Saturday, April 22, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Tiger"

Hello and welcome to day 22 of ARTSPEAK! Portraits, my 2017 National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets. 

But first: Be sure to check in with Jone at Deo Writer to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing! Soon it will be time for titling... any ideas?

And now, here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

21. "Self-Portrait as a Painter" after Self-Portrait as a Painter by Vincent van Gogh
20. "What to Do in the Desert" after Nubian Girl by Ervand Demirdjian
19. "In Summer" after In Summer by Auguste-Pierre Renoir
18. "Night" after The Outlier by Frederic Sackrider Remington
17. "Boy Blowing Bubbles" after The Bubble Boy by Paul Peel
16. "Morning" after Buki Rinsen by Tsuchida Bakusen
15. "When Papa Paints" after Portrait of Anne by George Wesley Bellows
14. "Whistler's Mother" after Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler
13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today I've got an animal for you! Here's what she wants you know:




Tiger
after “Tiger” by Hwang Jong-ha

Striped hide,
    inky eyes –

look inside

and you will find

both samurai

-->
    and lullaby.

- Irene Latham


I think perhaps we are ALL both samurai and lullaby...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Self-Portrait as a Painter"

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit the generous, talented Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for Roundup.

Welcome to day 21 of ARTSPEAK! Portraits, my 2017 National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets. THANK YOU for your comments on these posts! I can't tell you how much I am encouraged by your words. What a gift! I'm so grateful for this community.

Before we go any further: Be sure to check in with Donna at Mainely Write to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing! Our poem continues to delight and surprise... yay!

And now, here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

20. "What to Do in the Desert" after Nubian Girl by Ervand Demirdjian
19. "In Summer" after In Summer by Auguste-Pierre Renoir
18. "Night" after The Outlier by Frederic Sackrider Remington
17. "Boy Blowing Bubbles" after The Bubble Boy by Paul Peel
16. "Morning" after Buki Rinsen by Tsuchida Bakusen
15. "When Papa Paints" after Portrait of Anne by George Wesley Bellows
14. "Whistler's Mother" after Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler
13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today's portrait is a self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh. I'm sort of fascinated by van Gogh, so I enjoyed doing a little research before writing this poem. I especially enjoyed this article about 7 Things You May Not Know about van Gogh. Also, I am loving the beautiful book VINCENT'S STARRY NIGHT AND OTHER STORIES: A Children's History of Art by Michael Bird, illus. by Kate Evans. I love it so much, I bought myself a copy. I could live inside this book!

Self-Portrait as a Painter
after “Self-Portrait as a Painter” by Vincent van Gogh

These brushes hold stars
in their bristles,
and steeples and people.
This canvas grows irises
and sunflowers,
wheatfields and crows.
     Can you see
the yellow house in my eyes,
the Arles bedroom, the boots?
Paris glitters in my beard.
The colors shout, Faster!
But I am neither God nor saint.
I do the one thing
that keeps the tigers away –
     I paint.

 - Irene Latham
----------------
Readers, this poem reminds me a bit of myself. Whenever I get grumpy, my husband will sometimes say, "Why don't you just go write?" Because I always feel better when I spend some time creating! I also feel better when I play the cello or take a walk or take a nap or piece a quilt... speaking of which: WE LOVE GEE'S BEND DAY! is this Sunday!! Yay! I wish all of you could be there. xo


ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "What to Do in the Desert"

Hello and welcome to day 20 of ARTSPEAK! Portraits, my 2017 National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets.

But first: Be sure to check in with BJ at Blue Window to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

19. "In Summer" after In Summer by Auguste-Pierre Renoir
18. "Night" after The Outlier by Frederic Sackrider Remington
17. "Boy Blowing Bubbles" after The Bubble Boy by Paul Peel
16. "Morning" after Buki Rinsen by Tsuchida Bakusen
15. "When Papa Paints" after Portrait of Anne by George Wesley Bellows
14. "Whistler's Mother" after Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler
13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today I've got a desert girl for you. Some readers may recall that I lived for a time in Saudi Arabia. Some of my most vivid memories of that land include the ginormous red sand dunes against blue sky. Awe-inspiring for sure! Here's what this desert girl had to say:


What to Do in the Desert
- after "Nubian Girl" by Ervand Demirdjian

wander

drink the stars

bury your doubt
in a shipwreck of wind

walk along
a skeleton of forever

don't stop

draw your sword
of sunshine

invite sand
to nest in your eyes

shout I'm alive

- Irene Latham
------------------
Readers, this doesn't usually happen, but I was revising this one as I was creating the graphic... which is frustrating! There is always revising to be done, isn't there? Thanks so much for reading!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "In Summer"

Hello and welcome to day 19 of  ARTSPEAK! Portraits, my 2017 National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets.

