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A poetry plan


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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A poetry plan

10 Nov 2020 8:34AM   Views : 536 Unique : 357


Iíve been digging through old files, and found a project I started three years ago, using a GK Chesterton poem as a device for titling pictures.

The Strange Music is a beautiful and moving piece, and my son had asked me to read it at his wedding. I managed, but not without a lump in my throat and slightly damp eyes. I decided to use the lines as titles for a series of pictures, because each has its own resonances, and would Ė I hoped Ė pick up on the mood I wanted in the picture, and enhance it.

So hereís a project for the next few days (should you choose to accept it). Pick a poem: possibly one you know and love, or wander through a book or website to find one you like. It could be ethereal and romantic, or it could be a limerick if you want.


This will give you a number of different ways to spend your time profitably. You may end up with some unusual and thought-provoking titles for pictures. You may discover poems you donít know Ė or maybe discover poetry as a whole, if youíve never been interested since some teacher made you learn ĎI wandered lonely as a cloudí off by heart.

And you may find a way to organise otherwise-random pictures into a sort of sequence. Yesterday, in a Critique Gallery comment, I suggested that free association might be a good technique to use for finding objects to put together in a still life picture, and it strikes me that reading poetry on the web or in an anthology may be a way to stimulate such thinking.

And a suggestion: my favourite book of poetry is called Other Menís Flowers. Itís one manís collection of the poems he remembered and loved from school Ė not a negative experience for him, clearly. Although it was compiled around 80 years ago, itís still freely available, both used and new.


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
10 Nov 2020 8:40AM
As you can see, my copy is an heirloom: my Dad bought it in Sydney, Australia, around the end of the War. There's a little bookshop sticker on the endpaper. Putting two and two together, I know that he served, at one point, on HMS Belfast, now moored in London, and I believe that was around that time.

Like a lot of people of my age, I know very little about what my relatives did 1939-45, or where they were. People tended not to talk about it very much. I do know, though, that he was a chaplain in the Royal Navy, and that there's a rather fine tradition there: for pastoral purposes, the chaplain assumes the rank of whoever he is talking to. This seems to me to be a good way to be, and to expect everyone else to be... Equals.
pablophotographer Avatar
pablophotographer 12 2.2k 450
10 Nov 2020 11:39AM
Great idea dudler.

My pictures are visual thoughts, hence they have a name, sometimes they carry music too...
dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
10 Nov 2020 11:41AM
A good idea John and an alternative could be lines from songs if you'e not into poetry.
You're right about not liking poetry from school, I hated it (the teacher does make a difference but I couldn't stand it anyway). I got an A in English Language but failed English literature (which in a perverse way I'm really proud about!). Satire, I find, is a much more effective use of language, though I guess there must be satirical poems.
I'm much more a visual person which explains why I pend time on here Smile
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
10 Nov 2020 5:10PM
Keith, I suggest having a look at The Naming of Parts by Henry Reed.

On the surface, a bored army recruit is daydreaming at the back of a classroom: in reality, there is a contrast between war and nature. If you find it on the PoemHunter site, read it with a Sergeant Major voice - don't listen to the reading, which is not very good, in terms of giving voice to the poem!
mistere Avatar
mistere Plus
10 38 8 England
11 Nov 2020 12:01PM
School poetry, oh dear. We didn't have a 'Dead Poet's Society' or an English teacher who enthused or inspired. The only poem I remember
studying was 'Reynards Last Run' and I only remember one line from it. "Like a rocket shot from a ship ashore," For reasons long forgotten
that line was nailed to the inside of my skull.
I like the idea, grouping images and words or trying to create a visual poem. I'd probably use Keith's suggestion though and try it with Lyrics
first. Probably not 'Another Brick in the Wall'. Smile
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
11 Nov 2020 2:25PM
The boundary between lyrics and poems is a slippery one. Who knows what you may get drawn into! Remember, Bob Dylan won a Nobel Prize for literature, even if he didn't go to collect it...

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