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Current: Danbury, CT, United States
Welcome! A few years ago, I discovered an application that artists employ in their works to bring cultural awareness to their audiences. Having discerned this semiotic theory that applies to literature, music, art, film, and the media, I have devoted the blog, "Theory of Iconic Realism" to explore this theory. The link to the publisher of my book is below. If you or your university would like a copy of this book for your library or if you would like to review it for a scholarly journal, please contact the Edwin Mellen Press at the link listed below. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Thank you for visiting. I hope you will find the information insightful. ~ Dr. Jeanne Iris
To view my page on the Edwin Mellen Press website, please click below:


I have demonstrated or will demonstrate the application of this theory at the following locations:
November, 2016 @ Massachusetts Maritime Academy:
"A Terrible Beauty is Born"...The Semiotic Theory of Iconic Realism and William Butler Yeats' poem, Easter 1916
April, 2016 @ University of Notre Dame:
A 'Daughter of Attila' Speaks: The Semiotic Theory of Iconic Realism in the Cultural Identity of Irish Celts and Magyars
Dates pending: I will present the theory of iconic realism at universities and art institutes which have purchased my book.

24 January, 2010

Maximus Miracle Virtual Book Tour Interview with Liz Gallagher (Click here to go to Liz's site.)

Liz, you have answered so many meaningful questions on this tour. I hope I have read all of the interviews and that my questions will be unique. I added some questions just in case I missed a former interview and have repeated a question. Although we’re in January, we’re experiencing what we call here in Connecticut a ‘January Thaw,’ but it’s still a bit chilly, so I’ll offer you the choice of hot cocoa, Irish coffee, hot buttered rum, or mulled wine...whichever you prefer.

Hi Jeanne, it is very nice to be here...and for sure, your questions have been very, very unique....I had to settle myself quite intently to answer them and enjoyed the challenge of doing so.
I sure do love that list of very tempting drink proposals, I know it is gluttonous of me to say this but could we have a go at sampling each of those, especially the hot buttered rum, here in the Canaries they make rum, plain rum and rum with honey, but I have never heard of the hot-buttered variety and am sorely tempted to try it the' hot-buttered way.' : )

No problem! I’ve included a recipe for this colonial beverage.
Your book reaches into the essence of humanity through experiences with wonder and personal discovery. As we read your poetic descriptions of these epiphanic and epiphenomenal moments, we, the readers are able to reach a clearer understanding of ourselves, and, for that matter, some of those events in our lives that we simply cannot explain, yet somehow end up explaining our human journey.
Therefore, my three questions for you (and believe me, I struggled keeping it to three) will deal with this ongoing process of acknowledging and engaging in the enlightenment of human experience….and here we go:

Jeanne, thanks for your view of the book above...the words epiphanic and epiphenomenal moments have made my day, night and week...I especially love 'epiphenomenal' and will be tempted to pop it into conversations about the yes, ready or not, here goes...(even if I am not feeling too steady on my feet...due to a stomach virus that has me on 7Ups and dry rice! : ))

Stomach viruses are the worst! I thank you for taking the time to answer these questions even when you’re not feeling well. This proves even further how dedicated you are to this profession. I admire your stamina.
Okay, first question: The cover of your book is a beautiful tree, which appears to be at the beginning of spring. Could you please explain this phenomenon of renewal in nature and how it relates to your poetic purpose?

Thanks, Jeanne, the cover is lovely, isn't it....when Chris from Salt first showed it to me, I fell immediately for it...
'Renewal' is such a great word – the essence of what we are about really, I suppose. On writing poetry, I don't have any conscious poetic purpose other than to amuse myself and to make a way to know me/myself better through words, but having said that, I realise that a lot of (my) writing has to do with re-living and trying to re-capture some moments that have impacted on me and made me feel/see things differently. Through this I do see how the poetic process is a form of renewal, the renewal of 'experience' and 'happenings' or assigning to something 'everyday' a new sort of this way it relates to nature, the constant re-making, the cycle of growth....I am thinking of the special status the cherry blossom has in Japan, the short-lived beauty of it, the belief in the now, the moment,....and how difficult it can be to accept the transient...So  yes, I do believe that writing poetry can be a form of renewal, a second chance to re-new – make new again, to oneself and others, what one has experienced or what one is thinking....
Thanks for such a thought-provoking question, Jeanne!   

