lot of photography for the local roller derby team, the Sick Town Derby Dames.

photo blog: http://haphazardcasey.blogspot.com/

Scobel Wiggins

Scobel Wiggins is a quirky and fun professional photographer from Corvallis, Oregon. She likes to talk about her cameras and lenses as if they are actual people. Scobel is especially well known for her ultimate frisbee photography. She started shooting ultimate when her son Ben joined forces with Josh Greenough to kick start Oregon's team Ego in 1999. She followed the team to Nationals and was hooked. Since then, she has served as the Official Photographer for the UPA, CUPA, Dream Cup, ECC, TEP, and Worlds tournaments in Honolulu, Vancouver, and Taiwan.

Her work has been featured in Chasing Plastic, Skyd Magazine, the Huddle, and USA Ultimate Magazine. She shot the cover for James Parinella and Eric Zaslow's book, Ultimate:Techniques and Tactics, and was featured in Tony Leonardo's, Ultimate: The Greatest Sport Ever Invented By Man. She is a contributor to Gaia, 5 Ultimate, Discraft, Patagonia, and VC. Her work is on countless team sites and been included in many other publications.

You can see more of her work here: http://www.scobelwigginsphotography.com

Poets Ponder Photographs

Be Davison Hererra

Be Davisson Hererra

Be Hererra's work as a wordsmith, handspinner, bridge builder, and circumnavigator is focused on the practice of literary, performing, and visual art as a peaceful pursuit of truth, laughter, and justice. Her work can be found in museums, libraries, and universities on five continents and in eights states in her native United States. She has benefitted greatly from the encouragement of generous family and friends.

Fire, by Casey Campbell

Photo by Casey Campbell


Be Hererra, Lucero Non Uro

Joanna Rosinska

Joanna Rosinska

Joanna Rosinska, a native of Poland, has been a lyricist, musician, playwright, stage director and journalist. She currently writes poetry and short stories, creates cartoons and soundscapes (multilayered performances based on poems), and translates and publishes Polish poets in the USA. Her particular interests in poetry and visual arts are nature and surrealism. She is a member of various poetic groups, including OSPA, has published in several small Northwest publications and owns Primary Remiges, ABN an art publishing business. Her book, Absurdities: Poems of Obsessions and Oddity, with complementary CD is a collection of chuckle-spurring poems, drawings, photographs and musical experiences picturing odd human behavior.

Joanna lives with her life-partner and their furry kids in Corvallis, Oregon, where she trains dogs and is working toward becoming a dog behavior consultant. She is also an avid dressage rider.

Andy Cripe, ABC 04

Photo by Andy Cripe


Joanna Rosinska, Crossing Poem

J. D. Mackenzie

Poet J.D. Mackenzie

J. D. Mackenzie began creative writing with occasional classes and workshops offered through colleges in California and Oregon, but he only recently started writing poetry when he determined that is was much safer to write poetry than novels while driving a long commute to work. His short fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in New Verse News, Rogue River EchoesEugene Weekly, and The Moment. He lives in Corvallis with his wife and son.

Andy Cripe, ABC 02

Photo by Andy Cripe


J.D. Mackenzie, Standing in Our Way

Courtney Cloyd

Poet Courtney Cloyd

Courtney Cloyd has lived west of the Cascades in Oregon most of his life. He hunted agates, arrowheads, and fossils as a kid, and read science fiction and anthropology. He has worked as a geologist for 36 years. He has written several professional articles and edited Diggin' Deep, the quarterly U.S. Forest Service Minerals and Geology newsletter, for 4 years.

Andy Cripe, ABC 01

Photo by Andy Cripe


Boundary Crossing

Logs once floated on the river
where city lights shimmer,
the bridge a long, dark scar
on the late day sky.

Boats once joined the river's 
banks. We could walk there
now, if we were welcome.

By Courtney Cloyd

Betty McCauley

Poet Betty McCauley

I'm a retired Environmental Protection Agency librarian with an abiding love of words, language, poems, and stories. I teach a class in Write Your Life Stories, which keeps me remembering moments in the past. I've written poems, good or not, since before I was a young Camp Fire Girl. The national Camp Fire office sponsored an annual poetry contest in I which I won a second, a third, and finally a first prize. One year, the well known singer Kate Smith read my poem "Dear Diary" on the radio. It is about a fictional brother who was missing in action in World War II. I had fan mail from soldiers' families across the country. That is the last time I was famous. I now get my joy from writing poems for my friends, three children, and four grandchildren, who also love words. With family encouragement and their photographs, I have recently published a book of haiku called My Spirit Sings. I hope you'll join the chorus.

