Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup for what's sure to be a delicious Roundup!
I'm in this week with a look at THE CREATIVITY PROJECT, edited by Colby Sharp.
If you haven't seen it yet, it's a book that's kind of like an inspiration game... one children's book writer or illustrator sending a prompt to another children's book writer or illustrator. I was particularly drawn to the illustrative parts. In fact, probably
|Lisa Brown's response|
“Try to think of an abstract idea. For instance, you might choose “joy” or “hunger” or “stupidity.” Now imagine that abstraction as a character It can look like a person, an animal, or a creature of your own invention. Once you've got the character in your head, set it in motion. Make it DO something. “Joy” might ride a bicycle “Hunger” might go to the movies. “Stupidity” might dig a hole Tell me the story of what happens.
|Javaka Steptoe's response|
Another one I loved was also visual -- this one by Javaka Steptoe in response to this prompt by Kat Yeh:
“You have a brand new audio translation app on your phone. Just as you click on it for the first time, your dog starts barking. And words begin to appear on the screen...
The book also includes prompts in the back, though one could use any of the prompts (or responses) to generate new work. Here are a few examples of some of my favorite prompts included:
each whir of wings helps me feel
earthbound and dazzled
You have just met a girl named Hanrui. In Chinese, her name means “a bud just ready to bloom.”
Write a list of ten things you are NOT (not an astronaut, a perfectionist, a wool spinner, a butterfly, a name-caller). Then pick your favorite lines and develop, or embellish, them, adding metaphors, more description, whatever you like.
*Because I love "identity" writing prompts -- and am constantly looking for new ones since working with readers of CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? -- this is the one I decided to tackle right away!
Here's my quick list of nots:
not a veterinarian
not a complainer
not an athlete
not a procrastinator
not the mother of a daughter
not a party person
not a tv-watcher
not a camper
not a church-goer
not a social-media junkie
not a coffee drinker
And here's my poem:
|scrapbook page from our tour|
of an olive tree farm
in Napa Valley (2006)
My Name is Peace
No coffee for me;
I drink tea.
Not bubbly or bouncy;
I like to sit quietly.
No time for complaining –
I find it draining.
No procrastinating –
what's the point of waiting?
Not fragile or feathery;
more like a knotted olive tree.
- Irene Latham
Some notes about the poem: "Irene" actually means peace -- and of course the olive tree is a symbol of peace.
I struggled a while with a descriptor for the olive tree, and when I found "knotted" it felt like a miracle... another "not" for the poem!
It's interesting to me that I ended up starting my poem with the last item on my list. It makes me wonder what my poem might have been if I'd written 20 or 30 things on my list instead... how deep might I have gone into my identity? Something to try another day!
Won't you give it a try as well?