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Thursday, August 5, 2021

less swagger, more inkling

It's the first Friday of the month (learn about Poetry Friday here), and our critique group is answering a challenge set by Catherine Flynn--but first we thought we'd get around to picking a BETTER NAME for ourselves. We've been Sunday Swaggers for a good while now and it never felt write. So here we are, rebranding (and growing) as...

INKLINGS! That choice was harder that you'd have expected.

Catherine directed us to an exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum that I would LOVE to see in person--"Speechless: The Art of Wordless Picture Books." She asked for an ekphrastic poem, which is always fun to do, but I had some trouble choosing which image I would write about. Since they were all part of a booklength narrative, it was hard to look at the pictures as stand-alone artworks.

In the end I went with this one by Peter Sís. From the press release about the exhibition: "An Ocean World (1992) is a story about a whale searching for its place in a vast ocean. Sís echoes the shape of the whale to show how it relates to both the natural and man-made worlds. Although the whale is an enormous creature, Sís emphasizes its loneliness by keeping its size small within the picture frame." This description definitely influenced my poem.



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I hope our friend Whale isn't so lonely anymore.  Please visit all the Inklings below to see what artwork they chose to ekphrase about, and thanks to our friend Mary Lee for hosting us today at A(nother) Year of Reading  with a brilliant retirement villanelle.

-Catherine at Reading to the Core -Margaret at Reflections on the Teche -Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone
-Linda at A Word Edgewise

16 comments:

  1. Heidi, I love your illustration choice and your poem pairing. I remember this illustration and book. I remember the whale looking so lonely until he found the sub. I love the voice in your poem, the invitation at the beginning, your word choices, your rhyme, the building friendship, and especially those last two stanzas. Beautiful. inklings is the cutest and mysterious name. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. So many beautiful phrases in this poem, Heidi. That fourth stanza is magical...between surface and sound. I can hear the whale song in that. I loved that illustration as well. I'm glad you put a poem to it.

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  3. What a beautiful, ethereal love poem! Oh my, "salted living leather". Hanging oceanless, together and profound.

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  4. So beautiful, Heidi! Your poem captures the emotions of the painting so well. "Hang oceanless between surface and sound" - just lovely. A visit to the Eric Carle Museum is on my bucket list. Wish I could see this exhibit.

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  5. How did I miss this book? I (also) love "my salted living leather" and the hissing alliteration in the last two stanzas.

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  6. Books by Sis are magical & your poem captures that, Heidi, the wonder of the deep. "We'll shift together" brings some hope into the lonely illustration.

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  7. Heidi, wow, what an image and what a poem. It is interesting and unusual. The "beloved shell" and the "living leather" -- I love "streams of compliments / each of us profound"

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  8. I love the contrast in your poem between the riveted creature and the living one. The poem sounds a bit like love poem and it's hard to imagine the whale too lonely here.

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  9. This is wonderful, Heidi. I think my favourite line is the salted living leather... though there was much more to love. A perfect response!

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  10. This is such an ethereal image, and I love how your poem echoes that. You have so many great lines: "the green light of deep below," "my salted living leather," and my favorite, "we'll hang oceanless between/surface and sound." Well done, Heidi!

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  11. The whale looking for companionship with the "grey beloved shell" makes me think of Are You My Mother? when the baby bird thinks the crane is its mother. I hope their signals reach each other!

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  12. What a wonderful pairing of poem and illustration! Your language is beautiful: my salted living leather | your riveted metal band

    I love the idea of the submarine and whale sending having a sonar conversation!

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  13. Swoon...'my salted living leather'. I think the poem pairs well with the illustration and I am inspired to try it.

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  14. Love your streams of "s" compliments, and "we'll hang oceanless between/ surface and sound." Wonderful Peter Sis art, he's a favorite of mine, thanks Heidi!

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  15. What a poignant poem! And that illustration is gorgeous and kind of haunting. So interesting about the artist's choice to make the whale appear small in this encounter to emphasize his loneliness — you captured that beautifully. Especially love:

    my salted living leather
    your riveted metal band

    Thanks for this!

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  16. Heidi, this is wonderful. The illustration and your poem are so evocative-- poignant and moving. Ending with the word "profound" is simply perfection.

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Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!