Sunday, April 30, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Wild Horse"

Hello and welcome to the final day (!) of ARTSPEAK! Portraits, my 2017 National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets. 


It's also the final day of our Progressive Poem! Be sure to check in with Laura at Writing the World for Kids to read the poem in is entirety. We need a title, friends! Anyone?

And now, here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

29. "Girl and Dog" after Girl with a Dog by Pierre Auguste Renoir
28. "Sun and Moon" after The Laughing Boy by Robert Henri
27. "Weather Report" after Self-Portrait 1923 by Abraham Angel
26. "The Way You Look at Me" after Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer
25. "Gratitude" after Tahitian Woman's Head by Paul Gaugin
24. "The Postman in Spring" after Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin, April 1888 by Vincent van Gogh
23. "Dark the Day" after Little Dutch Girl by Robert Henri
22. "Tiger" after Tiger by Hwang Jong-ha
21. "Self-Portrait as a Painter" after Self-Portrait as a Painter by Vincent van Gogh
20. "What to Do in the Desert" after Nubian Girl by Ervand Demirdjian
19. "In Summer" after In Summer by Auguste-Pierre Renoir
18. "Night" after The Outlier by Frederic Sackrider Remington
17. "Boy Blowing Bubbles" after The Bubble Boy by Paul Peel
16. "Morning" after Buki Rinsen by Tsuchida Bakusen
15. "When Papa Paints" after Portrait of Anne by George Wesley Bellows
14. "Whistler's Mother" after Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler
13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today's poem is on one of my most favorite things... which made it maybe THE most difficult poem for me to write! What hasn't already been written about a horse? What does this horse want me to know? I'm still listening, but here's what I've heard so far:

Wild Horse
- after "Rearing Horse" by Leonardo da Vinci

unbroken geography

choreography
      with hooves

calligraphy with
      a heartbeat

-->
               poetry 

- Irene Latham
---------------------
And that's the end of ARTSPEAK! Portraits! Wow, what a fun month this has been! I am looking forward to sharing in the coming weeks about all my other April adventures... and the May ones, too. What a beehive spring! More soon. xo

Saturday, April 29, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Girl and Dog"

Hello and welcome to day 29 of ARTSPEAK! Portraits, my 2017 National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets. 

Today I am in Florence, Alabama for the inaugural Reader Riot Book Festival! Fun.

Can you believe we are almost done with our Progressive Poem? Be sure to check in with my good friend Charles at Poetry Time to read the latest.
And now, here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

28. "Sun & Moon" after The Laughing Boy by Robert Henri
27. "Weather Report" after Self-Portrait 1923 by Abraham Angel
26. "The Way You Look at Me" after Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer
25. "Gratitude" after Tahitian Woman's Head by Paul Gaugin
24. "The Postman in Spring" after Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin, April 1888 by Vincent van Gogh
23. "Dark the Day" after Little Dutch Girl by Robert Henri
22. "Tiger" after Tiger by Hwang Jong-ha
21. "Self-Portrait as a Painter" after Self-Portrait as a Painter by Vincent van Gogh
20. "What to Do in the Desert" after Nubian Girl by Ervand Demirdjian
19. "In Summer" after In Summer by Auguste-Pierre Renoir
18. "Night" after The Outlier by Frederic Sackrider Remington
17. "Boy Blowing Bubbles" after The Bubble Boy by Paul Peel
16. "Morning" after Buki Rinsen by Tsuchida Bakusen
15. "When Papa Paints" after Portrait of Anne by George Wesley Bellows
14. "Whistler's Mother" after Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler
13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today's portrait is a really sweet one. Here's what this little girl wants you to know:

Girl and Dog
- after “Girl with a Dog” by Pierre Auguste Renoir
bone and hole
spoon and bowl

lick and wag
brush and rag

beg and fetch
throw and catch

feet and rug
kiss and hug

lock and key
you and me

- Irene Latham


--> Keeping it simple today... I have been this little girl. :) Wishing everyone a happy Saturday! I will be at the festival all day today... just one more poem to go for this year's National Poetry Month!

