At our writing group last night, Ed told me that my poems seem to be impacted by the fact that I am a visual artist. That is so true! And when I consider that my art is very much influenced by textual elements, collage, impressionism and pop culture, it makes sense that my poems are also influenced by those elements. (Note, for example the collage, a recent self portrait, which is the header for this blog, titled, "Use Your Words.")
At this point you are surely wondering what all of this has to do with writing. Well, let me see if I can make some sense of it.
When I look closely at the collages of Vik Muniz, I begin to notice smaller elements within the whole. I think sometimes we neglect to attend to these bits (subtle images, specific words) in poems and stories. We get so focused on meaning that we forget to just experience the work bit by bit.
Note the abundance of small human figures in the Muniz collage. It is as though they are roaming a landscape in another dimension! I am so very drawn to visual art that tempts the viewer up close and then demands that he or she moves away to experience the overall effect.
Try looking at your writing that way--dissecting and perfecting all of the elements, images, word choices, but then also experiencing it as a whole.
On To The Next Thing
Vector http://www.vectorpress.org/ 6.78% (print)
Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review http://www.borderlands.org/ 2.44% (print)
Cahoodaloodaling http://cahoodaloodaling.com/ 2.63% (online)
Avatar Review http://www.avatarreview.net/ 40% (online)
Needless to say, if you are just getting started in the pursuit of publication, you might want to choose a journal with a high rate of acceptance.
Time For A Challenge
A DAY IN TWELVE PIECES
by the charismatic poet, Cheryl Hicks*
(published by Vector Press, Issue 1, 2013)
From the milk-giving tree
First milk, then butter,
then the sun and the moon,
then the witch waves her wand,
hazel wand and brings luck to the lovers.
These are models from life.
These are models
from life. These are… ah, warm elixir of love.
There is no time to start with the small things.
Parry, parry, parry, unable to thrust--
beyond the necessity for needlework,
what do women forgive?
Unable to trust, almost lost in translation,
they need music in their hands
and dialogue body to body.
Scantily dressed in worn shorts and striped shirt,
I saw you bow ceremoniously to the unseen.
In front of a suitable backdrop,
a single peach hangs from an almost barren tree,
careful to cling just enough without appearing needy.
“Are you pleased to be the last peach?
Will you die for the answers?
What will the end be like after all?”
Further the modern
Chock full and aching,
I would like to talk of other matters.
Precarious and uncertain
I blend colors to make brown,
but the light changes,
and the red shows through.
Behind lacy incidentals and boiled credentials,
she cracks nuts with her teeth to boot.
Red on black
Observe these grit-tempered wares
impressed with fingernails…
Probably made by a pupil,
or perhaps a poetess occasionally employed.
Ecstatic dancers and half-seated figures…
“In this position?” you may ask as I take off my mask.
You may ask, or you may say, “Bravo!”
Perhaps love is a cliché, but
if you can get an actor Meisner has trained…
Lady of light
When the water drips from my hair,
I would be a stream bed.
When I look in the mirror,
I would have a silver back.
When steam rises from my legs,
I would be the cool above the tub.
Where there is friction,
you are the vine joining earth and sky.
When you smile at me,
I shine beauty above the waterline.
If you touch me, I will shatter
into a million shining droplets of deception.
Too far gone by Tuesday
Colors can push you over the edge,
and I really prefer the sketchiness
of the pencil sound,
the way the round, undefined housing
shelters me from the lead.
I prefer to live with the promise of eras ability,
so ironically decisive,
yet I still cross things out (out of habit).
You must realize that even this writing
is not without some danger.
The friction can become tiresome, c
an become needy,
can become divisive,
and I might get caught up in the reflection of that shiny metal piece that ties eraser to wood, that little connector
so needlessly intricate and cold.
and the earth have aligned themselves,
but the belt hangs low on the left
and no adhesive holds this image aloft.
“Here I could love you,”
you say as we lie in the grass,
but my arms have fallen asleep
and machine noise loads the sky.
Still, you sing.
If I could hear you, such tunes might move me.
If I could lather away these fumes,
I would breathe you in that you might soothe me,
but the city is deep,
and no bridges cross the mystery.
*Note the addition of "charismatic" to my name? I was reading a few days ago about an artist who was described as being charismatic, almost as though that were a genre. So, I have decided to refer to myself that way, sort of changing the context within in which my work presents itself...
long broken line (Richard Michael Murphy 1940-2014)
past the slip,
where the old Whale gave
birth on the shore
and the Lovers reached
for their long moment in the sea,
where the smooth asphalt road
leads away from the beach
and the playground can be seen
through the slender shafts
of late spring cat tails.
past the slip
where we hurriedly paint
the swings bright-red-renew,
where the Children's Feet create
thousands of sand paths between
hot indian brushes and sour milk weeds.
Oct 14, 10:45 pm
Try time stamping your work to see if you write differently at different times of day, and perhaps to document how the things you experience each day impact your writing.
Challenge to Myself
So I am going to try to do this today. Every time the phone rings, I will stop what I am doing and meditate for a few minutes, and perhaps jot down a few thoughts. (And no, I am not going to tell you my phone number, because I have the distinct feeling that I would be getting impish phone calls all day from my writing group compelling me to meditate!!!)
One Last Challenge for Today
I had recently read a book titled, Life Colors: What the Colors of Your Aura Reveal About You, and we decided to use the concepts from that book to guide the kids through their production.
After each actor took the quiz and determined which color was his or her aura, we projected their body silhouette onto the walls of the Image Warehouse in various poses, representative also of their personalities. They drew them off and painted around them with the colors of their auras, leaving their bodies in white. This idea of personality types also guided their monologues. The night of the performance, we gave each spectator a mood ring and a ticket/lanyard which explained the colors of the moods and their meanings on the back.
This was one of the most successful Talk Theatre productions we ever had! I think it was because we made it more complex, leaving more opportunities for interaction for everyone involved.
I am including a photo taken that night by one of my students, Will Collins. I have always loved the energy, the movement, and the mystery of this picture.
Until next time, consider this: