Project Inspiration: Dane Cardiel

An all new project is blooming at The Bees Knees Blog!

Project Inspiration

will showcase different points of inspiration from an artist so we can respond and share–create conversations between works of art–make a conversation out of shared loves!

Here are a few things that inspire Manor House Quarterly’s editor, Dane Cardiel.

What inspires you? Share! Share!

Make things using his points of inspiration, and then share your results! Share your own inspirations!

Manor House Quarterly: Editor Dane Cardiel

There are projects which mirror the artistry and generoustiy of their makers–Manor House Quarterly is such a project.

Dane Cardiel has recreated a space for artists to shine and more importantly share experiences. The entire work is in conversation.


1) How did you come up with the concept for Manor House?

The concept of “Manor House” derived out of a haphazard community of people who lived together in a foreclosed home within a suburb of San Diego, CA.  This home was called “The Manor.”  Here — for two years — a group of 20 something’s forged a sense of home that extended to residents, friends and strangers alike.  They lived with the wisdom of old souls and the passion of children whose parents strongly believe in the freedom of self-expression.  This was a community I had the unexpected privilege of sharing residence with, a family that I am forever indebted to.

When asked where the “Manor House” concept comes from, I can only direct you to the many people who contributed themselves fully to this community: the perfect storm of artists, teachers, students, poets, thinkers, activists, musicians, videographers, chefs.  We were forthcoming with our ideas and transparent with our dreams, and because of this we all had an experience that brought us to new possibilities: both individually and collectively, relationally and creatively.

This community generously demanded me to question and discover what particular contribution I had to offer.  Soon enough, one idea led to the next.  With a budding interest in writing, without any real background in print media or publishing, I dove head first into the world of publishing with what is now known as Manor House Quarterly.

2) I love how Manor House has the feel of being a home to artists. When looking at the website and journal, it seems like the art is still in process—that the images and texts are actively creating new art by interacting with each other. Was this your intention?

I think this is the result of the care my own art has received in the past and the level of engagement experienced in The Manor.  I think I find the depth of an idea (or story, or image) to be most fascinating when it is evolving and willing takes on new skin. This happens, I believe, when artists share ideas and create new work within open, inviting and challenging community.

With art, there are multiple stories being told within a given piece.  First, the artist sets out to tell a particular story with their work, the viewer/reader then inevitably interprets that story anew given their own experience. And then, there is the story that takes place with a particular piece in regard to the history of art that came before it.  Within each episode of MHQ I hope to hold these avenues of story in tension with one another, as we introduce another dynamic tension between two separate artists and the marriage that takes place between cross-media expression.  

I firmly believe this element generates incredible new meanings for a reader and I hope that this publication hospitably provides “home” for an artist and their continual becoming.

3) What does combining text with images add to a reader’s experience; what does combining images with text add to a viewer’s experience?

Because literary and visual arts have such strong personalities in their own right, it becomes difficult to keep the integrity of an individual’s piece, while at the same time, allowing another artist’s work to become an informative vehicle for that piece.  However, the result — when done properly — can be incredibly moving and surprisingly interactive.

I think every medium has a particular way of communicating the nuances observed in life.  A painting can do what a poem cannot.  A photograph can do what an illustration cannot.  A story can do what a composition cannot.  And the inverse of them all is true, too!  In our hyperactive world, filled with texts and images continually attempting to win over our affections, it takes some convincing for someone to invest in an art piece.  Because I am convinced that our psychologies do not lend us the strength to trust unknown material, I seek to bring readers into the visual arts world through literature, and viewers into the literary world through the visual media.  This cross-pollination allows for the multiple nuances found in each art discipline to be exposed, as each collaboratively informs the other.  All this, hoping to serve as more reason to commit to a larger story that a haphazard collective presents.

5) How would you like to see Manor House grow and expand in the next few years?

Manor House Quarterly began as my attempt at preserving a small community of individuals I have tremendous respect for.  As we enter our third completed issue, this small community has extended as far as Portugal, Australia, Canada, New York, Texas and even down in Colombia.  Over the next few years I simply hope to sustain the level of care and time I was given while at The Manor.  I am confident this publication has an exquisite potential that can inform the movements experienced within the publishing, literary and art communities.