I love the poem, “A Lady in the Bath with Angels.” How would you interpret the significance of the language of angels and their signs in our everyday experiences?

Jeanne, I have pasted A Lady in the Bath with Angels here below.
I must admit to not being knowledgeable at all about angels apart from what I learnt as a child about there being a 'guardian angel' that stays by our side keeping a watchful eye over us. This was/is fun and quite reassuring to believe in! : )
This poem came from a true experience of hearing this lady talk on TV about angels. Since hearing her say that white feathers are a sign of an angel being about the place, I notice white feathers more....last summer while walking down O'Connell street in Dublin, I saw a woman run after a white feather and pin it down with her stilletoed heel and then pick it up and put it in her pocket, it immediately made me think that she was angel-catching, so to speak.
I think it is in human nature to be on the look-out for signs, be they of the angel variety or not. We like to make associations, to read into things in order to instill some mystery or otherworldliness into our lives...and to maybe help us get clues as to where we are going and why.

A Lady in the Bath with Angels
Ever since that lady on the ‘Late, Late Show’ said
 that an angel makes itself know through the appearance
 of a white feather, every which way I turn I’m seeing
 white feathers. At present a tiny one is sitting on my miniature
 word-jotting-down note book. I have up to ten others in various
 hideaways about the house. The lady said that her first angels
 appeared to her while she was in the bath. They weren’t tiny
 nor floaty but 6 feet tall, hunky and blonde. She said that people
 don’t want to hear about angels being so big and that we’ve got
 to shed pre-conceived notions about angels. The interviewer
 said that people nowadays would fear seeing white feathers
 about the place and only think of bird flu and how risky
 it is to sit around lakes and swan-watch. The Lady thinks
 that angels won’t come unless we ask them to. She says
 they will do anything for us but we have to summons
 them. She says we each have an angel and that they want
 to save the world but they stay quiet until we believe
 in them. I want to believe in angels. But gathering white
 feathers is a possessive act. I’d like to let them go
 but how do I learn to mouth something significant to an angel?

If I were to compare your poetry with an American poet, it would be that of Emily Dickinson. Although your poetry cannot be sung to the song, “The Yellow Rose of Texas” like Ms. Dickinson’s can, there is a certain connection with science and math interwoven with the lyrical elements of human experience. Would you say that your poetry is more of a fractal or a reverberating sound wave?

Jeanne, I love this question and the comparison, thanks! Must admit to feeling totally inadequate to answer the question though but I'm thinking that google might help me with the definitions for  'fractal' and 'reverberating' sound waves and then I may be able to go with some type of answer....! : )

So here goes: if fractal is what wikipedia says below and reverberating is what it says below, then Jeanne, believe me, it's all a, but seriously, I think that my poetry, sound-wise, is probably a mix of both the fractal and the reverberating....if fractal is a tendancy to stop-and-start, to appear broken, reduced, ….my poetry can certainly contain those elements, both literally and metaphorically ...and also, as I said before, sound-wise, due to the mix of long lined poems  interchanging with much-shorter-lined ones....(sorry for wavering here but finding it hard to pin down what I most probably should be pinning down....). I do think my poetry can also appear to have  'long successions of echoes'  too ( adding in to say:  one can feel as if one is conversing with oneself when composing poetry ….maybe this links to the echo-effect? )....I'm also thinking of the 'echoing-in-the-dark' line that Seamus Heaney refers to in relation to what poetry can be (“I rhyme,
to see myself, to set the darkness echoing.”) yes, the 'long succession of echoes' does ring bells for me (no pun intended! ; )) and the whole carfuffle of what poetry can be...I think the echo-effect might also be related to the 'renewal ' question....the re-making of the original experience in poetry to be able to zone in on it from different angles and to see what is behind it.  When I am writing poetry, I always hear in my head very clearly, the words and thoughts that I am about to I do depend very much on sound and allow the sounds to dictate where the poem should go...even though I don't actually read my work aloud until it is finished.

