micropoetry

Short Poem Saturday – Grateful is Sleep – Buonarroti

GratefulisSleep
The painter and sculptor Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) wrote this quatrain on his own sculpture Night, which is one of several masterpieces of his decorating the Medici Tomb in Florence. With most of the popular emphasis on Michelangelo’s sculpture and painting, I often forget that he was also a prolific poet, writing hundreds of sonnets and epigrams. But this short poem particularly struck me because of its self-reflective ekphrastic theme. For a photograph of Night, a different translation of this poem, and an interesting discussion about an attribute of the statue that has, shall we say, attracted attention through the centuries, click here.

I’m continuing my no-erase policy and experimenting with some textured cardboard and paint. This time it meant I wound up with two illustrations! To see the other one scroll down or click the “Read More” button. Poem by Michelangelo Buonarroti, translated by William Wordsworth, painting and composition by me. Have a wonderful weekend!
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Short Poem Saturday – Second Fig – Millay

ESVMepigram_try2
A Saturday morning spent playing around with photo collages and a cheeky Edna St. Vincent Millay epigram is time well spent, I say!

Have a wonderful weekend, enjoy the collage, and perhaps be inspired by these three links:

1) Ms. Chiara Ricci-Tam, my friend and collaborator in science as well as art, has started her own WordPress Blog! I have been like a broken record over the last two years telling her that the folks on WP are some of the best there are, and that I have made new friends and connected with amazing artists, authors, and poets here. Now she’s here too –  and so, if you don’t mind, click on over to her brand new site Chiaroscurale and say hello!

2) Wave Erasure Books – a vibrant conversation on Twitter, started by Beat Company, reminded me of this awesome site and the one below. You (or the program if you click “random poem”) can erase words from classic texts to create something entirely new. You can also submit your erasure creations to their website to be added to the online collection.

3) Howl your work – this program will take any line you provide and “Howl with it.” I don’t think there is any other way to explain other than to show the results. I put today’s epigram into the algorithm, and this is what popped out:

safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!
America upon safe roof street after we’re Passaic, caresses
rocking Long suicide, singing Spaniard sanity radio rose fate were
returning hands to twelve gas a soul trucks governments! Bridge a not
demonic Chinatown the together of up Moloch who entered my soul early!
Moloch in whom Light streaming out of the actual pingpong of the moon
& their hands & a hung jury, and harlequin speech of suicide,
demanding instantaneous

Behold the power of random chance, computer algorithms, and Howl by Alan Ginsberg!

Short Poem Saturday – A Politician – Cummings

APolitician_CummingsE.E. Cummings’ outspoken and often contrarian political views got him into trouble on several occasions during his life – he was even accused of being a spy in France during WWI. His love poetry has had enduring popular appeal – I personally have been to two weddings where his poem [I carry your heart] has been read – but his satirical and political poetry, while perhaps lesser known, make up another major theme in his work. This epigram is a small salty taste of it – and no matter your political persuasion, it is perhaps a feeling we have all had at one point! Drawing (ink on paper) and composition by me. Have a great weekend!

Short Poem Saturday – El Hombre – Williams

ElHombre_WCWIt is strange for me to think of William Carlos Williams as being undiscovered or overshadowed: his poetry certainly keeps up with all of the other titans of poetry in every anthology I come across. And yet, during his lifetime, his work was consistently overpowered by his contemporary T.S. Eliot. It would be the Beat poets who would “discover” and elevate him and his work – although the appreciation was apparently not mutual (my thanks to Matt over at Beat.Company for that lead!). I have been strongly drawn to working in collage for WCW poems these last few weeks – collage and composition by me.

Short Poem Saturday – Don’t Worry, Spiders – Issa

Dontworry_II“Don’t Worry, Spiders” was the very first haiku I posted on Illustrated Poetry! At the time, I paired it with a photograph I had taken of a brightly lit window at night – I thought of it like a Motel 6 for spiders. I decided to revisit the haiku and try it with something different: much more abstract and colorful (and perhaps from the spider’s perspective?) Haiku by Kobayashi Issa (1763 – 1828), painting (acrylic on illustration board), and composition by me. Have a great weekend! Enjoy!

