Thursday, December 11, 2008

Visible and Invisible

Tiffany Besonen's collage incorporating a fragment of my poem " I am Smoke When I Can Be" is currently touring with the show "The Veil: Visible and Invisible Spaces" (Tiffany's collage is on the right in this photo--2 panels). I visited the show in Milwaukee, and I recommend it highly. The exhibit will be traveling around the US until 2011. It is though-provoking and moving. The show's curator, Jennifer Heath, has this to say about the exhibit:

Visible and Invisible Spaces intends to engage received wisdom about the veil - particularly current clich├ęs and stereotypes about Islamic practices - and to reflect on the great ubiquity, importance and profundity of the veil throughout human history and imagination. Visible and Invisible Spaces asks artists to investigate the veil in its broadest contexts. The exhibition will be divided into three categories to be interpreted widely: The Sacred Veil, The Sensuous Veil , and The Sociopolitical Veil. Visible and Invisible Spaces, however, is not a documentary exhibition.

Visible and Invisible Spaces is a visual companion to Jennifer Heath's edited volume, The Veil: Women Writers on Its History, Lore, and Politics (University of California Press, forthcoming 2008). The exhibition invited visual artists - including videographers, filmmakers and new media artists, as well as painters, sculptors, performance and installation artists - from around the world to investigate and re-vision the veil.

The veil is infinitely visual, yet it is also a means of concealment. The veil is itself mystery, even as it is the shroud that guards the mystery. Veiling is found everywhere and begins in Nature - such as eclipses and the periodic shedding of animals' outer bodily layer (feathers, skin, fur or horn) before re-growth. As much as the veil is fabric or a garment, the veil is also a concept. Veils can be illusion, divination, vanity, artifice, architecture, clothing, hair, deception, curtains, magic, alchemy and transformation, dream, euphemism and metaphor, depression, hallucination, masquerade, beauty, eloquent silence, holiness, birth, liberation, imprisonment. Veils are the ethers beyond consciousness, the hidden hundredth name of god, the final passage into death, even the biblical apocalypse - the lifting of god's veil to signal the "end times."

To be veiled is, to some degree, to be unseen, the condition of both great attraction and repulsion. The artists featured in Visible and Invisible Spaces will speak to these myriad aspects of the veil and more.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My First Review

I love it:

"Deep thoughtfulness rides on the surface of these pages. I've read these poems over and over, and each time it feels like the first. Every page is interesting, entertaining, and thought-provoking. Wonderful work.
I look forward to enjoying many future additions to LouAnn Shepard Muhm's artistry."

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Review

I reviewed Rachel Dacus' excellent book of poems Femme au Chapeau last year for the now-defunct HerCircle E-zine. She has returned the favor with this brief review of Breaking the Glass on GoodReads:

"Jane Hirshfield's blurb calls this "a book of fierce heart and strong hands" and I concur. These spare, almost haiku-like poems have deceptively simple surfaces, but the twist of insight shows in their depths. Many of the poems deal with relationships with others and with the ineffable. The compression of these poems often has a wryness that especially appeals in the more metaphysical themes. A must-read and re-read. "

Another brief review was published this month in Northwoods Woman Magazine, "also, too," as Sarah Palin would say.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I know that people make fun of people who Google their own names, but I will be bold and admit that I do it on a regular basis. How else would I ever have known that British poet Matthew Merritt had reviewed my chapbook a couple of years ago, or that someone posted my book and rated it on GoodReads? So do it! Google yourself! It doesn't hurt at all.

Western MN Readings

This fall, I've done three readings for Letters to the World, an anthology of poetry by women from around the world. It's a collection of poems from members of Wom-Po, or the Women in Poetry List-serv, started in the late 90s by Annie Finch. I joined to read with the three other Minnesota contributors, Argie Manolis and Athena Kildegaard from Morris, MN, and Francine Sterle from the Gunflint Trail area, north of Duluth, MN. We read in Minneapolis in August, then at the Fergus Falls Art Center and University on MN, Morris in late September. All of the events were fantastic, and this poetic alliance is one I want to nurture and maintain. [Photo by Steve Peterson. L to R Back: LouAnn and Francine. Front: Athena and Argie].

More photos HERE.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Poems Online

I have three poems up in the current issue of Right Hand Pointing. It's an interesting online journal. Check it out!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Reading in Bemidji This Weekend

On Saturday, 9/20, I will be reading in Bemidji with some old friends. The readers are Gail Rixen, Anthony Swann, Diane Pittman, and Erin Marsh. Gail Rixen and I go back over ten years. We met in CarolAnn Russell's "Bemidji Poetry Salon," and have since taught together in a Bemidji Elementary "poet in the schools" day, and at the Thief River Falls Young Author's Conference. Gail has been a tireless supporter, and especially pushed and encouraged me to send out my full-length manuscript. I was thrilled when Loonfeather accepted it and Gail was named as the editor (along with Betty Rossi). Her insights are always good, and her poetry excellent. Diane Pittman was a regular attendee of the Creative Words Coffeehouse that I ran ten years or so ago at the Headwaters School of Music and Art. I remembering envying the volume of poetry she had memorized. I look forward to hearing her new work! Anthony Swann was also a Creative Words Coffee-houser, and has also had some connection through the Jackpine Writers Bloc. I don't know Erin Marsh, but look forward to meeting her.

Bemidji has such an important place in my poetic development--it was while attending BSU and studying with CarolAnn Russell that I really began writing poetry seriously, and being affiliated with her and with the vibrant writing community there was crucial for me. It will be a lot of fun to be back there, in that place and with those people.

Here are the details:

7 p.m.
September 20, 2008
Masonic Building
501 Bemidji Avenue, Bemidji
Free and open to the public

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Octopus Beak

I have a poem in the inaugural issue of Octopus Beak Inc., a new online journal based in Thailand. Not sure yet if this is going to be a high-quality, reliably-published journal or not. It currently has some bugs, but I know how hard it is to get a complex website up and running, let alone to get everything to work right at first. On first look the content seems to be good. The editor had read some of my poetry online and contacted me to request a submission, so I sent something. Be sure to check out my "headshot," which is actually a painting by Alec Olander, formerly of Nevis, MN, now of NY, NY.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

On the Radio

Wasn't that the title of a disco song in the 70s? By Donna Summer, maybe? I think so. Anyway, now that I have officially declared myself old, I will call your attention to an interview I did on KFAI radio in Minneapolis today. I was actually in Park Rapids, but the radio station is in Minneapolis. It was a phone thing. Anyway, it is available for the next two weeks or so in their archive, HERE. You have to scroll down and look for "Write On Radio " (speaking of the 70s...) and click on the "Stream" button.

Monday, August 11, 2008

This is my new, official blog

Goodbye, MySpace! I've left you for another, cleaner, more mature blog, in an effort to lead a cleaner, more mature life. Or something.

This summer has been a blur, with a new grandchild born, and a flurry of readings and events. I'm just back from NYC, where I did a Letters to the World reading with Mendi Lewis Obadike and Amy Lemmon. There is a slideshow of photos by my partner, Steve Peterson, HERE for your viewing pleasure. For a schedule of upcoming events, look at my schedule.

In July, I did another Letters reading with Christina Pacosz in Kansas City, and there are pictures (also by Steve Peterson) HERE.

Watch this space for more shards of my thoughts. Or not. It's really up to you.