Friday, February 24, 2012

Spark 15 & The Water Tower

Mixed Media on Canvas

Students - once again, it's been a delight to take part in SPARK...SPARK 15!  This time I was lucky enough to be paired up with artist Paula B. Lantz, and she gave me permission to choose any of her work from the Touchstone Gallery to spark my writing.  I so enjoyed browsing through her work, and when I saw the painting above, I knew it was the one!

Writing from art stretches a whole new part of one's mind, and I highly recommend it as an exercise.  You might find a shoe box and collect postcards from art museums or gather quirky pictures that somehow speak to you...  Then, if ever you think, "I have no ideas," you can simply pluck a picture and see where it takes you.  I have learned this from SPARK.

In writing today's poem, I worked to focus especially on color, to use color words all along the way.  Last year, a teacher friend shared some of his students' written stories with me.  Michael's story detailed a memory he had of a girl throwing up on his bus.  What struck me was his use of color: face purple like a grape, white like snow...  When I wrote this poem, I tried to write like Michael.  Try that sometime; write with color words.

Many thanks to Amy Souza for again putting together a wonderful opportunity for artists, musicians, and teachers to collaborate in this way.  This is my fourth time participating, and each time is nourishing and exciting!  All are welcome to participate, and I encourage you to check out the website and the pieces.  Too, Amy Souza, teacher Jamie Palmer, and I still plan to get a small SPARK KIDS going this spring.  More details to follow.

I will share Paula's response to my poem tomorrow, Saturday! 

In other writing news, this week I have a column about ears and holes in the "My View" column of THE BUFFALO NEWS.

Thank you to Ruth Ayres of Ruth Ayres Writes and Two Writing Teachers for her generous sharing of both notebooks and writing process this week over at Sharing Our Notebooks, a resource for teaching students all about notebook keeping and for the nosy among us to peek into others' notebooks.

Jone is hosting today's Poetry Friday over at Check It Out.  Check it out!

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  1. Oh, I wish I could see that painting in person! Luckily, I can see your Water Tower very clearly, and in person. I especially like stanza 4, how it "stands through heavy heat" and "stands through minty cold."

    I participated in SPARK too, this time around. My poem and my partner's photo are both ready, I think, but she preferred to wait until the 10 days were really complete. Glad it's working for you so well!

    And have I said congratulations to you on your WordSong book?!

  2. I can't wait to see your SPARK work too! We'll get those directions today, methinks. Thank you for the congrats...I am thrilled! Happy PF! We're off on a little family jaunt today. a.

  3. SPARK KIDS sounds like a wonderful idea! I have long been a fan of ekphrasis... one of the favorite things I ever did was a "Which Came First: Poetry or Paint?" poetry/art show in which the artist and I inspired each other on all pieces in the show. So much fun! Thanks for sharing

  4. Thanks for sharing your big imagination and your big heart with us! It's always nice to visit your blog.

  5. Great poem! What an imaginative way to see a water tower!

  6. Love the column in the Buffalo News! you always paint such a vivid picture with your words. I felt like I was there with you and Hope, and then again by your desk. Thank you.

  7. Your Spark piece is marvelous, Amy. I have a box full of art postcards from many places that I've used with my poetry students. They love doing it & so much emanates from it. And I have a water tower in my childhood memories too; you've given me an idea for a future memoir piece, maybe poem. The painting is beautiful and you're right, so filled with color. And I like especially these words from your poem: It knew my dad when he was young./ And it will know me when I'm old." For those who live in the same little town, that speaks to them. Thank you!

  8. "Color words". I viewed your poem through that lens for the second and third read through, and just loved what you were able to do.

  9. Hey, Amy!

    I love that the water tower wears graffiti. And that you blur your eyes to make the letters glow. When I was a kid, I thought I was the only one who did that!

    Thanks for sharing this spark of pictures and art!