An Idea for Your Next Poem(s)!

Okay, so I got home about 20 minutes ago, and I thought I’d look through my old notes from Fiction Workshop I. After rummaging through a few piles of annotations and responses, I came across a treasure trove of a website that hopefully will inspire all of you in your future writing endeavors! A street photographer by the name of Vivian Maier has a few collections with myriads of photos taken of people and places in New York and Chicago in the 50s and 60s. Most are in black and white, but there are also two sections in color. My challenge to all of you is to find a photo that strikes you or in some way intrigues you, and write a poem. Perhaps your poem will respond to the picture or be informed by it. If you are able to concoct a piece of writing, this exercise can always be something you refer back to if you’re ever stuck because of writer’s block. But of course, in the future, don’t limit yourselves to just poetry! Photographs can inspire any type of writing, after all. Hope this satiates everyone’s creative hunger. ┬áCheers!

5 Replies to “An Idea for Your Next Poem(s)!”

  1. Jay!

    You’re the bomb. This is such an interesting prompt and I often get some of my best ideas through photographs and visual material.

    I think that prompt ideas like this is what the blog is lacking. We get a prompt from the reader every week and they’re always so unique, but I like the advantage of choice that this one is able to offer. Personally, I think we need more ideas flowing like this both throughout the blog and in class.

  2. Jay, I love that you mentioned this. I’ve had so many photographs be the source of my inspiration, I think even trying your hand at photography works as a source of inspiration. After all, capturing the way we see the world is what poetry is, and what better way to do so than through a photograph. What better way to express how we see a photograph than through poetry? ­čÖé

  3. Jay,

    Also want to give a huge shout out to this post. I’m spend a lot of time exploring different photographer’s websites, and am more than often inspired, but have never tried to write a poem about any of them! (It’s strange the way one art form elicits such a different response from another. My instinct when I listen to an inspiring song is to write, not so much when I see an inspiring image).

    I’m curious, what is it about these images that inspire you to write? What inspired you to share them with the class, and challenge us to write from them? I’m always interested to see what others take from photography, especially since so many people have a hard time finding value in it as an art form.

    I’m definitely going to try this (and maybe post a first draft on the blog???… maybe).


    1. Sorry I’m so late responding to this. I’ve never really written in response to photography as compared to cinematography in feature length films; but in a lot of ways these two methods of capturing moments and emotions are intrinsically linked. I suppose what I love the most about this prompt is creating a story for each picture. Sometimes when swimming through the large pools of lyric I forget that poetry can carry narratives–this is where the line between flash fiction and poetry becomes blurred. But is that not also a good thing? I love a good story, and that is why I shared this with all of you–you’re all bloody-good story tellers so why not get the creative juices flowing?

  4. Hey Gatsby! I was in that class with you and I remember those photos too!

    This is a great prompt for me because I do find myself looking at paintings everyday. Or more realistically, I find myself looking at cool anime screenshots on Tumblr. I’ve realized that I like art that is colorful. If a painting has a rainbow of colors in it then I usually think it’s a good painting. So now I’m wondering if I can make a poem that is colorful. A color in each stanza?

    This post got me writing! Thanks Gatsby (remember? that’s what I called you in Fiction I because your first name is Jay and you’re great)!

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