Saturday, April 2, 2011

Imagery Poems & Edible Books

Last night was the Western New York Book Arts Center's third annual Edible Book Festival.  This is part of an international edible book celebration, and it was our family's second year attending.  What a blast!  Here is how this festival works.

1.  Artist chefs  make and bring edible books to WNYBAC.
2. Guests mill around and admire the books while eating pizza and drinking wine or pop.
3.  Judges walk around tasting and evaluating books on a variety of criteria (taste,creativity,most bookish).
4.  Winners are announced and everyone eats the books!

It's difficult to imagine a better party, actually.  I wonder if this festival subconsciously inspired last Friday's poem, Eating Reading.

Perhaps next year we will enter our own edible book.  Here are a few of this year's entries.  Because I do not recall all of the winners in each category, I will not mention any here.  Simply enjoy the goodies.  This is just a small sampling of the edible books from this year's festival.

 The Giving Tree
Amateur Artist Chef Jennifer Mauser

 Huckleberry Flan
Amateur Artist Chef Gina Maria Kleinmartin

 The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Amateur Artist Chef Katherine Czarnecki

 The Lasagna Cookbook
Junior Artist Chef Conrad Kegler

Where the Wild Things Are -Before
Professional Artist Chef Lindsay Haigh
(one of Mark's former students!)

Our Hope Won Bookmarks in the Drawing!
Bookmarks by White Hyacinths

Thank you to the Western New York Book Arts Center for putting on this tasty and whimsical community event.

And now, for today's poem writing thought.  After a year of daily poems and strategy ideas.  I will be revisiting one strategy/technique for each day of April.  Today's thought is: read and write poems full of specific images and pictures. 

Imagery Poems

Students - poems sneak inside readers' minds with little brushes and paint pots.  But the trouble is that poets don't really have brushes and paint pots.  Instead, we try to brush with words and paint with images.  This is a particular area in which I would like to strengthen in my own poetry, but in these poems you might be able to see where I have tried to puzzle words together in ways that are "paintable."

Snow Piano
This Windmill
Baby Raccoon
Preserving Fall
Dandelion Dot-to-Dot
This Morning

Sometimes it helps to really look at the thing you are writing about.  So go ahead - set up your desk with a special object and really study it.  You  might even want to make a little sketch of your object to follow the lines just so.  Then you will know how to write from what you saw.  Another thing to try - just close your eyes and look carefully at the memory or moment in your mind.  Then open up and write.

My colleague Kim Miller, a great fourth grade teacher at Durand Eastman Intermediate School in the East Irondequoit Central School District, recommends "raising nouns to the second power."  For example, if you have written "snack," you can elevate that to "chips."  Then to elevate it one more time, try "Doritos."  Don't you have a more clear picture in your mind now?  Specific is see-able.  General is not.
By the way, all of this month's poetry tips are perfectly applicable to prose.  What we learn at poetry's knee will serve us in all of our writing.

Speaking of images, here is one of The Poem Farm, a mosiac of the whole year.  When I stroll through these pictures, I feel as if I am reliving this whole past 365 days!

Yesterday's Poetry Friday was a veritable poetry mob.  If you were not able to visit yesterday, do not miss all of the magnificent and joyful posts at the Poetry Friday buffet.

Where the Wild Things Are - After
Professional Artist Chef Lindsay Haigh

(Please click on POST A COMMENT below to share a thought.)


  1. Great poetry post, Amy!

    Earlier this year--because I was housebound so often due to the weather--I took a lot of pictures of sunsets and icicles and the snow from inside and just outside my house. Looking at the pictures inspired me to write a number of poems. Looking at those pictures really got my creative juices flowing again after a long period of writer's block.

  2. Hi Amy,
    Yes, there are so many goodies here in this post. Love the mosaic - so much living and giving in a year. I will keep thanking you again and again. Sorry that I missed Poetry Friday, but I am making this my Poetry Saturday! ~Theresa

  3. A very yummy post all around. The mosaic is wonderful. Now I'm hungry....

  4. Oh those cakes are amazing! Wow!

    I love imagery lessons with students. They are so free with letting their thoughts go everywhere, just not where grown-ups except they should go.