But first: Be sure to check in with Pat at Writer on a Horse to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

18. "Night" after The Outlier by Frederic Sackrider Remington
17. "Boy Blowing Bubbles" after The Bubble Boy by Paul Peel
16. "Morning" after Buki Rinsen by Tsuchida Bakusen
15. "When Papa Paints" after Portrait of Anne by George Wesley Bellows
14. "Whistler's Mother" after Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler
13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today I have a portrait that looks so much like one of my nieces! Except my niece is 10, and the model for this portrait, Lise Trehot, is 20. According to Wikipedia, Lise was a favorite model of Renoir's, appearing in at least 23 of his paintings. Here's what Lise told me:





In Summer
- after “In Summer” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

I long for
the peppermint
days of fall

when the future
isn't a worry
at all

the air is sharp
to keep me
awake –

not like these
taffy days
at the lake

- Irene Latham


----------
Okay, so, yes, a little bit of me in this poem! I am not a huge fan of summer's heat and bugs and sun and exhaustion... and doesn't Lise look weary here? I think my niece who so greatly resembles Lise would also agree. :) And isn't it in those lazy times that our minds turn to worries? In fall, who has time for such leisures? At least that's MY experience. Thanks so much for reading!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Night"

Hello and welcome to day 18 of  ARTSPEAK! Portraits, my 2017 National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets.

But first: Be sure to check in with Buffy at Buffy's Blog to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

17. "Boy Blowing Bubbles" after The Bubble Boy by Paul Peel
16. "Morning" after Buki Rinsen by Tsuchida Bakusen
15. "When Papa Paints" after Portrait of Anne by George Wesley Bellows
14. "Whistler's Mother" after Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler
13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today I have a piece for you that is both a departure, and a return. It's not a close-up portrait, as has characterized this series so far. But it's subject brings us back to poem #4 "I Am," which also features a First Nations man. Here's what he said to me:



Night
-after “The Outlier” by Frederick Sackrider Remington

You think I'm alone,
that I will fade
into darkness.
But I am joined
by this steady mount,
this cold steel
across my thighs.
I know every river.
From this grassy hill
I can see the beast's
teeth, I can feel its
August breath.
What else would
you take from me,
the moon?

- Irene Latham
---------------------
Readers, I waffled on the title of this one. I couldn't decided between "The Outlier" or "Night." I ultimately chose "Night" because I think it adds another layer of meaning to the poem. Plus, Sunday's poem was titled "Morning." :) For more information about the artwork, click through to the Brooklyn Museum, where this painting is on view.


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Monday, April 17, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Boy Blowing Bubbles"

Hello and Happy National Poetry Month! Here it is day 17 of ARTSPEAK!: Portraits, my National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets.

But first: Be sure to check in with Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

16. "Morning" after Buki Rinsen by Tsuchida Bakusen
15. "When Papa Paints" after Portrait of Anne by George Wesley Bellows
14. "Whistler's Mother" after Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler
13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today I have a little boy for you! He's such a busy fellow, it's a miracle I got any words out of him at all! Here's what he'd like for you to know:


Boy Blowing Bubbles
after “The Bubble Boy” by Paul Peel

Is there anything
   more hopeful

than a fat
   soap-bubble

rainbowing its way
   across a July sky?

- Irene Latham
-->
--------------
Readers, someone asked me how I plan this series -- do I randomly select a new portrait each day, or do I plan the whole thing out before April? 

Well, I'll tell you! Because time is so precious during April, I gather my group of 30-35 images BEFORE the month. And then each morning during April, I go to that file on my computer and choose whichever artwork speaks to me that day. 

This year I selected exactly 30 portraits, which doesn't allow any wiggle room, say, if for instance, I'm not able to get one of these subjects to speak to me. I am trusting that they will all speak! It helps knowing that this is a challenge of "progress not perfection." I write these poems because I love art, and I love words, and it's a way for me to celebrate that. Thanks so much or reading!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Morning"

Hello and Happy National Poetry Month! Here it is, Easter! Happy Easter!! And also day 16 of ARTSPEAK!: Portraits, my National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets.

But first: Be sure to check in with Joy at Poetry for Kids Joy to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

15. "When Papa Paints" after Portrait of Anne by George Wesley Bellows
14. "Whistler's Mother" after Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler
13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today I jumped over to Japan to find out what this lovely young woman had to say:

Morning
- after “Buki Rinsen” by Tsuchida Bakusen

I wake
to gleaming,
to drifting.

I am not cold.

Mountains embrace me,
the lake is my pillow.