6) How do you see art evolving? Do you think the new social media is
affect people’s relationship to art?

I think artists are continually forced to reevaluate their art and the relevance it is taking within an ever-changing technological world.  That is, will artists return to more traditional expressions, or will they drift toward more experimental forms.  Also, how artists understand the dilemmas that face a global community can have incredible impact on shaping a future socio/political landscape.  As new technologies are created, the human corpus will have to distinguish the value between human experiences and non-human experiences and I am curious to observe how future artworks go about suspending the questions we all confront.

As far as our relationship to art, new social media only increases our access to more work and new artists.  However, with these large waves of stimulating work, our attention to detail and appreciation for its meaning may diminish.  However, with that said, new social media may also have the reverse effect.  I’d be interested to see how publishers, curators, etc. steer the direction of the many possibilities that lie ahead.


For more about Manor House Quarterly, please visit:



The Living Poetry Project at Wonderland: Bundles of Letters Including A, V and Epsilon poems by Arlene Ang and Valerie Fox

Bundles of Letters Including A, V and Epsilon is linguistically surrealism at its best; a work that pushes the limits of communication and human connection, Arlene Ang and Valerie Fox have crafted a beautiful book.

The poems in Bundles of Letters Including A, V, and Epsilon contain many correspondences; they incorperate the disconnect / connection between sender and reciever. (Oh, yes! I do love this sort of writing.) This is a must read for anyone who loves to be tossed in the currents of litterary exchanges.

To celebrate this collection, I made small gift to give out at LACMA‘s In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States. Anyone who can go to this LACMA show, GO! It is a masters collection (much like Bundles of Letters Including A, V, and Epsilon)not to be missed. 

The Living Poetry Project: Another AWP treasure, Lillian-Yvonne Bertram’s BUT A STORM IS BLOWING FROM PARADISE

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram’s collection, But A Storm Is Blowing From Paradise, uses an objective gaze to process the functions of desire.

The heart is dissected and reconstructed, then transplanted. The observer of these heart transactions is aware that the smell of blood in the heart is beyond our knowing, as the poem “The Science of the Heart” points out:

Corollary: To properly observe the heart outside the body,

it must be silenced of blood and preserved.

Proposition B: The heart does not smell of blood,

or the absence of blood. One won’t ever smell

the heart smelling of blood.

While the clinical chill of this collection’s speaker remains present in every poem, it is often interrupted by lines hot with emotional breakthrough and astounding imagination. In this collection, we have dinner with the heart and eat sugar cookies with children, while desire runs through the streets. Nothing finds resolve in this collection—which is good, if you are someone who preferences process over closure.

I highly recommend reading But A Storm Is Blowing From Paradise. It is a visual torrent through intellectual and passionate searches for meaning.

To celebrate Bertram’s collection, I copied lines from the poems onto postcards. With the help of my good friends, Sarahbell, Gideon, and dear Curt, we hid poems around the castle inspired Getty. But A Storm Is Blowing From Paradise, is alive and continues its search for understandings of the heart.

I love when words and images are paired. I love conversation. I love friendship and rooms occupied with joy.

Also, while you are here, check out a few photos of the illuminated manuscripts

AND images of the amazing Gray Column by De Wain Valentine. His sculpture is great; so is his artist statement which reads, “I would like to have some way, a magic saw, to cut out large chunks of the ocean or sky, and say here it is.”

Yes! Some way to say here it is, this is what art wants.

The Living Poetry Project: AWP Treasure Adventure

My favorite book find at AWP this year is I Take Back the Sponge Cake by Loren Erdrich and Sierra Nelson.

I Take Back the Sponge Cake is a lyrical choose-your-own-adventure that is ageless—as in, the book transforms its adult readers back into children. The book uses sound-alike words to create a variety of paths through the book. Take this gorgeous page for example:

I first encountered this book at a post-punk-era punk bar where Loren and Sierra were giving a reading. We cheered and clapped as Sierra and Loren presented us with word choices. I have never seen the relationship between reader, writer, artist, and viewer shine so brightly as in the dimly lit bar.


