Friday, March 13, 2009

Poetry Friday: Poetry in the Wild

Which poem would you capture, if only for a moment?  (See my answer at the end.)

A call for submissions from  (This reminds me of the Poetry in Place project from last year. And this.)

Free Verse: Poetry in the Wild

Call for Submissions: Poetry and Photo Project

Inspired by the 2009 National Poetry Month Poster which features lines by T. S. Eliot written in a fogged window, the Academy of American Poets invites you to capture and share verse in ephemeral ways.

Recreate a favorite poem off the page and contribute it to the Free Verse project. Write lines on a sandy beach, assemble twigs on a hillside, or chalk the sidewalk. Take a photo before it disappears and post it in the Free Verse group page on Flickr, on the Academy's Fan Page on Facebook, or email your photo to Include the source of your lines in the photo caption.

All photos posted by April 15 will be automatically entered to win the new Poem in Your Pocket anthology and a commemorative piece of jewelry by San Francisco designer Jeanine Payer, who specializes in hand-engraving lines of poetry on earrings, necklaces, and other items. Selected entries will also be featured on


1. Submit your picture to Flickr, Facebook, or via email to by April 15, 2009.

2. Include the author's name and poem title in the photo caption (please do not send your own poetry).

My answer: 

I'd like to photograph the beginning words of George Ella Lyon's poem, Invocation, written carefully on a succession of human faces and hands. The first line on the eyelids, the second on the palms, and the last two around and inside the mouth. With each photograph, the words from the frame before would have disappeared, internalized by the speaker, leaving the last image as that of the last line on the tongue. I don't have the skill to do this, but if you do. . . 

O pen, open poem
O paper, pave the way
O ink, give me inkling
in your dark tongue 

(The rest of the poem is here, printed as part of a poetry teaching exercise, which suggests the words be posted at the entrance to a classroom. Scroll down to find it.) 

Poetry Friday is hosted today by the talented Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect.


  1. What an absolutely stunning idea.

    I think the W.S. Merwin poem called Loss I would have underscored by stitches on an abdomen.

    Fortunately, it's short.

  2. Thanks so much, Sara! I'll spread the word, too!

  3. This is so cool Sara. My husband teaches high school Writer's Craft and I know he'll want to try this with his students.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for the heads up! Love your idea and Lyon's poem.

  5. Sara,

    I love the poem by George Ella Lyon.

    What a great idea for a poetry project! Thanks for telling us about it in your Poetry Friday post.

  6. Loved the poem by George Ella Lyon. My 8yr old wrote his first poem today, punching it out on the computer and despite no actual pen or paper being used Lyon's words summed up the adventure it was for him.

  7. O Sara....
    Do it!! Please. I beg of you...

  8. Sara you have got to do this! Find someone who like to take portraits (I bet you know someone...) and try it. If they are not professional it doesn't matter just fool around till you find some photos you like. It will be so cool!

    Last year on poem in your pocket day the kids at my school wrote poems all over the sidewalks. I bet I can find a good one or write my own. I'll have to think about it...

    Thanks for spreading the word!

  9. OMG, I love this idea - the project and your specific idea for it. Go for it!

  10. What a great project. I love George Ella Lyon, too, and I'd never read that poem.

  11. A very cool project. Will pass the information on. Thanks.

  12. Wow, I adore this idea! I love the TS Eliot, too. :) I'll have to think about this further.


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