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I paint, make collages and mixed media work. I write poetry. I reflect on the Tao.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Poem-collage or collage-poem: further thoughts on combining poetry and collage

Thoughts of seductionI have been reading through my poems, looking to find one that would combine with an existing collage from my Flickr gallery 
to create a poem collage combine, as in my previous post (Poem collage or collage poem?)

What I have realised is how many of my poems are full of visual imagery. For example, this extract from a longer poem called "Of All Things That May Come":

     Down a pageant street, where
     strolling players wondered
     and every noble Mummer
     turned in at the door,
     the threshold of our trespasses.

     In the dimly lit church gathering
     the biblical fair maiden
     gathers the mouth of her prey
     to the kell of careless grace.

     In captive corners, the monks
     sink back into Latin reveries.
     No longer the only actors
     drawn sideways by Herodotus
     in the fourteenth cycle.

I suppose, given my love of both visual and written poetry, that I should not have been surprised that my poems contain so much visual imagery.

The "problem" is that such visually rich poetry just does not combine well with the actual visual imagery of the collage. There is a clash between the image in the reader's mind and the image on the page, rather than a working together of the words and the image, as in a poem-collage combine.

The alternative, to create collages which use the images from the poems themselves, would destroy the impact of the poem, as it would rob the reader of the power of  their own imagination. As I have remarked elsewhere (Jottings from the June 2012 Notebook) I want my art works to be portals to reverie.

A possible way through this impasse, which I shall try next, is to meditate and muse on the collage itself and see what (if anything) comes up in the way of poetry. Apparently this is called Ekphrastic poetry, that is, "poetry that reacts to or describes a visual work of art." Shadows of Doubt Poetry Art: Combining Poetry and Visual Art  and When Two Worlds Collide: Poetry and the Visual Arts have useful introductions to the concept and interesting insights. 

Postscript: Visual poetry (search on Google Images for examples) is based on signage and political slogans.It doesn't seem poetical to me.

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