Scobel Wiggins Triptych, For Love Of

Triptych by Scobel Wiggins, For Love Of


Dawn on the Summit
Three tanka

Dawn on the summit.
Over the horizon light steals night's stars,
makes the sky luminous.
A blue glow expands to infinity
and sunrise creeps closer.

Daylight emerges, 
defines mountains in peach shimmer.
A morning walk - 
a laughing companion, the energy
of dogs on tree lined path.

Then a volcano
of pure sunlight erupts - 
radiance and deep shadows.
The calm of dawn has given way
to challenges unknown.

by Betty McCauley

Steve Jones

Poet Steve Jones

Steve Jones is the founding Co-Director of the Oregon Writing Project at Willamette University, has directed the 4-week intensive Summer Institute for 20 teachers, kindergarten through college, for 15 years and presents writing workshops at OWP, NWP, OCTE, NCTE, ORA, and other conferences. He is mostly retired from years of teaching college essay writing at Chemeketa, WSU, OSU, and Sprague, and West Salem High Schools, and now husbands a 30-acre woods with his lover of 40 years, Ana Maria. Steve's essays, stories, and poems have appeared in Calapooya Collage, Oregon State Poetry Association winners anthologies, Dragonfly, Eloquent Umbrella, Fireweed, Greenfield Review, Manzanita Review, Northwest Review, Oregon English Journal, Oregonian, OSU Prism, Quickfiction, Slackwater Review, Willamette Journal of Liberal Arts, and others.

Casey Campbell, Painting Bridge

Painting Bridge, Photo by Casey Campbell



I. Remember: This photo reminds me of concrete floors on frozen winter nights -- walking, kneeling, crawling on cold concrete, weaving among jumping, spinning, extruding belts and humming motors, talking with operators, packers, sorters, tenders 
and millwrights -- all working to keep the heavy machinery going. Millwrights diagnose and build and repair -- the machinery healers.

II. From Scratch: I love the way welders and machinists can start with cold-rolled-steel -- round and flat stock, fashioning intricate machines, inventing sturdy devices to spin or roll or sit solidly in one place, building the durable goods, the long-lasting machinery that extracts electricity from water, air or steam -- making the fifty-year machines in a throw-away world -- built to last.

III. Graveyard: He works fabrication on rotating shift, welding and sleeping all hours -- day and night. His biological clock may never recover -- remaining permanently out of phase with family, friends, store hours, sun and moon. Working as scheduled to keep assembly going twenty-four/seven, he can deal with this, but the family suffers --
so much happens while he's at work or sleeping. The world leaves him behind.

By Steve Jones, 2010

Linda Gelbrich

Poet Linda Gelbrich

Linda Gelbrich is a recently retired clinical social worker who finds hope, refreshment, and spiritual nurture in the outdoor world. She loves words and listening carefully to stones, trees and water. She is at home in Oregon and anywhere there are gentle trails to walk.

Casey Campbell, Leaves 3

Photo by Casey Campbell


Linda Gelbrich Poem

Marjorie Power

Poet Marjorie Power

Marjorie Power is a widely unknown poet with approximately 350 poems in or forthcoming in American and Canadian journals and anthologies. She is also the author of six poetry chapbooks and one full length collection. She lives in Corvallis with her husband, Max Power, with whom she enjoys many things in life.

Casey Campbell, Moon and Clock

Photo by Casey Campbell


Photo with Moon and Clock

Easy to imagine
what's left out of the picture,
what might lie off one edge
or another. Or above the moon.
Not that a moon this low and full
allows the eye to roam.

Mine slips anyway
across a night sky as clear as black ice
to the tower where the face
of the courthouse clock
reads five past four.

Below, on the lawn we can't see 
someone may lie asleep.
Could be it's the man
with the cavernous visage
who, when I pass in daylight,
shouts: Go to hell, ya goddamn bitch.

