Welcome to day #8 of 2018 ARTSPEAK!, in which I am focusing on art and artists from the Harlem Renaissance.
Before we get to that, Janet F. is in the house with the next line of our Progressive Poem. Hi Janet!
Janet: I can’t believe how lucky I am to be able to participate for the 5th year in Irene’s Progressive Poem. I do not have my own blog but you can find me around commenting as Janet F. or Janet Clare F. and I am
Janet Clare on Facebook. I am in love with poetry and this place.
I don’t do much on Twitter other than read. I have poems published
in anthologies geared more for adults but am excited to have one in
an upcoming Lee Bennett Hopkins anthology. (Anticipating a spring
2019 publication.) I am a retired teacher, a tireless poetry
advocate, a fledgling poet and determined to keep involved in the
|Janet with a former student|
Each year I love the Progressive Poem more, even though the day I have to write my line is filled with lots of thought and writing, revision and only a little agonizing. (Probably like everyone else!) And a touch of nerves. I love the anticipation and the wonder. I worry about making my line something that adds and doesn’t subtract at all from the march of progress toward the essence of this poem for kids. But mainly, it is fun. I love being able to be part of this talented group of poets on the kidlitosphere and to contribute to this poetic feasting.
Heidi’s interview at My Juicy Universe with Liz Steinglass and Irene on March 29th was so helpful and interesting. Thanks, Heidi. So here are my predictions such as they are. Much of what I wrote were questions:
Where will this line take the Progressive Poem 2018:
Who is the she in line one? Is the seed the beginning of an idea? What is that idea?
Could the female be a writer or is she a child? Is she going to invent something? Is she a painter? Is her cozy bed a bulb beneath the ground, so a literal seed?
I foresee this seed growing and flowering...but into what? If the poem is for children, is the female a person who is going to do something remarkable for kids? Is it going to be a party? A trip? As seeds grow and they pop into being, they need nourishment. What will nourish this seed? What is its destiny?
I leaned toward the idea that it was a poet in the end. Child or adult, I wasn’t sure.
Here is the poem so far:
(Doesn’t it make you wonder still?)
Nestled in her cozy bed, a seed stretched.
Oh, what wonderful dreams she had had!
Blooming in midnight moonlight, dancing with
the pulse of a thousand stars, sweet Jasmine
invented a game.
“Moon?” she called across warm, honeyed air.
“I’m sad you’re alone; come join Owl and me.
And keeping in mind the nature of children here is line 8:
We’re feasting on stardrops, we’ll share them with you.”
I played with the line and thought about possibly having the moon reply or bringing in more friends, but I felt that the moon would need some encouragement before playing. And kids love tea parties especially at midnight, so that is where I headed.
Please see all the contributors in this year's edition in the sidebar. Take it away, Ramona! There are so many possibilities for our friends.-------------
John Archibald Motley, Jr -- who went by "Archibald Motley." He was popular in the early days of the Harlem Renaissance (1920's) and is called a "modernist." Many of his pieces feature lively music and dancing scenes. I've selected two of them to write on for this project. One of the things I learned about Motley is that he grew up in a white neighborhood in Chicago, and that often there is a sense of humor or irony in his paintings. The perspective he uses is that of observer or outsider-looking-in (which I think all of us can relate to at one time in our lives or another!). And he shows African American people with a wide variety of skin tones and physical characteristics, which helped bucked the stereotypes.
The first painting I want to share is "Barbeque." This one makes me think of a poem I often share with kids called "Knoxville, Tennessee" by Nikki Giovanni. I decided my goal would be to create a poem that engages all the senses, as Giovanni's poem does.
Here are the poems so far:
"American Idyll, 1934" after An Idyll of the Deep South by Aaron Douglas
"The Toiler" after The Toiler by Aaron Douglas
"Let There Be Poetry" after The Creation by Aaron Douglas
"Boy with Plane" after Boy with Plane by Aaron Douglas
"To a Dancer" after Sahdji (Tribal Women) by Aaron Douglas
"For the Builders" after Building More Stately Mansions by Aaron Douglas
"This Poem is a Dream" after Aspiration by Aaron Douglas
And here is today's poem:
Cue winking lights,
strike up the jazz.
Let us gather
in mingling twilight
to savor smoky meat
and summerwarm tomatoes,
stickysweet peach pie
seasoned with street fumes
and guffaws across the table.
Did you know
Auntie Rosa moved two
Cousin Rachael graduated
Have you seen Pastor
Philip's new 'do?
Cue smooth saxophone,
grab a partner.