Friday, April 28, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Sun & Moon"

Hello and welcome to day 28 of ARTSPEAK! Portraits, my 2017 National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets. 
Also: Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit JoAnn at Teaching Authors for Roundup.
I've got school visits today in Florence, Alabama, in conjunction with the inaugural Reader Riot Book Festival! Fun.

Can you believe we are almost done with our Progressive Poem? Be sure to check in with the oh so talnted Michelle Kogan to read the latest.

And now, here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

27. "Weather Report" after Self-Portrait 1923 by Abraham Angel
26. "The Way You Look at Me" after Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer
25. "Gratitude" after Tahitian Woman's Head by Paul Gaugin
24. "The Postman in Spring" after Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin, April 1888 by Vincent van Gogh
23. "Dark the Day" after Little Dutch Girl by Robert Henri
22. "Tiger" after Tiger by Hwang Jong-ha
21. "Self-Portrait as a Painter" after Self-Portrait as a Painter by Vincent van Gogh
20. "What to Do in the Desert" after Nubian Girl by Ervand Demirdjian
19. "In Summer" after In Summer by Auguste-Pierre Renoir
18. "Night" after The Outlier by Frederic Sackrider Remington
17. "Boy Blowing Bubbles" after The Bubble Boy by Paul Peel
16. "Morning" after Buki Rinsen by Tsuchida Bakusen
15. "When Papa Paints" after Portrait of Anne by George Wesley Bellows
14. "Whistler's Mother" after Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler
13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today I have a piece that lives at our very own Birmingham Museum of Art! And, it's especially special to me because it also looks very much like our son Andrew did when he was young. (see pic below!) We have often visited this portrait of him at the BMA. Here's what "The Laughing Boy" would like you to know:


Sun & Moon
- after “The Laughing Boy” by Robert Henri

Mama says
I am her sunshine,
and my brother
is her moon.
So I do my best
to make her laugh –
especially in
the afternoon.
That's when
my brother gets
     cranky
and weariness
clouds Mama's eyes.
Look at this, I say,
and make a face.
I tell some silly jokes.
Our laughter
lifts into the air
like a pair of
of dancing kites.
     It's true
I am my mama's
sunshine.
But I am also
my brother's 
Northern Lights.

- Irene Latham
---------------------
Andrew - age 4
Readers, this poem is sort-of inspired by real life. I have always called Andrew my sunshine, and his older brother Daniel my moon. (Younger son Eric is my Earth. :) But the dynamics portrayed in this poem? Nope, completely fictional! Our boys were pretty competitive as youngsters and have only recently grown to love one another. But Jopie van Slouten, the boy in the portrait? He has his own story. :) Thanks so much for reading! 

-->

Thursday, April 27, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Weather Report"

Hello and welcome to day 27 of ARTSPEAK! Portraits, my 2017 National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets. I gotta say: I'm getting a little giddy here at the end of the month! Also, I am traveling today to Florence, Alabama, for school visits and the inaugural Reader Riot Book Festival! I love Florence. More on that soon!

But first: Be sure to check in with Matt at Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing! Hard to believe we're almost at at the end!

And now, here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

26. "The Way You Look at Me" after Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer
25. "Gratitude" after Tahitian Woman's Head by Paul Gaugin
24. "The Postman in Spring" after Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin, April 1888 by Vincent van Gogh
23. "Dark the Day" after Little Dutch Girl by Robert Henri
22. "Tiger" after Tiger by Hwang Jong-ha
21. "Self-Portrait as a Painter" after Self-Portrait as a Painter by Vincent van Gogh
20. "What to Do in the Desert" after Nubian Girl by Ervand Demirdjian
19. "In Summer" after In Summer by Auguste-Pierre Renoir
18. "Night" after The Outlier by Frederic Sackrider Remington
17. "Boy Blowing Bubbles" after The Bubble Boy by Paul Peel
16. "Morning" after Buki Rinsen by Tsuchida Bakusen
15. "When Papa Paints" after Portrait of Anne by George Wesley Bellows
14. "Whistler's Mother" after Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler
13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today's poem is another (the last!) self-portrait. I didn't know anything about Abraham Angel before I selected the painting... his story is tragic.  Here's what he'd like for you to know:



Weather Report
- after “Self Portrait 1923 ” by Abraham Angel

This city cracks
me            open
like parched
ground.

