A photograph to inspire poetry: dead leaf on the end of a branch

dead leaf on the end of a branch

Above is a photograph of a dead leaf on the end of a branch.  It can inspire poetry.  A poet could write about:

  • Death. The leaf is dead and it could inspire a poet to write about the subject.
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  • Hanging on. While the leaf is dead, it is still hanging onto the tree.  There is a sense of persistence.  A poet could apply this idea to poetry.
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  • Finality. At some point the leaf will fall from the tree.  It is right before the moment of finality.  A poet could apply the idea of finality to many situations.  There are many last moments of things (not all bad) that a poet could write about.
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  • Rebirth. While the leaf is dead and about to fall, buds can also be seen on the branch.  The tree and branch are not dead, only dormant.  At some point, the tree will have a rebirth.  A poet could apply this idea in a poem.
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Artwork to inspire poetry: Eye

Eye

The above artwork is of an eye.  It can inspire poetry.  Below are some ideas.  A poet could write about:

  • A person seeing something. It could be something good, like a momentous event, or something bad, like a crime.
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  • Blindness.
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  • The idea of someone seeing the poet. They could write what the observer sees and feels.  They could write about the impression the person has.
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  • Beauty (as in something that is subjective depending on the observer).
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  • Tiredness and eyes closing.
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  • The idea of looking into someone’s eyes. They could write about contemplation or about directness.

Poetry essay: Using artwork to inspire poetry

One of the features of this blog are artworks to inspire poetry.  You can see the posts in the category here: artworks to inspire poetry.  You can see all the artworks used in posts on this blog on the photographs and artworks page.

When using art to inspire poetry, there are different ways a poet could find inspiration.

One way is from the overt subject of the artwork.  A poet could simply write a poem that is about whatever the artwork shows.

Secondly, a poet could look at something about the creation of the artwork.  They could look at the techniques, medium or some other aspect of the creation of the work and draw inspiration from that.  For example, if there was an artwork done in charcoal on wood, a poet might be inspired by the burnt wood on the un-burnt wood.

Third, a poet could look for symbolism in the artwork.  They could think about what the artwork shows, what it could mean and how it relates to other aspects of life.  For example, a poet might see an artwork with a singular subject against a white background and decide to write about loneliness.

When finding inspiration in artwork, a poet can go more than one level deep.  For example, a poet might see the overt subject of an artwork, combine that with some symbolic aspect of it, and then extend that to some situation in life.  The poet could then think of that situation and move to some inspiration drawn from it.  It can be somewhat like the word exercise of one word, leading to another word, which leads to another word and so forth.  For example, a poet might see an artwork of a goldfish, which makes them think of gold, which makes them think of money, which makes them think of work.  A poet might then write a poem about a worker whose job is relatable to a goldfish in a tank and they could mix in monetary symbolism into the poem.

When using artwork for inspiration, in might be an interesting exercise for a poet to write multiple poems from the same artwork.  They could change their focus or point of view and emphasize different aspects.  They might come up with poems that mix well together and in some way fully express the artwork, or they might come up with poems that are very different.

A poet can create their own artwork to inspire poetry or they could use the artwork of others.  When using the artwork of others, depending on the situation and circumstances, the poet might need permission first (for example, if they were going to show a copy of the artwork along with the poem) or they might include an acknowledgement of the art that inspired the poetry.

Using artwork to inspire poetry can be a good way for a poet to explore poetry ideas.  It can be a way to find new things to write about and a way to find new ways to write about things.  It can be a way to change the initial starting place of a poem and can change the work a poet creates.

Artwork to inspire poetry: pieces of colored bell peppers

pieces of colored bell peppers

The above artwork is of pieces of colored bell peppers.  They are arranged with pieces of one pepper resting on the one before it.  There are two orange pieces, two red and two yellow.

This artwork can inspire poetry.  Here are some ideas:

  • The pepper pieces are in a line. A poet could see this and be inspired to write about people in a line.  They could write about the interactions the people have and the waiting they do.  They could write about people waiting for something good or waiting for something bad.
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  • The pepper pieces are arranged in a pattern. A poet could see this and write a poem that had a pattern to it.  The pattern could be based on a number of form elements.
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  • In a way, the arrangement of pepper pieces was built. A poet could think of this and write about the building of something.  They could write about the pieces that went into the something.