(Jeanne, hope I haven't messed up the original intention of the question!)
(A fractal is "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole,"[1] a property called self-similarity

Reverberating a succession of echoes, a prolonged or continued effect....  )

Jeanne, thanks again for having me here. This is the last Virtual Tour stop and being hosted on your very interesting Blog has been a high note to end on....thanks for your questions which certainly got me thinking in an academic way about my work, something which I  had not really done up until working life is very academic but my poetry has always been, for me, something a little 'rebellious' and 'out-on-a-wing', or 'offside', so to speak, therefore  it seems both strange and exciting to assign anything academic-sounding to it, this is probably naive of me to think like this...but either way, it's been a good experience....! ; )

Liz, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here and for providing such fascinating insight to your poetry. I really appreciate your spending time here and wish for you the very best in health and spirit!

Go raibh míle maith agat! Agus go n-eirí an bóthar leat!  And here is the Irish Blessing that this comes from as a wee 'thank you' to you and  to all the Host Bloggers (Arlene, Brenda, TFE, Nuala, Rachel, Serena, Michelle, Jim) who have been wonderful, thanks for the experience and the memories! : ) Xxx  


  1. Wow, what interesting and brain jiggling questions, Jeanne! Really enjoyed this - love your very down to earth answers, Liz, re "fractal" - there's nothing like having to google half way through a post!

  2. That's why The Prof is the prof! Deadly questos there Jeanne and Liz you danced with them bravely and beautifully.All good thngs must come to an end and it'sgood to go out with a bang and nay hint of a whimper (despite tummy bugitus)We all look forward to the next miracle from Liz Maximus Poet.Well done ye pair s of lady legs.Pip pip.

  3. Hi Rachel, thanks for reading and yes, 'brain jiggling' it was,...hooray for google! ; )

    Hi TFE, sure is The Prof. Thank goodness for those legs I found on my holliers, helped me do some side-stepping maybe...but seriously, ta-muchly for reading and Jeanne's questions are in a league of their own...brillo...the next miracle seems way,way off since haven't put pen to paper in yonks...can't wait for end of July when I can get back to writing again!

  4. Okay y'all... Here's a video of some beautiful fractals! Long live the Mandelbrot set! Enjoy!

  5. Jeepers! Just entered that fractal, Jeanne, the zoom is was 27 seconds of amazement...cheers! : )

  6. I liked how you mentioned "pre-conceived notions" of angels in your poem because as you mention, many people are uncomfortable with thinking outside what they think they already know.

  7. Very good poems, I really liked "The Wrong Miracle". It lets the topic been seen in a different light, and from many angles. Your talent is very evident through your work.

    - Kaela Minerly

  8. Thanks for reading Lauren and Kaela.

    Lauren, thinking outside the box is sometimes a 'must' ....and it can open some 'unknown-beforehand' doors...can be a bit risky too at times but mostly worth it, come what may! : )

    Kaela, thanks for your observations - like the 'different angles' aspect...: )

  9. Very interesting q's and answers. Fascinating stuff, ladies! Well done all.

  10. The poem was very unique and made me the reader have to reread it about three times to understand what the meaning was about. It's a great poem all around.

  11. A Lady in the Bath with Angels was very engaging to myself

  12. I really enjoyed reading A Lady in the Bath with Angles, very well done!

  13. I really liked the idea of angels leaving their calling cards in the form of white feathers.

  14. Love the metaphors you used in, The Wrong Miracle, Liz. In reading it I got the sense of moving through time backwards like the hands of a clock moving counterclockwise. My personal favorite of the three works of yours that I have read is, The Loneliness of Not Being Equivalent to The Other. In it I saw a similar concept of time being used,albiet in a different way. In it I saw a representation of the human conndition, in different phases of life. Throughout life one is at a constant struggle to fit into the norms of societey, yet also find a way to represent ones individuality without being shunned by others in said society. Certain stages, such as our teenage years can impact that positively or negatively through the rest of ones life. There is more that the poem conjures to my mind but I find it difficult to express it at the moment. Very thought provoking and enjoyed it immensely.

