instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - Found Poem Collage & How-To!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  This week I had the wonderful opportunity to present a workshop for the young creators of the 2020 Camp Conroy. Pat Conroy was a devoted and lifelong teacher at heart, as you might know about the acclaimed author, beloved around the world as well as here in his own Lowcountry. For the third year, the Pat Conroy Literacy Center has assembled a team of top-notch creative teachers  who spend a couple of weeks in intensive workshopping and creating with eager participants.  An extra person is brought in here or there, and I got to be one of those folks this year!  Of course, when I signed on months ago, who knew we would all be doing these things v-i-r-t-u-a-l-l-y.....?  

 

But Center Director Jonathan Haupt and his fearless Camp Conroy team - Miho Kinnas, Lisa Anne Cullen, and Robin Prince Monroe - (three amazing published writers, poets, teachers and visual artists - look 'em up!) embraced the challenge and have been offering a lively and nurturing experience via Zoom.  One bonus of this arrangement this year is that a few young creators are chiming in from other parts of the world, contributing their own creations to what the local Campers will produce as group projects and collections. 

 

"This is our chance to share a little bit of Camp Conroy's Great Love with all of those sheltering and educating at home this summer," they say. Plans are for local participants to gather in July for an in-person event celebrating the unveiling of this year's "Camp Conroy Book."

 

I led a Found Poem Mixed Media Collage workshop, much like the one I led for Poetry Camp out in Bellingham, Washington, a few years ago, and have since offered in Beaufort, too.  But how to do this from a distance?  Now, that was a little trickier. 

 

First, I made supply kits for each participant and added them to the big pre-Camp mailing the Center was doing. Check.

 

Then, I recorded a how-to video - my first time trying such a thing. Should be a piece of cake, I thought, having posted all those poem-reading videos on my Robyn Hood Black YouTube Channel in April.  Right?  Well, the recording part took a while (this is usually a 90-minute to two-hour workshop, after all), but thanks to my new little phone tripod, I got it done. 

 

Then I put all the pieces parts together, editing and chopping, editing and chopping.  Then I tried to upload the video. 

 

"Mwaaa - haaaa - haaaaa" laughed all the invisible techno-gods in unison at my hubris. I tried uploading to YouTube, on my heretofore unused artsyletters Channel.  Hours and hours (a couple of different overnights, even....) - No Go.  Stuck at 99 percent and then - failure.  I tried uploading to the Center's Dropbox.  Hours and hours... well, you get the picture.  

 

So here's a tip, stumbled onto after bleary-eyed days of looking for some magical virtual key - worth your reading of this post, if nothing else:  to upload a video longer than 15 minutes to YouTube, you have to have a verified account.  What's a verified account?  You go to settings (I think - it's all a blur) and look around for the "Verify account" option.  Then, you simply type in your cell phone number or email address and wait for one of those handy six-digit codes banks often use to make sure you are you and not a robot.  Type in the six numbers, and  - poof!  You're verified.  And your - cough-cough - 48-minute cinematic feat might just upload in less than two hours, and process fairly quickly after that.  (Insert emoji with hand slapping forehead right about here.)

 

Back to poetry.  So the video was made accessible, and the young campers had a day or two to work on their collages before we all "met" on Wednesday afternoon.  As always when working with kids, I was amazed at their creativity and fresh perspectives.  Some were still working on theirs, but several pieces were to a finished or at least share-able stage.  Such talented writers and artists!! I'm always energized seeing what creative young folks come up with. Oh, and the three teachers played along in a closing found-poem activity, too - I can tell they are all having as much fun as the kids.

 

Above you see the collage I made as a sample.  The text is from a 1960-ish EduCard featuring a science experiment.  I "found" a poem about balance because:  1.) There's a wonderful yoga studio above the Literary Center; 2.) I've been inspired by so many people taking a Stand lately; and, 3.) I probably - nope, definitely - need a little more balance in my life.

