The Origami Poems Project

Welcome to the Origami Poems Project

Changing the world, one free poetry micro-chapbook at a time

What is an Origami Poems Micro-chapbook?

Origami Micro-chapbooks presents poems arranged on a single sheet of paper which is folded, origami-style, into a palm-sized book.  Download the PDF books to print, read and share. 
- Recycle to a Friend! -
Take Note...
Stay Tuned for Helen Burke's next ELFM Radio show in September!
(Pictured with Phil who often reads on the program as well)
Here is ELFM's website for Live listening or Podcasts

Recent Origami Micro-Chapbooks Published

Every Micro-Chapbook can be dowloaded as a sincle-page PDF; click the Title to read/print/fold.
Closing Out August 2015
Cover: Snorri Sturluson by Haukur Stefánsson.
By kind permission of Snorrastofa director,
Bergur Þorgeirsson (See below for details)
                                                                       Snorri, Cornered
                                                                       He wasn’t a bit like Yeats,
                                                                       but I imagine him
                                                                       at the end,
                                                                       with his heart,
                                                                       saying goodbye
                                                                       to his circus animals,
                                                                       all of his beautiful
                                                                       circus animals.
                                                                       Entire mythologies.
                                                                       in the final room.
                                                                       A finished man
                                                                       among his enemies.
                                                                       Nancy Jasper © 2015

Poet's Addendum:  Snorri Sturluson was the Icelandic writer who preserved the stories
                                                   of earlier Norse mythology. He was also a politician. His enemies
                                                   murdered him in 1241. - Nancy Jasper
Cover: Raven Restores the Stars, button blanket in the style of Native
Americans of the Pacific Northwest by Emily Westcott
Photo by Bill Carpenter
She wears a rainbow for a scarf
over a peignoir of woven stars

the night knits a luminous net
of moonlight through her hair.

From one ear Jupiter hangs
encircled by satellites

below the other Neptune spins
a brilliant star sapphire.

Her skin radiant with nebulae,
a blush of starlight on her cheeks.

Though she wears no veil
her face is shadowed in eclipse,

her figure draped in
a tapestry of constellations.
It is said her beauty caused
men to weep oceans of tears

so she might see her own reflection
mirrored in those saline depths,

while in her womb light congeals
and galaxies, there are born.
Bill Carpenter © 2015

Poet's Statement:  The three poems in this collection tell a mythology of the cosmos: our
relationship with the earth, its origins and the creator (goddess) are
imagined in the language of procreation, personifying the universe and our small planet within the imperatives of repro-duction and survival.

Cover: 'Wall by the Sea' by Jan Keough
Yellow Teacakes
Flowers of the sun
Royal collar of Egyptian gold
After winter’s brittle dormancy
Yellow is the most optimistic color
Fistfuls of a child’s pleasure
The knotted scarf of a woman’s patience
Unwinding to fly free as a kite
Ushering in an age of Gatsby in sepia
It’s an unabashed overflow with
Mint juleps and butter-yellow teacakes
Frittering away sun-baked afternoons
In villas vying for light of the kings
(Veronica Matsuda © 2015)
Cover: 'Newport Gate' by Kevin Keough
I remember my grandmother
who, after a lifetime of noonday-sun-avoidance,
had skin like pink porcelain,
not a wrinkle to be had
and yet, no mistaking her for someone younger.

For she was old like sea-glass or shells,
like the outside walls of the Providence courthouse
or the various architectural splendors
of the east side, or trees like birch
that turn shiny silver when they hit their century.

She was strong, not from muscle and bone,
which were frail when I knew her,
but of years lived, of tales recounted,
of people she knew and could, even then, remember.

Other people died young.
But she lived well into her nineties.
As her days wore on,
time found her increasingly necessary.
(John Grey © 2015)
For July 2015
Cover: Photo of Sergio Bustamante
‘Face in Hands‘ Sculpture
To the Boy Who Stole My First Kiss

It’s an old story, you and I, hip to hip,
gathering wreckage in that kiss, me
not washing for days after wanting
the scent of both our bodies to sink in
somehow. I’ve so much to learn
about the sharp divide between before
and after, from biting into a fruit-bearing
heart, knowing the past sometimes
runs sweet and the future even sweeter.
(Ariana D. Den Bleyker © 2015)
Ariana is the author of several poetry chapbooks and collections, including Wayward Lines (RAWArt Press, 2015), Strangest Sea (Porkbelly Press, 2015), and Beautiful Wreckage (Flutter Press, 2015).  She the founder and publisher of ELJ Publications.
♦  When it Rains by Howie Good
Cover: Natural Falling Rain Drops
Opening Stanzas
Rain on the way,
a sound no letters can spell.

I was watching it
and thinking,
The most expensive work of art ever,
cast in platinum  
and encased in diamonds.

I stared miserably
at mom’s grave.

For god’s sake,
why put it there,
in the rain?
(Howie Good © 2015)
Howie Good a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection Dark Specks in a Blue Sky from Another New Calligraphy (#ANC030 Summer/Fall 2015).
Cover: Cityscape by Helen Burke
Opening Fragment
                                                           Never mind, the days have lengthened already
                                                           to almost summer-height
                                                           and on every tree's highest branch
                                                           or up, up on the aerial
                                                           there's a bright-beaked songster
                                                           reminding us, day without end,
                                                           of the small secret joys. Listen close,
                                                           whisper like the leaves
                                                           newly greening.
(Sara Norja © 2015)
Every Micro-Chapbook can be dowloaded as a sincle-page PDF; click the Title and then print/fold.

