unleaf me and go
your shadows are ghosting me
lost blurred indistinct
– Kerfe Roig
I have been introduced to so many of you through Ms. Kerfe Roig’s amazing collaborative blog, Method Two Madness, and vice versa, that it almost doesn’t need an introduction. But if by chance you found your way to Illustrated Poetry by another means, I do strongly recommend you head over to Ms. Roig’s blog and check out the art and poetry posted daily by both Kerfe and her best friend Nina.
Ms. Roig sent me this haiku way back last July, in preparation for a possible series on seasonal transitions. I knew immediately what I wanted to do for an illustration – a textured, layered collage. But two things happened on the way to this post: I needed to take my blogging hiatus and I also kept wondering, “how do I photograph/scan/etc that piece for display on the internet?” These last few weeks, I have been making a lot of new starts, and I am so glad I made this one of them. The world is going through so many transitions, and while they may not be seasonal, this poem still feels timely. Haiku by Kerfe Roig, collage (mixed media on cardboard) by me.
This was an illustration I did last year, finishing it before I had to take my hiatus from this blog. I was in a “no outline” phase, practicing building up an image from repeated mark-making.
Although a corn moon usually refers to the full moon in September, at least there is the lunar connection for the Lunar New Year today. My apologies to Mr. Summers for the long delay between our correspondence and this post! Mr. Summers is a much decorated poet in many of the Japanese traditions. His personal blog, Area 17, can be found here! He also runs an organization, With Words, that brings poetry workshops into schools and to the public in the U.K.
Drawing (ink on paper) by me. Happy New Year to all!
I was immediately impressed by Ms. Jana White’s poem I dream of being a weed, posted way back in February. I’ve read other poems about weeds, both literal and metaphorical, but her take on these hardy little plants is both beautiful and unique. She also created a lovely drawing to accompany her poem (a poet after my own heart!), so I decided to let this one sit for a while and incubate in my imagination. I wanted my illustration to be different and complementary to hers. A photograph of a grasshopper, taken by me on a recent run, became the inspiration to return to this poem and create a photo collage. Ms. White’s blog, Poetry of Light, is wonderful and I encourage a visit over there to experience some of her poetry. To hop directly to the full text and original illustration of I dream of being a weed, click here. Photo collage by me. Have a great Wednesday!
Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain
E.E. Cummings (1894-1962)
I distinctly remember struggling with E.E. Cummings’ experimental poetry in school – i carry your heart (probably still his most popular poem) presented no challenge, but much of the rest of his work seemed so strange: it was my first introduction to abstract poetry. I also remember that when I finally read anyone lived in a pretty how town, this was the moment I felt like I “got it.” Oh, that’s what he’s doing, I said to myself with a sigh of relief (for my grade in the class). No longer under the threat of a term paper, I have since come to truly appreciate Mr. Cummings’ experiments with language. But anyone lived in a pretty how town is still my entry point to his work and experimental methods. If you would like to read the whole poem, click here (there is also an audio file of Mr. Cummings reading the poem!). Collage (mixed media on newsprint and digital) by me.
As life has conspired to delay my return to art making (Life: “Oh, you are back from vacation? Good! I had been delaying so many minor crises at work and home until you returned!” Me: “Uh-oh.”), I wanted to repost one of my favorite collaborations from about a year ago. Michael Palmer’s Sonnet: Now I See Them is a surreal and modern take on a classical form: the sense imagery is rich and the symbolism of the numbers is fascinating. Mr. Palmer has collaborated extensively over the years with musicians and visual artists and this poem reflects that interaction. If you’d like to read the whole poem, head over here to the Poetry Foundation and see what you think. Drawing (ink on paper) by Chiara Ricci-Tam. She has her own blog on WordPress, Chiaroscurale, where she posts her experiments with art that she does in between her scientific experiments. Stop by and say “hello”!
Today’s poem is another one from the poetry mystery folder. The credit for writing these snappy six lines of good advice has bounced around over the years, occasionally credited to Madeleine L’Engle or Elizabeth Yates. Both authors have cited the poem as inspiration, but there is no indication either of them wrote it. The first record of publication I could find was around 100 years ago, but otherwise the authorship remains obscure. I revisited my illustration for this poem: I decided I liked the medium of photocollage that I used in the original but wanted a more abstract take on it. Photos, collage, and composition by me.
Interested in helping to solve any of our other poetry mysteries? Information is always welcome!
dead center by Ann Atwood
In the Mohave by Patrick Orr
A Hallowe’en Haiku by Clement Hoyt
When I tour the Illustrated Poetry archives, I usually find myself in “revision and update” mode; like with any draft, time gives me fresh eyes to see my old posts. But occasionally I come across a published post and think, “no revision necessary, I would do it exactly that way again.” That is a pretty good feeling (rare as it is!), and so I’d like to re-post one that earned such an accolade.
As I mentioned a year ago, this trim quatrain has become the lasting legacy of poet, activist, and educator Sarah N. Cleghorn (1876 – 1959). She devoted her life to working for numerous causes and published a great deal, but the continued fame of The Golf Links has led her to be most closely associated with the movement to end child labor in the United States. Published over one hundred years ago, this poem feels firmly rooted in the past; however, in many parts of the world child labor is a current and ongoing problem. Perhaps this mighty little poem still has work to do…Photograph and composition by me.
i am turning in the gray morning
of my life
I am indebted to Mr. Leonard Durso for introducing me to Lance Henson’s work on his most excellent poetry blog (if you aren’t familiar with Mr. Durso’s blog, click here to rectify that oversight!). I bookmarked his post featuring I am Singing the Cold Rain way back in October of last year, but I did not have the medium to realize my illustration for it. Enter transfer printing, introduced to me recently by my illustration class instructor. The line quality was exactly what I was looking for – I made a number of attempts for this verse, but this was the one that clearly spoke the words of the poem. To read the whole poem, also in the Cheyenne language, head over here. Mr. Henson has a blog as well – his poems are haunting and will stay with you for a long time. Illustration (ink transfer onto newsprint) by me.
Through the ample open door of the peaceful country barn,
A sunlit pasture filled with cattle and horses feeding,
And haze and vista, and the far horizon fading away.
(1819 – 1892)
Today’s illustration is courtesy of my dear friend and fellow scientist, Ms. Chiara Ricci-Tam. The unique line quality of her illustration comes from the fact that Chiara drew this with light on a large sheet of photographic film. These sheets of film are normally used to visualize proteins from inside cells, but here she has co-opted one for artistic purposes. Chiara has a blog, Chiaroscurale, where she posts her other occasional artistic experiments. I do recommend a visit!
I have one anthology which lists this Whitman poem as an ekphrastic one (typically a poem about another work of art), but there is no specific painting or artwork mentioned. But ekphrasis can also be a vivid description of a scene, and this one certainly clears that bar, reminding me of my hiking trip in the Welsh countryside last year – as well as so many landscape oil paintings from Whitman’s era. Drawing (light on photographic film) by Chiara Ricci-Tam. Have a wonderful weekend!