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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Do you love to travel? I do, but my travel this year has been vicariously through a Facebook group called “Women Who Keep Traveling.” This week, Jan posted a call for photos in different color schemes. “Show us something green from the travel pics on your phone. The more random the better.”

I enjoyed scrolling through the random photos. This one appealed to me for our week’s prompt. The photo comes from Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, AR taken by Aimée Dominique.

Would you like to try a new form? My student Chloe invented a form she calls a Penta-poem with the syllable count of 5,4,3,2,1,2,3,4,5. She also thought about calling it an hourglass poem because the resulting poem looks like an hour glass.

Please share your poem drafts in the comments and write encouraging replies on other poems.

A maze of red hills
dancing landscape
ribbon stream
Seuss-like
dream
wonder
fantasy
hallway jungle
unique artistry

Margaret Simon, draft

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When we write poems to a photo, we enter a process of collaboration. A meeting between the photographer and the poet, the image and the words. In collaboration, one can have a conversation, an inquiry, or a conviction. Do your beliefs about the world come through in your poems? Are you communicating or responding? Are you participating or letting the muse take control?

I invite you to reflect on your process today as you write. Leave a small poem in the comments as well as a reflection of your thoughts. 

photograph by Molly Hogan

Perspective

The tracks rise to a point
on the horizon
disappearing into a mist.

We know
beyond the page,
the path goes on
and on.

Margaret Simon, draft

My reflection: Perspective is something an artist has to learn. If you draw two parallel lines, they must converge to give the impression of a continuing road. Our horizon line is not a finite place. The earth is round. When I think about this in a spiritual, metaphorical sense, I think of our own path through life. There is a mirage of an end, but there is always another turn to make.

Note to my readers: We are in the path of Hurricane Delta. School has been cancelled for today and tomorrow. We are preparing. We have a strong house (and a friendly generator named Sparky). I appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

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Old barn between Kalispell and White Fish, Montana by Jan Risher

How many of us have wanderlust? After pandemic shut downs have kept us homebound with theaters, museums, and art galleries closed, many of us have suffered from the strong desire to go somewhere else. My friend, journalist Jan Risher, hit the road a few weeks ago with her husband. Finding travel somewhat doable again, she posted picture after picture of our amazing country.

I was drawn in by her pictures of Montana. We were there only a few summers ago and enjoyed a train ride from Seattle to White Fish. To see more of Jan’s pictures, follow her on Instagram. To read her article about her trip, click The Advocate.

If the spirit moves, write a small poem in the comments. Please encourage other writers with kind comments. I’m sorry this post is late today. I discovered that I can access my blog on my school computer, but I can’t edit or publish the post.

Here where land
reaches up to sky
with a hand on the heart
of America…
We see
sacred space.

Margaret Simon, draft

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I’m in my second week of teaching, and it’s going pretty well, despite the weather which has been churned up by Tropical Storm Beta. Dreaming of travel, I took notice of Paula Bourque’s pictures from Maine. She’s taking day-adventures with her husband. This was her message on Sunday:

Mornings are filled with meaningful lessons. They show me that everything changes and moves on. If I can embrace that, I can be open to new wonders and stop wishing for what was, to always be. Life is change.
Sunday sermon over.

Paula Bourque, Facebook post

Paula is the author of Spark! Quick Writes to Kindle Hearts and Minds in Elementary Classrooms. We met at NCTE last year when I was the “chair” of her round table session. She presented ways to use images to prompt quick writes in the classroom. So here I am, full circle, using one of her photos as a prompt for a quick write.

Sunrise at Gardiner Landing by Paula Bourque

Leave a small poem in the comments or jot one in your journal. If you share, please respond to other writers with encouraging words.

I would like to be remembered*
as someone who softened things
like the still, blue surface
of a lake at dawn.

Margaret Simon, draft
  • words from a Ruth Bader Ginsburg quote, “I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.”

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These first days of school have been exhausting. Yet I am happy to be doing what I am meant to do. When I get home, I mindlessly scroll through my Facebook feed. I love posts that relax my brain, beautiful landscapes, quotes, flowers…

This one caught my eye. I haven’t seen these colors yet. Dianne Dempsey-Legnon posted this wistful message, “It’s almost here. Looking forward to the crunch of leaves under my feet, the crackle of a fireplace, and cinnamon in my hot tea.” Ah, yes! With all the back to school prep, I forgot that the season is changing. Fall will come.

Photo taken on Pig Trail outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas by Dianne Dempsey-Legnon, 2019

In the comments, post a small poem inspired by the photo. Please comment on other writers with encouraging words.

Fall in the air
makes me sneeze.
Mumbled through a cloth mask,
you say, Bless you
and mean it.

Margaret Simon, draft

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Today’s posts will be gathered at Karen’s Blog.

