Thursday, June 9, 2011

Yoking Our Words to Images

In the past few days, I've been increasingly attracted to the idea of yoking images to writing.  Well, I've always been pulled in that direction, but I don't always notice people blogging about the subject and making me yearn to have more time to play with my art supplies.

Yesterday, Sandy Longhorn wrote a post about receiving art from Matt Kish.  For reasons I can't quite fathom, Matt decided to create a drawing for each page of Moby Dick--yes, that Moby Dick, the American classic that measures well over 500 pages.  He did this on top of working a full-time job that required 3 hours of commuting.  Suddenly, I feel like I have accomplished absolutely nothing with my life.

This morning, I read Kathleen Kirk's post about pairing poems by Hannah Stephenson with photos by Claudia Rugge.  Just gorgeous.  I'm not surprised.  I loved what she did with Sandy Longhorn's poems here.

If I was a young graduate student today, I'd be tempted to write about how modern technology has made it ever easier to pair our poems with a variety of images.  I'd try to develop some sort of theory.  I'd comb through all sorts of sites looking for work that supported my grand theory.

Five people would read my dissertation.

So, perhaps it's good that I can just relax and enjoy what serendipitously comes my way.

And do some playing of my own.  This morning I read Dave Bonta's post about his visit to Highgate Cemetery in England.  As I composed a poem inspired by his words, I watched his slide show.  Wow!  What great images!

And here's a poem I likely never would have had without Dave's post (and the phrase "day of many dusks" was inspired by an earlier post of Dave's too; go here and scroll down to the 4:33 section):

Land of Ruin

Give me an armless angel
with an eroded face.
Bury me in an ivy-clad
graveyard, where you can let
my grave go untended.
Leave me in a land of ruin.

Don’t you dare deposit
me in a land left flat
for the convenience
of the lawn mower.
Plant a crop above me.
Feed the poor or provide flowers.

On that day of many dusks
when you must let me go,
remember a distant cemetery
near a college football field.
Open a bottle of wine
and remember the stolen
kisses of our youth, the illicit
thrill of a midnight ramble
in a neglected graveyard.

Suddenly I have a sudden urge to hear The Smiths.  Yes, some gloomy British rock, circa 1986.  "Cemetery Gates," here I come!


Sandy Longhorn said...

Oh, wow, two links! Thanks, Kristin! Lovely poem, too.

uhm, my word verification is "toread"...I am not making this up :)

Kathleen said...

Wonderful poem! "Purist" that I am, I have read it first, by itself, letting it and its word images speak, and then I will check out visual images/links, etc. That's what I do with Hannah's poems, too. Read the poem, and then click her link to see the image, then read the poem again. It's this ongoing layering on each re-read.

One of my worries is that the visual will replace the verbal in our techno world--"A picture's worth 1000 words" ease/speed kind of thing--and we will lose that ability to think, make connections, and imagine on our own. But that's the old-fogey on the edge of my being who has seen a lot of changes and appreciates most of them and gets a little cranky about a few.

Anyhoo, I was tickled by Sandy's verification word "toread" and glad of your whole post!

Hannah Stephenson said...

I don't think images will ever replace words (although they sure do keep trying....:) )

To bring this post full circle, I know Matt Kish personally and have used his work before. Recently, he appeared on a blogging panel that I curated. You can watch the beginning here:

Unknown said...

I love this!

Morrissey and The Smiths. A must for follow flavoring :)