I am finding my writing strengthened by my thing of beauty project. When I select an image to respond to, I write down some initial responses. Sometimes words and phrases come quickly. Other times I free write to start the flow using words of description from the photo and start connecting them to other thoughts.
After some “digestion” (and a search for cliches) I begin to select the words for the poetry sketch.
I learned about the concept of sketching from an online course called “How Writers Writer Poetry” and the talk of U.S. poet Robert Hass on sketching techniques. It is something I have always done but his talk drew my attention back to it and showed me how I could build from the sketches.
Hass admitted he was not good at facing a blank page and telling himself “now write a poem”. He starts with a scrap of a phrase, a bit of music, a few words and as he says “almost never an idea”.
He records these thoughts and uses them to form an eventual poem. Not as simple as it sounds but I believe the core phrase/event can lead to associations, images, connections etc. and a whole lot of words on the page. And those words can be distilled into a poem or perhaps several poems.
Another way to deal with sketches is what Poet Phil Hall got me to consider in a poetry master class called The Poetics of Sequence.
Hall invited us to investigate relations between parts and fragments of writing.
This is what I will explore as I look back over my project entries – how can the sketches connect to one another? Is there a thread that binds them? Do they have any relationship to other works of mine?
A foundation for exploration and contemplation:
“Poems should echo and reecho against each other. They should create resonances. They cannot live alone any more than we can” ~Jack Spicer