Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Writing From An Artist's Vision



         When I taught poetry I enjoyed taking the group to write at our art museum, searching for some work of art that sparked an idea to contemplate, a story to tell.  This also helped students start noticing details in their daily lives.  I enjoyed doing it with my students, and find it is a practice I still like doing.  It’s fun to imagine stories behind the paintings.  I wrote this poem after viewing Edward Hopper’s painting that you can view below. I wrote it a couple of weeks ago, and it hasn't seemed the right time to post for various reasons.  Then, one day, I checked the blogs on my reader, and found Storykeeper Ruth C. F's blog here, where she wrote a poem about another of Hopper's pictures, plus gave so many good links about this marvelous artist.  I hope you take your students to study different kinds of art, and to write about it.





Janie sat there sipping
dipping dipping
her mouth
into tepid tea while
waiting
waiting
alone-for me.
I would have gone to
see her yet
something
something
turned my path
It wasn’t the car
careening
careening
off its mark
although it could have
been
that
no-it wasn’t that at all
it’s just that seeing
seeing her from across the street
made me realize
she would never
love me enough
even to risk the first date
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And-Remember to check on the Poetry Tag Group shown at the right!  And look at Jama Rattigan's blog post at Jama's Alphabet Soup  to discover so many Poetry sites in the kidlitosphere doing wonderful things!  Cathy, at Merely Day By Day, is joining Mary Lee, at A Year of Reading in a poem a day this month. Other daily poem writers include Amy at The Poem Farm, and Donna at Mainely Write.

20 comments:

  1. Nice poem. Lonely. Even "tepid tea" is a kind of lonely waiting kind of thing, making it last until it is really too cold to drink - nicely done.
    BTW: thanks for your diligence this morning with my song! You made me laugh picturing it.

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    1. Oh, and I said I wasn't posting another poem, but I added "Jellyfish". I don't know what's wrong with me. I have poemitis or something. Or I don't feel like vacuuming.

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    2. Okay, I'll get right on it! Hopper always makes me feel like those in his paintings are lonely, even when there's more than one! Thanks!

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  2. Hopper's art is definitely inspirational. You know there is a story in each of the people he paints. I was surprised that your poem was from the point of view of a person outside of the painting, looking in--just like we are. It is very effective that way, but I am not sure I would've thought of that. And the rhythm you created with the repetition creates a sort of nervous, hesitance that ended up to be just perfect by the time I reached the end. We are not going to be able to visit an art museum this year, but I am going to bring in a painting and some books of paintings to use this idea with my students. (I could also gather some digital images I suppose--now you really got me thinking...)

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    1. You also may not be able to do this soon, but through the years I have collected art postcards from different museums, & my daughter has brought some to me too. Students love looking through them & choosing one that is inspiring. Maybe you could find an old art book to cut up (lots in used bookstores & even at Goodwill-cheap!). I hope you can do it, Christy. I've found it always to be inspiring for students. Thanks for the response, too!

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  3. Hopper's work does indeed feel lonely much of the time -- not only the subjects in the paintings themselves, but as outside observers looking in. You capture the hesitancy and nervousness of the narrator so well.

    Last year Irene Latham shared a poem based on a painting at the Potluck. She also collects postcards from art museums for inspiration.

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    1. Thanks Jama for the response & for telling me about Irene. I hope I can find her on your site!

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  4. Wow! Beautiful poem, so perfect for the painting. I haven't used this type of lesson, and I'm excited about trying it.

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    1. Thanks, Mardie. It is fun to do, for myself too! Let me know if you do try.

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  5. Interesting to try to write a poem from a painting. It seems painting and poetry can go well together. I enjoyed your story of this piece by Hopper, an artist I admittedly need to learn more about. I really liked the way you had the single word lines that repeat. They seemed to hold time a bit.

    Cathy

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    1. There is a great picture book about Hopper too. It tells some of the story of his work. Thanks, Cathy.

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  6. Linda,
    Your poem is perfect. I really connected to it. Thank you for sharing the post about Hopper. You are a very generous person.

    I think Hopper is one of my favorite artists. I found a new word that connects to your post -"ekphrastic"

    "Ekphrasis: writing that comments upon another art form, for instance a poem about a photograph or a novel about a film. Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn" is a prime example of this type of writing, since the entire poem concerns the appearance and meaning of an ancient piece of pottery." http://valerie6.myweb.uga.edu/ekphrasticpoetry.html

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    1. How cool is that, Ruth-EKPHRASTIC! And I see by your link that there's an actual title, ekphrastic poetry! I did not know. Maybe I'll try another! Did you see I told above that there is a wonderful picture book about Hopper too.

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    2. Yes I noticed that I was going to check the title against the books we have. I love your poem. It fits the picture,

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  7. I loved the turmoil I felt while reading this poem, the repeated words, the word choice. I felt that the character narrating was so unsure, unsettled. Then the ending pulling me to a stop.
    I think this is such a great idea, great exposure and experience for all who write.

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    1. Thanks Betsy. It pulls on imagination to try to create a response to a piece of art, something all can be excited about.

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  8. Wow, I love the idea of taking the kids to a museum to help them find inspiration to write poems about. I'm not sure if I will be able to take my kids to a museum soon, but I may just have to show them some photos of artwork! I always enjoy taking my kids on a walk outside and finding poems from nature and what we stumble upon.

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    1. Perhaps, as I said earlier, you can find some art books to write from. There are lots out there! Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. I like the lyrical quality of this poem, and was also taken by the photograph. I've been keenly interested in the "artistic vision" having had a lot of conversations (because of my research) with a lot of teacher-artists. This kind of aesthetic sensibility, the creative vision is what consumes me and what I wish to document - we are pretty fortunate that our research team has been invited and welcomed warmly by the Singapore School of the Arts since 2008. Doing research has never been so much fun!

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    1. Myra, that sounds so exciting. I have found articles that connect & support writing/art connections & am interested in that alliance, too. I did so much art in my classes & thought always that it helped all their work, attention to observation & detail especially. I hope you'll write about this sometime!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!