The Articulate Image: Picturing the Poem Within
“The painter constructs, the photographer discloses.” – Susan Sontag
And the poet lives and works, perhaps on the half-exposed bridge between what the hand writes towards itself and what the heart remembers in the naming of the world for the sake of discovery and truth. In the space of that discovery we will try to make the internal psyche more visible in our poems through a combination of generative prompts that incorporate ekphrastic prompts, photography, collage, and previously written material from past drafts of poems. We’ll make an effort to explore the lush relationship between imagery and language in our poetry. We’ll take small walking trips with our pens, cameras, and notebooks. We’ll look at paintings and mixed media to try and create poems that are intimate and three-dimensional in depth. Our primary page, never passive and always nuanced, lives beyond us, embodied in what we see, remember, and write. We’ll explore memory, imagination, personal autobiography, and the complicated ways in which we can employ imagery to serve and witness the psychic risks we take on and away from the page.
Prior experience or knowledge of photography is neither required nor necessary. You’ll need to have access to a digital camera, whether it is a smartphone, a point-and-shoot digital camera, or a SLR camera. The primary intention of the class is to help you to see and to restore the art of seeing in ways that will charge, expand, and develop the texture of your writing.
RACHEL ELIZA GRIFFITHS is a poet and visual artist. She is the author of four books of poetry including, most recently, Lighting the Shadow (Four Way Books). Griffiths’ visual and literary work has appeared widely including The New York Times, American Poetry Review, Poets & Writers, Transition, Lit Hub, and Guernica. Currently, Griffiths teaches creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts and Sarah Lawrence College.