Edith Rylander has been writing poetry since 1943. Her life as wife, mother, gardener, stock raiser, woods dweller, and thoughtful observer of nature and life is reflected in her poems, which have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies.
Rylander has also been a newspaper columnist since 1980, her work appearing in the Long Prairie Leader, the Morrison County Record, and the St. Cloud Times, and in a collection called Rural Routes: Essays on Living in Rural Minnesota. Rylander lives with her husband in Grey Eagle, Minnesota.
Planting the Cemetery Box
How easily a person falls
Into certain attitudes!
Here I stand, hands clasped, head bowed,
Looking at your gravestone
As if I needed help
Reading the name on it,
The name both of us married
In different generations.
But kneeling is natural,
Though I was never a kneeler,
Have never had your closeness
to that bearded old heathen-slayer
Up in the blue May sky.
When you talked about heaven it sounded
Like a big family picnic,
Potato salad and nectar
And Swedish sourdough rye.
Nobody having an argument,
None of the kids crabby,
All the folks you loved, together,
I was never that sort of kneeler;
But kneeling to plant is easy.
I set down the flats, I break up
The good dark soil, I water.
I lift and transplant two geraniums,
Two petunias, an impatiens,
And two tufts of sweet alyssum,
Pouring more water around them,
Firming up the soil,
And your old competent hands
Rise up around mine,
Passing on wisdom, pressing the earth tight.
Something pours into me,
Not down from above,
But up, from the thin grassed dirt
Of Oakland cemetery.
It is good to be brought low,
To be borne down, to feel
This hot rush in body,
Face, and eyes. To kneel
With our hands in dirt
And the dear bones
Of our loved dead under us,
Pressing against our knees.
- "Planting the Cemetery Box" by Edith Rylander, as it appears in her collection Hive Dancer, published by Red Dragonfly Press. Reprinted here with permission from the publisher.
It's a new, brighter day for Intermedia Arts.
A year and a half ago, the multidisciplinary arts center laid off all its staff and closed its gallery in what it called a "proactive" measure when it saw some funders might not be able to deliver promised support. It then re-hired its staff as contract employees. It kept its doors open by only hosting events that required paid admission. The cut-backs lasted several months, and while it might at first have appeared draconian, in retrospect appears to have been an insightful move.
Today Intermedia Arts announced it's the recipient of a two-year grant from the nationally recognized Kresge Foundation in the amount of $200,000. Intermedia Arts will receive $125,000 in the coming fiscal year and $75,000 in the following fiscal year.
Executive/Artistic Director Theresa Sweetland says at it's core, the Kresge grant is for general operating funds, so it's going to allow the organization to "keep on doing what we do." And she's thrilled about that.
In addition, Sweetland says Intermedia is going to invest further in a couple of its key programs. The "Catalyst" series presents work in all media by artists working for positive community change. And Intermedia's "Arts Hub" is a space for independent artists and small organizations who are looking to share space and resources in order to cut costs.
Sweetland says since the staff cuts in December of 2008, Intermedia has hired back its literary programs manager. She says the organization now has five full time staff and eight part-time staff. A number of people are still working as contract employees or have "moved on to other things."
Intermedia Arts, whose motto is "Art Changes Everything" has long been known in the Twin Cities for giving voice to diverse communities. From its Queer Voices reading series to its B-Girl Be celebration of women in hip-hop, to its youth media programs and First Nation performance series "Indigenous Voices," Intermedia gives people of all walks of life the opportunity to express themselves through art.
Updated at 12:50pm(1 Comments)