Short Poem Saturday – Goya’s “Two Old People Eating Soup” – Van Duyn

Goya_VanDuynToday’s poem, by Mona Van Duyn, is a wonderful example of ekphrastic poetry – poetry in response to another work of art.  I responded with my illustration for the poem before I checked to see precisely which Goya painting Ms. Van Duyn was referring to – you can see a photograph of that painting here. I focused on the color and shape of Ms. Van Duyn’s poem – and I think the movement from Goya’s painting through Van Duyn’s poem to my small attempt resembles a game of telephone! But that may be one of the super-powers of ekphrastic art: it takes on a life of its own. Ms. Van Duyn was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1992-1993. Painting (acrylic on illustration board) and composition by me. Enjoy!

Double Original Friday – Black Star

Black StarRight before Halloween, Ms. Kerfe Roig of MethodTwoMadness posted a beautiful drawing of a bat and wrote about the precarious conservation state of most bat species (check it out here!). Many years ago, I attended a presentation by a scientist from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where he detailed the efforts to find the origin of White Nose Syndrome in bats. White Nose Syndrome is a fungal disease that is decimating bat populations in the eastern U.S. It turned out that a hiker in New England – not a scientist or a Forest Service employee – provided the photograph of the bat that had been identified as “patient zero” of the epidemic. I have always been struck by that fact – that any one of us could be the singular witness to an important ecological event and that what we see and remember is so significant. Today’s poem and illustration are inspired by the memory of the bats I would see as a child and Kerfe’s post. Poem, drawing, and mixed media collage by me. Have a great Friday!

Old Poem Saturday – A Hallowe’en Haiku – Hoyt

HalloweenHoytHaikuI did want to feature a new illustrated Halloween poem this year, and Mr. Clement Hoyt’s “Hallowe’en Mask” haiku is perfect for the occasion. Mr. Hoyt is listed as an influential American haiku poet in numerous sources, but very little information about him is available – so a bit of poetry mystery for Halloween as well! “Hallowe’en Mask” was published in 1963. Photograph and composition by me.

 

Halloween Doodle and the Posts of Halloween Past

HalloweenDoodle15It is a gmish of illustrations and poetry today, the day before Halloween. The above doodle (pencil on paper) was fueled in part by the piles of halloween candy that keep appearing at work! It was inspired as a revisit to a poem that I featured on Illustrated Poetry back in April (remember, I can’t manage to plan posts around the relevant holidays!) – “Horror Movie” by Howard Moss. Definitely worth a read today or tomorrow! Also, if you would like an Alan-Cummings-sounding Scottish gentleman to read another scary poem to you – “The Twa Corbies” – I recommend my Halloween post from last year.

Meanwhile, I’ve been playing with adding Halloween words to the Poetry Generator. If you haven’t been introduced to the Poetry Generator, click here – you may or may not thank me, as it is quite addictive. It will make random poems for you based on either words you supply or a standard set. I’ll be tweeting out my Halloween generator poems today and tomorrow – they’ll appear in the Twitter sidebar here at IP or follow me on Twitter.

Have a safe and fun Halloween!

Old Poem Saturday – Life – Treasone

Life_TreasoneIIIt is a great pleasure to be able to revisit this particular short poem and update my post about it. When I presented this poem back in March of this year (you can click here to travel back in time to it), I mentioned that the poet herself was a bit of a mystery. Despite the inclusion of this poem in multiple anthologies and the wide debate about the usage of metaphor in poetry it provokes, the only information about Ms. Treasone I could find was a two-line obituary for a woman of the same name that did not mention poetry.  But not long ago her daughter, Ellen, contacted me and let me know that it was her mother’s obituary and that I made the correct identification. I asked if I could share her note with you all, and she agreed.

She wrote, “I told her how proud I was of her for writing such a poem that would make people think, although it was very short, she told me it just meant; life is hard & a struggle and if you can figure out a way to cope and remember your mistakes, you can have a chance at happiness in your heart.”

A lovely sentiment – and I couldn’t agree more. I redesigned my illustration to reflect a mandala. Photo collage and composition by me, poem by Ms. Grace Marie Treasone (1925-2011), a poet and resident of Sarasota, Florida.