illustrated poetry

Short Poem Saturday – Corn Moon – Summers

KXSX3001.jpgThis was an illustration I did last year, finishing it before I had to take my hiatus from this blog. I was in a “no outline” phase, practicing building up an image from repeated mark-making.

Although a corn moon usually refers to the full moon in September, at least there is the lunar connection for the Lunar New Year today. My apologies to Mr. Summers for the long delay between our correspondence and this post! Mr. Summers is a much decorated poet in many of the Japanese traditions. His personal blog, Area 17, can be found here! He also runs an organization, With Words, that brings poetry workshops into schools and to the public in the U.K.

Drawing (ink on paper) by me. Happy New Year to all!

Excerpt Wednesday – I dream of being a weed – White

Idreamofbeingaweed_2.jpgI was immediately impressed by Ms. Jana White’s poem I dream of being a weed, posted way back in February. I’ve read other poems about weeds, both literal and metaphorical, but her take on these hardy little plants is both beautiful and unique. She also created a lovely drawing to accompany her poem (a poet after my own heart!), so I decided to let this one sit for a while and incubate in my imagination. I wanted my illustration to be different and complementary to hers. A photograph of a grasshopper, taken by me on a recent run, became the inspiration to return to this poem and create a photo collage. Ms. White’s blog, Poetry of Light, is wonderful and I encourage a visit over there to experience some of her poetry. To hop directly to the full text and original illustration of I dream of being a weed, click here. Photo collage by me. Have a great Wednesday!

Excerpt Wednesday – (anyone lived in a pretty how town) – Cummings

anyonelived_cummings.jpgWomen and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain
E.E. Cummings (1894-1962)

I distinctly remember struggling with E.E. Cummings’ experimental poetry in school – i carry your heart (probably still his most popular poem) presented no challenge, but much of the rest of his work seemed so strange: it was my first introduction to abstract poetry. I also remember that when I finally read anyone lived in a pretty how town, this was the moment I felt like I “got it.” Oh, that’s what he’s doing, I said to myself with a sigh of relief (for my grade in the class). No longer under the threat of a term paper, I have since come to truly appreciate Mr. Cummings’ experiments with language. But anyone lived in a pretty how town is still my entry point to his work and experimental methods. If you would like to read the whole poem, click here (there is also an audio file of Mr. Cummings reading the poem!). Collage (mixed media on newsprint and digital) by me.

Short Poem Saturday – The Golf Links – Cleghorn

TheGolfLinksWhen I tour the Illustrated Poetry archives, I usually find myself in “revision and update” mode; like with any draft, time gives me fresh eyes to see my old posts. But occasionally I come across a published post and think, “no revision necessary, I would do it exactly that way again.” That is a pretty good feeling (rare as it is!), and so I’d like to re-post one that earned such an accolade.

As I mentioned a year ago, this trim quatrain has become the lasting legacy of poet, activist, and educator Sarah N. Cleghorn (1876 – 1959).  She devoted her life to working for numerous causes and published a great deal, but the continued fame of The Golf Links has led her to be most closely associated with the movement to end child labor in the United States. Published over one hundred years ago, this poem feels firmly rooted in the past; however, in many parts of the world child labor is a current and ongoing problem. Perhaps this mighty little poem still has work to do…Photograph and composition by me.

Excerpt Wednesday – I am Singing the Cold Rain – Henson

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i am turning in the gray morning 
of my life
toward home
Lance Henson

I am indebted to Mr. Leonard Durso for introducing me to Lance Henson’s work on his most excellent poetry blog (if you aren’t familiar with Mr. Durso’s blog, click here to rectify that oversight!). I bookmarked his post featuring I am Singing the Cold Rain way back in October of last year, but I did not have the medium to realize my illustration for it. Enter transfer printing, introduced to me recently by my illustration class instructor. The line quality was exactly what I was looking for – I made a number of attempts for this verse, but this was the one that clearly spoke the words of the poem. To read the whole poem, also in the Cheyenne language, head over here. Mr. Henson has a blog as well – his poems are haunting and will stay with you for a long time. Illustration (ink transfer onto newsprint) by me.