Anyway, here is the poem:

 

 

 

Keep in Balance

 

 

 

earth pulls       everthing

 

     to center.  This place

 

    will not fall

 

when your body is 

 

    "base"

 

  You will

 

Stand

 

         bring your center 

and see what happens.

 

 

Poem found by Robyn Hood Black. 

 

 

If you're looking for a creative project to wile away a summer day, or if you need an activity for kids or grandkids or such, feel free to have a look at the video I made! There's a mini studio tour at the beginning.  It's a bit choppy, with my crazed efforts at making it shorter so it would load somewhere, etc., but you'll get the steps.  You can adapt this project to materials you have handy, and improvise away, too!

Here's the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVo_d5CqgBs

 

Wishing you a balanced weekend during which you find lots of poetry... you can start over at The Miss Rumphius Effect, where the lovely Tricia has our Roundup this week!  (Program Note - I'll be taking a wee little break for the next couple of Fridays, but see you in July!  And, if you don't get my quarterly(-ish) artsyletters newsletter, I'll be sending one out soon; you can sign up here. )  Thanks, and take good care!

13 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Nikki Grimes - Creativity with Wings!

Shhh.... Is she here yet? 

 

Under the direction of amazing poet and my dear friend Irene Latham, we're having a  **Ta-da!  Celebration!** for Nikki Grimes for Poetry Friday today! Seems the pandemic has kept awards ceremonies from being held in person, and Nikki just keeps getting awards. So we're lifting our virtual cups and glasses in Nikki's honor. 

 

I've had the good fortune of crossing paths with Nikki at a conference or two over the years, and I was delighted that she not only attended my Found Poem Collage Makerspace workshop at Poetry Camp out in Washington a few years ago, but she embraced every creative challenge and also kindly shared with me some photos she took. Nikki is a visual artist on many fronts, and I love the cross-pollination that happens between her writing and her making.

 

[I've been thinking of that wonderful weekend this week, as I'm leading a virtual version of this workshop for the Pat Conroy Literacy Center's "Conroy Camp" for young writers next week.  I prepared crafting kits to send in the mailing to each student, and they'll have access to my how-to video going up on Monday.  Then, we'll "meet" together via computer on Wednesday.]

 

But I digress.  If you know anything about Nikki, you already know her talents do NOT stop with the period at the end of a printed sentence.  (See some of her artwork at the "Grimes Gallery" section of her website.)

 

I'm always enjoying the gorgeous photos Nikki is sharing online, many from her garden. She often features new photography at her website, too, in "Notes from Nikki."

 

I dug up an interview I did with Nikki back in 2012, in which she discussed her writing and her artistic endeavors, among other topics. It was for Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults (PACYA), and it's still up, here:

 

https://poetryadvocates.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/ncte-award-winning-poet-nikki-grimes/

 

In that post, I received permission to share a poem from Bronx Masquerade.  [I'm hoping you won't mind, Nikki, my sharing it here again?] This poem not only reveals Nikki's ear for the musicality of words, it shines with her eye for the visually beautiful as well.  And yet, like her work across several genres for young readers, it still speaks with the rich voice and heart of a young person making her way in the world.

 

 

Imagine


By Lupe Algarin

 

I walk by a mirror,
catch my eye,
wonder at the universe
behind it.
Past the flashing eyes
is a file
for yesterday's sunset
dripping mango light,
for Papi's laughter
tinkling in my
five-year-old ears
so many years gone by,
for tears
shed below a crucifix
on my wall.
I sort it all out,
store it under
"been there, done that"
and open a clean drawer
labeled Mañana,
a place to store adventures
I'm still learning
to imagine.

 

©Nikki Grimes. All rights reserved.

 

 

In another book, Words With Wingsmain character Gabby ponders whether she might be both a dreamer and a maker, in a very short poem called, "Maybe."  There's no doubt that for Gabby's creator, that answer is YES.

