Happy Easter and 3 weeks of NaPoWriMo!
Late starting today – there is still time for your writing too, if you haven’t already done it. We are 3/4 of the way through!
As always for the full post, click on the day.
We have two featured participants for today, because I just couldn’t choose! First up is Wind Rush, where the spoken language prompt for Day Twenty resulted in an ode to a family vacation. Next up is Xanku, where the same prompt led to a familiar, yet ethereal, set of directions.
Today’s video resource is a full-length movie, called The Color of Pomegranates. It was made in Armenia in 1969, and is a lengthy, surrealist mediation on the life of Sayat Nova, an Armenian poet who lived in the 1700s. Frankly, I’d encourage you just to flip around in the video, as it has lots of extremely arresting imagery, the very oddness of which you may find inspiring. Like poems themselves, this film juxtaposes things that one might not usually find together. There’s a church full of sheep! There’s women wearing crowns of oak leaves and roses while children dressed as odd, one-winged angels run around! There’s a roof filled with books, the pages of which flap in the wind!
Today’s prompt takes its inspiration from another surrealist work, Federico Garcia Lorca’s poem “City that Does Not Sleep.” Lorca took much of his inspiration from Spanish folklore, but also wrote a group of harrowing poems based on time he spent in New York. (Lorca was not a fan of the Big Apple). “City That Does Not Sleep” is from that collection. Subtitled “Brooklyn Bridge Nocturne” in the original Spanish, it presents a kaleidoscopic, hallucinatory vision of the city as a wild countryside roamed by animals. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that, like The Color of Pomegranates and “City That Does Not Sleep,” incorporates wild, surreal images. Try to play around with writing that doesn’t make formal sense, but which engages all the senses and involves dream-logic.
NaPo Process Notes
I started by reading the poems from the featured participants. I didn’t have time to watch the film completely but fast forwarded scenes (as suggested), when I have more time I will watch it in full.
I studied Lorca (mainly as a dramatist) at college. I read City that Does Not Sleep. And started thinking about the prompt.
I searched surrealistic images as a starting point for my writing today. After an initial search which gave me more sci-fi than anything else, I decided to extend the Australian link.
I started with the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra – which I visited on my first trip to Australia.
While there was no organised Surrealist movement in Australia, its importance lies in the fact that some of Australia’s leading artists were influenced by Surrealism at a formative period of their careers. – © 2019 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
I looked at various works and planned to write ekphrastic poetry with the prompt in mind – incorporates wild, surreal images. Try to play around with writing that doesn’t make formal sense, but which engages all the senses and involves dream-logic.
‘Surrealism comes from the deeper recesses of the mind that the logical mind, with its prescribed formulas of thought is incapable of exploring.’ © 1940 James Gleeson
After gentle research, I discovered the chrome based surrealism of Shame Gehlert. I used one of his pieces as a starting point. You can find many of his works here.
My finished poem is called Fiveshore, (a play on Foreshore and the number of stanzas created). I freewrote the poem and then pared it down. The end result (the full poem) is fairly surreal. Here’s a taste…
The fish in the cart dreams of legs,
the donkey — of a rest, or the road to Jerusalem.