The illustrations by Loren Erdrich are dream abductions—the drawings triggering narratives that beg for continuation. Sierra Nelson’s poems are brimming with possibility. Anything can, and will, happen in this book the choices.

To celebrate this book I took it to Forever 21—a store devoted to the forever young. In middle-school girl tradition, I took photo booth shots of I Take Back the Sponge Cake and left them in the trusty hands of manikins.

This book is the adventure I’ve been craving—an adventure in homophones. I tested this book in my classroom, and it works like magic; I hope to formally teach it next semester. Great thanks to Loren and Sierra for making the density of language fun.

Photos by Jason Hughes of Pavlina Janssen’s “Jellyfish Woman” Costume

I swing between paralyzing fears that no one will read Circe to dumbfounding amazement that people have read Circe.

At this point, the book feels like a friend–a friend who helped rewrite who I am as a person–a friend who liberated me to make art. I feel like I owe her–I feel like I will always owe her.

I am grateful that “imaginary” friends lead to the creation of “actual” friendships. I would like to be a better friend; I hope to learn how to be a good friend during my lifetime. Being a friend is harder than it seems–friendship is an organic process that feels more like an accident than a choice, but there are choices that ultimately result to the building or collapse of a friendship. I would like to be more aware and proactive when it comes to such decisions. I want to be a friend—a real friend.

I desire to be a good person. But what does that mean? And how does one go about “making” themselves good? I don’t think it can be marked. I don’t think it can be tallied. I don’t even think it can be defined. But sometimes, sometimes, I’m lucky enough to feel friendship—to feel love.

I am glad there are pictures, paint, music, and costume to help bridge the way between people.

I am grateful, deeply grateful for the friends I have found in the Circe project.

Please enjoy the images of Jason Hughes of Pavlina Janssen’s Jellyfish Woman dress.

(Oh, the pink sting ray in the pictures is the best poem I will ever write; he rewrites me everyday.)

Sting Rays

J.J. was sad that I couldn’t bring him with me to Chicago. He wanted his own fish-like costume and poetry to share. He wanted to know “Chicago.” (He’ll have to wait until his mom can find a “real job. Oh, sweet J.J.–it might be a long wait.) Regardless of how long it takes, I am determined to (at least attempt) to give my son the world.

I couldn’t bring my son in my suitcase, however I could make him a sting ray costume in his favorite color. I could take him to run errands at Red Hen Press  (where he stung Mark and was magically transformed into a Sting Ray / Angler Fish with the help of a reading lamp.) I could read to him. I could take him to an aquarium. We could share stories and create worlds together.

Red Hen Press donated three boxes of books to give out to my word hungry community. Such a gift is a great help to The Living Poetry Project. I’m excited to share these words. I’ll be giving out books at the next Literary Jam event on Friday, Mar 23, 7 – 9 pm at Butler’s Coffee in the Antelope Valley. Please joy us. Please share poetry.


We took two young talented photographers with us to the Long Beach Aquarium, Jason Hughes and Trenton Thornberry. Jason Hughes captured some great shots of my little Sting Ray; he also captured the amazing work of Pavlina Janssen (who is the genius behind the Jellyfish Woman costume.) ((I’ll post some of Jason’s work soon. He is amazing–amazing person, amazing artist.))



























I feel extremely lucky to live in a life of art. The greatest gift art gives is in its making—when artist work together, they don’t just create a product, they create a lasting connection. The friendship I have found in the making of art is not something that can be expressed in words alone. It is only in the interim—the passing from one medium to the next—that even comes close to capturing “the moment.”

I have found friends and lost friends. I have had successes and failures at being a friend. But the love—the love— the love found in the exchange between one light to another, is never ending.

Keats said it best when he wrote to his brother:

To My Brother George

John Keats

Full many a dreary hour have I past,
My brain bewilder’d, and my mind o’ercast
With heaviness; in seasons when I’ve thought
No spherey strains by me could e’er be caught
From the blue dome, though I to dimness gaze
On the far depth where sheeted lightning plays;
Or, on the wavy grass outstretch’d supinely,
Pry ‘mong the stars, to strive to think divinely:
That I should never hear Apollo’s song,
Though feathery clouds were floating all along
The purple west, and, two bright streaks between,
The golden lyre itself were dimly seen:
That the still murmur of the honey bee
Would never teach a rural song to me:
That the bright glance from beauty’s eyelids slanting
Would never make a lay of mine enchanting,
Or warm my breast with ardour to unfold
Some tale of love and arms in time of old.