  15. After reading the poem a few times, I began to think about how I see angels present in my life. From experience, whenever religion is brought up people sometimes tense up and not want to discuss religious matters, but when talking about angels and spirits many people believe in them even though they may not be entirely religious. I consider lost friends and family angels and that these angels sometimes send us signs as a reminder of their love or maybe a way of guidance to help us out when in need, whether it may be a white feather, a red rose or even a rainbow. I like the fact that angels are seen as white feathers, now when I see one I'll think about the angels in my life. :)

  16. this seems to be a very religious poem in which the lady in this poem has a huge belief in angels. I actually found this poem to be very interesting tho i had to read it a fue times over to get a better understanding

  17. cheers, Nuala!

    Hi Joseph, thanks for reading... and for your observations.

    Hi Ashley, thanks, glad you found something here to like.

    Hi Samantha, thanks for reading.

    Hi Lauren, great term 'calling cards'...that sums it up really well. Thanks.

    Hi Saulo, thanks so much for your detailed observations...very interesting to me...
    I'm glad you liked 'The Loneliness of Not Being Equivalent to Another' is one
    of my personal favourites too! And your points on time are very insightful, I hadn't
    actually consciously thought of 'time' being a theme in my work...but yes it is! I
    love when the reader actually reveals something to the writer about their
    makes it more like a two-way process which I think writing has to be... : )

    Hi Imani, yes, I agree with you...angels are more universal and seem to fit in
    with lots of different religious or spiritual beliefs so do not cause the same
    problems as institutionalised religion...and yes, it is something I do too, imagine
    lost loved ones present through different signs....thanks, much enjoyed your

    Hi Humza, thanks for reading...and yes, the lady who was talking in this TV
    programme was very 'big' into angels.... she had a very convincing way
    about her...even though the presenter was more skeptical and this came
    across quite strongly...I was trying to capture that mix of total belief versus
    healthy skeptism...if such a thing can exist!

    Thanks everyone for commenting, I am totally enjoying reading your has been a great ideas of Jeanne's to make this
    such an interactive interview...! ; )

  18. P.S. I forgot to mention that if you would like to ask any questions, I'd be more than happy to respond as best I can....: )

  19. Thanks to my wonderful students: Lauren, Kaela, Bleck, Ashley, Samantha, Lauren, Saulo, Imani, Humza and even those who went to Liz's site to post comments there. Your contributions to this interview have made it come alive. And thanks so much to you, Liz, for this great exchange of ideas with such a great focal point, your poetry. A fantastic start to the new semester, new year, new decade!

  20. I just went and read the feathers poem again. It's written in such a child's voice. Full of innocence.

  21. Not something we think about everyday. I really enjoyed reading this poem. It has a strong meaning, and is not something you can read once you must read it many times to reveal the layers and other significant meanings of the text.

  22. Thanks for posting, Blake! Interesting observation regarding layers of meaning. We'll be discussing that next week. Good to have you as the newest member of this class.

  23. Hi Rachel, I remember while watching the programme that triggered off this poem that the lady had such a belief in what she was saying and that contrasted so much with the interviewers questioning tone which veered on the was sort of a child-like experience watching the to-ing and fro-ing between them.

    Hi Blake, thanks for your that you found the layers within.

    Jeanne, thanks again for the opportunity to be on your Blog and to interact with your has been very interesting and a great 'finale' for the tour.

  24. EJ Sattelberger, This poem was very interesting to read. I liked the metaphors you used in the poem, I was able to get a good visualization of what was going on.

  25. Thanks for your comment, E.J. Glad you found us! ; )