Would you
have me    pray
for la lluvia
or la sombrilla?

All I want
is to hold
your         hand.
-->

- Irene Latham
------------------------
This is the second time this month I've used weather as a theme! Poem #9 is titled "Speaking of the Weather."

As with my Frida Kahlo-inspired poem "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" from earlier in the month, I wanted to be sure and incorporate some Spanish words. Again, I leaned on Google. And I had a little lesson in what translators must go through: there were two choices for umbrella: el paraguas and la sombrilla. I chose la sombrilla because it sounded better with la lluvia (which means "rain.") 

So much of poetry is about sound! Which is part of what makes recording these poems on SoundCloud as much a learning experience as anything. I find that I often make revisions after I hear myself stumble or stutter or, often, say a completely different word!

Anyhow, I chose not to incorporate the English meaning into the poem. I'm hoping there are enough other clues to make the poem comprehensible without an in-poem translation. What do YOU think?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem after "Girl with a Pearl Earring"

Hello and welcome to day 26 of ARTSPEAK! Portraits, my 2017 National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets. 

But first: Be sure to check in with birthday-girl Renee at No Water River to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing! Happy Birthday, Renee!

Also: earlier this month I visited Oakwood University and taught a session called "When Poetry Meets Picasso" on, you guessed it, writing poems inspired by art! Here's what the beautiful, talented Dr. Kem Roper blogged about it.


And now, here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

25. "Gratitude" after Tahitian Woman's Head by Paul Gaugin
24. "The Postman in Spring" after Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin, April 1888 by Vincent van Gogh
23. "Dark the Day" after Little Dutch Girl by Robert Henri
22. "Tiger" after Tiger by Hwang Jong-ha
21. "Self-Portrait as a Painter" after Self-Portrait as a Painter by Vincent van Gogh
20. "What to Do in the Desert" after Nubian Girl by Ervand Demirdjian
19. "In Summer" after In Summer by Auguste-Pierre Renoir
18. "Night" after The Outlier by Frederic Sackrider Remington
17. "Boy Blowing Bubbles" after The Bubble Boy by Paul Peel
16. "Morning" after Buki Rinsen by Tsuchida Bakusen
15. "When Papa Paints" after Portrait of Anne by George Wesley Bellows
14. "Whistler's Mother" after Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler
13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today's painting is one I've been putting off, because it is so popular! I think there's added pressure when the painting is famous and already means something to the viewer. How can my poem bring something fresh to the painting? How can my poem not disappoint? Well, there are no answers to these questions! I can only write the poem that wants to be written by me. Which means setting aside all those expectations and just doing it.

Here's what the Girl with a Pearl Earring told me:


The Way You Look at Me
- after “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer

as if I am all rainshimmer
and skyglaze

as if I am a waterfall
of moonlight
tumbling out of an apple

as if I am not borne
of salt and currents

as if I've never been lost

as if I don't grit
against your teeth

as if there was never
any oyster –


only you

- Irene Latham
------------------
So... it's a love poem! Love poems are totally my default setting. :)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "Gratitude"

Hello and welcome to day 25 of ARTSPEAK! Portraits, my 2017 National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets. 

But first: Be sure to check in with Robyn (whose name has been gifted by AmyLV to a poem-parrot!) at Life on the Deckle Edge to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing!

Also, @newsbookology featured me today on a podcast reading "Dear Wandering Wildebeest." I invite you to give it a listen!

