Friday, July 19, 2013

Foxes and Welcome to George Welgemoed!

Little Fox
by Amy LV

(I will add audio to this poem when my voice returns - it was a talky week!)

Students - This is a poem that I found in my old file of poems for FOREST HAS A SONG. It's a forest-y poem that never made it into the book, but I still like it.  You'll see how just as in After Marshmallows, I smushed some words together.  Yes, I do enjoy doing that.  

The other week, when our daughter Hope went to volunteer at the horse barn where she works, we saw some baby foxes playing in the woods nearby.  They were adorable, and once again I found myself wondering how something so cute could be considered so crafty.Yet, in Aesop's fables, the fox is indeed the crafty one. You can see this is so here in The Fox and the Grapes, The Fox Without a Tail, The Fox and the Goat, The Fox and the Stork, and so many more here.

So this is my question poem.  Are foxes really sly?  Or not?

Today I feel very lucky to welcome my new colleague and faraway friend George Welgemoed to The Poem Farm. From South Africa, George wrote to me in June asking if he might make designs to go with some of my poems.  As a furniture maker, George was searching on the Internet for a photo of a small key box. Through his searching, he Googled his way to poems about keys and found The Poem Farm.  Lucky me! Honored, I said yes, and today you can see two such pieces of his digital work.

George does design work and web design for the South African Police Service and says, "Designs, or art as you say it, is only a way to express some of my thoughts.  I read a lot on the net and every day search for a poem of something interesting, something that you can illustrate to give it more than the poem itself. Sometimes I have this idea with a picture and then search for a poem...I think that all poems should be visualized, to see the power of the words...I choose the poem by its power of words the strongest visualization or I choose a particular image and then search for a poem that fits."

Technically, George makes these designs by searching through the Internet by using Google search results, images that will fit his visualization of the poem.  He uses only pictures that are freely available (not copyright protected), layering multiple images to make something new with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

George creates this beautiful work in the face of some physical challenges.  He walks on two prostheses due to amputations of his legs below the knees as well as amputations of both hands save for his right hand thumb.  He is also deaf.  George says, "With all of this, I am still living a 100% full life." With his strong spirit and love for life, George enjoys woodworking, planting gardens of roses and fuchsia, growing Bonsai trees, and spending time with his family.

When making digital designs, sometimes George finds a poem first, and sometimes he finds an image first.  Either way, he uses different fonts to form the idea of each poem, thus giving "more power to the words".  

"Designs for me are a way to express one"s thoughts," says George. At first he was very shy to do so, but he hopes to make people happy through sharing his designs. I'm so grateful to have met him, and I hope you enjoy seeing these interpretations of my poems as much as I have.  Please, I welcome you, to leave any questions or words to George in the comments of today's post.

(Click to enlarge each image.)

Thank you so much, George, for finding me here and for sharing your work with us!

I am home again after almost a week in Paramus, NJ at the Paramus Writing Institute, organized by principal Tom Marshall of Stony Lane Elementary.  It was a pleasure to work with so many wonderful teachers and to see my colleagues Stephanie Parsons, Karen Caine, the whole faculty of the institute, and the children's authors who spoke:  Vicki Cobb, Alexandra Siy, and Kati Hites.  I had a magnificent time and learned so much.  Thank you, Tom!  (If anyone is interested in reading the poems I threaded through my keynote on Tuesday, you may read them here.)

If you have not yet peeked into Linda Baie's notebooks, you may do so at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, a place to highlight notebooks and notebook keepers of all kinds.  Tomorrow I will draw and announce the name of a new notebook winner.

Jone is hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup over at Check It Out.  Stop by her place and enjoy all of the rich poetic offerings in the Kidlitosphere today...

Please share a comment below if you wish.
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  1. Hi Amy! I'm not sure about foxes, yet my friend who lives on a farm says they do try hard to get into her chickens, & she has to keep everything secure in the night. I love the way you questioned in the poem. And you are a lucky person to have George make his way from so far away to your poems. The graphic response to them is lovely. I don't remember the unicorn one, so enjoyed it immensely. One of my older granddaughter's favorite stuffed animals is a unicorn, passed down from her mother! Thanks! And, send me the winner's name when you have it. I'll take care of the rest. Thanks again!

  2. This is absolutely incredible and George's images are so wonderful. I really love the unicorn...makes the words really come to life. Simply spectacular.

    He is incredibly talented.

    Can he do more??

  3. George sounds like quite a gardener, as well as an artist! Happy that he found you :-)

    I think foxes are gorgeous animals. Maybe I would feel a bit differently if I had chickens!

  4. I love that George makes time for art and poetry every day, but mostly I'm impressed by his determination and joy for life no matter what his circumstances.

    As for foxes, the ones in our woods are pretty bold. They'll come right by the house!

  5. Amy, you must be pretty special to attract people like George to your site by "random" luck... IMHO, randomness doesn't really exist. I thought George did a terrific job with his designs! I particularly liked the font and pinky tint he used with your marshmallow poem.

    On the subject of foxes, I always feel special when I spy one on my morning walk, but I've never stopped to ask if he's a troublemaker. Not sure he'd tell me the truth anyway.

  6. Everything about this post made my happy. Welcome G.W. to the Poem Farm and keep up the great work both of you!!!!!!

  7. How neat that George found your blog and your poems! His positive energy really comes through in his work!!