Just under two weeks ago I went to the monthly meeting of the local California Writer’s Club. If you’re into writing, I suggest you check your state listings for Writers Groups in your area. Whether you aspire to be a professional writer or just jot words on paper for your own enjoyment, a Writer’s Club can help you develop your skills and give you a community of like-minded people to offer feedback and encouragement.
In our last meeting, we discussed poetry. In particular, we spoke of ekphrastic poetry: using art to inspire. It stems from the Greek ekphrasis: literally, description; from ekphrazein: to recount, describe. Wikipedia states “The word comes from the Greek ek and phrasis, ‘out’ and ‘speak’ respectively, verb ekphrazein, to proclaim or call an inanimate object by name.”
We discussed the works of Vincent Van Gogh, and each table was given several postcard versions of his works to select from. I looked carefully through the choices, and found myself consistently drawn to one that had beautifully deep shades of blues and yellows. While I tried to look earnestly at each painting, this is the one that selected me.
Our assignment was first, to complete the Observation Worksheet. It asked questions such as “What is happening in this artwork?” and “What sounds, smells, feelings, tastes could you associate with it?”
Once our observation time was over (only five minutes, a very crude and immediate sensory experiment), we then selected those words that stood out more and constructed a poem based on the totality of our observations.
I titled my poem, “OLD / LIFE”:
Cobbled steps, wearing.
Whispers and smiles and hushed tones
Day turned to twilight.
Still life sparkles.
Embracing life and beauty as seasons
Strong and subtle
And that’s the first of my Five Things Friday offerings, with this week’s theme Poetry. Here are the rest:
2. I love poetry. I don’t know much beyond the basics, but I’m learning. I think one of the most beautiful appointments in the country is that of the U.S. Poet Laureate. If I could ever educate myself enough to hold such a position, I’d be forever giddy.
3. I used to write lyrics. I don’t know how to write music, so I would hum my own tunes, and the words would spill out. I always enjoyed the idea of writing songs, even if no one else heard them.
4. One of my favorite poets is my friend, Monique Teal. She was one of the first people to nudge me toward self publishing, and has herself published a great collection of her poetry: In Between the Trees is an emotional and compelling journey through grief and self discovery. Check out her amazing company at Storylight Publishing. I don’t tell her enough, but she’s been very instrumental in my writing and in my personal life. Her stories of endurance, love, trust, faith, and family… she just inspires me completely.
5. I should love to win the Nobel Prize in Literature for poetry. Alas, that runs next to #2 above, and I’m certain I may never be that educated and talented this side of the green grass. Still, I’ll strive for that because even in the learning, there’s enjoyment on the journey.
Are you a published poet with a book to share? Have a rhyme or two for the comments? It’s time to share your Five Things Friday!
And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!
You may also enjoy reading:
The Friday Five – STORIES
Five Things Friday – TRAVEL
Five Things Friday: Everything Old is NEW Again
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It’s a nice poem!
I’m actually hopeless when it comes to writing poetry. Narrative, I’m fine, but poetry? No.
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I love this idea! I’m stealing it to use in my classroom. I found your blog when researching ideas to use in my 11th Grade English class for National Poetry Month. I think the kids will really get into this.
Taryn, thank you for stopping by and for refreshing my memory of this older post. What a delight for all of us! I’m thrilled this idea has inspired you. My Writer’s Club meets each month and is always full of wonderful information. Please let me know how your class assignment turns out.
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