Tuesday, April 25, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Gratitude"

Hello and welcome to day 25 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 Robyn (whose name has been gifted by AmyLV to a poem-parrot!) at Life on the Deckle Edge to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Also, @newsbookology featured me today on a podcast reading "Dear Wandering Wildebeest." I invite you to give it a listen!

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

24. "The Postman in Spring" after Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin, April 1888 by Vincent van Gogh
23. "Dark the Day" after Little Dutch Girl by Robert Henri
22. "Tiger" after Tiger by Hwang Jong-ha
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 have "Tahitian Woman's Head" by Paul Gaugin. I love the sweetness of this woman's expression, and of course the flower in her hair. Here's what she told me:


Gratitude
- after “Tahitian Woman's Head” by Paul Gaugin

And I would give you
     milk
from the morning's
first coconut

a symphony
of palm fronds,
     the scent of salt

I would give you
the eye of every hurricane,
     waves to bathe
your every shore

this red dress
with its lace collar,
    this brown skin

all the sunshine
     that lives inside
an island flower

all the sunshine

     the sun

- Irene Latham

Why gratitude? Why not? This woman's face is soft and open... I would like to BE her more often. Her face just looks like gratitude to me.

Monday, April 24, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "The Postman in Spring"

Hello and welcome to day 24 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 Amy at The Poem Farm  to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing! 

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

23. "Dark the Day" after Little Dutch Girl by Robert Henri
22. "Tiger" after Tiger by Hwang Jong-ha
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 have another van Gogh. This painting reminds me of my father, who could look intimidating because of his size and the beard, but really was a softie. Here's what Joseph Roulin would like you to know:


The Postman in Spring
- after Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin, April 1888 by Vincent van Gogh

I am more
than brass buttons
and a postman's cap.
             See?
My beard isn't just brown –
it's gingersnap.

My eyes nail
you to the floor
for at least a minute,
            maybe more.
Those bouquets dancing
behind my head?

They're there
so you'll know
my soul is       soft
           as a featherbed.

- Irene Latham



Sunday, April 23, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Dark the Day"

Hello and welcome to day 23 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 Ruth at There is no such thing as a godforsaken town to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing! 

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

22. "Tiger" after Tiger by Hwang Jong-ha
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 un-happy camper for you! I did just the tiniest bit of research on this painting -- enough to learn that Robert Henri loved to use dark colors in the style of the Old Masters, so that the subject's face would shine forth... here's what this little Dutch girl would like you to know:


Readers, do you recognize the "tune" of this poem? Yes, I simply modeled the rhythm of "Row Your Boat." I actually wrote another verse, too, but in the end decided for this little girl, less is most definitely more! 

One thing that interests me about the painting is the swatches of red -- across her cheek, her lips, her clothing... it almost looks clown-ish?? I think the general broadness of the strokes is the main thing that makes me see this little girl as one who would much prefer to be outdoors. Plus she reminds me of Girl with Black Eye by Norman Rockwell!


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

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    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!