The Origami Poets

Welcome these Poets to the Origami Poems Project
August 2015
Veronica Matsuda is a second-generation Japanese American who grew up in a seaside town near Santa Barbara. She matriculated at the University of California Davis, where she studied English literature and creative writing.
John Grey

John Grey is is an Australian born short storywriter, poet, playwright, musician, and Providence, Rhode Island resident since the late seventies.  Has been published in numerous magazines including Weird Tales, Christian Science Monitor, Greensboro Poetry Review, Poem, and Poet Lore. He has had plays produced in Los Angeles and off-off Broadway in New York.  Winner of Rhysling Award for short genre poetry in 1999.

July 2015
Sara Norja
Sara Norja dreams in two languages and has a predilection for tea. Born in England and currently settled in Helsinki, Finland, she is pursuing a PhD in English linguistics. Her poetry has appeared in publications such as Goblin Fruit, Strange Horizons, Through the Gate, Niteblade, and Interfictions.

- Previous poets new to the OPP -
Ethar Hamid Guy Traiber Shree Gupta • Laurie Kolp • Robert Okaji • Rhiannon Thorne
(Peruse Pick a Poet page where poets are properly compiled alphabetically by first name - pleasantly)

Oh-So-Nice Comments

 See "Origami Sightings" page for full list of Nice Comments
Thank you so much for this opportunity! I am very excited to be considered for your publication.
Veronica Matsuda, California, 7/13/15
Most happy you liked "I Saw Myself" as it is very dear to me and I was starting lose faith in it after many years out there.
Guy Traiber, Middle-east, 5/25
It gave me a real sense of how, through the internet and your own Origami Press publishing work and spreading the word is really making connections through creative writing on a global scale.
Winston Plowes, England  5/17

Our Latest News-e-letter:
Above: Sunflowers Vista by Katy Tartakoff, Denver photographer - katytartakoff.com  By kind permission
Special to the OPP (from our Fall Newsletter)
Poetry & Iowa Sweet Corn
On Writing The Weems Storm Glass Mysterious Weather Predictor by Mark Jay Brewin Jr.
So often I am moved by people, arrested by their stories, but not usually objects, trinkets, or the like. However, a simple trip to a hardware store proved to be an incredible art excursion, and one of the random objects therein became the inspiration for a poem that delves into the human experience, mysticism— the things we seek to help us move through this often trying world. The Weems Stormglass Mysterious Weather Predictor— just saying the name sends electricity through me—such power! Such history! Thank goodness for the little plaque beside it, explaining its place on the mast of the HMS Beagle (the vessel that bore Darwin across the Galapagos), it’s timeless legends of aiding Italian sailors in the Middle Ages, the supposed magic in this sealed vial of clear liquid: the power to foretell the weather. Who couldn’t fall in love with the romanticism of it, it’s divination and charm?

Who would know that my one page narrative in verse would garner the attention of Ned Balbo, judge of Flyway: Journal of Environment & Writing’s Sweet Corn contest? What else could be more fitting, than for the poem (which shares its title with the name of the stormglass) to place as winner of said contest, which ferries with it the prize of a case of organic, Iowa Sweet Corn?

Now if only I could share the bounty with Admiral FitzRoy, captain of the Beagle, or one of the mystics who first devised the serum, long ago, then I’d truly be on cloud nine.
(Mark Jay Brewin Jr.'s poem will be published this fall in Flyway.)

Mark Jay Brewin Jr's poems have been published or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Cortland Review, North American Review, & Prairie Schooner.  His first collection Scrap Iron won the 2012 Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry, University of Utah Press. An MFA graduate of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, he is contributing-editor for the poetry journal, Cave Wall Press.
Read our previous Newsletters
Our next newsletter leaves the e-door December 2015 - Sign up Here


Sleuthing for the Painter of Snorri Sturluson by Jan Keough

Google search let me down. On the hunt for Snorri Sturlson's image (Icelandic poet & historian 1179-1241) to grace an Origami chapbook cover, Google gurgled a slurry of drawings, etchings, and one painting of a contemplative Snorri.  But, alas and alack, no artistic credit revealed.

I prodded Google search again. This time the engines flagged Icelandic author Nancy Marie Brown and her blogsite,
God of Wednesday.  Brown and I swapped emails. She generously forwarded my inquiry to Sigrún G. Þormar, Project Director of the Snorrastofa Cultural Research Center in Iceland. A Center founded in the memory of Snorri Sturluson!
Through Director Þormar I learned that the Snorri portrait artist was Haukur Stefánsson (1901–1953), Iceland born, had moved with family to Winnipeg, Canada and then art schooled in Chicago from 1923-29.  Stefánsson's roommate and best friend in Chicago happened to be Walt Disney.  Ah, obscure no more!  Stefánsson now stands out in my mind as comrade and fellow artist of this most famous cartoonist and artistic entrepreneur.
Turns out that the Snorrastofa Center owns the original painting of Snorri.  (I've added the Center to my bucket list, as you can imagine.)  To my delight, the Center's Project Director concluded his email with this generous offer:  "permission is hereby given by Snorrastofa director, Bergur Þorgeirsson" to use Stefánsson's artwork on Nancy Jasper's Origami micro-chapbook cover...

Now, that's an ending worthy of a Walt Disney classic!

- Jan K

Micro-Chapbook Display Locations

Wendles' Cafe & Deli maintained by Mary Ann Mayer ♦ 
Newest Location: Wendles' Cafe & Deli, Franconia NH (seasonal)
The Green Grocer, East Main Rd, Portsmouth, RI Wildflour Artisan Bakery & Cafe, Decatur, IL
Cafe 164 at Leeds Gallery & at Cafe in York, UK Newport Public Library, 300 Spring St, Newport
♦ Please suggest or volunteer to support a location...
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