But there are times, when those that love the bay,
Fly from all sorrowing far, far away;
A sudden glow comes on them, nought they see
In water, earth, or air, but poesy.
It has been said, dear George, and true I hold it,
(For knightly Spenser to Libertas told it,)
That when a Poet is in such a trance,
In air he sees white coursers paw, and prance,
Bestridden of gay knights, in gay apparel,
Who at each other tilt in playful quarrel,
And what we, ignorantly, sheet-lightning call,
Is the swift opening of their wide portal,
When the bright warder blows his trumpet clear,
Whose tones reach nought on earth but Poet’s ear.
When these enchanted portals open wide,
And through the light the horsemen swiftly glide,
The Poet’s eye can reach those golden halls,
And view the glory of their festivals:
Their ladies fair, that in the distance seem
Fit for the silv’ring of a seraph’s dream;
Their rich brimm’d goblets, that incessant run
Like the bright spots that move about the sun;
And, when upheld, the wine from each bright jar
Pours with the lustre of a falling star.
Yet further off, are dimly seen their bowers,
Of which, no mortal eye can reach the flowers;
And ’tis right just, for well Apollo knows
‘Twould make the Poet quarrel with the rose.
All that’s reveal’d from that far seat of blisses,
Is, the clear fountains’ interchanging kisses.
As gracefully descending, light and thin,
Like silver streaks across a dolphin’s fin,
When he upswimmeth from the coral caves.
And sports with half his tail above the waves.

These wonders strange be sees, and many more,
Whose head is pregnant with poetic lore.
Should he upon an evening ramble fare
With forehead to the soothing breezes bare,
Would he naught see but the dark, silent blue
With all its diamonds trembling through and through:
Or the coy moon, when in the waviness
Of whitest clouds she does her beauty dress,
And staidly paces higher up, and higher,
Like a sweet nun in holy-day attire?
Ah, yes! much more would start into his sight–
The revelries, and mysteries of night:
And should I ever see them, I will tell you
Such tales as needs must with amazement spell you.

These are the living pleasures of the bard:
But richer far posterity’s award.
What does he murmur with his latest breath,
While his proud eye looks through the film of death?
“What though I leave this dull, and earthly mould,
Yet shall my spirit lofty converse hold
With after times.–The patriot shall feel
My stern alarum, and unsheath his steel;
Or, in the senate thunder out my numbers
To startle princes from their easy slumbers.
The sage will mingle with each moral theme
My happy thoughts sententious; he will teem
With lofty periods when my verses fire him,
And then I’ll stoop from heaven to inspire him.
Lays have I left of such a dear delight
That maids will sing them on their bridal night.
Gay villagers, upon a morn of May
When they have tired their gentle limbs, with play,
And form’d a snowy circle on the grass,
And plac’d in midst of all that lovely lass
Who chosen is their queen,–with her fine head
Crowned with flowers purple, white, and red:
For there the lily, and the musk-rose, sighing,
Are emblems true of hapless lovers dying:
Between her breasts, that never yet felt trouble,
A bunch of violets full blown, and double,
Serenely sleep:–she from a casket takes
A little book,–and then a joy awakes
About each youthful heart,–with stifled cries,
And rubbing of white hands, and sparkling eyes:
For she’s to read a tale of hopes, and fears;
One that I foster’d in my youthful years:
The pearls, that on each glist’ning circlet sleep,
Gush ever and anon with silent creep,
Lured by the innocent dimples. To sweet rest
Shall the dear babe, upon its mother’s breast,
Be lull’d with songs of mine. Fair world, adieu!
Thy dales, and hills, are fading from my view:
Swiftly I mount, upon wide spreading pinions,
Far from the narrow bounds of thy dominions.
Full joy I feel, while thus I cleave the air,
That my soft verse will charm thy daughters fair,
And warm thy sons!” Ah, my dear friend and brother,
Could I, at once, my mad ambition smother,
For tasting joys like these, sure I should be
Happier, and dearer to society.
At times, ’tis true, I’ve felt relief from pain
When some bright thought has darted through my brain:
Through all that day I’ve felt a greater pleasure
Than if I’d brought to light a hidden treasure.
As to my sonnets, though none else should heed them,
I feel delighted, still, that you should read them.
Of late, too, I have had much calm enjoyment,
Stretch’d on the grass at my best lov’d employment
Of scribbling lines for you. These things I thought
While, in my face, the freshest breeze I caught.
E’en now I’m pillow’d on a bed of flowers
That crowns a lofty clift, which proudly towers
Above the ocean-waves. The stalks, and blades,
Chequer my tablet with their, quivering shades.
On one side is a field of drooping oats,
Through which the poppies show their scarlet coats
So pert and useless, that they bring to mind
The scarlet coats that pester human-kind.
And on the other side, outspread, is seen
Ocean’s blue mantle streak’d with purple, and green.
Now ’tis I see a canvass’d ship, and now
Mark the bright silver curling round her prow.
I see the lark down-dropping to his nest.
And the broad winged sea-gull never at rest;
For when no more he spreads his feathers free,
His breast is dancing on the restless sea.
Now I direct my eyes into the west,
Which at this moment is in sunbeams drest:
Why westward turn? ‘Twas but to say adieu!
‘Twas but to kiss my hand, dear George, to you!