A photograph to inspire poetry: flying bird

flying bird

Above is a photograph of a bird flying above trees.  It may be a hawk.  This photograph can inspire poetry.  Here are some ideas:

  • This photograph required timing. It required being there when the bird was flying and getting the shot as the bird flew and was in range.  The idea of timing could be applied to poetry.  A poet could write about timing in different situations.  A poet could also use timing in their poetry (for example with line breaks and indentions) to increase effects.
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  • Obviously, a poet could write about flying. A poet could write about birds flying, flying in planes or flying as if with super powers.
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  • This bird may be hunting. A poet could write about an animal hunting for prey.
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  • This bird, at the time of the photograph, was flying away from the camera. The idea of going away could be used in poetry.  For example, a poet could write about one person leaving another under different circumstances.

Here is a poem inspired by the photograph:

in the dream
trying so hard
could only jump
and have the sense
of the roller coaster
until the moment
of realization
and then with freedom
soaring

Artwork to inspire poetry: Juniper tips

Juniper tips

The artwork above is of juniper tips.  It can inspire poetry.  Here are some ideas:

  • Juniper is an evergreen, and yet the artwork above is mostly tones of gray with some pink, some lighter green and other colors. It is a depiction of something with a quality lost.  A poet could see this and be inspired to write poetry about people who lose some quality about themselves.  Maybe something changes in the person’s life, and they are not as they were before.  A poet could write about a variety of different things.
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  • The artwork above shows just the tips of a juniper plant. It does not show the whole or even a significant portion of the plant.  The idea was to focus on a small aspect of the whole thing.  A poet could see this, and be inspired to focus on a small aspect of something.
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  • The artwork above shows three main parts together, the small one on the left, the large one in the center and the smallest one on the right. A poet could see this and write about three things together and the contrasts between them.  A poet might write about people, buildings or other things.

Artwork to inspire poetry: Elephant ear plant with snow

Elephant ear plant with snow

Above is an artwork of an elephant ear plant with snow.  It can inspire poetry.  Here are some ideas:

  • The elephant ear plant is weighed down with snow. A poet could write about a person weighed down with something in life.
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  • A real elephant ear plant would be damaged by the snow and cold. The top part of the plant would die in some cases.  Despite this though, the plant would grow back when temperatures rose.  A poet could use this idea symbolically for situations in life.
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  • An elephant ear plant wouldn’t normally have snow on it. A poet could write about a person in an out of the ordinary situation.

A photograph to inspire poetry: snow on a fig tree

snow on fig tree

Above is a photograph of snow on a fig tree.  Here are some poetry ideas that can come from it:

  • The snow on the branches and leaves is clearly defined. There isn’t much snow below the tree and there isn’t much of the tree without snow.  A poet could use the idea of clear definition in poetry.  A poet could write a poem where they are very specific with their subject matter.  They could be detailed and have details regarding it.  This could differ from poetry with a more general subject.
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  • Some of the leaves with snow look like designs. A poet could use these designs as inspiration for poetry.  For example, the designs might remind a poet of a crest on a shield and a poet might write a medieval based poem.  As another example, a poet might see the designs and think of them as emblems for some group.  They could write poetry about the group.
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  • The tree is carrying the weight of the snow. A poet could use the idea of carrying weight metaphorically in a poem to describe someone with an emotional burden.
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  • The snow hides the tree. A poet could write about a person who hides their feelings.

A photograph to inspire poetry: lemon with snow

lemon with snow

Above is a photograph of a lemon with snow on it.  There are a number of poetry ideas that can come from this photograph.  Some include:

  • The photograph shows a contrast – there is a bright tasting fruit with cold snow. This idea could be applied to poetry.  A poet might write a poem about two people, one who behaves brightly, and one who behaves coldly.
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  • There is the question of whether the snow will damage the fruit or the tree. The idea of unknown possible damage could be used in poetry.  A poet could think of many situations where there is a sense of uncertainty about potential negative consequences.
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  • Some might look at this photograph and see hope. Despite the snow, there is the fruit.  A poet could apply this idea of hope to different ideas.
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  • Some might look at this photograph and see despair. They might think it inevitable that the snow will damage the tree and fruit.  This idea of despair could be applied to different ideas for poetry.