Short Poem Saturday – Profile – Po-jen

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Sung Po-jen’s illustrated book of poetry, Guide to Capturing a Plum Blossom, was published in 1238 in China, making it the very earliest example of an art book. This masterpiece would have been lost entirely if not for a single copy of the 1261 edition that survived the Mongol conquests. This copy spent the next 600 years passed and sold privately from artist to scholar to collector until its importance was finally recognized in the late 1800’s. Drawing (ink on paper) and composition by me, translation by Red Pine.

Double Original Friday – Motto of the Grand Old Order of Molluscs and Chelonii

turtlesnailhaikuchallengeI wrote this haiku in response to a Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge (if you don’t know about these, I do recommend them) almost two years ago – and it is amazing to me that it’s been that long. But it is still one of my favorite haiku I’ve written, as it satisfies the science nerd inside of me, so I am reposting it! The challenge words way back then were “Snail” and “Turtle” and the first thing I thought of was that they both have shells, albeit made of very different materials. “Molluscs” and “Chelonii” are the taxonomic Orders of snails and turtles, respectively. Poem and photo (one from a long ago trip to Sequoia National Park) by me. Have a wonderful Friday!

Excerpt Wednesday – Live, Die: A Ghazal – Muske-Dukes

LiveDie_Ghazal2Cheered on by a chorus of voices as you die,
“Go now! Go to the light!” Still, Don’t die!

– Carol Muske-Dukes

I flew recently to attend a friend’s wedding and air travel is my excuse to stock up on physical copies of magazines and newspapers and do nothing but read them cover to cover while doing all the waiting that one does at an airport. In this pursuit, I wound up with a copy of T: The New York Times Style Magazine and was delighted to find their “A Picture and A Poem” feature: a previously unpublished poem with a purposefully commissioned piece of art. This week’s pairing was the poem Live, Die: A Ghazal by Carol Muske-Dukes with a sculpture by Nari Ward. I loved the poem and so I wanted to see what my response as an artist would be to her words. I love the contrast between my piece and Ms. Ward’s and how we gathered the words into the art so differently. Drawing (ink on paper) by me. To read the complete poem and view the sculpture together, click here.

 

 

Excerpt Thursday – Ash Wednesday – Eliot

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Although Ash Wednesday has passed, we are still in the midst of the major spring religious holidays, with Orthodox Easter and Passover yet to come. Thus this heavily allusion laden and symbolic T.S. Eliot poem, which is widely summarized as describing the struggle between disbelief and faith, can still be considered timely. This poem was the first major piece written after Eliot’s official conversion to Anglicanism in 1927 and it marks a definite change in his poetry, evidence perhaps of the change that was wrought in him by his newfound faith. You can read the entire poem here, although I think it is even better to listen to Eliot read the poem himself (click here!). For a much more psycho-analytical/biographical take on the poem, The Guardian featured an article on it in 2014 – you can find that here.

Due to a schedule conflict, this is the first “Excerpt Thursday” I have done – after this week, I hope to have this type of post come back to rest on Wednesdays. Photograph and composition by me. Have a great rest of your week!

Short Poem Saturday – Haiku by Knoll

LadyBugsHaiku_KnollThis haiku puts a grin on my face every time I read it. And it never fails to launch me on an extended trip down memory lane as well – from the greenhouse in my grandparents’ backyard to one I visited once in Iceland. I consider this one of the superpowers of the haiku: they are a reservoir of memories stored in present tense words. Ms. Tricia Knoll is an award-winning poet working and living in Portland, Oregon. Her website, triciaknoll.com, has more of her wonderful haiku as well as links to many of her published poems and books – I definitely recommend a visit! Painting (acrylic on cardboard), digital collage, and composition by me. Have a wonderful weekend!