_August, 1816_.

The Poems of The Living Poetry Project AWP: Melanie Huber

It is my goal to respond to the work of each poet who generously gave poems for The Living Poetry Project-AWP before the month of March is over.  I’d like to begin by saying a little about a talented poet (who is also a generous, funny, and kind poetry friend).

I was very excited when Melanie Huber sent me her work with a message that read:

I have a mission assignment for you, should you choose to accept.

I accepted her poetic challenge.

Melanie sent me 21 amazing poems–ekphrasis poems! In good guerrilla poetry fashion, I have been trying distributing her lovely words to the world.

(O, how I love these poems by Melanie; let me count the ways…) I made 3 copies of the manuscript. The first copy, I left randomly around the hotels hosting AWP. The second copy, I left randomly on buses and taxis in Chicago.

That left me with one more copy to share once I made it home.

I needed to drop off some books to Red Hen Press, whose office is conveniently located behind Vroman’s Bookstore. While I was there, the Red Hen staff generously donated boxes (I mean BOXES) of books for the Living Poetry Project to distribute to local high schools. (Yet, another reason to love Red Hen Press!)

From the Red Hen office, J.J. and I traveled to Vroman’s Bookstore, where we hid the final copy of Melanie’s manuscript in the various free city journals. (We also left mini books that showcased works from the great and generous journal,  A cappella Zoo).

I hope the poetry of Melanie Huber finds you–makes you cry, laugh, and think. I hope you find A cappella Zoo, where hundreds of poems and stories wait for you!

Becoming Judas, The Film

I am delighted to share our newest collaboration, Becoming Judas (The Film). This film is made in anticipation of the book Becoming Judas, which will be released from Red Hen Press in Fall of 2013. Please, share this link and help us find a home for this work.

This collaborative project includes animators, costumers, painters, animators, musicains and language/language/language.  We are willing to travel, to show, to perform.  If you are interested in giving us a little home please contact me at

The Living Poetry Project, AWP 2012

Here are the lovely reaction to the poem gifts…I’ll say more about the poems we gave out at AWP soon…but for now, here are the smiles your poems created–documented.

I spent most of my time helping at the Red Hen Press booth, where they were excited to support The Living Poetry Project. Great poets such as David Mason, Katharine Coles, and Brendan Constantine (just to name a few) accepted and paraded their poem gift around the book fair.

Some of the exchanges I was unable to capture on film where the poems I gave to hotel staff, random tables, cab cars, and the poems I handed out with beers at the hotel bar (which were accepted with great delight).

It will take me a few weeks to process what happened this weekend and recognize how much The Living Poetry Project has changed my approach to language, but until I reach clarity I wanted to thank everyone who contributed–you are beautiful people and it shows in your words.

Thank you to everyone who sent me your lovely words!