Saturday, April 25, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #25 "Beach Speaks of Boys"

Hello, and welcome to day #25 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say? 

Today's piece is "Four Boys on a Beach" by Winslow Homer.

When I started writing this poem, I thought it would be cool to put it in the pier's voice. So I played around with that for a while... pier as sentry...but I just couldn't get the intimacy I wanted. So I switched the POV to the beach itself.



Friday, April 24, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem # 24 & "What a Day" by J.Patrick Lewis

Hello! How can this be the last Poetry Friday of National Poetry Month?? Wow. Be sure to visit Renee at No Water River for Roundup!

And yes, we are in the homestretch of our Progressive Poem! See the latest line courtesy of Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect. 

What better way to celebrate National Poetry Month than with books of poems? I have been reading so much this month... most recently EVERTHING'S A POEM: The Best of J. Patrick Lewis with illus. by Maria Cristina Pritelli.

Here's the poem that speaks to me most urgently as I write this post:



What a Day
by J. Patrick Lewis

Out of dark's rougher neighborhoods,
Morning stumbles,
none too
bright,
recalling now
the thief,
Night,
who stole her work
of art -
Light.



And now for poem #24 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say? 

Today's piece is "Still Life with Bottles and Fruit" by Alexej von Jawlensky. I love this piece so very much!! Obviously. I mean, I did choose it for my logo. :)




Thursday, April 23, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #23 "Rowing Scene"

Hello, and welcome to day #23 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say? 

Today's piece is "Rowing Scene" by E. Levy.


Right away I knew I wanted to write this one in the voice of the river. What must it feel like to have boats and paddles and so many people invading your space? Or maybe the river feels pride or joy or....



I should admit that I really know very little about rowing. A friend of mine in Washington, DC, has kids who do"crew," but here in the south, it's not a popular sport. I did a little Googling to find some authentic words that might be heard by the river, and I also found out that the boats are made of fiberglass, not wood (as was in my first draft of the poem). I'd be interested to hear from any readers with rowing experience to let me know if this poem reads "true."


Be sure to visit Tamera at The Writer's Whimsy to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #22 "Still Life with Straw Hat, Bag, & Umbrella"

Hello, and welcome to day #22 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say? 

Today's piece is "Straw Hat, Bag, and Umbrella" by Frederick Peto.


So, how 'bout this trio? Don't they look like they have had adventures? And aren't they just aching to have MORE adventures? First thing in the morning, the idea of this corner as a coffee shop popped right into my head. Here's where I went with it:


...and, readers, there it is again.... WAITING! At the end of the month I am going to count up how many of these poems include that theme. We'll see! Thank you so much for reading! Be sure to visit Pat at A Writer on a Horse to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #21 "The Dance Lesson"

Hello, and welcome to day #21 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say? 

Today's piece is "The Dance Lesson" by Edgar Degas.




Once upon a time I took ballet lessons. One of the greatest compliments I've ever received was being told that I have a "dancer's neck," and I have always enjoyed a natural flexibility (though less flexible now than in my youth!).

These days I am learning the cello. And I do a lot of cello playing in my mind. I think it's great practice for anyone learning an art form/new skill. So that's the direction I headed for this poem...





Be sure to visit Tara at A Teaching Life to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Monday, April 20, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #20 "A House for All Seasons"

Hello, and welcome to day #20 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say? 

Today's piece is "The Flower Beds in Holland" by Vincent van Gogh.


Isn't that gorgeous?! I instantly thought of a quilt, and then I thought, well, isn't that predictable! I considered what I could do to make the poem not a typical "flowers so beautiful in spring" poem, and eventually I landed on that house on the left, how its roof seems to be sagging just a bit. And I thought, hmmm, I wonder how that house feels about those flower beds? I spent some time with it, and here's where I landed:

Poet-friends, do you see it? MORE waiting! The title may be promising too much... I don't really address any seasons directly other than spring and fall... but aren't they indirectly understood? I guess what I really wanted to know from the house was, what is the house's favorite season? I think certainly the season in which it feels most useful, and closest to the farmer. :)

Another thought today: it seems that the vast majority of the poems I've written so far this month are from the perspective on something inanimate in the painting. This might help me bring some focus to the project if I decide to create an ARTSPEAK! manuscript. We'll see how this plays out the rest of the month! 

Thank you so much for reading. I am now back from North Dakota and doing my best to settle back into regular life. Busy, busy week this week with various kid engagements, so please, bear with me! xo

Sunday, April 19, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #19 "Spearfishing"

Hello, and welcome to day #19 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say? 

Today's piece is “Fisherman Spearing a Fish” by John La Farge.



Gorgeous, isn't it? My poem today is simple (though I tried to make it difficult!). I just decided simple was best for this one:





I really wanted the poem to be in the spear's voice, and it is... yet, it can also be read as the fisherman's voice. Isn't it interesting to think that they want the same thing? This way the reader can decide who is speaking. (If I wanted to make it clearly "spear" I think I would need the spear to want the opposite of what the fisherman wants, in order to make it clear. Something to think about in revisions!)


