THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY

THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY
April 12, 2016

Friday, January 25, 2013

Poetry Friday: Postcards Are Everywhere

I had a wonderful email from Linda Baie of Teacher Dance this week. It said, "Postcards are everywhere! Do you want to see more?"


Notice what the artist has added in this postcard extension:
a child reaching for bananas or for a butterfly.
Yes!

I wrote back to Linda, "I just love the idea that a postcard poem works in the same/similar way as your students' art -- as an extension of what is already there."

The project comes from Linda's school, The Logan School for Creative Learning -- a school for gifted children. Linda said, "This is an Advanced School Class of which there are three (11-14 years) and this class just happened to do this project. The teacher's name is Jamie Newton."

The assignment was to choose a postcard and complete the story, hence some art projects have the title, "Wish You Were Here."


Six Van Gogh vases expands into 24 bouquets.
I happened to choose a floral postcard for #17. Those of you who are following the project know that I've been in a mid-way rut. It began around poem/postcard 15 (remember the pelican pie?) and extended into... well, I'll let you know when it's over.

One way I tried to trick myself out of the rut was writing in a traditional form. Postcard poem #17 is a triolet. The repeating lines and tight rhyme scheme are a challenge, but a strict form is also a good way to box a large subject, such as marriage.


Cutting Gladiole on Our Anniversary

Romans named her for her sword-shaped leaves,
which pierce the bouquet-giver’s heart with passion.
I go down to the garden with rolled sleeves --
Romans named her for her sword-shaped leaves --
to cut some blooming stems. Perhaps we’ve
(my love and I) out-stayed our fair love’s ration.
Romans named her for her sword-shaped leaves,
which pierce the bouquet-giver’s heart with passion.

by Laura Shovan

Postcard Information:
Nr. 21 Gladiole/ The Gladiole/ La Gladiole © Sulamith Wülfing (View the artwork here.)
Distribution: Sulamith Wülfing BV, Runstraat 32, Amsterdam Holland”

Students at Linda's school extended their art from the postcard, adding to the visual story. I used an image of gladiolus flowers as a jumping off point to explore marriage.

(Once again, a little research -- this time on the etymology and symbolism of the gladiolus -- was required to find my "hook" into the poem. One phrase in the poem is borrowed heavily from Teleflora's website.)

More postcard extensions from Jamie Newton's talented class:



Georgia O'Keeffe has appeared in one of the postcard poems. (#13)
Can anyone confirm that this is O'Keeffe or share a title?

Adding something to the story: a bird in flight.
What will happen when the third cardinal lands?

Wisely, the artist decided that the other skiiers in this scene
should be appropriately dressed for the weather.

I'll post a few more of these wonderful postcard art projects in my next post. Thank you to Linda for sharing these with me and to Jamie Newton for giving me permission to post the photographs.

I am participating in a poetry reading this Sunday afernoon (Lit & Art Series at Balitmore's Watermark Gallery). I have collected so many postcards that I plan to give some away to other poets and artists. As you can see from the work above, postcards are great for launching creative ideas.

Today's Poetry Friday host is Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference. We are meeting for lunch on Monday and I can't wait to talk poetry with her in person.

17 comments:

Tabatha said...

I love how dangerous your triolet feels -- all those points threatening your heart. And Linda's postcard art stories are Excellent!! Looking forward to seeing you.

Linda at teacherdance said...

Thank you for all the 'love' for the students' work, Laura. They will be very excited! As for your poem, the triolet keeps us just peeking into this relationship, & of course I have questions. One is that I wonder if the words are thoughts of one who doesn't want to stay? It's an intriguing poem, the repeating line giving such importance to that 'piercing'.

Diane Mayr said...

Laura, each day this series is getting better and better! Brava!8619

Author Amok said...

Tabatha -- those points do feel dangerous. I choose to think of this poem as being in another voice. A character who is a less patient, maybe needier version of myself.

Linda, thanks. I just read your anniversary poem. Marriage is a rich subject -- our long lives together.

Thank you, Diane. I'm so glad you're enjoying the series. I'm having fun with it. You have not yet met the errant beauty mark. It's not one of my finest efforts.

jama said...

An intriguing poem, Laura, that keeps me guessing about the positives and negatives of "piercing," the ups and downs of any relationship.

Lovely to see all the students' postcard projects, too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful art from Jamie's class. My son did the piece with Georgia O'Keefe's painting. He can't remember the title, but it is definitely O'Keefe's.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

What a fabulous idea to extend the art and thereby the story. I will have to "steal" this idea! The poem itself has such a strong voice - menacing almost.

Bridget Magee said...

Both the student projects and the triolet poem are wonderful. Thanks for sharing! Happy Friday! =)

Author Amok said...

I'm so happy to hear from a Logan School parent. I love how the postcards give students a safe springboard for creating original art. Their artistic extensions are skilled -- mimicking the style of the card -- but also inventive.

Tara, if you do try this with your students, please let us all know how it goes.

mattforrest said...

I like triolets - and this one is very pretty! Thought-provoking, too. (Wishing I could be back in Baltimore, as well - it's been freezing up here in NH all week!)

Author Amok said...

Matt -- we have had sub-20 degree weather all week and now it is snowing. As you know, schools in central MD will close when snow is merely threatened. We had an inch or so yesterday morning and a two hour delay.

Robyn Hood Black said...

First, I'm jealous you two get to have lunch in person. ;0)

What a wonderful gift in so many directions today! Linda's sharing of the students' extended postcards is just fabulous. I love how the additional art creates additional story...

And I love triolets, too. Yours is wonderful - conveying so much with such restricted lines. And, as others have noted, with those sharp corners.... Thanks for sharing!

Violet N. said...

You've got me looking for postcards! I found a set of four in an envelope of cards I and am saving to frame 'some day" (yeah, right!). I might just put them to use sooner in a poetry project!

I like your idea of jogging your muse with a form. The triolet you wrote has a wonderful formal and traditional feel to it. And thanks to you and Linda for bringing us that student postcard project.


All the best as you

Mary Lee said...

Love the connection between extending the postcard's art with words OR art!

Liz Steinglass said...

You've definitely captured the "double-edge" sword. I felt worried for those naked arms.

You and the students you've featured have convinced me that postcards can really inspire creative work. I will have to start a collection too.

Again, what an amazing way to celebrate your birthday!

Liz Steinglass said...

You've definitely captured the "double-edge" sword. I felt worried for those naked arms.

You and the students you've featured have convinced me that postcards can really inspire creative work. I will have to start a collection too.

Again, what an amazing way to celebrate your birthday!

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Now these works are positively gorgeous. How beautiful! I have also just recently received a postcard all the way from Kabul. :) Your post reminded me wistfully of it. I also loved reading about the intersections between you and Linda, how nice! :)
And yes, the triolet, I was riveted by these lines:
"Perhaps we’ve
(my love and I) out-stayed our fair love’s ration."
*sigh.*