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Friday, May 05, 2006

Reader's Dairy #82- Fred Sedgwick: How To Write Poetry (up to p. 39)

I mentioned a little while back that Sedgwick seems to imply that this book was intended to be used in a classroom setting. For instance, some of the suggested exercises are group activities. But if Sedgwick didn't have the foresight to see individuals like myself picking up the book on a casual basis, he also didn't seem to have the foresight to see anyone on this side of the Atlantic reading it. Quite often he uses British references that I am only vaguely aware of, if at all.

That of course, is a side note. I chose the book to become a better poet. And with Sedgwick's advice and exercises I'm hoping I'll be at least a little closer to my goal. One of his exercises recommends making a list poem from a favourite picture. Of course, writing a poem inspired by a painting isn't a new idea. Immediately coming to mind is William Carlos Williams' "Landscape With The Fall of Icarus" based on the Bruegel painting of the same name. But until Sedgwick's suggestion I haven't tried it myself. It is not a list poem as he recommended, but I at least did look to a work of art for inspiration. While I won't show the picture here (hoping to avoid the copyright people), I will suggest you follow the link before reading my poem. The painting is "Horse and Train" by Canadian artist Alex Colville. My poem is entitled "Horse and Train" as well:

They do not
Respect me.
They distill
My essence
Into vile grease.

Train against
Horse against
Me and they
Will regret this.

1 comment:

Robert said...

Well done. Thanks for sharing.

I especially like the sense of opposition you develop in the second stanza along with the multiple play of images present -- physical and 'moral' opposition.

I'm also intrigued by the question the poem seems to beg regarding point of view. As a reader my understanding of the narrator shifts at least twice. With sucessive re-readings, keeping each movement in mind, I take slightly different impression of the opposition described.