Be sure to visit lovely haiku-goddess Linda at Teacher Dance for the latest in our Progressive Poem!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #18 "Snake to Butterfly"

Hello, and welcome to day #18 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say? 

Today's piece is "Snake and Butterfly" from the workshop of Johann Teyler.





Is anyone else humming Heart's "Dog and Butterfly" right about now? :) And no, that "snake" pushed out there to the right is not a mistake. I wanted it to look like a snake... it just didn't look right any other way (believe me, I played around with it for a while!).

I think I can strengthen this poem in revision by paying attention to internal rhyme and word choice. I love the basic idea, though, and don't think the meaning of the poem will change at all. But. One never knows with poetry! A poem is like citrus fruit: it ripens on the tree, and will hang there ripe for a really long time, just waiting for wind or a hand or rain to come along and change everything. Delicious!

Speaking of delicious, be sure to visit central Florida gal Sheila Renfro to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Friday, April 17, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #17 & WON TON AND CHOPSTICK by Lee Wardlaw

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit sweet red Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge for Roundup. Also, be sure to visit Buffy's Blog for the latest in our Progressive Poem!

First, a look at WON TON AND CHOPSTICK: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw, illus. by Eugene Yelchin.

How much fun to see Won Ton's (haiku) adventures continue! A dog is not a welcome new family member... at first. :) My favorite section in the book is called "The Banishment."

Picket fence lament:
Woe is meeee-ow! the crowd howls.
Cue for an encore.

Pounced a plump mouse but
set him free. Just not hungry.
Maybe tomorrow.

Alone, Q-curled tight.
Night is cold without you, Boy,
despite my fur coat.

-- Lee Wardlaw

-----------------------------------
Poor Won Ton! Don't you just love "Q-curled" ??

And now, poem #17 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say? 


Today's piece is "Bathers Caught in a Storm" by Felix Vollotton.


Right away I knew I wanted to write in the wind's voice! (I am in North Dakota, after all... so much wind rolls across these prairies!)



Thursday, April 16, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #16 "Self-Portrait as a Country Road"

Hello, and welcome to day #16 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say? 

Today, and for the next few days, I am with my father in the windy prairie-lands of North Dakota (where he lives). It's a long road from Alabama to North Dakota.

Which is why today's piece is "The Road" by Edgar Degas.


Another etching! Isn't there something so beautiful about roads like this one? Maybe it's the country girl in me, the wanderer, the hermit. But I look at this picture and I want to be inside it. Which is how I came to my poem... I asked, what does the piece say.... about me?



Be sure to visit Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town to see what our Progressive Poem's mermaid-girl is staring at!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #15 "Sailor to Dog"

Hello, and welcome to day #15 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say? 

Woohoo! We're halfway there!


Today's piece is "Man Crying Out" by Rembrandt.


This piece makes me think "anguish." I mean, this fella is not a happy one. I see pain and heartache. And his mouth is open, like he's calling to someone or something. And he's wearing that hat! I don't know, but it made me think of a sailor. So I started asking myself, why is this sailor so upset? What are the words pouring from his mouth? It could be so many things! A lost love, perhaps?? But this is intended for children. So I thought back to Renoir's little dog, from poem #8. What if this sailor had lost his dog?


I'm wondering now if I should title the poem "To Jack" and let the reader discover it's a dog?? We'll see in revisions. :) Meanwhile, I will be traveling the  next few days -- hoping I am able to write and get these posts out on schedule!! Be sure to visit lovely Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge to find out how our Progressive poem is progressing!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #14 "The Music Lesson"

Hello, and welcome to day #14 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say? 

Big THANKS to everyone who has been reading and commenting on these poems! My enthusiasm is rather rollercoasterish (it's a long month!), and your encouragement really helps! Mwah!

Today's piece is "The Music Lesson: Studio of Gerard ter Borch the Younger" by an anonymous (Dutch) artist.


So this piece really speaks to me because I am a new cello student. There is nothing quite so humbling as learning a new instrument, especially when one is an adult and knows full-well how the instrument should sound!

Some of you  may remember that I picked up the fiddle last year... well, I kept having this niggling feeling that I chose the wrong instrument! So, at the start of 2015, I moved to the cello. And I fell in love!!

I have a wonderful teacher -- he actually taught my son to play the cello many moons ago. He reminds me often that failure is just part of art -- and not to be so hard on myself. Every day, I am learning. And every day, I spend part of my practice time just being one with the instrument. Closing out all those other voices and allowing myself to experience music.

So all that goes into this poem! I first considered writing from the girl's perspective... but she doesn't look very happy, does she? It seems to me she's trying very hard, and her teacher is getting on to her. I didn't want a sad poem... I pretty much always want to write about joy. Poetry for me is a way to love the world. So I decided to write from the instrument's (is it a mandolin? Oh World Wise Web, please do tell!) point of view. And since I didn't know exactly what kind of instrument, I tried to write the poem in a way that it could be any instrument.





... and now I am not so sure about that puddling beneath the chair! Kids would probably imagine another kind of puddle -- which, I'm sure, in one music lesson or another, has actually happened! I need to think about how I can carry forward the bumblebee metaphor... but not now. Later!