 

Nikki received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry in 2006, and if you missed it, here's the link to the Spotlight interview with Lee Bennett Hopkins (still miss him so) at Renée LaTulippe's No Water River blog. 

 

Enjoy more Nikki Grimes celebrations today over at Live Your Poem, where Irene is rounding up these posts and other poetic inspirations this week.  

17 Comments
Post a comment

Poetry Friday - Old Maps & Current Events

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  It's been a poignant week for any thinking, feeling person, hasn't it? 

 

[Quick, less-serious forward:  While keeping a close eye on the news, I've also been getting ready for an event on a much lighter note - our little downtown, after skipping First Friday for April and May, is holding a VIRTUAL First Friday this week.  Our merchants association is sponsoring a Facebook Live whirlwind tour of more than two dozen businesses from 6 to 8 p.m.  - So YOU can even join in from your couch!  (Here is a link to my own little promo for it; I'm slated to have my two minutes of fame in the middle-ish of the event.  The event will be posted as a Facebook Live tour on the Downtown Beaufort Merchants Association Facebook Page.)]

 

I've been making several items using images from my miniature antique map problem - er, I mean - collection.  So I've been entertaining maps in my mind and imagination these last few weeks. 

 

Thursday, when I was able to see some of the the moving service for George Floyd, I pondered several map-themed ideas for a haiku that might reflect these fraught but energetic times.  

 

 

old map

errors

in the legend

 

©2020 Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved. 

 

 

 

I re-wrote this in my head and on scratch paper many times.  My first attempts were too preachy, which is quite un-haiku-like.  Too much of my own voice (however well-intentioned) was apparent.  I knew I wanted to include "legend," because of its double meaning.  Other than that, I didn't want to include blatent references to my own feelings, or admonitions to do anything, or other burdens.  It was a good exercise in narrowing my focus, trying to shed my own interjections to focus on the images.  

 

When I first started my art business, I was delighted to find a late 19th Century Geography textbook/atlas in an antique shop (the first of a few I have now).  I was appalled, however, when I actually read the text.  I won't dignify the discussions of various "races" by sharing them here. But I think of the horrible influence of that polluted thinking - it seems so long ago, and yet that particular book was published only a dozen or so years before one of my grandfathers was born.  It wasn't really so long ago.

 

Just before Covid-19 stay-at-home orders, I had a meaningful encounter in front of my own house, in our fairly diverse downtown neighborhood which I love.  You've gathered from my pictures that I'm white; so is my husband, and our kids.  This incident involved a couple of young African American men (maybe slightly older than my own kids), car trouble, and some agitated behavior that frightened me. 

 

Long story short, I was initially tempted to call the police - one young man was pushing and shoving the other, yelling, pacing wildly, coming toward the house.  I decided to try not to overreact - to pray instead, and to listen to my Mom instincts and intuition during some tense moments when he made contact.  Seth was here for a visit. (Seth, who was born one month after Trayvon Martin, and with whom we never had to have "the talk.")  With Seth's calming presence and real-world de-escalation experience, I asked him to come outside too.  

 

Jumper cables.  That's all they needed.  The young man calmed down, apologizing for his initial behavior - and I tried to convey it was the potential fighting I was concerned about.  The other young man, the driver, never lost his cool with his friend, however, or with the situation.  Seth got their engine running, and everything was fine. 

 

We stood and talked for a little bit, and the young man asked for a hug, which I gave both of them, of course. He smelled of alcohol, though it was morning, and I wondered about his struggles.  Perhaps that fueled some of his initial behavior.  It also might have let his guard down in conversation, because he said, "You don't know how hard it is for us to ask you for help." That broke my heart.  

 

Many hearts have been broken, these weeks, these years, these centuries.  I cannot speak for anyone of color.  But I do hope we can all heal, together, even if slowly, following that arc that bends toward justice. 

 

Our wonderful Margaret has the Poetry Friday Roundup today at Reflections on the Teche

20 Comments
Post a comment