Monday, June 15, 2009

Heavy Black Coat with Hyacinths

Dear bloggers ~

Last one! And here we are with a creepy Francis Bacon painting, picked out 'specially for you. This painting falls into that tradition, too, of "Stop Making Sense" from Addonizio and Laux's book, and so that is what I'm going to ask you to try to do in this poem.

Your first job, of course, is to stare at this painting as long as you can bear it, and make notes about whatever you see, imagine, think, feel, etc. You can find a larger image of it if you click the link at the bottom of this posting. 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.

And of course there are rules for this poem (you were expecting pure freedom? Silly you).

1. The poem must be 10-25 lines long.

2. The poem must work with repetition in sound.

3. The poem must begin and end on an image. These images must contain a color, and they must be in some way related to each other (though you can interpret that as narrowly or as loosely as you like). For example, "The broken naked leg ends at the blue toenails" for your first line might be related to "the hunched spine, purple with waiting," because both contain parts of the body and similar colors. Go with your instincts here as far as how images are related.

4. The poem must make an effort to abandon logic. Rather than following the logical steps of a story ("boy meets girl, boy loves girl, depressed boy brings flowers") try to follow another path through the poem. For example, follow the sounds you like ("boy meets girl, toy flag unfurls, red hair starts to curl") and see where the poem takes you. Or, follow a color and leap with that ("boy meets red-haired girl, boy lights red sulfur match, boy becomes arsonist, burns down red barn"). See? So much more entertaining.

Go forth and write your poems!

Your poems are due on Wednesday, June 17 by 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, and/or how the poet has worked to abandon logic -- 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 on Monday, June 22 before 6:00 p.m.

(Image from National Galleries of Scotland website).

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