Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Orange Dress, the Green Vines

Hello, there, bloggers!

Here we have a modern and autobiographical twist on mythology -- a mythology of the self, sort of. There's still lots of drama and imagination here, though this seems a bit quieter, with fewer swords and snakebites and so forth.

Your job, as per usual, is to stare and stare at this painting -- you can find a larger image of it if you click the link at the bottom of this posting -- to soak in it, to absorb it, to let it absorb you. Then you will create a poem based on your notes and reflections and meditations and images and memories and what all else from this painting.

Also as per usual, there are some rules for this poem:

1. The poem must be between 12 and 20 lines long, and some of those lines should be enjambed rather than end-stopped. (Here's one of those fun chances to try, say, a sonnet or a pantoum, to let the form guide what you write, too).

2. The poem must work with repetition in sound. Thus, at least one of the sounds from the first line (long o, short a, s, k, whatever) must repeat at least five more times in the subsequent lines. (Hint: this will be made much easier if you choose a sound that you feel reflects the mood of the poem or the mood you found in the painting).

3. The poem must end on an image, and this image must include one of the colors from the painting, but it must not include one of the objects in the painting. (Thus, "yellow bird" works well, as there is yellow in the painting, but no bird. "Orange dress," however, does not work, because there is a dress in the painting.)

4. The poem must also play with levels of diction; thus, some lines can be "elevated" (i.e., "I shall meet thee under night's wing" -- which is pretty bad, actually, so don't use that) and other lines can be "earthy" (i.e. "Meet me in the alley with a broken bottle in your hand" -- which is also pretty bad, on many levels). So, see what effects you can create by varying the elegance or grittiness of your language.

Go forth and write your poems!

Your poems are due on Wednesday, June 3, before class at 6:00 p.m.

Blog responders: Your job, after the poems are posted on the blog on Wednesday, is to select two of them to which you will respond. Your response (in the comment section) should tell the poet what you find striking/interesting/strong in the poem, and it should offer the poet some suggestions about where the poem might go from here, what you would like to see more of, what strikes you as needing more development.

You MUST comment on the way that lines and line breaks work in the poem, and/or on the images and metaphors in the poem -- or on ways that the poet might work with these things more effectively -- since we have studied these things recently. These responses should be at least a good paragraph. Your comments on TWO poems are due before 6:00 p.m. on Monday, June 8.

(Image from Mark Harden's Artchive)

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