I rest on the ancient.
I wait for
the unfolding.
-->

- Irene Latham
-----
Readers, you will notice that the formatting is different from the graphic to the page. That's because the page version wouldn't fit. And I kind of like it! I am still deciding. :) You might also notice I used adjectives in the place of some nouns -- gleaming (for sun) drifting (for clouds) ancient (for the boulder she's sitting upon). This is just something I wanted to try, so voila! It seems to changes the poem from observation to an offering -- now the poem can mean whatever the reader needs it to mean. I like it. :) Thank you so much for reading!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "When Papa Paints"

Hello and Happy National Poetry Month! Here it is, day 15 of ARTSPEAK!: Portraits, my National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets.

But first: Be sure to check in with Brenda at Friendly Fairy Tales to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

14. "Whistler's Mother" after Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler
13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today I've selected a little girl -- who gave me all sorts of trouble! Finally, after HOURS, she decided to speak. Here's what she told me:


When Papa Paints
- after "Portrait of Anne" by George Wesley Bellows

I am no longer 
     just me
I become 
     a white boat
  with a bluebird
                sail
-->
    aswirl on 
      a summer sea.

- Irene Latham
--------------------
Readers, I struggled with this poem! Anne was George Wesley Bellows' eldest daughter. When I did a little research, I found out that he would pay his children 25 cents an hour to sit for him. So I tried writing a poem that was a list of the things Anne wanted to buy with her quarter -- which meant doing some research into 1915 toy and candy prices. But I just couldn't make it work. I stepped away from it and came back with my imaginative eye, and that's how I landed where I landed. Thanks so much for reading!

Friday, April 14, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Whistler's Mother"

Hello and Happy National Poetry Month! Here it is, day 14 of ARTSPEAK!: Portraits, my National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets.

But first: Be sure to check in with Jan at Bookseedstudio to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing! AND it's Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Doraine at Dori Reads for Roundup.

Here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far (almost halfway home! Wheeee!):

13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today I've selected a classic! And it's really no wonder I selected it. I'll share below. Meanwhile, here is what Whistler's mother would like you to know:
Whistler's Mother
after “Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1” by J.M. Whistler

It's true my life
has been
a symphony
of storms: grey,
black, charcoal.
But for now
I am not thinking
of my death,
or anyone else's.
I am buttersoft
in this chair,
my feet at ease,
my insides
candlelit.
I am thinking art.
I am thinking joy.
I am in a room
with my boy.

- Irene Latham
-------------------
Readers, I already had motherhood on my mind after yesterday's poem about the Mama cat and her kittens. AND THEN our oldest son came over for supper last night. It is always a joy to share space with him! And that became the empathic bridge between me and Anne Whistler, who was sitting in a room with her artist-son Jemie (her nickname for James). You can read more about this portrait (and those real-life storms) at The Detroit Institute of Arts website. Thank you for visiting!

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "In the Company of Kittens"

Hello and Happy National Poetry Month! Here it is, day 13 of ARTSPEAK!: Portraits, my National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets.

But first: Be sure to check in with Margaret at Reflections on the Teche to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today I decided it was time for another animal portrait. And who doesn't love kittens?! Here's what their mama would like you to know:

In the Company of Kittens
- after "Contentment 1900" by Henriette Ronner-Knip

mew mew mew mew
massaging my belly

purr purr purr purr
squashing my belly

a chase a pounce a race a bounce
a leap a catch a creep a scratch

whiskertwitch tailswish
jumpswitch!

mew mew mew mew
a furry flurry of feet

purr purr purr purr
a mama's sweet sleepy treat

- Irene Latham
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Readers, I love being a mom. I do believe it's the most important work I will ever do! And I remember the "sweet sleepy treat" of a baby. Yes, it's exhausting, but how else can you know a love like that? Thanks so much for reading!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Sixteen" + Janet F.'s line in our Progressive Poem

Hello and Happy National Poetry Month! Here it is, day 12 of ARTSPEAK!: Portraits, my National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets.

But first: Janet F. is in the house! It's her day to add to our Progressive Poem, and I am happy to host her here at Live Your Poem. Take it away, Janet!

You will find my line below in bold, but first, here’s a toast to the Progressive Poem 2017, the poets and our host (and my host), Irene! Bravo to all!

 
Janet is passionate about early literacy
experiences for all kids and loves
watching her first grandchild
grow into a lover of words and books. 
I’m so happy Irene is once again allowing me to write from her blog!  Someday I will have one, but for now I am on Facebook as Janet Clare, comment on blogs as Janet F.,  am a Poetry Advocate, poet and retired teacher interested in joyous literacy for all kids. I’m president of the Central New York Pen Women Branch, NLAPW (www.nlapw.org.) which keeps me very busy! I’m a proud member of the Nerdy Book Club and a believer in allowing children free access to all kinds of books in a literacy-rich classroom without stress from over-emphasis on testing. 

My biggest discovery as a teacher, very late in my long career, was the value of learning poems by heart and reciting them as a class with no requirement to participate. (They all did.) I continue to substitute teach in my old school and beam when kids say, “oh, you’re the poetry teacher, right? Are we doing poetry today?” Or “you’re my favorite sub because we get to do poetry.” 

