BLOG & INTERVIEWS

Writing a photograph in poetry or prose

Look at a photograph of your family. What memories does it bring back? Focus on one of the memories, trying to recall sounds, smells, and other sensations, as well as what things looked like. Then write about it, recreating the scene for the reader. 

From poet Donald Justice’s Mule Team and Poster:

                        the last shade perhaps in all of Alabama—
            Stretches beneath the wagon, crookedly,
                        like a great scythe laid down there and forgotten.

OR:

Wislawa Szymborska who happened to come upon a poem using a a baby picture as occasion to note the banality of evil:

            And who’s this little fellow in his itty-bitty robe?
            That’s tiny baby Adolf, the Hitlers’ little boy!
                         . . .
             Where will those tootsy-wootsies finally wander?

Photographs record glorious moments, happy moments – a birthday party, a graduation, a wedding, a baby’s birth. 

Check out the photographs that lie idle in a box.  Choose 1, choose 2.  Describe the lace on her wedding dress.  Describe her perfect hair, two hands joined together.

 Memories live in words as well as photographs.