Be sure to visit Renee at No Water River to find out what's the latest with our Progressive Poem!

Monday, April 13, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #13 "Clothesline Season"

Hello, and welcome to day #13 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say? 

Big THANKS to everyone who has been reading and commenting on these poems! My enthusiasm is rather rollercoasterish (it's a long month!), and your encouragement really helps! Mwah!

Today's piece is "A Monday Washing, New York City" by an unknown 19th century American artist.


I chose this painting today because it has Monday in the title. :) Plus it is just such a great scene...historical and domestic and such beauty in a world of concrete and brick! I do adore fabric, and this reminds me of quilts on a line, which I especially love!

I thought first about having one item of clothing speak on its experience of being hung out with its friends. (Wouldn't "Undershirt" be  fun title?) I still think that could be a great poem! But then I started thinking about the clotheslines themselves, and how they join and soften these two tall, hard-edged, erect buildings. And that was my doorway into the poem:






Be sure to visit Doraine at DoriReads to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #12 "Says Snow in Spring"

Hello, and welcome to day #11 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say? 


Big THANKS to everyone who has been reading and commenting on these poems! I can feel my enthusiasm starting to wane (it's a long month!), and your encouragement really helps! Mwah!

Today's piece is "New England Farm in Winter" by unknown 19th Century American artist.

I love the blue skies in this one! And it's not a deep snow, so right away I started thinking this is the end of winter, or perhaps even spring! Even here in Alabama we've had an April snow before... looks completely different than a winter one. So I went with that line of thinking, mainly because it's hard to say something fresh and new about snow! It's been done and done and done beautifully. But snow in spring? Now there's a fresh angle.... what would the snow say?





Be sure to visit Margaret at Reflections on the Teche to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #11 "Before the Race"

Hello, and welcome to day #11 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say? 


Big THANKS to everyone who has been reading and commenting on these poems! I can feel my enthusiasm starting to wane (it's a long month!), and your encouragement really helps! Mwah!

Today's piece is "Riders on the Beach at Dieppe" by Rene Pierre Charles Princeteau.

A long time horse lover, I have vivid memories of my father taking me to the races when we I was wee and we lived in New Orleans. I loveloveloved the Black Stallion books (and the film) -- maybe that's why I was drawn to this picture? Also, my sister and I had dreams: I would train a horse and she would be the jockey and we would win the Kentucky Derby! 

I am particularly drawn to the horse in the middle. I knew right away I wanted to somehow give that horse a voice. (Hey, I'm a middle child... I often feel for the one in the middle!) Although I did get distracted for a little while thinking what I might do in the voice of the beach.... but ultimately decided the middle horse had my heart. (I'll save the voice of the beach for some other poem. :)






Friday, April 10, 2015

ARTSPEAK! Poem #10 & THE POPCORN ASTRONAUTS!

Hello, and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Michelle at Today's Little Ditty for the latest line in our Progressive Poem... and Laura at Writing the World for Kids for a poetry tip & Roundup!

First, I've got a new poetry book to share with all of you, THE POPCORN ASTRONAUTS And Other Biteable Rhymes by Deborah Ruddell, illus. by Joan Rankin. It's full of fun, imaginative poems -- all about things we eat in different seasons: strawberries in spring, peaches in summer, apples in fall, cocoa in winter.

Here's my favorite poem (full disclosure: I was born in Georgia, which makes me a Georgia peach... and I happen to LOVE peaches to eat!) :

Speaking of Peaches...
by Deborah Ruddell

There is so much to say about peaches,
but it's hard to know where to begin.
Do you start with the flowery fragrance,
or the summery sweetness within?

or the juice, as it stickily trickles
from your lips to the tip of your chin?
Or the sunset of beautiful colors
on the flannelpajamaty skin?

How 'bout that "flannelpajamaty"? Pretty awesome, right? Check out the book... it's lots of fun!


Next, I offer you poem #9 of ARTSPEAK!, my Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2015, in which I am writing from images found in the online collections of the National Gallery of Art and focusing on dialogue, conversations, what does the piece say?

Today's piece is "Cutout of Animals" by an unknown 19th Century American artist.



I wanted to write on something "different" today, so I selected this piece which reminds me instantly of Noah's ark! Everything is in double here, as if the artist folded the paper in half and allowed the paint to bleed through. My next thought was, "The Zoo Inside You." I love that title! But this isn't really a zoo, is it?And there are people, too. Hmmm... I started writing, thinking about how one spirit animal just isn't enough to represent a human... we have many characteristics of many animals. So I listened, and it seemed to me that this piece was talking directly to the reader:





Okay, so that was tough! And I'm not completely happy with it, though I do like parts of it. (The camel with its canteens... yes!) The ending is a cliche... I was thinking maybe the raven could offset the predictability, but maybe not enough ?? I really wanted to include the people we are -- the child within, and our future selves -- maybe I need to develop that some more. And I am no longer sure about the title.... maybe "The Zoo Inside You" makes it more clear to a child-reader? Things to think about when I revise! Thank you for reading. xo