Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Under an Influence; Anxiety Lost In Translation; Blocking Writer's Block- Weekend Mini!




Hey Toads.  I have recently started painting a little, maybe as art therapy. Sure, for years I've dabbled in elephants, but I wanted to do something different. 

It was difficult.  What should I paint?  How could I dare even begin?  Doing anything from life seemed honestly pretty daunting.



Then I got the idea of simply looking at paintings of artists I like and using their pieces as “jumping off” points. I started sometimes by just looking at a particular painting and trying to copy (sort of) bits I liked--images, colors, whole vases--





Of course, pretty soon, each of my paintings diverged from my source.  First- because I just am not very good!  Secondly, because I have been using a different medium--watercolor--from most of my source paintings. Third, my paintings have diverged simply because they are MY paintings, and (as I would get working, I would become more absorbed in my own piece).

Still, the technique has allowed me (i) to lessen my very significant anxiety about trying to make any art at all; and (ii) to expand significantly my artistic subject matter (as in, I now do dolphins and not just little dogs!) 



In thinking of how to translate this painting technique into a poetry prompt, I focused on the word “translate,” which seemed to offer a key.

So, here goes:

Take a poem written by someone else.  It doesn't have to be a favorite poem, but one that interests you.  It can be a poem written in English, or another language, if you prefer (but that's up to you.) Read the poem a few times over, ingest it.  Then sit down and write your own poem.

If you like, you can think of your source poem as you write, even look back at it, thinking of how you might “translate” it into your own particular tongue.  By your tongue, I mean, not just your own poetic vernacular, but your life experience, the imagery that speaks to you, your view of the world. 



You could also think of yourself and your own poetic vocabulary as being “translated” by your source poem.  I mean “translate” here in the way it was sometimes used by Shakespeare, as in “transform,” as when Bottom in Midsummer’s Night Dream was “translated” into an ass.  (Ha!  And maybe this prompt is a bit asinine--sorry!)  

But the point is to take a poem you admire and allow yourself to be influenced by it.  Or not. The influence can show.  Or not.  But the hope is that your source poem may help you expand your own poetic sphere, and that it also can be a kind of companion to you as you write, lessening the anxiety that can dog anyone doing something creative. 

So, once more, as I know this is a bit confusing.  Pick a poem you like that has not been written by you. Ingest it a little.  And then write something of your own.

Please approach this in a very free way.  I am not suggesting plagiarism!  I am not looking for paint by number.  You do not have to write a response to your source poem. You do not have to put a poem into modern English.  (Although if someone writes about a big black bird sitting on a chimney piece saying “forgeddaboutit!” I’ll certainly laugh.)



You do not have to acknowledge your source poem, but feel free to.   

So, dive in!









In terms of the paintings I am posting here--they are all mine but their sources are, in order, Paul Klee, Marc Chagall, Odilon Redon, Andy Warhol, Minos Temple in Crete, Odilon Redon again, a Plains Indians Drum,  Kathy Bradford, Paul Klee again and again. Of course, anyone is free to use any image, though they are pretty goofy!  (Please do give credit if you use to Karin Gustafson/Manicddaily.)

As always, visit your cohorts. 


27 comments:

Outlawyer said...

Hi All! sorry to be so late in getting this up and in returning comments to my own blog! A very stressful time by me. Looking forward to your poems. Take care! k.

Magaly Guerrero said...

Karin, hope your weekend (and coming week) are less stressful.

Love this prompt. Your guidance had me reading a bunch of Vernal Equinox poetry--it felt right for the season--and I like what my muse "translated" out of it.

Happy Saturday, everyone! ♥

Fireblossom said...

How neat!

Mama Zen said...

I adore your paintings! When that particular talent was passed out, I think I was in the bathroom.

Outlawyer said...

Ha. Thanks, MZ. They have been fun, and fun to post some here with plenty of caveats. k.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I love your paintings. Such a clever idea to find inspiration.
Of course, I have over-used the Neruda-style sonnet this last year, but I love to write them after reading his masterpieces. Time to find new inspiration.

C.C. said...

Great prompt! Love the idea of ingesting source poetry and being inspired by it. Such a lovely image.....as are your paintings. Wow, like MZ, I was definitely, and unfortunately, occupied elsewhere when that talent was handed out! It does seem like such a therapeutic ability to have. Thank you for sharing :-)

ladyleemanila said...

love your painting :) thanks for your prompt challenge
https://ladyleemanila.wordpress.com/2016/03/19/under-an-influence-anxiety-lost-in-translation-blocking-writers-block-weekend-mini/

Miss Stacy said...

Your paintings are gorgeous and prompt worthy all on their own.

Thanks for the inspiration. I'm off to write. Will link up shortly!

hedgewitch said...

I loved seeing your paintings, Karin--and was able to identify the source artists at times, even, though I like the way you diverged and 'translated' them. AFA the challenge itself, I have some ideas, but nothing yet--hopefully will have something by tomorrow but we shall see. Anyway, thanks so much for all the work you put into this one.

Outlawyer said...

Thank you. I will be around to visit shortly--am working on mine--a bit afraid to lose it. k.

brudberg said...

I think I will go to some Swedish poet in this.. Your paintings are great, and it's a wonderful idea..

Outlawyer said...

Thanks, Bjorn, and all. People should also feel free to post a second poem. My first one came out more imitative than I think people should feel like they need to be--more of a response poem--that's just what happened--so I may try to go a little further afield, and you should certainly feel free to. k.

Jim said...

Thank You, K. This is a very nice challenge!!!
With theses as 'sources' you shouldn't go wrong in your art endeavor. With I'd have know that method. Well, my teacher did come to think of it. But mine didn't take, I'm still in the "tickman stage."
..

Phyllis Oller said...

I love your paintings,love the idea that they can prompt you to write,I can understand why,phyllis

Outlawyer said...

Thanks, Phyllis. Feel free to join in! k.

angieinspired said...

I ingested Anna Swir's whole book, "Talking to My Body," but specifically her piece titled Poetry Reading and gave credit and link to her work on my site. Thanks for the watercolor art! I ate that up too!

Outlawyer said...

Thanks, Angie. k.

Bekkie Sanchez said...

I love your paintings Karin, they are beautiful! I paint too and have done the same thing you're doing borrowing from others. It really is hard to think of things to paint sometimes. Watercolor is one of my favorite ways to paint however I haven't painted in years now. I still have a few of mine on the wall though.

I love to write alliterations and am taking my cue from (of all things) Peter Piper. Thanks for a fun prompt! Hugs!

Outlawyer said...

Look forward to reading it Bekkie. I've loved all the poems people have done. k.

Outlawyer said...

I've just finished another based on Neruda, and urge any one who has the urge, to write another poem! Thanks. k.

Margaret said...

Thank you! What a great idea - I never would have experimented like this... and the poem came out a bit better than I thought it would .

Outlawyer said...

Everyone's has been really inspiring. Will go check out; thanks, Margaret. k.

Susie Clevenger said...

What a great challenge Karin! I have never approached something in this manner, but I feel I mad a valid attempt.

Susie Clevenger said...

Oh, and what amazing art! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Outlawyer said...

Thanks, Susie.

Gillena Cox said...

I am sooo late, this is a really endearing prompt for me; since i was stumped for ideas for my Monday meme and did a double take using this prompt

A happy Holy Week to all

much love...