Many thanks to Irene and to my Poetry Friday friends and bloggers here, old and new. In my last year of teaching I discovered the Kidlitosphere thanks to Heidi Mordhorst and I have rejoiced ever since. 

So, we’re off to a grand start with our poem about a kid. For kids.  Thanks to Ramona at Pleasures from the Page I had a lot to play with. I thought about sound and syllable and rhyme and pattern, but mostly when I played with my line, I wondered about this child, this bouncy, story-sprouting child. A child with zest, imagination and a playful spirit. Or so it seems. What is she (or he) really like? What stage is he or she drawn to, what is the enticing story? 
I can see so many possibilities. Is this child a viewer, a performer, a reader, a reciter? Does she juggle? Does he breakdance?  Endless wonder.  In the end I decided to use his (or her) energy to lead us on.

 I toss our poem on to Margaret at Reflections on the Teche  and continue to wonder about our fidgety, creative, story-loving friend.

I’m fidget, friction, ragged edges—
I sprout stories that frazzle-dazzle,
stories of castles, of fires that crackle,
with dragonwords that smoke and sizzle.

But edges sometimes need sandpaper,
like swords need stone and clouds need vapour.
So I shimmy out of my spurs and armour
facing the day as my fickle, freckled self.

I thread the crowd, wear freedom in my smile,
and warm to the coals of conversation.
Enticed to the stage by strands of story,
I skip up the stairs in anticipation.


Isn’t April and National Poetry Month here in the Blogosphere wonderful? I simply love it. It’s better than being in a candy store! The delicious richness of the offerings of so many talented, creative thinkers fills me to the brim with sweet delight. Thank you all. 

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Thank YOU, Janet! I am skipping up the stairs in anticipation, too! (Btw, for the purposes of this post, I took the liberty of adding the stanza breaks back in... it's easier for me to read... but as ever, it's up to those of you with lines yet to write!)

And now, here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:


11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

And now for today's subject! A portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne by her husband Amedeo Modigliani. Here's what she'd like you to know:


Readers, Jeanne is rather a tragic figure. An artist in her own right, she married Modigliani at a young age. Shortly after her husband died -- when she was only 22 -- she committed suicide. You can find out more about Jeanne here. Jeanne was actually 21 when she sat for this portrait. But to me, she looks so young -- and, knowing what was to happen to her, I couldn't help but imagine her as a teen. There's a softness and innocence in her face, but also an almost-menacing resolve. She seems to me caught in the inbetweenland of power and powerlessness. She seems sixteen. And so, for me, for this poem, she is! Thanks so much for reading!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Promise"

Hello and Happy National Poetry Month! Here it is, day 11 of ARTSPEAK!: Portraits, my National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets.

But first: be sure to check out Ramona's line of our 2017 Progressive Poem over at Pleasures from the Page. I love how our poem is progressing!

Here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

For today's poem I have selected an enchanting subject! Who doesn't love a baby? And what baby doesn't love rhyme? Here's what this little girl said to me:

Promise
- after “Portrait of a Little Italian Girl” by Maria KrØyer
Mama says
I must sit
  for a bit
  a little bitty bit

and if I
don't throw a fit
  not even
  a little bitty fit

afterwards
we will get
  in the garden
  to dig for a bit

and to watch
  the butterflies flit.

- Irene Latham

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Monday, April 10, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Portrait of a Writer"

Hello and Happy National Poetry Month! Here it is, day 10 of ARTSPEAK!: Portraits, my National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets.

But first: be sure to check out Penny's line of our 2017 Progressive Poem over at a penny and her jots. I love how our poem is progressing!

Here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

After a weekend of women, I decided to write about a man. :) Here's what he told me:


Portrait of a Writer
after “Oskar Maria Graf” by Georg Schrimpf

Forget the suit; my pen is
moved by yeast and flour-dust,
by warm milk jetting into a pail.
Many lives have shuffled through my hands,
their names stamped and ink-stained.
Once we might have met in a lift –
what floor, please? –
my gloved fingers punching the buttons.
And now we meet here, at the intersection
of paint and friendship. Together
we scritch-scratch a phrase, a line.
We build skyscrapers with glass walls,
We say, Let there be light!

- Irene Latham
----------------
Readers, I didn't know the subject of this painting Oskar Maria Graf was a writer -- or that he and the painter George Schimpf were friends -- until I read this article. I've incorporated bits of Oskar's life into the poem, too -- he was born to a baker-father and farmgirl-mother, and before he was a writer worked as a postal worker and lift operator. I wanted to include these specific details, but I also wanted to write a poem about the universal aspects of being a writer... which is how I came up with the God-like last line. We are all creators, right? :) Thank you for reading! And for your encouragement. It helps! xo