I’ve been raising monarchs. See this post. I am also planning for hybrid teaching, some in person, some virtual. Finding my direction through these tasks has challenged me in new ways.

Male monarch by Judy Rizzo

The word alchemy came across my radar. I found this definition: “a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.” The process of metamorphosis is alchemy and in many ways, so is the way we have to teach this year. I decided to mine alchemist for words using Wordmaker. Following a poetic process created by April Halprin Wayland, I wrote a poem that probably doesn’t make sense to anybody but me. Let’s just say, finding my direction through this unique school year has taken some proactive effort. (The words from Wordmaker are in bold.)

Finding Direction

Connect line by line, etch
a trail through calm
worry, eyes that smile
despite each
new hurdle to scale.
Raise the latch
and release butterfly-mail
to the gods of ethics
Teach.

Margaret Simon, draft
Monarch in olive tree by Judy Rizzo

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This weekend I was driving home from a trip to New Orleans for my grandson’s first birthday. On the drive I saw the sun shining from behind a cloud overlooking the tall sugarcane fields. Harvesting will start soon. I love the fall.


Sky speaks
with a strong voice,
Sprinkle your light
wherever you are.

Margaret Simon, draft

I invite you to write a small poem in the comments. Leave an encouraging comment for other writers. Experiment with words. Find a line; follow its lead.

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The weeks are beginning to speed up now that I am back at school. I have to rise early to have time for a walk, and today I was rewarded by the full moon setting.

Full Moon Setting September 2

Almost every morning since the pandemic started I vox with my friend Julieanne Harmatz. We met at NCTE years ago and have been friends ever since. Julianne lives in L.A., not LA (Louisiana). We often cross time zones with our messages. This morning I sent this picture to her, and she responded with the first line of this poem.

I have the same moon
reflecting off the ocean
in between the palm trees
connecting me
to you.

Margaret Simon, draft

I invite you to write a small poem in the comments. Leave an encouraging comment for other writers. Experiment with words. Find a line; follow its lead.

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This week I feature another amazing photo by Molly Hogan. I know we’ve written about webs before, but this one caught my eye for its uniqueness. Find a detail to focus and meditate on, the punctum (See the quote below). Write a poem about this detail. Could our individual poems be put together to create the complete photograph?

In Roland Barthes’s 1981 book Camera Lucida, he introduces the concept of a photograph’s punctum, which can be defined as the sensory, intensely subjective effect of a photograph on the viewer, or as he puts it: “that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me).” Barthes contrasts the punctum with the studium, which is the more general approach to a photograph informed by historical and cultural experiences. Choose a personal photograph and meditate on the specific conditions, feelings, and circumstances behind it. What do you feel and know from looking at it? Then, identify the precise detail in the photograph you are drawn to—what is it exactly? Using your senses, write a poem that centers and delves into the punctum, the precise detail. What does a detail reveal about the whole?

From The Time is Now Weekly Writing Prompt from Poets&Writers
Twin Webs by Molly Hogan

Molly posted the photo on Twitter, and Linda Mitchell responded with a small poem that can start us off.

I chose to focus on the fulcrum that binds the web to the marsh grass.

Silk arrow,
a fulcrum balance
for delicate lace.

Margaret Simon, draft

Due to the aftermath (no power or internet) of Hurricane Laura, I am posting this for Poetry Friday. We fared well through the storm and have recovered for the most part. Please keep our friends in Lake Charles, LA in your prayers.

Poetry Friday round-up is with Heidi at my juicy little universe.

Please leave a small poem in the comments and respond to other poets.

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Welcome to This Photo Wants to be a Poem, a weekly poetry prompt modeled after Laura Purdie Salas’s 15 Words or Less. We invite you to write a small poem in the comments and write encouraging comments to other writers. No judgements here. Just playing with words.

Today’s photo comes from poet Donna Smith. She lives in Maine and recently biked near the Kennebec River. Maine is a place I’ve never been, but I imagine summer is for outdoors. Not like in Louisiana where you can only tolerate short bursts outside. Donna has returned to Maine after spending some time in Pennsylvania. She is happy to be back. On Facebook she draws a squiggle and writes a poem each day. Here’s a recent one:

The Stairs

The stairs go up
The stairs go down
They also turn and
Turn around
They go from here
And end up there
Just when you think
You know just where
The stairs will lead
You to a place
You’ve never set
your foot or face
But don’t despair
Don’t cry or mope
The stairs mean that
There’s always hope
Hope for a place
Of peace and love
Of open doors
And blue above
I know it’s there
And you can, too
Step up, step down
Keep stepping true.
Then all at once
You will arrive
The steps lead you
To full alive.

By Donna JT Smith, 8/18/2020

“Me and my bike relaxing by the Kennebec on a beautiful summer evening.” by Donna Smith

By the river
a blue bike
waits
for a friend.

Margaret Simon, draft

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