I made contact with the National Gallery of Art, showing them a mock-up of Paint Me a Poem, Poems Inspired by Masterpieces of Art, the book for which I had just received a contract. They were extremely receptive to my approach. Hurrah!
At the book's publication, the National Gallery Shop chose to feature the book in a display. Another Hurrah!
2. Describe the process of choosing paintings and writing the poems. I am imagining you taking a notebook to the museum and writing first drafts as you stood before the paintings.
I did look at a great many paintings, choosing a diverse group of paintings representing different periods. Then I worked on writing poems connecting with the art that pulled me in, that "sang" to me.
3. When you hear from young readers, which of the poems do they respond to? What do they like about them?
It always tickles me to find every child finds a favorite among the poems, but it is never the same poem! I think some children are more captivated by sounds, some by the progression of ideas, some by the element of surprise.
(And it is true of their parents, and adults, in general.) And that is an unexpected joy to the writer.
4. Why is poetry a good way to get children thinking and writing about art?
Children seeing art instinctively sense their impressions in poetic phrases!
Reading poetry that is rich and vibrant in describing art can evoke the painting's dramatic bold strokes and can egg the child on to find the wonderful wildness in his or her own poems.
5. You used some concrete poetry in Paint Me a Poem. How does that technique help the reader connect the poem to the work of art?
Arranging words, phrases, in unusual configurations adds a touch of art to the spirit of the poem; it can intrigue, tantalize the reader. And I think the playful spirit it engenders brings the read an intimacy with the poem, and, maybe, even with the author!
Thanks, Justine and congratulations on the re-issue.
You'll find more rich and vibrant poetry at Gregory K's blog, GottaBook. He's hosting this week's Poetry Friday round-up.