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Friday, March 16, 2012

A Word with Laurie: Perspective


I'll never forget the art class I took in college. I had so much fun learning the various techniques of an artist. For instance, the professor had us turn a picture upside down and then draw it. That way we'd see it from a fresh perspective, not the way our brains were trained to see that particular object. It was much easier for me that way.

We also learned perspective. The above picture is not from my class, as I don't have time to go digging through boxes in the garage. Instead, my husband sketched this for me. Pretty good, huh? As you can see, everything focuses on the center; the train on the right and buildings on the left seem to move.

What does this have to do with poetry?

Have you ever written a poem and then discovered that one of your blog visitors, possibly a toad, has perceived it in a different way than you initially intended? Then you go back and reread your own piece and think- wow, I see what they mean.

I recently wrote one such poem which I will share with you here.

The Scar of Regret

Regret is the scar
on her dimpled chin
quivering
like a puppy cradled
in strong helping hands
held out with ease.
The years, they heal
regret fades away
and running through endless
fields of bluebonnets
a yellow Labrador
cannot see the scar.

Although the poem is notably about regret and the scar it leaves on one's soul with god as a supporter who offers unconditional love and forgiveness like a canine friend, one reader commented that she read it a whole different way- that of a child being bitten by a dog and having to get painful rabies shots.

It's all in one's perspective.

Dictionary.reference.com provides great definitions of perspective:

1. a technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface.
2. a picture employing this technique especially one in which it is prominent: an architect's perspective of a house.
3. a visible scene, especially one extending to a distance; vista: a perspective on the main axis of an estate.
4. the state of existing in space before the eye: The elevations look all right, but the building's composition is a failure in perspective.
5. the state of one's ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship: You have to live here a few years to see local conditions in perspective.

~~~

What I would like you to do today is to write a poem with depth and movement that revolves around the distant center. No commentary or background on the piece allowed. You can use the sketch as inspiration. Perhaps the definitions will help you. Or you can write a piece that can be interpreted different ways (which we do anyway so use this as your last resort). Go ahead- it's all about one's perspective.

*Add your piece to Mr. Linky, leave a comment, and be sure to hop over to other lily pads in this pond and give them your perspective.*




24 comments:

Kerry O'Connor said...

It is always interesting to read the differing responses to one's poem (or someone else's poem)in the comment section - for the very reason you mention, Laurie: the different approaches to interpretation, and the difference between shared and individual experience.

Ella said...

Great prompt Laurie! This happened to me, too.
Here is the link if you are curious:
http://ellasedge.blogspot.com/2011/07/poets-united.html

I love your poem!

Ella said...

Your hubby did a great job with the picture! Well Done~ I now have to try drawing this way ;D

Brian Miller said...

nice laurie...used to enjoy drawing perspective pics when i was in school...and multiple perspective pics as well....neat drawing by your hubs...

i think it is very neat to see different peoples perspectives on your poems...we can not dictate where people are or what they are going through when they read...

that though i think is the power of poetry, is that it can touch people in different ways and at different times....

hedgewitch said...

I really like the concept behind this prompt, Laurie--and I have often been dumbfounded by what people can get out of what I write that I never thought I put there. But I also believe,as I've said lots of times, when the words leave the pen, they belong to the reader. Will give this one some thought.

Mystic_Mom said...

My best poem like this was written a while ago, but this is a brand new one. If you want to see the other it is http://strawberryroan.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-many-stand-silent.html

Great challenge, hope you enjoy my efforts.

Laurie Kolp said...

I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. Mine's now posted... and thank you!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh good prompt, kiddo!

Kay L. Davies said...

It really is a good prompt, Laurie, although I'm not sure how I'll deliberately create a poem with perspective.
My youngest brother is an artist, and he sees things other people don't. When he was 14, I took him to Australia. We arrived at the airport in Sydney, armed with a photo of a friend's sister. I looked and looked, and couldn't find this woman we had never met. But Rob said "There she is!" She had her back to us, but he saw height, bone structure, posture, and he was right: it was my friend's sister.
Well, an interesting challenge, maybe something will come to me.
K

Mary said...

I wrote a short poem for this, but it shares a bit of my philosophy. Nice prompt, Laurie.

Susie Clevenger said...

What a great drawing. It is certainly interesting when others read a poem or write on an image and there are so many differing interpretations. Thanks for the challenge.

Susie Clevenger said...

Sorry, ignore my first poem...I posted the wrong one!

hedgewitch said...

Well, I'm up with something I hope is inline,Laurie, mostly with #3-5 in the definitions, but I have to admit, the train drawing set me off. I'll be around Saturday to read and enjoy everyone else's efforts in perspective-finding.

Margaret said...

This was really intriguing! The Garden is truly an inspiring place.

Kateri said...

I wish I wasn't swamped with work this weekend, this sounds like a great challenge, but I would have to put a bit of thought into it. Looking forward to reading your poems when I am less busy later this week.

Ella said...

I have been dealing with thundershowers all evening long! I look forward to reading these poems and posting mine tomorrow!

Daydreamertoo said...

Thanks for pointing that out to me about my latest piece Laurie.
I try to keep an eye on when Toads publishes new prompts but can never seem to get the hang the days that you do.
Anyway, I linked it now as you are right, it does cover perspective. Thank you. :)

Other Mary said...

I'm late, and nothing at all to do with the drawing you included. Thanks for this Laurie.

Marian said...

i'm still thinking about this, Laurie. just letting you know i'm here! i am routinely blown away by how people interpret my writing. it's interesting to think about that and be intentional. i've been running around but hopefully will have some time to attend to this prompt this weekend. good one!

turtlememoir said...

hmm... I hope mine is something along the line of what you were looking for, Laurie

Marian said...

i did it! rather obnoxiously posting this here and with Shanyn's photo prompt, too. what the heck.

Hannah said...

I LOVED this prompt, Laurie! I'm not sure if I handled it properly but I DID have a really fun time writing it! I'm so interested read, now what others have offered. Smiles and big thanks to you Laurie and all the other poets!

Herotomost said...

Coooollll Challenge...not so sure I got there and sorry for being so late.

Mary Ann Potter said...

Ooops! I made a mistake and put Mr. Linky with the wrong post. Oh, dear...