And now, here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

24. "The Postman in Spring" after Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin, April 1888 by Vincent van Gogh
23. "Dark the Day" after Little Dutch Girl by Robert Henri
22. "Tiger" after Tiger by Hwang Jong-ha
21. "Self-Portrait as a Painter" after Self-Portrait as a Painter by Vincent van Gogh
20. "What to Do in the Desert" after Nubian Girl by Ervand Demirdjian
19. "In Summer" after In Summer by Auguste-Pierre Renoir
18. "Night" after The Outlier by Frederic Sackrider Remington
17. "Boy Blowing Bubbles" after The Bubble Boy by Paul Peel
16. "Morning" after Buki Rinsen by Tsuchida Bakusen
15. "When Papa Paints" after Portrait of Anne by George Wesley Bellows
14. "Whistler's Mother" after Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler
13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today I have "Tahitian Woman's Head" by Paul Gaugin. I love the sweetness of this woman's expression, and of course the flower in her hair. Here's what she told me:


Gratitude
- after “Tahitian Woman's Head” by Paul Gaugin

And I would give you
     milk
from the morning's
first coconut

a symphony
of palm fronds,
     the scent of salt

I would give you
the eye of every hurricane,
     waves to bathe
your every shore

this red dress
with its lace collar,
    this brown skin

all the sunshine
     that lives inside
an island flower

all the sunshine

     the sun

- Irene Latham

Why gratitude? Why not? This woman's face is soft and open... I would like to BE her more often. Her face just looks like gratitude to me.

Monday, April 24, 2017

ARTSPEAK! Portraits poem "The Postman in Spring"

Hello and welcome to day 24 of ARTSPEAK! Portraits, my 2017 National Poetry Month poem-a-day project, during which I am looking, listening with my spirit ear, and asking these subject to share with me their secrets. 

But first: Be sure to check in with Amy at The Poem Farm  to see how our Progressive Poem is progressing! 

And now, here are the ARTSPEAK! Portraits poems so far:

23. "Dark the Day" after Little Dutch Girl by Robert Henri
22. "Tiger" after Tiger by Hwang Jong-ha
21. "Self-Portrait as a Painter" after Self-Portrait as a Painter by Vincent van Gogh
20. "What to Do in the Desert" after Nubian Girl by Ervand Demirdjian
19. "In Summer" after In Summer by Auguste-Pierre Renoir
18. "Night" after The Outlier by Frederic Sackrider Remington
17. "Boy Blowing Bubbles" after The Bubble Boy by Paul Peel
16. "Morning" after Buki Rinsen by Tsuchida Bakusen
15. "When Papa Paints" after Portrait of Anne by George Wesley Bellows
14. "Whistler's Mother" after Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 by James McNeill Whistler
13. "In the Company of Kittens" after Contentment 1900 by Henriette Ronner-Knip
12. "Sixteen" after Jeanne Hubuturne-1919 by Amedeo Modigliani
11. "Promise" after Portrait of a Little Italian Girl by Maria Kroyer
10. "Portrait of a Writer" after Oskar Maria Graf by Georg Schrimpf
9. "Speaking of the Weather" after Profile of a Woman by Fujishima Takeji
8. "Happiness" after Self-Portrait with Straw Hat by Elisabeth Vigee le Brun
7. "Virginia, Sitting for a Portrait" after Portrait of Virginia (Little Girl) by Frida Kahlo
6. "Paint-by-Number" after Portrait of a Woman by Alexei von Jawlensky
4. "I Am" after The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas by George Catlin
3. "What If?" after Portrait of Camille Roulin by Vincent van Gogh
2. "The Lady Confesses" after Portrait of a Lady with Mask and Cherries by Benjamin Wilson
1. "Mona Lisa in Love" after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Today I have another van Gogh. This painting reminds me of my father, who could look intimidating because of his size and the beard, but really was a softie. Here's what Joseph Roulin would like you to know:


The Postman in Spring
- after Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin, April 1888 by Vincent van Gogh

I am more
than brass buttons
and a postman's cap.
             See?
My beard isn't just brown –
it's gingersnap.

My eyes nail
you to the floor
for at least a minute,
            maybe more.
Those bouquets dancing
behind my head?

They're there
so you'll know
my soul is       soft
           as a featherbed.

- Irene Latham