Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ekphrastic Poetry

As part of the LexArts Showcase Weekend, on Saturday, February 7, from 1:00-3:00 p.m., I will be leading a workshop called “Ekphrastic Poetry: Responding to Art through Poetry” at the Carnegie Center. Here’s the blurb from the brochure:

Ekphrasis is writing inspired by art -- usually paintings, photographs, or statues. In this workshop, we’ll explore ways to launch our own poems in reaction to works of art. Through hands-on writing, looking at examples of ekphrastic poems, and discussion, we’ll broaden the separate experiences of poetry and visual art by marrying the two.

Here’s an ekphrastic poem to whet your appetite.

In the morning of the LexArts Showcase Weekend, Lynn Pruett will be leading “Fiction/Collage: Words in Pictures, Pictures into Words” (10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.). Both workshops are free.

The Carnegie Center’s Winter Session starts this week and is filled with many other offerings. To find one (or more) for you, check out the winter schedule.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Reflecting on the Work of 2008

I'm going about this backwards, having looked forward to the year ahead in my post yesterday. Call it memory, call it flashback, call it the writer's business to mix up time.

At the end of 2007, I received an artist enrichment grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to begin writing my second collection of poems. I recently finished my final report reflecting on the activities and artistic growth of the past year. Admittedly, I was a little nervous to review the year, to examine carefully the work I accomplished...and that which I did not. The approach I took was to let the poems develop organically through the year, without thematic direction (although I had outlined expected themes in the original proposal) because you just can't force a poem to be something it's not. Although some of the themes and images did not develop, many did, and, to my delight, new themes and images surfaced. During the year, I did not always feel like I was making progress, though a couple poems immediately felt like "breakthrough" poems. With the recent introspective period, I discovered the year had resulted in many significant changes and growth in my work. Perhaps most noticeably, I see a lightness, even humor, in the new poems, which is not present in the poems of my first manuscript.

Grateful beyond measure for the many benefits the grant provided, I look forward to completing the project and to continued growth as a writer.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

O Pioneer!

By way of Lori-Lyn, I learned about the word of the year project featured on Christine Kane's blog. Essentially, rather than make traditional resolutions (which are traditionally not so successful), you choose a word to carry through the year as a touchstone, a word that guides you through the year. This is a concept that appeals to me, perhaps partially because my daily work is done with words. What better instrument to nudge me into and through the changes (bidden or unbidden) in my life?

After perusing the list of suggested words, a number of them seemed like possibilities--gratitude, creativity, confidence, patience--but only one immediately rang like a bell. Pioneer. I let the word roll around within me for the last few days; more and more it seemed like my word for 2009. It is suggestive of the places I want to go this year...and of the spirit I want to embrace. It even seems like the runner-up words belong under the umbrella of 'pioneer.'

To more fully connect to the word, I looked up its definitions in the dictionary, as I often do when I'm trying to get the language of a poem exactly right (I've learned much about even the simplest and most common words by reviewing their meanings). I was reminded that as a verb, pioneer means:
1a. To open up (an area) or prepare (a way): rockets that pioneered outer space. b. To settle (a region). 2. To initiate or participate in the development of: surgeons who pioneered organ transplants.
It feels like 2009 is going to be a trailblazing year.