The Hocking Hills Festival of Poetry


"Writing is a way for me to delve deeper into my experience of the world, a way of discovering important questions and looking for answers to those questions."

Karen White has had poems published in many journals, including Cortland Review (www.cortlandreview.com), Tar River Poetry, Southern Poetry Review and Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies.  She is currently working with visual artist, Fran Gardner Perry, on Language and Landscape, a joint exploration of poetry and art in which they have traveled together and let their language, Fran's visual, Karen's written, flow from that point of contact.  Language and Landscape has been presented widely in South Carolina and in New Mexico and is a continuing project for which Karen has received several artists' grants from the South Carolina Commission for the Arts.   She is at home and work on Lake Wateree in South Carolina.


Dear Reader,


Take these words and balance

a rutted road to the far side

of Chaco Canyon.  Skip them

like flat stones over fickle sky,

flip them into the moon’s

belly, a cow’s lone horn.

You can’t trust

these inky silhouettes floating

on wood pulp, symbols of symbols

looped together

like chains of crochet.

Pull the right string

the whole fabric unravels.


Better to believe

petroglyphs flung high on the cliff,

elks and spirals etched on boulders, or bear’s

claws marking tree bark, coyote’s urine

scenting territory.  Spend your time

wisely.  Study a rock’s shadow

at equinox and solstice, learn why

the tree grows luckier as it nears

the sun— inhale sagebrush by day,

juniper by star-shine.  And if you must—

read as I suggested earlier,

out loud, outside, with elevation.

Sing like a mockingbird claiming the tip-top

branch of a cottonwood.




"Poetry doesn't belong to those who write it, but to those who need it."
- Mario Ruoppola (Il Postino)