A Pantoum in Elephant Journal

My poem “A Brief History of Standing” appeared in Elephant Journal today here.

Here’s another version:

A Brief History of Standing submission

The title and the inspiration for this poem came from a book I picked up at Tai Chi Concho in San Angelo as I was waiting for my Qigong class to begin.  This book was titled The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing.

As I thumbed through the pages, I came upon a section titled “A Brief History of Standing” and I thought, “Wow!  That would be a great title for a poem.”  And then after coming home and starting to work on the poem, I decided that the form of the pantoum would be an interesting approach to try, and from there, I just let it wind itself down the page as it seemed best.

Notes on Breathing

There are times when I get  the urge to write or draw, so I begin to look for something to read.  

Or something to look at.

This urge comes to me not because I have something to say or an image I want to make.

It’s because I want to have the pleasure that I know comes when I write or draw.

And I know I have to be in conversation with other ideas or other images to generate that pleasure.


The conversation begins with listening or seeing, and then my part in the dialogue is what I make in return.

So my words or my drawings are my replies.

No conversation.  No reply.  No pleasure in the making.

Just silence.  And darkness.

Creativity is nothing special, of course.

But it has requirements.

Like breathing.

Like breathing in light.





Visual Thinking at Southwestern U

I’m happy to report that my proposal for the President’s Innovation Grants Initiative at Southwestern University was just approved.

Here’s my proposal: Musgrove Proposal for President’s Innovation Grants Initiative

In short, I will present a workshop titled “Visual Thinking for Engaged Learning” and thereafter support three junior faculty members as they incorporate visual thinking strategies into their classes at Southwestern.  As a Southwestern alum (I received my BA in English in 1976), I am very glad to participate in this initiative.

Conferences del Popolo

Here’s another photo by student Daniel Calhoun from our next to last day in Rome at Piazza del Popolo.  What a great place to conference with my students on their final writing project for the travel writing class I’m teaching.  Near by a trio of musicians were playing, and a man was making large soap bubbles float into the air above the piazza.Piazza del Popolo conferencing

Camminare a Roma

Here’s a nice photo of my ASU students and me on the Spanish Steps this morning.  They are taking a Travel Writing class with me during the first 8 weeks of this semester culminating in a spring break in Rome.  After all the walking I’ve done here in Rome (including a climb up to the top of the cupola at St. Peter’s Basilica), I hope my pooch Huckleberry will be ready for some extended evening hikes.Spanish Steps Travel Writing Class (1)