Over the brightly lit clock
and under the roof line
a word is inscribed.
It might be German
which I can't read.
Or maybe a little paint
has chipped away.

by Marjorie Power

Linda Varsell Smith

Linda Varsell Smith

Linda Varsell Smith taught creative writing and children's literature at LBCC and still teaches Write Your Life Story. She coordinates Fooling Around With Words workshops, and the DaVinci Days Poetry Slam. She is an editor at Calyx Books. For many years she served on the board of the Oregon State Poetry Association (10 as President) and she was president of PEN Women in Portland. Linda is affiliated with Marys Peak Poets, Poetic License, and the Wednesday Salon. She and her husband Court were Celebrate Corvallis Patrons of the Arts in 2007. She co-sponsors two writing contests for youth and wrote 4 books of poetry and 12 young adult fantasy novels.

Scobel Wiggins diptych, Dance

Diptych by Scobel Wiggins, Dance



I could write multi-verses on multiverses
if I fully grasped the concept.
I can't write a uni-verse
on the universe either.
I do not know in how many dimensions
my sentient essence resides concurrently.
Scientists proclaim parallel universes,
eleven dimensions, bubbled galaxies,
string theory, m-theory,
brane bumping brane in flat or curved universes.
In different dimensions we could be living alternative lives.
Perhaps deceased loved ones thrive in another reality
and our dream lives are experienced there.
Who knows where our consciousness travels and dwells?
Scientists have not developed their Theory of Everything
for this planet let alone all the possible universes.
Invisible to our limited sensory equipment
all these alternate perceptions of being ,
simultaneous lives connected to our individual selves
take deviations from our currently lived trajectory.
In many dimensions I could live variations of choices.
My mistakes in this realm might not be taken in another realm.
My talents and contributions could be greater,
my journeys' impacts more beneficial elsewhere.
How do other beings in other dimensions influence me
here or anywhere my spirit exists?
Perhaps heaven is just one of these dimensions
and as our qi leaves Earth, it has options.
I thought I'd go to the Pleiades next incarnation,
but maybe I should see what other dimensions
and multiverses might be offering.
If I could recall my many lives in many dimensions,
maybe I could write multi-verses of times in multiverses.
Cosmic couplets, quarky quatrains, celestial syllabics,
galactic ghazals, fusion free verse, numinous nonce forms-
spark light in dark energy,
brain on brane with poetic license
explore the infinite of the cosmos.

By Linda Varsell Smith

Ann Staley

Ann Staley

Ann Staley was born in the Keystone State (Pennsylvania) and traveled 10,000 miles west in her VW bug to get to a cabin along the Greensprings Highway, 19 miles east of Ashland. Her first long poem, a handwritten narrative about Peace Corps experiences in Brazil was ostensibly the reason she was hired to teach Writing and Literature at Hedrick Junior HS. There was a former husband and a stint in a tipi. All this happened before Courtney. Ann and Courtney have lived in Western Oregon, Ashland to Portland, and back to Corvallis ever since. They currently share their home with cat #3, Dexter, a very bad boy indeed. Ann has a posse of friends from all over who, rightly or wrongly, encourage her writing, mostly self-published, but recently appearing in The Jefferson QuarterlyWriting From The Inside Out, and Dialogical.

Casey Campbell Photo, Leaves 2

Photo by Casey Campbell


Ann Staley, Change of Season

Jessica Varin

Poet Jessica Varin

Jessica Varin is a poet, a fact-finding fiend, and an avid explorer. She believes that poetry exists for reasons higher than art. She writes to illuminate and change the world.

Andy Cripe, ABC 03

Photo by Andy Cripe


Leaf and Grass

The diffuse light of a dimly tuned microscope
shines through the veined curtain of a lone maple
leaf. Here there are graminoids, wet mounted
to the earth in shadow form. Dew tips
the blades of grass behind the fallen foliage.

Beneath the optical instrument, blades
become helical, unsharpened. The verdant aggressors
of summer give way to autumn's repose.

This leaf is gentle, not yet curled by death.
In the interim it cloaks the field, a cover
slip so fragile that one wind or wash
could spirit it away.

By Jessica Varin

Roger Weaver

Poet Roger Weaver

Roger Weaver's poems have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, The North American Review, Hubbub, The Greenfield Review, and elsewhere. The author of five books of poetry, his latest is The Ladder of Desire, published by the Pygmy Forest Press in 2006. Retired from Oregon State University where he taught poetry writing, he now enjoys volunteering in a local elementary school.

Casey Campbell, Moon

Photo by Casey Campbell


Harvest Moon

Gold coin of midnight blue sky,
how do we woo you?
To save you from the coming
frost and snow, what pocket
could hold you?

by Roger Weaver